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







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