Holler Oddities~

Ghost ranches, buried old cars, coyote packs, a former free range Ankole Watusi bull, The Holler is definitely an odd place, which is why we fit in so well!

Take this thorny tree for example. It is a Silk Floss tree and is about 50 feet tall.

This time of year it is covered in plate sized cotton poofs.

The poofs develop from large seed pods.

In the fall, the tree drops its leaves and devotes all its energy to producing masses of beautiful blooms.

The Holler abuts a large nature preserve and is built on very old orchards. Back in the day, orchard workers lived on site and indulged in their love of exotic plants and trees, many of which are still thriving and producing today.

I often wish I could tell them how much we appreciate living with the beautiful results of their talent and effort.

Cheers to you from the very odd Holler~

237 thoughts on “Holler Oddities~

  1. Just the Holler’s location next to all that protected land makes it a wonderful place, and trees like this make it all the more wonderful. Do the orchards still produce any exotic fruit?

    1. Yes. We have all sorts of producing plants that are very old, from the actual orchards (avocados, lemons, grapefruits and pomegranates) to the exotics, all sorts of nuts, passion fruit and flowers, palms, camellias, wild roses, coral trees, grapes that are wild now, all kinds of exotic cacti, even old watermelons that reseed and sow. I should make a list. I don’t know all that grows here. We have beautiful white flowering trees and I don’t know what they are. It took me almost a decade to identify the soap plants and flowers that grow all over here in the spring. You can make soap from the plant დ

      1. Incredible! I am familiar with cotton, given that the crop is one of Arizona’s five C’s (climate, cotton, citrus, cattle, and copper), but I have never seen puffs of cotton imposters like those in your photo. 😁

  2. Wow, cool tree! I see that it is related to kapok, a wonderful natural and durable stuffing for pillows (they used kapok for life preservers before synthetics were developed). Of course, with all those thorns and being so high up, harvesting would be problematic!

    1. Good question. I know that the cottony fibers have many uses, but I don’t know if it can be spun into thread. Maybe someone more knowledgeable will see this and tell us დ

    1. It is used for pillow stuffing, insulation in cold weather clothing, and life preservers, because it floats and is water resistant! Odder and odder, I know….. How did we live all our lives Liz, without knowing this!!! 😉 😉

  3. Those are beautiful! We have similar, not as fancy trees that do that — cottonwood trees. I seldom see the trees doing the cotton, but for weeks in the spring, the cotton snows through the air. Thank you for sharing your odd holler!

    1. You are most welcome. I had no idea what they were either. They are still plants and trees I can’t identify at The Holler. It took me about a decade to find out what soap plants were. They cover The Holler in the spring დ

    1. Cracking up…..Definitely could have happened!! Or maybe British jurists lost their wigs in a stiff breeze and they blew over here. I heard of a bald eagle once who blew all the way to Britain in a storm. He was sent back to the states in first class on an airline. I bet he didn’t enjoy either flight… 😉

    1. I don’t think any part of the tree is edible, although the bark floats and was used for canoes and paper. The cotton was used for insulation. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the spines were used too… დ

    1. Yes, we harvest old growth grapefruit, lemons, avocados, pomegranates, oranges, almonds, even watermelon. We used to harvest passion fruit. There are edible grapes, but I have never eaten them. Many of the trees are self sustaining დ

  4. I love coming across plants I had no prior knowledge of – most of my questions have been answered in the comments, so I am left saying think you for another adventure from your Holler.

  5. Pingback: Holler Oddities~ | In the Net! – Pictures and Stories of Life

  6. Our hollows in West Virginia were settled by small homesteading farms. Many had fruit trees near the homes. Most of the old homes became abandoned, deteriorated and decayed back to earth. But, if you drive around in the Spring, you can find old apple trees here and there suggesting where past generations lived.

  7. Probably all of us – wherever we live – pass by something odd. The oddity is the natural. Or perhaps we never even look.
    Your posts always make us be more observant of what is around us.
    Will be looking for odd things. (bypassing the mirror)

    1. Smiling…. Yes I avoid the oddities presented to me by the mirror as well!!! I am so happy you are being more observant. It definitely makes life more enjoyable and interesting. Thank you and take good care my friend დ

    1. I know they use the cotton to make stuffing in pillows and things, for insulation in clothes, and for life preservers since the fibers are water resistant and float. They use the bard to make canoes and paper. დ

  8. I love your images and post! I had no idea about these trees. Nature is such a miracle, isn’t it? The fact that these “puffs” float, are water resistant, etc., reinforces the truth that nature really can take of life needs, if we will only care for nature with reverence… and harmonize our needs 😊. Hmmm, probably the original plan once upon a time….lol!

    1. Someone asked me about this and I don’t know the answer. I do know it was used for insulation, stuffing and life preservers because it floats and is water resistant. Stay safe and well Leslie დ

  9. Thanks for the freaky fun Cindy! I love the puff balls, exotic plants, and trees. How wonderful that you can enjoy the fruits of their love from long ago. I want to see photos of the cars, ghosts, and bull! 🙂

    1. You are most welcome Brad and I am happy you enjoyed the oddities. I did posts on all of these strange things. If you google my name along with the subject (aka cindy knoke ankole watusi) you should be able to see the posts if you wish. Good luck & cheers to you my friend დ

  10. Fabulous post, Cindy! That tree is fantastic!
    Not the Art Gown I’m working on now, but the one after is inspired by the cottonwood tree. Seems to be a similarity.

          1. Thank you Charlotte. I think William said it best, ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy’ Stay safe & well my friend დ

  11. Was für eine seltsame Frucht, die so wundervolle Blüten macht und dann diese riesigen Baumwolle Knäuel macht! Liebe Freundin Cindy, vielen herzlichen Dank für den schönen Bericht.

    1. Ja, es ist ein sehr seltsamer Baum. Es gilt als einer der schönsten Bäume der Welt, wenn es blüht. Es ist mit großen schönen Blüten bedeckt! Ich hoffe du bleibst sicher und gut mein Freund. დ

  12. What an amazing tree! I have never heard of it, and it’s hard to believe those cotton poofs really grow on it. I looked up the Ankole Watusi bull, and I thought I had seen big Long Horns when we lived in Texas, but nothing like those bulls. How in the world do they hold their heads up? You do indeed have some oddities in the Holler!

  13. Wow! Those fluffy balls are amazing. I’ve photographed this tree in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, but I’ve never walked past it when it has the seed pods or balls of fluff on it. I seem to remember the tree was about 20-25 foot high and when in bloom, a sight to behold.

    It had (literally) hundreds of flowers.

  14. Wow. So gorgeous. Thanks for sharing. It reminds me of the pine cones on Mt Diablo, big as my head. The only place in the country with such outsized pine cones. Rare and beautiful things are everywhere.

            1. We went out to dinner tonight. First time in over a year! There were women chatting in the bathroom who weren’t wearing masks and wouldn’t leave. Oh well…… baby steps. დ

              1. I am sad that they were not taking care of themselves and you. We still need to be taking care of each other. I haven’t eaten out in SO LONG! I have tried new recipes, though. Almost the same thing, but not quite. 🙂

  15. This looks like “kapok”. Lemme see the English name. Yeah. kapok. In Africa we also called it “fromager”. In South America it’s “ceiba”. Do you get those all the way “up north”? (of here?)

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