Sunday, September 22, 2013

Buggin' Out

I think it's shift change at bug central. Now I don't see the Striped Blister Beetle any longer or the Box Elder Bug which resembles a miniature Cone Nose Beetle. Nope. Now we have another kind of beetle visiting the Big Bend Area. It's interesting but still has a catch and it has a non-threatening name for such a stinker of a nuisance. It's name is Pyrota palpalis or Charlie Brown Blister Beetle. You would think that they could name it Lucy Blister Beetle for all those pranks she played or poor ol' Pig Pen but no, they had to name it after a famous baseball player who had a penchant for laying around on baseball diamonds while being covered by a winter blizzard.

Pyrota palpalis (Charlie Brown Blister Beetle)
Bless his heart. Charlie Brown always gets the short end of the stick. And that's not the only thing that will get the short end of the stick if I see this thing resting its laurels on my bath towel again.

The Big Bend area has seen it's share of rain the past few days and it was welcomed with open arms and catchment tanks.

Stormy Skies and Cooler Temps
For two days straight it rained and poured. The cooler temperatures were welcomed by many. By cooler I do mean in the 80's.

Tule Butte in the background
...and no, the mountain in the background was not named after someone's famous butt. It's called a butte (pronounced as b-yoot).

Wonderfully toned blue skies followed the storms. And what follows the calm weather are butterflies and bees. They were all out today busying themselves with gathering their stores before the winter sets in. By winter I mean cooler weather. By cooler weather I mean 70's.


I have shown this particular plant before but I couldn't help but show it again. This is the Texas Yellow Trumpet Bush. Not to be confused with the Trumpet Vine or reddish blooms of another type of Trumpet Vine. This is native to Texas and the Chihuahuan Desert. It thrives from very little water and if given more water than usual for a desert it will run you out of town. This growth you see here is since March of this year. It attracts Hummingbirds, Humming Bird Moths, all kinds of bees, Butterflies by the boatload. It really is a spectacular plant.

I caught a photo of this Sulfur Butterfly visiting one of the blooms of the Trumpet Bush.






A close up shot of one of the blooms on the Trumpet Bush in front of the Big Bend Resort & Adventure front lobby.


Now ain't the little critter below just a cutie! I've never before been able to catch a photo of a bee in flight. I don't think this is a regular honey bee. There actually are a varied array of bees that pollinate the plants and flowers here in Texas. I just find it interesting to know about these creatures that we seem to take for granted. Without them, we would starve.
A bee about it's business among the blossoms of our Yellow Trumpet Bush

Here is a sunset from yesterday evening.



I hope you all are having a great day and remember....
The World is What We Make It.

Charlton

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September Blooms as Summer Wanes

Raoul told me of some flowers that he had been photographing yesterday. I had to see them so we went on a small mini excursion into the desert...really just outside and a few hundred feet away. We were not disappointed this morning. It seems the late summer rains have tempted some of the flowers to bloom. With the exception of a couple of the flowers I had not seen these before. This summer really has been an amazing one. I don't think I have seen this such a profusion of blooms in the years past that I have lived down here. When I say that it makes me sound like an old timer...I've really only been here a tad past five years. But still...

The first thing we encountered was some water in a small culvert where a concrete path crossed a dry wash. I know! Imagine encountering a wild patch of concrete way out here. It was actually on the golf course of the Big Bend Motor Inn...I hope you won't be too terribly disappointed that there is no photo of it. You can Google it if you need to refresh your memory of what concrete looks like. It really doesn't even bloom.

Anyhoo...

I know a lot of folks don't like snakes but this was a cutie. It was so tiny. Barely the size of No.2 Ticonderoga and about as long. I will have to pay Google a visit myself for this one.

Update: I don't know for sure but this has the appearance (I'm just viewing the online photos at a Texas Snake website and comparing photos so this is by no means a scientific ID) of a checkered garter snake. I grew up in the Virginia Appalachians and black snakes were no stranger to us out in the country. I had always wanted a black snake as a pet. I never understood why my mother preferred that didn't happen. I didn't talk back to her about it either. Not if I wanted to sleep in the house and eat dinner or gather my own switch from the woods. Good times.

There were lots of frogs also. They were all checking us out and then diving into the water when their insecurity over took their curiosity. It wasn't the only tiny creature that checked us out today but that's for later.


The teensy weensy tiny blooms below were so abundant all over the desert hillsides. The blooms were seemingly suspended in mid-air if seen from a distance. The leaves for the plant were on the ground while the branches with the blooms at the ends grew upwards to about four feet above the ground. There was a barely susceptible breeze that would move them around which reminded me of dancing ballerinas. It was very difficult to get a clear photo of them since the slightest whisper of wind would move them from side to side.
I had encountered these out on my property but not as numerous as we encountered today. Just amazed by the color.
 It slipped my mind to take a photo of the leaves for identification purposes. I'll have to do that tomorrow.
Since moving to Terlingua five years ago I have encountered plants and insects here that are so unique to this area. Like the one below. I think this is what is left of the bloom. But I'm not sure. It is interesting none the less.
 This reminds me of the other bloom, Serpent's Sting, so I'm not even going to venture to touch it. It also reminds me of a clover bloom.
 This unique shape is the seed pod left behind after the bloom dies. The plant was devoid of blooms so I did not have anything to reference it with. Love it.
 This I have seen before but is becoming rare due to collectors picking them out of the desert for their private collection. It's a Living Rock Cactus. Alot of them are so flush with the ground that you may step on them and not even realize it. They also blend into the rocky terrain so well.
The bright yellow of this bloom was almost too bright for me to focus on for any lengthy time. Located as a bush there were lots of these blooms located throughout the golf course. The blooms were about I would say, a half inch across and the stems were thin and leggy. The leaves were grass like. Again, I had never seen these before today.
This very tiny bloom was so small that it was really just a speck of purple underneath another shrub.
 I was taking some photos and a curious passersby decided to stop and investigate me and seemed to want check me out. He was just a foot from me and chest level. Dragonflies are curious creatures and if deemed non-threatening will hover or even rest on the end of a branch as it is here. Wonderful graceful things. One year since I've been here and I'm not sure what time of year it was but I was on my way to Alpine and stopped to eat my breakfast on the side of the road. That's when I noticed them. Hundreds or even thousands of dragonflies were all flying past my truck as far as I could see. I looked it up later and found out that they migrated thousands of miles every year south and then migrate north.
 Another bloom we encountered. The thorns are really small hairs or bristles. I think this may be a Bristly Nama.
 The golf course is not advertised any longer and only four of the original 9 holes are playable. The remaining fairways and greens have been allowed to turn back into the desert. Hence the ground around this yellow blooming plant seems manicured even if it is brown. This I think, is what we call Limoncillo (pronounced Lee-moan-see-yo). If you pick this and crush the tiny thin leaves between your fingers you will notice a strong lemon aroma. It can be gathered and brewed as a tea with a lemon scent. It's supposedly has medicinal value. I enjoy see this bloom every year. It reminds me that it's summer still.
 I think this is what is called a Texas Sunflower. We found this one lone specimen with three or four blooms in the middle of tall grasses.
 Below is a Texas Sunflower bud on it's way to becoming a beautiful bloom
 This was one of the last things I saw on the nature walk today. It was so tiny and just a white spot on the stem that I almost overlooked it. But I decided to investigate with my lens and BAM! there it was. This wonderfully shaped blooms. It reminds me of my grandmother Rose and her hand crocheted lace doilies that she had on her table tops.
 I have taken photos of this plant and I think it is called Yarrow but I could be mistaken. But what I wanted was this small butterfly resting on the blooms. It wasn't shy at all since it allowed us to get quite close. It wasn't a very clear shot since the wind was blowing somewhat and moving the wings back and forth.

Wow. Today was a great day for a walk and here it is, the end of Summer and the blooms continue to bloom and show us that there is always something blooming here in the Terlingua desert.

Well, tomorrow is another day. I'm going to do my four mile walk tomorrow morning. You know, it helps to keep things moving. If you don't move...nothing else does either.

Remember that the world is what we make it. Have a great day and may it be blessed.

Charlton







Saturday, September 14, 2013

Life as a Sunset

Life gives us what it can. We only get one chance and I want to make the most of it. As there are countless sunsets and sunrises and there are numbered days to our lives, I intend on seeing as many as possible.

So here's two more....

Terlingua Sunset 091313

Terlingua Sunset 091413
I am just always amazed at the sunsets and sunrises. The colors and how each one is different each day. I never tire of them.

Have a great day and remember always...

That the world is what we make it. May it be blessed.

Charlton

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Cat Cussed and the Sun Rose

I was already awake this morning at seven o'clock and couldn't get back to sleep. I glanced out the window through the venetian blinds and it looked so overcast that I didn't even bother wondering if there was going to be an interesting sunrise, sooooo.... I laid down for another ten minutes hoping to magically fall into a deep stupor. Did that happen? Of course not. I again glanced out the window and that's when the expletive just popped out of someone's mouth...it was the cat. I know! I was surprised also, but I didn't waste any more time on the small miracle because the sky was aglow with red from the sunrise. I ran into the living room, grabbed the camera and ran out the door in my bedwear...okay it was pajamas...awlright awlready! It was a pair of shorts and a t-shirt...but the point is...I ran out the door to grab shots of the sunset before it was gone. It was beautiful!!!

Add caption
Just de-gorgeous I can tell you!!

Now I'm going to go walk a couple of miles for training purposes. This will be my first day of training for my adventure I'm planning on taking and the planned estimated date of departure is April 1st, 2015. I have to save up for it so that is the reason for the far advanced planning. I will have to see if I can take a short leave of absence from my job for this as well as save up enough dough to pay my few bills while I'm gone. I have always wanted to do this since I was a little kid and learned of it's existence.

The planned destination is The Appalachian Trail. It's approximately 2,180 miles long and takes up to five to six months to hike. It stretches from Maine to Georgia. It will take some planning and training. It's through mountainous territory so the training to get my legs used to the walking will be necessary.

Have a great day and remember...

The world is what we make it.

Charlton

Update: I said a couple of miles didn't I? I took my handheld GPS with me and when I returned home it was more like four miles! Needless to say, my legs are going to feel it tomorrow.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Subtle Sunrise

“Time and sunshine healed a sore, but the process was slow, and new boils appeared if I didn't stay dry.” 
― Yann MartelLife of Pi

I had the chance yesterday, to watch a sunrise. I enjoy sunrises, as much as I enjoy a sunset. But by a mixture of habit and choice, I usually witness the sunset almost every evening. I guess sunrises and sunsets are like flavors. If one flavor is enjoyed many times, they may taste wonderful still, but if one flavor is enjoyed once in a while, one ends up savoring it over and over and over in the course of a few moments, so that it can be remembered once it's gone. And so it was with this sunrise.

The morning was very calm, serene, and quiet. The sky was a blue with hints of pink meringue suspended in the atmosphere above.

Terlingua Sunrise 090713
The sun began rising in the east behind Maverick Mountain and Indian Head. It gradually lit the sky subtly and turned the small wispy clouds pink.

Terlingua Sunrise 090713
As the light increased it began to light up the sky behind Sawmill Mountain looking towards the west.

Terlingua Sunrise 090713
With Sawmill Mountain and Terlingua Springs area in full light. The day began with no noise at all. Which was just great by me.

Yucca framed against the Terlingua Sky 090713
This morning I had the opportunity to gets some shots of the Cenizo or Purple Sage in bloom. It blooms two to three days after a rain.


Cenizo in bloom after a rain shower 090813

Texas Yellow Trumpet Bush 090813
Cenizo with Butterfly 090813
It was a beautiful day.

The world is what we make it.

Charlton

Friday, September 6, 2013

Fire In the Sky

It seems the sky is always busy painting in a different scene every evening.  I never tire of sunsets. Such an array of beautiful colors every evening. I encountered a few of my neighbors out taking a stroll yesterday evening. It was a beautiful evening wasn't it?

Another neighbor decided to drop by unannounced. Some type of beetle. Found on front porch steps 083113

Neighbor caught peeking in my window. Has the appearance of a grasshopper. Found on the window screen 083113

One of my neighbors. Solpugid at 10pm 083113 in front of Big Bend Resort Cafe.
The Solpugid above is a card carrying member of the spider family. It is neither a spider nor a scorpion. They are quite numerous here in the desert.


Terlingua Sunset 083113 taken at the juncture of Hwy 118 and FM 170

Terlingua Sunset 090113 taken at the juncture of Hwy 118 and FM 170

Terlingua Sunset 090213 taken at the juncture of Hwy 118 and FM 170

Terlingua Sunset 090513 taken at the juncture of Hwy 118 and FM 170
Have a great day and remember, the world is what we make it.

Charlton