• Thoughts

    A Forced Slow Down

    May was a very busy month for us and as I peered out into June and July, all I saw was busy, busy, busy. Don’t worry, it still looks like that, and with an ever growing pile of field work at work for a thin crew of field-bios-who-also-double-as-project-managers-and-other-indoorsy-type-biologist-job-descriptions, things are very chaotic. I was actually looking forward to last weekend with my parents and niece and nephew for the Labor Day weekend but if I had known that a late Thursday night headache would turn into a positive Covid test on Saturday morning, well, I would have done things differently. But here we are, a house full of Covid soup!…

  • Thoughts

    20-20-20-10

    Ah, how is that for a cryptic post title? As I was writing recently, I have a lot going on. Merge that with a lot of major anniversaries/markings of time in May and June and well, 2022 is full to the brim! 20 Years Post-College Graduation May 11, 2002 I originally wrote up a post at 10 years here but wow, did the last 10 years fly by faster than the previous 10. Thankfully, I finally own my education fully as I paid off my student loan a couple of years ago! 20 Years of Blogging I published my first blog post on a Blogger account on June 3, 2002.…

  • Thoughts

    Life Lately | Mid-May 2022

    Hello friends! Let’s make this a rambling post, shall we? I feel like summer is over. And by that, I mean, June and July is practically planned out and I can already see August and the start of school. Now, I usually keep a pretty good calendar in my head because I have a visual calendar and dates and such usually stick out well for me. But I have so much going on in May-July that I’ve had to write everything down! Between end-of-school activities, camping or outdoor events, visiting relatives (here or there), trips being taken, appointments, and so forth, I’m trying to find empty weekends for the summer.…

  • Gardening

    Egg Bombed by a Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly

    A few weeks ago I had a momma pipevine swallowtail egg bomb our Aristolochia fimbriata plants. We have several different mounds of the plants as the original location has spread via seed to other locations in the garden, and this isn’t a problem because we get one or two generations of caterpillars coming through and mowing the plants down the last few years. This year momma (or mommas more likely) gave us an estimated 60-70 caterpillars. I didn’t bother counting but we were overrun with them and even had smaller instars while the larger, later instars were gorging themselves on pipevine. I know those early instars did not survive because…

  • Gardening

    White-striped Longtail Butterfly (Chioides albofasciatus)

    Over the weekend I came across a new-to-me butterfly in the garden while we were working on the edible garden fencing. It flitted from blackberry flower to blackberry flower and my first reaction was “oh, the long-tailed skippers are here already?” Then I did a double take and realized that wasn’t a long-tailed skipper and it was something different. I didn’t have my phone so I tried to burn the image into my memory so I could look it up in my field guide when I went inside. Flipping through the field guide while I was eating lunch I came across the white-striped longtail in Kaufmann’s Butterflies of North America…

  • Gardening

    Around the Garden | Late April 2022

    Despite the delay in spring, things are slowly waking up and moving along in the garden. I still haven’t mulched all of the flower beds nor have I caught up on clearing the paths of weeds, but I’m doing what I can. Frankly, I look back at the energy I had even with a newborn and a toddler and can’t believe I managed to stay mostly (ok, not really) on top of what I did. These days I do what I can and say boo to the rest. At some point the paths will be weeded and I’ll get some more mulch down but until then… This gulf coast toad…

  • Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Field Findings | April 2022

    Last week I was able to escape into the field for a few hours to a local field site and in between counting trees, logging dbh, and estimating height, I scoped out some of the things going on in the area. This isn’t a place anyone would regularly trek, especially given a lot of the rubus and smilax thickets we had to navigate, but its fun to go into the urban/suburban natural spaces from time to time to see what’s going on. Fork-tailed Bush Katydid, Scudderia furcata, nymph Hoplitimyia mutabilis, a soldier fly! Emerald Flower Scarab, Trichiotinus lunulatus, getting reallllly cozy on a thistle flower! A lot of the herbaceous…

  • Botanic Gardens,  Gardening

    Ruby Mize Azalea Garden

    A few weekends ago we drove to Nacogdoches to attending the SFA Spring Plant sale to pick up some native plants we’ve been wanting for a good while. We had gone once before, I think when I was pregnant with Forest, so considering that was 8 years ago, it has been a bit since we’ve attended. We had some time to kill between the sale and getting lunch in Lufkin before we headed into Angelina NF to do some botanizing, so we dropped by the Mize Azalea Gardens to walk around. Since everything was a bit delayed this year we really caught the azaleas as a good time. Usually they…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors

    Easter Empty Field Explorations

    We drove up to DFW for Easter this year. It’s been quite a few years since we’ve done that, instead opting for camping during Easter. But a variety of reasons had us without a reservation for a campsite and we opted to spend some time up there this year. I snuck away on Saturday afternoon to go check out an empty field down the street from my parent’s house. Well, truthfully, I had steps to get in for my FitBit challenge so that was a major reason, but I had driven by earlier that morning on the way to the grocery store and decided it needed to be walked through…

  • Florida,  Hiking,  Outdoors,  Travel & Places

    The Nature of Apalachicola River Wildlife and Environmental Area

    The allure of the area around Apalachicola is that there are so many public land recreation opportunities that you really can’t go wrong with just about anywhere you decide to go. Our first full day of Spring Break we opted to start out our explorations at the Apalachicola River WEA because it had both car and trail access, plus a boardwalk out into Apalachicola Bay at the south end. A note, if you do decide to visit, know that some areas may be impassable with a typical car and many trucks during certain times of year. Water covers some of the more remote roads and it forced us to turn…