May 2011


Texas Rain Lily

Having cycled in the gusty winds – gusting upwards of 30 mph at times – the last couple of days, I opted instead to hike the dusty trail this Memorial Day morning. The trail in the neighborhood is always an interesting diversion so I once again headed that way. It’s also varied enough to make it a pretty darn good workout. Today was no exception.

When I say it’s the ‘dusty trail’ I mean it literally. It hasn’t rained in a couple weeks and even at that, it wasn’t much rain and temps have been pushing 100 in the last week. Add the winds and everything is really dry. Despite that, or perhaps because of that, these pink flowers I snapped a photo of seem to be thriving along the trail. Though I’ve tried to identify these pink flowers in the past, I’ve never come across what they’re called. The only place I see them growing is places it doesn’t seem like anything else would grow. Bare, dry ground of nothing more than limestone. I’m impressed by this hardy little plant that does so well in hot, dry weather.

I really like having this trail in the neighborhood, but it’s not just a walk in the park. I tried to illustrate that with my other photo here of one of the many climbs along the trail. It can be a little like hitting the Stairmaster. I routinely huff and puff when I go out there and with the heat and humidity today I was sweating like a fieldhand on a hot August day.

Perhaps because of the holiday, there were lots of people out on the trail with me today and I marveled at at least one of them: some guy that passed me running both coming and going. We looked to be of similar age. I really want to know how he does that?

Texas Rain Lily

Texas Rain Lily

We finally got a little rain around here. We’ve been in a major drought and haven’t seen much measurable rainfall since last fall. So when a gully washer blew through last Thursday, it was very welcome.

That little bit of rain resulted in a bumper crop of Rain Lilies. Rain Lilies are great. They seem to pop up and grown over night a day or so after a rain storm. It doesn’t seem to be every rain storm, but when the conditions are right – and I’m not exactly sure what those conditions are – they pop up and bloom rapidly. Once in awhile you get a bumper crop of them like we did this weekend. They’re everywhere! In big clusters even. My pictures here don’t quite do them justice. I took them with the phone camera while out on a bike ride over the weekend and they didn’t turn out all that well. But, you get a sense of the clusters.

These flowers don’t seem to have much of scent unless you’re up close – like right up against your nose. Imagine the scent of a very earthy smelling Easter Lily. That’s sort of it. Sort of.

Texas Rain Lily

The weekend ushered in some spectacular cool weather for a change. We don’t usually see cool weather at this time of year. Right about now it’s usually starting to get very hot, so I’ve been soaking it up. Turned out to be an ideal day on Saturday to do the Burnet ride that Jim and Tony and I had planned earlier in the week.

The route was actually part of the Armadillo Classic bike ride but since we ride the roads around Liberty Hill and Bertram a lot, and we had no intention of doing the 105 miler that would otherwise take us out to Burnet, we decided we’d just make up our own route based on a part of the Armadillo. We did a figure 8 loop’ty loop route that left Burnet and went up to Lake Victor and then headed west and then back south to Burnet. Then a loop route to the south of Burnet. All in all, about mid 40 miles. I calculated 43, but Jim’s bike computer showed 46. So it was somewhere in there.

Aside from a pretty stiff wind out of the north on Saturday, the route and ride were great! Scenic countryside throughout and not much else. Little traffic and no place to stop along the way. As far as we could tell there’s nothing in Lake Victor except a few houses and Baptist church. Thankfully we’d brought enough water and snacks to do the 1st loop of about 30 miles without any trouble. We took a break back in Burnet and then did the shorter loop to the south to finish it up.

In the photo here, you’ll find Tony on the left, me on the far right and Jim’s friend Mary in the middle. Jim’s taking the pic. We stopped to see the yellow flowers you can see in the picture. Generally the wildflowers were pretty good this weekend. It’s too late for bluebonnets, but lots of yellow flowers and “Indian Blanket” were showing.

I don’t have to ramble too far for basic herbs lately. I’ve got a few this season right on my porch. This year in addition to a couple basil plants like I always get, I’ve added thyme, a ‘tri color’ sage, some Boxwood basil (tiny leaves), tarragon and oregano. The other stuff growing in the box toward the top of the picture is lavender. The lavender isn’t growing very fast but the other stuff is doing ok.

I’ve used most all of it in various kitchen duty in recent weeks except the oregano. I’m sure I’ll put it to use at some point though.