Armadillo Encounter!

It’s been a good couple of days in the Austin neighborhood. The weather is so nice that we’re able to be out a bit more. So, we see things. On top of that, we meet people. Here’s what and who I have seen and met in the last 24 hours.

I thought I’d share the progress of our yucca bloom. I think it makes a really pretty pattern.

I met a charming pre-teen youth yesterday who was running sprints back and forth between two mailboxes, and doing push-ups in between. I was trying to leave him alone, but Vlassic loved him, so we chatted. I asked him what he was training for, and he puffed himself up to full height (shorter than me, I think), and informed me he was the starting quarterback at his middle school team, and he had to keep in shape to keep his position. “We play tackle!” he happily informed me. I told him he was showing all the signs of someone who has sports success, and he just beamed at me.

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Big Plant, Little Bird

I’m recovering from spending so much energy the last few days, so I’ll just share two pictures and my tarot card (I have done them most days with the app but today I used my real deck).

This yucca has decided to bloom. The bud is growing many inches per day.

The yucca bud sure looks like a giant asparagus stalk! Maybe it’s tasty. I’m not going to chomp on it.

High Priestess in Robin Wood deck.

So today I drew the High Priestess. It’s a favorite of mine. I think she is acknowledging how hard I’m working to be mature and use my skills for good these days. The weekend went so well, and I’m patting myself on the back a bit.

Probably too blurry, but pretty.

And finally, I love this hummingbird I saw today. It’s a black chinned one, judging from the male that was also flitting around. I’m so glad they’re still here.

Walking around Lake Travis

This morning I took a walk while waiting for the rest of my team to arrive. This is an interesting area, because it was all laid out to be neighborhoods, then no one showed up to build houses, so the land has stayed pretty much untouched. Now, people are finally starting to move in, as the Austin suburbs move further and further out. Still, where we are staying has a lot of empty property.

Typical terrain in this area. Lots of juniper, little oak trees, and some mesquite.

This means that you can get a good idea of what the area around Lake Travis looked like, at least since the advent of all the cedar (ashe juniper) trees.

The lake is low. But it’s been MUCH lower.

I’ve been here in the spring, and know the wildflowers are spectacular. It was easy to see from all the dried seeds heads I saw.

Mexican hats and seed heads. Camera stubbornly focused on the back one.
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Succulent Tourism

Tiny but gorgeous.

The other thing Anita and I squeezed into our few hours of Austin tourism was a trip to the East Austin Succulents nursery. You know it’s cool and trendy because:

  • It’s in east Austin
  • The website is mostly pictures and hard to find links on
  • They have a cute pug on the homepage of said website
  • All employees were young, and if male, had very full beards
Teeny tiny cactus flower.

I’ve lived in Austin since 1997, but had never been to the neighborhood where the nursery is located, so I was as much a tourist as Anita was on this trip. I really enjoyed seeing all the fun and funky areas, and was impressed at how many community centers there are. I probably just happened to drive by them all.

Happy flower!
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Flowers at Lake Austin

Among many things I did today, I took an impromptu trip to Laguna Gloria on Lake Austin. I’ll share some of the sculptures later, but I thought tonight I would share some of the plants. Enjoy the photo essay.

Panicled tick trefoil

I uploaded 40 or so images to iNaturalist. That was fun! Most were trees and such.

Pink Mexican ruellia

Some identification may be wrong. I’ll fix them if I find out.

Prairie acacia
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Milkweed and More

Time for another look around our dry ranch.

A view of my riparian garden. This is the first time we ever let things grow to their full size here.

You never know what you’ll find during a walk around the Hermits’ Rest. Even in this awful weather, there are fun things to discover. I found that out today, when I went over to get a photo of the little grouping of Zizotes milkweed I’d found recently. Lo and behold, the milkweed was doing its job!

Zizotes milkweed.

Each plant had its own beautiful Queen butterfly caterpillar on it. They were merrily chomping away and waving their festive red antennae and spikes. I’ve seen a lot of Queens around this year, and I am happy to see that there will be quite a few more, if things work out well.

I took some pretty good photos, I think. (Aside: Lee just got one of the new iPhones with three cameras. I am looking forward to heading out into nature with it to see if I can get better close-ups and distance photos with it. However, I think I’m going to get myself a regular camera, too.)

I also saw more subtle beauty last night. After the Vrazels mowed our field, not much sticks up, since the grass is not growing while we are in drought. One plant is growing, and it’s the horsenettle. It’s a prickly thing, but it’s strong and tenacious, and I happen to think the flowers are beautiful.

Pretty purple nettle flower, and extreme finger close-up.

In any case, the sight of all those little purple flowers sticking up above the dead grass pleased me very much. Sometimes you have to be prickly and strong to deal with what life throws at you. Physical beauty is just a happy bonus.

I hope you can see the little spots of color from the horsenettle.

While I was admiring tenacity, I had to admit to myself that one of my least favorite garden weeds, the spotted surge, can be beautiful when allowed to flourish and grow. I’m just glad I don’t have to weed it and get all that milky stuff on me.

It looks like some kind of sea urchin or something.

Thanks to Everyone Who Ever Sent Me Flowers

Sad times come to everyone. It’s part of life. When you’re sad and feeling unloved, nothing beats having the people who do love and care about you remind you that you aren’t alone.

Flowers. They help.

Today, my therapist and friend listened to me, affirmed my experience, and gave me flowers. That’s about all you can do, but it means a lot!

These celosias, sunflowers, and marigolds liven up my fall display.
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