Dry, dry, dry

Posted: July 6th, 2009 under Land, photography, Weather.
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The near meadow, July 4th…another day of record high temperatures and clear skies with a good strong SW wind.

With the exception of trees, the green things sticking up knee high are all ironweed, already in bloom, and about half the height they would be with normal rainfall.


Here the lower green is broomweed and a little ragweed.    It doesn’t show from this distance, but both the dry woods (nearby) and the creek woods (in the distance) are losing leaves and in some cases limbs to the drought.

Grasshoppers still abound where the grass has any green at all, and this one was so well camouflaged that if I hadn’t watched it fly, and land, I’d not have been able to see it–in fact, I couldn’t see it through the lens; I just took a picture of where I new it had landed:


Another survivor is our mystery milkweed from last August, the one the botanist from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Research Center couldn’t ID for sure because it was at the end of its flowering.  We have two tiny populations of this native, which reappeared since we bought the place.


It puts up a tall, skinny, single stalk with sparse linear leaves, and flower heads the size of golf-to-tennis balls, each a cluster of tiny flowers.  I hope we can get a firm ID this year.   This is the most forward of the stalks–and it was leaning on the marker stake so I was able to get a photo despite the wind blowing other things around.

Back at the lily pond, the male Neon Skimmer continues to dominate the other odes, taking the high position on the perch-sticks or iris leaves and buzzing others who come too close.


On the evening of July 5, we did get a little rain–four tenths of an inch–but it would take two inches to be a rescue rain.   Still, we’re grateful for every drop (and for cloud cover to lower the temperature enough that those drops can soak in for plants to use.

[later]  I found four different plants in flower in the garden (all get more water than just rain) and was able to make a table bouquet.


On the left, the lavender tubular flowers are Mexican oregano; last week it was a mass of purple/lavender-and-white flowers, but the heat took most of the flowers.   The orange are firecracker bush (you can see why!) and the brilliant red is a scarlet sage.  The only other flower we have that’s as brilliant a red is Turk’s cap, and it’s not flowering now.  The purple flowers on the right are ironweed, a tall, tough summer bloomer that butterflies like.  Those in the garden are chest-high on me; the ones out on the land–no extra water–are knee high or below.  But it’s a native, and should survive.


  • Comment by gunhilda — July 6, 2009 @ 9:04 pm


    I love the bouquet… a nice combination of hot and cool shades. We got a nice rain on Saturday which went a long way towards rescuing my flower, vegetable, and water gardens. While many of the plants I’ve put in are fairly drought tolerant, most of them can’t tolerate day after day of 100+ temps with no water… I know it’s much worse down there.

  • Comment by AnnMCN — July 16, 2009 @ 6:57 pm


    Not commenting on this particular entry, but I want to point out this story on NPR about tiger moths jamming bats’ sonar. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106693909&sc=fb&cc=fp I don’t know if you have this particular moth, but it’s still fascinating.

  • Comment by Abigail Miller — July 21, 2009 @ 11:10 pm


    Have you gotten any rain yet? The other day I checked central TX on the radar and it looked like there had been rain all around you in a donut about 40-60 miles away, with a great dry center hole.
    In north TX we had an unexpected break for the last several days – quite a few showers here and there, and highs around 92-94. That ten degrees makes such a HUGE difference. It’s quite pleasant to stand outside (in the shade) at that temperature, given that you know how to dress for it. Some people don’t seem to know that a heavy dark t-shirt is about 20 degrees hotter than a thin loose light tank-top. Oh, well.

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 22, 2009 @ 7:25 am


    No rain yet. Richard swears there were a few drops yesterday, but I never saw it, and those few drops didn’t hang around on the pavement or anything…it was just cloudy. Fredericksburg got some. Brownwood continues to get some–they are close to normal rainfall up there, but not here.

    If you look at the US drought map, that brown stuff is us. Here’s a closeup for Texas–note the percentage of the state in each category:

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