Antelope Horn is a milkweed native to Texas, which grows in pastures along roadsides and creeks throughout the central path, that most Monarchs take on their migration coming back up north to the US from Mexico. The milkweed got its name from the seedpods, which look similar to the horns of an antelope. In late Spring, I can find them next to the creek behind our street. And I also find them on the meadows of the local parks. From all the milkweed plants I have seen so far, the Antelope Horn is my favorite.
The plants are doing great in the greenhouse. We have tiny tomatoes showing under the blossoms. When the fruits are bigger, I will blog and show some photos of them. But right now, they are still very small. One of our Lemon Basil plants began to bloom. The fennel is getting bigger, which will be a great host for Black Swallowtail Caterpillars in Summer. The Shasta Daisies are flourishing. The peppers are still tiny. Once it gets warmer, they will start to grow bigger, too. I have to be patient with them.
Last Winter, I dumped a Jack-o-Lantern pumpkin in the compost. Now, we have seedlings growing out of it. We will leave them all in there and hope they make it. Probably only the strongest will survive. If we get a pumpkin or two out of it, that would be awesome. And if we not, it will be fun to see how far along the seedlings will grow in that pile. Hey, the tomatoes grow on almost a foot of kitchen compost. Why shouldn’t it work for the pumpkins, right?! 😉 The broccoli is done! It blooms and soon will go to seed. I’ll collect them for the next season. I’m surprised, how well the Rosemary does in the raised bed. This herb usually likes well drained soil and not much rain.
I never can wait for May to arrive in Texas. This is the most colorful time of the year, when the Texas Prairie is in full bloom. We live in the Blackland Prairie zone, and I always love to “discover” new wildflowers. Several years ago, I stumbled across this beautiful and delicate purple flower named “Venus Looking Glass”. While I can’t find it on our property, I always sneak over to catch a few photos in my neighbors’ yard. Right now, they have several spots growing along the grass strip in the back alley.
Today, I had some fun playing with the filters on my computer. I wanted to see, how the photos come out. Hmm, they look very interesting compared to all the colorful pictures. But the filtering is not something, I’d do on a regular basis. I like the natural colors so much better. 😉
The warm and the rainy days help the garden to progress very quickly. Flora and Fauna are flourishing. Our Meyer Lemon tree has a lot of flower buds; and we have a first blossom. The tomatoes are growing fast. Planting them on a good layer of compost did the trick. The peach tree is full with fruits. I can’t wait for July to come, so I can harvest them.
A little Bewick’s Wren made its home in the nestbox outside of Katelynn’s window. She loves it, when the wren wakes her up with a beautiful song every morning. The Blue Jays are very pleased, how the raised beds come along. The birds did their part of growing the beds as well. Lots of seeds turned into seedlings. In Summer, they will enjoy a Sunflower “jungle”.
Coming from Rush Lake, we took a short break at the Visitor Center. And then we moved on to Quanah Parker Lake. Driving to the lake, there were lots of longhorn and bison grassing in the meadow. Some longhorn cows crossed the road. The grass must have been greener on the other side. 😉 Some longhorn were scratching their necks against the nearby boulders. One of the animals was so close, I could almost touch it, if I was crazy enough to do so. But this Texas girl ain’t messing with a longhorn, nor a bison. That is a whole bunch of NOPE!
At the Quanah Parker Lake Dam, we saw the spillway gate was open. This was the first time, I had the chance to photograph the dam with the water flowing down into Quanah Creek. Usually when visit in September, the water levels are much lower due to the Summer’s drought. In Spring, there is plenty of rain. It will fill up the lakes. And the rest of the water goes over the spillways. Kevin, the girls and I wanted to hike the Little Baldy Trail. But something terrified Luis at the stairs leading down to the dam. I mentioned, there is another small trail right by the pier on the north side of the lake.
Arriving at the Education Center of the park, we hiked the small trail by the pier, looked at some plants and read the educational signs about flora and fauna. Katelynn found a small school of fish swimming near the shore and watched them for a little bit. Luis got really tired, and we called it a day. He was so happy being back in the car and could take a nap on the way back home to Texas. He probably was dreaming about his fluffy couch.
~ The End ~
Yesterday, Kevin, Katelynn, Sara, Luis and I visited the Wichita Mountain National Wildlife Refuge again. The girls have a four-day weekend. And Kevin took the day off. What’s better than go on a hike on a beautiful Good Friday?! This time, we entered the park from the eastern entrance by Medicine Park. Because first we wanted to go up to Mt. Scott. But for some reason, it was closed for entering by car. We didn’t want to take the long hike up to the peak of the mountain. So we decided to move on and hike another trail. But first, we went to the Holy City. Katelynn and Sara went inside the church, before I went behind the buildings with them. Kevin stayed with Luis in the grassy area by the parking lot. Luis can get a bit excited around people. And we didn’t want to take any chances. Before getting back to Road 115, there is a field where the Prairie Dogs call this place their home. It is fun to watch them, when they bark signals to each other. They seem fine being out and about, when visitors of the park just drive by. But once, we crossed the white line, they became territorial, ran back into their burrows.
Last time we were at the refuge, we went to the Jed Johnson Lake Dam. This time, we wanted to hike and chose to go up to the tower. Katelynn, Sara and I decided to cross the little creek and walked up a “shortcut” along the lake, while Kevin and Luis went the regular trail along the creek. But therefore our trail was a little bit more rugged and some steep boulders needed to be climbed, before we made it to the tower. Kevin just walked the easier, but longer way. Luis could walk, lie in the shade or water for a bit, before he trotted behind Kevin again. Our pup is such a couch potato. 😀
Standing next to the Jed Johnson Tower, we had a nice view over the lake. In the distance, Mount Scott could easily be made out as the highest peak in the Wichita Mountain chain. There are also several stories roaming the internet about the Jed Johnson Tower and the lake being haunted. Honestly, if there is a ghost, it is definitely not ill intended. I felt no bad presents going up and around the tower at all. But I sure was drawn to it. After walking around the tower and let Luis rest in the shade for a little bit, we took the same way back which Kevin hiked up with the dog. It was an easier way down to get back to the car.
Coming from Jed Johnson Lake, we also took a short trip to Rush Lake. Since we had quite a bit of rain the last few days, the lakes are full. The water of Rush Lake is currently going over the spillway and the below creek leads into the Jed Johnson Lake.
… to be continued …
As I mentioned in the previous blog, Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I went to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano yesterday evening. While Kevin was running the trails, the girls and I took pictures of the gorgeous Texas Bluebonnet, and we hiked to the frog pond towards the center of the park. Unfortunately, it is too early for Bull Frog sightings. And the edges of the pond were covered in algae. So we couldn’t see any tadpoles either. But that was okay. We still had a fun walk, which ended with hanging out at the playground for a little bit, while we were waiting for Kevin to be done working out at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve.
Kevin, the girls and I were talking about today’s work and school at the dinner table. It also popped up, that he wanted to run at the Sport Park tonight. So I made the suggestion, we all could go down to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. He can run, while the girls and I hike and capture photos of the Bluebonnets. Katelynn needed to get out of the house anyway. She has an English Language Art (ELA) test in school, tomorrow. And what’s the best way to relax for a bit? Hiking in nature, getting some good fresh air and get the mind off the test. The little things in life are still the best.