• Thoughts

    Best of Summer 2022

    Oof, the last week or so has been busy and I’ve been solo parenting while Chris has been doing field work. It hasn’t left a lot of time for writing. But I thought I would do a Best of Summer wrap up while Forest is getting his bath tonight. Summer isn’t officially over until late September, but I think we all know June, July and August are the summer months in our heads that we care about—or the ones we cared about as kids. And the ones that rule the roost for anyone who has a kid in school. This summer breezed by quickly but there were some delights! I…

  • Texas,  Thoughts,  Travel & Places

    Lunch with Beto

    I’ve been a fan of Beto O’Rourke’s since his 2018 Senate run against Cancun Ted and have always had high hopes for him in our state. A couple of weeks ago our county Democratic party sent out an email saying he would be in the area and I thought it would be worth taking a few hours off in the middle of the day to drive over and see him at the event. It was part of his Drive for Texas event, and if there’s one thing Beto knows how to do, it is going around the state and getting to talk to folks in person. I texted a couple…

  • Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildlife Wednesday

    Bumelia Borer, Plinthocoelium suaveolens | Wildlife Wednesday

    Today’s Wednesday post is Wildlife Wednesday and a very gorgeous Bumelia Borer, Plinthocoelium suaveolens. Unfortunately our friend here was not alive, which made it a lot easier to photograph outside of our Dripping Springs AirBnB last summer. As the common name suggests, the larvae feed on the trunks and roots of bumelia species, Sideroxylon sp., the most common species in Texas being Sideroxylon lanuginosum, gum bumelia. Gum bumelia always tricks me a bit and I will initially think it is an Ilex decidua until I look closer and note my location and realize it’s a bumelia. The larvae also utilize Nyssa and Morus species, too. I’ll keep my commentary short…

  • Gardening

    The Pond is Back in Business

    August 12, 2022 August 19, 2022 4.5″ of rain on Friday and the subsequent runoff upstream has filled the pond back up! The saying goes that a flood will break a Texas drought and it looks like that’s where some of us are heading this coming week, starting with the DFW area overnight. August 12, 2022 August 19, 2022 August 12, 2022 August 19, 2022 – Lost my chance to get that tire this go around! Next drought!

  • Gardening

    Wingstem Delights

    The garden is running wild these days but one corner of the garden is a delight and that is the wingstem corner, Verbesina alternifolia. I added this plant in several years ago when I realized the deer didn’t touch its cousin frostweed and then set out to find other similar plants. I found wingstem, which in Texas is only native to a few North Texas counties. It has done really well here, though. I am working on growing out another cousin, Verbesina helianthoides, which I discovered growing at Mission Tejas State Park last spring and quickly found seeds at Prairie Moon to order. They have germinated and I hope to…

  • Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildflower Wednesday,  Wildflowers

    Edwards Plateau Five-Eyes, Chamaesaracha edwardsiana | Wildflower Wednesday

    In an effort to re-invigorate some of my weekly standards here, I’ll be getting back into Wildflower and Wildlife Wednesdays. Maybe a Wordless Wednesday or two throw in for good measure. I’m going to kick it off with a Wildflower Wednesday! Today’s species is Edwards Plateau Five-Eyes, Chamaesaracha edwardsiana, a new-to-me species that I found last summer at our AirBnB rental in Dripping Springs. As both the common and scientific names suggest, this is an Edwards Plateau specialty. iNaturalist shows most entries for sightings for plants around the Austin to San Antonio areas, with scattered sightings west of there. Bonap has a bit of a broader distribution, with even county…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Bartonia texana in the Big Thicket

    If you’ve been reading this blog for a few years, you may remember my post from 2020 about finding Texas screwsteam, Bartonia texana. Last year we didn’t go back to the same location and instead went searching in the Big Thicket. I’m being intentionally vague on locations because it is a sensitive plant species and is under review by USFWS for listing under the ESA. This location was a bit easier to get to, less bushwhacking, for which I was grateful. Two years of extensive bushwhacking to the other location had worn on me, though I do like the location once we get there! And there were a lot more…

  • Outdoors

    A Field Work Site That No Longer Exists

    Passiflora incarnata, maypop blooms One of the tragedies of my line of work is that we can go to a field site and know that how we see it when we delineated the area for wetlands is that it is absolutely most likely to change drastically the next time we see it. You go out and find cool plants and interesting insects and habitat and the next thing you know there are box stores and parking lots on top of it. It’s frustrating and this probably deserves a longer post in regards to the conundrum of folks who get degrees in the biological or environmental sciences and the ability to…

  • Gardening

    A Queen Visits Tadpole Hollow

    Last night I had a few minutes to check on the garden before I went to a community meeting and as I was walking back towards the house I noticed a butterfly was nectaring on the tropical milkweed. It flicked its wings a few times before I figured out it was a queen, Danaus gilippus, and a male to boot. The queens usually visit in late summer but we don’t always have them. I’ll have to keep an eye out for females because on the occasions that I have had queens in late summer, they will often lay eggs and I will host caterpillars. I haven’t raised any caterpillars this…

  • Gardening,  Thoughts

    Whatever thrives, thrives.

    As it turns out, a lot of my extra energy and oomph in getting this blog going again with steady entries was that I had the free time to work on it! Forest was at various grandparent’s for the last week of July and first week of August and because Chris and I were actually home and not galivanting about for work or pleasure, there was time to just be. And now, he’s back home, swimming lessons are back on schedule, there are bedtime routines, and school started today! Needless to say, life is full once again. I’m currently trying to figure out how to navigate my never-ending creative ideas…