August in the desert

August in the desert is not the most pleasant of months. We had a visiting dignitary at work earlier this week, and in the introduction, my boss said, “And it’s a true sign of her dedication that she’s come down here to see us in August.” But on a different day last week, I walked out of work to see these clouds:

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It was still fairly muggy, but the temperature had dropped below 90 degrees for the first time in yonks, and I’d been cooped up inside for days, so I went for a walk.

It’s interesting to see little bits of greenery pop up wherever water can collect:

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I also really liked how these trees looked like an elderly lady’s crossed knees.IMG_0987

It seems that the acacia trees are over for the summer, and have been for a while, but you still seem to find tiny yellow flowers scattered in nooks and crevices.IMG_1004

The prickly pear have all fruited, and the tunas (as they’re called in Spanish) are this amazing burnished burgundy, to which my iPhone doesn’t really do justice. I’ve seen people harvesting the fruits recently, too – people make a lovely jelly from them. (You can also eat the pads of the cactus, or nopales, although the one below looks a little unappetizing. I ate prickly pear fries in the northern part of the state around New Year’s, and they were tasty, mildly sweet and a little juicy.)IMG_1035

You have to respect people who are willing to brave the spines, tiny and big, to make food from the prickly pear. Sometimes it feels like everything in the desert that might hold a little moisture is guarded by spikes, to keep away thirsty marauders.

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The clouds never turned into anything more threatening – by the end of my walk, the sun had come out, turning all the wildflowers-gone-to-seed and grasses into gold.
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5 thoughts on “August in the desert

  1. Beautiful photos! I loved seeing the prickly pears. When I was pregnant, my husband offered to make me a prickly pear ginger ale (instead of his usual brews). We, being the ignorant east coasters that we are, thought to look among the pears for a prickly pear. Unable to find the main ingredient, we left the grocery store with bartlett pears. It was later that summer we finally learned that a prickly pear grows on a cactus… I can’t wait to try the recipe for real.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I would have totally looked in the pears as well – but I bet prickly pear ginger ale would be tasty, it makes a mild but interesting jelly.

      Like

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