BLUEBONNETS AND TAXES


 

  About a week ago Husband and I drove to Freer to visit my brother-in-law on a cold, wet and dreary day.  Winter seemed to be winning over spring in the seasonal tug-of-war that often plays out in South Texas this time of year.  Cardinals were grateful for the treats provided in a bird feeder in the his back yard as we watched from the warmth of the house.  As we left we stopped to enjoy the Texas Bluebonnets that appeared to have been scattered carelessly by the side of the dirt road and clustered together as if to defy the 39 degree temperature.  Perhaps it was a sign of an early spring and a good year for wildflowers.

Yes, it is tax time!  I am volunteering again with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) four mornings a week at the United Way office in Corpus Christi.  The site opened in the middle of January when the government, including the IRS, was partially shut down.  The IRS website used for processing tax returns was up and running, but we could not communicate with our IRS contact as he had been furloughed.  Eventually some employees were called back to handle tax returns.  Getting refunds out was deemed essential!  Even when the government was opened  back up, people who came in were still apprehensive about another shutdown and were anxious to get their tax returns done.  Gratefully, that has been avoided with the compromise passed by both houses of Congress and signed reluctantly by President Trump.  There were some surprises in refunds/taxes due from last year due to changes in the tax laws but that is another story.

                                                               CHEERS!

BIRDS IN THE BACK YARD


 

 We have many birds that visit our backyard, but my favorite birds are these Desert Bird of Paradise, caesalpinia gilliesii.

 

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There was one outside my bedroom when I was growing up in South Texas.  Several years ago nostalgia set in as I began searching for a plant but could not find one anywhere.  Finally, I ordered seeds from Trade Winds Fruit in Windsor, California.

 

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Today I have five Birds in the ground, two in pots and plenty of seeds.  I harvest the seeds, in a pod rather like a snow pea, when they are dry and rattle slightly.   The first year I brought the pods in the house and put them in a bowl in the dining room. The pods would dry out more and pop open as seeds and pods flew into the air.

 

 

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 They lose most of their leaves in the winter and come back in the spring  and bloom through the spring and summer and sometimes into fall.

PHOTOS BY HUSBAND