Wednesday, April 16, 2008

May 10, 2008 Election in The Woodlands

You a registered voter who resides in The Woodlands and in Montgomery County will be asked to vote for or against:
+ CISD school bond
+ Lone Star Community College school bond

You need to be prepared to select your candidate for:
+ Four trustee positions on the Lone Star Commmunity College board. There is a total of fourteen candidates.
+ Five at-large Director positions on the Woodlands Township board. There are fourteen candidates.

This of course takes some research. You will find one information article in this commentary on two of these subjects at these links:
+ CISD Bond proposition
+ Get to know the candidates for The Woodlands Township Director positions.

Please vote!

+ Early voting locations and schedule
+ Joint Election Sample Ballot

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Earth Day in The Woodlands Texas

Of the two special days we have here in The Woodlands, Arbor and Earth, I favor Earth Day. Arbor Day is the great day for planting trees and the community does that. Earth Day is the day for appreciating and preserving the forest. From joining the Bluebird Society and putting a nesting home in your backyard, to recycling computers and paint, to learning the techniques on ridding unwanted pesky mosquitoes, to caring for an injured animal - we learn, we participate, we become better caretakers of our forest. Quite frankly, there was good entertainment and food to go along with it, making it a very nice outing on a beautiful day for the whole family. The event seems larger every year, and this one was exceptional.

This is an event done in the spirit of a hometown valuing its earthly heritage. I thought I would share this web site explaining "heritage": HERITAGE. Heritage is a basic reason for us to do many of the things we do.

Many thanks to the many folks who participated in and sponsored this event: vendors, The Woodlands Association, The Woodlands Development Company, Village associations, Montgomery Precinct 3, non-profit organizations, performing artists and volunteers and probably others who I cannot readily identify.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Wildflowers in The Woodlands Texas 2008

Creekside Village Park

Each year the development company plants wild flowers along major roads in The Woodlands. 2008 is no exception. However, early this spring, the flowers seemed not as spectacular as prior years. Perhaps the intense rains we had at critical times contributed to the more lackluster results this year. We have seen better results lately as the temperature rises and more of the blooms are opening for us to view. Locations where I looked included some of the normal intense spots on Gosling, Woodlands Parkway and 242. There was a really nice field of Bluebonnets at the new park in Creekside Park Village. I did not label many of these. I am asking for readers to try to help me identify them. Please excuse my ignorance of the names of wildflowers. I want to learn to identify them, so I am seeking help by posting them. There is also a slide show of these and last year's photos in the government section of the blog.

I made sure I passed by most of the spots marked on the map of the plantings as described by The Woodlands Association: Click here for Map. Additional information describing the process is available at the Association website by clicking here. There are a number of photographs posted below for your viewing pleasure. You can view larger versions of any photograph by clicking on its picture. The photographs are arranged by:
(1) those planted and
(2)those I believe to be indigenous to the area.
I have distinguished the two by general location - those along the roadside and others in the forest. Locations where roadside plantings cannot occur are considered indigenous in this article. This is an arbitrary distinction to isolate those growing natural and those artificially introduced to the ecology. California varieties are distributed each year at the Wildflower festival here in The Woodlands during the fall for residents to plant, so there are wildflowers not native to our area in many locations.

Let's first view the "planted", in two groups -
(a)the Oklahoma and Texas mix, and
(b)the Bluebonnet mix.
These two types of mixes are planted differently. See the map for the newly planted locations this year.

A. Planted species :

1. Oklahoma and Texas mix
The particular varieties shown are like long stemmed flowers. They are puffs of flowers on thin long stalks blown by the wind. It was difficult to get a clear camera focus because the wind blows them so much! There are many color variations as evidenced in these photos. I found concentrations of these on Gosling near Creekside Park Village and on The Woodlands Parkway in Sterling Village close to the Walmart area. You find them almost everywhere.
Indian Springs
Sterling Ridge
Blooms on this beautiful species are significantly different. Bright white wildflowers present a striking contrast to the other wildflowers.

Note the bee. I followed this little busy fellow until he finally stayed on one flower long enough to photograph. I recommend clicking this one. I also tried to get a photo of an elusive butterfly, which visited some of the flowers. It was my first sighting this year of the Monarch.

Here we have a field of colors but sparsely blooming at this time. There are many plants not yet blooming and each plant is spreading with multiple buds. It is early in the season. When looking at the number of plants yet to bloom, obviously there is considerable potential for many flowers yet to show their splendid glory! April will be a much better viewing month.

Cochran's Crossing These Bluebonnets were found on Gosling just south of Research Forest. Yes, the white one is a Bluebonnet also. They come is several colors but the mix is probably intended to be the pure blue variety. So we get a white one in the bunch. A nice change of pace.

College Park

B. Indigenous species

Sterling Ridge Panther Creek
On the water canal behind the YMCA on Shadowbend.
Some wildflowers are so small that one must literally get down on one's hands and knees to see them clearly. This is such a variety.
Dewberry is a prickly vine with really nice flowers. These are everywhere along the trails, along the creeks, along everything wild. In May, their black berries make great cobblers!
Indian Springs