On our first morning in Texas I took a walk up the road, a familiar route from my time spent here a year ago while waiting for Kirby to be born. Just as we had seen in northern Arizona and New Mexico everything was green. Summer monsoons are the norm, but there have been several dry years so this particularly wet year is a welcome change. However there can be too much of a good thing. We saw the signs on the Blanco River of the recent high water and were amazed at just how high it was. Katie and Kurtis live on high ground between Blanco and Wimberly (where the horrific May flooding swept houses and people away) so they were in no danger. This wash just down from their driveway has running water now but during the flooding was many feet higher and impassable. Hard to imagine.Western Horse Nettle
All this rain has caused crop damage and postponed harvesting to the detriment (or loss) of crops in some areas. However, it sure brings out the wildflowers. I took photos of 20 different species on this short mile and a half walk and identified some of them.Green thread, Thelesperma filifolium Buttonbush, a memorable flower that I first saw last year.
Our plan for the day was to visit a sheep farm that I found on-line. I was looking for “local wool” and this farm, only about 45 minutes from Katie’s house, popped up. Dan and Annette of Stonewall Fine Wool and Lambs were gracious enough to allow us to visit, although they usually don’t have on-site customers.
Most of the flock of Delaine Merino x Corriedale x Ramboulillet sheep, descendants of the original flock owned by Annette’s family, were somewhere else on the 129 acres but ……the rams……and some lambs for sale were near the barn.Dan had fleeces ready for me to see and we spread them out on the table. He shears the sheep himself, although he has to fit shearing in around another full-time job. He showed me these boxes of fleece–sorted, but unscoured staples on the left and washed wool on the right. What a transformation!The washed wool is very, very soft. I think it passed the “soft as a baby’s skin” test.I was also impressed that Dan had made himself a drop spindle and taught himself how to spin.You know that I don’t really NEED any more wool, but some of it followed me right into the car. I plan to share with my farm-sitting friends. Thanks very much to Dan and Annette for taking a couple of hours on their weekend to entertain us.
Next stop only a few miles up the road was the Wildseed Farm, a working farm that grows and sells wildflower seed to wholesale and retail customers.We were planning to go to this farm two days ago after a brief tour of the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, but as I explained in this post, the Museum requires a several hour visit to do it justice.
We missed the true wildflower season when all 217 acres are blooming, but there was still plenty to see.Those saguaro, barrel cactus, and beavertail cactus and are all metal! We walked through the Butterfly Garden.More plants from the butterfly garden.
More of the butterfly Garden.
Last we admired the fields of red and white zinnias and sunspot sunflower…
…and then piled back into the car. Kirby was a real trooper.
One more place to stop on the tour of points of interest near Fredericksburg and Stonewall, since it was on the way.
There is a visitor’s center and a tour through the LBJ home but, due to one of our party being under a year old and it had already been a busy day, we opted for the 8-mile driving tour of the ranch where LBJ was born, died (1973), and is buried. Someday we’ll return for the whole experience.
This is a beautiful estate, a portion of which was donated to the National Park Service (by prior arrangement) after the death of Mrs. Johnson in 2007.
A stipulation of Johnson was that this remain a working cattle ranch rather than become “a sterile relic of the past”. The cattle on the ranch descend from the horned Herefords that he raised and he kept a close watch on management even during his tenure in the White House.