I love the old song The Twelve Days of Christmas and it’s “PARtridge in a pearRRrrr treee!” And I love pears. But I am wondering if it’s really the right song for a semi-arid and desert valley of black sage, big sage, and rabbitbrush in the rain shadow of the Coast Mountains and the Cascades on the west coast of North America, where there aren’t any partridges and the pear trees are few and far between now. We’ve got California Quail, though, which are a kind of partridge. I scared some up the other day. They were writing some music, I think. Take a look:
California Quail Leaving Polyphonic Scores
If you can figure out to play that on a human instrument, let me know.
As for the pear tree, well, they have proved expensive to maintain. In their place, I suggest roses, such as these, favoured of sparrows:
Colourful Hips at the Shortest Time of the Year
Even their blossoms aren’t as bright as their fruit. In a world with lots of Christmas songs but no holly, I suggest that counts for a lot.
So, let’s try it all out, all together now: “And a plump quail eating rose hips!” Heck, with enough freezing and thawing those things ought to ferment and the quail might get liquored up enough to tell us the tune.
The rose hips alone could be formed into a major crop for the Christmas floral market.
Next week: a network of trails.