The blasted tree (and others)

Unfortunately it’s gotten too dang hot here in N TX during the day for me to maintain my regimen of weekday walks during lunch hour (which I was able to do because I work from home).  So I will have to attempt to make up for it by taking longer walks on the weekends.

This morning I stopped by my neighbor Judy’s front yard to photograph the pine tree that received a direct lightning hit a couple of weeks ago during what shapes up to be the last thunderstorm of the season — the dreaded familiar high pressure ridge having now established itself over top of us for what I fear will be the rest of the summer.

Struck by lightning

When it happened, it sounded like a dynamite explosion. Car alarms went off, and our two cats came rushing in from the back porch without any further prompting. (Smart cats!) After the hailstorm which followed, neighbors directly across the street from Judy found pine bark scattered across their driveway like so much shrapnel. The 20-odd foot tall pine tree now exhibits a straight line vertical scar, where the electrical discharge traced its way from top to bottom (or vice-versa, considering the vagaries of lightning dynamics).

Curve of color

A few doors down I found this colorful tableaux of fallen crepe myrtle blossoms littering a driveway in quite decorative fashion. I continued on my walk down to the White Rock Native Prairie N. of Van Dyke, where surprisingly (given the heat and prolonged dry conditions) an abundance of wildflowers are still in bloom, including Mexican Hat and buttonbush and this unidentified yellow flower (Coryopsis? Some kind of daisy, maybe?).

Yellow flower. And I’m firm on that I.D.

A number of the thistle-like basket flowers photographed in glorious bloom several weeks ago have now gone to seed, and judging from a couple of observed examples they have a sort of hinged lid which springs open sideways like the lid of a jewel box.

Basket flower with hinged lid

Here are some bloomheads which have not yet sprung open.

Thistle-like basket flowers, gone to seed

One of the more prolific bloomers on the eastern edge of the parkland I took to be a quite attractive morning glory, exhibiting showy white cup-shaped flowers. Only after showing my photos to Anne (my botanically-inclined spouse) did I learn that this is in fact a non-native and terribly invasive variety of bindweek. Still, it’s quite attractive in the camera lens.

Bindweed. Uh oh.

I emerged from the forest path around 8:30 a.m. and spent the last 1/2 mile of my walk working up a good sweat on the way home towards air conditioned comfort. Without Dave Lennox on our side we’d have to  pull up stakes for points north during summer, or at least head for higher altitude.

Atta boy, Dave!

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3 thoughts on “The blasted tree (and others)

  1. Strangely, it’s about 5 degrees cooler here in Austin than in Dallas, although we’re almost 200 miles further south. You might head south, maybe all the way to the coast, to get a little relief…

  2. Yeah, its been nothing but dead heat hear. From what it looks like that tree took the lightning bolt like a man. I’ve seen damage on trees before that leave them looking worse then cadaver!

    -Carlos Hernandez

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