It began as a short trip out to the road to look at wildflowers. Having spotted a handsome spray of Dichelostemma capitatum when I took out the trash, I went back with the camera and the dog. How they do it, I don't know; but these lovely plants put up their sprays of ephemeral blue in rock-hard, bone-dry soil. This one is growing out in the road, in a spot that is rarely driven over.
While we were out in front of the house, I realized that Bella and I were not alone. Past the corner, a cluster of ranch cattle had arrived to see what was going on.
Bella and I went across the street (a dirt road which the county has officially graced with the magnificent title of "Avenue") to visit with the resident cattle. They decided to come closer.
They paused to check as more friends arrived.
Spot wanted to see whether I had brought anything nice to eat.
At this point I admit I became a little worried. There were only a few strands of barbed wire between me and a suddenly active bunch of rarely-handled cattle. Bella must have sensed my concern because she took it upon herself to warn the cattle off with a few emphatic barks.
But after moving away from the fence a little, everyone decided maybe there was no reason to go too far away. There might still be hay, or some kind of goodies? Worth staying around to find out.
Meantime, I had a real fright when I suddenly discovered that Bella had slipped in under the fence. As she is nearly fourteen and quite arthritic she is a good deal more fragile that she sometimes thinks.
I will never know why, I suppose, but she has always had an instinct for herding - not something I expect in a Labrador Retriever! And she thought it her job to move those steers...
I finally extracted her without incident and returned to taking pictures. Spot, nothing daunted, had come right up to the fence.
The rest of the crowd was not far behind, especially 4951, who had led the initial interest and seemed a particularly sweet sort.
I should have brought carrots, I suppose.
After talking to them and taking pictures for a little while, I had to leave. They couldn't see why, and Spot was noticeably unconvinced. But it was certainly time to take Bella home.
By the way, I am sorry there are no pictures of Bella here. She has taken a long dislike to the camera and does not approve of having her picture taken. The cattle were much more tolerant.
Weather Diary: Fair; High: 80 F (27 C)/Low: 50 F (10 C); Humidity: 17%-68%
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rusty duck (Monday, 27 March 2017 07:58)
Awww. And gosh doesn't it look so lush there! Must be your Spring rains.
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Monday, 27 March 2017 11:04)
Jessica - I think this is the greenest we've seen it - all the more wonderful after last year! I need some livestock to keep the weeds down, don't you think? ;-)
Kris P (Monday, 27 March 2017 12:04)
That was fun! The cows look more curious than greedy but I'm sure they wouldn't have passed on a treat.
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 28 March 2017 02:22)
Kris - Yes, they seemed quite interested even though I was only talking to them :)
Brian Skeys (Tuesday, 28 March 2017 10:49)
They are a mixed bunch, spot looks a character.
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Wednesday, 29 March 2017 13:17)
Brian - Spot was definitely a character, an aggressive little guy that led everyone else up to the fence. From spending years in the Miswest, I'm used to purebred cattle - still not sure why these range cattle are as mixed as they are! A lot seem to have Brahmin in them, but there's a bit of everything there, seemingly...
Diana Studer (Thursday, 30 March 2017 09:16)
your Dichelostemma looks like a bulb, and similar to those that grow here. Perhaps it likes the road because it catches extra rain there. In Namaqualand the dirt roads have a 'middelmannetjie' with a strip of tough wildflowers between the tire tracks and brushing under the car.
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 30 March 2017 19:09)
Diana - The Dichelostemma grows from a corm, so very similar. They do seem to choose particularly hard, dry soils; even in our yard they grow in the northwest corner where almost nothing else will even sprout. I have yet to understand their needs as I read that they were grown as a food crop time out of mind by the local native Americans, who found they did better under cultivation. My version of cultivation doesn't seem to suit them, however! They grow lanky and sparse when I put them into the garden. Must get this right as they are so lovely :)