Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Extra, extra, read all about it—it being Texas

with 36 comments

I just found out that for a limited time the Texas State Historical Association is giving away free digital downloads of the 2014–15 Texas Almanac. In this Texas-sized (752-pages) book you’ll learn, if you didn’t already know, that pecan pie was named the state pie by the 83rd Legislature in 2013; that the monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus,

Monarch Butterfly on Rain-Lily 4145

Click to enlarge.

was designated the state insect by the 74th Legislature in 1995; and that Texas purple sage, Leucophyllum frutescens,

Cenizo Flowering with Wispy Clouds 3620

Click to enlarge.

was designated the state native shrub by the 79th Legislature in 2005. You can also confirm that, according to the 41st Legislature in 1930, the word Texas, or Tejas, was the Spanish pronunciation of a Caddo Indian word meaning ‘friends’ or ‘allies’; and that Texas is by far the state with the most land in farms (130,400,000 acres). And while we’re talking about land, did you know that in the Compromise of 1850 Texas gave up territory that now forms portions of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming?

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 27, 2014 at 5:35 AM

Posted in nature photography

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36 Responses

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  1. Thank you. I’m half awake but went and checked it out. How grand!

    Nancy

    October 27, 2014 at 5:44 AM

  2. It feels like a painting ! Too beautiful to be real… awesome shot,perfect ❤

    ady

    October 27, 2014 at 6:18 AM

  3. Texans chose their state pie wisely.

    Bill

    October 27, 2014 at 6:40 AM

  4. The monarch is such an indicator of our problems with loss of species. The human animal has caused the most problems for the monarch: habitat loss and reducing the milkweed production throughout the USA. I saw two here this summer. It’s really worrisome.

    lensandpensbysally

    October 27, 2014 at 6:52 AM

    • At least four of the places where I’ve taken nature pictures in recent years have succumbed to development in 2014. Like you, I’ve unfortunately seen relatively few monarchs this fall compared to other years.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 27, 2014 at 2:23 PM

  5. If the legislature had tasted my pecan pie, they would have named the state pie much earlier. And there’s the “barometer bush,” too. I was thrilled to catch a glimpse of monarchs this year — an afternoon cloud of them, fluttering along. Really — it’s a glorious state.

    I’d missed the offer, so thanks for that. At least now when I can’t lay my hands on my paper copy, I’ll know where to go.

    Speaking of freebies, I was a little behind the curve, and discovered only this weekend that individuals now can get into JSTOR without having to go through an institution. I was looking for some information on a fairly obscure snippet of verse, and landed on a JSTOR preview. Lo and behold, I could get the monograph, and it was free. Not only that, they’ve got a reasonable monthly fee for larger research projects. There’s a happy camper in Texas, too.

    shoreacres

    October 27, 2014 at 7:23 AM

    • I just got my email from “Texas Day by Day” and saw the notice for the download. And speaking of serendipity, from Today in Texas History: “On this day in 1877 the Elissa, an iron-hulled, three-masted barque built at the Clyde River shipyard of Alexander Hall and Company of Aberdeen, Scotland, was launched…”

      shoreacres

      October 27, 2014 at 8:17 AM

      • At least the Elissa didn’t suffer elision, the way most old ships do.

        Steve Schwartzman

        October 27, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        • It took a while, but I think I’ve figured it out: “late 16th century: from late Latin elision, from Latin elidere, ‘crush out’ (see elide).” I bumped into William Safire’s “The Elision Fields” along the way. That was fun, too.

          shoreacres

          October 27, 2014 at 7:06 PM

          • I was playing with the similar sounds of Elissa and elision, and I was using elision loosely as word for the destruction of outmoded ships.

            Thanks for the link to the article by Safire, whose column I used to look forward to in the Sunday Times magazine.

            Steve Schwartzman

            October 27, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    • Thanks for letting me know that JSTOR is now accessible without having to go through an institution; I hadn’t heard.

      We can sample ideas and words and pictures over the Internet, but not yet food. Too bad.

      You seem to have seen more monarchs this season near the coast than I have in Austin. Let’s hope yours are coming this way, though I suspect they’re going to head mostly south rather than west.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 27, 2014 at 2:30 PM

  6. You seem to have offered us a very good condensed version. This will do for me. 🙂

    Gallivanta

    October 27, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    • I think that’s prudent. The full version has a lot more information about Texas than I think you’d want to know.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 27, 2014 at 2:25 PM

      • I am always pleased to learn more about Texas but not all at once.

        Gallivanta

        October 27, 2014 at 6:27 PM

  7. Husband requested pecan pie and apple pie this year instead of cake for his birthday. We enjoyed them all weekend!

    georgettesullins

    October 27, 2014 at 9:13 AM

  8. “The Compromise of 1850” how fabulous! Wow – Texas must have been one huge state before then. I love Pecan Pie, I love that gorgeous stained-glass butterfly and what’s not to like about the purple sage? You have one mighty fine state there Steve 😀

    Heyjude

    October 27, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    • The state of Texas thanks you for your comments, Jude, and I do too with regard to the monarch and the plants. I like the way you described the monarch as a gorgeous stained-glass butterfly. At

      http://tinyurl.com/prrpbbs

      you can see a map showing the borders that Texas claimed for a time. Some of that land remained part of the state, while other portions ended up in other future states.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 27, 2014 at 2:41 PM

  9. I did know that~ my dad told me. It had to do with a river, if I remember correctly, and the inherent injustice of the boundary lines as originally drawn. One of the few instances of humans making a common-sense concession without weapons being drawn.

    melissabluefineart

    October 27, 2014 at 10:04 AM

  10. Love that Monarch image 🙂

    • You’ve reminded me of the line that begins William Cowper’s poem “The Solitude of Alexander Selkirik”: “I am monarch of all I survey.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 27, 2014 at 6:50 PM

      • That’s a powerful poem! Very sad. Interesting that there are many references to flight and wings in the piece.

        • If I were stranded the way Selkirk was I’d think a lot about flight and wings too.

          Just yesterday I noticed, as is often the case here, a bunch of birds lined up along a power line. I thought that if someone suddenly plunked me down on a wire high above the ground I’d be scared to death, but of course that’s only because I can’t fly the way birds can. Then it occurred to me that if a bird were suddenly given the ability to think the way a person does, it would be scared to death too.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 28, 2014 at 8:14 AM

          • Well, corvids have very highly developed brains but I think if all birds suddenly had the same power of thought as us we’d be in serious trouble!! I can just see the gangs of gun-toting pigeons in the London parks opening fire on the people who’ve been calling them flying rats for decades 😉

  11. I hope that you are not offended, but I think I will pass on the download. What I shall not pass on is the opportunity to praise your two images. Summoning my inner Yoda, I say…lovely they are.

    Steve Gingold

    October 27, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    • No offense: the download was mainly intended for people in Texas. Thanks for not passing on the images.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 27, 2014 at 6:52 PM

  12. Hmmmm, I think I’ll make a pecan pie for Christmas.

    mrsdaffodil

    October 28, 2014 at 12:34 PM

  13. Ooooo. Looks great! I’ll check it out — thanks for the share. Two of my four are in a Texas history curriculm (virtual on-line public ed) at home. Always looking for supplementals for download.

    Shannon

    October 29, 2014 at 8:23 AM


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