April 6, 2011
Ever since spring “sprung”, I have been wanting to go looking at the beautiful flowers that decorate the roadsides along our East Texas highways. I wanted to do it as part of our homeschooling. It is important to me that our children care about nature and find a passionate love for it. Our science classes are based on nature more than anything.
It took us three days to get enough pictures so that I was satisfied with the variety and I still did not get all of the local flowers. I know, I probably can’t identify them all correctly but I did try my best. I hope you enjoy having science class with my family and I as you read this blog.
Before we ever left the front yard we digitally captured the beautiful Wisteria bush that is growing beside the gate. I love the sweet fragrance of these grape-like clusters of purple flowers as it floats on the breeze when I sit under our pergola
We drove down some back roads, trying to not cause a traffic jam as we jumped out to take pictures. We mainly just saw these beautiful brilliant green ferns, practically glowing as they grew from the burnt hillside where the Forestry Service had a control burn a few weeks back.
The little rain shower that came through earlier left the flowers dripping and bowing their heads
Droplets of water hung to the Cream Wild Indigo’s flowers also.
Not finding many flowers along the back roads we had to resort to driving along the highway and taking pictures mainly out of our car window. The Showy Primrose is one of the more popular finds along our Texas highways.
The bright magenta flowers of the Winecup flecked here and there in the grass.
This bright yellow Aster (Hymenoxy) stood out like a ray of sun shine amongst the dull withered grass.
An Old Plainsman was found here and there as we drove.
I had a hard time finding the name of this neat little cluster of yellow flowers.
The Old Man’s beard looked as if it was enjoying the rain as well.
The Texas Paintbrush was one we couldn’t pass up, I made Stewart do a u-turn to go back and get pictures.
Stewart noticed while he was on his mail route, that the Pitcher Plants were in bloom and wanted to take us to see this stage of them.
We wondered if the little pod carried seeds, but did not disturb it to find out.
We admired the clusters of Queen Anne’s Lace.
Yellow Hop Clover… wonder why it is called hop, just looks like a yellow clover to me?
Of course when you go looking for flowers you are bound to see butterflies. These were apparently quite “twitter pated” and the two Black Swallowtail males were fighting over the brown female. It was incredibly hard to get a picture of them while they were darting about so, but we managed to get a couple we could use, although it took a while to get them.
Finally, we got a picture of one on a thistle, as much as we hate thistles in our yard the butterflies love them.
A Giant Swallow tail caught my eye, I liked the way the yellow was striped across it’s back.
The next day, We ended up going to a piece of property my in-laws own that is a big pasture, we hoped to be able to get out and walk around and get some good shots of flower, but there wasn’t many flowers.
There were however, plenty of thistles and the insects enjoyed it immensely.
The Clouded Sulfur had it’s little straw-like tongue inserted into the thistle flower.
Plenty of Dragonflies swooped in and out of the grass… hunting mosquitoes hopefully.
Grasshoppers played hide-n-seek in the green grass, the Lord camouflaged him well.
Adam was getting upset because every time he got close to a butterfly and the camera zoomed in perfect, the butterfly would flutter off to a new flower.
A Common Buckeye rested on a blade of grass.
Nestled safety in the thistle spines was a pretty little Lady Beetle.
A Bumble Bee wiggled her way into the thistle flower to collect nectar to turn to honey.
We spotted several Monarchs in the pasture and along the roadside.
With it’s wings closed, you could see the white undersides.
The boys did a great job taking pictures of bugs, and Anna took pictures of the boys.
The last day we headed to the lake by the Sam Rayburn Dam. We saw a Scissor Tail light on a sign, I snapped a picture because this is one bird I hadn’t photo’d yet.
Adam was comparing the sizes of the “Pollen Cones”.
Anna was not impressed with the swimming area at Ebenezer Park that was all dried up because of the drought.
The Blackberries are in bloom and the start of tiny berries can be seen. I can’t wait to go berry picking, but I don’t think the harvest will be good unless we get some rain soon.
I thought the waves of “Prairie Grass” as Adam called it, was beautiful, very serine.
On the way back from the lake park we spied our state flower, the Blue Bonnet, along the road side.
I don’t know if it is just because I am “Texas proud” or these flowers are just really special, but I felt like it was a great ending to our Botany class to get to see these majestic little flowers as we headed home.
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