First of all, I need to confess this is not my farm and these are not my pictures or Starla’s.
Patti Brewer from the Master Gardener class of 2012 took these pictures and runs the family farm pictured below with her husband and family.
Patti, where is this crazy beautiful place?
The farm is in Lone Camp, Palo Pinto county, Texas. Palo Pinto county is the beginning of the northern hill country. I am not sure of our farm’s exact date of purchase but my mom who was born there would be 100 years old this year. Land was purchased at different times and some of it was owned by my great grandparents. Some of the land was partitioned to their sons and daughters including my grandfather.
Your farm is meaningful to your family but also important in terms of habitat. Who shares your farm?
Wild life on this farm include turkey, dove, deer, aoudad-or Barbary sheep, coyotes, cotton tail rabbits, roadrunners, hawks, buzzards and skunks. Of course, we have rattlesnakes and copperheads.We occasionally see horned toad lizards and have a decades old hill of red ants that stretches as wide as my outstretched arms reach. Red ants are #1 on the diet for horned toads. We have Texas spiny lizards too. Birds we see are hummers, house wrens, cardinals, blue jays,tufted titmouses, chickadees, meadowlarks, whippoorwills, and owls. We have once or twice seen painted buntings. In the area are habitats of golden cheeked warblers, an endangered bird.
We have 5 tanks on the ranch and seasonal creeks and a rocky canyon area where the aoudads hang out.
Patti, Could you tell us about the barn?
The barn used to hold livestock feed bags. A hand cranked dried corn shucker driven by gears was in barn until it was stolen. Field corn was grown by my grandfather for supplements for cattle and chickens. It was fun to crank that old thing. The corn shuck was ejected when the kernels all popped off!
What about the wildflowers. We are drinking them in!!! Just gorgeous!
These pictures are from March/April 2017, when we had a trifecta of blooms at one time.
Bluebonnets, pink phlox, orange Indian paintbrush and crossvine on the fence.
This year we only had phlox and bluebonnets at the same time, but amazingly thick stands of bluebonnets.
Bluebonnets, we can’t get enough!
More about the wildflowers: we do not mow any bluebonnets until seeds are thrown out. The first mowing of the bluebonnets occurs usually right before July 4th. Mowing continues through about late August if needed. Texas heat burns everything up by August. Harvested bluebonnet seeds are given to friends. If you have never been in a field of bluebonnets that are throwing off their dried seeds, then you are missing something to behold. What you hear sounds just like popping popcorn on the stove. The first time I heard this I thought a rattlesnake was very close to me in the knee high bluebonnets!
Indian Paintbrush blazing!
The Indian paintbrushes are mostly in pastures that we don’t mow. Unfortunately, our cows eat the Indian paintbrush that grow in their pastures. About May or June every year we have another field that sprouts Indian blankets and then that field is not mowed until the seeds are dried on the plants. We have an abundance of antelope horn milkweed and some butterfly weed and I have planted frost weed for years.
We see a tremendous variety of butterflies including Monarchs. Bumble bees and honey bees are busy at our farm. Sitting outside on a summer evening listening to the hum of the honeybees is one of my favorite things to do.
Wildflowers at Raincatcher’s