Nature Photography

Photo Essay: Greywater Harvesting on the Cheap

Funny thing about those plants in the yard. Although a lot of them are native species of the low water using variety, they still get thirsty. They get especially thirsty at this time of the year, when daytime temperatures are in the triple digits and rain is scarce. A popular solution to the thirsty plants…

Photo Essay: Hot Summer Gardening

Among the many things I’ve become interested in since moving to the Southwest 25 years ago, gardening is among the more challenging. Especially now. Hot summer gardening is one of those challenges that only a plant geek would love. It helps if your geekiness is complemented with a willingness to conduct experiments. My experimental turn…

Photo Essay: Slacker Mesquite Tree

Welcome to my place, home of the slacker mesquite tree. This tree has the dubious distinction of being the last one on the block to bloom. But when it comes to dropping leaves all over the place, my mesquite is a champ. I truly adore having to sweep the porch, over and over again… Then…

Photo Essay: Chester County Spring

During a recent visit to eastern Pennsylvania, I experienced something I hadn’t seen since the late 1980s. That would be spring coming to the Northeast. There were the signs of imminent spring like daffodils sprouting everywhere… The rhododendron bushes were budding… The moss was growing fresh and furry… The streams weren’t brimming over with snow…

Photo Essay: Mulching the Yard

Xeriscaping update:  It only took 3 hours and 40 minutes to get the better part of that big pile of mulch into the front yard and spread around. Amidst all the mulching, I also had to remove a pile of cut up mesquite branches from the yard’s main water harvesting basin. Those branches were left…

Photo Essay: Free Yard Mulch

In the life of a xeriscaper, there are fewer questions sweeter than “Would you like some free mulch?” Why the affection for ground up tree trunks, branches, and leaves? Because mulch holds moisture in the soil. It also builds the soil and controls weeds. In the arid Southwestern United States, we like such things. A…

Photo Essay: Battling Buffelgrass

So, there you are, trying to do the right thing. You go to all the trouble of controlling the weeds on your property, then there it is: Buffelgrass. According to the Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center, “[R]apid spread of buffelgrass and conversion of fire-resistant desert to flammable grassland rivals urban growth and water as the…

Photo Essay: Westtown School

When I was growing up, Westtown was that hippie-freak Quaker school at the end of the street. The long hair and love beads crowd were quite the contrast to the buttoned down, straight-laced kids in my neighborhood. I can remember one of the moms making jokes about “Westtown’s finest” whenever she saw students heading away…

Nature Photography: Solids and Liquids

A Christmas holiday visit to family in Pennsylvania reveals a timeless truth about the Keystone State’s winter weather: It varies. On one day, it’s cool enough for a jacket. Perfect weather for my mother to stroll around the neighborhood with Buddy the Labrador Retriever… Looks like Buddy’s found another interesting scent. This one merits very…

Bicycle Photography: The Pedaling Arborist

Being the owner of a middle-aged house that I’m slowly fixing up, I’ve had the need for more than a few tradesmen and women. Many of them have arrived in huge pickup trucks. Imagine my surprise when I heard about a local arborist who plies his trade by bicycle. Time to do something about that…

Travel Photography: Visiting the Phoenix Zoo

There’s something about visiting the zoo. You can’t help but wonder who’s being more closely scrutinized, the animals or the humans. Let’s begin our tour at the pelican beauty parlor. Nothing like preening with a whole crowd watching. Not that this pelican cares… If you’re a giant iguana, you can pretty well forget about having…

Travel Photography: Vermont Fall Foliage

Just got back from visiting family in Waterbury, Vermont. October in the state of Vermont means one thing: Fall Foliage. The aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene was very much in evidence, but it didn’t stop the annual party thrown by the trees. Let’s start our fall foliage tour at the Waterbury Public Library… The library…

Nature Photography: Rain, Rain, and More Rain

For the past week, Tucson’s weather has done a pretty convincing imitation of the Pacific Northwest. We’ve had nearly 2.5″ of rain. As I write this, thunderstorms are moving into the area. Many of our recent storms have started slowly. Subtly. You don’t think that much will come from them. Take, for example, this dampening…

Photo Essay: Greenway Envy

In my previous post, I offered a tour of Tucson’s new Fifth Avenue Greenway. This post is about a nearby neighborhood that’s suffering from a severe case of greenway envy. Let’s set the stage by talking about the weather – again. As noted in recent posts, Tucson is experiencing its summer monsoon season. Which means…

Photo Essay: Greenway Park Ramble

Looks like our monsoons have taken a vacation. Other than brief sprinkles, we haven’t had rain in almost a week. So, with thunderstorms not threatening Tucson’s Tuesday evening, I decided to ramble around the neighborhood. First point of interest was the new Fifth Avenue Greenway, which has transformed the look of this alley between Waverly…

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