Monday, August 29, 2016

Rainy Day Garden Tour

This has been a most unusual August in North Texas.
Thanks to week after week of rain, the landscape is green instead of brown, 
and the air smells fresh instead of dusty.

This post is a short garden tour between the rain drops...

Everything seems to have doubled in size.

The rain lilies are in bloom

The roses bushes are covered with new growth.

Above is the climber 4th of July, and below are the hips and new growth on Gideon Lincecum.

The woolly stemodia ground cover is very thick, 
but I've never seen a single purple flower!

Starting to drape the wall at the end of this walk is evergreen wisteria.

Something ate the first flush of flowers, but it's trying again.

There is some volunteer morning glory in there, too...

Most of the flowers on the desert willow trees have fallen.

Now the trees are drooping with these long seed pods.

Volunteer crepe myrtle trees are turning up here and there. 
So far, none have the dark leaves of this black diamond variety. 

The low-growing rosemary has filled in this area of the driveway garden.
Unfortunately, the nut grass loves this spot too, so I am constantly trying to weed it out.  It looks so innocent until those large, cruel burrs develop!

This Turk's cap is several years old and growing bigger every year.
That's purple shield in front and the wide green leaves of cast iron plant to the right.
This is the north side of the house, but after so many scorching days the ferns planted last fall look like they are sorry to find themselves in Texas.

The potted plants on the south side look relieved to get a break from the sun.

These chiffon-skirted mushrooms sprouted under the hyacinth vine.

The garlic chive is just coming into bloom.

This is one of my favorite fall flowering plants.

Such green and healthy grass! 
But in this same spot last August it looked quite dead.

Hopefully the rains will continue. 
If this is climate change, bring it on.

Even a dog who hates water is willing to chase rabbits in the warm August rain!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Local Fauna

These beautiful pinto's live on a ranch that backs up to one of the roads in our subdivision.
Pinto is a generic term referring to any breed of horse that has a white coat splashed with patches of a different color.  Whatever their breed, these pinto's are certainly friendly, curious neighbors.  They trotted right up to the fence when we got off our bikes, and did't mind being petted! 

For a while I painted quite a few equestrian scenes - I wish I had met these willing models then.

There are other animal neighbors nobody tries to pet.  
This black longhorn is handsome, but that curving rack of horns can only mean 'stay away'!

Out on the lake, we sometimes pass cattle cooling off in the water.
Scenes like this really make our dog's day - Kye stands in the prow, fascinated by the sight and scent.

In our garden, we have smaller creatures - like this box turtle who got caught in our squirrel trap one afternoon.  We opened the hatch, and he lumbered quietly away. 
I saw him later sleeping under this holly.

Our little trap did catch two squirrels who had gnawed their way into our attic.
They were resettled in a distant wood.

But our most exciting catch was this big armadillo!
We are not sure how he overcame the electric armadillo fence, but somehow he got into the front yard and dug quite a deep hole, before blundering into this unbaited trap.
He has since been relocated to a distant field.

They are such strange looking creatures. When the trap opened, he actually leapt in the air!

The butterflies, of course, are much prettier to watch, and not destructive.

They have been feasting on the lantana flowers (a perennial in the verbena family).

We've seen Giant Swallowtails, Western Swallowtails, Monarchs, Orange Sulphers, and Gulf Fritially butterflies.

The days are steamy and hot, and the lake water is very warm, but we feel cooler just looking at it.