Nature Happens

Texas Hill Country spring is the best spring.
Photo: Sunrise via drone @ 384' altitude
Horseshoe Bay sunrise from 384'

When it comes to weather in Texas, I’m a glass-half-empty kind of guy. Regardless of how verdant the local landscape looks at any given moment, I see a hot and dusty drought around every corner. And, unfortunately, this attitude is supported by decades of being right.

All that’s to say that we’re reveling in the current beauty that’s the Texas Hill Country, and not just because we don’t think it will last. This may be the best spring for bluebonnets in memory, and the wildflower season is just getting started. Indian paintbrush is beginning to flourish and that will soon be followed by firewheels and Mexican hats (aka prairie coneflowers) and buttercups and more.

The street that winds down into our neighborhood cuts through a wide swath of undeveloped land and its now blanketed by bluebonnets. Our morning runs are often interrupted by photo opportunities, be it some unusual specimen of flower, or the photogenic poses of whitetail deer watching warily in the midst of the Texas state flower.

Photo: A whitetail buck and three does amidst a sea of flowers
A whitetail buck and three does in the background

We’re always on the lookout for bluebonnets that aren’t, you know, blue. We’ve found a couple of those aberrant colorations along that street.

Photo: Pink bluebonnet
A pink bluebonnet
Photo: White bluebonnets among 'normally' colored blooms
White bluebonnets among their blue cousins

I admit that I have a hard time distinguishing the white ones from the pink ones; they’re both very pale. But Debbie assures me that they’re not the same, and she’s the one who’s not colorblind.

A week or so ago I launched my drone and took it for an aerial tour of the property just outside of our neighborhood. If you have nothing better to do for eighteen minutes, feel free to take in the scenery. I didn’t bother to do any editing, so parts of the following video are pretty rough, but maybe it will give you a feel for how things are looking around here (and why we feel blessed to live here!).

Drone: DJI Air 2s

But wildflowers and deer aren’t the only denizens of nature frequenting our neighborhood. A few days ago we discovered an almost full jar of mixed nuts in our pantry. It had been there for months past its use-by date and the nuts were pretty stale.

Rather than throw it away, I had the bright idea of scattering the nuts in the vacant lot adjacent to our back yard, and then setting up a trail camera to see what — other than squirrels — might show appear to take advantage of the buffet. I was quite pleased with the results. I pieced together a video showing the highlights from the almost 200 photos and videos the camera took overnight. (Don’t worry…this one’s only eight minutes long.)

As I said on my YouTube page, I doubt that nuts of any kind make up a significant portion of the diets of foxes and raccoons, but they certainly seem to be willing to integrate them into their dining habits when the opportunity arises.

I hope that wherever you are, spring is offering a glimpse — however brief — of the promise of good things. Let’s do our best to savor every minute of it; who knows how long the glass will stay full?


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