At least that's how it is for me. This is just plain old cactus until you look closely at the brightly colored reddish brown spines. These babies produce the best deterrent to critters there is, in an effort to stay alive and flourish. Can you imagine walking across the desert behind the wagon in your long dress and sun hat trying to keep from getting snagged?
It's the time of year when cactus begins to produce flowers and fruit, like the yellow piece hanging from this one. There are so many varieties of cactus I can't count them all. I think this may be a relative to the cholla, the one that jumps out and impales you as you walk by. Never EVER try to touch any of these babies without gloves.
Why you might ask (beyond the obvious)? Because you'll be trying to remove the tiniest tiny pieces of spine from your fingertips, like I've been doing for the past week.
Even the wild grass is pretty as it blows in the breeze. You can sure tell the difference between the blue light of shade and the yellow setting sun.
I'm always looking for critters. Although I've found my share, I've never seen what makes these trails and tunnels across the desert floor. I imagine it's my nemesis the pack rat and maybe squirrels.
Much larger, this one appears to be "bunny" related. Most of the holes are at the base of cactus plants, making for a natural defense against coyotes who roam at night. Although I've heard them a night or two, I haven't seen any yet.
Look VERY closely and you'll see some beauties like this. A very nondescript cactus with beautiful tiny red berries up and down the limbs.
I took this image as a warning to aspiring photographers everywhere. WATCH YOUR BACK! When you kneel down to get that perfect cholla cactus picture with the sun directly behind it, watch where your butt is going. Mine sat right down on these spines, which just happen to be like steel knives. OUCH!!!!
There's lots of prickly pear cactus, the one you see in people's yards full of round fruit at the tips of the pads. It's supposed to be very healthy for you. I tried some juice once ... and only once. I instantly felt a lump in my throat which lasted for three days until I finally took a benadryl. It appears I'm allergic. There won't be any prickly pear jelly in my kitchen after all!!
As the sun set, the sky turned red and orange, but not like the spectacular sunsets you see in Quartzsite where the clouds get stuck on the mountain tops.
Still, it was a beautiful sunset as I watched the last bit fall below the horizon and I'm happy to say my butt survived the swords.
I also got a nice surprise when I checked my bank account. Medicare has been nicking me terribly from the sale of the old ranch house. My $135 health care bill went up to a whopping $450 a month last year, taking a really big bite out of my household budget. That's $5,400 for ONE year. Rather maddening when I think I went to the doctor once and my entire year's bill came to $250.
They basically said all of the sale amount was income, although I never saw even half of that, so they surcharged me for the last two years. Finally that has dropped off and my charge is down to $165 a month. Wait ... what happened to $135? At any rate, it was a nice raise in my salary. I can again afford food!! YAY!!!