What a year...
It's unbelievably warm in Arizona so far this winter. As we look back over the past year at the Genius Loci Foundation Preserve we see extremes, even more than the usual wild desert variety. In July, the Sutherland Wash flowed like no one can remember - wider and fuller than ever (in human terms) and strong enough to move channels, impacting all the local's lives here in the valley. As with so many things, one's perception of July's event depends largely on one's point of view. To some it was unacceptable destruction while to others, awe was inspired by the unyielding dynamism of nature, especially the nature at play in our grand Sonoran Desert. For many of us it was both. Kristie speaks of grief at the loss of certain beautiful landscapes completely transformed, large trees pushed over and buried in sand of a new stream bed. So many plants and even boulders washed away or submerged. David is trying to focus on what nature is teaching. With the help of others, we'll make the most of it. With wishes for a beautiful rebirth for everyone and everything in the coming year.
With love and awe from David and Kristie.
Some of our spring visitors.....
Kristie Atwood will be teaching this class on April 8th, 2017, from 10:00am until 4:30pm. Cost is $65.00, all materials included and all proceeds benefiting Genius Loci artist residency program. Contact Kristie at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Caught a few things on the wildlife camera during the storms.
Or a poppy... green things coming up in our new planting area. Hoping to see Indian rice grass, bush muhly, and deer grass in this area this spring.
The holidays hit like a...... well they came and dominated pretty quickly after our bird box workshop, but wanted to post pictures even though the workshop was back on the 12th of November. We had a wonderful time and created a slew of bird roosts for birds over winter, and nesting boxes for spring broods.
Soon to become a Queen Butterfly!
We will be holding a class, all materials included, to make a bird perching box for winter shelter, and a nesting box for song birds to raise their young! When you leave you will have two complete boxes to take home. Cost is $30.00.
A beautiful fast moving storm coming through this evening.
So the end of the monsoon is upon us and we have been blessed with one more storm, just yesterday, to top it off. The landscape is different this year - dryer. Lots of healthy grasses, but turning golden sooner than usual, and no morning glory this year. All the morning glory we have are the dried tendrils from last year and the year before. No Golden beard either. We do have many trees though that were close to falling into the wash, that have made it through the season to grow on. Our rock damns worked beautifully as well as the new dirt placed over exposed roots.
We really enjoyed our 2 day open house for artist Bobby Long! If you are still interested in the work, we still have it so let us know! Thanks for supporting artists and nature.
What a big weekend! Last Friday I, that's Kristie, attended the class on Arroyo and Erosion Control with Watershed Management Group in Tucson. It was amazing. So amazing that I asked if David could come and join us for the hands on portion of the class that was held in and near Sabino Creek on Saturday. Luckily our teacher, Trevor Hare, said yes. The group worked hard and learned a lot on a small arroyo that links to Sabino Creek. We made Media Luna's, Zuni Bowls, One Rock Dams, and learned to read the landscape. My brain is still buzzing! and we are very eager to apply what we learned to the land at Genius Loci. Looks like we'll be getting more rock! Thanks to Trevor and Watershed Management Group for this great learning experience!
Today is our 20th Anniversary! David and I have lived here in the Sutherland Valley for 20 years today. I can so vividly recall the day we moved in with help from David's students and my parents. It was a warm day but the nights were cool. Cool enough that we started our first fire right away and sat in front of it with our friend Tom playing guitar.
So much has happened since then. When we moved here, the two acres we had purchased with our house (fondly called Running Dog Ranch by us) had been almost denuded by the animals that lived here prior. There were horses, chickens, turkey, sheep, hogs, a donkey, and goats. There were also dogs, cats, and gerbils. It's taken time but after 20 years native plants have spread on their own and of course, have been planted. The grama grass has spread every summer until nearly every foot of the two acres grows it. We also bought the 7.5 acres that makes up the restoration area of Genius Loci Foundation. We have so far to go, but we have also come far! Amazing!!!!
On this very warm March 1, day, following a very warm, dry February, I have to wonder, what will the next 20 years bring? Clearly we are already seeing the effects of Global Warming here in the desert, with an El Nino so big it is keeping the rain away. By 2036, what will this place be like? Will our plantings be flourishing? Will wildlife have increased or decreased? What can we do to help? To keep helping? What I do know is that we will keep planting, protecting, encouraging.
Here is to 20 more! And some photos of how far we have come.
HONEY BEES & INSECTICIDES
The Home Depot is deeply engaged in understanding the relationship of the use of certain insecticides on our live goods and the decline in the honey-bee population. We continue to seek scientific facts on the effects of our products on bee health, because we are committed to safeguarding the health of these critical pollinators.
We have been in communication with the EPA, insecticide industry and our suppliers to understand the science and monitor the research. We are encouraged by the improvements in the colony collapse disorder data and support the White House’s Pollinator Health Task Force. We will continue to expand our customer education on pollinator friendly gardens.
Our live goods suppliers have reduced the number of plants that they treat with neonicotinoids, so that now over 80% of our flowering plants are not treated with neonicotinoids. We will continue this decrease unless,
1) it is required by state or federal regulation, or
2) undisputed science proves that the use of neonicotinoids on our live goods does not have a lethal or sub lethal effect on pollinators. Otherwise we will have a complete phase-out of neonicotinoid use on our live goods by the end of 2018.
We’re glad to provide customers with alternative products for their insecticide needs and carry many of those alternatives in our stores and on-line.
View a List of Related Insecticides
We require all of our live good suppliers to label plants that they have treated with neonicotinoids.
We welcome your feedback, so if you’d like to let us know what you think, write to us at Eco_OptionsUSA@HomeDepot.com.
Consider thanking the Home Depot. I did! This is a very important step.
Western Blind Snake and Night Snake.
Thanks to Cita Scott for these great pics at the friend raiser breakfast.