Category Archives: Hill Country Happenings

Hill Country Happenings

Our Bluebonnets Are Back Too

The last two springs have been bone dry in the central part of the sovereign State of Texas hence our Texas Bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis, haven’t produced a wild crop, but hooray, after our record rains of the past twelve months, they are back this year! So are our Indian paintbrushes and wild yellow sunflowers.

Lady Bird Johnson was LBJ’s First Lady and on her return to Texas after his last term as President, she started something that has become a tradition in our State. She persuaded the State Government to seed bluebonnets and other wildflowers along the highways. Every spring the flowers return as a legacy of the First Lady, but, the really “wild” bluebonnets and other flowers are wherever you find them away from the roads.

Right across from my place, one of my neighbors has a few wild, bluebonnets.


And, as I drove south toward the Colorado River, the grounds of the Big Valley Baptist Church and the Big Valley Cemetery were alive with a wealth of colors, all wild flowers.

In 1901 the bluebonnet variety, Lupinus subcarnosus, also known as buffalo clover, was recognized as the state flower of Texas. However, Lupinus texensis, Texas bluebonnet, emerged as the favorite of most Texans. As a result of this popularity, in 1971 the Texas Legislature made all the species of bluebonnet the State flower. However, our Lupinus texensis remains dear to all Texan’s hearts.

Another interesting fact about our Texas bluebonnets is that in the wild they are almost exclusively blue. A random genetic mutation can occasionally create an albino, white bluebonnet. Texas A&M University researchers were successful in breeding red and white strains, creating a Texas state flag in bluebonnets for the 1986 Texas Sesquicentennial. Further research led to a deep maroon strain, the university’s official color. Good ole Aggies!

The Boss Is Back

Last Sunday afternoon I heard a familiar buzzing, turned to the side and there was a male hummingbird, a black chinned hummingbird, the common kind we see around here. Checking my past year’s records the hummers usually show up between April 3rd and 7th, so this one, on April 4th was right on time!

Fixing the birds food and putting up one feeder, who showed up but “The Boss”. Black chinned hummers live for around seven years so we’re pretty sure that its “The Boss”. Here “The Boss” is taking care of bidness!

We had a cool spell blow in on Wednesday and the lows tonight will be in the mid 30’s with a chance of frost in the lower places, not cold enough to bother the hummers. Already having to mow the yard once, its already time again. I’ll plant the garden next week and within the last five days I’ve had to replace the hummingbird food twice!

Hello summer!

A Pretty Good Day

To get the day started off on the right track I went to my Church’s, Men’s Prayer Meeting and after that I got a hair cut and caught up on the local gossip. My plan for the rest of the day was to try to find the general location where a heifer had just dropped a calf, then go to Georgetown and play softball, drive to Cabela’s and pick up some stuff, stop by the grocery store in Lampasas, then come on home in time to go scouting for turkeys.

Back home before 8:30 AM, I jumped on my four wheeler and went out on my place to try and find a heifer and her calf. Not wanting to “find” the calf because the mother wouldn’t return to it, I was just wanting to locate the general area that the calf was in. This searching would leave me plenty of time to find the cow, get back to the house, change clothes and then drive to Georgetown, the game starting at 1:00 PM.

Driving slowly along the trails I didn’t find the heifer, but I found something sharp, the results being a flat tire on my four wheeler, my first of the day. Calling Layla, I told her to get into my new truck and come out and pick me up. She complied, but called me several minutes later inquiring as to the status of the keys? They were in my pocket! She brought the Jeep to pick me up and, not changing clothes, I had to hurry to get on the road.

After passing through Lampasas, I was speeding along U.S. Highway 183, a nice four lane job, when I noticed two cars ahead of me signaling for a left turn. As usual, before turning left, both cars swerved over into my lane forcing me to head for the shoulder. That was too close! On the shoulder I encountered some type of very hard object, resulting in a loud thump. Not two hundred yards down the road, clump, clump, my second flat of the day!

After two hours of prayer, phone calls to the dealer, grumbling, eighteen-wheelers roaring past me within ten feet and manual labor, I successfully changed the tire. I had just purchased the ruptured tire, a special brand, five ply with a Kevlar lining. This type of tire is a must for driving on our local dirt, County roads and plowing through mesquite and it didn’t have over a two hundred miles on it, having only been on my new truck since last Thursday.

Being too late for softball, I headed on into Georgetown and, one hour later, the tire dealer replaced to damaged tire. Heading on toward Cabela’s, the radio announced a fire on Interstate 35 in Austin. This was bad news! Austin’s traffic is horrible at best and with a fire it would be impossible! After my shopping this would cause me to route around the city and add an hour to my trip. If I got back home before dark I would be lucky However, I wasn’t lucky and the moon was up when I rolled in at 9:30 PM.

Counting my blessings, I got home safe, I only had two flat tires today, I avoided an accident in my new truck, I didn’t hit a deer and best of all, I didn’t get squshed changing the tire along the busy highway! The heifer showed up too, just a little worse for wear, but the calf is still in hiding. Overall, a pretty good day!

Bee Cave Bob

Our State Senate decided that since Pennsylvania is so far north, besides being a Yankee State, that if Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow or not, our weather would be different. So, our Senate named Bee Cave Bob, an armadillo, as the State of Texas’ official weather prognosticator.

On February 2nd, Bee Cave Bob made his prediction, judged by three cowboys. This year it was determined by Bee Cave Bob that the our sovereign State Of Texas would have three more weeks of winter and a cool spell before Easter. Bee Cave Bob was almost right, because twenty-one days after his prognostication, it snowed as far south as Austin, but beginning March 1st we have had beautiful weather!

The temp has been in the seventies for the past week, the grass is green and growing and yesterday, as I was preparing to mow my two acre, yard, I noticed that my peach trees were blooming. For some reason my peach trees almost always bloom early, then get a good frost or freeze and have no crop in late May? But, if Bee Cave Bob is only predicting a cool spell before Easter, then my peaches will be OK!

In central Texas spring is almost here, cool mornings with warm afternoons, a bumper bluebonnet crop predicted, the senior softball season starts next week, spring turkey season kicks off on April 3 and our mesquite trees are getting ready to bloom. I’m thinking twice about buying a snow shovel!

Hog Trap

Our score on our hog trap is two captures, but no hogs!

Last year in early November, our first score was on a young bull, calf. He had ambled into the trap to sample the corn scattered about. We released him and he scooted back to mama. But, of course, on that release we didn’t take a camera along with us!

On this past Monday a Deputy Sheriff stopped by our house and told Layla that we had a doe caught in our hog trap. I was in town talking to a natural resources rep about cedar eradication and when I was returning home she called and told me the news, adding, “Hurry up!”

We hurried out to the trap, and sure enough, there stood the doe, securely ensconced!

When I walked up to release the doe, she became quite excited and banged around the trap, but as I opened the door she took off in full high, speed; way to quick for a picture.

Maybe, our third score will be a charm and we’ll trap a hog?

My 2010 Garden, An Early Start

In 1993, after ten years of putting up with the whims of various ranchers over the terms and restrictions on our hunting leases, Layla and I decided to purchase our own ranch. We did and have sixteen years of enjoyment to show for it.

Now, both retired, we have expanded our interests. One of mine is gardening. Between church, my Grandchildren’s sports, my writing and blogging and playing Senior Softball, I find it very relaxing playing in the dirt!

Last year, except for onions, wild garlic and spinach, the tremendous amount of rain we experienced during the spring and summer, for all practical purposes, ruined the garden! However, hope prevails, and this year, I got an earlier start than before.

Last Monday, I pruned the 3, peach trees and then, on Wednesday, I got real busy and planted 82, Texas 1015’s and 40 Bermuda onions.

After planting the onions, I tilled both the large and small gardens and right on schedule, it started raining Thursday morning and Friday’s forecast is for snow! Spinach and turnips are next to plant.

Speaking about snow, this would be our third this winter. Remember, we live in central Texas, not Montana.

A White Christmas

Thursday, as we were leaving home, a slight sprinkle of snow, our second of the year, driven by a big wind, was falling. The Christmas front had hit! Thinking to myself, If this snow keeps up, I could see my first white Christmas, never having been blessed with one in Virginia, Arizona, Georgia or my home, Houston

Layla and I drove south, pushed by the strong northwest wind, past Austin, to Buda and finished our Christmas shopping at Cabella’s. Before we left we called our Daughter, Laura, and she told us that it had been snowing all day in Goldthwaite

Driving home into the wind and keeping the speedo under sixty-five, we made fair time until we reached Lampassas, where it really started to snow, and with the temp, at thirty-two, it was sticking. The farther north we drove the temp continued to fall and by the time we reached home, snow covered the ground, and almost everything else.


At 5:30 PM with the temperature below thirty, I knew we were in for a white Christmas!


   Christmas morning dawned perfect. Snow everywhere, bright sunshine and twenty-three degrees! What a day!

Layla and I sat close to the stove in our great room, she with her coffee and me with my tea, and read the second chapter of Luke in our Bible, the story of our Saviors birth and early years. What a way to celebrate my first ever, white Christmas.

Winter Wonderland

On Friday, the fourth, it snowed in central Texas, in fact, it even snowed in our tropical cities of Houston an San Antonio! In these two cities it snows about once every twenty-five years.

Here in Mills County, the center of our State, it snowed for about an hour, some of it quite intense, and stayed on the ground for three or four hours.

On Thursday I had tilled a patch of my garden and planted some bunch, onions, foreground. My wild garlic is up and growing in the background.

Yes, we had school, and no, the town didn’t shut down. However, Saturday morning, it was 22 degrees, but warmed up to the fifties in the afternoon. And by Monday, our cold snap and snow will just be a memory.

Global warming is a hoax!


Last Friday, Warren Blesh invited me to come out to his place, the [RRR Ranch], and watch biologist, shock his three-acre, lake. The shocking would help them to determine what would be the best solution to a vexing problem – too many small bass. Warren, and the clients on his high fence, ranch, get a lot of enjoyment and catch a lot of fish, all small ones!

Just inside the ranch gate, this doe was getting ready to jump the low fence and head to the safety of the thick stuff.

Thursday night our area had enjoyed a two-inch, rain and there was some doubt that the biologists could shock the lake if it was raining. The weather and local radar was showing that the frontal system had passed through our County and low clouds and possibly light mist could be with us for another twenty-four hours.

The biologists arrived just as the mist ended early and began preparing their equipment. Johnson Lake Management Service, out of San Marcos, Texas was handling the project, would make two rounds around the lake, shocking the fish, gathering their data, then present a detailed report and recommendations to Warren..


Just after launching their boat, the two biologists quickly assembled the boom that held the transducer in place and began their study.

Not too long after they started, up came a “shocked” bass that they quickly weighed, measured, recorded the results and tossed back into the lake, alive! The shocking of the bass only stuns them and if quickly returned to the water, almost all will survive!

Two “laps” around the lake were enough and in they came to “trailer up” and discuss their findings with Warren

We listened in as they said, “We picked up fifteen fish, the largest was thirteen and a half inches long and weighed one pound. All the rest were smaller. We observed that the lake was infested with too much coon tail moss, picked up no bluegills or perch, did not see any minnows or shad or notice any three to five inch bass from this year’s spawn. Mr. Blesh, these bass have eaten this year’s spawn, all of the bluegills, all of the forage fish and are subsisting on insects that get into the water. Our report, next week hopefully, will make recommendations on the best way to build up the size of your bass and create a healthy lake.”

Wow, no wonder these bass will hit any plug you throw at them!

How To Break A Drought

Through the summer of 2009, San Marcos, Texas and almost all of our great State was locked in a terrible drought. There had been no rain for months. When times like this happen people start praying!

Here’s a picture of some deer taken during the drought in early August in a subdivision in San Marcos. Notice the condition of the lawns.

In late August, my Son, Randy, had visited up here in Goldthwaite, a relative oasis of green in a dry,dry, State! He had attended a mens prayer meeting and the men had collectively prayed for rain for our state and our area. This spawned an idea with him and led him to want to pray for rain is San Marcos. He thought, Why not have all the preachers in San Marcos, collectively pray for rain?

When he returned to San Marcos he selected a date for the prayers and contacted the local ministers and the Mayor. The Mayor came to the prayer meeting and did the “welcome address and thanked the ministers for praying for rain.. Collectively the ministers prayed for rain and within ten days their prayers were answered, it rained and it has kept raining!

Then some unusual things happened. The Mayor called Randy and thanked him for leading the prayer effort and then he was called to appear on the local, nightly news. The news had been in attendance at the prayer service and had called Randy when it had started raining. Using this as a witness opportunity, he looked into the camera and said, “As Christians, we believe that if you offer prayers in Jesus’ name, they will be answered in the Lord’s time!”

Tbrowsing on the very green, grass in Randy’s subdivisionhis picture, taken last week, shows some deer browsing on the very green, grass in Randy’s subdivision

End of drought