Outdoors

  • Hiking,  Outdoors

    Insects Lurking About

    One of my favorite things to do when I have the time while hiking is to move slowly and see what insects and arachnids may be lurking about on a plant. There’s a good chance one is hiding in plain sight, like this American nursery web spider, Pisuarina mira. Common boneset, Eupatorium perfoliatum, the perfect haunt for that spider as it waits for insects to come nectar! This unassuming goldenrod looks devoid of faunal life but… you would be wrong. I’m unsure which bee this is and I may not ever get an answer because I only have the one photo, but it may be one of the leaf cutter…

  • Florida,  Hiking,  Native Plants,  Outdoors,  Travel & Places

    Christian Point Trail at Everglades National Park (2007)

    Looking back through some of these photos I wondered why I didn’t bother editing some of them. I had completed a small handful but had left a decent amount untouched for over a decade it seems. And it made me wonder why we didn’t make the effort to go into Everglades NP more often, though I know the reason why—you had to pay to go in! Big Cypress and so many other areas were free, and though we did pay for a state park pass, the pass let us in to a lot of parks and the ENP pass didn’t. That said, it isn’t like I wasn’t spending 5 days…

  • Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildflower Wednesday,  Wildflowers

    Woolly Ironweed, Vernonia lindheimeri | Wildflower Wednesday

    We came across this gorgeous ironweed species back in July 2021 at Pedernales Falls State Park. Like many other Texas species, it was named after Ferdinand Lindheimer, the botanist who was the first permanent-resident collector in Texas. I have a book about his journals that I’ve been meaning to read for a year and this might be the year I actually tackle it! This particular species is very much a central Texas plant, and on iNaturalist you can easily see all of the observations starting in DFW and trailing down along I-35 to San Antonio and then west towards Kerrville. There are a smattering of sightings west of this area…

  • Family,  Outdoors,  Thoughts

    Thanksgiving on SPI

    Having lived in Texas most of my life, minus the 8 years I lived in Florida, I’ve seen a good chunk of the state. There were corners I still hadn’t been to, and even places within regions I have been to that I haven’t seen. Forest asked a few weekends ago if it was possible to see every place on Earth, and he meant as if you could walk across every inch of Earth. We had to break it to him that it just wasn’t feasible to accomplish but I do admire his question and thought process! I knocked the panhandle out early when I was 3, flying for the…

  • Outdoors,  Thoughts,  Wildflower Wednesday,  Wildflowers

    Hibernation Mode

    Pasture Heliotrope, Euploca tenella I have entered hibernation mode as we switch from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. One thing I do relish about this switch, at least for the first two months or so, is that after dinner there is time to do nothing and everything. I don’t feel the need to have to go outside because it’s still sunny out. I can become a cozy hobbit and mindlessly move from one thing to the next and then ponder that it is really too late while looking at the clock and being dismayed it is only 6:30pm. *sigh* (Patrice, in Alaska, is laughing at me now!) I haven’t…

  • Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildflower Wednesday,  Wildflowers

    Birdwing Passionflower, Passiflora tenuiloba | Wildflower Wednesday

    Last summer during our stay near Dripping Springs I spent some time wandering the area just outside of our AirBnB to see what I could glean for iNaturalist. I noticed a gulf fritillary wandering along a vine and it made me pause for a moment. Gulf fritillary should mean a passiflora somewhere but nothing was standing out to me directly as a passionvine. Of course a closer look meant that I found small fruits and flower beds and once I focused in on the interesting leaf shapes I knew it was for sure a passiflora species. My first thought was Passiflora affinis, which I had seen in areas nearby in…

  • 30 Days of Writing,  Creative,  Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildlife Wednesday

    Magnolia-cone Mushroom, Strobilurus conigenoides | Wildlife Wednesday

    While fungi aren’t quite wildlife or plants and I probably should have called this Fungi Friday instead, we’re going to shuffle our mushroom friends to a Wildlife Wednesday today. And while we’re enjoying Second Summer, I’m dreaming about a day that will come soon enough, one that requires a light fleece in the morning, warming to the high 60s or low 70s mid-day, but under foot, while traipsing about the woods, are tiny mushrooms growing on decaying magnolia cones. I first saw magnolia-cone mushrooms, Strobilurus conigenoides, a few years ago when out in Sam Houston National Forest, not realizing that they were a specialized fungus that grew only on magnolia…

  • Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Jones Spring at Pedernales Falls State Park

    Tucked in far back along the southeastern boundary of Pedernales Falls State Park is a little spring called Jones Spring. Chris and I had been there many years ago and I wanted to visit again during our trip in July 2021. When we hiked in originally we came from the Wolf Mountain Trail near the main park road, a hefty hike in from that area. You can also park off of County Road 201 on the south side of the park, parking in the parking lot there, or we pulled over at the eastern junction of the Madrone Trail and that road where it was obvious other cars had parked…

  • Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildlife Wednesday

    Bumelia Borer, Plinthocoelium suaveolens | Wildlife Wednesday

    Today’s Wednesday post is Wildlife Wednesday and a very gorgeous Bumelia Borer, Plinthocoelium suaveolens. Unfortunately our friend here was not alive, which made it a lot easier to photograph outside of our Dripping Springs AirBnB last summer. As the common name suggests, the larvae feed on the trunks and roots of bumelia species, Sideroxylon sp., the most common species in Texas being Sideroxylon lanuginosum, gum bumelia. Gum bumelia always tricks me a bit and I will initially think it is an Ilex decidua until I look closer and note my location and realize it’s a bumelia. The larvae also utilize Nyssa and Morus species, too. I’ll keep my commentary short…

  • Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildflower Wednesday,  Wildflowers

    Edwards Plateau Five-Eyes, Chamaesaracha edwardsiana | Wildflower Wednesday

    In an effort to re-invigorate some of my weekly standards here, I’ll be getting back into Wildflower and Wildlife Wednesdays. Maybe a Wordless Wednesday or two throw in for good measure. I’m going to kick it off with a Wildflower Wednesday! Today’s species is Edwards Plateau Five-Eyes, Chamaesaracha edwardsiana, a new-to-me species that I found last summer at our AirBnB rental in Dripping Springs. As both the common and scientific names suggest, this is an Edwards Plateau specialty. iNaturalist shows most entries for sightings for plants around the Austin to San Antonio areas, with scattered sightings west of there. Bonap has a bit of a broader distribution, with even county…