Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Mogollon Rim Wildlife

Osprey, looking at me:

Antelope squirrel, looking at me:

Elk, looking at me:

Photos all taken in summer, in the Rim Lakes area (Willow Springs Lake and Woods Canyon Lake)

Friday, October 21, 2022

Around the World in 80 Plants, by Jonathan Drori

I really enjoyed Around the World in 80 Plants.  I like books structured like this, where each item (plants, in this case) gets a short but interesting treatment, one you can read in just a couple of minutes.  I also like how it was structured as a trip around the world.  Very engaging. 

It was slightly disappointing (and culturally/politically/ecologically/economically enlightening) that so many of the plants featured for a certain country or area were actually invasive species or not-terribly- invasive transplants from other places.

Each section had a good mix of physical description, botanical oddities, and cultural significance.

The writing was good. 

The illustrations were beautiful, but often I found myself wishing for photographs of the most interesting and unfamiliar plants. 

Overall, a great book, recommended for an interested layperson. 

Warning:  the print in the hardback version is quite small. 

Rating: 4.5 stars

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

My Jasper June, by Laurel Snyder

This was a beautiful book—often sad but also hopeful, sometimes profound.  I loved the characters, the writing, the plot.

Some scenes were drawn out just a tad too long, and I think some young readers might think it slow in those parts, but I really enjoyed it.

[SPOILER ALERT]  I’m not sure how realistic the ending was, and the honest part of me almost wished it had gone a little more with the hard realities of these situations, but the optimistic part of me loved the ending. [END SPOILER]

I will read more by Laurel Snyder. 

4.5 star

Thursday, October 6, 2022

The Darkness Outside Us, by Eliot Schrefer

I really enjoyed The Darkness Outside Us.

Minor issues out of the way first:

At times the romance felt a little forced (or maybe just hormonal teenagery), like “We’re in this major emergency, but…you know…I just want to kiss him,” and not in a “Our whole lives are an emergency, might as well enjoy our last moments” way, but more like a “We need to hurry and get this air lock open or we’ll miss harvesting that asteroid and might run out of oxygen in a few weeks, but let me pause to admire his lips” sort of way.  Just a minor thing that won’t bother many readers.

I also found several instances of what seemed to me to be plot holes or characters acting out of character…but they didn’t seriously affect my enjoyment.   

Minor issues over.

I LOVED the premise.  I LOVED the gray AI.  I LOVED the structure and tension and twists of the second half, and I kept wondering how on earth these characters were going to fix the situation.  Really well done.  The writing was good.  I liked the characters.

I would definitely read more by Eliot Schrefer.

A strong 4.5 stars. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Wild Horses on the Mogollon Rim

 Okay, so these aren't really "wild horses."  My dad calls them "feral free-ranging domestic livestock."  Most were domestic horses at one time that were dumped by people who couldn't take care of them, escaped on their own, or were set free during forest fires because the owners didn't have time/resources to move them out of danger but didn't want to keep them trapped in case the fire came.  Now many are the descendants of those once-domestic horses.  All they've known is freedom.

There's a lot of controversy over them.  Are they pests causing problems for ranchers and native wildlife?  Should there even BE ranchers on public lands?  Do the horses need to be culled or captured and taken to refuges? If so, how can we do this most humanely?  Or are they now part of the local ecosystem and need to be protected like any other wildlife? 

Mostly what I know is that they're beautiful and a treat to see.  

These three later wandered into our campsite, bold as anything, and we got to watch them for a long time while we ate.  Mogollon Rim Dinner Theatre.


Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Escape to the High Country

 A couple of weeks ago I escaped the heat and want to the Mogollon Rim.  It was great (though very muddy after all this fantastic rain we've been having).

Day one:

Under the Rim, by the Horton Creek trailhead:

Rather large mushrooms:

Another fantastic dragonfly (see my post a few days ago with the flame skimmer).  I think this is a twelve-spotted skimmer:

Dramatic clouds at our dispersed camping campsite:

Rain off the Rim at sunset: