This past week Chris and I packed the camper and the dog and headed to southern Utah for a few days. We try to go there each November, in part to gather some native seed to use in our production here at the farm, and in part to have a mini camping holiday after the seed crops are all harvested.
This year the seed crops are going very late, in part due to the extra warm fall we’re having, and we haven’t finished harvesting them yet, so we left poor Lizz behind to take care of the farm, pick the seed crops, and watch after the cats and fill the birdfeeders. As always, she did a wonderful job of being the caretaker and we came home to all in order and looking great!
We thought we were going to get a frost last night, as we still have not had a frost yet here, but no luck. It did drop to 32 degrees, but there was no evidence of any frost or plants getting frosted. We are ready for a frost now, so that the seed crops will finish ripening and we can get them harvested and shipped to Germany soon. It’s time for this year’s farm season to come to a close and we’re ready, if the seed crops would just get finished!
Anyway, let me share a few pictures of our trip.
These are fossilized dinosaur tracks of a three-toed beast. They were right at the beginning of Butler Wash where our Utah trip focused this year.
We were able to pick small amounts of seed for some native plants that we really want to grow. This is a tall Castillegia that is amazing and quite beautiful. We’ve seen it in years past and last year we got a bit of seed and had some germinate. I have a plant settled in the White Rabbit Garden and I’m hoping it will survive our winter nicely and thrive next summer and provide us with a good amount of seed grown on the farm. In the meantime, we did pick a teaspoonful of seed from these wild plants so that we can attempt another round of germination this winter, while were waiting for the plant in the garden to mature.
That is always our objective with the wild seed we gather, is that if we can get a few plants to germinate and then establish them here on the farm, we will have a homegrown source of the seed going forward.
This is a horrible photo of a sweet little annual. The breeze was making it impossible for me to get a clear picture, but even with this bad one, you can sort of see how sweet this plant is. We don’t yet know what it is, but we will key it out botanically soon. We decided it looked like the heads of little birds. It was pale purple in color and there was a LOT of it around. It’s annual, so we didn’t harvest any seed for it, but it sure is a cutie.
We did get a bit of seed of Service Berry, single leaf ash, some penstemons, a wonderful little slickrock-loving yucca and a few other things. It was a successful seed harvesting trip.
These ruins are called the Butler Wash ruins and they are easily accessible near the highway. We normally hike up canyons to see the ruins and pictographs, but we’ve never stopped to see these ruins before, so we drove into the parking lot and made the short walk to the overlook to see them before we started our journey down Butler Wash road in earnest.
Then we hiked up short canyons each day to see what other kinds of amazing things we would find. Most of the canyons are short and take between 45 minutes and 4 hours to hike, so we were able to do about 3 of these canyons each day without feeling rushed.
The canyons have the most incredible plant communities and we really love that. They are also filled with Anasazi ruins and rock art.
This was a ruin near Wolfman Panel, a really nice panel of pictographs.
Near one cliff overhang, filled with ruins, I also saw these swallow mud nests. Beautiful!
The ruins below are called Monarch ruins and indeed, we did see some monarch butterflies in that canyon.
Shrek discovered little lizards are interesting and fun to chase over the slickrock. They are way too fast for him to even get remotely close to them, so they were not in any danger of being caught. After he noticed the first lizards, he started being watchful for them whenever there would be an area of slickrock. They are really amazing to watch, and orange in color, the same as the much of the canyon rock colors.
This rock art was also at Monarch Ruins. As we understand it, if it is a painted piece of rock art it is called a petrocliff. If it is pecked into the stone, it is referred to as a pictograph. At least I think I have that correct. They’re all amazing ir-regardless of painted or pecked.
This is our home on wheels for these trips. It’s not too pretty and has a few warts. The heater works sometimes and sometimes not, but it is dry and pretty comfortable and the price was right…cheap. We’ve decided that we’d rather not sleep in a tent in November when it can be below freezing at night and may snow or rain at any time, plus this has a stove and I can make my tea with little effort. Life is good.