Texas

  • 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…

  • Texas,  Thoughts,  Travel & Places

    Lunch with Beto

    I’ve been a fan of Beto O’Rourke’s since his 2018 Senate run against Cancun Ted and have always had high hopes for him in our state. A couple of weeks ago our county Democratic party sent out an email saying he would be in the area and I thought it would be worth taking a few hours off in the middle of the day to drive over and see him at the event. It was part of his Drive for Texas event, and if there’s one thing Beto knows how to do, it is going around the state and getting to talk to folks in person. I texted a couple…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Bartonia texana in the Big Thicket

    If you’ve been reading this blog for a few years, you may remember my post from 2020 about finding Texas screwsteam, Bartonia texana. Last year we didn’t go back to the same location and instead went searching in the Big Thicket. I’m being intentionally vague on locations because it is a sensitive plant species and is under review by USFWS for listing under the ESA. This location was a bit easier to get to, less bushwhacking, for which I was grateful. Two years of extensive bushwhacking to the other location had worn on me, though I do like the location once we get there! And there were a lot more…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Beech Creek Explorations in the Big Thicket

    To continue a bit from last week’s post with the nodding nixies, today I’ll share a few items from the Beech Woods trail at the Beech Creek Unit of the Big Thicket. We’ll start with this Rosy Wolfsnail, Euglandina rosea, seen near the picnic area at the trail head. Followed by an invasive Asian Tramp Snail, Bradybaena similaris. And a self portrait with my best kiddo! That tooth is mostly grown in now. This was a very interesting mushroom I found, turns out to be a Stalked Puffball-in-Aspic, Calostoma cinnabarinum. Chris is admiring something about this tree but I have no idea what! Patient poses for mom on a very…

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

    First Encounters with Nodding Nixies (Apteria aphylla)

    Apteria aphylla, nodding nixies, were one of those fall blooming species that I had been dying to see for several years now. Chris couldn’t believe I hadn’t come across any but we hadn’t been in their habitat locations during the fall and typically he’s the one doing the field work these days which meant he’s had ample opportunities to see them, moreso than I have. But, seeing them in person finally happened for me when I came across the in the Big Thicket last year. And there were tons to see! Nodding nixies are in the Burmanniaceae family, which means if you’ve ever seen a Burmannia spp. before, you know…

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

    Rhexia + Green Lynx Spider

    On Saturday, Chris and I drove over to Gus Engeling WMA east of Fairfield after we dropped off Forest with Chris’ mom and step-dad for a week visit. He’ll then go to my parents for another week after that. To cap off our kid-free time, we drove over to the WMA to look for some bogs that are tucked away in the property and to see the property itself for the first time. It’s been one that I’ve wanted to visit for a few years now and with good reason—there are some very unique habitats and plants there! We will definitely be going back when it isn’t hot as Hades.…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Io Moth Caterpillars in the Big Thicket

    You may have noticed the uptick in posts here this week. That’s because I am finally returning to blogging regularly after relinquishing some of the grip social media has had on it. What I would have been posting to social media I am returning to posting here. Blogging, for me, really took a hit in 2020, though there had been a downturn for about a year before that. And looking back now, I realize just how much never made it to the blog. Even some of the stuff I would share to social media, not everything even made it there. But, I’ve been feeling to tug to get back here…

  • 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…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Meeting the Pitcher Plant Mining Moth (Exyra semicrocea)

    A few years ago I heard about pitcher plant mining moths on a podcast, probably the In Defense of Plants podcast but I can’t figure out which episode, and I’ve wanted to see one ever since. We’ve been out to the pitcher plants at Watson Preserve and the Pitcher Plant Bog in the Big Thicket several times but I’ve forgotten to look at them. Chris recently learned about them too and was interested in trying to find them while we were in Florida but there weren’t really many new pitchers growing yet out in the bogs so we didn’t see any moths. Last week, however, he was out in the…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    12 Miles in Sam Houston National Forest

    *write up is at the end of the post!* Trees are banded white to symbolize red-cockaded woodpecker nesting trees. Japanese climbing fern, an invasive species, that has covered the forest here. They may have treated this area but likely it is only brown from winter freezes—it will definitely be back. Sparse-lobed Grapefern, Sceptridium biternatum American Nursery Web Spider, Pisaurina mira One of the winecups… Glandularia sp. Sundews! Carolina satyr About a week and a half ago my brother texted to tell me that he and Zoe were coming down with her scout group to hike on the Lone Star Trail for a weekend and invited us to come out and…