Tuesday, May 29, 2012

a few more flowers

I'm being a bit lazy so thought I'd add more flowers.  I have a few more photos of odds and ends and will get those posted soon.  I can't figure out the exact coreopsis the flowers are - I suspect there is a mixture.  I will narrow it down more shortly.  I think the majority of them are Golden Tickseed or some relative but I haven't made a final decision. 

I think this purple flowers are a Belladonna or trompillo.  I know it's related to the potato family.  

Poor thing.  It's the last bluebonnet of spring by the side of the road.  Still blooming bravely amid the yellow flowers.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Often I find that the smaller flowers are in more interesting place.  This little daisy was under a wide band of gaillardias and coreopsis.  I haven't identified them yet but I like the contrast of the limestone rocks with the greens of the plants. 
The Texas thistles were in an empty field fenced off by an assortment of wire some of it being used for what it was intended and others borrowed.  Some of the heads had gone to seed while many were in full bloom.

The hills were alive with golden flowers dotted with horsemint and thistles.  I have never seen such a solid swathe of gold before.  On the hills in the distance you could see areas of a yellow green which we figured out were actually meadows filled with the golden flowers. 

 Here and there we saw fields of the red Indian Blankets or Gaillardia - one of my favorite colors.  I found a few patches of bluebonnets that were trying to finish out in style. 

May Roadtrip - Part One - The Bat Roost

We decided to head out to the Texas Hill Country for an overnight and picked Comfort Texas because although both of us have spent considerable time in the Hill Country and we both have lived in San Antonio, we never got up to Comfort.  The Texas Hill Country is full of oddities, beauties and quite a bit of entertaining places.

borrowed from Wikimedia Commons.

My picture taking is so hit and miss.  I see things in hind sight that I should have taken.  I took almost no pictures of Comfort itself.  Comfort is a wonderful little town located in Kendall County,  It's roughly 45 miles northwest of San Antonio and 72 miles west of Austin unless, you decide to wander.  It was originally settled by German freethinkers.  These guys were mostly intellectuals who were non religious and anti slavery.  This tended to get them into trouble.  It was 1900 before the first churches were built in Comfort and during the Civil War, about 35 men were ambushed and killed while on their way to Mexico by Confederate soldiers.  The bodies, which had been left exposed were collected and buried in Comfort.   The monument is called Treuer der Union and honors these German freethinkers.

The whole main street (called High Street because it sits higher than the rest from the Cypress Creek that runs through the town) is filled with wonderful old limestone buildings.  We stayed at this really cool B&B called Meyers Bed and Breakfast which is directly on the creek.  All the rooms are in historical buildings (although the insides are remodeled and have modern features).  After we checked in we took off and went riding making a big circle from Comfort to the Bandera Pass and then back through the Lost Maples area.  We've already decided we're coming back there was so much to see and do.  Plus I can take more photos.  

One of the places quite close to Comfort was this structure called the Bat Roost.  It's technically on private property but you can see it from the road.  We got out and stared at it for quite awhile and took some photos of it.  The Bat Roost was an idea thought up by Dr. Charles Campbell in an effort to help control malaria carrying mosquitoes.  His experiment was whether bats (who eat large quantities of mosquitoes) could be raised like bees, keeping the bug population down and also providing valuable bat guano at the same time.  Since bats don't just pick any old shelter to roost in, Campbell experimented with various building shapes until he came up with one design.  Calling it the Bat Roost, he pretty much promoted the use of them with astonishing results.  You can read it here http://batcon.org/ in a excellent article written by Mari Murphy for Bat Conservation International:  (look in their archives)   BCI is a wonderful organization working on appreciating how much bats help (especially in the Austin area.)

I had never heard of it but we found it in a newly planted pear orchard and took some photos from the street.  One of them is a little blurry but hopefully you can appreciate the photos.  This one located in Comfort, like I said, is on private land as is the other one somewhere in Texas. The third remaining structure is in Florida.   In the BCI article, it stated that Campbell was nominated in 1919 for a Nobel Prize.

Part Two if the Comfort trip will appear shortly.