Tag Archives: Texas

Nature 101: Legacy of Lady Bird


Texas Bluebonnet - state flower

Texas Bluebonnet – state flower


Spring and Summer is wildflower season in Texas.  Wildflowers are found on our busiest highways  and the loneliest back roads.  Texans love their wildflowers so much that we have wildflower trails and even Bluebonnet specific touring trails.  We even spend money for official road signs that mark wildflowers trails.  Nearly every store with a gardening section will have special Texas wildflower seed packets for sale.

Bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas, are especially popular with both Texans and visitors.  In April, before the grass gets too tall and drowns the color of the flowers, there are seas of Bluebonnets waving their heads in the breeze.

During peak Bluebonnet season, you can find cars lined up on the shoulders of even the busiest of highways, with people taking family photos surrounded by a Bluebonnet ocean.  These days you even see family pet portraits with Bluebonnet backgrounds.

Growing up in Texas, I learned early that the reason we had such beautiful flowers growing on the sides of our roads was because of a special woman.  Lady Bird Johnson did a lot of work to make sure that wildflower seeds were planted every year.

Back then I didn’t know exactly what Lady Bird did to make sure we had pretty flowers, just that she was the reason for the pretty flowers.  But I knew she was special because she had been a First Lady and she was from Texas.  Not only was she from Texas, but Lady Bird grew up where I lived.  To a kid, that’s a pretty cool thing.

I got to meet Lady Bird Johnson when I was about 6 or 7, while on a school field trip.  It was a dedication for a historical marker in Jefferson, Texas.  I don’t remember what her speech was about or even what the historical marker was commemorating, but meeting her was something I’ve never forgotten.  It was very exciting that such a celebrity would meet with “normal” folks while TV cameras were rolling.

Today, I know more about Lady Bird Johnson’s legacy to make the world a beautiful place.  Every year when the wildflowers bloom, I can’t help but think of a woman who I met briefly more than 30 years ago.  As a kid, I was wowed by the chance to meet Lady Bird.  As an adult, I am grateful that she made wildflowers and nature such a priority.

To some people wildflowers are “weeds”.  But even weeds can be beautiful if given a chance to bloom.   Because of one woman’s desire to preserve nature for the future, Texas highways and by-ways burst forth in a stunning color palette of God’s creation each Spring and Summer.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a wonderful place to visit.  At the center you can learn about wildflowers and nature conservation, view spectacular flowers, and even buy unique gifts.  But you don’t have to go all the way to Austin to enjoy what they have to offer.  Thanks to the internet, you can even learn how to make your own wildflower seed balls and carry on the tradition of nature conservation that Lady Bird Johnson was passionate about.

Thanksgiving 2012

Night is falling on Thanksgiving and our turkey is nearly ready to take out of the oven.  I managed to get the brine finished in time so the turkey got a full 24 hours in the herbed brining liquid.  We snacked on persimmons, horned fruit, cheese, and crackers along with Thanksgiving Grog (frozen OJ, cranberry juice, apple cider, and Sprite) to tide us over until dinner is ready later this evening.  The dogs enjoyed time on the couch with us and the chickens had a Thanksgiving feast of grain treat balls, kale, and blackberries.  And we watched as our neighbor managed to get his tractor stuck in the pond.  While the pond we share with our neighbor may be dry, apparently it isn’t dry enough to drive a tractor around in.  (Yes, we did offer to help but it was declined and the poor tractor sits off-kilter in the pond by itself since its owner has left it due to the darkening skies.)

Most of the time in this part of Texas, there isn’t a lot of color in the fall.  Generally trees are dead and brown by the time there has been sufficient chilly weather to spur the trees to change colors.  While making a last-minute run into town yesterday for Turkey Day fixin’s, a few colored trees caught my eye, making it seem a little more like Thanksgiving season (despite the warm, shorts weather).

Happy Thanksgiving! 

State Fair Adventures 2012 – Moo

Even cows love “Doc” Robinson.

We usually start our adventures at the fair by going through the livestock barns.  It’s difficult after all, to keep a veterinarian from looking at animals.  When people think of Texas, cattle (or steak) usually comes to mind.  So no big surprise that the livestock barns are usually full of cattle.

The week that we went to the fair, Brahmas were the “featured” cattle in the barn, with ranches, farms, and agricultural organizations showing off their best Brahmas.  Also known as “Brahman” cattle, they are a heat tolerant breed – making them popular here in Texas where our seasons are usually Hot, Hotter, Hottest, and Christmas. 🙂

The brown Brahmas tend to have a soft, silky look to them.

Probably one of the most famous symbols of Texas are Texas Longhorns.  No, not the football team –  actual cows with realllllly long horns.  So of course I have to add in the obligatory photo of the Longhorn that was on display at the fair.

Texas Longhorn. ‘Nuf said.

Even though I have seen cows being milked, for some reason I am always drawn to watch the milking demonstrations at the fair.  The milking demos are usually cram-packed with school-kids from the city that are totally amazed to discover where milk actually comes from.

Nope, no chocolate milk from the brown cow today!


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