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

    Swooning Over Plants at Gus Engeling WMA – June 2023

    I don’t know if I can express how much I love Gus Engeling WMA. I wish I lived closer to it, though perhaps it wouldn’t be as special? Nah, I think it would and I would probably know its ins and outs a little better. I’m constantly drawn back to thinking about south Florida and how “close” everything was, how driveable within a 1-3 hours a place could be, most places in the 1-2 hr range and many within the 1 hr or less range. Feel like going to the Keys for a long day? Done. More in the mood for interior slow moving creeks and rivers? Done. Dwarf cypress…

  • Cemetery Botanizing,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Cemetery Botanizing – Old Sanders Cemetery | 5

    This is probably my favorite cemetery botanizing from last year. Write up at the end! Nuttall’s Deathcamas, Toxicoscordion nuttallii Yellow star grass, Hypoxis hirsuta Tenpetal anemone, Anemone berlandieri Ozark milkvetch, Astragalus distortus Fraser’s wild onion, Allium fraseri Texas toadflax, Nuttallanthus texanus Prairie nymph, Herbertia lahue Right before I went to this cemetery I had seen people in central Texas posting photos of Nuttall’s death camas and had checked iNaturalist to see what its range was. There were some stragglers into the Brazos Valley and knowing where this cemetery was located and how it was on the transition zone between ecological regions, I had a hope that I could possibly find…

  • Creative

    Slow Steps to Accomplishment.

    I was shifting around papers on my desk at work today (yesterday, by the time this is published) and found a spiral bound copy of The Mosses of Texas I’d bought from BRIT a few years ago. It’s had several vintage copies of other botanical field guides from mid-century botanists, including Eula Whitehouse, stacked on top of it. I’d flipped through those when I’d initially bought them but had meant to really soak in them and digest them. And, I haven’t. I’d bought the moss book because I wanted to actually get good at moss identification. Chris even bought me Mosses of the Gulf South last summer and again, I…

  • Native Plants,  Outdoors

    Milkweeds at Gus Engeling WMA

    I’ve written two posts about Gus Engeling WMA, Rhexia + Green Lynx Spider and Amorpha paniculata in the wild! but I’ve never finished sharing or writing up about our first trip to the WMA. And then we’ve gone two more times last summer, which means I have a lot to share. This WMA is in my top 5 natural areas in the state and is named after Gus Engeling, a game warden who was shot and killed by a poacher at the age of 41 in 1951. Prior to its name change it was called Derden WMA. The habitat at this WMA is astonishing and diverse, with deep sandhills and…

  • Creative,  Reading

    Books I Read in January 2024

    I lowered my reading goal this year to 30 books for my Goodreads Challenge, down from my usual goal of 40-45 books. Last year I read 42 books, in 2022 I read 60 books and 2021 and 2020 are a bit skewed because I was counting a lot of the books I was reading Forest at that time so those years come in at 110 and 188—and it looks like 2019 is skewed at 139, too. I mean, I did read them! Most of them might have been 20 pages long, though! hah! The reason for lowering my goal this year was because I wanted to focus on some longer…

  • Native Plants,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places,  Wildflowers

    September Wildflower Walk at Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve

    In September we drove over to the Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve to help with the scheduled wildflower walk. The preserve typically holds monthly guided wildflower walks for visitors, with a break in July and sometimes August as well as some of the quieter times such as December-February at the preserve. I had primarily been volunteering on work days and wanted to come out for a bit of a lighter load than a work day—really I just wanted to take some photos and enjoy the blooms instead of doing the never ending task of trimming back ti-ti! It coincided with Chris’ birthday and I didn’t have to twist his arm…

  • Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Limpkin Invasion!

    It was Saturday late afternoon in September before dinnertime, and Chris decided he needed to run to Dollar General to get a Monster energy drink to cure his lingering headache. Off he went and minutes later I get a phone call from him telling me about a Bird Alert. A Bird Alert is usually when we see a rare or uncommon bird in the area, something to get worked up about! We’re not birders per se, though my Chris is much more in tune with birds than I am. I gravitate towards the more gregarious species and generally ignore the little brown jobbers. Yes, I know this makes me a…

  • Cemetery Botanizing,  Outdoors,  Wildflowers

    Cemetery Botanizing – Roberts Cemetery | 4

    I have spent the last week catching up on editing a pile–a PILE–of photos from the last year and even some from our New Mexico trip in June 2022! That doesn’t even count the many photos I had edited months ago that are uploaded to Flickr that I never wrote about. This spring will be the Catch Up Spring. At one point in my blogging days (and for most of us) I would write almost daily but now no one has the time to to sit and read (they are scrolling instead) and so even batching posts and scheduling ahead of time for every day of the week seems excessive.…

  • Gardening,  Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildlife Wednesday

    American Lady Caterpillars (Vanessa virginiensis) | Wildlife Wednesday

    Last spring we were fairy negligent about weeding our paths. Up popped all sorts of interesting but less desired native and non-native plants, including what I think was Pennsylvania cudweed, Gamochaeta pensylvanica. I knew they hosted American lady caterpillars but I had never seen any on the plants around our yard before so I left them to see what would happen. We had adults flitting about the Texas ragwort that grows in the front yard during March-late April and I knew there was a good chance we would see the caterpillars if I gave them time. And they arrived! The caterpillars make little leaf nests like other species such as…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Thanksgiving at Lake Brownwood State Park

    The lake was very low, still feeling the effects of the drought. Don’t cut hearts into the prickly pears, y’all. We made Thanksgiving camping reservations a little later this year and paired with only having the four days off instead of taking the entire week, we needed to go somewhere mid-range, not making the trek to South Llano River SP or the Davis Mountains as per what we’ve done frequently in the last several years. Plus, we’d already hit the Davis Mtns back during Spring Break in 2023, though I could easily go there twice a year or more if time was available. Lake Brownwood is “out there” in that…