Spring Hopes

Posted: March 4th, 2009 under Land, Plantlife, Weather, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , ,

Even in a year this dry, some of the native plants (and a few non-natives) do their best to keep alive and growing.

One of the natives we’ve nurtured for years in the yard is the scarlet buckeye, an understory tree that hates sun and drought–but thrives in shady canyons near permanent water.  Our version of that is the shade of a big old ash and regular watering.   I’d like to move its progeny into the creek woods, but right now they’re far too dry (and too far away to water.)  It’s just showing its flower buds now; they’ll be open in a few days.


Few of the wildflowers we should be seeing are blooming this year, which makes life tough on the butterflies that depend on early wildflowers for nectar.   This year I’m noticing that the butterflies are smaller than average (their caterpillars were stunted last summer/fall due to the drought and lack of forage) and going after plants they don’t normally use that heavily.


This small but gorgeous black swallowtail is nectaring at ground level on henbit, Lamia amplexicaule, a tough non-native in our yard.  I saw one (maybe the same one) also nectaring on redbud high in the tree, their more usual behavior–but we’ve had strong drying winds and the redbuds are already losing flowers.   As usual with swallowtails, this fellow kept fluttering its wings busily even while perched and sucking nectar.  That, plus the wind blowing it half-over, made getting perfectly sharp pictures just a tad difficult.

We have had gorgeous sunsets lately–this is a grab shot out the kitchen door two  nights ago.

spring-sunset280You can see a bit of the barn and one of the work sheds…and buds are softening the branches of the redbud and hackberry trees.

I’d love to see a stormy sky that produced actual rain…inches and inches of it, though perhaps not all at once.


  • Comment by cdozo — March 4, 2009 @ 1:49 pm


    Beautiful photos. Lovely swallowtail.

    I’ve heard rumors that there might be rain on Sunday. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 4, 2009 @ 2:06 pm


    It was a very pretty swallowtail and I was glad to “catch” it. I saw it out my window, grabbed the camera, and zipped out. But then…was not easy.

    I’m ignoring the prediction since previous ones didn’t pan out, in the hopes that being ignored will make the rain dump buckets on us to convince me it’s real.

  • Comment by AnnMCN — March 4, 2009 @ 8:31 pm


    Hang out laundry, preferably towels, sheets, and blue jeans, and go to town to shop for groceries after opening windows. A near guarantee for rain.

  • Comment by gunhilda — March 4, 2009 @ 8:59 pm


    Beautiful swallowtail!

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