Dusty and Brown

Two weeks ago we had the coldest weather that I have experienced since I moved to Las Cruces. The official temperature dropped to 1 but the  outside thermometer at my house registered -7. The cold weather caused electrical blackouts, frozen pipes, water shortages, and natural gas stoppages across New Mexico and West Texas.

The thaw 3 days later exposed all the broken pipes, made a lot of plumbers rich, and shut down water distribution systems in the El Paso and Ruidoso.

The freeze also did havoc to many plants in the region. Non-native plants like the Mexican fan-tail palm were most affected. These plants suffer even  in normal winters and are marginal for this climate. I don’t understand why people here plant them.  It’s not just the newcomers who have them, you’ll see them all over the Mesilla valley. They only grow from the middle of the fronds. Winter kill is trimmed off. If the middle is dead, the palm is dead. These two aren’t going to make it.

Mesilla My neighbor’s yard

Native plants and climate adapted plants were not immune. Unprotected prickly pears and agaves collapsed. Oleanders crinkled. Rosemary bushes turned black.

My prickly pear, oleander, and cherry sage are showing a little green; I think they might survive.

When the sun came out, the snow on the roof melted, icicles formed and my solar panels started generating electricity. The oleander hiding the smart meter and solar meter is showing signs of stress.

Temperatures are back in the 70s now and it’s been windy. But all the dead and damaged stuff has made the valley really brown.


About ViAnn

Progressive retired geek who loves to play golf
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