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Mule's Ear

Mule's Ear

I am happy with this latest gourd - Mule's Ear. It has one burro on it (which you are looking at), and two mules on the back side. (No bias intended, I just like little burros a lot). But what they both have in common are the wonderful, fuzzy, highly-mobile ears after which a common California plant was named. 'Wyethia mollis', or wooly mule's ear is one of my favorite plants that grows naturally in the Sierra Nevada high country. Because they grow where they grow, I associate them with wonderful good times - hiking, or backpacking in Desolation Wilderness, or running up near Squaw Valley. A member of the sunflower family, as soon as the snow starts to melt these perennials pop up from the ground, and eventually yield big, fuzzy leaves and bright yellow flowers.

You won't see them too much where grazing of cattle occurs, because they are apparently cows like them A Lot. To that end, their cousin - Narrow-leaf Mule's Ear - used to be very common throughout the lower elevations in the Central Valley. But urbanization and cattle grazing have pretty much put an end to that. There still are some, however, so keep your eyeballs peeled as you drive or hike around the California countryside. You just might learn to love them as much as I do.

Mule's Ear is a nice, sturdy gourd, made from a Duck Gourd that I bought in Knight's Landing. It is decorated with leather dye, pyrography, acrylic paint and embossing powder. It will be coming with me in May to the Saratoga Rotary Show.

Happy almost Spring to you all.

Margie Lopez Read