When I left the house mid-afternoon to walk my usual fire line paths, one an in and out, one a rough loop, and the usual finish a third of a mile stroll on the gravel road to the gate and back, I was prepared to get rained on. You have probably heard from reports on stories about the BP oil spill that our Gulf coast weather is very windy and hot, with a southeasterly breeze. My hair soon popped out of the pony tail band I had captured it with, then frizzed out, curled, and blew all over my head.
Flies that look like Maine black flies but mercifully didn't bite buzzed all around me, landing in my hair tangles and trying to crawl up under my eyeglass lenses. I swatted, muttered, and walked faster. When I changed direction, the flies continued on, and left me in peace to enjoy the rest of my walk.
The milkweed's blossoms have popped out. They don't last very long, less than a week.
When I first saw this plant along the trail, I thought it was another milkweed. The configuration of buds and flowers is quite similar, but the foliage is thin and reedy – totally unlike the thick, veined leaves of the milkweed.
Not sure, but I think these are Slender Beard Tongue (Penstemon australis) just beginning to bloom.
This tree with tiny flowers popping out all over is abundant in the woods, but I don't know what it is. Any ideas? Kathleen? Dave? Deb?
There are hardwoods, too. The fresh blackjack leaves are especially beautiful to me.
And this limby old oak down near the stream bed is tattooed with red blanket lichen.
Magnolias like to have their feet wet. They are a good clue to soil type. I love their huge leaves especially in the spring, when there is a mix of old and new leaves.
These gorgeous cascades line one side of the gravel road part of the way to the gate. Sounds wonderful, but they have a nose-wrinkling, unpleasant smell! It's worth it, though, so I just breathe shallowly and enjoy.
At the gate, a gift. Once, years ago when I had the silly notion that I might "civilize" these woods, I planted a climbing rose at the gate. It has long since been overrun by smilax, scuppernong and blackberry vines. I had almost forgotten it was there, until today, nodding in the heavy, moisture-laden wind, it reminded me. My left hand, veiny from years of piano, holds it still so my right hand can press the camera button. Reminds me how I miss having a rose garden. The colors and texture are like nothing else in the world. Even here, in its state of dishabille, it is incredibly lovely.