• Outdoors

    Perched Swallowtailed Kites

    +On our second to last day of work on the Neches River and the Beaumont Unit of the Big Thicket National Preserve our animal score for the day were these perching swallowtailed kites. +Only one other time have I ever seen these birds perched, once on the 8 miles of the Florida Trail between Loop Road and the Oasis Visitor Center several years ago. Normally they are constantly flying, searching for lizards to pick off on the trees. +I am so happy to have these birds here in SE Texas so that I can visit them every year when they migrate through. I was definitely bummed to have left Florida…

  • Thoughts

    “Decide what to be and go be it”

    My musical obsession of late has been The Avett Brothers and particularly their song Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise and of course the lyrics, Decide what to be and go be it. So, I’m deciding what to be. I am a runner: It keeps nagging at me, this running thing. It was a minor addiction for a few years in 2002-2005 and forgotten. A few 5Ks were run and then I just stopped. But I’ve been running now. I’m following a plan and being strict. No starting over, just picking up where I left off if I miss a few days. I figure I can walk 3300…

  • Outdoors

    Bird Butts, A Swim and a Gigantic Cypress

    More from our work adventures. Only a few more days out here in the Big Thicket. We came across a similar nest last week but didn’t get a photo. This time we stopped to peek in… There were bird butts in there! The term ‘bird butts’ stems from ‘pony butt’ a baby pony we met in the Grayson Highlands on the AT. It carried over to my niece so she would want to see “pony butt” on video. Now any baby animal ends up with ‘butt’ at the end. So, baby bird butts were silently whining for their mom and their unhatched sibling was waiting patiently to come out (hopefully!)…

  • 2011 Summer Interview Series,  Thoughts

    2011 Summer Interview Series | Chel Micheline at Ginger Blue

    I first came into contact with Chel via Marc and Eliana when they stopped over at Chel and Tom’s house on their cross country road trip a few years ago. I started reading her blog and became hooked and through commenting and friending on Facebook we’ve become internet friends. It’s a shame I never actually got to meet up with her while I was living in Florida! She’s got some fantastic bead work and has started a new project called the Common Miracles project. Read on! First off, give us an idea of who you are, why you blog and your geographic location. I recently turned 37 (but I REALLY…

  • Creative,  Crochet

    Blue, Green, Yellow and Complete!

    I inched along long enough that I finally finished the shawl! I’m not quite sure when I will ever wear this. Maybe it will be a take to the movies shawl or a grab to fancy up something when I go out shawl. I dunno… It would also make a great scarf, too, so I like that aspect of it. The yarn grew on me despite being quite slippery at first. I still had some dropped stitches and would have to back track but it worked out well in the end. YAY! I go through creative cycles where I make, make, make and then read, read, read…it’s time for the…

  • Outdoors,  Wildflowers

    Texas Wildflowers | Rosa bracteata, McCartney Rose

    We initially saw these roses growing along Texas Point NWR and later discovered they are an invasive rose. Originally from China they join a host of other roses that have naturalized across the south, including the Cherokee rose and prairie rose. While they are beautiful, they are like other invasives and smother out native vegetation. Definitely think twice before planting or starting these plants in your own yard and opt for a non-invasive rose! This guy in Tampa had a tree sized McCartney rose! Yikes! More information: +Texas invasives +Galveston Bay invasives +USDA plant database

  • Gardening

    June in the Garden

    I had to go home a few weeks ago for an interview so I snagged a few photos of my parent’s backyard while I was at it. The tomatoes were doing great and had a ‘doh’ moment and forgot to take any back with me to Beaumont. Anyway here’s a mini-tour. Hoping some are still on the vines when I get home at the end of next week. A tiny little spider hanging with the four o’clocks I started from seed. The corner bed has become a jungle so I wanted to see how it felt looking up. Part of the tomatoes… Moss rose that reseeded itself in one of…

  • Florida Trail

    Florida Trail Tales 14: Navarre to Fort Pickens

    As we crossed over the bridge at Navarre, across Santa Rosa sound, to Santa Rosa island, we had to squish against the side railing of the bridge for bicyclists who couldn’t manage to get off and walk their bike and share the path and fisherman reluctant to move their poles. Where’s the common courtesy?! We picked our poles up off the grate that was beneath our feet and I pretended I couldn’t see below and notice the ocean. Somehow over the years I’ve developed a small fear of heights, nothing big, only if I think hard about it do I get a little nutty. I was glad to get off…

  • Outdoors

    Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve | Part 2

    For the first installment: go here There will definitely be at least one more, if not two, posts about this tiny little preserve. Had to do some digging to come up with names for some plants and then I still don’t know a few! Had some fun chasing this ant around on what I believe is Rhynchosia tomentosa. And then I spied this Passiflora lutea growing under the taller herb layer. Didn’t see a flowering plant. And while I was down checking the passionvine out I decided to see how an ant feels and show how it looked like a mini-forest under there. Looking down towards the pond in front…

  • Thoughts

    Critters and Canoes

    Our project here in the Big Thicket will be wrapping up here in a week or so. Here are some of the cooler things I’ve dug out of our camera. We’re constantly seeing strange and interesting things, though the heat is getting to us now and by mid day we wish we were indoors! A bit out of focus but a cool mantis nonetheless. A creepy spider protecting her eggs A variegated violet Some worm or caterpillar was in this cypress needle covered thing and it must’ve fallen loose from the limbs above because we found it dangling at about 5′ above ground. By the time we left it had…