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Factors affecting  selection

Factors affecting Selection

Higher elevation tends to produce smaller stalks (quioto) and with higher moistures: greater rotting. Elevations between 4000 to 5000 feet seem to produce the best stocks. The drier environment has good growth and also allows quick and more through drying. We are talking about years from the stake emerging to harvest. The stoke is the last function the agave does in its’ life cycle that culminates its’ 30 years of growth. This is the seeds for the next generation. In a matter of months, all the resources of the plant are directed to sending forth an elevated platform for dispersal. Visualize a stalk 15+ feet growing in less than 3 months. To accomplish this, the agave use its internal resources: leaves and roots. This total decimation of the plant leaves a shriveled husk with a stock in the middle. At the top are seed pods that will provide the next generation. These pods stay atop the stock throughout the winter till the heat of the following summer drys them till they burst open, spewing out their life's’ work out onto the dessert floor.


Nature has designed an incredible structure that can grow with unbelievable speed. This stake must endure wind, rain and heat, all while staying erect. It is during this time, the stake becomes home to many desert inhabitant, seeking shelter from the environment.    











Elf owls build their nest in the lower third. Agave beetles relentlessly burrow into its’ soft interior. And of course we have the carpenter bees, that winter in its interior till spring, when it will vibrate its’ stinger to tunnel out. These all produce opening, that allow moisture in, now can change the light tan color to a broad spectrum of colors, from brown, black, blue, red and shades in between. Visualize carbon like fibers that run the length of the stock to give it strength but remain light and flexible in wind. Just below these fibers is a thin veneer of wood which is the level we want to get to. The speed of growth can be seen daily and this is accomplished with a center core that has the density of balsa-wood. It is encased in a leathery, an incredibly durable, outer surface that resist wind, rain and bugs not to mention sun. A true marvel of nature. I see this as an offering to man to create harmony. 


This is just the beginning for the would be didgeridoo maker. Another year and half will pass before any potential harvest can happen. Not all stock are created equal. Maybe one in five meet the specifications I would be looking for and very sparsely dispersed in the desert . Now the magic begins. The desert created and imbue each with factors that give the varied exterior its unique appearance.  Other factors that affect an agave you might play are, where growth is located, elevation, weather, orientation, exposure, soil, insects, birds, placement on slopes, rainfall, wind, age and so much more I’m not even aware of.


All of this I call Wabi Sabi Factor.

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