We had a neighbor call us… she heard an injured dog, or perhaps a coyote that had been yelping near her house… being afraid a dog was caught in a fence-line or injured by the troublesome coyotes, she called us and asked me to go take a look….
First I had to go through the woods between our houses…. you can see this game path has not had much traffic in recent months. With the rains, the animals have gone higher into the hills for the lusher grasses on the slopes. In the summertime they stay more under the cover of the trees where the water may still run, and there are green plants to eat. In the summertime the slopes are dry and barren.
You can go over or under the log… depending on your size.
Further on I came to a game trail.. this one has more activity… there is a spring near here….
I had to make a detour off the path to avoid a large patch of poison oak that the path wove through. Even though the virulence of the plant is diminished in the winter due to rains washing the oil off the bare branches, I usually try to avoid it.
Here we see the water flowing over the shale rocks.. this photo does not show the scale… the six foot drop this water is taking…
These are some local and native wild succulents. They are growing out from the Miocene-age shale deposits. This was the floor of an ocean long ago. But the rock strata of another continental plate slid under ours, and lifted this one high above the sea… some of our neighbors will find seashell fossils in their rocks. I’ve gotten some indications.. but nothing really nice.
A lot of plants like to have a ‘nurse-plant’ growing to their south while young. In our arid and dry environment this can mean the difference between dying from the sun and heat as a baby plant, or squeaking by in the partial shade of a larger plant that will give enough shade to keep the frying summer sun off you. By the time the baby plant is well established and better able to survive, the nurse plant will be getting thin, and eventually dying… this will help furnish a natural mulch around the ‘baby’ plant. Timing and location are critical in nature. Off by a heartbeat, or a foot can mean the difference between life and death.