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

    Cross Timbers Trail at Lake Texoma

    This past weekend my brother, my dad, Chris and I went to the Cross Timbers Trail at Lake Texoma to do a short backpacking weekend. My brother and dad have gone here many times with the Boy Scouts and my first trip here was in October 2008. I’ve wanted to go back ever since and funnily enough my brother had been wanting to go as well and mentioned it when we returned from the Florida Trail. We had to do some convincing for my dad since he wasn’t feel as in shape as he should be but my brother managed to twist his arm enough. We set off on Friday…

  • Hiking,  Nature in the City,  Outdoors

    Nature in the City: Spring Creek Forest Preserve

    I’ve been digging around to find natural areas in the DFW Metroplex in order to explore some of these areas a bit more. Several months ago I’d bookmarked Spring Creek Forest Preserve in north Garland as an option to see. Finally on Tuesday we made our way out there. Turns out it is very close to my in-laws house and close to a Freebirds, so it was perfect! There are two entrances on each side of Holford Rd, a two lane country road that you would have seen in this area even 5 years ago, but now most of them are spreading out to four lane and being colonized with…

  • Hiking,  Nature in the City,  Outdoors

    Nature in the City: Bob Jones Nature Center

    I found out about the Bob Jones Nature Center in Southlake, TX from my friend Amanda. It’s among the many nature areas that line Grapevine Lake. On Monday evening I felt the need to take some photos and get out in nature some so Chris and I drove up to the preserve. It was deserted except for what appeared to be a staff or volunteer car next to the education building. We set off down the trails to the east and behind the education building not sure where we would end up. I initially didn’t take too many photos when I remembered that I could do a Nature in the…

  • Florida,  Ghost Orchids,  Outdoors,  Travel & Places,  Wildscape Photo

    Orchid Recovery Program Video

    Chris was contacted by the Illinois Orchid Society in conjunction with the Orchid Recovery Program to utilize the video he put together of the sphinx moth pollinating the ghost orchid. You can see their video below with Chris’ video spliced in at around 3:43. We’re hoping that maybe this summer we can get to Florida in order to get some better photos of the sphinx moth pollinating the ghost orchids. Chris has something he’s trying to rig up. Of course that all depends on our job situation! But, don’t worry, you haven’t seen the last of ghost orchids from us!

  • Outdoors,  Photography,  Texas,  Travel & Places,  Wildscape Photo

    Awaiting Spring at Tandy Hills

    Chris and I ventured to Tandy Hills on Friday to check on the trout lilies for the season. While we did find a lot of the plants up and growing, we didn’t find a single bloom. We couldn’t decide if we were too late or a bit early, even though last year we saw blooms at about two weeks prior to this time. So, who knows? It has been dry this year so perhaps a rain event would trigger some blooms? If not, I guess I will have to wait until next year. I didn’t leave empty handed photograph wise, though. We did find a few flowers poking out and…

  • Creative,  Gardening,  Outdoors,  Photography

    365 Photos: Day 1

    Tech info: ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/80sec, 55mm Chris started a bunch of tomato seeds the other day. We worked in the plot, too, planting lots of new seedlings including carrots, okra, dill, basil, parsley and cilantro. Grabbed a few already growing tomatoes to get a head start and put cages over them. Got some fertilizer going on them. Mom’s potatoes are coming up and her onions are thriving. I’ve been weeding out some of the flower beds in the backyard. A few more afternoons and I might have them done. One bed at a time! Anyone else growing anything?

  • Nature in the City,  Outdoors,  Photography,  Texas

    Nature in the City: Trinity River Audubon

    On our last break we took a visit to the Trinity River Audubon south of Dallas. Not much was going on in the way of wildlife, but it was still a beautiful place to visit. I had no idea the place even existed until a few months ago. It was cold and windy the day we were there so the wildlife was probably hiding as well. I am sure migratory birds enjoy a nice stopover here. Now some photos: The education center. It hosts an area for school groups to eat lunch, nice restrooms, and great exhibits, including a hands on build your own river exhibit. Pretty cool! Near the…

  • Outdoors,  Texas

    The Woods: Part III

    When I initially saw the plant there on the right I thought it was some type of coral root orchid. After consulting our Texas orchid book I quickly realized it wasn’t but was left hanging on what it actually was. The thought crossed my mind that perhaps it was a parasitic plant but I still wasn’t sure. So I sent an email off to Prem who is much more of an orchid expert than we are and I knew he’d be able to tell me what they were. Turns out we have beech drops a parasitic plant to beech trees! Pretty nifty and interesting! Parsley hawthorn What I really need…

  • Outdoors,  Texas

    The Big Thicket

    The Big Thicket is a patchwork of forest in east Texas that is run by the National Park Service. It is similar to Big Cypress National Preserve in that hunting and other recreational uses are allowed unlike many other national parks in the system. I had been here 9 years ago in a wetlands class in college but didn’t quite remember everything about it. We went to a few different trails, the Sundew Trail, the Pitcher Plant Trail and the Beech Woods Trail. The last ivory billed woodpecker verified in the United States was seen in the Big Thicket near the Neches River. Interesting stuff! We found a black rat…