While everyone was getting their groove on down in Zilker, my family escaped the city and enjoyed this glorious weather in the country way up west of Georgetown, north of Austin. We were fortunate enough to have access to an amazing old ranch, and our day was spent playing games, zipping zip lines, paddle-boating along the bass pond and eating barbecue.
I had an incredible discussion with my mother. My kids had the best time of their lives. My mother in law was happy. Both my wife and myself melted away all our pressures. It was truly the perfect day.
About 6:00 as we were eating we caught a chill. Mind you, it was still about 76 but the wind had an edge and everyone agreed we forgot the hoodies. Within half an hour, the brisk wind had my sons hands chilled and my mom looking for a sweater in her car. That was when I noticed the sky. This was the edge of the "cold" front that was the End of Hot. The pix are iPhone 4 and uploaded in lightbox mode. Click the pix to enlarge.
Old Live Oaks reaching for the warm side of the sky.
There across the expansive lawn was the front. Blue giving way to a mix of cloud cover and the swerving threads of undulatus asperatus
Edge of the cold front.
Knowing our time was short before the "chill" drove us away (64 when we left) the kids took another turn at the zip lines. While I was waiting this is what happened to the sky.
Stray cirrocumulus with wispy undulatus asperatus. A chill edge in the breeze.
I noticed a dying June Bug
glittering in metallic iridescence and picked it up with a leaf from a live oak. My youngest boy and his friend were intrigued by the colors. The end of a season of life for this beetle, she wasn't dead but was on her way. Rest easy June Bug. While others despise your numbers, I know you play your role.
Western Green June Beetle
Cotinis mutabilis (Gory & Percheron, 1833)
Family Scarabaeidae, Subfamily Cetoniinae, Tribe Cetoniini
Then she flipped over and the wind took her leaf. She didn't move after this. We left her where you see her in this picture.
Soon the fam started to head back toward the car and our return trip to Austin. The end of an amazing day became even more fun trying to snap a picture of this jumping Carolina Locust, whose camo is so well adapted to the gravel road she was difficult to locate with my phone.
I am, however, a patient man when it comes to getting my shot, so I eased in closer with a slow hand. Such an incredible jumper this one. He looks old to me.
Dissosteira carolina (Linnaeus)
That was when things really started to cool off. We were pushing down several degrees and the sun was nearing to below the canopy. That angle plays interesting light over the incoming front. We were awed by the colors, to which my beaten i4 does no real justice.
Wind is picking up.
On the way to the car things really got interesting upstairs. The undulatus clouds became even more mysterious as the orange light of our receding sun lit up the higher levels.
Getting downright chilly, but it's still 66 f.
Behind us the clouds rolled in, bringing with them a welcome respite from an intense 5 months of mostly over 90 degrees and a high of 108 f
on June 29th.
Warm season is over in Central Texas.
Heading out, we rolled up on some gorgeous pasture. The blackfoot daisies wear their proud regalia, a weed to many but a friend to me. I pick these and put them in vases. I think they're lovely.
Melampodium leucanthum Torr. & A. Gray
Wind was really picking up now and I was unable to snap a good image of the Mealy Blue Sage, one of my favorite common wildflowers. Filling in the background is the seemingly ubiquitous Wedelia Texana
, or the Texas creeping-oxeye.
Mealy Blue Sage with Wedelia texana (Texas creeping-oxeye).
Saying goodbye to the lovely Central Texas landscape as dusk approached, our loads were a little lighter and our hearts a whole lot softer. We are so fortunate in this rugged, delicate landscape to be able to enjoy the bounty of the promise that is The Lone Star State. I know my kids will become men who appreciate and understand the need to protect the resources we have and to enjoy them responsibly. For this I am truly grateful.
Thanks for reading.
It's official. Summer is over.
9:56 AM PT: Wow, thanks for the earlier Recommended and then the Rescue. That feels great, just like our day at the ranch. This is such a wonderful community. I wish I could share the weather we have right now in Austin with everyone, everywhere, who isn't enjoying their very own brand of gorgeousness.
Be kind to each other.