Sonnet Challenge #32

I get inspiration when at art fairs from my neighbors.  At the SouthWest Festival last weekend the booth across from me was selling metal cacti and palm trees. It inspired me to write a sonnet about the real thing.

Cacti

Cacti protect themselves with spiky skin
from critters that would like to eat their flesh,
but on account of that protective mesh
of thorns, cannot get to the juice within.
Cacti may bloom when given sufficient rain.
The pincushion creates a sudden flower,
bright in the sun, until another shower,
with nectar got bees spreading pollen down the chain
of life. Some cacti hide their spikes inside –
the poison pencil’s not the one to chew.
Others make buds that drop and roll and root anew
and spread their kind through desert far and wide.
So if your home’s where little water went
it’s probably best to be a succulent.

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Tales from the field #19

Sometimes a little local knowledge can be vital.

Last Wednesday when we were setting up for the South West Art Festival in Indio, my booth neighbor from Utah, had stacked his boxes on the grass in the space between our booths.  This fair is at the Polo Grounds and we have lush grass there.  I’d not met Peter before but that’s no excuse to not be a good neighbor.

I suggested that he put tarps under his boxes, pointing out that the polo field was very well irrigated, plus we had had several days of great rain recently and might get dew.  Yes, I know, dew in the desert seems like an oxymoron but it does happen!  Peter decided to take my advice and while I was unloading and parking the truck piled his boxes into my space and tarped under his boxing area.

Cardboard with tarps under and over

How wet can it possibly get in the desert???

Turned out to be a good call. On the Thursday morning when we were completing set-up, my boots were quite sodden walking around on the grass.  If he had not tarped under them, those boxes would’ve been history.

 

Messing about in boats

I have to say that this was one painting (or pair of paintings) executed under the most hostile of weathers.  No, not so much heat, but the desiccating wind.  I had to stop on the second morning and go back for a short session closer to dawn on the third day, and then it was a struggle.  The good news is that once I’d drawn up the letters, I could quickly go from one side to the other, painting layers, knowing full well that that my start point would be completely dry by the time I returned to it in about 25 minutes.  At the end of the second day I had to quit because the paint was drying on the brush.  The east side of the boat was too hot to work, and the west side, in the shade and wind, I was shivering.  And I still had to figure out how to spray with an acrylic glaze with the UV component – in a stiff breeze.

Nevertheless ‘Poseidon’ has its name on its sides and today will be test launched.  Eventually this boat will carry a solar powered pump which will pump water from the Salton Sea into the marina ‘fingers’ in Desert Shores, to maintain the water level and mitigate red agae.  Launch day is on Sunday.

starboard_finished

port_finished

Calexico 110th birthday art show.

Yesterday evening was the reception for the Calexico 110th birthday celebration at the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts center. The art show had 110 pieces of art in there. Fortunately it’s a big hall, and there were some paintings in the lobby of which I didn’t take photos.
The reception was well attended and there was a short speech by the Mayor, followed by a group photo of all the participating artists that were present.  Enjoy the show!

Tales from the Field #7.

Sometimes the trip to or from the show is as eventful as the show itself.  The trip to the Phoenix area I particularly enjoy because there’s a short-cut from Mecca to the I10-eastbound up Box Canyon.  On the outbound trip, which is during the day, the geology is very scenic.  On the inbound trip, which is usually around 10pm, it’s one of those dark-sky zones where you can stop and enjoy stars without the interference of city lights.  The alternative is to go up to the I10 in Indio, but the Box Canyon cut-off is 25 miles shorter.

On the way to Carefree, I got to the top of Box Canyon, where it joins the freeway, only to find the on-ramp was coned off and blocked by several pieces of heavy machinery.  The next on-ramp to the east is at Chiriaco Summit, maybe 4 miles, and to the west, the Indio on-ramp.  Yes, a 50 mile round trip.  Aargh.

Just to complicate matters, I’d been having some slight thermostat problems with the truck.  Although it wasn’t overheating very much, from the last trip, it seemed that if I stopped to let it cool, it got hotter.  The plan had been to try to drive to Blythe to get a replacement thermostat, if necessary, doing the work in the parking lot.  I had not planned on stopping between home and Blythe – a 2 hour leg of the trip.  And it was starting to look like I was going to have to stop at Chiriaco anyway, that second cup of coffee was working overtime, and I didn’t think my bladder would make it another hour to Blythe.

I hopped out of the truck and talked to one of the workers who pointed me in the direction of the foreman.  He said that at the last bend in Box Canyon was a side-road, marked by two cones, which went up to Chiriaco Summit.  Perfect.

detourtochiriaco1

Desert definition of ‘road’.

However, when the foreman used the word ‘road’, he didn’t quite say how ‘roady’ this was.  At first there was a dirt stretch, followed by gravel and more dirt, and eventually panning out into ancient blacktop for a while, then changing between the three options before it joined I10 at Chiriaco Summit.   I had the ‘road’ to myself.  It passed little bridges where washes ran down, and these were inevitably full of trees and bushes.  Ah, if ever there was a road I could leave the truck running at the side of it and run behind a bush!

Road between Box Canyon and Chriaco Summit

Ah, relief is in sight!

No need to stop at Chiriacco!  When I got to Blythe and bought the thermostat, I think the truck realized I was serious about doing this open-hood surgery myself in a parking lot without a mechanic in attendance. I’ve not had a problem with it since.

Collapse of an eco-system and the last superhero.

reflectingpoolchange

I’m not usually an openly political person – this is something of a political posting, but more of an ecological item, not party politics.  If you live anywhere in North or Central America, this could affect you.

Monthly Newsletter

 

A life-in-the-desert moment.

I thought for some time that the hole that was dug under the fence at the south corner of my yard was a jack-rabbit construction.  The cottontails can get through the chain fence, but not the jack-rabbits, so they would need a way of getting in if they wanted to get some water from the bottom half of the birdbath.  But I did begin to suspect that hole was rather larger than jack-rabbits needed.  I was right.

This morning I saw a coyote walking down the street outside my window. He glanced over at the birdbath and looked at the water level, then continued along the fence out of sight behind the plants. A moment later indeed he reappeared but did not initially go for a drink.

coyote in my yard

Maybe he’s curious about the movement of the blinds…

He turned and walked round the house to the west and I lost sight of him – there’s no window on that side of the house.  The pigeons, feeding at the back suddenly scattered so I knew he was close.  Went back hopefully to the bedroom window and was rewarded.  Looks like android movies upload seamlessly to Windows10, so I hope this works for you!  I wasn’t able to upload it into my post, but I was able to put it on my website: CoyoteInYard