April on the Land

Posted: April 13th, 2013 under Activities, photography, Plantlife, Water, Weather, Wildlife.
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It was a dry fall, after a dry summer, and a dry winter followed the dry fall.  Other places got rain–sometimes nearby–but we had none for months.  March brought a little–April has brought a little–and now we have some flowers.


The bluebonnets may be only 4-5 inches tall, instead of knee-high, but they’re there–in a few places–and should be able to make seed for another year.    We had more through most of the dry winter, but many finally just died–or were eaten, since they were the only green thing out there.

Fence-building is a constant chore–we bought the place with a lot of very old, raggedy 4-wire barb-wire fence with a few other bits patched in, and have been repairing and then replacing,  bit by bit.   This year we’re hoping to finish the west end fence (the south end of it was done a couple of years ago, but paused when illness took down the fence-builder for awhile.   Then he set to on taking the south fence all the way to, and across, the creekbed while it was dry, last year.)

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This was in an earlier phase of working on the west fence, south of the tributary creek crossing.

Here’s what the tributary crossing framing looks like today, plus Chief Fencebuilder hammering in a staple with the pickaxe:



Meanwhile, I went off to check the water at Owl Pavilion (the rain barn we built on the SW corner of the place, that collects rainwater for the wildlife waterer there.    Pedaling along on my new vehicle is faster than walking, and the back basket lets me carry quite a few things–though today it was the camera, binoculars, and a denim overshirt…started out cool.


We planted several native flowering plants in the area–firecracker bush, mealy blue sage,  and–spectacular in this drought spring–a Texas columbine in the pool below the artificial spring that runs when the solar panel has enough light.


While I was waiting for the  system to refill from the big tanks, I spotted a male black-chinned hummingbird on one of the old juniper branches sticking out the top of a brushpile.


He kept coming back to that perch repeatedly while I was there.    Then it was back to the house, a little less than  a mile ride away.


You can see how dry and not green the grass is here; there’s some low green grass under it, but nothing like April should be.    Still, we had some rain last week, so I expect more flowers will try to come out and set seed before it gets hotter.


  • Comment by B. Ross Ashley — April 14, 2013 @ 2:56 pm


    All looks good, if a bit dry. Hope you get some nice gentle rain soon. We’ve had rather a lot of precip up here so far.

  • Comment by Doranna — April 14, 2013 @ 8:23 pm


    It’s fun to catch up on the land–although I wish we both had even a few more drops of rain. Love the biking pics!

  • Comment by George Dziuk — April 15, 2013 @ 6:55 pm


    Great photos; the fence building is hard work and takes some sticking to it. That is fine craftsmanship there.

  • Comment by Paul Thomson — July 3, 2013 @ 1:14 am


    Great post Elizabeth, seems like you’ve been working hard! I’ve just finished building a similar fence for a friend of mine in Kathmandu, Nepal. We’re in the monsoon season now so have to time everything to the T before the heavens open up! Keep up the good work!

    Paul xx

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 3, 2013 @ 6:56 am


    In mid-May, the Chief Fencebuilder tried to kick a stump out of the ground and blew his knee–made it back to the house using a shovel for a crutch–but he’s back at it now. He was quite pleased about ten days ago when he pushed a dead tree over by hand. We are in the Texas summer for sure now, high fire danger, low water supplies. A monsoon would be welcome, but there isn’t such a thing here. A couple of tropical storms in exactly the right place in the Gulf, with enough oomph to come this far inland, would be very welcome. I’m stuck indoors, mostly, working on book revisions with a deadline in my face.

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