Running Water

Posted: October 19th, 2009 under photography, Water.
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I came home to find the creek running clear…

creek-deer-crossing311This is a gravelly ford we call Deer Crossing because the deer really do use it a lot.   It made a lovely sound today, gurgling and chuckling over the gravel.

A lot of dragonflies and damselflies were hanging around the water; this bluet had lost out in a scuffle to mate with a female and took a rest on this twig over the water:


When we first got the place, we always went into the woods about halfway from the north fence to the south, to a pocket prairie full of native plants we called the Entrance Meadow.  All this summer it was brown, but now it’s very green:


The main grasses here are a mix of little bluestem, Indiangrass, and sideoats grama.   The native forbs include liatris (gayfeather),  prairie brazoria, pitcher sage, Illinois basketflower,  and brown-eyed Susan.  Plus others I can’t recall at the moment.

Some of the liatris looked very odd this year, because of the combination of two years of drought, a summer of extreme heat, and then a lot of rain all at once in late September and on into October.  Usually you see spikes of this color, but this year a lot of the plants produced “puffballs” after the original spike’s tip had died:


In the south creek woods, where there’s a sort of seep/overflow “swamp,” Turk’s cap bloomed vigorously after the hot summer.  It was planted at the foot of a bald cypress that, despite several years of good health, died in the drought.


And here’s the lower swamp, almost full.  Before the drought, we had enticed quite a few water iris to grow around the low end, and they’d spread…but now you can see just a few.


The water runs out the far end, at the property line, though it moves slowly, as just a trickle comes in from above, when not flooding.

Running water…a delight.


  • Comment by Chuck — October 19, 2009 @ 8:47 pm


    Great pictures. I was up in Parker County Saturday, at my dad’s place. It looked like spring, everything was so green and a surprising number of plants were blooming. All the seeps in the downsloping pastures were producing water, and the two 6-ft deep spring pools were full of clear water running into the creek. Looks to me like he must have a much greater fall from the highest elevation to the lowest creek bed than on your 80 acres.

  • Comment by AJLR — October 20, 2009 @ 6:55 am


    Lovely pictures, thank you. How good to see everything green.

    Will this late growing season last quite a while? I wasn’t sure when/if you had cold enough weather to make things go dormant for the winter.

  • Comment by elizabeth — October 20, 2009 @ 7:54 am


    Chuck…I’m sure he does have more elevation change than we have. Ours seems almost flat until you’re pushing a loaded garden cart up the “gentle” slope. On the train down from Fort Worth Sunday, I saw a lot of seeps on slopes, and some really beautiful rock or gravel-bottomed creeks flowing strongly with clear water. Makes a Texas landowner happy (esp when finding the same thing happening at home!)

    AJLR…thirty years ago we could count on enough winter to let us grow the more southern apples, to kill off the ticks and other pests overwinter: good hard freezes, some lasting more than 24 hours. Winter was short but distinct. We had at least one snow a winter–not much, but some. The last few years we’ve hardly had “winter” to speak of; not nearly enough chilling hours for apples. One good freeze per winter, maybe. We should get our first freeze in November (by the old system.)

  • Comment by gunhilda — October 20, 2009 @ 12:18 pm


    I have to get some liatris for my yard. I was visiting Sequoyah State Park last year, and there was a massive stand of it near one of the roadsides, swarming with butterflies. My friends dropped me off, and I spent a couple of hours taking pictures. I’d love to see what I could get in this part of the state.

  • Comment by Karen — October 28, 2009 @ 12:34 pm


    I can’t believe the amount of iris that are gone – sigh.

  • Comment by elizabeth — October 29, 2009 @ 7:57 am


    Iris replanting, from saved plants taken out of the lily pond, will commence as soon as we can get the cart down to the swamp. (Those saved iris, being full of water, are heavy!) I’m hoping that the remaining ones are the blues (we have fewer blues); the saved ones are both, but mostly yellows.

    Of course, I could buy more water iris….

  • Comment by pooks — November 29, 2009 @ 11:25 am


    Your turk’s cap caught my attention. We have turk’s cap in our yard that is attempting to take over, having spread into three flower beds. I do my best to curtail it, but it’s so invasive. Do you not have an issue with it being too invasive, or do you simply have enough room for it to stretch w/o being a problem?

    Ours is heirloom from my husband’s great-grandmother’s garden in East Texas.

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 29, 2009 @ 3:13 pm


    So far ours isn’t that invasive–and we’ve wanted more of it, where it is, so that’s not a problem. But I will take your warning and be ready to dig it out if it goes somewhere it shouldn’t.

    Maybe we’re drier? Or hotter? Or something?

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