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Deluge delight

Updated: Aug 24


Those meteorologists weren’t wrong. The most significant monsoon rains of the season deluged us this weekend just past.

In the first twenty four hours my rain gauge showed a little over 1.5 inches. Total for the weekend was probably around 2.3 inches or so. For perspective: annual average for my town is usually given as around 10 inches, but we have probably failed to achieve that for at least the past 5 years.

In the garden, some of the very tall sunflowers were pounded awry by the weight of water pouring down on them. They are mostly done with blooming. I just keep them in the garden as living bird feeders for the seed eaters.

Of course all the water tanks are overflowing, gutters and rain chains doing their jobs. The view from the front porch was briefly tropical rainforest, without leeches(thankfully).

Just before the rain, the front pathway aloes and succulents migrated to the front porch so they would not get too much water or have their (expensive) special cactus medium end up somewhere down the crazy river.

In the process I discovered that someone (likely with a beak) has been vandalizing the Echeveria 'Black Prince’. Grrr. Two days ago it was near perfect. I had been intending to show it at a cactus and succulent meeting in Santa Fe next month. The prince will now be staying home. I’m thinking this is birds expressing their feelings about the end of this years grape feasting. Oh well, poor little prince.

On Saturday emergency services were asking us to stay off the roads, as much as possible, posting images of drowned cattle and horses to illustrate the dangers of floodwaters. Storm water management, like much of the infrastructure, is interesting in this little town. Chinese curse ‘interesting’ that is.

I could have paddled the length of historic hotsprings district in my kayak.

I am not outfitted for whitewater so I mostly stayed home, tending buckets and bowls under the roof leaks, then ventured out Sunday with wheels, to explore a little.

First trip was south a bit, to Palomas Canyon where Janis truck and I found Animas Creek doing a good strong brown god* act: swollen and flowing fiercely, taking up lots more space than last we had seen it. Fortunately, while it had blocked property entrances along the creek, it didn’t seemed to have broken banks too seriously.

I had hoped to stock up on local honey but the farm stall I frequent was understandably closed. We did find some rocks, however, to bring home for the ongoing garden project.

Then Janis truck and I went a little north and west then south on NM Highway 52, in the direction of the small, almost ghost towns of Cuchillo and Winston.

This is bullet pocked signpost county and sometimes size (of spur) counts in all the open space sans cell signal or much other traffic.

Datura wrightii (Sacred datura aka Madame Moonflower)was everywhere magnificent alongside the road, flourishing with a myriad other wild flowers in the monsoon season moisture.

I think this little patch of gold might be my first wild encounter of Zinnia grandiflora

Don’t know who this purple lovely is.

Sphaeralcea coccinea aka Scarlet globemallow (below) in full bloom.

At the flooded entrance to Winston, Janis truck and I turned around.

Seeing a vehicle parked across the creek with a boat on top did not encourage crossing, plus the sky was looking kinda loaded and dangerous.

Passing through Cuchillo (population 35) en route back home, I noticed they have unique road signs.

I need to go back when I’m not being chased by a rainstorm, to explore the town, such as it is.

Winston of the poisonous Argemone polyanthemos (Crested prickly poppy aka Cowboy fried egg) guarded entrance still needs exploring too. When the creek is less hostile.


.“…the river is a strong brown god…” TSEliot The Dry Salvages

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