Flora and fauna we did and didn’t see

First, happily what we did not see: scorpions or Grand Canyon rattlesnakes. These sort of creatures are one of the reasons I can’t sleep “hard”, under the stars in only my sleeping bag.  I need the false security of my flimsy nylon tent zipped up around me. We also missed a 12 point mule deer buck, which apparently wandered through our campsite one night while we were still awake. Ah well.

We did see one when we hiked out.

Mule deer, Hermit Trail

This mule deer wasn’t so lucky but check out the beautiful sutures in its skull.

On our way down the South Kaibab trail, Tim spotted this tarantula; harmless but not so cute.

Tarantula South Kaibab

One day as I was seeing double, this rock looked like a stern man to me. Stern as in not happy, not a lobsterman’s crew.

We saw interesting lichen on our hike out. Anything to pause and take a photo.

We picked up a few cactus spines along the way and were thankful for our long pants. A few were in bloom and sometimes along the trail we would see the most delicate and colorful flowers.

I realize now, we saw yucca plants in many forms. Their roots are cassava and have lots of carbs and anti-inflammatory properties. That would have been good to know.

We saw these tadpoles in our drinking water. What were they doing there? The backstroke!  Hehe. Never fear, our industrial strength water filter got rid of whatever they may have deposited and the water tasted much better than the Phoenix city water.

Cottonwoods at the Indian Garden oasis

And this is what we saw when we returned home. Our Christmas Cactus in full bloom and our adorable feline, Elli… and ten inches of snow on the ground. But that’s another story.

Garden’s bounty

My garden was moderately bountiful but it didn’t produce anything as large as this Hubbard squash.

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This is a new food to me but is known by most people in the North Country. It’s a winter squash and reportedly very sweet. I’ll find out once I am able to wrestle it into the oven. My friend cut her’s with a band saw. I’m left with merely a bread knife.

My garden did grow a bunch of carrots and I harvested them and the lettuce and mustard greens. I left the last arugula crop in place because it looked so happy where it was.

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My lichens fermented for over a month and I tried to dye a wool/alpaca blend with them. For naught. I got slightly beige.

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But my pandas are playful and a success.

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