• Leaf Portraits

    Quercus falcata | Leaf Portraits

    Feeling the need to be a little creative these days I decided to try doing leaf portraits, similar to the fruit and vegetable portraits I did last year. I’m actually planning on incorporating more of the tree into the portraits such as any interesting twigs, seeds, and flowers if they are available. I did this rough draft of a southern red oak from leaves I collected on the way to my car at my office. There were enough diverse leaf shapes that I thought they would be interesting. A couple of things I need to change up is to get a bigger white background. I thought I had a large…

  • Gardening

    Magnolia Seed Season

    It’s the season for magnolias to be fruiting and opening up to show their candy sized red seeds. This is our ‘Little Gem’ and all of the other species trees in the area are doing the same thing. Someday in the future our short 4-5′ tree will be tall and grand….someday.

  • Gardening

    Gingers in the Garden

    We have a new section of garden to plant and one of the areas includes a shady spot under our fig tree. Because that area is also semi-protected, being on the south side of the house, it means we can plant some not-so-cold-tolerant species like this ginger. Chris and I were dazzled by this ‘Dancing Ladies’ ginger, Globba winitii. And the same species, different variety, called ‘White Dragon’. I’m thinking we may end up trying to find some cold hardy ground orchids to put in as well, maybe a cymbidium or the like. But I’m loving the tinge of tropical and Florida that I can bring into our garden! Now,…

  • Gardening

    Funky Fungus | Clathrus columnatus….I think.

    Chris called me out to the garden the other night to say a really cool and interesting fungus was coming out. All it takes is a good rain like we had on Friday for all of the interesting fungi to come up around the yard, especially in the wood mulch in the garden. It was mostly fully developed on Sunday and it wasn’t until I was up close and taking photos that I noticed the flies. I did not notice a smell that would attract the flies but after doing my Google search for identification I determined that since its common name is stinkhorn, that they are normally stinky. My…

  • Gardening

    The First Day of Autumn

    Carolina anole sleeping (until I woke it up) on our baobab tree. Bumblebees are drinking heavily from the white firewheel flowers. After growing all summer the Brugmansia are finally going to flower. A new addition to the garden, chocolate plant—Pseuderanthemum alatum. Isis sleeping in the front flower bed. Starfish cactus sending out a bloom. I’m over at Sprout Dispatch today writing about what’s in the veggie garden. Come say hello!

  • Gardening

    The Last Day of Summer

    Formosa lilly with love bugs Blackberry lilies Hyacinth bean pod Ruby prowling in the garden On this last day of summer, the light was nearly perfect in the afternoon. Morning started off cloudy and grey, a bit of mist here and there. We only received a little over an inch of rain throughout all of the storms that came through with our first cool front of the season. Other areas received 4+ inches, something I was hoping for to fill our pond back up. Instead the pond is still muddy in a few areas, though I know all of the vegetation was excited for a heavy drink of water. Chris…

  • Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Cedar Brake Outer Loop | Dinosaur Valley State Park

    Over the weekend I drove up to Fort Worth to see Patrice and Justin who are currently the Gear and Go Tour ambassadors for Backpacker magazine. You might remember them from our trip to Guadalupe National Park nearly two years ago at Thanksgiving or our first encounter with them in The Whites on the Appalachian Trail where they gave us trail magic and we met them after they had been following our journey from Georgia to Maine. Anyway those two have been traveling the country this summer giving presentations at various outdoor stores and they were stopping three times in Texas. Fort Worth was going to be the best opportunity…

  • Outdoors

    Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds | Fall Migration

    We’ve been seeing the hummingbirds here and there all summer but September is their big month, the month they start heavily flying back through before they make their way back for central America to spend the winter. They stop here to feast before making the long flight over the Gulf of Mexico. A lot of bird interested folks like to ply them with sugar water to help them with energy before they are gone for the winter. I finally put two feeders up last week but my neighbor down the street had his 10+ feeders up for a week or two before that. At the height of the season there…

  • Outdoors,  Texas

    Wildness | WG Jones State Forest

    Heading east down the Middle Lake Trail (not to be confused with the Middle Lake Hiking Trail), I came to the Deep Gully Trail. To the north it was another wide dirt roadway, to the south I saw a fairly well worn but slightly overgrown singletrack. Feeling adventurous I decided to try the singletrack. Worst case, if it dead ended I’d just turn around. Planted pine stood in rows, sometimes not very obvious, and other times you noticed that this was a managed forest. I’m at a loss for identifying this pea. I was thinking Centrosema or Clitoria but I really just don’t know. I saw some down by our…

  • Outdoors,  Texas

    Middle Lake Explorations | WG Jones State Forest

    When I arrived at Middle Lake I saw several fishermen on the south end. I spotted a park bench on the east side of the lake and had to wade through calf deep grass to get there. A path was not worn well in this direction. Lake levels were down due to the summer and drought so I put my camera back down on the bench and edged closer to the water. I looked to the north and noticed more cypress trees, deciding that it was worth going off and exploring. A berm separated the lake and the smaller pond behind it to the north. The pond was down as…