• Creative

    Slow Steps to Accomplishment.

    If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed by email! Thanks for visiting! 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…

  • 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…

  • Art,  Creative,  The Sketchbook Diaries

    Cracking Open A New Sketchbook | The Sketchbook Diaries

    After taking so much of last year off from doing any kind of art, I am back at it. I have started two new watercolor sketchbooks and am planning to get back into my perpetual nature journal, too. In fact, I finally completed an entry from last March recently and need to work my way through more of them to catch up. I wanted to start a sketchbook for some hikes we’ve been doing and will continue to be doing in the coming year for the Big Thicket. I’m working from photos because: time, but at some point it would be nice if a few of these were en plein…

  • Thoughts

    Thoughts on Time

    People on the internet like to joke that 2016 was actually 2016-2020 and that 2020 was actually 2020-2023 (and maybe even 2024) and I would agree with that sentiment. There’s also those jokes about how 1998 is the same distance away from now as it was from 1988 to 1968, the time period the Wonder Years took place and aired. Nah, can’t be….and yet it is. I’m increasingly feeling like time is an amorphous thing, something ill-defined and increasingly circular. I remember on our Appalachian Trail hike that days would feel like months and months would feel like days. We might have been in the White Mountains but surely it…