Texas Longhorn - Texas State Large Mammal
Favorite thing: The ancestors of the Texas Longhorn were the cattle brought to America in the 1600s.
The Texas Longhorn was shaped largely by natural selection and is particularly well adapted to life in Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and other areas of the mid-west.
The Longhorn's heyday was in the mid-to-late 1800s with a peak of about 5 million head.
By the year 1900, cross-breeding had almost eliminated the typical Longhorn.
However, beginning in the late 1920s, the Texas Longhorn was preserved in wildlife refuges in Oklahoma and Nebraska.
In the 1960s, there were still only a small number of Longhorns -- about 1500 head.
The Longhorn is getting renewed attention because of its genetic diversity and potential for improving other breeds of cattle.
There are about 100,000 Texas Longhorn cattle in the United States today.
The Texas Longhorn is spotted and comes in a variety of colors.
They have long legs, high shoulders, and an easy stride.
Their horns average a span of 5 1/2 feet.
The Texas Longhorn is known for its heat tolerance, disease resistance, good mothering ability, and general toughness and adaptibility.
Fondest memory: Information for this tip provided by http://www.crazyforcows.com
Favorite thing: Texas is the second largest state, in the USA.. and the largest in the continual continent. Alaska is the only state larger than Texas.
The population of Texas is currently estimated at more than 22,000,000. which is aproximately the population of Australia.
Mexico boarders the southern portion of Texas, which has lead to the state having a larger Mexican-American population than most other states. This has created a cultural atmosphere unique to Texas.
Festivals honoring the states Mexican heritage are held each year. Texas is also the place where Tex-Mex food was created. Tex-Mex cuisine has all the flavor and spice of authentic Mexican food, with some variations.
Fondest memory: The Tex-Mex food is definitely one of the things I miss.Related to:
- Family Travel
The Lone Star Flag
Favorite thing: Texas is known as the Lone Star State, because the state flag is flown with a single star on it. This flag has been representative of Texas since it was its own individual republic.
Six different flags have flown over Texas during eight changes of sovereignty. The accepted sequence of these flags follows:
Spanish - 1519-1685.
French - 1685-1690.
Spanish - 1690-1821.
Mexican - 1821-1836.
Republic of Texas - 1836-1845.
United States - 1845-1861.
Confederate States - 1861-1865.
United States - 1865 to the present.
The state flag's colors represent the same virtues as they do in the national flag: Red means bravery; white, purity; and blue, loyalty.
Flown out-of-doors, the Texas flag should not be flown earlier than sunrise nor later than sunset unless properly illuminated. It should not be left out in inclement weather unless a weatherproof flag is used. It should be flown with the white stripe uppermost except in case of distress. When the flag is displayed against a wall, the blue field should be at the flag's own right (observer's left). When the flag is displayed vertically, the blue stripe should be uppermost and the white stripe should be to the state flag's right (observer's left). The state flag should be flown on all state holidays and on special occasions of historical significance, and it should fly at every school on regular school days.
Fondest memory: For more information on the Texas Flag, visit www.texasalmanac.com
Armadillo - Texas State Small Mammal
Favorite thing: One unique animal to Texas' landscape is the Armadillo. With its pioneer spirit, Texas adopted the armadillo because it is small and fearless!
Armadillo are timid, armored mammals that live in warm grasslands and forests from South America up to the southern United States. Armadillos are burrowers who dig underground dens. Armadillos can jump 3 ft (1 m) straight up into the air. Many armadillos are killed when they are run over by cars.
Texas Welcome Centers
Favorite thing: Texas is known to many as a very friendly state and some believe it is its own country, and therefore it is only logical that the official Texas welcome is done here on the border.
This beautiful travel information center in Waskom has everything you need to put in the car with you for your trip through Texas.
The people inside are very helpful and informative and provide you with tons of literature based on what you want to see!
I would call this a must visit for every traveller that drives by!
The Bluebonnet--State Flower of Texas
Favorite thing: "The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom is to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland". (quote by historian Jack Maguire)
I've been wanting to see a bluebonnet in its natural setting since we moved to Texas last year. Bluebonnets bloom in the early Spring and only grow naturally in Texas. There are five species.
There was alot of discussion in the early 1900's about which floral emblem should be selected for the state flower of Texas. Finally, in 1901 the National Society of Colonial Dames of America persuaded the Texas Legislature to choose the LUPINAS SUBCARNOSUS (commonly known as buffalo clover or bluebonnet).
However, there are four other subgroups of bluebonnets. After much discussion over the span of 70 years, the legislature decided to include ALL bluebonnets as the state flower. Call it a politically correct decision, but a decision it was.
*This information came from: http://plantanswers.tamu.edu/flowers/bluebonnet/bluebonnetstory.html
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Texas Wildflower--Indian Paintbrush
Favorite thing: Another wildflower that makes an appearance in the Spring in the Coastal Plain and the eastern half of Texas is the Indian Paintbrush. I think its so pretty! (Be sure to click on the additional photo for a field of flowers!)
It appears at the same time as the Texas Bluebonnet, but there can be years where the bluebonnets flourish and the paintbrushes have a mediocre year. Bloom time is from early March, peaking mid-April.
It's official name is CASTILLEJA INDIVISA and is a relative of the snapdragon. The bright color comes from 'bracts' not flower petals. These bracts are around and under inconspicuous flowers located on the upper third of the plant.
This plant likes open, sunny sites. It may also require a cold wet period in the winter in order to germinate. There are nine species native to Texas and can be seen in orangish-red and sometimes even yellow.
This information came from The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower CenterRelated to:
- Family Travel
General Information on Texas
Favorite thing: State Abbreviation - TX
State Capital - Austin
Largest City - Houston
Area - 268,601 sq. miles (Second only to Alaska)
Population - 20.8 million (2000 census) Second only to California
Major Industries - Petroleum, Natural Gas, Farming, Steel, High Tech, Tourism
Fondest memory: Information courtesy of EnchantedLearning.com
Favorite thing: There are markers scattered throughout the United States along the US Highways and other roads. They provide insight about the history of the local area. An interesting stop for history buffs. This historical marker is just outside Newcastle, Texas, and talks about Peter Harmonson one of the original settlers in the area.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
Rio Grande Valley: Mecca for Bird Watchers
Favorite thing: The southern Rio Grande Valley of Texas, with sightings of more than 500 species, is an international birding destination. Numerous species may be seen here and nowhere else in the United States. The city of Harlingen sponsors a Birding Festival every November which draws some of America's leading ornothologists, as well as thousands of avid birders. But one need not attend the festival to see the birds; they're everywhere. Just a few of the favorite birding hot spots are:
Bentson Rio Grande State Park
Brownsville Sanitary Landfill
Sable Palm Grove Sanctuary
Laguna Acosta National Wildlife Refuge
Santa Anna National Wildlife Refuge
Just a few of the rare birds you may find in the southern Rio Grande Valley are:
Groove Billed Ani
Red Crowned Parrot
Both of these lists could be much longer. Although we are only casual birders, I do keep a "Life List," and was thrilled to add several species to it during our recent vacation in South Texas.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Another Texas Wildflower-Rose Mallow
Favorite thing: I have really enjoyed searching out the wildflowers of Texas. As I drove along the backroads of Southlake, Texas I discovered this patch of Rose Mallow or Lavatera Trimestris.
Although a native to Europe, this flower has become naturalized in the southeastern United States. It grows in shades of white and rose, but I just love this pastel pink color.
Rose Mallow seems to grow in all types of soil and in full sun or partial shade. The blooms can grow to four inches across, but the complex root system makes it difficult to transplant.
Some people are able to grow them along walls or fences and in mass plantings. They bloom between June-September. I found them in the Spring!
Thanks to the efforts of Lady Bird Johnson, the wildflowers of Texas are widespread and deeply appreciated!Related to:
- Family Travel
Indian Blanket--another Texas Wildflower
Favorite thing: It's May now in Texas and these pretty orange and yellow flowers are blooming along the roadside just about everywhere in the Metroplex area, blossoming from May-September.
They're called Indian Blanket Flowers and they grow to a range of 4 -24 inches tall. The colorful blooms can be 1 to 3 inches across. It's officially known as gaillardia pulchella.
When I first saw these wildflowers, they reminded me of those we used to have growing in our garden in Pennsylvania. Sure enough, as I was gathering information on them I found that they were related.
I like this bright wildflower because it's so cheery in appearance.
FYI: Indian Blanket is the state flower of KansasRelated to:
- Family Travel
Flag of the Republic/State of Texas
Favorite thing: The Texas State Flag, with red and white bars and a lone white star on a field of blue, is the only state flag in America which may properly be flown alongside and at the same height with the flag of United States of America. The reason is that Texas is the only state which was a soverign independent nation before it joined the Union, and the flag was the flag of the Republic of Texas, before it became the State of Texas.
This was the second flag for the Republic of Texas and was adapted Jan. 24, 1839. In 1845, when Texas became the 28th state, the flag of the Republic became the State Flag. It is the fourth of six national flags that have been flown over the territory that is now the State of Texas.
In the Flag the Blue stands for loyalty, the white is for strength, and the red for bravery or valor. The Lone Star stands for Texas, and is the reason it is known as "The Lone Star State."
Texas State FlagRelated to:
- Historical Travel
Texas State Historical Markers
Favorite thing: Throughout your trip to Texas you will see many locations that bear the symbol of our Texas State Historical Markers. In the picture you will see what these look like. I would highly recommend taking some time to read about each one of these, as they normally have some great information on the city you are reading it in!
This one is located in Austin at the Iron Works BBQ
Fondest memory: http://www.thc.state.tx.us/markersdesigs/maddefault.html
Very DRY ... have water on hand
Favorite thing: Texas is one of several U.S. states that is very hot and dry. Water is a definite survival need. Take water with you wherever you go. We got in the habit of taking a cooler with us each time we go out, that way we could keep our water cool no matter how long we were out of the house. A good idea would also be to invest in those foam coozies (sp) ... hmmm ... my general tip is about water ... but my fondest memory are the bluebonnets ... the only way I can bring these two together in one tip is ... uhh ... don't forget to water the bluebonnets?
Fondest memory: My single most favorite memory of Texas has got to be the vast fields of bluebonnets all over the state during the months of March and some of April.
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