We drove to Ennis, an hour and twenty minutes south of our home, for the annual Bluebonnet Festival. Ennis sits in a part of north Texas in which the hills roll a bit rather than being flat. The Ennis area is a bit wooded as well, but not in the sense of forests. It's more like riparian woods interspersed with open fields interspersed with scraggle-trees. It's ideal wildflower country in the Spring. Texas has a few mountains in the desert, some deep woodlands, and hundreds of miles of seashore. But its real natural resources are all wildflowers.
The folks in the Ennis region plant the Texas state flower along roughly forty miles of country highways. These bluebonnets, as well as evening primrose, goldenrod and Indian paintbrush make for a colorful Spring. Ennis folks host the Bluebonnet festival
each Spring. Each Fall, since Ennis was settled by Czech people, the town hosts a polka fest each Fall. In May,the national polkafest is set to occur in Ennis. It's a fun small town with great scenery,an old-fashioned downtown, Lake Bardwell nearby and good parks.
We went to the Visitor Center (the old railroad depot). They directed us to the booths, as the Garden Club was in charge of bluebonnet trail directions. We saw this fellow by the railroad tracks.
We went past booths for straw hats, jalapeno jelly,stone crosses, and ink pens made out of gun shell casings. Two chihuahuas in a perambulator were dressed for the day.
We picked up a map, though the woman guiding visitors at the table was working solo while other garden club members sold T-shirts and the like. We took a map and determined to self-guide. We walked among the booths. We bought pickled green beans from the woman who pickled them. We saw the rescue dogs who were in a cool little window-ed display wagon, a bit like a pet shop window for the coolest and yet sadly needy-due-to-no-fault of their own pets in America. I liked the beagle mixes.
First we drove to Bluebonnet Park. This park had a small pond with dozens of kids and grandparents fished, along with a few fishing adults. One patient labrador retriever made friends with a little girl. We found the pleasant small field of bluebonnets.
Then we drove on the southern Bluebonnet Trail, which ran on streets and rural highways just southeast of town. We passed telephone poles on which scissor-tailed flycatchers sat on the wires. A Loggerhead Shrike, colored like a Northern Mockingbird but small with a broad (mildly fierce) beak, stood on another wire.
We saw fields of bluebonnets and fields of goldenrod. We also saw evening primrose, Indian Paintbrush, and native verbena. We saw one field of flowers with miniature goats and burros on it.
We felt hungry. We tried to get a seat at the Wildflower Cafe, a little tea room downtown. But they wanted us to wait an hour for a reservation, which was not our style. A local had given us a rundown of great Mexican restaurants, one Tex-Mex, and one "interior Mex" (what my wife and I, among others, call "Mex Mex"). But we had had San Miguel Allende Mex the night before. I got out my smart phone, looked up the Tripadvisor restaurant ratings, and discovered that Bubba's Steakhouse and BBQ was highly rated.
Bubba's did not disappoint. I had a turkey sandwich with mustard greens and green beans. The sauce was great. As is my wont, I mixed the hot sauce and the regular sauce. We enjoyed it.
We took the northern bluebonnet trail, at least in part, next. It started a bit north, in the town of Palmer. Here we saw huge farm fields of bluebonnets. At one house, two horses and two foals were at the fence's edge, with their owner. Tourists were permitted to come up and say "hi" and pose for pictures. Another area
featured signs for a "Harry the Horse", but this horse turned out to be tethered and not happy. Photo horses should be free.
We did not stop for photos, as too many people stopped and parked, which is not to my taste for photos. But we did at some point dial up directions back to the freeway. We went on this remote but lovely wooded country road with cool flowers but no traffic. It was Heaven.
We drove back to the city. My wife went to get her car seen about at the shop. I took Beatrice for a walk and then washed and dried and folded nearly all of my laundry. Then my wife came home, and took a walk.
We went to Mimi's for dinner. As we headed out to my wife's car to head to the cafe, we saw 16 Cedar Waxwings in our little crape myrtle tree. They paused for a moment,before making their way in search of new foods. My French Dip and Tomato Basil soup was good.
As we got into our car, we saw the distant approaching storm the weather folks had been mentioning all day. By 8:45 p.m., it turned into a hailstorm and high speed winds. We hunkered down. It subsided into rain.
Now we are watching "Dazed and Confused", which my wife had never seen. Though my high school did not feature as much bullying and hazing, the rest of the movie is not that far from my own high school days.