Escalante, Utah – The Donut Hole 

 August 25, 2013

By  Jana Hassett

For the first time in many, many, many weeks, Father Sky has rewarded Mother Earth with moisture in the Escalante valley.  Other places have received more than their share as floods reduce neighborhoods to rubble.  But today is our turn.

The plants are singing Father Sky’s praise as all our landscaping is native plants and I don’t water at all.  So this drink is a gift to very thirsty vegetation.  Purple Sage, Mormon Tea, Rabbit Brush, Russian Sage, Oregon Grape, and Siberian Pea Shrubs provide some shade to join the rocks and provide habitat for the many lizards that have taken up residence.  I was gifted a Native Bear Grass plant –in the Spring – and that’s not the ideal time to plant natives.  They do better when planted in the fall.  So the Bear Grass got a drink off and on all summer and looks like it’s going to make it.

Like many in Escalante, there’s an overabundance of Chipmunks this year.  One friend has captured over 80 and at least 3 squirrels.  We’re at one squirrel and 6 Chipmunks.  Trap and relocate to the great wilds of the Grand Staircase and Dixie National Forest are one solution.  The other is trap and recycle.  I overheard someone in the Grocery Store this past week talking about the Chipmunks eating up their entire garden (and gardens in Escalante are meant to provide for the winter).

Since the Hen and Chicks is neighbor to the Bear Grass they reaped the rewards of getting some extra moisture and is in the process of blooming.  Fun!  The Hollyhocks were doing poorly until there was a small squall about 8 weeks ago.  That provided enough moisture to bloom and go to seed, but the seed pods are small and scattered along the stems.  I’ll share what bounty I have with Friend and “Seed Lady” Harriet Priska. I’ll happily share because her seeds benefit the Native Plant Society Chapter here and they helped me decide what plants to acquire and when to plant.

It’s supposed to rain hard today – we’ll see.  Most times our little basin gets blue skies in the center of the storm.  We call it the donut hole – where the waters from the surroundings hills nourish our little basin and direct rainfall equals 7” a year.  We’ll see.

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