Winter Driftwood

On a mission to forage mesquite wood for succulent arrangements, I ventured back out to the YL Ranch. I showcased this area in southwestern Throckmorton County last summer. Unlike then, it is the dead of winter without much living botanical interest, but the history of the property is interesting enough. I was easily distracted by the discarded and out-dated farm equipment that was scattered across a slope behind the barn. I even picked up a few bottles in some unique shapes.

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Throckmorton County is a 900 square mile, sparsely populated jurisdiction in north central Texas. The landscape is defined by a transition from the oak-dominated Cross Timbers to the scrubby grasslands of the Plains. The area explored lies about 1 mile from the Brazos River where Hog Creek empties into it, and a few hundred yards away from Coon Hollow, a drainage bounded by exposed bluffs of sandstone, rising 30 feet above the horizon. While these features are not particularly impressive, they do vary from the norm of relatively low, rolling hills of the surrounding terrain. If this area of northeastern Throckmorton County had a name, it would be Koger, a small community that once had a school, but leaves no evidence of establishment today. 

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YL Ranch

In the far southwestern corner of Throckmorton County is the YL Ranch, encompassing 5,500 acres of responsibly-managed, grazing pasture among low, rolling hills. Two prominent waterways cross this property; Ranger Creek and Tecumseh Creek, both with exposed limestone bottoms. About 5 miles to the southeast is the famous Lambshead Ranch, established in 1880 after the area was purposely evacuated of the Tecumseh tribe of the Comanche Indians.

The area is dominated by Hackberry and Mesquite trees, along with plentiful grasses and short scrub. Abundant rainfall over the past 2 years has really benefited the perennials, and many early summer bloomers were showing their colors. It was the last day of spring and the temperature would reach the upper 90s. After taking a dip in one of the stock tanks, I set to document some of the more interesting species of the area.

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