What a great way to start a bike ride. The morning temp was in the high 40s, very little wind. I headed out along the Dona Ana lateral, crossed Rte 185/Valley Drive, then travelled down an access trail to some farmland where I saw these wonderful onions, already gone to seed. I believe the farmer has a commercial contract for growing them. Most onions aren’t as far advanced:
Now we are in the Chihuahuan Desert and water is a precious resource. Most of the farmers get some irrigation water from EBID but also supplement that with their own wells:
The bike ride I took was mostly on the City of Las Cruces paved multi-use path. This runs a loop around the city about 25 miles in circumference. From the Mud Shack, I access it by biking about 2 miles on unpaved maintenance trails along the Dona Ana Lateral and the Leasburg Canal. I end up on what is identified on the map as the Outfall Channel Trail and the N. La Llorona Trail. I rode about 5.5 miles to La Llorona Park on the Rio Grande then returned home, a total ride of about 11 3/4 miles.
The city has spent to improve the path and provide for preservation of indigenous species like the burrowing owl:
An idea of a ditch:
The owls make their burrows in the banks of unimproved ditches like this one. The holes are fairly far up the bank so there is almost no danger of flooding. Irrigation ditches in the valley would rarely see flows from storms or snow melt that arroyos or flood control structures on the mesa experience.
And this is a river valley. For several weeks a year, The Rio Grande actually lives up to its name………
Heading back home on a slightly different route, I came across this guy guarding a small farm with quite a variety of livestock and fowl.
Better watchdog for a Flock than a Pitbull
There were chicks running down the trail and several fleeces hanging on a fence—-the sheep in the pen looked quite bald and unhappy although once we get back into the 90s later this week they’ll appreciate the loss of their wool coats. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a picture with the distance from the trail and the position of the sun being limiting factors.
But I did get shot of some guinea fowl searching for food in an improved section of an irrigation ditch:
Heading closer to home I came upon this sight—-an early alfalfa harvest. It’s amazing how long those bales can be left sitting in the sun to dry, unlike back east where it seems there’s some form of precipitation every few days…
Having grown up in Connecticut and having spent most of my adult life on the West Coast or New Hampshire, the variety of agriculture here in the Mesilla Valley is a constant source of pleasure. And it ain’t even chile season yet!!!!