Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Buda

Old and new at the same time

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Most of the Maximilian sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani) we saw in Buda on December 20 in what is now last year had already dried out, as shown below. Even so, the top photograph confirms that some fresh plants were coming up and even producing flowers so late in the year, presumably thanks to the warmest December on record in Austin and the state of Texas as a whole.

If you’re an avid arachnid fan, click the thumbnail below for a much closer view of the peppered jumper spider, Pelegrina galathea, whose genus name traces back to the Latin pergrinus that meant ‘coming from foreign lands’ and that has given us, via Old French, the word pilgrim. Nevertheless, Pelegrina galathea is native in Texas and other parts of North America. The species name galathea seems to be fashioned from Greek galatea, meaning ‘white as milk,’ which this spider isn’t. And that reminds me of how I used to keep a straight face while quipping to my algebra students that we use the letter m to represent the slope of a line because the word slope doesn’t have an m in it.

Speaking of language, there was a time in your life when you didn’t know that the ti in English words ending in -tion, like lotion and contribution and vacation, gets pronounced sh. Years later, if you took high school chemistry, you learned that that rule doesn’t always apply, and that unlike the cation in vacation, cation as a word on its own gets pronounced in three syllables, as if it were cat-eye-on. Why these thoughts occurred to me a couple of mornings ago, I have no idea. But then a good question to start the new year off with is why so many of our thoughts come to us seemingly unbidden.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 1, 2022 at 4:35 AM

We bade* goodbye to fall

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On the last full day of fall, December 20, we drove down to Buda, a rapidly growing suburb south of Austin. A year earlier at around the same time we visited the expanding Sunfield subdivision there, where we watched a strangely somnolent squirrel. This year along an edge of the still-expanding subdivision on the conveniently named Eve’s Necklace Drive I renewed my acquaintance with a great colony of bushy bluestem (Andropogon tenuispatheus). The top photograph shows how the bushy bluestem sits in an expanse of dry broomweed (Amphiachyris dracunculoides), which you see in front of and beyond the fluffy grass. The on-the-ground vantage point shown in the view below swapped out the broomweed for an expanse of clear blue sky and turned the bushy bluestem plants into towers.

* The verb bid has two past tenses. A lot of folks now say bid for the past, the same as the present-tense form. The other past tense is bade, pronounced to rhyme with had. Because many people are no longer familiar with bade, when they do come across it in writing they pronounce it the way the spelling suggests, as if it rhymes with made. In summary, bid has two past tenses, and one of those past tenses has two pronunciations. But wait: that’s not the end of the dualism. Turns out that our modern verb bid came about as the merger of two similar sounding but etymologically unrelated Old English verbs: bidden, which meant ‘to ask, to command,’ and bēodan, which meant ‘to offer, to proclaim.’

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Here’s a bit of humor for today in the form of a comment that rightfully ended up in my spam folder.

I have always been a very spiritual person; I believe that the universe has a way of guiding us forward through our lives with the help of spirits and angels. I was blessed with the gift of being able to connect with the outside world, and love having the opportunity to connect my clients with their universal current. My focus is to bring forth awareness and healing through love and to teach others how to open up their spiritual potential.

Love Spells
Attraction spells
Beauty Spells
Marriage Spells
Stop Divorce Spell
Lost Love Spells
Marriage Spell
Bewitching Spell
Save My Marriage Spell
Reverse A Curse Spell
Aura Cleansing Spell
Casino Spell
Success Spell
Protection Spell
Remove Marriage Problems

I like the rhyming phrase “reverse a curse.” Someone should trademark it.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 29, 2021 at 4:34 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Pink evening primrose colony flowering along Interstate 35

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We drove close to 300 miles yesterday, making a big southern loop that took us southeast of San Antonio. On the last leg of the trip, coming north on Interstate 35 through Buda, I pulled over for a great colony of pink evening primroses (Oenothera speciosa) on the edge and up the embankment of the highway. I took a bunch of pictures, this one being the very last.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 3, 2021 at 4:36 AM

Strangely somnolent squirrel

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During a walk in the already large and still expanding Sunfield subdivision in Buda on December 12th, the Lady Eve caught sight of a squirrel on a tree branch just a few feet above us and called my attention to it. Despite the barking of a nearby dog and my taking a bunch of pictures over a span of 11 minutes, said squirrel never budged from its perch. In fact its eyes closed for a few seconds at a time before reopening, as if sleep were calling in the middle of the day. If only all my live subjects were so docile or so in need of a nap.

I take this to have been a fox squirrel, Sciurus niger, which is common in central Texas (including right outside my window at home). The tree seems to have been a sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua, which grows abundantly in east Texas and can occasionally be found in the wild as close as one county to the east of mine, but which some people plant in the Austin area.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 26, 2020 at 4:36 AM

Posted in nature photography

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