Monthly Archives: April 2012

Olivetti and Flowers of Flying Hat (20-24)

Keyboard

When possible, I use a large keyboard, not the small letter touchpad of iPhone. Who can possibly compose substantially on an iPhone?  My hands are large, like a teamster’s.  Here is my keyboard (QWERTY) I have pressed and pressed posts since 2005. I ratchet out fifty-words a minute when inspired or copying.  Nonetheless, I still have a typewriter although it is in the barn.  It is an Olivetti portable I purchased in Amarillo, Texas, back in the 1970s.  I look at Office Depot and Staples most times I shop and I still see typewriter ribbons stocked. How long will Office Depot stock typewriter ribbons? Probably not much longer.  I like the clack, clack of the keys hitting paper, although it has been twelve years since I used the Olivetti.  Although I eschew Wikipedia, the typewriter ribbons link above is quite informative.

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20. Yucca blossoms

Here I have more photographs of flowers that blossom on Flying Hat Ranchito, an ongoing project of mine for 2012-2013.  The yucca stalks that blossom flowers have been erect for two weeks, but only today have I seen blossoms.  Although we have had rains that nourished the first eruptions of grasses and plants, for almost three weeks now we have been bereft of moisture.  The pastures are already browning and it isn’t even May.  Most likely, the failure of the yucca stalks to bear flowers emanates from our dry spell — we shan’t call it a drought, just yet.

21. Horse mint

Horse mint is neither as prolific nor robust as it was two years ago.  Again, we lack additional rains to bring the horse mint to full fruition.  But some hearty plants, nonetheless, have sprouted.

22. Texas pricklypoppy, Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)

To my west, on the Dooley place, a whole field of Texas pricklypoppy has erupted.  I have a few poppies on Flying Hat Ranchito, and No. 22 is an example.

23. Unidentified

Yellow flowers predominate this time of year on my ranchito, especially the Cut-Leaf Daisy.  But No. 23, a yellow flower, I have not identified.  I first had it down as a Black-Eyed Susan, but now I am not so sure.

24. Indian Blanket

Indian Blankets are rather sparse this Spring, not fully developed as two years ago.  Nonetheless, here is No. 24, a photograph I took this morning over in the far field.  I have brilliant photos of the Indian Blanket from year’s past, but this No. 24 is from my project of photographing wild flowers for 2012-2013.

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This morning as I drove along the southern boundary of the far field where the large pecan tree lives, I came across a roost of Monarch butterflies among the Mustang grapevines and mesquite.  I estimate twenty to thirty Monarchs abounded, played and flew about the fence line, large butterflies they were.  ‘Tis not a promise, but I may go over in the morning and photograph the area.  And, I shall come back to the house and type out my spiel on a QWERTY keyboard, not an iPhone.  Furthermore, my Olivetti portable needs to be resettled in my office and not remain in the barn, do you not agree?

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Ranchito blossoms: Flowers of Flying Hat (14-19)

In my continuing task of photographing all different species of blossoms for one year on Flying Hat Ranchito (less than 2560 acres in western America), I have six new pictures to post, only two have I identified.  I thought it better to start posting the ranchito blossoms even though identification is lacking because I don’t want to archive these beautiful plants and I think posting the unidentified will stimulate me to do further research, or possibly you-as-reader have a quick classification in mind.

This time last year, my posts focused on the wildfires and drought.  Today, pastures are green — there is some browning already — and county fire bans in my area are lifted.

14. Milkweed

15. Nightshade

16. Texas vervain (Verbena halei)

17. Unknown

18. Unknown

19. Annual Phlox, periwinkle

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Shame and Kisses: More Flowers of Flying Hat (12-13)

Catclaw or Shame Vine

12. Catclaw, Shame Vine

This blossom and plant attests a rapid response to the human touch. It is variously known as: Shame Vine, Sensitive-Briar, Catclaw, Shame-Boy  (Mimosa microphylla). It has appeared every Spring since I have lived here, but I never photographed it before today. When I looked up the name of the plant, I also read that the tiny opposite leaflets close upward quickly when touched or walked upon. One authority says that the mechanism of withdrawal is not known in all respects.  Fascinated, I went down after lunch and shot this video of the Catclaw or Shame Vine.  Sure enough, when touched, it drew its claws in or folded its leaflets in ‘shame.’  Look at this video for it’s fascinating.

 

The Wild Honeysuckle or Kisses

13. Wild Honeysuckle, Bee Blossom or Kisses (Gaura suffulta), April 2012.

I spent two hours in the fields and grove this morning, photographing blossoms, mustang grapevines, yucca and the family of Gyp of Indian Blanket. Suddenly, there erupts in the pastures the Wild Honeysuckle pictured above. One day it is not there, the next day the flower is spread over five acres of pasture.  I never knew Honeysuckle grew on the ranchito.

The area has had two good rains in the last month that accounts for the lushness of the fields.

Of course, in identifying the blossoms above I found no quick method to do so.  I kept going among three wildflower books and the pictures in the books are not always precisely reflective of my photographs.  I find the Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center possesses a number of photos and variations that I can deduce better than one picture in one book.  But it did not help me this time.  I nearly gave up and was about to publish the blossom anyway, when I went into the Roadside Flowers of Texas by Mary Metz Wills and Howard S. Irwin.  Wills painted the wildflowers and did not photograph!  Nonetheless, I found a sketch of Wills that coalesced the attributes of the Wild Honeysuckle for me to identify.    Wills and Irwin’s book was published in 1961 by the University of Texas Press.

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What is this with the local naming of plants?  Shame Boy, Shame Vine, Kisses, Catclaw?  Before we had scientific names, the visual and behavioral characteristics set plants and blossoms apart for identification.  ‘Tis useful, quaint, enduring in memory.  Only this Spring have I finally seen the ‘stork’s bill’ in the Stork’s Bill plant.  It is not in the blossom, but is the shape of the seed pods in the plant’s emergent foliage.  I think both names are necessary, the scientific for classification and study, and the local idiomatic names that reflect culture.  I enjoy learning names of nature’s plants and creatures for it is like meeting strangers — long and lasting friendships may endure, strangers no more.

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I know you may think I am tedious about the Gyp Indian Blanket, but here is another picture of the family.  I can see the family outside my kitchen window and often monarchs perch and feed upon the family.  I have photos of monarchs perched upon the blossoms and will post them in the future.

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Flowers of Flying Hat (10-11): Salt Creek water sounds

The rains about two weeks ago produced sufficient runoff from pastures farther upstream to maintain a water flow in Salt Creek, an intermittent creek that runs through the ranchito.  You can turn up your sound volume and hear the burble of water flowing over and down sedimentary rock.

This is the first sustained water flow — beyond thunderstorm rains — since before the drought.

10. Gyp Indian Blanket, rear view of blossom that is pointed west.

The Gyp Indian Blanket is one of my favorite wildflowers.  They are so free-standing, tall and bunched together like a family.

Gyp Indian Blanket family

 

11. Vetch with yucca sprouts

The vetch is knee-high near the house and in the far field it is waist-high in some places.  I like this photograph because of the contrast — yucca and delicate vetch blossoms.

My photography of every new-emergent flower continues.  I have several varieties backlogged in pictures.  Today I have taken several photographs of the Stork’s Bill blossom and will post them soon.

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