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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Springtime in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Everyone around here seems deliriously happy with the end of winter weather, if you don't count folks driving the three mile stretch of highway near Buena Vista, NM, where cars slipped and slid through three inches of hailstones just a few days ago. Clouds of steam billowed up from the road, making it hard to see. I wanted to take a photo, but it was just too dangerous.

What I did see the same day were the purple-mountain-majesty-flower-covered hillsides outside Las Vegas, NM. The hills have been this way for several weeks, the rainfall keeping everything fresh and growing. Everyone's wondering, "Just what are those flowers?"

Las Vegas, NM, is a popular film and television location. The tv show Longmire, set in Wyoming, is filmed here. Of course it doesn't look like Wyoming, but it is pretty, isn't it?

I wanted to identify those flowers, but didn't care to hike out to the hills to look, especially since that sky to the east was looking pretty gnarly. Later we learned thirteen tornadoes touched down out there in Lincoln County. They wreaked havoc and destruction and I am glad I don't live on the prairie.

Luckily, I spotted some flower clusters nearby, so here they are.

After some internet searching, I thought they might be purple prairie verbena. A local professor told a friend that's what the flowers were, so I will concur. Look at those cracks in the earth. The earth's been slurping up every bit of rainfall we've had, and we are very grateful.

Closer to home, the valley along Coyote Creek hasn't looked this green for a while.

When we tell people where we live, they almost always say, "Oh, that's God's Country!" I think they are right.