Thursday, September 13, 2007

Dead Things 1: Cactus Bones

Out front of the store in Yarnell was this sign: turn it right side up and it declares Brand New Dead Things. It's by far one of the more interesting (and bizarre) curio shops I've visited in Arizona. I have a folder fat with 61 pictures of dead things animal, vegetable and mineral to prove my point!

What to do? Well, perhaps focus in on one type of dead thing at a time. So here we are with a good lot of cactus bones. The tall guys are what's left of that Arizona symbol, the saguaro, once they give up, lose their spines and flesh.

Two close-ups of a saguaro trunk. Note that the structural members are 1) on the outside and 2) are separated into a sort of lattice-work so that the tree can expand or contract, accordion-wise, depending upon how much water it is holding in the pulpy center.

One of the ever-present saguaro arms. Examining the picture, I noticed that there is a meshwork between the ribs. There's one other part of a dead saguaro that I didn't see at Brand New Dead Things: a saguaro shoe, made of scar tissue by the tree when a woodpecker or cactus wren pecks out a home. It resembles a classic Dutch wooden shoe.

The bones of the prickly pear form a mesh, not nearly as interesting as other cactus remains -- nor as collectible.

These pictures show what's left when a cholla cactus dies. Again, an expandable structure to accommodate varying levels of moisture.

Pieces of cholla stems above; below, made into napkin rings. Just FYI, you may have heard of the dread jumping cactus -- it's a form of cholla.

Out back, there was a further supply of saguaro bones. Many thanks to sheoflittlebrain who took me to this wonderland as part of a birthday outing!

11 comments:

hermano said...

rxwlvDo you recall the furnishings at the 'Dutch Motel' in El Paso ca. '37.?? They were all constructed of saguaro skeleton--very classy for the day. The motel was not so classy in '39.

quilteddogs said...

In my opinion, the cholla looks so much better dead than alive. Ugh, I dislike that plant!

Olivia Kroth said...

The dead saguaro and cholla look like surrealistic pieces of art, right out of a picture painted by Salvadore DalĂ­.

sheoflittlebrain said...

'twas a fun day....I remember being cautioned against the 'jumping cactus'...we kids circled around them with great care:)

SBird said...

I love that store. I have a wonderful, large knot of a tree--looks like a tablescape of wooden stalagtites--that I bought at that store...

I love cholla. So much so that I considered naming my daughter Cholla, at one point--probably not one of my more shining moments, but there you go... :)

Granny J said...

Bro --the Dutch Mill, was it not? I'd forgotten the cactus bones, but will always remember the lesson of not ordering two items from the a la carte menu.

QD -- as a once in a great while visitor to the desert, I find cholla interesting, but I'm always cautious. I think we have one cholla that grows up in the chaparral.

Olivia -- I think that may be why they have such appeal to folk.

Brain -- Indeed it was fun. I'm ready to return anytime!

Granny J said...

Sbird -- you snuck in while I was commenting on the comments! I'm with you -- the place was so interesting I couldn't stop taking pictures! But I fear a daughter would never live down the name cholla!

Avus said...

Granny - I think you have just answered the question I asked on my latest post (what the knife handle is made from) - it has got to be Cholla stem - right?

Granny J said...

Avus -- I've been waiting for a new post from you! It sure looks like some kind of cactus wood, possibly cholla -- but how and why did it get to OZ? Everybody, take a look at these fine knives.

meggie said...

What a fantastic post! Thankyou for showing those. I am not at all fond of cactus- the neighbours have a huge one that leans to our side of the boundary, but it is under our Lily Pily tree, so I never go near it. I didnt realise they had skeletons like that.

Granny J said...

Meggie -- oh, yes, cactus skeletons are fascinating!

 
Photo Blog Blog Top Sites Blog Directory for Prescott, AZ

Local Blogs - Blog Top Sites