Friday, March 13, 2009

Rare Sightings

One of the features I like best about a garden is how comforting it can be to escape the rapidly changing outside world with all the hustle, bustle, and consistently alarming news of this or that.

I walk into my garden and everything is pretty much in the same place (if not the same condition) as it was the last time I walked in.
Bluebonnets doing what they can to survive the drought.
As I have gotten more and more used to how things are supposed to look however, I have also become more and more attuned to noticing new or unusual visitors.

As the drought deepened, I noticed that what was originally placed outside as a front area birdbath has really become more a Bee Bath. The dish got slightly tilted, probably by the foraging of hungry deer, and as this is March, of course has falling oak leaves routinely marking the edges and top of the water level, now providing a haven for thirsty bees.
Bees jockeying for position at the edge of the water.
They are so appreciative and visit so regularly, I try to keep the level of water low enough so they will have safe and easy access.

Lesser Goldfinches commonly live year round in our area, but I don't have scads of them routinely in my yard. I filled one of the smaller feeders with thistles to try and lure some in, and sure enough, after a week or so spotted this guy as my reward.
Goldfinch (Carduelis Psaltria) resting after loading up on thistles.
Since then I have spotted a male and a female feeding together, perhaps a nesting pair, and I am hopeful if I keep a steady supply of thistles available they will be regulars.

Recently when I was out enjoying what was promised to be the last day in the 70-80 degree temperature range for a while, my eye was caught by a flash moving along the edge of a rock walkway around the pool. 

By the time I went back inside for my camera (note to self - quit going outside without your camera!!) the visitor was gone. I stayed out, kept my camera close, and was rewarded with this revelation. Look who we have apparently living underneath that same rock walkway. An Eastern black necked garter snake (Thamnophis cyrtopsis ocellatus).
Who is disturbing whom here?
Do you spot a baby bulge? I don't....I hope....
I think he (she?) is very handsome although I am hoping he is a he and not a Momma-to-be harboring a batch of baby snakes. Seeing any sort of snake close up is enough to get my adrenaline flowing honestly.   I'd prefer to have all locals of the snakeish persuasion living a little further from the house, truth be told.

My final rare sighting is this:
Yes! Rain!! Finally!!!  

We are so deep in the drought hole that I actually went out and lifted my face up just to feel the drops on my skin yesterday afternoon. Then I realized how chilly it was and hustled back sensibly inside.

So far we have two inches and more coming. It is falling, at least this go-round, in a wonderfully  slow but steady fashion. Hopefully with this gentle delivery most of the rain will sink in to the thirsty roots of all the plants around here who have been more or less patiently tolerating the long run of dry months we've been enduring.Even though this cold front has meant a shift from open windows and doors back to heaters running and plants sensitive to nightly low temperatures kept inside for a bit, the rain that has come along with the cooler weather is a blessed relief.Sorry SxSWers but we need this rain! Y'all have fun indoors and be sure to stick around long enough. The weather here will doubtless be shifting back to give you a warmer welcome soon enough.
Probably my imagination but I thought I heard the faint noise of cheering.

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About Me

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Rollingwood, Central Texas
Family historian by default. Oldest surviving matriarch on my branch of the Family Tree. Story teller, photo taker, gardener, cook, blabbermouth.