This, my friends, is the humble Gumbo Lily
from which this blog name has it's origins.
The gumbo lily (Oenothera caespitosa) grows in gumbo soil which is a very heavy clay soil.
When it rains, gumbo becomes very slimy and sticky and then drys and cracks when as you see in the picture above. It does not grow much grass, but only a few select flowers and forbs which can sustain a life in hard clay. The roots of the gumbo lily go down deep as a tap root. I've tried to transplant them in years past without success. Either I didn't get enough of the root, or the soil conditions were not right for it to thrive -- or possibly both. I've always considered myself akin to the gumbo lily. When I first moved out to the ranch as a young bride of 19, I didn't know how well I'd adapt to lonely prairie life, but as the years passed, I began to put down my root deeper and deeper into the soil of the land and life, and now I doubt you could pull up enough root to transplant me anywhere else. This is where I belong.
Hubby picked gumbo lilies for me this Mother's Day.
I wish you could smell them. Heavenly.
Hubby and I went out feeding and checking livestock this morning. I hope you'll enjoy the pictures I took below. The cows and calves are very content in their summer pasture. The calves below are branded and turned out. There are others yet to be branded and vaccinated before we can take them out to their summer pastures.
Lambert's Locoweed ( Oxytropis lambertii) purple
White locoweed (Oxytropis sericea Nuttall)
Locoweed is just what it sounds like. A weed, although beautiful, that can make livestock crazy or actually poison them and kill them. Most of the time, livestock avoids these plants, but occasionally, they will ingest the weeds when the grass is tall and covers them up. We think we lost a cow this spring to locoweed or more likely to Meadown Death Camas. It looks very much like wild onions that grown rampantly on our prairie. It is said to be more poisonous than strychnine. Thankfully we had a cow mama that had needed a baby, so we grafted the calf on her.
The apple tree in bloom on the right has it's origins in an apple seed. Hubby used to throw his apple cores over the shop roof for fun, and one day an apple tree sprouted and grew. So far we've only had one apple crop from it, and every year I am hopeful for another. The apple tree on the right is one Hubby and I planted called Northern Lights. It has produced a handful of small apples, but never much. It's still young. Do you see the bucket of apple blossom stems in the right-hand pic?
Maryann, an 80 year old nursery owner, told my husband that when you have a plum tree with no other tree to pollinate it with, you can cut some branches from another plum tree and put them in a bucket beside the one you wish to pollinate. Well, I thought that was such a brilliant idea, that I decided I'd try it with my own apple trees. I cut branches from the Shop Apple Tree and put them by my Northern Lights to see if it might help it to pollinate. I also took some branches from an old Whitney Crab tree from the pasture and brought them over to the Shop Apple Tree to see if it might help it to pollinate. I'm just trying to be a Good Garden Fairy. I hope that spreading the fairy dust helps!
Little American Goldfinches are visiting my backyard in their yellow tuxedos!
I hope you're having a wonderful Mother's Day today. I'm enjoying the outdoors!