WIldflowers are starting to come out, the weather is fabulous in Texas, and these two things inspire us to get out and explore. Armed with cameras, binoculars, and the GPS, we set out this Sunday morning to celebrate God’s glory in what J calls his church – Nature.
We are having a coffee issue at the house, so our first stop is at the Essence Cafe in Fulshear. This is a full service dining cafe, but you can get orders to go, including delicious frothy sweet frappucinos, which we did get, and gourmet lunch boxes, which we didn’t. The lunch boxes may be an idea for the future, though: chips, cookie and a drink as well as your pick of gourmet sandwiches such as Country French, Smoked Salmon, and the like.
After this, we headed north up 359 to I-10, then a little west towards Stephen F. Austin State Park. We didn’t enter the park proper, but we drove right past the historical area commerating this public figure of Texas statehood, which was befitting since this weekend was the 176th Anniversary of Texas statehood. We should have stopped to pay our respects, like many others – the parking lot was nearly full – but we didn’t, thinking we might come back around. Instead, we got out nearby in a pull out for the Brazos River to let the dogs out for a romp, and find the Brazos River Run cache.
We were seeking birds, butterflies, and flowers today. Didn’t get any pictures of the first two but we did see quite a bit. The birds spotted were the usual suspects: doves, chickadees, wrens, cardinals, pyrrhuloxia, grackels, sparrows, blackbirds, turkey vultures, and a few gorgeous red tailed hawks that we watched circle about with our binoculars. I cannot even claim to be able to identify the multiple butterfly species we saw. Here are some of the plants and flowers that caught our eye:
Butterweed, surrounded by annual phlox
Some may be interested to learn that phlox engages in an interesting genetic interplay in Texas, by which the plant blooms red in areas near Austin in order to naturally prevent two species from interbreeding. See more info on that here.
Here is my favorite wildflower:
I really enjoyed the sweet acacia (species above) trees today on the horizon, although this species is apparently considered a trash tree. The little gold pom poms on the branches are really pretty close up, and the splash of color on the branches broke up the barrenness of the scrubby Texas plains.
Another sight that I found enchanting was the forests covered with a layer of buttercups shining in the sun. Here is J getting the shot I wanted while I took his picture from in the truck. J is the photographer, I usually want to just tell him what I think he should photograph. I’m the “artist”, he’s the “medium”. He would prefer not to get in and out of the vehicle, though, so lately he has been telling me how to take the picture, mechanically, so I can do it myself. I took all the pictures in this blog myself, mostly with his camera.
We had a great time exploring, and even hid a couple of caches while we were out there, and made plans for where to go next time we went that way. Next drive, though, I want to go further north, so we can capture some bluebonnets with our lens.