• Thoughts

    Life Lately | Early June 2024

    If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed by email! Thanks for visiting!Hello readers out there! The soggy Big Thicket Life has been very busy lately. I didn’t realize most moms/parents felt like May was a chaotic nightmare until I started seeing other mom’s posting memes about “Maycember” (all the business of the holidays but no presents) and the end of school and I feel very much seen. May zoomed by quickly and now it’s June 3rd and I can already see the end of summer because we have basically every single week planned out until the first day of school in early August. I…

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

    Southern Twayblade Orchid (Neottia bifolia)

    I have finally given up any pretense of writing in a timely manner here. Or sticking to a frequency schedule. Life is busy, writing time is scarce. Let’s roll back to February of this year when we hiked the Four Notch Loop of the Lone Star Trail up in Sam Houston National Forest, where we did a quick overnight hike to see the southern twayblade orchids. Unfortunately I don’t know when we will be back on the LST or anywhere in Sam Houston because the Forest Supervisor just issued a major closure order for a significant portion of roads and trails in the NF due to historic flooding events in…

  • Outdoors

    Aurora Borealis Visits Texas

    On Friday evening I started seeing folks from around the world posting their aurora borealis photos, not long after sunset. I saw a news snippet or two that said it might be seen as far as some of the southern states but I’d heard that before and it never panned out. Chris started seeing the posts as well and decided to head outside, just in case. He came back in and said something along the lines of, “I think it’s reddish pink outside but I’m not certain.” So, we turned off all the lights in and out of the house and walked down to the pond to look. Sure enough,…

  • Creative,  Reading

    Books I Read in March and April 2024

    Reading took a hit in early March with little inspiration but I was able to pull out some interesting reading mid-month that carried over into most of April. I’m currently in another hiatus. Cyclical reading is my life. Tom Lake by Ann Patchett: I love Ann Patchett but I did not love this book. I started it as an audio back in December and then let it lapse. I picked it back up again when the hold came in and then I just could not continue on. The story did not grasp me and I was really over hearing about Our Town every other paragraph. This is a pandemic book,…

  • Outdoors,  Thoughts

    Totality 2024

    A year ago we made reservations for a hotel in Copperas Cove to see the total solar eclipse as it made its way through Texas. When the 10 day forecast started looking pretty dismal for most of Texas, we scurried to make alternate plans, just in case. In the end we ended up driving to the Lindale area in NE Texas to stay with Chris’ mom and step-dad for two nights after we made a detour to Sabine National Forest for some botanizing. But the hourly forecasts for Lindale were still iffy and so on Sunday night we started looking at possibly driving to the Tx/OK border, or even into…

  • Gardening

    Iris Season

    Iris season is in full force this week. I always forget to go wander the pond shoreline but Chris sent me photos a few days ago of some of the iris and so last night I wandered around the yard getting some dusky garden photos in and stopped by the pond to see so many colors! They are all Louisiana iris cultivars, excepting the first and last two, which are Iris virginica. I have only recently really read enough to understand what defines a “Louisiana iris” thanks to the Society for Louisiana Irises. According to their website: Louisiana irises belong to the subsection Apogon (without beard or beardless), series Hexagonae…

  • Gardening

    The March Garden

    Well, March zoomed by and between being gone for over a week plus recuperating from travel the week after, its been a lot to take in and even keep up with everything going on around the yard. Here’s a sampling of what was blooming this month: The mulberry tree started putting on fruit so those should be ripening within the next month to six weeks! Forest loves to grab what he can from lower limbs but we’re always competing with birds and squirrels. Spider lilies are particularly stunning right now and in wetlands throughout east Texas. Iris virginica are looking fantastic down by the pond. Chris has done a lot…

  • Appalachian Trail 2010

    Return to the Appalachian Trail

    I haven’t written anything about our Appalachian Trail hike since March 2020 when I wrote about our 10 year anniversary of starting our thru-hike. Before that it was 2016 the last time I wrote about the AT. The AT has been with me all of this time, of course, though I had slowly distanced myself from following hikers every year and keeping tabs on the yearly hikes and happenings, mostly because I was bogged down with life and other things, but often because it just gave me massive FOMO and I wanted to be out there hiking, too. We planned our Spring Break trip for this year a year ago,…

  • Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Boykin Creek Explorations

    Let’s travel back in time to October 2022. It’s been almost a year since we were in Angelina National Forest and I’m itching to get over there again. Some days I wish I lived somewhere in central/SE Texas, or rather further east than I currently do live in “SE Texas”. We were over in the Big Thicket/Woodville area on Saturday and as rural as some of that area is, you can tell the suburbs are moving out there and even the rural is still rather built up. I digress… I think I might have shared a little bit from this area last year at some point but I know I…

  • Creative,  Reading

    Books I Read in February 2024

    My reading slowed in February, which is about how it goes when I come off a bigger month of reading. I thought I would finish another book or two but got a bit bored with a couple of audiobooks I was reading and was slow to read some paper books. There’s always March to finish those! View this post on Instagram A post shared by Claire Jarvis (@infinitenap) Slog: A Trail Tale by Claire Jarvis I technically read this in January but I forgot to cover it in my write-up. This isn’t a book in the way you think of a book and you will only be able to find…