Category Archives: photo muses

Monday Morning Backs Into Winter

I woke up this morning to a blustery north wind driving temperatures into the 40’s. Tonight the weather prognosticators are predicting lows in the 30’s. It would appear winter (at least our kind of winter) isn’t through with SE Texas. As I wait for springs return and the yard work honey-dews that will accompany it, here are some more of my spring photo’s fropm last week…

Blue-eyed Grass
Blue-eyed Grass

One of the most common “wildflowers” in my back “yard”.

THIS IS PROBABLY MY FAVORITE NATIVE PLANT. I’m not completely sure why the unassuming wildflower commonly known as “blue eyed grass” enchants me the way it does. Maybe it’s because it’s a member of the iris family, and many species resemble doll’s house versions of that plant, which is also a favorite of mine. Maybe it’s because many species resemble grasses, but with a twist—the flat but fleshy (more iris-like) leaves are tougher, and on sunny days in June and July the “grass” explodes with small but conspicuous flowers. Many people think that these little blue “eyes” seem to wink at you when wind rustles the plants’ foliage.

There are many species of Sisyrinchiums, all native to the New World. No matter where you live in North America, you can probably find one or more locally native species. Here on the East Coast, S. montanum (shown in the photo above) grows in abandoned fields and along roadsides, where it spreads readily by seed and manages to survive despite competition from far more aggressive plants. Many of my neighbors don’t distinguish the blue-eyed grass from the Eurasian weeds that also flourish on roadsides here, and I often think they don’t appreciate it enough.

via Wild Flora’s Wild Gardening: Meet the Natives: Sisyrinchiums.

Now that the purple vetch has started to die out, it is the clumps of blue-eyed grass that turns the fields around here blue. Shortly the blues and purples of spring will give way to the yellows of summer.

Another of the flowering plants that is quite prevalent at this time is this one…

Texas Thistle Flower

Sunday Morning In SE Texas

The day started out overcast but by 10am the clouds were mostly moved out. Temperatures are already mid 70’s outside. It should be what would pass for a beautiful summer day in most parts of the country…Here it’s just spring!

More spring shots from my afternoon walk of the other day…

Honeysuckle Flowers

In this neck of the woods, honeysuckle vines bloom a little bit all year long. As a kid spending our summers running around the neighborhood from breakfast till supper, we were fond of these little honey drops and would pull dozens of blossoms off every time we passed a batch just to suck out the nectar.

Monarch Butterfly Along Mustang Bayou

Another thing we have all year long is butterflies. Not a lot during the depth of winter but always a few. Fluttering around through all kinds of weather…And just to stay on the flying creature subject. Here is another year round resident…

Here there be dragons...

Though, when the summer is in full heat, driving my lawnmower around through squadrons of dragonflies is a real experience. It brings to mind images of Jurassic life…Web ID for the above dragonfly…appears to be Erpetogomphus designatus – Eastern Ringtail. If I’m wrong, please correct me…

Spring Has Sprung…Fully

We had a “cool” front blow through here this morning…Cool is now at 71° and rising. The front brought an hour or so of rain and then clear blue sky.

The real sign of spring though is the cardinals, you know…Red birds chasing other red birds out of their perceived territory. When the cardinals start enforcing territory rights you know spring has hit. It doesn’t matter if the wildflowers have come and gone, or the trees have leafed out. Once the little red birds start chasing each other around the yard while their lady friends sit and watch, spring is really here.

The way you can really tell that spring is here is I just put my riding lawnmower in the shop. Why is it that the only time the mower manifests it’s desire to forestall my using it for what it was designed for is in the spring time as the yard begins to look like an unmade bed for the fourth morning in a row? Even while I enjoy the look of the back pasture (for lack of another term) all decorated in wildflowers (weeds to the uninitiated, or my wife), the family draws the line on the front yard being filled with dandelions and nettles and other uncivilized versions of flowering plants. So as anyone who has lived in the coastal south will tell you, once the grass starts growing in the spring you better keep on top of it or you will never catch up until the heat of summer kills everything (if you are lucky) or a tropical storm waters everything so deeply that you can look behind the mower and watch the grass grow as you cut it back. In those summers you need a gas tank truck following you around in circles as you keep the mower moving 16 hours a day…And it’s only just April?

This is a buttercup spring. Most of the roads in this area are bordered right now with the pastel colors of buttercups. Pinks and whites and an occasional blue…Miles and miles of the little pollen cups. You know the ones I am talking about right? Didn’t you ever as a kid pick a buttercup and offer it for someone to smell before you rubbed the pollen all over their nose? You know you did…Don’t try and deny it.

What We Call Buttercups