Saturday, January 08, 2011

as we walk in the woods of winter

At some point on our slow weekends there's a good chance you'll find Sam and I walking in the woods adjacent to our backyard. We're really lucky to have a mini-greenbelt behind us, protected by local environmental laws.

Here's a look at some of my favorite sights along our trail.

Nandina berries give such a bright splash of red
against their dark green leaves.
Some people cut it down. A nuisance plant that sprouts up
everywhere. But I love to see it growing in my backyard.

A grand, old oak.

A dry creek bed common in our area. The limestone bedrock immediately beneath the soil means very little rainwater soaks into the ground. I'm determined, one of these rainy days, to put on a raincoat and umbrella and see this gully gushing with rain.

An abandoned deer blind.
My guess is they they saw more of the bottom of their beer bottles than deer sightings.
But that's really the point of hunting trips, isn't it?

Pretty sure their flavor of choice was Miller High Life.

Red tipped pencil cactus.
Look but don't touch.

Pencil cactus close up.

An old lantern of sorts.
Who put that there, we always wonder?
The beer drinkers deer hunters?
Behind it we've seen evidence of what might have been a house or cabin.

Chile pequin (puh-keen) all exposed and nekkid of it's leaves.
Sam's dad used to fill a small jar with chile pequins and vinegar to make a hot sauce.

Something like this.

Bluebonnet seedlings.
They won't present their deep blue and white splendor until March or April.
Once in a very blue moon they give us a red bonnet.

I'm not sure what this is. It grows in widespread clusters and looks like
a native baby's breath, only more golden in color. I love the texture this time of year.
Like a carpet of soft and inviting tumble weed.

A few prickly pear cactus bulbs left for the picking.
And eventually, the drinking.

Tall live oak trees circled by a coven of cedar trees. I'm not sure why they grow this way. Sam says it's because the birds sit in the tree and their, uh, droppings leave seeds behind. I prefer to think they are seeking shelter from the storm.

My own personal grapevine courrier.
What might he be saying to himself, do you think?:

(A) What's she taking a picture of now?

(B) She wonders why she can't lose any weight?

(C) Look at this crazy bitch.

All three?


Mental P Mama said...

LOL....Loved the walk. And all the stops along the way. Must be why I don't lose any weight either;) We can be two crazy bitches together!

Glennis said...

Oh, I love this. It's so great to go out and take note of what's around us.

I;m due for some hikes in our California wilderness. Funny - we have many of the same plants as you - oaks, opuntia cactus, berried shrubs.

Glennis said...

And of course, you know those prickly pear fruit are called "tuna".

shrink on the couch said...

MPM -- Is that a promise?

Aunt Snow -- Now that you mention it, I have seen tuna on the signs at the grocery stores. I always forget they are called this, though. Thanks for the reminder!

Pamela said...

Nice. It is good to see how to embrace winter---I struggle. And wouldn't "Crazy Bitch" be a great name for a shop?

"Where'd you get that fantastic scarf?"

"Oh just down at the Crazy Bitch"...
Ya gotta admit has potential...

shrink on the couch said...

ella -- It does! Catchy, edgy, and there'd be a waiting list a mile long to work there. Can't you see the applications? Under "Qualifications" you'd see, "Crazy bitch!"

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

There is nothing like an oak tree. What a great space to have close by. said...

Wow fabulous photos! Thanks for taking us on your walk :O)

Angeliki said...

I love the photo with the beer bottles, it's nice to find beauty in anything.

Anonymous said...

You live in a splendid place. what a marvelous backyard :)

your photography is fantastic.


Ash said...

People cut down nandina?!


Cedar, on the other hand :) Sucks the water from that poor oak. One man's trash... I totally buy that bird theory, by the way. Interesting for sure.

How I love flora and fauna. Enjoy!

hokgardner said...

Gorgeous pictures. I think I might need to take my kids out to the greenbelt soon. Once it stops raining.

Reluctant Blogger said...

Oh that was fun. I almost feel as if I have been to visit you now.

Jocelyn said...

As much as I totally enjoyed seeing your landscape and wondering aloud things like "Nandina berries? What are those?", I have to admit I'm northerner enough that I envisioned those trails covered with snow, perfect for cross-country skiing.

Tammy said...

Loved seeing the sites in your neighborhood, much different plant life than in mine.

Susan said...

I love seeing these walks through other people's neighborhoods. Mine would be sidewalks and lawns - so I really appreciate all the nature walks!

Life As I Know It said...

Beautiful pictures. Even though it's litter, I like the shot of all the bottles.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I miss these things about Texas: the live oak trees, the cacti, the bluebonnets. I also have a husband who grows irritated when I stop to photograph ev-er-y-thing on our walks.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog!

slow panic said...

such great photos! I love Nandina. It's gone crazy in my back yard...

JCK said...

What a lovely walk! Have always loved that word "coven."