Morning View – A Look at Texas from My Front Yard

Posted: March 26, 2012 in Piano

Texas blooms! This is a red tip photinia.  The spring growth of foliage appears first as red leaves. The flowers arrive later. Fast growing hedge.

I have lived many places during my life. When I lived in forested areas, I had the feeling each morning of being in a cozy surround. I enjoy a view from a hillside or mountain more.  Viewing great distances fills me with a sense of wonder.  I also enjoy a morning view of a pond or lake. Even with a layer of morning mist, a serene water view can be filled with life if you sit, watch and listen.

My preference is for a big view. Texas offers an enormous sky and expansive fields.  Go three blocks from my house and you will be surrounded by fields of concrete and new buildings. I live in the last part of town that has not yet been “improved” by developers and ambitious suburbanites.

This fence line will burst into bloom in a few weeks. The bushes have small white flowers that will paint the hedgerow. In the distance is a crape myrtle; one of the mainstays of north Texas landscapes. There are some wild blackberries in there too.

A garden pond with iris and rosebush.

The soil is alkaline clay. When it is wet, it becomes a very thick mass which clings to everything. If you drive on it, your vehicle can easily become stuck. Deep ruts will form and retain that shape for years to come. When it is dry, the clay is very hard. Under extreme temperatures, large cracks will form, much like views you may have seen of the desert floor. Bermuda grass (sun) and St. Augustine (shade)  are the preferred lawn grasses. At this time of year, only the rye grasses have formed.

The Dallas/Fort Worth area is comprised of seven major soil changes. If you view the U.S. map, the forest which begins on the Atlantic coast, terminates at Dallas. As people migrated to Dallas, they retained access to the familiar construction materials used for housing in the east. The architecture of the earlier homes is similar to those found elsewhere in the eastern seaboard area. However, as you move west towards Fort Worth, the land goes through several changes, eventually becoming alkaline clay. That soil is good for the growth of grasses necessary to grazing cattle. It is not very good for trees which require a lot of water.  Two extreme differences in soil, and limited access to eastern building materials, contributed greatly to the character of Dallas and Fort Worth respectively. There was a railroad from the west which carried meat products from the west to the east coast. In time, it became necessary to place a north/south rail line. A decision was made to route the new line through Dallas instead of Fort Worth. Dallas emerged as an economic center on the trade route, while Fort Worth continued as a western town dependent on the cattle and food preparation industry. That is why two cities emerged so close together.

 

Taken in sum, I have a nice view of a blue sky and a lot of space. The field across the street was filled with yellow flowers last week. A farmer mowed them down.  That land has never been developed.  It appeared the same way 100 years ago (maybe even a 1,000 years!). There is a creek running on the back side of that field. At night the young coyotes will cry out, especially when firetrucks zoom past with sirens blazing. After the sirens are beyond the range of hearing, the cries of the coyotes can still be heard. Eventually they settle down and it is quiet again. That bush out front on the right also blooms. It is very fragrant too. As the southerly wind blows towards the house, the fragrance of that single bush will fill the air with sweetness. The rosebush is filled with buds, so I expect a good show in a few weeks.  The iris have yet to bloom, which is odd because another batch closer to the house have already opened.

Iris do well in Texas. Everyone has a few in their yards here. They are one of the first bloomers of the season.  I have several varieties in different parts of the yard, front and back. This group was thinned three years ago.

So that is what I look at each morning when I walk down to get the morning newspaper. There are 45,000 people living in my town, but they are not in sight. That is the best part of living here.

As I sit at my desk, I can turn and look out the window at the morning.

 

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