Fall in the sub tropics

The tree outside my house

The tree outside my house

Houston is in the sub-tropics, I live a little further north just on the edge of an ecological division between coastal and piney forest. Whatever the case, fall comes late to these parts. Sometimes we don’t get one at all if a hurricane runs through. It was similar in the north of Scotland. One day it was summer and then the tail end of a tropical hurricane would blow all the leaves off the trees and BAM – it was winter.

Most of my local photographs are taken next to our containment pond. For those unfamiliar with the term, the pond is there to soak up our many floods. It also dries up to barely nothing in a drought. Usually noisy Teddy is with me but I was quietly stalking and suddenly saw this precious pair.

baby-nutria

Baby nutria with mama after a swim

Nutria is an invasive water living mammal not unlike a beaver or coypu. They were introduced to the south for the fur trade so, as usual, we humans are to blame. The baby was gently bleating to Mama about the strange lady with the camera. I haven’t seen them for a while because the Rangers remove them. For the short time that they are here, I will enjoy their little furry faces.

mama-nutria

Mama nutria swimming

As I was walking about I could hear the drying leaves rustling and the ever present noise of the frogs that live at the pond. Then I spotted this poor cold turtle – he stayed right on his little island because it was too cold in the water. It’s all relative, temperature wise, as the temperature was mid 60s and sunny. ☀

cold-turtle

cold-agave

A ‘Chili’ Agave!

Postcard from Nacogdoches

city hall sam houston
Nacogdoches is the oldest town in Texas and it is unique both because of its antiquity and the 9 flags that have flown over it. They included Spain, France, Mexico and Louisiana amongst others and this is a link to a comprehensive list http://www.pictures-of-historic-nacogdoches.com/023nineflags.html We decided that this would be a great location to celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary. I know, I know, surely I was a child bride.. The town was utterly fascinating and this beautiful pink building was Sam Houston’s house – now the city hall sitting on the beautiful town square. Everywhere you walked there was yet another historical wall marking – it is remarkable that so many of the old buildings have been maintained and restored. It is situated in the North East of Texas, close to the Louisiana border and in the heart of the Piney Woods. The weather was astonishingly hot but not as humid as the south. I learned something amazing in the Tourist Center. Tejas is not the Spanish name for Texas but the Caddo (local native Americans) word for friend. They were one of the many peaceful tribes that were settled in Texas who greeted the invading Spanish conquistadores with friendship. It makes me so sad to think that their territory was stolen, many were killed by the spread of European diseases and moved around like cattle. I am so lucky, like many Americans, to have a little native blood to carry through the generations, bonding us all together. Nacogdoches is a college town – Stephen F Austin University. We visited the university’s Piney Woods Native Plant Center which was a small arboretum with native plants. We walked along the little stream enchanted by the Ebony Jewel Wing Damselflies who fluttered around us like little fairies with black velvet cloaks. The Ladies had bronze waistcoats and the Lords had emerald green waistcoats. Magical. Click on the link to see photos of these fairies and find out all about the oldest town in Texas.  POSTCARD FROM NACOGDOCHES