Today is the 7 year anniversary of starting this Sheila365 photoblog! I’ve enjoyed it. I hope you have too.
Big day at the ranch today. I saw so many different species of birds. Even so, I missed a few of the regulars, but, hey, I can’t stand in front of that window ALL DAY. 🙂
House Finch male (M) & female (F)
Orange Crowned Warbler
Northern Cardinal M&F
Downy Woodpecker M
House Sparrow M&F
Red Winged Blackbird M&F
White Winged Dove
Yellow Rumped Warbler
Red Bellied Woodpecker M&F
European Starling M
Lesser Goldfinch M&F
Black Crested Titmouse
I got some ok bird photos, but I’ll share a few of the garden, instead.
About 8 or 9 years ago, a neighbor gave me a dozen or so purple iris cuttings when she was thinning out her beds. I’ve had them in the ground since then but rarely have they bloomed. A year or so ago I moved them to a few different beds that get much more direct sunlight. This year I’m thrilled to see them in bloom! I love these short-lived flowers.
We have bluebonnets coming up in the front and back yards. Nothing says central texas like these beautiful wildflowers.
Monte’s got baby salad greens planted. Fresh lettuce every night!
I simply love spring. Oh, wait, we have 2 weeks to go before spring. I can’t wait!
We’ve been busy! This past weekend, we made a roadtrip out to west, stopping first at William Chris Winery, where we caught up with a friend of ours that we ran into, by chance; then we hopped over to Wildseed Farms to pickup a bunch of seed; then made it over to one of our faves, Becker Vineyards, where we had a tasting, a picnic, and checked out their new field of zinnias. Just beautiful.
On the way home we headed over to the Real Ale Brewery in Blanco. We took the river road south/southeast from Hwy 290 to Blanco, and stopped along the way several times to check out the now lazy river that was uncontrollably raging just 4 months ago, tragically sweeping away homes and families over Memorial Day weekend.
At Real Ale, Monte sampled a flight, and I sipped my favorite – Hans Pils.
Then Sunday rolled around, and we headed out to see the Anderson Mill historical site, near its original location at Cypress Creek on Lake Travis. The Anderson Mill Gardeners do a wonderful job of preserving the site and its history.We made it to the boat in time to cheer the Seahawks on to their first win of the season, enjoying the recently repaired air conditioning on Nirvana (yay!).
About an hour before sunset, Kurt, Barbara, Dakota and little Leila joined us on the boat, and we motored out to the body of the lake to drift and watch the supermoon lunar eclipse.
Have I mentioned taking photos of the moon and stars on a moving boat is hard? I didn’t get any good shots. But I thought this one was kinda cool… you get the idea.
I have been challenged in posting the last two weeks. We are in the middle of a 3 week set of back to back visits from family. Which we absolutely love, but it means a little less time to tend to my photoblog. The real challenge though is that the WordPress for iOS app that I use primarily for quick posts is broken and completely useless since the last 2 updates (both updates ver 5.4 and 5.4.1) of the app. So I’m using the browser version of the app for this post. I hope they get it together and fix the problem in the next update.
One set of guests were unaccompanied minors, so I had to get a pass to go through security and accompany them to their gate to pick them up and drop them off at the airport. As I was strolling along the concourse on the west end of the ABIA terminal, I spotted some lovely, colorful prints on display from a Texas artist that I hadn’t seen before. The artist is Margie Crisp, and her prints are simply beautiful. I took a picture of one – couldn’t avoid the reflections from the lights in the airport. This one is called In the shadow of Buchanan Dam. Inks Lake is in the foreground, with images of all the things I love about the Central Texas Hill Country.
I googled her to learn more about her and found that she has produced a book called River of Contrasts: The Texas Colorado, which features many of her river prints. As I’ve come to love the Colorado myself, I’m going to order one.
You might want to check her out, too.
As for me, i need to get moving… we are headed to the lake to raft-up overnight.
When we moved to this house, I scoped out all the plants and trees in the yard, looking forward to taking care of them: the amazing live oaks all over the place, a couple of pecan trees that are majestic but don’t seem to want to produce nuts, a redbud that has since died (sniffle), the ginormous red oak in the front yard, the (now ailing) flowering pear, the resilient Texas mountain laurels, several red yuccas that I love to watch bloom, silverado sage that forecasts the rain, a mimosa tree in the back with its fine pink puffy blooms… just to name a few…AND one tiny cactus that seemed to be too much in the shade.
It was small in the beginning. Monte mowed over it accidentally way back when, after which I staked it out with a ring of limestone. But now after 9 (!) years and much thinning of the small forest under which it sat, it has sunlight, and has thrived. And I am happy to see two buds on it this year! The first one opened today. I’m enjoying my flowering prickly pear cactus. Perhaps this is the yellow rose of Texas?
What a difference a week makes. Last Saturday we spent the night on the boat and enjoyed a sunny weekend with temps in the 80s. This week the temps are in the 30s with lots of wind and rain. This morning I took a walk in the rain through the greenbelt at the end of our street. A creek cuts through the woods there. But it is dry most of the time, due to the endless drought. Today there is a creek where one should be.
I’m very happy to see all the rain that has been sent our way. It’s an answer to countless prayers over the last few years of severe drought in Central Texas. I’m sure the Austin City Limits music festival-goers are bummed about yesterday’s cancellation, but they did have an extra weekend of music to enjoy this year.
My trees and lawn are drinking in this much needed water. It’s truly a gift.
However, the rain this week and in the year past seems to fall where it flows into the creeks and river below the lakes. Onion Creek is raging right now, having received 6-10 inches in the last few days. Barton Creek and Williamson Creek were flooding for the same reason, but all of them dump into the Lower Colorado river below the Highland Lakes. E.g,:
I see that there is more rain in the forecast for this week. So, more thanks in advance for that. But I’m sending a humble prayer for that rain to drop in the Lake Travis watershed. Right over Marble Falls and Burnet would be simply awesome. Or even a bit southwest of that, in Fredericksburg, Johnson City or thereabouts would be fantastic, as all that rain would end up in the Pedernales River, which feeds into Lake Travis.
After all the rain in the past week, Lake Travis is up only 2′. And I do sincerely appreciate every drop that ends up in the lake. But we need to come up more like 50-60′. So, I’m praying for it to dump buckets of rain in the shaded are below. That would be divine. Seriously divine.
I have another prayer for better management of our lakes and water reserves than what the LCRA has provided over the last decade or so, but I’ll leave that for another day. Just please keep the rain coming.
Hello September, and… good morning! One of the nice things about anchoring in Arky cove is that you are treated to beautiful sunset and sunrise views – this was the view off the port-side of Nirvana, as I was drinking my morning coffee.
Back at the marina, we popped into Shades for lunch for the last time this season, after this weekend they close up shop until next spring. This is the sobering view of the marina from the restaurant. The lake is at 620′ and some change. Just 6 feet from the all-time low for Lake Travis of 614.18′ in August of 1951. Less than 3 years ago, the lake was brimming at 680+ with the lakewater lapping the parking lot. With the LCRA’s mismanagement of this incredible natural resource, and with no rain in the future, we’re sure to go much lower than that this year. All docks are now moved out, off-shore, accessible via shuttles that leave from the courtesy dock. No electricity or water on the docks for the forseeable future. This is sad, not only because we love playing on the lake, but scary because this is Austin’s drinking water supply, quickly disappearing downstream.
May the blessing of the rain be on you—
the soft sweet rain.
May it fall upon your spirit
so that all the little flowers may spring up,
and shed their sweetness on the air.
May the blessing of the great rains be on you,
may they beat upon your spirit
and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there many a shining pool
where the blue of heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
I decided to take the afternoon off today. So Monte and I went out to lunch, something we haven’t done in a while. As we were getting back in the car, it started to sprinkle. We stood there in awe… It has been so long since any rain has fallen, and even longer since any rain that has fallen has stuck around long enough to make a difference.
By the time we got to our house it was raining lightly, but only for about 15 minutes or so. Let’s hope there’s more in store in the next few days.