• Outdoors,  Thoughts,  Wildflowers

    Roadside Rudbeckias

    I have wanted to grow some of our more gregarious Rudbeckia species for several years but it wasn’t until this year, in my small native plant bed inside the deer fence, that I was able to do this. I’m always enamored with how they look when I spot them on roadsides. These were on the road near the Hickory Creek Savannah Unit of the Big Thicket, where the Sundew Trail is located. I spotted them as we were leaving that unit back in May and had Chris pull over so I could take a few photos. I believe these are Rudbeckia texana but there’s also R. maxima and R. grandiflora…

  • Thoughts

    Stale Cigarettes

    In recent years there has been talk about how we’re losing certain words and even accents in our lexicon as language adapts and changes. One thing I hadn’t considered was lost smells, or at least fading smells. Over the last weekend I was in DFW to visit some friends and after we’d spent some time browsing and becoming over stimulated with the Christmas décor at Decorator’s Warehouse, we were all lamenting how we should have eaten lunch before embarking on our shopping excursion. Now, I eat on a fairly regular schedule, as Chris will attest to, so I knew better than to leave our campsite without eating lunch. But my…

  • Thoughts

    Life Lately | October 2023

    The newly minted 9 year old with his leopard print Snuggie. Thinking: I started drafting this in early September, intending to do a Life Lately for that month but stopped writing. So here’s an expansion from that month: Forest turned 9 last month! 9!!!! We are fully into the tween years and I’m enjoying it so far. Next steps are to try to cultivate more independence, which he’s doing on his own in some manner, but needs a push in some areas. Plus chores. More chores need to be on the agenda! The best kiddo ever! Also, I’m very heavily into “Wow, I’m middle aged now” thoughts. They strike at…

  • Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildlife Wednesday

    Big Thicket Coral Snake Encounter | Wildlife Wednesday

    It’s been a hot minute since we’ve seen a coral snake so we were delighted to find one crossing the road on our way to the Watson Preserve one evening back in May. The road is lightly traveled, being residential and all, but we still stopped to get out, take photos, and to block other cars from coming and intentionally killing this beauty. We haven’t seen one in our yard in a few years so I figure we’re due for one soon!

  • Outdoors,  Texas,  Thoughts,  Travel & Places,  Wildflowers

    May 2023 at the Big Thicket Pitcher Plant Bog

    In May, we spent a weekend around the Big Thicket, the same weekend we went to the Solo Tract. There will be several posts from this weekend as I divvy them up and share here. On Saturday evening before we went to the Watson Preserve to do some mothing, we stopped in at the Big Thicket Pitcher Plant bog to eat dinner, drive-thru Whataburger. I don’t think I had been to the bog in the early evening before so it was nice seeing it in a different light, literally. Sarracenia alata, yellow pitcher plants in the Big Thicket’s Pitcher Plant Bog Rhexia lutea, yellow meadow beauty–my favorite of the Rhexia…

  • Hiking,  Native Plants,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Thoughts,  Travel & Places

    The Big Thicket Solo Tract | May 2023

    I first heard about the Solo Tract at the Big Thicket from Linda Leinen when she started a blog series called A Year of Going Solo earlier this year. Since seeing her posts, I have dipped into this tract myself twice, the most recent time back in May. It’s very close to the Big Thicket’s Interpretive Center which makes it easy to access if you are short on time but need to get into the Thicket for a few moments. Some highlights from that trip: Wooly rosemallow, Hibiscus lasiocarpos blooming. Tall green milkweed, Asclepias hirtella—I was very excited to see this one in bloom! I love when I come across…

  • Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    July at Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve

    At the end of July, Chris and I went over to Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve to do some archival document scanning for the weekend. Forest was in DFW with grandparents and it provided the opportunity to do this work without the angst of an almost 9 year old wondering when mom and dad were going to be done with their boring volunteer work! I actually didn’t get to walk around the Preserve that much because I was mostly stuck inside the gallery scanning—plus it was hot—but I did get out and see things a few times to take a breather. The area that was prescribed burned earlier this year…

  • Gardening

    In Which the Gardener Actually Does Some Gardening

    It’s dry, y’all. We had a smidge of rain last Thursday evening when a small storm blew through but it was mostly a talkative storm without a lot of precipitation action. I still try to skip watering every now and then, not always with intention, but it isn’t something the plants in the edible garden care too much for, as you can see. I’ve been watering deeply but it isn’t enough. In the main gardens closer to the house, I’m slowly working my way through weeding paths and eventually weeding those beds. Several need some attention but others aren’t too bad. A summer of neglect isn’t a big deal when…

  • Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places,  Wildflowers

    Variations on a Species

    I’m struggling with what to write here these days. Summer has breezed by, school has started (third grade for Forest!), and we’re limping along with summer until we can get to fall. I suppose the best way to write here is to actually just sit down and write. I almost put this off for yet another day/week because I haven’t actually edited my camera photos of these and so you’ll have to suffice with mediocre phone photos. At the end of July, Chris and I spent a weekend at Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve scanning in some documents there for preservation reasons. We took a break late in the afternoon…

  • Thoughts

    Life Lately | July 2023

    Hello. Three posts in July. Four in June. I had already been slowing down posting here this spring but I didn’t mean for things to drop to a trickle. I have been absorbed in writing elsewhere and then even those other places have dropped off the cliff. I’ve been inside my head, drafting posts, drafting emails, drafting other essays, but not showing up here. It isn’t for lack of content but lack of time and then, in attention. I’ve written here several times about the plight of Fairfield Lake State Park but I’ve slowly morphed into taking a more active role in advocating for the preservation of the park, with…