2014: a year in pictures

It’s only recently that I’ve gotten back to posting, and there’s close to a year’s worth of stuff that might have been blog-worthy.

Here’s a short, redacted list of 2014 highlights:

All Year

Some humanoid raccoon tracks from what I'm calling "The year of the Raccoon": I've groused on these pages about gophers killing many plants in the garden. This year, the raccoons moved in. Raccoons eat many things: precious koi out of the fishpond, grubs, fruits, veggies...and, apparently, YOUNG GOPHERS. So far, I'm liking the raccoons a little better, at least in that they don't eat the roots of the young plants I'm trying to establish.
Some humanoid raccoon tracks from what I’m calling “The year of the Raccoon”: I've groused on these pages about gophers killing many plants in the garden. This year, the raccoons moved in. Raccoons eat many things: precious koi out of the fishpond, grubs, fruits, veggies…and, apparently, YOUNG GOPHERS. So far, I'm liking the raccoons a little better, at least in that they don't eat the roots of the young plants I'm trying to establish. And I haven’t seen nearly as many gophers.

February
Atlanta Botanical Garden. Oops. Sorry. No photos. Someone let the camera battery get drained… Imagine, though, snow on the ground, an outdoor elevated walkway winding its way gracefully through the trees beneath what in summer would be a cooling canopy, several terrific interior conservatory spaces filled with fragrant orchids. Not a huge garden, but worth the visit.

June
The Southwest

Monument Valley: the grand view from the parking lot
Monument Valley: the grand view from the parking lot

Composite panorama of the Goosenecks of the San Juan River
Composite panorama of the Goosenecks of the San Juan River. Honest. The river does this. No Photoshop beyond merging the photos into one.
Afternoon at Muley Point
Afternoon at Muley Point
Another view at Muley Point, one of my favorite places on earth. Sunrise the next morning was spectacular
Another view at Muley Point, one of my favorite places on earth. Notice how the bottoms of the clouds are pink, reflecting the red color of the earth below. Sunrise the next morning was spectacular, as you might guess.
Horsecollar Ruin, Natural Bridges National Monument
Horsecollar Ruin, Natural Bridges National Monument

October
A creature waaay more scary than a racoon or gopher…

Halloween: "The Truth about Hello Kitty"
Halloween: “The Truth about Hello Kitty”

November
The drought continues. Even with some supplemental watering we lost a fair number of plants. This pile of brownery is what was left of the South African protea hybrid, Pink Ice. We had it for over twenty years–pretty good for a plant that’s considered difficult to cultivate. The loss of exotic plants in the garden is an opportunity at the same time: There’s now more space to plug in some more California natives. Already in the protea’s place are a Ceanothus Ray Hartman and a bush poppy.

The dry remains of protea Pink Ice, ready for their final trip to the landfill
The dry remains of protea Pink Ice, ready for their final trip to the landfill

December
The rain, the rain… Almost five inches of it fell in one month, compared to a total 3.27 inches in the eleven months from January to November. Nobody’s calling the drought ended, but months like this are a great down-payment towards a season of more normal rainfall. Here’s wishing for more rain, and for a great 2015, for the garden, and all of you!

10 thoughts on “2014: a year in pictures”

  1. Gophers are our nemeses. If what you say is true, we will adopt a whole new attitude toward raccoons…even perhaps adopt a few more of those cute little bandits.
    Happy New Year!

    1. I guess I should feel goo that I kept this protea alive for so long. At the time there were only a couple hybrids to pick from and no species. The web was a young thing at the point I planted it…

  2. “I read it on the web so it must be true…” Or maybe it’s wishful thinking.

    “Never believe things you read on the internet”
    -Benjamin Franklin

    I’m looking forward to your future posts, James.

    1. Brent, the quote from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife page on raccoons has the statement: “Although not great hunters, raccoons can catch young gophers, squirrels, mice, and rats.” Maybe it was authored by Ben Franklin? Anyway, good seeing you back here!

  3. James, This may be the first positive comments I’ve ever encountered about raccoons in the garden. More typical is Michael Pollan’s account in Second Nature, which includes this: “Compared to the cat burglaries of the deer and woodchucks, this looked like the work of the Manson gang.”
    Your Hello Kitty photo is hilarious.
    Glad to know you are experiencing the much-needed rain more as a gift than as too much of a good thing.
    Happy New Year!

    1. Each critter seems to have its cycles through the garden. First it was the decade of the skunk–really not so bad once you work out a truce. Then gophers–ick ick ick. And now raccoons. If I had to pick…skunks, maybe?

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