Rivers of flowers

Carpets of blossoms, across the part of Texas known as The Big Country, greeted us Friday.

Abilene Reporter news Photo 3

Donkey in bluebonnets, Westlake Road: Abilene Reporter-News Photo by Thomas Metthe

Starting with bluebonnets at Snyder, the wildflowers ran like spring floods to Sweetwater, Trent, Buffalo Gap and Abilene State Park. Being me, I did some birdwatching Friday and Saturday of a

Abilene Reporter News photo

Big Country Air Fest, Abilene Reporter-News photo by Thomas Metthe

slightly unorthodox kind, but along the roads and in the park there were cardinals, hawks, blue jays, mockingbirds, squirrels, chipmunks, prairie dogs, and deer giving me marvelous glimpses of the daily business they went about. Saturday, in spite of a determined overcast, other treats filled the sky:

Abilene Reporter photo 2

T-34 Texas Twisters, Abilene Reporter News photo by Victor Cristales

Sunday we visited the ruins at Fort Phantom Hill, and both in those fields and coming home I was astounded all over again by the size and number of bluebonnet, buttercup, primrose, Indian blanket, and black-eyed Susan patches along the roads. Usually, to get that bright and varied and intense a display of wildflowers, you have to go to the Hill Country — Austin / San Antonio / Brenham. Not this year. It’s been wet since last fall, and the results are, in a word, glorious.

As in their way are the big wind farms sprouting up around Sweetwater, Snyder, and the hills around Dyess Air Force Base.

B-1 over wind farms near Dyess

USAF photo: B-1B over wind farms near Dyess AFB, Texas

If you look at this U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Felicia Juenke, it almost seems like science fiction comes to life.
If you camp at the state park, the B-1B Lancers go over several times a day in training missions, preparing for their combat role in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s tough for me to believe this aircraft has been in service 25 years now, but it’s true.
It’s also the first USAF bomber to deliver a payload while flying on a mix of 50-50 synthetic and petroleum-based fuels.
I’d like to think the day will come when we don’t need bombers any more, but in the mean time I tip my hat to the folks in R&D in the military — the research they’re doing is leading the charge toward renewable and green energy for our national defense. If the trickle-down effect from that is anything like as good as it’s been from NASA, we may yet see the day when we can, in fact, stop drilling for oil, and spilling it in our waters and over our lands.

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6 responses to “Rivers of flowers

  1. grahamfirchlis

    Welcome back, Sarah, good to hear the trip was rewarding. Some of the photos don’t appear except as some kind of funky blue strip with a header. Dunno what that’s about.

  2. The Other Sarah

    Thanks, Graham.
    Yes, it was a really good three days.

    On the photo issue — No idea, here — I get photos as photos from within the site or outside. Would you like the links to click on via email?

  3. grahamfirchlis

    No need for links, I can just highlight and search. I’m wondering about how they appear to others though. Maybe one of our many readers will weigh in and tell us what they are able to see.

    I have taken a screenshot, I’ll send that to you for what its worth. The B1B over windmills shows fine, if that gives you a clue; maybe it is source-related or some such.

  4. hipparchia

    the photos are fine, senor firchlis, what was in that last bottle of tequila?

  5. hipparchia

    and yes, i know i still owe you a camper story…

  6. The Other Sarah

    Hi, Hipparchia!

    Good to see you hereabouts!

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