Aug 252017

By Patty Wilber

We have been suffering with drought over the last decade or so, but this monsoon season we have rain!

Here are the Drought Monitor pictures for mid-August from 2010 though 2017.

Our place in June 2013.  There are not even any weeds, and that pinon tree is on its way out!

Clearly, this year is the best of the bunch! 

August, 2017. Dexter is our horse-in-the-grass model. He is the son of the mustang Mama Mia and he is for sale. He is doing really well and is a fine trail horse with very comfortable gaits. I will be taking him on a Back Country Horsemen project in the Pecos Wilderness this weekend.

Mojo in a lower, damper spot, with more grass.

The red barn in these two photos is the same red barn as in the 2013 photo. The change from bare to lush is entirely due to natural precipitation.

I am enthralled that seeds lie quiescent in the soil for years and then when rain falls at the right time with the right temperature the “chosen” species will sprout en masse.  Apparently, pigweed, a rather horrible spiny thing after seed-set, is this year’s big winner.  I have it all over the place here and saw it choking out all challengers at a friend’s place in the Rio Grande valley as well. It is edible to livestock in its early stages, but once it sets those pokey seedheads, everything avoids it.

Pig weed, Amaranthus sp.

In 2010, the winner of the sprouting contest was primrose and from a distance, it looked like we had toilet paper squares littering our pasture! Note that 2010 was one of the wetter years.  Primrose beats pigweed on all counts.

The higher precipitation in 2017 has brought out nodding onion and a small gilia that I haven’t seen in awhile.

And best of all, the spadefoot toads, that also lie dormant deep in the soil until wet enough rains down, are singing at night!