A night down near 20 degrees has left The Stockpond half frozen over, and it’s not out of the 30s yet when the irrigation nozzles need to be cleared of debris; they give my face a soaking in a cold, cold wind.
Shaggy Miner fungus, acting and looking so like their namesake as their tall heads pop up suddenly from below ground, are hard to take seriously as the desert inhabitants they are. Coming up in Winter the way they do makes them all the more unlikely.
The day breathes with just enough warmth to stir creatures six-legged and eight-legged: a black jumping spider springs from the mesquite to the handle of the shovel I’m using to remove ever more mesquite trees, and still the Polka Dot Beetles are a-flight. Removing the bermudagrass mounds from the bases of the little trees I dig out reveals that the grass is already putting out little green points of growth, there under the deep and warming quilt of old blades. Burroweeds are also sprouting fresh greenery (at their bases at least) and a Bronze Dragonfly is at The Stockpond–this species is apparently the only one that is active right through the Winter, though a week or two can go by without any of them venturing out. Just on either side of 11:00 am the warmth is sweet and the air moves in zephyrs, not in cold slaps as it had earlier.
At day’s end, the tiniest grasshoppers I’ve ever seen (and I mean minute, I can scarcely believe they’re real but sproing they do, so real they must be …) line up on the top of an irrigator’s hose that I must empty of water if it isn’t to freeze solidly in the deep cold of the night coming on.