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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Western Books, Boots, Blooms

"New" to me
You see above books purchased on a single day here in the Southwest. Not that I go this wild every day, mind you. Occasionally I come home without any additions to my ghost town library. On this particular day, except for the books of poetry, an old Nancy Drew, and an Alexander McCall Smith novel, Western themes predominate, as is often the case here. You can see books of memoirs, essays, horses in fiction and nonfiction, and a novel by Edward Abbey. That’s because reading, like walking and driving and eating regional food, is part of how I immerse myself in my surroundings, wherever I am. 

Freely (albeit sadly) admitting to anyone who asks that I have never had a horse of my own (the tragedy of it!), I can’t help looking at boots, either, and the other day Fate put a pair directly in my path, saying, “Take these home!” Definitely riding boots, don’t you think? It happens that they are more comfortable for walking than my other Western pair, the fancier boots probably intended for dancing, and either pair will do for public and social events, don’t you think?

The Artist says I am becoming a “modern person,” basing this on a paucity of evidence, one bit being that I recently downloaded a free plant identification app for my android phone. It hasn’t made me a part of the educational community using the app, since I don’t recall signing up for a password when I downloaded (and if I did, don’t remember what it was), so I cannot submit my findings to have them included in the database, and the whole thing doesn’t work as instantly as you might expect, either. It isn’t as if I click a photo and get an immediate and definite identification. For one elusive little specimen, I scrolled through many rows of suggested possibilities, finally referred to one of my print wildflower field guides, and then took what I had gleaned from those two sources to the Internet to find at last the undistinguished and easily overlooked little blossoms at my feet — a lengthy bit of detective work that allowed me at last to give a name to Phacelia arizonica. Now where did that photo go?

Linaria purpurea (common toadflax - above) was much easier. Quite honestly, though, you could be trampling all over these little flowers with your cowboy boots and never notice them, unless there are a couple thousand plants crowded together. You really have to care. Single specimens do not stand out in the larger landscape.

Up at 5:30 a.m. to meet a neighbor at 6:45 for a hike up to old mining ruins, I was ready to hit the hay early on Friday evening, falling asleep over my book while the Artist watched something on television. On Saturday evening, at the end of another day in the mountains we both sat down with books after supper. I wonder if you can guess which of the pictured books at the top of this post entertained me for two evenings in a row? You might be surprised.


Dawn said...

This all sounds so wonderful.

I have often (OK, maybe 3 times) taken a picture of some plant on my travels and posted it to FB to ask my plant friends what it might be. Every single time I do this someone tells me I should download the plant identification app. But I have never successfully downloaded anything that hasn't messed up my phone. And now that I know it's not instant I am even less likely to do that. Because I almost always get an instant answer from a multitude of FB friends and one of those is usually correct! :) Much more fun and efficient.

Dawn said...

PS: Love both pairs of boots.

P. J. Grath said...

Dawn, your comments on apps made me laugh. In general, I am not at all eager to get into them. I think the plant i.d. thing is only the second I've downloaded -- and apparently I am not plugged into the community, so I must not have taken all the steps. That's okay, though. I still like hunting through books and playing detective. I have some new photos of some of the tiniest flowers I've ever found, so those are coming sometime soon. Thanks for the compliments on the boots. I love them, too. :)