Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mixing Work With Pleasure

Mrs. Cole called me last week. They needed a mail box built. It seems the local riff raff have been beating theirs flat lately to the tune of five in the last month and a half. They have land along the Lampasas river just north of Oakalla. That's pronounced O'cally by the locals. I have done a lot of work for her and her husband over the last year. They are some of my favorite customers. They are just wonderful, friendly people and Mrs. Cole loves native plants. She started some flower beds this spring but the drought got most of them before they got established. I dug her a Rock Rose and took to her when I delivered the mail box. She was so excited, you would have thought I gave her money.

She has built what must be the king of bottle trees. I like hers better than any I've seen. Mr. Cole just thinks it is hard to trim around.

She also has more bird feeders than any one I know. The tin around the trees is to keep the local coon population out of the feeders. You might notice a deer in the back ground. They have to feed the deer early in the evening so the wild hogs don't get it all.

They moved here from up north to retire where it is warmer. They have always let me have access to the river to fish since the first time I met them. I had to drag my kayak off a dirt bluff to get to the water. I kept telling Mrs. Cole about all the beautiful plants I would see down in the riparian zone that didn't grow on the higher ground. Early this summer I went up to fish and she had hired someone with a dozer to build a road down to the water so she could see them as well.

There is a little Bequilla bush growing on the sand bar where the road ends.

The last time I was there Thoroughwort was growing on the gravel bar as well.

Ground Cherry was thick in places with their Chinese lantern looking fruit.

Across the river was huge thickets of Inland Sea Oats but I couldn't get close enough for a picture. I did spy a Cardinal Flower on the other side of the river. You can barely see the crimson red of it in this picture.

On a little higher ground was clumps of Marsh Fleabane. It really looks good in clumps of several plants but kind of plain by itself.

At the top edge of the riparian zone was Pigeon Berry scattered through the mottled shade of the pecan trees.

Along with the Pigeon Berry was this beautiful sage with vibrant blue flowers. The plants were over four feet tall. I believe it is Bog Sage but I'm not sure.

This is such a beautiful place owned by beautiful people that like other people to enjoy it. They moved to Texas for all the reasons others do. They have had to resort to signs to keep people out as the trash left by trespassers has gotten to be too much.
Now their mail box is being vandalized so they had to get me to build them a smash proof one.

If your ever on the road between Oakalla and Kempner and see an older couple out picking up trash along the road stop and ask if you can check out the river for plants. They are small in stature but rather large in spirit. Tell them you know me, it can't hurt. I just wish they were being treated a little better here in Texas.


vbdb said...

Thanks for sharing the plants (and bottle tree) with those of us who may not get the chance to visit in person. Was intrigued by your unusual mail box design - did you make their gate as well?

The baby fish you gave me are thriving. Hope to have a chance to visit with you and the Mrs. again soon.

Jinx in the Garden said...

Thank you for sharing all of this! Especially the picture of the ground cherry! I have two ground cherry that I had mistaken for tomatilloes. I thought that they had somehow sprouted in another section of the yard from the tomatilloes that didn't grow. Maybe a bird perhaps? My only problem with them was that the fruit wasn't getting any larger! Now I know why. Thanks!

Bob said...

Yes Vicki, I built the gate as well as the overhead and put in the opener as well. Where they live is called Panther Hollow by the locals so she had to have a panther in the wild life scene. If you click on it you can see it on the right hand side.

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Love the pale blue of the bog sage.

The bottle tree is appropriately wild and untamed looking--fits in well with the place. I think it's a new species, or at least a new variety: wild bottle bush.

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ESP said...

Hi Bob.
I watched the movie "Dazed and Confused" today and thought of you and your "hazing-proof" mailbox. Good work on this, and I really feel for these people, especially after our recent Tahoe experience. It is just a royal pain to have to deal with people who damage your stuff, leaving you to deal with it and fix it. I am sure they are comforted having the "Bob" on their side...and what is this about your mustache, that I read on Cheryl's blog? Now I know why the Naboo have warmed so quickly to you, having extravagant facial hair designs of their own...a tribal trait!

That is one crazy bottle-tree, is that a gourd embedded in it's higher canopy? Crazy I tell you, it makes my "everything but the kitchen sink" rainwater collection system look so tame!

It looks like a wonderfully wild and natural area at the Cole's residence, and a great place to kayak and sweet of them to create access for you. What do you catch?

Enjoyed reading about all of the plants you have observed on the property.

I need to see if your mustache is in the same style as the Naboo, I just do! Hey, you wanted to see a picture of me on my Scottish post.
Give us a macro of it Bob, Go on, it is only fair!


katina said...

Cool gate topper you made.

I don't know if we'll be able to make it to Thanksgiving--we were going to do lunch at a friends and then go to your place for a while, but then the friends have moved the meal from lunch to dinner. If it doesn't happen for whatever reason, I'll be sure and let you guys know. As always, thanks for the invite.

Bob said...

Ok Philip, if I have to. Next post, I promise. I've been married to my wife for 29 yrs. and we dated for three and she has never seen me with out a moustache.

Bob said...

Thank you Cheryl, I think.

Meredith said...

Yep, that's about the best bottle tree ever. What a great tour of the Coles' land! But awful to hear of such vandalism. I do like the new mailbox, though.