Sep 25

Grass after rain

Posted: under photography, Plantlife, Water.
Tags: , , ,  September 25th, 2009

Altogether, we’ve had 10 inches of rain since the big rain started.  Though it’s too late for some things, others have recovered well.


The yellow flowers are two-leaf senna, and the pink is the rose-oxalis that usually blooms in the early spring.

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Sep 24

A stitch not in time…

Posted: under Water, Weather.
Tags: , ,  September 24th, 2009

We waited a bit too long to get the new big water tanks…two 2500 gallon jobs were delivered yesterday, in the rain:


The view from the door…they just don’t hold much water when lying on their sides.    And they block our view of the driveway…not to mention the driveway itself.  This week so far, starting Monday, we picked up another 1.3 inches.  Nice, slow, soaking rain.

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Sep 18

A Week After Rain

Posted: under Land, photography, Plantlife, Water.
Tags: , , , , ,  September 18th, 2009


The water that didn’t run off soaked in; it’s amazing that in one week it’s turned so green.    The darker streak in the middle distance is the grass waterway when it rains and right now is just dry enough to walk on in regular shoes.

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Sep 12

Water, water, everywhere…

Posted: under Water, Weather.
Tags: ,  September 12th, 2009

…means plenty for wildlife to drink.   And plenty for us to rejoice over.  And me to wade in, while going out to take pictures of this bounty.   Here’s a view of the near meadow…you can compare it to the July 6 picture

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Sep 11

Wetness Falls from the Sky

Posted: under Water, Weather.
Tags:  September 11th, 2009


I woke to rain several times last night–it paused for an hour or two this morning, when we made it outside to check the gauges near the house (1.3 inches at that point) and walk out to the near meadow (puddle behind the #3 gabion.)    Then it started again.

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Sep 08

Supplemental Water for Wildlife

Posted: under Activities, photography, Water, Wildlife.
Tags: , , ,  September 8th, 2009

One of the main activities for wildlife managers in Texas is providing supplemental water for wildlife.  Where natural water supplies are abundant and unpolluted, supplemental water may not be necessary, but  drought years come to all regions, and wildlife suffer if they do not have access to a reliable, safe, supply of water.


In a drought summer,  with all natural water gone, deer made regular use of this small, three-tub water on a rocky knoll.  Because of its small size, this waterer needed daily filling through the summer.   A small solar-powered pump in the lowest tub circulates the water.

When considering water for wildlife, it’s important to set up a system for reliable (constant) water that is safe for wildlife to use and is provided in containers that allow access by a wide range of wildlife.   This means thinking about the water source (rainwater, well water, stored surface water), water quality, and the shape, size, and location of water presentation.

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Aug 26

Drought & Yard Birds

Posted: under photography, Water, Wildlife.
Tags: , , ,  August 26th, 2009

Some of the birds on the place usually stay away from the house, but in this severe drought we have the only substantial water (the creek’s dry at the south end of town, a mile downstream–and probably beyond that, too.)    In the past week,  with a slightly decreased workload, I’ve been out looking for migrants in the back yard–hearing more different songs.   Today I was lucky enough to photograph this gorgeous male summer tanager:


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Aug 21

August Water Garden

Posted: under Water, Weather, Wildlife.
Tags: , , ,  August 21st, 2009

Our backyard water garden, filled from collected rainwater, is longer than the house–over sixty feet, comprised of pools of different shapes and sizes with narrow “chutes” of water between them.   In this drought year, it’s the largest water source for wildlife for more than a mile in any direction: stock tanks are dry, the little water guzzlers on the 80 acres are much smaller, the nearest water in the creek is a mile downstream (and has dried up several times.)


This upper end, narrow and partly shaded even in drought, attracts the shyer small birds and shade-preferring dragonflies.

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Jun 22

Water Resource Management

Posted: under Activities, Water.
Tags: ,  June 22nd, 2009

We happen to be in a county that chose to emphasize development over conservation, which has resulted in a water shortage here even greater than the climate would cause on its own.  (It’s ironic that the best-known history of the county is titled Land of Good Water.)

For those whose county governments haven’t yet destroyed their water resources…here’s how it worked in our case.

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May 11

On the Domestic Side

Posted: under photography, Water.
Tags: , ,  May 11th, 2009

Though nearly all our land is used for wildlife,  we do have a vegetable garden.  Twenty-something years ago, we put in raised beds edged with landscape timbers.  Though some of those are rotting out, the main design is still there:


This is the garden from the east; the near bed had radishes in it and still has some carrots; to the right is a huge (HUGE) Mexican oregano plant from previous years.  We did not get the winter stuff in on time because of the severe drought and water use restrictions.  The next bed has corn on both ends and beans and sunflowers in the middle.

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