• Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Meeting the Pitcher Plant Mining Moth (Exyra semicrocea)

    If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed by email! Thanks for visiting! A few years ago I heard about pitcher plant mining moths on a podcast, probably the In Defense of Plants podcast but I can’t figure out which episode, and I’ve wanted to see one ever since. We’ve been out to the pitcher plants at Watson Preserve and the Pitcher Plant Bog in the Big Thicket several times but I’ve forgotten to look at them. Chris recently learned about them too and was interested in trying to find them while we were in Florida but there weren’t really many new pitchers growing yet…

  • Creative,  Reading

    First Quarter Reading Wrap-Up 2022

    A few years ago I regularly did Monthly Book Reports but that fell by the wayside. It’s hard to believe it has been so long but I think I’m going to bring them back in the form of quarterly updates with my favorites from the previous three months. For the first quarter of the year I’ve read 19 books. Some were great, others I muddled through, and I abandoned one or two. It has been good to see so many people talk about abandoning books that you can’t get into because I was a former “finisher” and it is something I still cling to and am working on. Sure, it…

  • Florida,  Hiking,  Outdoors,  Travel & Places

    Sounds from Apalachicola River WEA

    I thought I’d share a few short videos I took from our first day in the Apalachicola Area. Rain had moved through the day before so the area was quite soggy and water was moving through the area quickly. I wish I’d taken a few photos at least of the very flooded areas there was no way our truck was going to make it through. A very active culvert. It’s hard to explain, but as we drove around all I could think was, “Yes, this is how it should be” because this is what we did in Florida—drive around various public lands to go and explore. It also reminded me…

  • Gardening

    Violets, Wild Plums, and More from the Garden

    The garden was a bit slow to get going this year for some reason and others around the state have noticed the same. A few folks are relating it to drought conditions that are plaguing various parts of the state to differing levels. We are not nearly as dry as areas west of here but we certainly aren’t nearly as moist and up to normal conditions either. Rhododendron canescens finally got the notice to start blooming, albeit a few weeks later than usual, but I always look forward to this native azalea. Our patch of Texas ragwort, Senecio ampullaceus, has expanded this year to my delight. I’ll have to share…

  • Florida,  Hiking,  Outdoors,  Travel & Places

    Snippets from Florida

    Eventually I will get around to editing photos and once my phone photos finish uploading to Flickr I can do more detailed posts, but for now I’ll highlight a few items from our week in Florida. As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, it was quite chilly when we arrived in Florida. Certainly not south Florida winter weather where you can go to the beach and feel comfortable this time of year. But Forest braved the water and played in the sand when he could and we even saw that one washed up horseshoe crab. I was a little disappointed that the shelling wasn’t better than it could…

  • Thoughts

    Spring Break in Florida

    *Stretches and yawns*…oh boy, now to get back into the swing of things again—hello! Last week, well, actually a week and a half ago, we headed east down I-10 to Florida’s Forgotten Coast and spent a week on St. George Island. Annoyingly, we changed time zones and lost an hour of time and then lost another hour two days later with the Spring Forward time change. Hence all the yawning around here! And I say we spent a week on St. George Island but in reality we were traipsing around Apalachicola National Forest, an FWC WEA area, and Tate’s Hell State Forest, a place I had always wanted to visit…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    12 Miles in Sam Houston National Forest

    *write up is at the end of the post!* Trees are banded white to symbolize red-cockaded woodpecker nesting trees. Japanese climbing fern, an invasive species, that has covered the forest here. They may have treated this area but likely it is only brown from winter freezes—it will definitely be back. Sparse-lobed Grapefern, Sceptridium biternatum American Nursery Web Spider, Pisaurina mira One of the winecups… Glandularia sp. Sundews! Carolina satyr About a week and a half ago my brother texted to tell me that he and Zoe were coming down with her scout group to hike on the Lone Star Trail for a weekend and invited us to come out and…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Easter 2021 at Mission Tejas State Park

    White fringetree, Chionanthus virginicus Every time I look back at photos from last year I can’t believe I never wrote about hikes or trips here on the blog. Burn out was flaming high and the only way to tame it was to lay low and focus on other priorities. Thankfully I’m getting back into the writing groove, especially since today is meteorological spring! WAHOO! Which means that this coming week or so of warm weather will definitely awaken the plants and it will be grow-grow-grow from here on out. Thank goodness! So, today we’ll look back at a few highlights from last Easter at one of my favorite state parks…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Along Beech Creek

    I know we’re about to get really going with spring and all that it has to offer but today we’re going to go back to October and into the Big Thicket with a jaunt along Beech Creek in the Beech Creek Unit of the Preserve. Lobelia cardinalis was the star of the creek, the only brightly colored species blooming along the bottomlands here. While Forest and Chris kept towards the creek, I deviated over to a large patch of Netted Chain Fern, Woodwardia areolata, that I felt created a bit of a fairy forest effect. I was particularly enamored with the mossy trunks of the trees and the ferns surrounding…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors

    Definite tussock moth caterpillar, Orgyia definita

    With Spring knocking on the door, I’m looking forward to caterpillar season once again. I’ve seen a few inchworms lately, dangling from their silks in the middle of the trails at Kleb Woods, but no gregarious species are out yet that I’ve noticed. Soon, though. Until then, let’s enjoy this lovely tussock moth caterpillar that I found among the leaf litter at the Big Thicket last October. The bright yellow knobs are called verrucae and while I can’t find that this is a venomous species (all those hairs!), I am reading that they can cause skin irritation, which is why I generally approach any of these fluffy caterpillar types with…