Sunday, April 3, 2016

Hill Country outing

We visited my parents again at their place outside of Mason and it was the perfect time to enjoy the Hill Country wildflowers. Highway 71 had a fair show of bluebonnets between 281 and Llano and Highway 29 had a good show of bluebonnets and indian paintbrushes. Not many yellows nor prickly poppies yet, and the fields beyond the fences showed more lush green than flowers spilling over. There weren't any "must stop" sights, so we enjoyed the show without pausing for photos.

Once at their place the kids did their favorite activities: splashing in the James River, getting sandy/muddy and climbing everything. We took a truck ride across the river with my youngest and his cousin (who was visiting the ranch for the first time) and they had a blast. I happily watched them burn energy as they raced up hillsides chasing my mother (with startled deer jumping head). A great place to let the kids be "free range" :)

Climb, jump, splash

A family of deer leaping in sequence (at least six of them). They looked plump and happy.

My youngest exploring the anatomy of prickly pears.

Rock scrambling

Greener than usual- many sotols, mesquites, live oaks, cedars, persimmons and cacti to hike through. My parents have methodically cleared cedar and cacti over the years to let native prairie grasses such as big bluestem, little bluestem, sideoats grama and many others reestablish themselves. 

Butterflies among the PYF's ("pretty yellow flowers"- many daisy varieties such as Huisache, greenthread, Engelmann, etc!)

I never managed to capture the two hummingbirds in pictures, but they delighted in drinking from this claret cup cactus as well as the salvias around the house.

Mystery PYF's near the river. (Late note.. Texas flax per the NPIN database!)

The local hawk squawking at us (probably to stay away from her nest). Don't worry- we did!

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