Amazing Nature – Desert – Joshua Trees

jt2 (1)

Joshua Tree, outside Las Vegas (NV.)

Joshua trees are fascinating to look at, standing tall in the middle of the desert landscape. It looks like they are reaching up towards the sky. In fact they were named by mormon settlers, that crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. The trees unique shape reminded them of a story in the Bible, where Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in a prayer.

jt1 (1)

Joshua trees in a desert landscape, along State Route 160, in southern Nevada.

These hardy little trees that grows in southern Nevada, southern California, and Arizona  are actually very sensitive to our current climate changes. Scientists believe that their numbers could be reduced by 90% by the end of this century. Which would have a huge impact on the ecosystem, probably more than we can understand today.

Joshua trees aren’t actually trees, they are succulents, a type of plant that stores water. In their dry ecosystems, however, they are considered trees of the desert. They have a complex root system that consists of deep and shallow root. Their deep roots can reach a depth of 10-30 feet (!) and collect water that no other plant can use. Pretty cool, don’t you think?

Joshua trees have been used for wood, and building materials for centuries. I think just looking at them is a treat. The way they reach up towards the sky is such a positive, hope giving gesture. Like they are giving thanks. I think they are  among the most interesting, fascinating plants in the desert. What do you think? Have you ever seen a Joshua tree? How do they make you feel?

It was cloudy yesterday when I took these pictures, and the light was kind of flat. It was a lot of fun experimenting with my new camera anyways, and enjoying nature at the same time. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

 

Love,

Ms Zen

State Of Emergency – Carr Fire – Update Sunday Morning

The perimeter of the fire is more than 100 miles, or for comparison bigger than the city of Philadelphia. The smoke is worse than yesterday, and increasing. I can feel it. The Carr Fire is out of control, and actively burning at only 5% containment, on 89,194 acres. They say that the next 24 hours are critical, and that we might get winds up to 30mph. It’s hot, dry, and horrible. (Not in my house, I have great air-condition.) For a while I could take my mask of in the house, now it’s back on again. I’ve covered the doors with wet towels. Large sections of Redding, Happy Valley, Igo, Ono and Lewiston still remains under evacuation orders. We still have electricity where I live. It’s down in some places. People that are under mandatory evacuation are encouraged to turn their gas off, and either bring their firearms, or put them in gun safes (they are usually fire proof. I believe most people here have firearms. At least it is very common.)

I’ve been following my favorite, yearly endurance race, The Tevis Cup via the web. It’s been a great distraction. Wonderful race. It start’s in Truckee (Lake Tahoe area,) and goes 100 miles over some of the most rugged terrain in the world, crossing the Sierra Nevada mountain chain, towards the finish line in Auburn (CA.) I had two friends riding this year. Both of them finished within the allotted 24 hour time frame. I’m so proud of them! It’s on my bucket list to ride this competition one day. The horses in yesterday’s race all looked AWESOME!!! 

Talking about horses, mine are still doing great, despite the fire. My dog on the other hand is not herself. She is like a bandaid on me, and keeps a very, very close eye on me. She have barely eaten the past two days. Poor thing. She’s right next to me right now. She is super healthy, and strong, so I’m not overly worried for her. She is eating a little, and drinking as well.

I told work that I can’t  work right now. My lungs are definitely telling me to take things easy. I am pretty good at listening to my body. My body takes such great care of me, allowing me to do so much fun things, so I figure that’s the least I can do. To be able to help others I need to be strong. Working on that. 

I spent about 10-15 minute in the garden, around sunrise this morning, and did the minimum chores I needed to do. The birds have taken advantage of my abscence. I usually spend at least 3-4 hours in the garden every day, and about another 3-4 hours with my horses (within sight of the garden.) Now there’s been no-one in sight, so they’ve devoured the rest of the corn, that I had yet to harvest. Luckily that was the only thing they destroyed. I can live with that.

In my garden this morning. 

I did get about 4 hours of sleep last night, a lot more than the past nights. It felt very good. Even though I’m definitely not myself at the moment. I will need the energy today. Checking the current fire conditions, and worrying about the smoke constantly is tiresome. Just a short update to let you know what’s going on, and for my friends and family to know that I’m still here. Ready to go if need be. Praying for the victims of this fire. Grateful to be relatively comfortable, and safe. The community spirit is strong. I just saw that Turtle Bay Museum, in Redding, are waving their entrance fees today, and encouraging people to go there, and come together in a beautiful setting. It’s only the museum that is open, the park is closed due to smoke, and unhealthy air quality. Several restaurants, and business have provided free meals to victims, and deserves lots of cred for all their good deeds. Thank you firefighters, and first responders for everything you do!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! We are forever grateful. This fire is definitely going to the history books, as a game changer for his town. Praying that something really good will evolve out of this tragedy.

Love,

Ms Zen

Finding Zen

g4 (1)

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul. 

– Alfred Austin

When I first become a single mom I realized that I had to become more creative if I wanted to live a healthy life, while still spending the majority of my time with my then unborn daughter.

I am very stubborn, and I knew deep inside of me that there must be some way to not have to work 50 hours/week for someone else, like I did at the moment. One of the changes I implemented in my life was to learn how to grow my own food. What I didn’t know was that I was going to love it so much. Gardening quickly become part of a more zen inspired lifestyle.

 

g1 (1)

I have always believed that you are what you eat; mind, body and soul. My ultimate dream is to have a small homestead, and be as self sufficient as possible, producing the majority of my family’s food myself. I’m working my way towards that goal, by growing as much organic produce as I can, and by continuing my learning process about how to do it (by reading, doing my own garden, and helping out at farms in my area.)

Right now I’m learning more about propagating trees. I’m homeschooling my daughter, and one of our current projects is different ways of growing a new tree from cuttings. We’re currently trying three methods, similar, with slight differences.  The purpose with this project is to see which method, of these three, that produces the strongest roots, and healthiest plant, in the shortest amount of time. You can read more about the background to the project, and the different methods here.

We worked with the most experimental method yesterday. The only one that I had never tried before. I found a video about this method of fig propagation in a plastic bottle on Youtube. I just had to try! Follow the link and watch the video. It’s a couple minutes, and pretty awesome. Basically you take a big plastic bottle, cut it open, put it around a tree branch, close it with some kind of strong tape, pour some soil in, and keep it moist.

We started the bottle a month ago. I’ve been poring some water into it every morning. I haven’t done anything else, since I started it. Yesterday I cut off the branch that the bottle was attached to, and opened it.

g5 (1)

I could see some roots inside of it before cutting the branch, but it was difficult to see clearly what was going on in there until I opened the bottle. I clipped the tape with some scissors. This is what I saw.

g6 (1)

I have never seen this much roots after only a month, with any other method.

g8

I planted my new tree in a pot, that I had prepared with organic potting soil. I am expecting the tree to be in shock for quiet a while, since it’s basically a branch that I cut off. With all those roots, I feel that there is a big chance that it will handle that shock. What the video didn’t tell me was, wether I should of taken the leaves off, or just kept them. I was unsure of what to do. There is obviously more work for the tree to keep the leaves. I will leave them for now, but I might carefully rip them off later, if the shock for the tree is severe. What would you have done? Leave the leaves on? Or gently take the leaves off?

The surrounding mini fig trees was cuttings, planted directly in small pots, the same day as I started the bottle fig tree. If you visited the initial post about fig tree propagation, it’s the red pots in that post. I recently repotted them in bigger pots.

It’s 6am, and I better go outside, before my horse Ghost wakes all the neighbors. He always starts calling for me at exactly 6am. It’s time to enjoy my favorite time of the day.

This is part of a Garden Galore link-up party. Feel free to join in, and get inspired! Happy Gardening !

 

Love,

Ms Zen