Monday, March 26, 2012
Texans are proud of a lot of things, some even justifiably. One thing most are crazy for is bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis, the state flower of Texas. It's not our only flower, but it's OUR flower and we have a long history with it. Newspapers hold contests on best bluebonnet picture, websites are devoted to Texas Wildflowers, motorists stop on busy highways to put the toddler and puppy in the flowers for a glam shot (never mind the fire ants, snakes and empty PBR cans...), and TV reporters use the blue backdrop for every story they can, even if it has nothing to do with being outside. We don't mow the highways until the flowers have dropped their seeds for next year, ensuring a tradition. Even I fell victim this year, creating a facebook album of the first 'bonnets on my new land at El Rancho.
Despite the catastrophic drought last year, the heavy winter and spring rains have brought up a swelling ocean of floral color this spring. Indian paintbrush, daisies, beebalm, black-eyed susans, Texas toadflax and more, all here for our delight in every shape, color and size (check this out for photos to identify your favorites). Even wild onions add to the landscape, as do the Texas redbud trees and lantana.
Last year after I bought El Rancho, there was no water to be found and things were pretty brown and dusty and just plain hot. We had several established trees die and hope the rest aren't too weakened. But right now, those grim thoughts are far from my mind as I sit at El Rancho and just, well, sit. Flowers are blooming, the trees have burst out their canopies and even the grass and clover are green, green, green. All of the birds are singing rather loudly and looking for mates, from the lovely cardinals, to chickadees, and even including the turkey vultures (I guess there IS someone for everyone...). In fact, the birds were so loud I could hear them through my hearing protectors while on the tractor Saturday!
Dan and I drove to Waco for lunch with friends on Sunday. About a mile from the house, he stopped the truck and rolled down the window. He thought the truck was making an odd noise, when it was just the birds, happy to have spring. The drive up Highway 6 to Waco was gorgeous and I realized how much I love driving across this state. Sadly, this morning the Infomaniacs on WTAW reported a sharp decrease in butterflies due to the heat (it's already 80+ here). So, it's a little less colorful, but hopefully the rains will continue this year and we won't be facing more drought.