Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wildflower hike

Poor Nathan's been cooped up in bed for the last two days with some kind of cold/flu bug so when we had to go over to the York Place to check on cattle it was a nice distraction. But distracting was exactly what it turned out to be, for just as we are driving back home, I spot something on the side of the road and make him stop and let me out. The grass widows were blooming! They only bloom for a couple weeks a year and my timing has never been right to catch them but they were thick over at the YP.

We make it back to the house and I decide I want to go for a walk and check out what else is in bloom. Always a trooper, Nathan decides to come as well. It was such a lovely hike. We never take the opportunity to go hiking unless we are walking fence or moving cattle and I have to admit I felt a little guilty about it. It seems such a ridiculous waste of daylight hours to be wandering around (as if writing on the blog doesn't waste enough time) instead of working on one of the dozens of projects necessary to keep the ranch up and working. But, Nathan was not really in a state to be working anyway and I am the one with the weird complex about leaving the ranchstead so we went for a short walk.

Many of the wildflowers are a bit early this year compared to last. The biscuitroot is mostly done and I missed the yellow bells but we found quite a few other things just getting started.

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Daggerpod has been out for two weeks now. Very fragrant and comes in shades of white to deep purple.

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I refer to this as desert parsley but I am really not so sure. There are three plants from the carrot family that all look very similar. I will have to quiz our resident naturalist Lloyd about this.

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Locoweed. As the name suggests, this plant can be poisonous to livestock and cause abortions in cattle but, the plant doesn't occur in very high concentrations and cattle will usually only eat it if it is the only thing left on pasture so to my knowledge it has never been a problem here.

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Lupine. Another plant poisonous to livestock is lupine which contains an alkaloid that can lead to 'crooked calf disease' if ingested during the first trimester of gestation. Crooked calves have skeletal deformities and cleft palates. There are cattle on this pasture at the moment but they are mostly un-bred yearling heifers and there is lots of tasty grass to eat so no issues there.

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Hedgehog cactus. I think everyone looks forward to the cactus blooming each year. That bright splash of pink is so delightfully unexpected among the rimrock. The perfect tuft of flowers on the round cactus reminds me of a ballerina's bun perched atop her head.
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The last flower we spotted today was some phlox; delicate pale pink flowers hiding out on a rocky outcropping.

The season is just starting and there are more lovely wildflowers to come. Each year I hope to catch something else in bloom that I have never seen before. I wonder what I will see in the coming months.

1 comment:

Jarom said...

Rats, I was hoping to see some of the wildflowers this year... and no, the blog isn't a waist of time...... I quite enjoy keeping up with the ranch.

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