Feb 17

Elbowbush or Spring Herald

Posted: under photography, Plantlife, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , ,  February 17th, 2010

Elbowbush, either Forestiera pubescens or F. angustifolia (we have both species), is the first of our woody plants to flower in spring, and yesterday the first of the elbowbushes on the north fenceline west of the dry woods was opening.


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Jan 17

First 2010 Rain, New Species

Posted: under Activities, Land, Plantlife, Water, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , , , ,  January 17th, 2010

We’d had some sprinkles, but the first real rain came Thursday & Friday, about two inches, and set the secondary drainage flowing across the near meadow again.  Creek was up and a little turbid, but the flow in the grass was crystal clear.   Today, I finally photographed a common (supposedly) species of butterfly around here, which I’d never been able to catch in the lens.

goatweed-anglewing335 Read the rest of this entry »

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Jan 09

Cold Enough?

Posted: under photography, Plantlife, Weather, Wildlife.
Tags: , , ,  January 9th, 2010

The cold front that hit central Texas between midnight and dawn Thursday certainly did change things…yeah, we’d had that 15 degree down-spike back in December, and some other overnights in the 20s (good for knocking the ticks back) but this was a serious Arctic blast like we used to get every winter 30 years ago and haven’t had for the past decade.  Of course we wrapped pipes in advance, put on the hose bib foam-thingies, blocked the air vents under the house, all the usual things you do.


Sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn’t….yup, that’s a pipe that burst–not where it’s sawed off, but at an elbow just underground. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jan 06

Cochineal Scale on Cactus (plus…)

Posted: under Plantlife, Wildlife.
Tags: , , ,  January 6th, 2010

When we first got the place, an SCA friend asked if any of the cactus had cochineal bugs on it.  At that time, I didn’t find any.  But Monday, January 4, I found this prickly pear thickly covered with the scale insects:

closeup-cochineal-scale240 Read the rest of this entry »

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Dec 30

New Species! (And Big Bird)

Posted: under photography, Plantlife, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , , , ,  December 30th, 2009

During migration and winter we have a lot of birds in the grass–birds that fly up and dive down a little distance away, birds that fly up and perch in bushes, birds that fly up and away and dive down over there. Most of them are sparrows of some kind.    Today one of the “divers” posed long enough for me to note salient characteristics and even get some slightly blurry pictures–good enough for an ID:


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Dec 27

Midwinter Walk

Posted: under Activities, Plantlife, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , , ,  December 27th, 2009

We had clear dry weather today to get some work done, and no choir duties.   Our first chore was moving water iris taken from the lily pond (which had overgrown with them) out onto the land, to see if they’ll naturalize in some of the temporary pools.  We were successful with a few transplants a few years back.

floating-iris-pond063 Read the rest of this entry »

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Nov 29

Thanksgiving Week

Posted: under photography, Plantlife, Wildlife.
Tags: ,  November 29th, 2009

Thanksgiving Day gave us perfect weather and wonderful guests who enjoyed the beauty of the land…but no pictures.   The creek was too high to wade in regular shoes–beautifully clear, though, and today, with rain forecast to start tomorrow again, I thought perhaps I could make it across.  What are wet feet, after all?


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Nov 25

Managing Population

Posted: under Activities, Mortality, Wildlife.
Tags: ,  November 25th, 2009

Wildlife managers know that in natural systems (few of which still exist) there’s a reasonable balance between predators and prey, so that the prey don’t degrade the resource (plants and water) they need.  In nearly all managed lands in the US,  large predators have been eliminated or reduced to the point where predators cannot effectively control prey population.  Thus the grazers and browsers can grow in numbers to the point where they are on the edge of starvation.

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Nov 15

Bird Populations

Posted: under Wildlife.
Tags: , ,  November 15th, 2009

Driving home from church today,  I saw several more “winter hawks” in the sky or perched along the road, which brought up the topic of our disparate bird populations through the seasons.   We have year-rounders, winter residents, winter visitors, summer nesters, and migrants in fall and spring.

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