OrganicValley726x88
Loading...
You are here:  Home  >  The Scoop  >  Current Article

If you’re going to bloom where you’re planted, you have to adapt

By   /  September 22, 2014  /  2 Comments

    Print       Email
One of the many  lizards living with us.

One of the many lizards living with us.

Last night the cat tried to bring me a present.  It was something wiggling around on the doormat and when I took a closer look I realized it was a lizard’s tail.  I knew that lizards could lose their tails so they could get away from predators, but I hadn’t realized until just then that the tail keeps on wiggling long after the lizard has left it behind.  “What a useful evolutionary response!” I thought.  “It keeps the cat’s attention while the lizard gets away!  I never would have known that if we hadn’t moved to Arizona.”

See the little arms beginning to form on this 7 foot tall saguaro cactus in our front yard?  That means it is probably about 70 years old.  I probably won't live long enough to see it in its full glory!

See the little arms beginning to form on this 7 foot tall saguaro cactus in our front yard? That means it is probably about 70 years old. I probably won’t live long enough to see it in its full glory!

This morning I learned another great lesson, or maybe group of lessons.  As I walked across the living room I stepped on something moist.  When I pulled it off my foot, I found the rest of last night’s lizard.  Ewww!  I guess I should have trusted my cat when she tried to tell me that the lizard was still out there, and I probably should have checked her mouth when she came in. I’ve watched her catch lizards since we’ve gotten here, and they are just the right size to fit in her mouth with the tail hanging out.  Since this one had no tail….well, it fit perfectly!

The lizards are just one of hundreds of interesting creatures and plants that have evolved to survive and thrive in the sandy soil and arid climate here.  While my neighbors have told me that I’ll need to import soil or heavily amend it to grow common vegetables, the giant saguaros have adapted to take their time and use what they’ve got to grow to as much as 25 feet tall in about 100 years. The night blooming cactus in my backyard and the bats support each other, one providing food and the other pollination, and the barrel cactuses store up the monsoon rains to grow big and round.

You have to get up early to get a look at this night blooming cactus.  The blossoms are about the size of an woman's hand.

You have to get up early to get a look at this night blooming cactus. The blossoms are about the size of an woman’s hand.

This place might never be a garden of Eden in the way we imagine that place.  The soil and the climate just don’t offer that potential.  But evidence of irrigation and agriculture by prehistoric people and Native Americans, and even the ranchers who have learned to live with what the landscape has to offer, all show that when we adapt to a place’s potential, we can be successful.

Every place is its own garden of Eden if you understand its potential….and adapt.

One of the barrel cacti in our yard this summer.

One of the barrel cacti in our yard this summer.

 

    Print       Email
  • Published: 2 years ago on September 22, 2014
  • By:
  • Last Modified: September 15, 2014 @ 1:13 pm
  • Filed Under: The Scoop

About the author

editor and contributor

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.

2 Comments

  1. Chip Hines says:

    Kathy, I’m going out on a limb (pun unintended) and say you do not need to import top soil. Do you remember the Dan Dagget videos on growing grass on mine tailings? There was absolutely no organic matter in the ground up rocks which came from deep underground. All they did was add hay to the slopes, put in cattle to eat and tromp the hay in. The organic material from the hay, manure and urine was enough to grow grass. All your soil needs is organic matter. You will have to manually incorporate it into the soil, unless you can find a real gentle cow. I also would recommend reading the, “One Straw Revolution”, which is a must whether you farm a thousand acres or a ten foot garden space.

    • Kathy Voth says:

      🙂 Love it, Chip! I was just talking today to a guy who raised miniature dairy cows. So I’m thinking that I can sneak one of those into my backyard (in the middle of Tucson) and then get her to tromp around a bit. It will be a great addition to the neighborhood! 🙂

OrganicValley726x88

You might also like...

santa-reading

The Gift That Keeps on Giving – For the Person Who Has Everything

Read More →