Old Diary

What’s the deal with Bluebonnets anyway?

EMSBefore we headed North to San Antonio I was awakened in the middle of the night by…. well, not by the ambulance that parked a few sites away from us,…. but by my wife who heard  the ambulance parked a few sites away from us and had to get up and check it out!

I missed the siren, and the engine noise…. what woke me?   the scuff, scuff, scuff of her feet in the lounge.  Go figure. Before we left Palmdale this morning we could not discover who it was who needed ambulance attention.  I hope we’ll find out upon our return.

We usually aren’t big on meat for breakfast but seeing as the little ribeye steaks I’d taken out of the freezer for yesterday’s dinner didn’t defrost in time, and we aren’t going to be home tonight for dinner;  we decided to live life large with Steak & Eggs for breakfast.  Yum Oh! And it held us until we got to San Antonio.


I am fast approaching my 2,000th post (this is # 1977) and I was thinking about breaking off my commentary in this blog and moving over to a new title and new theme stressing abundance of options over lack of scripting. That may seen a minor difference to some but when I started writing this blog  (more or less since 2007) it was more as a working individual rather than as 1/2 of a retired couple.

The longer we spend retired, the more we both realize that our emphasis has morphed.  We are less about appreciating the ability to come and go at will; less about reveling in the sheer novelty of retirement; and more about appreciating the choices we have in retirement.  I don’t know whether I’ll actually change anything. But the thought process brought me to read a poem by Emily Dickinson:

I dwell in Possibility —
A fairer House than Prose —
More numerous of Windows —
Superior — for Doors —

Of Chambers as the Cedars —
Impregnable of Eye —
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky —

Of Visitors — the fairest —
For Occupation — This —
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise —
–Emily Dickinson


My real ponder for the day is about these bluebonnet flowers that everyone in Texas talks about as if they were golden fleece.  After today’s drive I’m pretty much of the opinion that Texas Bluebonnets are a state traffic hazard.

Don’t get me wrong — I love flowers.  Tomorrow we may spend part of the day at the S.A. Botanical Gardens!  And we have seen bluebonnets in bloom.  Some in a 1/4 acre strip.  Others in a 4 or 5 acre field.  And at least one find that had to be 30 acres if it was 1!  They are beautiful.


What else you see are people so intrigued by the flowers that they pull not-too-far-off-onto-the-shoulder of the Interstate highway and get out and tromp around in them.  They also pull onto the wrong shoulder, facing opposing traffic and get out of their cars — not always very far out of traffic.

As a result, I am not posting any bluebonnet pictures took.  I’ll borrow some photos from the public domain and say ’tis enough:

bluebonnet - 001

If photographers of images like these were honest you’d realize this is a patch about 20′-30′ wide and might be part of a 50′ long patch. They ARE beautiful! But I’m not sure all the noise is justified.




I saw at least 5 of these set-ups in about 10 miles.  Parent, trying to make one or two kids stand still in a field of bluebonnets while someone else tries to snap a photo that looks like they are living in a world of bluebonnets.

I saw at least 5 of these set-ups in about 10 miles. Parent, trying to make one or two kids stand still in a field of bluebonnets while someone else tries to snap a photo that looks like they are living in a world of bluebonnets.

Gardens & Yards

The big question that bluebonnets raise in my mind is about the yards of Texans.  Could it be that in a state that makes so much noise about the Spring Bluebonnets it’s all because the residents aren’t particularly avid or able gardeners?  I don’t want to be down on Texans.  I like Texas.  I like Texans.  But I have to wonder is all of this noise about bluebonnets because a lot of people in Texas just don’t do their own gardening?  I could see that it might be a legitimate water issue — Texas does have water issues.  For sure it does.

But the thing is that we’ve been driving around South Texas for 4 months now.  And we’ve made several trips to San Antonio, Houston, Galveston, Corpus Christi, etc. During those trips we’ve driven through rich, poor, and middle class neighborhoods.  What we’ve noticed is that there’s not a lot of gardening.  And the yards… well, suffice it to say that Midwestern yards don’t exist here.  But then neither do many low-water-use regional-plant type yards such as you might see in Arizona.

I have looked in vain for evidence of Master Gardeners around here and mostly what I see is scraggly grass and neglected yards.  Now to be fair, my wife’s cousin who lives in Houston is a very good gardener.  There is evidence that people in their neighborhood are also gardeners.  But when I leave the metropolis, and the presumption that life will always go on as it is that goes with living in a humongous city, it just doesn’t seem as if working in the dirt and growing things is a huge interest in this state.


we see a lot of this…. threadbare attempts to grow grass when grass is not indigenous to the area and takes way too much water to grow properly — to say nothing of burning up in the intense heat.

In select areas there exists amazing botanical diversity.  Like the Wildlife refuges.  But not being from an area with scarce water resources it’s hard for me to wrap my brain around this kind of life.  And here… we aren’t even in the desert as we might be had we been in Arizona this year.

A large part of RV’ing is adjusting to changing circumstances and environments. If one can’t be flexible then RV’ing isn’t for them.

For Peg and I one of the difficult adjustments has been to live in places where it’s not as easy to find ethnic dining options: we love trying new food and ‘experimental dining’ has always been a big part of our routine diet.  In fact, today, as soon as we got to town we looked for a Mediterranean place in San Antonio.  We found a nice restaurant called the Jerusalem Grill.

For us, another one of our adjustments has been not having a garden; sort of the subject of today’s blog.  We both love working in the soil.  That doesn’t mean we grow flowers or are really good at growing much of anything.  For us it’s more about woody plants.  Wherever we have lived we undertook major landscaping projects that significantly changed the properties we were on.  It feels odd to be playing with a couple small pots instead of a whole yard.  But we are Ok with that.

The larger part of our quest — finding a place we might like to settle into semi-permanently is affected by considerations as these.  Semi-permanently is the key word.  We know it’s unlikely that we’ll both pass on while still RV’ing; the odds are that something will happen to one of us forcing the other off the road.  But that doesn’t change the fun and excitement of looking for a place.  The excitement is in the pursuit, in the search, in the discover.

So, while I wonder why Texans are crazy over bluebonnets and whey they don’t seem to be as interested in their own yards,  I thank you for stopping by today — in my quandry mood.  I’ll talk to you tomorrow.


7 thoughts on “What’s the deal with Bluebonnets anyway?

  1. Bluebonnets – who knew (at least not in my neck of the woods) They look like Lupines to me. (Perennial wildflowers that grace grassy hillsides in spring) As for not having a garden, I completely understand that concept. My garden is my sanctuary. Pulling weeds makes an otherwise gloomy day right 🙂


    • They ARE a lot like lupines, now that you mention it. But shorter, stubbier, and they do tend to form a sort of field of densely spaced flowers — whereas I’ve seen bunches of lupines but can’t recall ever seeing a 20 acre carpet of lupines. …. but I might have missed them.
      See, that’s where I’m different. I get no joy from killing weeds. I’m a forest guy. I like woody plants and I like changing the landscape, but I have never been friends with my knees and have never understood that Zen weed pulling mentality. Just not me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember when we moved to Ft. Worth in 1990 and tried to garden. After leaving the Midwest (Omaha) with it’s amazing soil to discover the awful, hard packed cement pretending to be soil. Oh how I worked at that, amending and amending until it was friable and fertile and could sustain life. Then I was able to plant my beloved annuals and bulbs. I was even able to grow azaleas by working huge amounts of peat into the soil.
    I’m pretty sure that the average Texas gardener does not care enough or have the knowledge or time to do all of this to sustain much beyond the the occasional nandina. Now in some areas with more fertile soil and the money to hire landscapers that is a different story. Then you will see nicely landscaped properties but rarely gardens of colorful flowers.


    • Karen — Thanks for the comments. I think you hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately for me, absorbing what that means is not as easy as saying it. We’ve been down here for 4 months, and the area we are in is one of the few produce baskets of the nation. I know we’ve been here during the winter season but there’s still been a lot of green. Yeah — there’s caliche and really bad soil that we see around us, but there’s also that amazingly rich soil. It’s just hard to internalize how bad the soil is. Today we visited the SanAntonio Botanic Gardens and that helped quite a bit. There are some Texas gardeners who care, but you are right that many may not, or may not have the skill to tackle restoring depleted or unusable soil. And in such an area I can see that lovely blooms that ‘seem’ to arrive on their own (notwithstanding the tons of seeds Texas DOT spreads) are a great joy. But to a Midwesterner it’s a oddity. Perhaps I’m doomed to remain a Midwesterner — who knows….. but we’re having a ball learning about this great and wonderful place. 🙂

      Thanks for chiming in. Never hesitate to join in the fray. 🙂

      > >


  3. Mrs. P says:

    Out of all you said to day, this stood out to me as the most important, “The excitement is in the pursuit, in the search, in the discover.” It is why Rick and I get so much pleasure off of what others might consider to be very mundane activities…because they are new to us, we’re learning and doing things we haven’t done before and it’s darned interesting.

    I have mentioned that I wanted to retire when I was 65 and my friends tell me that I will be bored…even die. That’s not true for me because I am constantly pursuing something of interest to me. I have projects that I am in the middle of that will take me years to complete and then there are the things I want to do and places I want to see…it’s a full life.


    • I completely agree. Ya know, I’ve met 50 year olds who are dead, and 100 year olds who are more alive than most 50 year olds. The difference is not in their organism — how healthy or capbable — but in their minds: their state of being; how they view the world, how they view their lives.

      I can’t imagine losing interest in exploring life, the world around me, or other people.

      And like you — mundanity exists only in the slow of brain, the non-creative. Look at how long Picasso produced amazing work! And so many other artists who worked until they dropped. Creativity IS life.

      Even those days when to someone outside our couple-ness might think that we didn’t ‘do’ anything I find something to explore, a new person to make friends with, a new thought to explore, or some project that lay dormant in my soul for unknowing days or years.

      No – you won’t shrivel up and die. Not at all. And it may be those who make such predictions who are doomed to a boring and dying existence because by being unable to imagine how you could find fulfillment they limit their own pursuit of satisfaction.

      > >


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