North Erath County, Texas, 32.43 lat., -98.36 long. Elev. 1,086 ft. Turkey Creek Quad.
Sweet Hija has been inseminated at Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery (ESMS) on the Brazos. She’ll be held for a couple of days, says Dr. Semira Mancill, to check on an edema problem. Then Sweet Hija can be released to come back for two weeks before her next checkup. Hija has a paddock and is comfortable at ESMS. But, she prefers to be back here to gallop full-speed from one end of the pasture to the other. Last year, I was at the east gate in the pasture and for no apparent reason, she reared up and stood for six seconds on her hind legs, cocked her eye towards me–I was about five feet away–and held my gaze. Powerful girl! Then, abruptly, with a snort and a turn, galloped to the other end of the pasture, a quarter-mile away. Did not slow down until she reached the end of the lane. Gasp.
Shiney (Shiners Fannin Pepto) is doing well at Jimmie Hardin’s in Aubrey. He’s slightly off his feed. The farrier came to trim him yesterday. Jimmie said that they had worked him out, groomed him and tied him for training purposes and he did just fine. I worry about the little guy since he is so exuberant and eager to please, it seems. Am still undecided about whether I will lead him at the sales ring in Shawnee or have someone else lead him.
I put out more corn today near the deer salt lick. I saw hoof prints of at least one deer. Track put down after the last rain of 2.0 inches. I’ve still not sighted deer.
I’ve seen hummingbirds. (Taosmesa tweets that she has “heard” hummingbirds at her home, but not seen any.) Scissor-Tailed Flycatchers (Muscivora forficata) abound about the fields. From Peterson, they breed here in w. and s. Texas, e. New Mexico, se. Colorado and s. Nebraska. He writes that their call is a repeated ka-leep with some stuttering. I concur (course, who be me?) with the ka-leep, although I might add that the refrain-call is like this: keck, keck, …ka-leep. (Peterson mentions the keck.) I have a rich and full life, and trying to replicate bird calls is good for me.
When I grew up in Brownwood, Texas, in the 1940s and 1950s, I remember the Scissor-Tailed Flycatchers sitting on power lines in front of our home, down towards Fourth Street and Brady Avenue. The Scissor-Tails had the same refrain-call back then as they do now. They would fly upwards in an arc when they called and then settle back down on the power line: keck, keck, …ka-leep, arcing, settling. I can see it now in my mind and hear it, too.
Here on Flying Hat, over in the Pecan Tree Pasture, several Red-Winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) will take up temporary residence sometime in the spring and summer. I do not shred the tall Johnson grass so that they can perch on the high stems and be spring-tossed by the wind. That touch of red on their wings is so bright, so colorful. I’ve not seen them yet, but I will, I know.
There are several stands of this plant, Gyp Indian Blanket (Gaillardia multiceps). It may also be (I am unsure) a Pincushion Daisy (Gaillardia suavis). It loses its petals quickly, but the brownish-red center remains. The bare flower stems stand 18 inches taller or more. Looks like those science fiction movies with the scout coming into the basement where Grade B movie actors are hiding.
This spring I’ve seen more variety of wild flowers than any spring since we moved here in 2003. A variety of primrose has emerged today down by the barn.
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My mother, Gywn, always had plants and birds. Her backyard looked like a wonderland in the summer and her bird room held finches she had purchased as far away as Australia as well as canaries and types I can’t remember. She even had a red hen that scratched through the debris on the floor.
In the photograph to the left, she is the first woman on the first row, left to right. She was representing Bend, Texas, in the state Declamation contest in 1938. She placed first and received The University Interscholastic League Award. Gywn wrote letters and sent cards to her friends as a habit pattern throughout her years (1920-2003). I have many of the letters from her friends. Careful in her speech and prose, she was my first teacher at home. She was small, but she was fierce, I have said about her. The Irish in her would bring her to a quickening: I’ll get me a shallelagh if you don’t settle down, Jackson!
She died seven-years-ago today, April 21, 2003. Her last words of advice were for me to have good friends and talk to them everyday. R.I.P., Mom. I’m taking good care of the land and plants and birds and wildlife: a steward, like you taught me. And, I have friends.