This is a Desert Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii) in our backyard that I grew from a seed I planted in the spring of this year. I was surprised that it was blooming by the end of the summer.
It was hit hard by three nights of a hard freeze and lost all of its leaves. I was afraid it would not come back because it was not well established yet, or so I thought. This “Pretty Bird,” as I call it, has already put out new growth! I think it was be fine as long as we don’t have another hard freeze.
Just what we didn’t need, a hurricane in the middle of a pandemic. Hurricane Hanna chose not to keep her distance or stay at home. Instead she chose to waltz into the Gulf of Mexico and make landfall on the Texas coast as a category 1 hurricane without much warning. The eye of the storm came in just south of Corpus Christi with some wind damage and flooding caused by rising water but no loss of lives. We were fortunate but hurricane season is just beginning.
My plumbago blooms; the cactus blooms.
President Trump tweets daily and plays golf on the weekends.
We order groceries online and do curbside pickup. A sister dies.
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.
We have many birds that visit our backyard, but my favorite birds are these Desert Bird of Paradise, caesalpinia gilliesii.
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.
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.
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.