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This is a photo of the Arizona wildfire’s smoke plume, as seen from downtown Albuquerque last night at sunset. For the last two nights, the smoke has settled over the city, raining ash down like it’s snowing. The fire itself is several hours away to the south and west of Albuquerque.

My heart goes out to all those affected, including the firefighters and emergency workers.

I’ve been watching this Iris by my front door:

It’s a pretty little flower. I wrote it about last year, too.

You guys know what a big fan of progressive photos I am, so of course, I’d been snapping away, especially in the past week.

Beautiful, right? Even unopened, it was a pretty flower.

On the day it actually did open, I admired it in the morning, then I decided to wait until afternoon to photograph it (the front of the house faces west).

I should’ve snapped the photo while I had the chance. You see, later in the day, the UPS lady dropped a package off on the doorstep. In the process, she clocked the flower:

Bitch. The petals are broken. Wanh, wanh, wanh.

Alright, alright, she’s probably not a bitch. Mistakes happen, c’est la vie. Still, I’m a little sad. Brown hasn’t really done much for me lately.

Prettyish picture, anyway. Not the best shot of the Sandia Mountains but I wanted to give you an idea of how beautiful they look with a little snow.

The big concern for Albuquerque this past week was the temperature, not the amount of snow that fell. The freezing temps wreaked havoc – water pipes burst all over town, there was black ice on the highways, there still isn’t enough natural gas to heat everyone’s homes.

As if the cold wasn’t bad enough, yesterday there was a three-alarm fire at an apartment complex near the airport. You can read about it here, or see video of it here. Two firefighters were injured (they’re ok), over 40 people are displaced and crews are still on scene trying to put the damn thing out. The New Mexico Red Cross provided emergency shelter for the victims, as well as food and clothing (residents had no time to grab coats – they just ran out of the building in whatever they were wearing).

Such a sad, scary event. My heart goes out to all the victims, and I tip my hat to the emergency personnel who have been battling the blaze so bravely.

The victims lost everything, but they all made it out safely. One man told a reporter, “I’ll be ok, I live in America.”

It’s a good reminder to check your smoke alarms, make sure you have a fire extinguisher, never leave a space heater unattended. Stay safe out there, my friends, stay safe.

On an unrelated note, I think my plant puzzler yesterday may be more difficult than I thought because there’s only been one guess so far. So here’s a hint – the leaf discoloration is a water issue. There were no temperature problems, it has nothing to do with fertilizing or lack of fertilizing. Water – too much or too little. If you think you know the answer, leave a comment for me. I’ll reveal the answer next Friday.

I’ll be back on Monday, hope to see you back here. In the meantime, go Packers!!

It doesn’t happen every day, so it counts as news.

Downtown, facing west, you should be able to see the volcanoes in the distance, but the snow covered them:

Thus concludes this week’s weather report from La Nina territory. We’ll return Monday hopefully with something far more interesting. Hope to see you back here.

Most of you know I love birds. And I love birding, because it’s one of the few activities left in our society that relies on the honor system. If a birder tells you he saw some obscure bird, he probably really did. They’re adorable!

Mom’s been hooked every morning for weeks (63 days to be exact), so I have no idea why it took me this long to bring it up – have you been to Operation Migration? Maybe I assumed everyone was already watching the Whooping Cranes as they fly to Florida from Wisconsin.

Anyway, I’m bringing it up now. They’re almost to their winter homes, so hurry and click here to find out what’s going on in the field, and click here to see the live crane cam. They’ve got cameras on their ultralight aircrafts (trikes), which are leading the birds (the young birds don’t yet know the migration route). The cameras let you fly with the birds! Awesome.

Photo from Operation Migration website. Not my own experience, but a gal can wish.

The Whooping crane population dwindled to 15 in the 1940s. It’s recovering thanks to the diligent efforts of many people in the U.S. and Canada.

One man in particular, George Archibald, (here’s his wikipedia page) has dedicated his adult life to protecting crane species around the world. He founded the International Crane Foundation in 1973, and it’s through his efforts that Operation Migration runs the way it does.

He’s a family friend, so when he came to Santa Fe for a discussion at the Audubon New Mexico a few years ago, Mom and I went.

He talked about his love for the birds, how cranes inspired airplanes. He explained the hardest part of his job. Many species of cranes have migratory routes that go through treacherous places, like Afghanistan, for example. (At the time, there were only two of those species left, and one of them had an injured leg.)

They seem like impossible numbers – two? Only two of that kind of crane left in the whole world?

But they’re not impossible.

George travels along the migratory routes, village by village, where people are poor and hungry. He tries to teach them to view the birds as sacred, not dinner.

Let’s hope word spreads fast.

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About Me

Hi! My name is Liza. Welcome to my blog and thanks for visiting! I'm a Midwestern gal now living in Arizona, after many years of living in and owning a plant care business in New Mexico.

Plants are living, breathing creatures, and if they're indoor plants, they are 100% dependent on human care. They cannot water themselves.

I can beautify your home, office, or patio with plants and flowers. I have 13 years of experience growing plants, and friendships.

Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like help with your plants or garden. You can reach me at lizatheplantlady (at) gmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter, Lizawheeler7.

All photos are mine unless otherwise noted. All content is also entirely my hard work. If you'd like to use any content or photos, all you have to do is ask. If you take without asking, you are a thief. And thieves suck. So don't suck. We have a deal? Good.