Tag Archives: filaree


Another round of Blue Oak

from the limb droughts have cured

to fall with a crash in the yard—

after the calves were marked

and friends were fed and gone,

you and I and a bottle of wine

before the fire we cooked upon

waiting for the pillowed clouds

to collect and turn dark gray—

our forecast rain.  Tough filaree

looks like the dirt it’s hanging on,

leaves red and brown and in between—

last chance for feed this spring.

One wonders why we do this

to become the grass we need.


Some come quickly now,
a phrase to trigger more
coiled upon the ground
while others hibernate for days,
for weeks and months,
as if they might be dead
without the touch of rain—
that hard and brittle
mindset to survive
like deep-rooted filaree
with all its colors,
with all its seed
waiting for a kiss.
I know no other way
to pen prosody.





Sunday evening, pickup loads of snow
file down the road to town: snowmen
for Visalia, Exeter, Farmersville front yards

to melt and soak into drought-brown lawns
no one’s mowed in years—a hurried
shortcut from mountains to Valley

upon a crumbling blacktop channel—
water that these oaks and sycamores
see only as lumps of white passing at fifty.

The west and south slopes fill-in
with green, purple patches of frost-bitten
filaree that looked like bare dirt,

softly embrace us now as if we were cattle.
Too wet for work that waits outside,
we slowly release winters of urgency

camped at the door and ease into the
vaguely familiar—reacquaint ourselves
with mud and rain, with one another.


Between Rains


Clear and crisp yesterday afternoon, I took a short walk down the driveway with the big lens towards the Prickly Pear cactus where the Roadrunners are nesting, wanting also to show you how the Filaree has come back in a week’s time after 1.38″ of rain. Growing again, it’s amazing feed! (Click to enlarge the thumbnails below.)

March 25, 2014

March 25, 2014

April 1, 2014

April 1, 2014

The Roadrunners share their Prickly Pear home with about a dozen Cottontail rabbits who delight in waiting until the last moment before moving to avoid a vehicle coming or leaving the house. They’re fairly tame, but it’s a rare Bobcat or Coyote that can catch one.


Back at the house, the pair of Roadrunners were hunting snails in Robbin’s Irises.




A beautiful day for fools, we never left home with plenty to see and do between rains.

Mosaic – Ranch Update 3


Ever-hopeful and in anticipation of tomorrow’s rain, I took a few photos of today’s feed conditions, intending to concentrate on the filaree, having turned red a week or so ago in places, then purple and brown. A miraculous and extremely strong non-native cattle feed, it is the predominant species in dry years. With good moisture, it can come back to life and turn green again. With less than 4” of rain and only about 30 days left in our rainy season that averages about 16” annually, the grasses never really germinated completely, resulting in a mosaic pattern almost everywhere today.




Just through the fence that separates our driveway from the pasture, I wanted a good shot of where the filaree had turned a purplish brown, only to draw one of the Roadrunners nesting in some nearby Prickly Pear cactus, closer.