Mustang grape vines on southern fence of Pecan Tree Pasture (May 2011).
Emergent flora signifies the arrival and maturation of Spring into Summer in central Texas. Mustang grape vines climb trees and follow fence lines without fail. I collect buckets of ripened grapes in late June or early July. Daily observations of ripening grapes must take place or birds pluck the deep ruby-red berries and in over-consuming they fly dizzily, drunkenly away, first to the harvest, leaving my mouth and bucket empty.
Mesquite and mustang grapevines often intertwine and when harvesting, the mesquite thorns force the cost of harvesting painfully upward.
Mustang grapes with mesquite (June 2011).
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Two stands of Big Bluestem grass (May 2011)
When rain falls, grass flourishes. The top of the stems reach six-feet or more high. Big. Native. Bluestem.
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The final exhibit of Spring in this post is prickly-pear cactus with its brilliant yellow cactus flower. I note that many varieties of insects clamor and dive into the flower, bees especially. Cactus is destroyed as nuisance flora as a regular chore on small ranches and farms. Yet, its fruit is edible, the flower yields pollen for honey and in drought, propane torches burn thorns and cattle consume the paddles. The roar of burning pear signals drought upon the land.
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For the moment, propane torches rest against barn walls. Yesterday, west of my ranchito about a hundred miles, and northwest of Abilene, Erin Rea reports prairie fires near her farm. The drought has descended brutally on her area and in a line stretching to the southeastern corner of Colorado, the land reminds old-timers of the dust bowl days. @Tuckertown tweets, “Wildfire in Southern Colorado fouls the air along Colorado’s Front Range. Very tender dry in the SE corner of Colorado. Very bad.”
The Spring to Summer in central and west Texas is endurable as we live with the land whether mustang grapes emerge or prairie fires burn.