Sunday, June 1, 2014

Out west (a little ways)..

No pictures of the wildflowers (sleeping kids and all) on the way there, but the roads between Austin, Llano, Fredericksburg and Mason are blazing with Indian Blanket, yellow daisies (greenthread?) and white thistles.. Gorgeous to see mustard yellow fields and everything green again thanks to the rains..

A visit..

We visited my parent's weekend place on the James River, which has swelled with water after the recent rains, much to the delight of the wildlife that lives there..

We saw a late spring burst of color and energy, and it's inspiring to see how many plants manage to thrive there, even in the face of drought and beating down sunshine..

So many thorns (prickly pear and cat's claw), but such beautiful flowers!

Wedged in limestone cracks, claret cup cacti and daisies bloom along..

Sotol, or sawtooth yucca? They are rampant and bloom happily (my boys brandish the fallen bloom poles as swords and pikes..). This one found a crack in a limestone slab..

Salvia Texana or Englemann's sage, found near the river

These guys (horsenettle weed) are reliable, though toxic and spiny and widely regarded as noxious.. Not one to recommend, but the flowers were pretty..

Mossy cuteness..

These guys (need to ask my mother the species) are in a nest just outside my parent's bedroom. The nest has been used every year for a decade..


We even got to bring home native treats!

My eldest rediscovered agarita berries at a visit to the Wildflower Center this spring, and will eat them like candy. They have a sweet/tart flavor and apparently make delicious jellies. We put on thick gloves, laid tarps under the bushes and had a great time shaking the branches and whacking them with sticks to get them to fall onto the tarps. It took a while to sort through the spiders/beetles/spiny leaves and shriveled berries, but we got a good jar of them. I doubt we'll make jelly since he eats them by the handful..

The Mexican plum tree has put out a great crop this year. Many guides say the fruit is too tart, but these fruits have been consistently delicious for eating- firm, sweet (and not too sour!). We took home an armload full. My new tree in the back only has a few thumbnail sized fruits, but I only planted it a few months ago. I'm excited to see how it grows over the next few years..

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