Cedar Ridge, Grand Canyon,” by M. Quinn for the National Park Service.


Good Morning, Mountain Sheep!

In the pre-dawn hour, I’m sitting at a picnic table in a little neighborhood park, a plastic kids playground behind me, thick green lawn reaching across the gentle slope to the east, all of it overlooking the bathtub-ringed reservoir called Lake Mead. Huge jackrabbits sleep on the park’s edge. On the other side, I see the soft slumbering lumps of desert cottontails.

It’s 76 degrees, before the sun rises over the brown-red mountains on the Arizona side. In the dim purple light, I see the first Desert Bighorn Sheep step daintily down the rocky hill and underneath the great metal legs of the electric-transmission tower behind this Boulder City suburban park. It’s a tall ram with huge winding horns. A half-dozen more follow him down. They cautiously look around the empty park and settle in for breakfast.

Magnificent creatures! The males are huge and sturdy, the patriarchs with thick curling horns that wrap down and around the head, some ending with ragged points from their mating wars. Long ears, horselike muzzles neatly capped in white hair, huge calm eyes, the short rough coat exactly the color of the desert rocks they call home, and here they are in a suburb.  (more…)

Go get 'em, tiger ... we mean, 'jaguar' ...

Hooray For Jaguars: 764,000 Acres Named Critical Big Cat Habitat

Jaguars in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico will have it easier thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which just named 764,000 acres as critical habitat for the beautiful cats. But as usual in these big decisions, the Feds were pushed by a conservation group working to protect the predators from the real predators in the U.S. Southwest: energy companies and mining operators. (more…)

Well this looks ideal.

Micro Houses and Sustainable Living: Now It’s Art

Enough people are crafting tiny houses these days that it’s become recognized as an architectural and design style of its own. The Shemer Art Center in Phoenix has dedicated a five-week exhibition to what they’re calling the MicroDwell aesthetic.

And why not? Artists have always taken a stand against the dull excesses of human society, and there’s no better response to tracts of 4,500-square-foot exurban mansions than an elegant little home resting light upon the land. If you’ve begun to think this way and you’re close to Phoenix, this show is probably worth a visit. It’s open daily except Mondays until March 23.

Photo via Cinder Box Microdwelling.