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Prairie Notes are monthly photo/journal observations from Tandy Hills Natural Area by Founder/Director, Don Young. They include field reports, flora and fauna sightings, and more, mixed with a scoop of dry humor and a bit of philosophy. They are available free to all who get on the FOTHNA email list.

Fire & Rain & Bluebells

Prairie Notes:
July 17, 2009

A prairie needs both fire and rain to stay healthy and vigorous. With a little human assistance, Tandy Hills received a little of both yesterday.

The fire, apparently, came from some kids goofing around with fireworks. The "rain" definitely came from a fire-hose wielded by an efficient Fort Worth Fire Department.

A medium sized grassy area west of the Main Trail and about 800' from the street was scorched down to bare soil and rock about 8:00 pm Thursday evening. My neighbor on View Street just happened to see the flames from her front yard and made a 911 call. (I only wish she had waited a little longer and we would have had a better burn.)

Friday morning, we found a customized bottle rocket near the burned area. It appears that some neighborhood kids are keeping alive the grand tradition of carelessly playing with fire. With their help, parts of THNA are thriving. There have been discussions about a prescribed burn at THNA after more of the woody growth is removed, so keep your Brush Bash tools handy.

THNA Fire Damage (7/17/09)
THNA Fire Damage (7/17/09)

THNA Fire Damage (7/17/09)
THNA Fire Damage (7/17/09)

THNA Fire Damage (7/17/09)
THNA Fire Damage (7/17/09)

THNA Fire Damage (7/17/09)
THNA Fire Damage (7/17/09)

THNA Fire Damage (7/17/09)
Evidence of an uncontrolled burn.

Speaking of grand traditions, as they have for thousands of years, Texas Bluebells (Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum) are once again laughing in the face of drought and producing a gorgeous display of dreamy Summer blooms. You owe it to yourself to hike in for a look-see.

Texas Bluebells, THNA
Texas Bluebells, THNA, 7/17/09

Another Summer bloomer is Roundhead Prairie Clover (Dalea multiflora). Like Bluebells, it is one of the few plants that can take the heat and look good doing it. The grasses, on the other hand, need rain.

Roundhead Prairie Clover (Dalea multiflora)
Roundhead Prairie Clover (Dalea multiflora)

Come to the meadow, soon, and do a Rain Dance so the grasses at THNA will reach their potential and sway in chilly winds of Autumn.

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