Spring in Washington County

It’s easy to take something for granted when you see it everyday, but when spring arrives, it’s hard not to notice the beauty of South Central Texas. Washington County is at its best in the spring, and we try to take advantage of the stunning flowers and warm days before the temperatures climb too close to the 100s.

Yesterday (Good Friday), Harper had the day off, so we drove out to Old Washington (AKA “O-Dubb” if you’re from ’round here, and just “Washington” if you’re not from ’round here) for lunch. We ate barbeque at R Place, right next to Washington on the Brazos, and I captured one of my new favorite pictures (above) while we were waiting for our food.

I think it’s been eleven years since Harper and I visited Washington on the Brazos, but I’m sure we won’t wait that long to go back. There are plenty of beautiful places to have a pic-nick and walk on the nature trails, and I bet fall would be a great time to go.

There was a pretty field of pink phlox, but there were a lot of people around. I found another little patch of them around this cactus, and it looked very Texas-y.

The pecan trees have leafed out (is that a real term?). They are early this year, but everything is since winter skipped us.

And speaking of our lack of cold weather, have you noticed a crazy amount of red spider mites in your yard? I mean CRAZY amount–I’ve never seen so many, even in other years of mild winters. And I think they are the “grown ups” of chiggers (chiggers are their larvae or some other young stage), so are we going to have a bumper crop of chiggers? We spend a lot of time in the grass, but I haven’t noticed any chigger bites yet.

Okay, back to flowers…

Prickly Poppy is one of my favorites! The flowers are usually 3-4″ across, and the stems are tall enough to stand above the other grasses, so they are easy to see waving in the breeze.

To me, Indian paintbrushes are as iconic as bluebonnets. These seemed particularly bright and almost more red than orange. Harper’s parents’ field in front of their house is full of Indian paintbrushes this year. I need to get a picture before they fade.

I wasn’t sure what this one was. I think it’s called baby blue eyes. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

I had to pass the camera to Harper so I could keep a tight grip on Tice–he wanted to walk straight into that water.

A couple of weekends ago, we were on the other side of Washington County, towards Burton. One of Harper’s good clients had a bluebonnet “open house.”  We ate lunch at the Burton Cafe before going.

We stopped by the Pig and Whistle for a drink on the patio before heading to the fields of flowers. It was almost 90° that day, so we were feeling the heat.

Once again, Tice would have climbed into the water if we would have let him.

It was the worst time of day to attempt portraits, but I snapped a few of him in action.

“No, Tice! It’s illegal to pick them!” I tried to tell him, but the boy has no regard for the law. Hopefully it’s not too late for reform.

This flower brings a lot of tourists and money to our county each spring. It’s easy to get annoyed with all the extra traffic–and the worst is seeing people climbing fences to take pictures on private property, but they are a small percentage of the people here to enjoy what we get to see everyday when spring arrives. If I lived in a city, I’d want to drive here, too!

These pictures are nothing special, but they do show the yellow flowers–and some of the precious rain water that we’ve had this year.

The yellow wildflowers (which, of course, are weeds) are always stunning. Even during years when the bluebonnets are less than spectacular, you can count on field after field of yellow flowers. And they last into the summer when the bluebonnets–like the cool nights–are a distant memory.

Update: The yellow flowers are called “bastard cabbage,” and, apparently, they’re very evil and invasive, taking over fields and choking out native wildflowers. Bad flowers! Can’t we all just get along?

Happy Easter from Washington County, Texas!

–Natalie

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