Sunday, December 1, 2013

West Texas Excursion

My neighbor down the road recently asked me to go to their ranch in west Texas, close to Dryden, to help with some ranch work that needed to be done. His wife didn't want him to go alone as he is under going some chemo treatments right now and is short winded and not his normal manly self. I've been there before and it is usually not all that pretty of country to ride through. This time it was different. The fall rains had made for lots of plants blooming and lots of green grass. I was also lucky to hit it when there was a pretty good cenizo bloom.

Right off the bat we ran into a rattle snake at the steps going into the cabin.
Then we found a bee hive in the eave of the house. I'm fairly certain it was Africanized bees as they were very aggressive and I got stung several times. I was so glad they got me and didn't get Billy as they hardly bother me a bit and it could have been bad for Billy with all the medication he is on. There was an owl decoy on a tripod to help scare the rodents away. It obviously didn't work as there was a cactus wren's nest right under the owl and the snake was probably at the house because there was rodents around.
Sunset on the first evening was typical west Texas great.
We started out that morning with beautiful scenery in every direction. 
The sotol stalks looked like telephone poles jutting out of the brush here and there as far off as you could see.
I was lucky enough to hit it on a pretty good cenizo bloom. The fall rains had triggered it, I'm sure. There was every shade imaginable. They made for quite the stunning back drop to a normally desolate land scape.

We rode off into one draw that had quite a few with white blooms. I had never seen them with white blooms before other than in a nursery where they were advertised as some kind of hybrid. It looked like nature had hybridized her own here.

 The ocatillo were in full leaf. I wished they were in bloom as it is stunning. Wrong time of the year for that. There were so many different shapes, sizes and structure that it made for a bizarre scene indeed.

I thought of my own ocatillo at home that was in full leaf as well. I had dug it up on this ranch about 7 years ago. It looks a little different than these as it has sugar pumpkins hanging on it.
I did take time to dig up some perennial wild flowers that I had seen the last time I was here and did not have time to get. I had to look them up just to find out what I had. The ones I could find in my books are Stiff Stemmed Flax, Linum berlandieri, Jimmy Weed, Isocoma pluriflora, Mexican Poppy, Eschscholtzia mexicana and Snakeweed, Gutierrezia sarothrae. I brought home a few others that I haven't found their identities yet. I'm glad the rancher didn't mind me getting them as they are like trophies to me. I looked long and hard for Zinnia grandiflora for a friend but didn't see any. There is always next time.


Linda/patchwork said...

Great photos. I've never seen the white cenizo. Beautiful!
And, I love the ocatillo.

Nature is a pretty good landscaper.

Thanks for taking us along.

katina said...

You and your snakes. How's Bonnie doing since the bite?

The landscape photos are awesome - you should think about getting some of them printed up.

Tina said...

Such beautiful photos--of everything: ocatillo, cenizo and landscape. I agree with Katina, get those printed!

Pam/Digging said...

Wow, Bob, those are fabulous images of a desert landscape in bloom, especially the cenizos. I love seeing the ocotillo all fluffed up with leaves too. As for the critters, it doesn't take any time at all for nature to take over when people aren't around, does it?

osi said...

Scary rattle snake but the photo looks good. Thanks for sharing.

Dan said...

nice pictures ;)

Unknown said...

I love west Texas.

Rick (aka Okiehunter on TBH)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I can see where the inspiration for Pam's occotillo came from. Beautiful scenery.