Sorry for the late review. I've been sick two weeks in a row and finally getting around on posting. So, let me beginning with the location. Mecca, California is out in the desert near Coachella Valley. I'm was pretty surprised how much this area has grown since the last time I came out in this area.
We were lucky enough to have our very own member Mary Morrissey sponsor us on our field trip out to the Sunset Oasis Ranch where we got the opportunity to collect to our heart's content of tamarisks. The club thanks you for the opportunity Mary!
The tamarisk on the Ranch grows in really alkaline water. Mostly a weed in this area which can grow totally uncontrolled. The soil loose sandy surface with this alkaline salt top that gets into everything. Yes, you know what I mean by everything.
The dirt roads around the Ranch is good enough that Greg's family mobile was able to get around without getting stuck. I did drop it into 4x4 mode but it really was not needed. But again a truck getting stuck is another story.
The most common tamarisk wild type is a plant with purple flowers with long needle like foliage. Lindsay did spot a rare foliage type that has a puffy appearance like Kishu juniper.
Another rare variety is a white flowered tamarisk. Seems to me from a quick survey that its about only 20-25% of the currently flowering tamarisk had white flowers. Of course there was a deep purple one too.
I spotted a unique branch of a tamarisk about 12 feet high and decided we can grab several really good pieces if we worked together (Greg and I). So off we went clearing for the next hour or so. We pretty much cleared a 15x15" square area and chopped down 2 or more 12" trunk tamarisk at this point.
Mary and Mel went around make sure everybody was safe and having fun. Yes Mary is wearing Crocs! They both were pretty proud of what we claimed so far in the day
Here is a quick video of Mel trying to chainsaw his way across. My small sawsaz ran out of juice after sawing through 2 large 12" trunks and needed some assistance to finish the deed.
My loot for the day was some really interesting pieces. Some with really interesting lines and curves, while other had some deadwood on them and another with a loop!
After a long lunch and cleaning up the area. We decided to pack up and scout for tomorrow's location. Kinda hard to complain when you have scenery like this.
A view from one of the duck ponds on the Ranch.
Once back on the Ranch housing site. We cleaned and prepared our branches for storage. Yes, even though the title says dig; tamarisk is a weed and can re spout with giant trunttings (trunk-cuttings). Of course Mel and Lindsay but us back to home base and fished most of the day away.
Ron and Ed was wiped for the day of working hard in the field and decided to take the easier way in life.
People that stayed overnight got a cowboy style grilled dinner that night. Yes, good food, good wine and good company all works well together. Of course, Mel provided 5 small mouth bass for dinner that night on top of what was provided!
The night ended with hot coffee and smores around an outdoor wood fire. We were blessed to have the sky clear up to see some really good star gazing for the night.
The next day started with breakfast again Mel provided again with 2 fish additional protein. But, we had a special guest today. Frank Goya came down to get his hands dirty! Thank you Robert King for bring Frank for the dig.
On the second day, only a hand full of diggers were on the field. Greg and I decided to take a slower pace for the day and really enjoy and trying to scout out that one of kinda tree. We came across this pond and just took in the beauty.
It did not take long after that pond picture we found our beast for the day. This picture is about halfway through the carnage. The before pictures were all back-lit but you can tell that area just a full canopy before we started.
Frank and Robert joined our mayhem at one point and really was in awe how much carnage 2 city boys can put up with. We kinda shared what we got for the day so far and really traded ideas on which line to take. Of course we listened to what Frank had to say about which pieces to take.
Here is Greg posing with the beast that started it all. From 15 feet up in the air it looked way smaller!
Here is the aftermath of clearing the tamarisk forest. Yes, its a bit brutal but, as Mary says it will come back in a couple years with new growth.
We ended the day early with whatever we gathered from those several limbs, and headed back to home base. I have to say its was fun just to experience tamarisk gathering over stresses of California Juniper collecting. Both are different and fun in their own ways. I hope to bring these guys out one day when they are ready to be style. But, until then I hope you will join us on our next club adventure!