This post is from exactly one year ago, when the cholla were in full bloom.
This year, not a single cholla is flowering. The desert is a fickle place.
Last September's record rainfall has made it a banner year for cholla cactus.
Every evil specimen is bursting with color.
Here's a pronunciation refresher: it's choy-ya, not chole-la.
I blog about cholla frequently because: a) the donkeys eat it, which makes me crazy,
b) everybody around here gets it stuck to their body occasionally, including me, and
3) I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get rid of it.
For all its faults, it makes for some pretty pictures, particularly against a stormy sky.
Every time I blog about cholla, I learn something new because I start googling things like "is cholla edible?"
This time I learned that the cholla buds (which become the magenta flowers, which then become the yellow fruit)
are not only edible but they are considered a super-food, with highest measures of available calcium and complex carbs,
plus flavor like a tangy artichoke. It can help strengthen bones, balance blood sugar, remove cholesterol,
and provide sustained energy. That all sounds well and good until you get the spines stuck in your fingers forever.
Do you know what the hardest part is about living alone?
Removing cactus spines from your right hand when you're right handed.
This time of year, I try to forget how much I hate this stuff and focus on
the pops of color that bring the desert and my outdoor décor to life.