Spring has Sprung in the Bend

It’s March in Fort Bend County – Spring has sprung!   There’s new life, renewed vibrancy and a push to get out of the house! Here are some of the things Nancy and I enjoy every March.

We love flowers blooming, especially our official state flower – the stunning Texas Bluebonnet.  There’s a myth that you have to drive to the Texas Hill Country or central Texas to see true Texas bluebonnets.  If you feel compelled to leave Fort Bend, enjoy paying $3.50 for a gallon of gasoline and driving for three hours, please be my guest. But, if you prefer loading up your car with a picnic lunch and the family dog(s) for a fifteen-minute drive that features Texas Hill Country caliber bluebonnets, they are waiting for you right here in Fort Bend!

The best local spot Nancy and I have found in Fort Bend is in New Territory/Telfair around the lakes by Cornerstone Elementary School and the Museum of Natural Science. There are wide trails suitable for baby strollers and easy access around all the lakes.  Feel free to take photographs among our bluebonnets but never pick them – it’s against Texas law.  Bluebonnets are Fort Bend Strong!

I have always promised to keep politics out of this column, especially if bluebonnets are involved.  I will never break that promise, but I am going to share an “observation” that may seem like politics because it involves the Aggies and the Longhorns.

Maroon bluebonnets blooming in The Gardens at Texas A&M University. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Laura McKenzie). https://agrilifetoday.tamu.edu/2021/03/18/hurry-up-and-wait-texas-bluebonnets-are-coming/

In the spring of 2014, a strange thing happened around the iconic tower at The University of Texas.  Bluebonnets popped up – maroon bluebonnets. They could not be picked, because they were genetic bluebonnets.  They only way to remove these “maroonbonnets” was to dig up the soil containing them and move them, intact, without a single death. The Aggies would neither confirm nor deny any involvement in “maroonbonnets” around the UT Tower. Skip Richter, of Texas A&M Agrilife in Harris County, explained that, “God chose to put the maroon gene in the bluebonnet family. There ain’t no orange one.”  Since the largest concentration of Aggie alumni is in southeast Texas, what do you think the odds are of “maroonbonnets” popping up in Fort Bend next spring?   Maroonbonnets are Fort Bend Strong!

A bald eagle.
Photo by Kyle Carlsen.

Spring is not just about new flowers blooming – the Fort Bend skies are filled with birds!  While you can see and hear them around your home, it is highly unlikely that you will see 209 species of birds. The only place to experience that is to spend some time at Sugar Land’s Cullinan Park.  This 754-arce wildlife oasis is home to herons, egrets, warblers, ducks and woodpeckers, just to name a few. Parking is free. There are restrooms and miles of trails to explore. Cullinan Park is also home to one of the oldest and tal-lest pecan trees in Texas (Pecan is the official Texas tree). And if you’re really observant and lucky, you will see America’s national emblem – the bald eagle – flying overhead!  Spring wildlife is Fort Bend Strong!

The Thompson’s Ferry Marker. http://wateringholdclubhouse.blogspot.com

It is not just Mother Nature that makes a Fort Bend spring so special. Texas history comes alive in Fort Bend in March.  The Alamo fell on March 6th. Goliad was overrun on March 27th. As General Sam Houston strategically retreated east in early March, our fellow Texians followed to avoid the wrath of Mexican tyrant Santa Anna. Towns and crops along the way were burned to prevent them from being used by Santa Anna.  This action was called the Runaway Scrape. General Houston went through Richmond around April 1st, 1836. The quickest and best way for Santa Anna to pursue General Houston was to cross the Brazos River in Richmond via Thompson’s Ferry.  Knowing that fact, General Houston left a small unit at Thompson’s Ferry to stop Santa Anna.  Santa Anna used an English-speaking soldier to trick the ferryman to come help a fellow Texian who been left behind.  The Mexicans surprised the ferryman and captured the ferry boat.  They crossed the Brazos on April 14th.  One week later, we whipped Santa Anna at San Jacinto.  The Republic of Texas was born!  Do not settle for my description – see the site of Thompson’s Ferry yourself in Historic Richmond. Texas history is Fort Bend Strong!

What are you going to do to celebrate the arrival of spring in March?  Please let me know.  I know y’all have great ideas for Fort Bend Strong stories.  War heroes, long forgotten high school championships, great teachers, the best parents, maroonbonnets coming to Fort Bend, etc. Please share your stories with me at pete@absolutelyfocusmedia.com. Political stories will be fed to the alligators at Brazos Bend State Park.

As always, stay Fort Bend Strong!