July 31, 2019. I’m still vibrating from Monday evening in the midst of purple martins amassing at dusk — preparing to migrate into South America. For a few evenings in July, the sky darkens with wings swooping down from way up high, collective perpetual motion, each bird merging into position, settling to rise again, resettle. Quite the party scene! Not sure if they wait for sufficient flock size, or weather cues, or perhaps the just-so moon cycle? One morning their signals dictate, and away they go — migrating amassed.
I first experienced this rush in 2014. We’ve missed out in recent years due to summer travels, but this year home early enough. This collage is from 2014 photos (I had a real camera with me that night). Some challenges an iPhone simply cannot meet. And no camera (still or video) can capture the energy of all those wings! Nor the compatibility of humans in awe.
July 25, 2019. We have returned from our summer roaming to a yard overgrown with green leafy things we did not plant, do not want – some strange new vine draping over shrubs and walkways as thick as a rug. There is considerable down-at-ground-level work to be done! Luckily, the same Ma Nature responsible for all this growth has granted us a week of temperatures unusually cool for Central Texas. So no complaints, just lots of time in the sun tugging and digging.
The walkway pictured was not visible when we got home.
The red dragonfly (who comes annually) has been a boost to attitude, thus to progress.
May 6, 2019. Rains have summoned the spade-foot toads, up from their burrows into misty night air … calling (could this be deemed crooning?) with a knowing confidence and persevering vigor. They like the pond just off the back porch (very near the bedroom window). Mating lasts throughout the night. Unable to sleep, I go out to enjoy the party.
February 3, 2019. Our yard is a designated wildlife habitat, and for several weeks the sparrows have been our poster advocates. They take cover in the thick ever-green (in Central Texas) honeysuckle. I’ve combined images of the honeysuckle on rainy days, and included a short video for sound effects: sparrow voices join percussion of rain tapping metal porch roof. Enjoy!
October 31, 2018. Never mind the date and the hue – this is not a Halloween post.
It’s a response to what’s been stirring in my backyard for the past few days, and today’s nudge from Sam Allen at www.peacockpoetryblog.wordpress.com – she suggests a poetic look at one scene through two lenses. That’s what I’ve been doing in the yard – admiring the butterflies, admiring the cat, conflicted over the proximity of such different energies. I am awed (and relieved) at how adeptly butterflies react to presence of cat …
I was unsuccessful trying to photograph Brie leaping for a butterfly, hence the collage. These butterflies were among this afternoon’s many visitors. They are indulging in the blue mist that stands three-to-four feet above ground (and cat).
October 14, 2018. Out in the yard, pruning back an overgrown Jerusalem Sage, I noticed a small hole at the edge of a stump previously obscured by dense sage – thought nothing of it – UNTIL I noticed my year-old cat Brie trotting away, head held high, looking for all the world like a mother cat carrying a tiny kitten! I went for the camera, and found cat nose-to-nose with rat, each waiting for the other to make a move. Not wanting to watch what seemed inevitable, I went back to whacking on the sage. But I was quickly interrupted by Brie at my heels meowing loudly. I followed her back to where the rat should be (her perspective) but no longer was.
Guessing she blinked first. Her first rat, but maybe not the rat’s first cat?
Look closely, follow Brie’s nose … and you’ll see a tiny rat staring back at her.
September 4, 2018. We drove Saturday to Odessa TX, to spend Labor Day weekend with good friends. Not a new drive – a couple of known paths from our house to San Angelo, one obvious path from there to Odessa. Only … somehow we missed a turn and by the time we noticed the road no longer looked familiar, we were waaaay past that turn. Unwilling to forfeit time retracing, we proceeded to the next town (Goldthwaite TX). Studying Google Maps on my phone, strange changes kept occurring. Our printed maps were all in the truck that tows our Airstream – not with us in the Prius.
Goldthwaite further frustrated with no indication where its roads out of town would lead. But Lady Luck presented herself in a Welcome Center. (Who’d expect such in the middle of nowhere? And open on Saturday!) She sent me back to the car with a county map stating on left edge: “To San Angelo”. We were not yet aware at the county line our road dead-ended into a T … with zero indication what lay ahead in either direction.
Oddly, I have an urge to drive that way again (intentionally) for photographs. I’m relying here on images from maps and a photo of a similar pasture. Maybe next Spring when the wild flowers are blooming … to San Angelo for lunch and back again, with a map and Garmin along for the ride …