• Thoughts

    Status Update: Life is Chaotic

    I haven’t meant to go radio silent these last nearly two weeks. It’s just been hectic and I’ve lost all energy for writing and sharing here. Things started trending frenetic about two weeks ago when a coworker moved on to another position. We’d just lost a more recent hire a few weeks prior to that and losing this person who had been here for 16 years was rough. We’re very busy at work right now and now we’re down to just a few main office staff. Already that felt heavy. The same day our friend/coworker left we found out Baloo, the pup above, crossed the Rainbow Bridge. For those unfamiliar,…

  • Gardening

    Parsley Hawthorn | Flower Friday

    Blooming gloriously just a couple of weeks ago, the parsley hawthorn, Crataegus marshallii was the centerpoint of the front flower bed. Positioned perfectly in front of our window on the stairwell, I’d peer out every time I went upstairs. A favorite of the pollinators for a short while, too. Happy Friday!

  • Gardening,  Memes,  Wildlife Wednesday

    Pollinator Friends | Wildlife Wednesday

    Last week I took out the macro lens to get a different viewpoint on the world in the garden. I wasn’t expecting to take photos of wildlife but once out in the edible garden where the full-sun was during the lunch hour, I came across several interesting individuals who got their photos captured. First, there was this Eastern Yellowjacket, Vespula maculifrons that someone on iNaturliast identifed as a queen. Pretty nifty! I’m not sure what she was searching for on the ground but that’s where she landed after buzzing a few flowers. And then I noticed one of our honeybees sipping the sweet nectar of the cilantro blossoms. This is…

  • Gardening

    Potting Bench Seedlings

    The potting bench is full of seedlings and other plants in various stages of grow-out but I’m going to showcase three plants on the bench simply because that’s the ones I took photos of! Poke milkweed seedlings, Asclepias exaltata Native to the eastern third of the US, poke milkweed is a shade loving milkweed growing in dry to mesic forests. I attempted to grow this milkweed last year and had a few seeds sprout where I directly planted them in the garden but the deer trampled them and they died. This year I bought four or five packs of seeds from Prairie Moon in an attempt to stratify and establish…

  • Gardening

    By the Pond: Iris virginica

    I don’t get down to the pond shoreline nearly as often as I would like. The tug of the gardens is where I’m usually heading—weeds to pull, plants to sow, poking about needing to be done. I try to make a big tour of the yard a couple of times a month but sometimes it is less than that. However, this is the season for the iris and the Iris virginica are blooming along the far north east part of our portion of the pond shoreline. Chris saved these from a pipeline project years ago and they have continued to spread and stabilize the shoreline in an area he’s been…

  • Baby Teddy,  Family

    “I love playgrounds. Also, I love dinosaurs!”

    Yesterday we had intentions of driving over to the Lake Houston Wilderness Park to go for a hike after we had Tex-Mex for lunch. Unfortunately spring thunderstorms are starting to pick up and on the forecast this weekend was rain. As we were wrapping up lunch Chris checked the radar and it looked like the worst was moving to the north but there were some scattered showers popping up on the southwest side of town. The LHWP is on the NE side of greater Houston and we’re on the NW side. We decided that we didn’t want to make the rest of the drive over that direction in case we…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Hiking the Pecan Flats Trail | Inks Lake State Park

    This is a longer post because I couldn’t refrain myself from taking all-the-photos! Write-up at the end! Agarita, Berberis trifoliolata Sonchus sp. Tradescantia sp. Cutleaf Evening Primrose, Oenothera laciniata — now that I’ve noticed this I see it everywhere! Drummond’s Phlox, Phlox drummondii Myriopteris sp. More agarita — I loved seeing this in bloom! Texas paintbrush, Castilleja indivisa Allium sp. Shepherd’s-Purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris Texas Toadflax, Nuttallanthus texanus Pepperweed, Lepidium sp. Rain Lily, Zephyranthes sp. Dwarf Dandelion, Krigia occidentalis Lace hedgehog cactus, Echinocereus reichenbachii ssp. caespitosus Yellow Stonecrop, Sedum nuttallii Lace hedgehog cactus + yellow stonecrop More lace hedgehog cactus Tradescantia and bluebonnets Tenpetal Anemone, Anemone berlandieri bluebonnets Drummond’s Skullcap, Scutellaria…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Valley Spring Creek Trail | Inks Lake State Park

    Ovate-leaf Cliffbrake, Pellaea ovata Tradescantia sp. Ovate-leaf Cliffbrake, Pellaea ovata Blunt Woodsia fern, Woodsia obtusa Fairy-Swords, Myriopteris lindheimeri Corn Gromwell, Buglossoides arvensis — non-native By far the most popular spot at Inks Lake State Park is the Devil’s Waterhole and Valley Spring Creek Trail. Located at the far northeast end of the park, the area is full of rocky boulders that lure both kids and adults into climbing up on them and when the season is right, swimming in the Devil’s Waterhole. It’s absolutely scenic, if not crowded, and would be a great taste of the park if you don’t have much time to spend or are driving through the…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Spring Sightings at Huntsville State Park

    Let’s switch gears just a bit and return to mid-March and east Texas at Huntsville State Park. We took a three-day weekend and headed off an hour north of the house to this state park. It’s one of my favorites and so easily accessible off of I-45—and it’s huge, in addition to being adjacent to Sam Houston National Forest. I’m lumping all of our hikes together into one post because I didn’t take a ton of photos. And I’m surprised I barely took any photos at our campsite. We were in the Raven Hill camping area at campsite 21 which backed up to a wooded area separating the other loop…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Early Evening on the Upper Fisherman’s Trail | Inks Lake State Park

    Sand Phacelia, Phacelia patuliflora Texas Ragwort, Senecio ampullaceus Shepherd’s-Purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris Texas bluebonnet, Lupinus texensis Western Tansy Mustard, Descurainia pinnata Texas Paintbrush, Castilleja indivisa Texas Toadflax, Nuttallanthus texanus Texas Ragwort, Senecio ampullaceus Selaginella corallina We arrived to Inks Lake State Park in late February on an early Friday afternoon. Being as it was Friday, the park itself was rather quiet at first, before the Austin weekend crowd arrived. There were some folks already set up in their RVs, trailers, and tents but otherwise it was a quiet situation. Our campsite was tucked away on a quiet loop towards the back of the park next to a fishing pier and cleaning…