Outside of Tucson is a place to see critters and plants of the desert up close. Much like the little kitty above, you can see what lives here. The place is spread out over 98 acres. It’s in a very hot place in the summer (I visited at 105 degrees). It’s a full day to see it all.
They have an aquarium, a reptile & amphibians building, an art gallery, a cave with mineral gallery, two aviaries (one for hummingbirds), a dozen animal enclosures (like above Mountain Lion), cactus gardens, stingray touch pool, and 2 gift shops. Several hourly docent displays are spread out during the day. These include snake touching. Life cycles of the Saguaro cactus. Life in the rivers and streams in Arizona. And they change daily. Well versed people are waiting to explain how the desert works.
The landscape has been planted 55 years ago to represent as much of the Sonora desert that would predate human interference. While not all of these would grow here, they all live in the Sonora desert that covers from the Baja peninsula to New Mexico. Butterfly gardens include non native plants but the butterflies are wild feeding here.
The animals are here by assignment. The Mountain Lion was orphaned. The pair of Mexican grey wolves are a retired breeding pair that was used to restore native range. The Black bear was raised by humans. They live in nice sized enclosures with AC and shade. The 19 stingrays enjoy a covered pool and for $3 you can touch them ($3 more you can feed them shrimp).
I grew near a river that once burned a dozen times. I have seen orange horizons hours from sunrise or sunset. Places in woods and desert where trials were filed with debris. We have only one place to live for now. What view should the next generations have?
If they distract you with eliminating healthcare, what are they thinking? The energy sector is huge in the new administration’s cabinet. Guess why? Click below its easier
In my distant past, I may have posted once or twice about GMO foods. I really try to avoid them. There is no research that says they are different under the microscope or to the naked eye.
It’s the concept to why they are modified. The excuse is a moving target sometimes. At first it was to ward off pests, by the plant producing it’s own defenses. The Monarch Butterfly would thank them but it can’t where Bt corn is grown.
Then it was to reduce the competition from weeds and the extra time it takes Mega farms to cultivate fields. Now we spray a protein binding general herbicide. The protein can be animal or vegetable and changes under the right conditions (digestion possibly).
But what… we use the same herbicide to dry grains to quicken the time between harvest and sale!
Let’s forget they interbreed with ‘normal’ varieties altering them to carry the modified genetic materials. Don’t worry the production is reduced in the real world. So why do we do this…..?
I digress. According to Center for Food Safety, 92% of US corn has genetically-engineered origin, 94% soybeans and cotton are as well. Cottonseed oil is a cheap oil used in mass produced food. Transgenic wheat is a mystery. It doesn’t exist but traces are found in our food. Rice is 60 to 70% modified in our foods. Most of these many represent the grains as mixed as an ingredient not always whole grain.
I actually look at boxes. Most people want to tell you what’s in there stuff. The largest food corporations in the US fought mandatory labelling. Imagine finding it your Coke is GMO! (High fructose corn syrup, yep)
But here’s where I started off. My Fancy Uncle Ben’s Rice …. GMO. Regular Uncle Ben’s rice is not! You can’t just assume everything is the same. Those tiny words at the bottom of the side, watching below nutritional data, ingredients, is partially produced with genetic engineering
Most famous post ever is here about GMO potato chips
Genetically Engineered Chips?! – http://wp.me/p5WPVY-1re
In an effort to make sure you don’t know what’s in your food, the FDA has decided not to test food for Roundup’s active ingredient. But what it gets better…
The end of my best guesses at what iis growing as a tree or shrub. There have been 53 so far. I keep forgetting some shrubs are tender vegetation and get carried inside. Which means pot bound. Some take forever to bloom or show fruit.
Rose of Sharon, a glorious weed by any other name surely would not smell as sweet. Ok, that maybe a bit harsh. I hated these things when I had a small yard. You have a thousand seedlings every year it seems. They with take over easily. But they can be kept as a hedge. They will bloom continuously from July til frost. Every year I cut them back to about two feet tall and they come back really thick. Left alone they could reach about 6-7 feet tall. They are a favorite of Japanese Beetles, and may require spaying.
Hibiscus are a tropical breed. Hardy ones do exist and require luck this far North. We have ones that go in for the winter. These are braided as “trees”. They need feed well to stay pretty. If you let them go dry, It takes awhile to talk them back to blooming. Once they start they will bloom most of the summer.
The Bay Tree is a Mediterranean staple. Here it’s a basement plant and acts like it will melt in the Sunshine for the first month its back outside. This is about four weeks later. The leaves are usable for seasoning. Even can be dried and sprinkled around the counter/floor to repeal ants. This can get seven feet tall and if you leave side branches it’ll look a lot better. It’ll look much better in another month!
Another Florida native, Lantana is at home in sand and loose soils. But with enough water, it’ll grow in hard soil. In nature they are 3-4 feet tall, in a pot or the ground 2-3 feet is big. This is another spend winter inside plant. The blooms have multiple colors on most. Combinations can be red, orange, & yellow, or pink, purple, & cream. Even solid white or yellow are common. It’s a nice compact shrub. If you take care of it, all summer it blooms.
The Sargeant Crabapple is another Arbor Day tree. It had a decent growth rate. There are male and female trees. The females bear fruit. Not edible type for people though. The tall one is almost ten feet tall, the shorter one six feet. The foliage is dense enough for a nest or two. They prefer soil with drainage but can stand wet soil for part of the year. Just make sure it’s in the Sun.