Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spring in Llano and Mason

We headed out to my parent's place in Mason this weekend, hoping to catch some wildflowers (and let the boys frolic in this gorgeous weather). The highway wildflowers were ..not-yet ready, simmering with bluebonnets, but not the symphony of colors they might become in the next few weeks (if.. it rains, stays nice, etc etc). Out in the Hill Country the trees are a week or two behind the city trees: branches are still bare (or have buds) rather than the bright new light green of fresh leaves that popped up around town when I wasn't looking. The live oaks look yellow with old leaves still needing to fall. Some areas are bright with lush spring grasses (so verdant!), others have a dry look to them (all that caliche..).

Instead of zooming through Llano (with the habitual donut stop at Chrissy's Homestyle Bakery), we paused at Robinson City Park a mile or so west of the town square, located along the Llano river. It was a great place for the kids to get out and romp, and seems like a fun location to put in kayaks and swim on a hot summer day (note to self..).

They even have bluebonnets amid rolling boulders

Requisite close-up :)

Imagine this spot in summer when the tree is full of leaves.. I would laze on the bank and watch my kids frolic (avoiding the turtle sunning itself on rocks of course)..

Perfect hopping rocks for a 5 year old..

Spiderwort plants have popped up in between the boulders.

At my parent's place, the flowers were still subdued and waiting. Mason is apparently 1000 ft higher than Austin, so it will be a couple of weeks before the hills are bursting. There are many early starters that caught my eye though..

These are Blue Gilia (Gilastrum rigidulum), which I found along shady draws in caliche soils.

This early Huisache daisy has a plump bee as a fan.

All along the hills I could see the soft white mounds of Spanish dagger flowers peeking out.

This white prickly poppy (Argemone albiflora) is a wonderful combination of toughness (cows and deer won't eat them) and delicateness (look at those paperysoft petals!).

I found a few claret cup or Hedgehog cacti- they epitomize the word tough- growing in limestone cracks where not much else can survive..

Even if we didn't get rolling fields of flowers, we did get beautiful spring light and color. I snapped this picture of my youngest leading us on an early evening adventure hike, through dirt roads, prickly pear stands and draws. He always seemed to sit down near the carpenter ant piles (!), but hopefully he'll remember having his mother and Abuelita's attention as he told his quirky stories and chased his own shadow..

Happy spring everyone!


  1. All the photos are wonderful - that claret cup is so well named! But the one that caught my imagination was that your shot. It so perfectly captures the joy of a long afternoon frolicking in the warm sunshine of spring in Texas and conveys the wonderful way a child can be completely absorbed in play and yet still deeply attuned and attentive to their surroundings. Happy Spring to you and yours!

    1. Thanks! I love the long afternoon light (and the little guy, too!). Hope your allergies are doing ok!