The San Francisco Peaks stand dusted with a cape of snow. No, they're not in northern California, but in a volcanic field north of Flagstaff, Arizona. Humphrey's Peak is the highest one, and the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet. Mother nature lets us ogle them from below in our warmer chaparral climes.
Pale blue juniper berries are thick on some trees this time of year, absent from others. I've not figured out their schedule. We have at least two varieties of Juniper here—the alligator with chunky scaled bark like an alligator's skin, and another which I think is the California Juniper—but that doesn't seem to account for the difference in timing of the berries.
My father-in-law used to take us looking for alligators when we'd visit from the desert. I thought he was yanking my chain the first time. And then we found one! What a card.
I confess. This Pyracantha isn't native, and the snowstorm at its feet swept in a few weeks ago and melted soon after. But aren't the berries lovely? The internet says they're not toxic and birds will eat them, but mine linger for months untouched. Perhaps because they're not native here the birds haven't developed an appetite for them.
The red bark of manzanita is a year-round treat. Still, the Christmas colors caught my eye. And dead branches, like those to the left above...
...make a lovely Christmas tree.