Jun 23

Cloud Pavilion: New Rain Barn

Posted: under Activities, Water, Wildlife.
Tags: ,  June 23rd, 2011

On land with no permanent water source, rain harvesting is the only way to provide reliable supplemental water for wildlife.    (Well, you can lug it in on your back or a cart or trailer, but that’s no fun at all when temperatures top 100F day after day.)   And rainwater is a healthier source of water for some (most?) wildlife than treated city water, even if that were affordable and available.  Supplying supplemental water is a key activity in the support of wildlife, critical in times of drought.   So, over the years, we’ve built “rain barns” to capture and store rainwater for this purpose.   We also do rainwater collection off existing roofs (house, carport, horse barn) to provide water for the horses, water garden, and a few trees.

Fox Pavilion: 610 gallons storage max

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May 02

Copying Nature: Water Feature

Posted: under Activities, photography, Plantlife, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , ,  May 2nd, 2010

We’re already drying up, though much is still green and flowers are still blooming…the long-range forecast is for a “mild drought.”   Last summer, in the worst of the drought, we reworked the backyard water feature (which had become overgrown with water irises, among other things.)   We started it before we had the 80 acres, designing it for wildlife use from the beginning, with sunny, shady, quiet, and fast-moving sections of varying depths and shapes.   In the extreme drought that ended last fall, it was crucial to our wildlife, because neither of the small guzzlers out on the 80 acres was big enough to sustain a good population of amphibians or odonates.

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Nov 12

Spring in Fall

Posted: under Activities, photography, Water, Wildlife.
Tags: , , , , ,  November 12th, 2009

Two years of drought followed by heavy rains in a warm fall has produced bursts of spring flowering and some spring butterflies even as it’s produced sudden fall color…a very odd combination.


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Nov 10

Temporary Natural Water

Posted: under photography, Plantlife, Water.
Tags: , , , , ,  November 10th, 2009

We have no permanent natural water on the place.   But when it does rain, we have a variety of temporary water sources, from the actual creek to the various overflow channels (some of concern because of erosion; others now pretty much “tamed.”)


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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 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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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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Jun 12

Pond Work

Posted: under Activities, Plantlife.
Tags: ,  June 12th, 2009

Because there’s no permanent natural water on our place, the main aquatic habitat we can provide for wildlife is near the house (where, if we don’t collect enough rainwater, we can use city water–in fact, the water garden began with city water supply.)    It has an upper, stream-like section (small pools with low “falls” into each other, all in the shade) and a bottom pool that’s a 10×20 foot lily pond–with wide shallow ledges around the edge and a deep “trench” in the middle for the lilies.

To provide some vertical plantlife for dragonflies, damselflies, and other insects that need emergent vegetation, we added in pickerelweed and water iris.  The water iris turned out to be very aggressive.   Periodically we have to cut it back, and that’s a huge chore.


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Mar 16

After the Rain

Posted: under Activities, Plantlife, Water, Weather.
Tags: , , , ,  March 16th, 2009

Plants around here take immediate advantage of water, so the change in color after less than a week from the first drop of rain is striking.

Near Meadow

Near Meadow

Not only does green show on the mowed maintenance path, but at the base of the taller clumps to either side.   Rain started Wednesday; this was taken Sunday.  Last week,  no green.

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