Field Log 5/30/2010 (Coneflowers)

North Erath County, Texas, Lat 32.43 N, Long -98.36 W, elev. 1,086 ft. Turkey Creek Quad.

General Log

Weather has been hot, 90 deg. F. plus, last few days.  Air is almost completely calm.  Some slight breeze from the south.

Grass is drying up, browning.  Seeds are become ripe and falling off.

This week, Shiney goes for sale at Shawnee, Oklahoma.  We leave on Thursday, come back on Sunday.  The most important objective is guarantee that Shiney will have a good home, regardless of the auction price.

F-250 in shop for air conditioner repair.  Have been looking at new and used F-250s to purchase.  The trucks have been repaired frequently in the last week, ranging from oil pumps to the F-150 bearings and now the air conditioner.

Barn Swallows and Feeding Wild Birds by Hand (A Method Observed)

In the evening, Barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) encircle our ranch house on Poprock Hill and feed on mosquitoes and flies.  A nest of barn swallows have hatched fledglings on our back porch.  Notice the characteristic sharply-notched tail.  This photograph was taken in the morning.  If I sit quietly on the porch, the swallows will angle under the eve of the porch and fly within three or four feet of where I am sitting.  Last year, a resident wren that fed about the porch landed on my hat and pecked around on my hat for about a minute until it flew off.   I will set the camera up for remote operation and see if I can photograph the wren on my hat.  When I lived in Paris, I was always intrigued by the young man at Notre Dame that would sit in a chair about the sidewalk and hedge and have the sparrows feed out of his hand.  The method he used was to look away from the birds and extend his arm back from his body (like in handing off a baton) so that the birds did not see his eyes or mouth (specific threat areas for birds).  The young man was neither monk nor priest, but a lad that loved birds.

Barn Swallow in Flight, Photo by J. Matthews

Wildflower Photography and Hoe Downing with Bull Nettle (Not a Dance)

On May 23, 2010, Brenda and I drove the F-150 to Pecan Tree Pasture for her to photograph wild flowers and for me to hoe down Bull Nettle.

Wild Flowers alongside SH 108 at Gate 3 Entrance, Photo by B. Matthews

Lemon Horsemint, Photo by B. Matthews

This blossoming plant is the Lemon horsemint (Monarda citriodora Cerv. ex Lag.)  It is also known as the Lemon beebalm, Horsemint, Purple horsemint or Plains horsemint.  Several stands of this plant are about the place.  Over near the pecan tree, a few blossoms are present.  The biggest stand of Lemon horsemint is back up by the barn, about an old hearth location that goes back for several decades, perhaps prehistoric.  The Lemon horsemint is attractive to butterflies and bees.

Clasping Coneflower, Photo by B. Matthews

This yellow-leafed blossom is the Clasping Coneflower (Dracopis amplexicaulis).  It is also know as Clasping-leaf Coneflower.  It differs from the Black-eyed Susan and Mexican Hat.  This particular species has medicinal qualities: the Cherokee used the  juice of root for earache and a tea, made from the leaves, was used as a tonic and diuretic.

Unidentified Plant and Blossom (Now Identified)

Bush Vetchling or Manystem Pea, Photo by B. Matthews

Here we have an unidentified plant and blossom.  (See update for identification in next paragraph.)  I first thought it a Skull-cap (Scutellaria drummondii), but I am not sure.  Like my previous analysis regarding the Mariposa and Wine-cup, I must go back over to the pecan tree area and re-photograph and take a sample of the full plant, not merely the blossom.  One of the interesting aspects of posting this photograph and determining genus and species is that I look more closely at the photograph to make sure I get it right, and upon looking closer at the photograph, I see bean pods that I did not notice while I was in the field — see if you can spot the pods.

Update:  The unidentified plant and blossom is the Bush Vetchling or Manystem Pea from the Lathyrus genus, more than likely the species montanus or nissolia.  The Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center lists several species including polymorphus and brachycalyx ssp. zionis. Thank you, Grethe Bachmann of Thrya Blog and Flora and Fauna Blog for the identification.  I never would have found it since it does not appear the two general sources of plants I use for identification.  You can go to Grethe’s blogs by linkage from my blogroll on my Homepage.

Texas Prickly Pear, Photo by B. Matthews

This is the blossom of the Texas Prickly Pear (Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri).  The blossoms are especially brilliant.

Indian Blankets with Shelton Rock Hills, Photo by B. Matthews

This is a stand of Indian Blankets with the Shelton Rock Hills (north and south) in the background.  The direction of the camera is west.  To the right (north) is The Grove and Salt Creek.

With this hot weather, the horses go back to the stables for shade and water.  I attend to them at about 6:00 p.m. everyday.

Jack Matthews with Hoe and Clasping Coneflower (2010), Photo by B. Matthews

I am actually in a much, much better mood than what this photograph belies.  In the pasture, I’ve been hoeing a few Bull Nettle down and it is rather hot, late in the morning.  Note the large stand of Big Bluestem grass to my left.  I’ve been careful to keep the Big Bluestem from getting shredded for several years and now it grows higher than me in the field.  Please also note the tool on my left side.  That is a hoe.  Not machinery, a manual tool.  Kinda Luddite-ish, don’t you think?



Filed under Field Log, Plants and Shrubs

15 responses to “Field Log 5/30/2010 (Coneflowers)

  1. Spider

    Hi Jack … I was totally unaware that the prickly pear has the most lovely flower !!!

    • Hi, Spider: So hope all is well with you. I know it must be still exhilarating, your marriage and putting it all together. Yes, the prickly pear flower is just beautiful. So surprising that with the prickly pear, out comes this beautiful flower. Thanks for commenting.

  2. The unidentified flower. If it is the little one with the small violet flowers?
    It looks like a Lathyrus-species? Maybe Lathyrus montanus or Lathyrus nissolia.

    • Grethe: Yes, the little one, violet flowers. I have three sources, two that can give me an immediate typing, but I didn’t find it this morning in those sources. I will pursue the Lathyrus species angle.

      I am so happy you gave me a direction to go! Thank you so much for commenting! You are so kind!

      And, cheers, back at you,


  3. Hi Jack:

    Love all the information you have about all the plants and flowers. What a great photo of you in the midst of all the beauty of the land and that tall grass. I remember my parents and grandparents telling me about having to go and help the family racking the hay in and loading it onto the tractor to take it home to the barn. All with the rack and by hand loading, hard work. Now we ask the kids to rack the grass around the house and they grumble…I like all the technology but sometimes I think it would be nice to still have some of the old times like racking the hay in and loading it onto the tractors…just think of all the fun one could have and toss the hay up into the air…being a kid again….

    I could imagine that lifting on a range would still have some of that fun….But what do I know, perhaps I am very wrong.

    Have a wonderful day,

    • Jacqueline:

      Thank you for the compliment about the photo in the high grass and your extended comments about the range and technology, now and then. Yes, I sometimes feel like a kid when I’m doing farm and ranch things even though it’s hard on the body some of the time, not all the time.

      One thing that does happen when I’m doing agricultural things (at least the way I do it) is that my pace slows down and I’m not in a hurry, rush, rush, rush. And, that’s good.

      I hope you subscribed to the comments and receive my reply. Again, I like your blog.

      Have a good holiday weekend,

    • Jacqueline:

      No, you are correct, not wrong. It’s still fun. You pace yourself and use levers and fulcrums.


  4. Where do I begin when I love everything about this post? Nesting birds and blankets of wildflowers and your Luddite ways…

    “When I lived in Paris…” for God’s sake, man, tell us more… What a wonderful juxtaposition with your Texas ranch…

  5. What can I say? Wonderful shots, especially the last. “A Man Outstanding in His Field”.

  6. Kittie Howard

    Jack, that’s a magnificent photo of you surrounded by Nature’s lovelies. And when are we going to hear about your Paris days? Do you speak French? All these wonderful surprises! The Cornflower looks so much like the Black-eyed Susan. Interesting how the former has medicinal purposes. But the Texas Prickly Pear steals the show. My first thought was that it was a peony except that it was too open. Jack, these wildflowers are so majestic, so like it should be, that I simply can’t imagine how anyone could even think to summarily drive thru them, i.e., previous post (saw the fence in photo above). You always have the most interesting posts, Jack. But this one is surely in the top five. I read it twice. Enjoyed the beauty. Enjoyed learning. Thank you. Kittie. (Taking the computer in today for Windows 7 upgrade!)

  7. I came here via a link on Kitty’s blog, The Block, and I’m so glad I did! That barn swallow photo is so pretty in silhouette. We don’t have a barn but barn swallows have actually built nests under out deck…Go figure!

    Also, several years ago we planted hundreds of native grasses and wildflowers in a lakescape near our beach. I love everything there…the coneflowers (purple & yellow), buttefly weed, black-eyed susans, ohio spiderwort and prairie roses are my favorites…well, they’re ALL my favorites but it would take much too long to list all of them.

    Are the Indian Blankets the same as Gallardia?

    • CherylK: I usually don’t take this long in responding to carefully-crafted comments, but I have been away to a horse sale. Thank you for responding to my plant and bird pictures. I will check out the Gallardia connection. Kittie is a dear blog friend of mine and I’m glad you took the time to look my blog over. I will go over to your blog and see your work. I took several pictures of the barn swallow and finally got the one I wanted. Yes, barn swallows, maybe we should call them porch swallows. Again, thanks, and I look forward to your blog.

    • CherylK: Yes, the Indian Blankets are the same as Gaillardia. You know them by their scientific name first. I went and looked up the Indian Blanket in a database and you are correct, one and the same. I know about favorite flowers. You planted native grasses and wildflowers. Were you successful in getting them to grow? Thank you so much for coming by. I do hope you followed this reply to your comment. Thanks, Jack.

      • Yes, we have dozens of native grasses and wildflowers in our lakescaping.

        I wrote an article about it which you can read at this link, if you like. There are some pictures that show us planting them and then the progression after a couple of years. The roots of the natives grow deep in the ground and help keep pollutants out of the lake by absorbing the runoff from roads, roofs, etc. You can accomplish the same thing with rain gardens, too.

  8. CherylK: What a pleasure it is to see the grasses grow.

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