Monday, February 21, 2011

C'mon, spring!

Anacachio orchid tree (Bauhinia lunarioides), which had green leaves
until three weeks ago.  The recent Arctic blasts took the temperature
a little low for this beautiful little tree; I really hope it survives.
Don’t you hate when weather is the only topic you can come up with when chatting with someone? It’s a sure sign that you don’t know the person well, or that you have nothing in common.

Or, that you are gardeners.

We have gone from the extreme of snow in my last post and another arctic front the following week to the past week of balmy weather in the 70s (F). These wonderful non-seasonal days are a benefit of living in Texas. We have spent lots of time outside this week, finishing the pruning, weed-eating grass stalks, sitting in the porch swing, taking walks.

All week it's been cloudy and sometimes very damp in the morning, clearing off to a sunny afternoon. I took these pictures Saturday morning when it was quite foggy.
I do adore foggy mornings!

One of our outdoor activities has been nursing a large leopard frog. I spied him from an upstairs window as he floated in our small pond last Monday. After school that day, my daughter went out and gathered him up, discovering he was alive. She administered some physical therapy, and built him a platform to rest on. We thought he was perhaps stunned by the cold, or was waking from a dormant period.

Alas, after a week of her best frog nursing efforts, he (she?) finally succumbed. Au revoir, la petite grenouille. You were a good little frog. (My daughter’s also been learning some French words this week to impress a friend who speaks French.)

Favorite spot in the garden:

My garden is tres triste (ha!) after the hard freezes we have endured.  But some dainty greenery is emerging with our warm weather. This photo is of an unidentified plant, perhaps the native oxalis. It’s green (which is exciting) and I like the diamonds of water decorating the leaves.

C’mon, spring!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow on the hill!

It was an exciting day at our house: SNOW!

To multiply the joy, my daughter's school cancelled classes. That's good, because I probably would have kept her home and accrued an unexcused absence. A snowy day in Central Texas counts as an educational experience, as far as I'm concerned.

We explored the sights this morning, and wandered through the woods on our trail-in-progress. My daughter remembered the twists and turns of the trail, but I was somewhat discombobulated by the foreign white substance beneath my feet. We spied some animal tracks: deer, maybe rabbit and possibly fox. It was so beautiful, and such a treat for us.

Much of the snow has melted now, as the sunshine has brought the temperature up to 39 degrees F, the warmest it's been since Monday, and the first time it's been over 24 degrees since Tuesday. (Our average temp for this time of year is 62 degrees!)

What a tremendous winter event this has been. We got off relatively easy, though with warmer air we shall see how many broken water pipes there are!

Favorite spot in the garden:

It seems contradictory: snow on century plants (Agave Americana). But there it is, and it's beautiful!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Oh my, it's a bit chilly.

Outside . . . 

The cold front hit at 3 a.m. like a big frozen fist battering our house. My husband and I jolted out of a sound sleep as wind whistled through the eves, trees thrashed about, screens and vent covers rattled, and our driveway sensor went off (as it will in a strong wind).

After the sensor went off a second time, I dragged myself out of bed to unplug it. Glancing out our window, I saw a car dome light glowing; my daughter had retrieved a book earlier and hadn’t quite latched the door.

I went out in my robe and slippers to shut the door and experience the early moments of the front. I will report that the night is rather spooky when the wind shrieks through treetops.  Thankfully, no one saw me scurrying like a scared bunny back to the safety of my house.

. . . and inside. Life is better inside, today!
One of my neighbors said she and her husband awakened to a hurricane of chickens. Their chickens sleep in the trees, and the wind rousted them out of their roosts. I wish I could have seen and heard that hullabaloo!

Sunday and Monday were beautiful Texas spring days, with highs near 80 degrees F. We stayed outside as much as possible. But today is a different animal. When I got up at 6 a.m., it was 37 degrees. When I returned from the school run, it was 27 degrees. The temperature is hovering around 31 now in the mid-afternoon sun, and the wind is blowing dogs off chains. Weathermen are predicting low teens for the next several nights, and we even have a chance of snow later this week!

Saddest spot in the garden today:

I just noticed the first casualty of this cold blast: my yellow columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinkleyana) is draped limply over the edge of its bed. It has soldiered on through previous cold spells this winter, but I guess this one is just too much. I think this is a temporary setback. It lives on the north side of the house; the columbines on the south side are still standing at attention.

Awwwww. Sad.
According to Lady Bird’s site, these columbines are endemic to one site only: Capote Falls in the Sierra Vieja Mountains of Presidio County, Texas. They are quite unique and lovely when in flower.