A Week After Rain

Posted: September 18th, 2009 under Land, photography, Plantlife, Water.
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The water that didn’t run off soaked in; it’s amazing that in one week it’s turned so green.    The darker streak in the middle distance is the grass waterway when it rains and right now is just dry enough to walk on in regular shoes.

There are still very squashy spots, and a few where water’s still running across the ground from up near the highway, but not right here (off to the right, in the picture).    The squashy spots can fool you now that we have a lot of grass on the place…for instance:


This is up near the dry woods where it’s normally…well…dry.  But in heavy rains, water runs off the rock in the dry woods and soaks this area, which is normally covered with shortgrasses.   The sticks under the back wheels are a previous day’s effort at extrication.

Today went better.  The ground had dried just enough, and Richard was able to back it out…


Here and there, old prairie plants emerge through the remnants of more modern (and less durable) ones:


Mirabilis alba

This lovely “four-o’-clock” does indeed open its purple-pink flowers in late afternoon and then drop the delicate petals, leaving a dry, papery husk that fairly glows in the slanting light.

Cenizo is another purple-pink flowering plant–a woody shrub this time–with soft velvety silvery gray leaves.


It blooms readily when it rains (sometimes even as the humidity rises before a rain) and the flowers last only a day or so.

Down in the creekbed, while it was still very damp, I spotted this snake-track, pale against the darker soil:


This picture was taken earlier in the week.  You can also see the dark “ledge” of fine clay soil that was carried on the flood surge.

A very happy crayfish made this new chimney (and there were many others) near the pool behind the #3 gabion:

fresh-crawdad-chimney204You can just see the surface of muddy water down the hole.  Three nearby chimneys were plugged at the top with fresh, but drying, mud.  This keeps the interior of the tunnel moist.

Finally, near the house, I was watching for birds near the back yard water feature when a gorgeous male summer tanager came down and watched me for several minutes…but my first cautious move sent him flying.  So instead I got a picture of the round pool of the system with Bermuda grass (not planted by us!)  all green and lovely in the evening light out toward the “orchard.”   And a little Dusky Dancer damselfly in the middle pool of the upper system.



Friends about 10-12 miles away got 13 inches of rain and their stock tanks are full.    They’d just finished re-working them.   Timing is everything.

I could have photographed a lot of raccoon tracks,  deer tracks, rabbit tracks, smaller-critter-tracks, and so on, but this was a week of checking page proofs.


  • Comment by Claire Eamer — September 18, 2009 @ 11:49 pm


    Fascinating set of photos, especially having seen your pictures of the dry. It must be a joy to watch the land celebrate like this.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 19, 2009 @ 7:43 am


    Very much so. I went out one day in a hurry to take pictures but didn’t check the camera settings, so they came out too dark, but that was the day I photographed seeds sprouting in the “drift lines” where water had run over the bare ground in wave patterns, depositing tiny bits of debris and seeds in “drifts.” The plants are making up for lost time (the ones that can, anyway.)

  • Comment by gunhilda — September 19, 2009 @ 8:10 am


    Wow, instant color change! Thanks for sharing these.

  • Comment by Harriet Culver — September 19, 2009 @ 2:23 pm


    Beautiful dampness and its aftermath!

    I’m fascinated by the snake trail photo. How do they do it? I’m assuming that the front of the snake — the head and first few inches — draw the line in the sand (so to speak). But doesn’t the rest of the beastie run the risk of wiping out the nice curvy trail that was created at the start?

    NOT a herpetologist 🙂

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 19, 2009 @ 3:09 pm


    They are able to do it…I’ve even seen one. Snake locomotion is very strange. The front end of the snake visibly moves…and the tail of the snake visibly progresses in the path laid down…but a given curve just sits there with the snake’s body passing through, scale by scale (and rib by rib, I guess)…it can be hard to see the movement at those curves if the light isn’t right.

    I wish I knew what kind of snake.

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