Travel & Places

  • 30 Days of Writing,  Creative,  South Dakota,  Travel & Places

    South Dakota 2007

    (This post is courtesy of my former boss Steve (hi Steve!) who sent me a thumb drive a few months ago with some photos on it from a trip I took to South Dakota in 2007.) If there is one thing I miss a lot about my previous job in Florida, it is the access to travel that I had while there. Several times a year I had the opportunity to attend conferences or trainings in various places throughout the country. I enjoy traveling alone, though sometimes I traveled with co-workers or with Steve. When I was alone I would often spend time wandering around whatever town I was visiting,…

  • Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Jones Spring at Pedernales Falls State Park

    Tucked in far back along the southeastern boundary of Pedernales Falls State Park is a little spring called Jones Spring. Chris and I had been there many years ago and I wanted to visit again during our trip in July 2021. When we hiked in originally we came from the Wolf Mountain Trail near the main park road, a hefty hike in from that area. You can also park off of County Road 201 on the south side of the park, parking in the parking lot there, or we pulled over at the eastern junction of the Madrone Trail and that road where it was obvious other cars had parked…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Beech Creek Explorations in the Big Thicket

    To continue a bit from last week’s post with the nodding nixies, today I’ll share a few items from the Beech Woods trail at the Beech Creek Unit of the Big Thicket. We’ll start with this Rosy Wolfsnail, Euglandina rosea, seen near the picnic area at the trail head. Followed by an invasive Asian Tramp Snail, Bradybaena similaris. And a self portrait with my best kiddo! That tooth is mostly grown in now. This was a very interesting mushroom I found, turns out to be a Stalked Puffball-in-Aspic, Calostoma cinnabarinum. Chris is admiring something about this tree but I have no idea what! Patient poses for mom on a very…

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

    First Encounters with Nodding Nixies (Apteria aphylla)

    Apteria aphylla, nodding nixies, were one of those fall blooming species that I had been dying to see for several years now. Chris couldn’t believe I hadn’t come across any but we hadn’t been in their habitat locations during the fall and typically he’s the one doing the field work these days which meant he’s had ample opportunities to see them, moreso than I have. But, seeing them in person finally happened for me when I came across the in the Big Thicket last year. And there were tons to see! Nodding nixies are in the Burmanniaceae family, which means if you’ve ever seen a Burmannia spp. before, you know…

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

    Rhexia + Green Lynx Spider

    On Saturday, Chris and I drove over to Gus Engeling WMA east of Fairfield after we dropped off Forest with Chris’ mom and step-dad for a week visit. He’ll then go to my parents for another week after that. To cap off our kid-free time, we drove over to the WMA to look for some bogs that are tucked away in the property and to see the property itself for the first time. It’s been one that I’ve wanted to visit for a few years now and with good reason—there are some very unique habitats and plants there! We will definitely be going back when it isn’t hot as Hades.…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Io Moth Caterpillars in the Big Thicket

    You may have noticed the uptick in posts here this week. That’s because I am finally returning to blogging regularly after relinquishing some of the grip social media has had on it. What I would have been posting to social media I am returning to posting here. Blogging, for me, really took a hit in 2020, though there had been a downturn for about a year before that. And looking back now, I realize just how much never made it to the blog. Even some of the stuff I would share to social media, not everything even made it there. But, I’ve been feeling to tug to get back here…

  • Art,  Creative,  New Mexico,  Travel & Places

    Art with Hummingbirds

    While in New Mexico I had hopes to spend more time working on some sketchbook art, primarily my perpetual nature journal that I started in early September last year. I’m several months behind because I sunk into a pit of not doing anything in May so I’ve been continuously working to get back on top of things. A perpetual nature journal is one that has some flexibility but ideally you are using one page or set of pages to chronicle something in nature for a certain time period on every year until that page is full. Mine is set up weekly, though the weeks will slide a bit as they…

  • New Mexico,  Travel & Places

    Skylight Dreams

    As the heat ramps up again here in Texas (we had a brief respite of lower 90s on Friday after some rain), I dream a bit about the cabin in New Mexico that Chris and I stayed at last month. Being able to open the skylight to let fresh mountain air into the cabin was delightful. You can see a bit of the bookcase over on the other wall (and I’ll share more of it soon) which made the idea of reading in bed with the skylight open and an accessible library all day a rather wonderful activity to ponder and make a little of it happen. In an alternate…