Alchemy

Spring is coming to the Hill Country after a hard (for us) winter …

and so, as I am wont to do, I walked the land. Then returned to find this post

over at Mo’s blog. Marti’s pennant of cloth dyed from the land and her words invoking alchemy.
Coincidentally, before I walked, I had begun my own dye-play using windfall galls from the live oaks, their previous inhabitants long since gone. I wrapped the galls in thrifted linen, tying them off with a variegated thread that I hope will bleed. Then dipped the whole in warm black tea and hung the results in the Texas persimmon …
Note: this was spectacularly unsuccessful!

After which I walked, surveying our latest prickly pear cactus whacking …

the end product of which will be more berms …

within which the alchemy of sun and rain will disintegrate the grass-topped mounds into the black gold of compost ..

Likewise, the mistletoe-choked cedar elm has been safely downed and chipped by arborists, soon to line the trails that meander through our land …

Walking down the east trail I came to the cactus corral …

Once a bare patch clotted with cactus, it is now full of grasses and the bright green promise of thimble flowers.
The burn pit is also full of brush cut back to make way for more prairie grasses …

Beyond it, the floodplain is beginning to bloom …

As my eye scanned the land seeking the first golden eye, it caught instead on an intriguing spiral of stone …

Nearby, the last remnants of a much-needed rain …

A flicker of color led me to the corner of the property where surveyor’s tape fluttered …

marking the edge of the land now owned by our someday next door neighbors, our bid having been too little to secure the acreage for ourselves.
But we have more than enough here and always there is something …

Picking up the empty shell, I wondered at its one-time inhabitant. Had it perished on the droughted floodplain? How ironic those two words are. But water is the key to our land of flood and drought. 
Which is why the avian font (Barry’s term, much more appealing than “bird bath”) is drunk dry by the deer as often as not …

Filling it …

I noted yet another flutter from the corner of my eye …

a black butterfly with iridescent blue spots above …

and an orange/red spot below, just visible as it flew away. I will have to look it up.
But for now, I am sitting beside Don’s newest garden …

waiting for the almost-full moon to rise in the east and hoping to hear the call of Sandhill cranes as my Remember 2016 cloth reminds me 
they come at the end of February …

as surely as spring follows winter.