The cholla are fulfilling their early promise and have burst into full bloom.
Some cholla more than others, which I never quite understand. It's the same with our desert four o'clocks out front. Ours are big and lush, but haven't bloomed while smaller (and larger) clumps unattended out in the desert are blooming away. There's almost certainly a reason, but I don't know it. In my solipsistic universe, that's pretty much the same thing.
I'm confessing right now: I didn't end up using any of the ones suggested to me, though they were all in the pot. I started out with over 30 finalists and culled down to 12. I didn't use the cholla blossom, because there are so many other similar and better photos. I didn't use the Isabel at the horse trough because it wasn't signature New Mexico scenery. I doubt I'll come close to winning anything, especially because I have no intention of asking anyone to vote. I really hate the trolling for votes thing. Soon it will cease to be the thing - can't wait for that day. Swing, pendulum, swing!
Sterling is coming right along. I think I have a real working title now, though I might run it through a few more people. I have one no vote and several enthusiastic yeses so far. I'm reliably hitting 1.5K now. A bit of rest always helps build endurance.