Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Wildflowers: Part II

Rail Trail

In late May each year the Century Race takes place. This May passed our son-in-law drove from San Francisco to participate in the race. His goal was to finish, since he had been unable to train nor spend much time adjusting to the elevation here in the Santa Fe area. Finish he did . . . yea!!!! Mike!!!!!. He shared he saw many wildflowers in bloom so after he left we drove to Eldorado, the home of Shasta's fabulous veterinary, and hiked the Rail Trail. We saw a stunning array of wildflowers in bloom and saw a bull snake slithering across our path. eek! snakes are my least favorite BEing even though I know we are beneficial to the native habitat.



As we thoroughly enjoy the beauty of these high desert wildflowers as well as the rail trail landscape, may we

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Wildflowers: Part I

Ghost Ranch 

In early May we had the inside of our house painted in colors to our liking. On the day the kitchen was painted, I packed breakfast which we ate in Lopez Park just up the street and lunch which we took with us to Ghost Ranch and ate at picnic table beneath a huge Siberian Elm. Upon arrival we checked our hiking trail options at the Visitors Center and chose the Chimney Rock hike.  


The views and wildflowers were stunning especially after the smoke from the "controlled burn" several days earlier in the Santo de Christo Mountains cleared midday.

With the unusually cool to cold Spring and even though the rainfall was plentiful, the wildflowers this season are rather stunted in statue. BEing a novice at identifying wildflowers here in the Pinon Pine/Juniper forest, while I enjoyed seeking names, I am unclear they are correct. Any of you reading this blog with superior expertise in this area feel free to correct name the below wildflowers.
Stiff Greenthread (Thelesperma filifoliumerma)
Groundsel (Senecio spp.)
Groundsel (Senecio spp.)

Trailing Fleabane (Eregeron flagellaris)
Common Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus)
I have planted two of these shrubs in our
front yard, so I fairly certain I have this identification correct.

Foothills Paintbrush (Castilleja integra)

King's Lupine (Lupinus kingii)

Sierra Blanca Bladderpod (Lesquerella pinetorum)

Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus spp.)

Penstemon (Penstemon spp.)

Some plant identification allude me with the resources I have available to me presently.
I am including them in the post for your enjoyment. AND, of course, if anyone who views this post can identify any of the plants pictured, please contact me. Gratitude!

Notchleaf Groundsel or Fendler's Groundsel (Senecio fendleri)
Rushy Milkvetch (Astragalus lonchocarpus)

As I have spent much enjoyable time searching through my meager resources in our home library to identify these stunningly beautiful wildflowers, I did enjoy a frequent

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Summer Solstice

Scarlet Gaura (Gaura coccinea)
blooming along the Santa Fe River trail
"June 21, 2019 is
the Summer Solstice arriving on Friday 
at 11:54 a.m. EDT. 
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, 
this marks the longest day of the year. 
It is the moment when the Sun reaches 
the Tropic of Cancer, 
its highest point."
The Farmer's Almanac

Cassins Kingbird
picture taken by Michael Stoyka
along the flowing Santa Fe River
near Frenchy's Field
Pleasant weather has finally arrived here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on the high desert. During the month of May there was hail, rain, snow and fierce winds plus freezing temperatures at night. June was ushered in with sunshine and intermittent thunderstorms which are not to Shasta's liking. But all of the plants are loving the moisture. This June is not nearly as hot as the first June we lived here.

New Mexico Locust (Robinia neomexicana)
in flower along the alley abutting the acequia.
With the abundant moisture this past Fall, Winter and Spring the New Mexico Locust trees are bursting with a plethora of pink blossoms which are lovely indeed. It is my favorite local tree. Where our house was begging for some shade, a one gallon pot of New Mexico Locust was planted last Fall. It is tiny compared to the full grown trees along the acequia but I am hopeful it will grow rapidly like my previous experience with locust trees.

As the longest day of the year approaches, may we be heartened by Starhawk's Summer Solstice message:  

"As we approach the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, and I approach my 68th birthday, I am thinking a lot about culmination, about fruition, about the cycle of life, and how for the fruit to set, the flower must wither and decay. I sometimes question whether the cycle itself can last, whether we have so damaged the processes of the natural world that decay and death will no longer bring renewal.

But the energies of Summer Solstice offer us renewed inspiration and tools for overcoming fear and despair; to recover our faith in the earth’s resiliency, and renew our commitment to ourselves as agents of regeneration."

At this Summer Solstice may we each commit ourselves to BE "agents of regeneration" and

Monday, May 13, 2019

Rest and Recovery

Ghost Ranch, New Mexico
At this time when we are "plugged in" and expected to be connected 24/7, "rest and recovery" is essential to every one of us humans inhabiting Mother Earth. I was reminded, when reading Lynette Sheppard's latest blog post, how much benefit is reaped when one rests. She mentions a book, Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest by Wayne Muller. Both Dwight and I read this book when it first came out and it was one of the books culled from our library when we uprooted and rerooted. Since I have been experiencing exhaustion and mild symptoms similar to those of my midlife, I decided to check the book out of our local library. 

In gratitude, Lynette, for your poignant post updating your Sabbatical journey.

Since our relocation I have found myself using my old patten of "adrenalin junky" to complete the myriad of "nesting" tasks I think are so important. Even as I have now spent 75 years on this planet, I often lose sight of the essential-ness of "rest and recovery." I practice meditating and qi gong some three hours each morning. This is grounding and provides time and space for connection with my luminous Self. However, with filling up almost every other minute of the day with hurriedness to accomplish tasks, this connection is difficult to maintain or is actually ruptured.

I believe my pushing myself way beyond reasonableness is in direct correlation to my awareness of the effects of the self centeredness, aka entitlement, of humans. In my lucid moments I feel enormous grief of all that is being destroyed. And I find it difficult to bring into focus the remaining beauty, especially here in the High Desert, where the starkness is evident. But the beauty is here as shown in the picture below of a blooming Hedgehog cactus thriving in a large boulder's small indentation. 

This off kilterness brought on by busyness blocks access to stillness and BEing.  When engulfed in panic about the reality that the brink of The Sixth Extinction is rapidly approaching, finding a path to "right action" can be discovered with rest and recovery. Stopping constant frenetic behavior affords great relief and opens so many possibilities as the movie Tomorrow shows. 

Pam Huston, in her most recent book Deep Creek, which I highly recommend, addresses this:

"For the rest of my own life,
I want to live simultaneously inside the wonder
and the grief without having 
to diminish one to accommodate the other.
I want to be honest with myself about the condition,
but also
to love the damaged world
and do what I can to help it thrive."

She also writes about her realization that each of us humans, individually and collectively, have brought about the rapidly approaching apocalyptic event. We humans have about 20 years to radically change our human way of life here on Mother Earth as Greta Thunberg, the sixteen year old Swedish activist, so clearly and eloquently states. She has been admonished for her statement: 

"I don't want your hope. I want you to panic."

Acting out the panic with busyness does not eliminate the panic about the state on Mother Earth nor the grief about the enormous loss of species other than the human animal. This busyness only leads to physical exhaustion which can lead to just plain giving up, a state that some choose to just check out either by "self medicating" or even suicide. However, resting to access ones essential Self where Tao, or for others the Divine, resides can provide the strength to live in this chaos we humans have created.  In the stillness of resting, buoyancy is felt in every cell of one's physical body AND throughout one's etheric field as well.

I also find that my panic and grief are discharged with a good belly

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Balance and Beltane

Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)
thriving here at  6790' MuRefuge
EarthSpirit Community marks Beltane as a "Solar Holiday" occurring at 3:02 p.m. on May 5.

Beltane is most commonly held on May first or about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. 

In Celtic tradition Beltane, also called May Day, was celebrated on May 1. It makes the zenith of Spring and the beginning of Summer. At this time Mother Earth's energy is strongest and most active. Thus, Beltane was viewed as a Fire Festival as the word 'Beltane' originates from the Celtic God 'Bel', meaning 'the bright one' and the Gaelic word 'teine' meaning fire. Bonfires were traditional and were lit to honor the Sun whose light supported future crops and the harvest as well as being viewed to protect the community.

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)
also thriving here at  6790' MuRefuge
On Beltane with an enormous burst of energy available to each of us, balance is a challenge. If we are awake then we are able to celebrate yang qi, abundant and so readily available presently, and draw upon yin qi deep within to BE in balance. 

“BEing, not doing, is my first job.”
by Theodore Roethke

The figure below perfectly depicts this awakened state of BEing often hidden but available to each of us if we are able to step out of our habitual, aka asleep, way.

The above sculpture is Rose B. Simpsons creation.
She was born in 1983 and raised in 
an Arts and Permaculture environment 
at Santa Clara Pueblo, NM.
She currently has a year long installation at

Wheelwright Museum Santa Fe, NM.
which I highly recommend.
As each of us celebrate and balance, may we also

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


Recently on a sunny, warm and not windy Spring morning we had an outing to Cerrillos Hills State Park. We learned about the history of this place. And we read on infomative boards about the 1950's drought that plagued this area. Huge Pinon Pine skeltons remain for viewing as remnants of no water. The information related the depth of the roots of the Pinion Pine (Pinus edulis), markedly shallower by a 100' or more than the One Seed Juniper (Juniperus monosperma). The two trees used to compose the backbone of the area.  Now however, there are mostly only juniper trees.

The park much like all the surrounding area is a One Seed Juniper-Pinon Pine forest. However in select areas Scrub Live Oak thrive as well. We found that these oaks were just beginning to leaf out as shown in the picture below. 

With all the rains this Winter (the drought has been pretty much eradicated in most of New Mexico now) we were treated to a number of early Spring flowers. Most of these are new to us. Below are some of the pictures for your enjoyment.

Sierra Blance Bladderpod (Lesquerella pinetorum)
Beakpod or Specklepod Milkvetch (Astragalus lentiginosus)
Foothills Paintbrush (Castilleja integra)
Yellow Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pinnatifida)

Silky or Nuttall's Sophora (Sophora nuttalliana)

Prickly Pear have been one of my favorite plants every since I saw my first one when I moved to El Paso, Texas, in the mid1960's. I planted several at MuRefuge and they grew to be humongous. They outgrew their space and all were removed. Here in the high desert Prickly Pear are much more modest in size but with much longer spines as the picture below illustrates.
Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia phaeacantha) with Grama Grass
As we ate our picnic lunch beneath the shade of a small grove of nonnative Siberian Elm trees we enjoyed a