Friday, July 22, 2011

Mystery Plant...

A few days ago I wrote about a native plant that I have not been able to identify, a plant with the interesting ability to suppress mustard and filaree.  One reader wrote to offer assistance with identification, and another wrote asking for photos.  So here are a couple of (not particularly good!) photos.

The first one (above right) shows a dense patch of these plants in an area where I have not yet mowed.  Those plants are about 30 inches tall.  In this area there isn't a single weed of any kind.  Before I encouraged this mystery plant, this area was a dense bed of mustard.

At left is a closeup of these same plants.  You can see that they're more stem than leaves, a common desert adaptation. 

In most of my yard I've mowed these down to just an inch and a half high.  So far, they appear to be enduring this abuse just fine.  We'll see for sure in the next couple of months, as I know from past experience that these will continue to grow slowly in the summer months (though my past experience is with unmowed plants!).

Any help on identification would be greatly appreciated.  If nothing else, I'll be able to put the correct name on the shrine I'm planning to erect to this weed-snuffer!!!

Mongols in Jamul!

All day today we've been noticing an intense law enforcement presence in the Jamul area, with far more sheriffs and highway patrol in evidence than we normally see.  Several readers wrote to see if I knew what the heck was going on – I didn't.  But just a few minutes ago, Debbie and I stopped alongside 5 sheriff's cars parked together on Skyline Truck Trail and asked them what was going on.

“Mongols” was the reply.  The Mongols motorcycle gang is gathering in the Jamul area this weekend, and the law enforcement folks are here to make sure they don't get too rowdy.  Oh, and to protect their civil right to assemble peacefully, too.

Debbie and I are torn between being comforted by the law enforcement blanket, or disturbed by the fact that law enforcement perceives the need for such a blanket.

We are unambiguously comforted by the presence of weapons and ammunition in our house, though...


Back home again, and abruptly back to normal.  Took the dogs out for a walk at 3 am under a very bright half-moon (could see colors all over the yard).  Despite the bright moon, I could see that the Pleiades were well up in the eastern sky, and a bright star (Aldeberan, I think) near by.  That means my summer friend Orion must be visible now, but he was completely washed out by the moon...

The dogs were their usual selves.  Race was all about the pine cones, and the three brown dogs were all about the smells.  There was enough light for me to make out things moving all over the yard – rabbits, I'm pretty sure.  The dogs never noticed them, though that may well be what the brown dogs were smelling...

Sure is nice to be home!

The Cincinnati area was incredibly hot, 116°F on the heat index and 103°F on the thermometer.  The relative humidity was 100%, and felt like it – the air seemed to have substance, to require real work to push through.  Every time I emerged into the outdoors from an air-conditioned space, I gasped with the shock of it. 

When I got home, it was 54°F and 3% relative humidity.  What a relief!