Friday, February 24, 2012

Desert erratum

I've been calling this:


a "brittlebush." It is not, but you already knew that. It's a creosote bush, and it smells great after it rains (it rains here). After it rained, I told Annie it smells like Tuzigoot which is not a euphemism, but is actually an Anasazi ruin that we visited in the rain three years ago when we were falling in love with Arizona.  I don't know why Tuzigoot smelled like that because creosote bushes don't grow there.  The story is better if you don't know that.

Bees love creosote blossoms (bee not shown)

These are brittlebush flowers.  Both yellow. You understand my confusion.
Desert tortoises use creosote scrub for doing stuff.  Living and mating, I guess.  Laying eggs.  Playing XBox.  They don't like teenage mutant ninja jokes, so save those to laugh about on your own time.  A tortoise can hold a LOT of urine in its bladder and will reabsorb water from it as necessary.  You are my hero, Tortoise!

He will also pee on you if you pick him up or scare him.  That might just seem like a minor social gaffe to snicker at behind his shell, but it means he has dropped his water reserve.  So, if you accidentally scare a tortoise (or "accidentally" pick him up, yeah right), put water down for him to replenish.  Put it down and walk away.


But, seriously, don't pick him up even accidentally, because he can pick up diseases from you.  Think Europeans and Native Americans.  It's not pretty, and you don't want that on your conscience.

You really don't.*

We went scouting today and found an empty (for now) campsite.  I promise not to launder 'till I see the whites of their eyes.  It had a special surprise of its own, and I'll show you later.

I am, as of today, the very proud bearer of a United States passport for the first time in my life.  I'm no longer part of that statistic.  Now I'm part of the other statistic.   Now I can go to far-flung lands like Los Algodones, Ontario, and Hawai'i.

*I don't want on my conscience, either.  Thanks, Walter Feller, for lending me your tortoise. 

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heyduke50 said...

ducks and turtles don't mix... an interesting tidbit about the creosote bush is that it is allelopathic... new word for you maybe :)

Gaelyn said...

The creosote bush also has several medicinal uses, which I can't remember just now.

Be nice to those tortoises. Or they might stop you at the border and not let you home.

Going to Algodones for dental or vision?

The Good Luck Duck said...

Is that "allopathic" like Western medicine-ish?

The Good Luck Duck said...

Gaelyn, thinking about meds. I'll keep it in mind for dental, but not too close in mind.

Rubye Jack said...

I don't know what they are but those yellows are so pure and beautiful.

Jac said...

I love its smell after the rain, too. It does have medicinal uses: it's anti-microbial, good for cuts; in combination with milk thistle & puncture vine, can help balance blood lipids; as an antioxidant, it may help with auto-immune diseases. It has a reputation for treating cancer, but tests show it can both inhibit & stimulate cancer cell growth. A local tribal member here told me to simmer the leaves when I had a throat infection; it helped. It's also called greasewood and chapparal. Take good notes, there's a test later!

The Good Luck Duck said...

Did you drink the tea, or breathe the steam, or what? Do you have to process it? I like "chapparal" better.

Carolyn said...

I had a little turtle when I was about 6 or 7. Kept him in a beautiful green glass bowl with a pretty rock and umbrella.

He loved to have his little tiny head rubbed. He was so cute.

His name was Pokey and he would pee in my hand. Not often... sometimes I would wonder why... and lookee here 60 years later... I learn.

Great pictures!

Donna K said...

I guess the Good Luck Tortoise just wouldn't have the same ring to it...

Teri said...

The tortoise symbolizes longevity, simplicity and slowing down enough to really pay attention. They remind us of the importance of making good use of what we have and embracing simple abundance.

Bob said...

My head hurts. You guys are making up words. I'm sure of it. No way I'm keeping a dictionary handy when reading blogs. I'm just sayin'.
Bad enough I have to do that once in a while reading the local German rag.
Never had a turtle.
Stinky and creepy.
Pets need to be furry.
Possibly invited to dinner later. (think rabbit stew)
My brain can't evolve past "pretty flowers", so that's what I'll say.
(insert toothless grin)
Ooooh, pretty flowers!

Bob said...

Oh, and congratulations on the passport! Something I guess I've taken for granted for a couple decades. Thought "everybody" had one.
Must be some sort of yer-a-peein' thing? A lame attempt at a pun on turtle pee and where I live. I don't think it worked.

Karen and Al said...

Interesting info about the tortoise. I'll have to quit picking them up.

The Odd Essay said...

Hmmmmm.... passport? last I heard Hawaii was one of the 50 States.... You know, you CAN travel INTO Mexico without a passport... you just can't get back into the USA ;-) How did you get that tortoise to scowl like that? Great pictures!

Jac said...

About the chapparal: inhale the steam--drinking the tea is not a good idea, it's bad tasting.

The Good Luck Duck said...

These are very educational comments! Hawai'i has been admitted into the Union? Where have I been? [Not in Hawai'i.] Sharon, this is what I fear, and while I can say la tortuga I don't think that's enough to get me by south of my own border.

Teri, I like this about the tortoise. I have not always been known as a duck. When I was little, people started giving me tortoises (never turtles) and it still fits. I think the tortoise might be "my" animal. Totem? Guide? I dunno. I always thought that if I got a tattoo, it would be of a stylized tortoise, and that's as close as I've ever gotten to getting art.

Jac, thanks for the update. Steam I can do.


Bob, stop it, you're killing me. No, stop it. Yeah, they say a surprisingly large number (now I have to Google it) of Americans do not have passports. Our tipping point was realizing that passports are the best of ID, and as we change our legal domicile that may be especially important, now that we're Warring Terror.

Donna, it seems not. Although, it has potential. It feels right when we're lumbering down a desert highway at speeds exceeding 30 MPH.

Carolyn, since he had plenty to drink always you weren't endangering him by scaring the pee outta him.

The Good Luck Duck said...

The State Department says 109,780,364 Americans have passports. Still, that's 15 times more than held them in 1989. I guess that means about 2/3 of us don't. Bob, I guess it would be pretty common for a European to take a long weekend trip to another country - would that require a passport? It must be we Americans are used to having a lot of space to wander around in unchecked.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Annie just mentioned that it's a class divider, as well. Passports are freakin' expensive, and not something everyone could afford. Nevermind the travel later. Great. Privilege rears its well-coiffed head again.

squawmama said...

We visited the Tuzigoot ruins... never noticed a smell. Great photos and GREAT advice on the tortoise ~ I'll be sure not to distrub them.
Have fun

The Good Luck Duck said...

Donna, maybe it wasn't as wet when you were there? It was a very misty day in February when we were there.

Take his picture and WALK AWAY! :D

Sherry said...

Big Brass Band playing for you to celebrate saving the tortoise from tortoise handlers. Way to go!!! I say for heaven's sake leave the wild animals alone. Doesn't everyone have enough animals domisticated already.

Sadly so true about the passport class divide. I was SHOCKED when I went to renew mine that it cost about 25X what I'd originally paid to get one. Way to go Annie for pointing that out.

You girls are both definitely on my wave length. Just don't bounce around on the wire please! :-)

The Good Luck Duck said...

Sherry, we're so simpatico we could go wireless!

Tammy said...

Welcome to the world of the 'passport' holder. As one of the over 60% of Canadian Passport holders, you can now visit our huge country that has many beautiful spots to wwaunder too.

I think Canadians have a higher percentage of passports for when we want a vacation in winter, we want warmth.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Tammy, I am fonder of Canada than is seemly. Still, I would want to go south sometimes, too, if I were Canadian.

JOJO said...

I'm glad you posted about not touching to Tortoise, not many people know that we give disease to them. They have declined quite a bit over the years due to this. Like you said take a picture and do not touch.

BTW I don't have a passport. The last time I crossed the border into Mexico was about 15 yrs ago.

Carolyn said...

wait a minute! r you saying thers other places that aint AMERICA? aint canada a state?? Part of alaska or sometin.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Jojo, I didn't know either until I read about them. Not that I'd have the ovaries to pick up a tortoise anyway.

Carolyn, I'm glad I could provide cultural enrichment. This reminds me of a blowhard I was acquainted with; Canadian border officer asked him where he was from and he said "America." He couldn't figure out why the officer kept asking him to repeat himself, and was getting bellicose. Finally, his much-suffering wife leaned over and said, "we're from the United States," and he let them through.

Larry said...

All this chatter abut turtles and urine reminds me of a guy I used to work with. His favorite saying (and the only thing he ever said that was fit to print) was "Just call me PeePee and I'm all Urine". Congratulations on the passport (oops, just about said pissport). We summer in southern Ontario, not far from Niagara Falls. Come and say Hi some time.

¡Vizcacha! said...

Haha! And that reminds me of my former father-in-law who couldn't ever remember how to say "urn," so it was always "yearn," but always made me think "urine."

We may just do that! You must be a comfortable drive from Toronto.

Contessa said...

Congrats on the you are cleared for Mexico!!