Where Does Our Stream Go? Mystery Solved!

I don’t usually do more than one post in a day, but Suna the Master Naturalist is all excited about something! I have an unexpectedly free and non-rainy day, so I decided to take the dogs on a walk through the woods, our favorite pastime (as you might notice).

Today my goal was to figure out why our stream and its springs are flowing away, but Walker’s Creek is dry as a bone where County Road 140 goes over it. I also wanted to see what I’d find along the creek bed.

So, the dogs and I walked through the woods by the house and inspected all the recently fallen limbs. There were lots of mushrooms, as you can see above.

I found it, Mommy!
Continue reading “Where Does Our Stream Go? Mystery Solved!”

Went Down to the River, but the River Was Dry

When I go on a trip, my main goals are to look at the nature and the architecture of wherever I am. Even in small towns, I love looking at buildings. Check out the Bandera County Courthouse, especially the manger scene. I don’t think they actually had turkey vultures in Bethlehem a couple of thousand years ago!

Jesus is visited by vultures, a longhorn, merino sheep, white-tailed deer, a cactus, and cowboysl

It’s So Cowboy Here

Lee and I had a lot of fun shopping today, especially since I actually needed a couple of “cowboy accessories” and so did he. I got a Resistol summer weight hat that fits me like a glove, and has already made walking around here in the bright winter sun easier. I really loved my other hat, but it got set down within the reach of certain blue-eyed dogs, and became a former hat. Grr. You only have to forget to hang the hat high ONCE to lose the hat. I’d had it five years or so, though, which is good for the kind of hat you sweat all over (it’s a work hat).

New hat protects me from blazing winter sun.

And I realize most women don’t wear cowboy hats unless they are in a rodeo, but too bad. Baseball hats aren’t as comfortable to me, and they don’t provide as much shade for my pale little European face. At least I live in a hat-wearing part of the US half time!

Lee got a new belt, which is really nice. The Cowboy Shop had a better selection than other Western shops we’d been in lately.

Anyway, after a protracted stop at a Native American jewelry store, where I got some Effie earrings (Hopi ones by an artist who always puts snakes on her jewelry) and some lovely Navajo White Buffalo turquoise earrings (white stone with black in it)…and Lee got a RING, we came back so Lee could yell at Verizon about a mix-up. I left.

River?

I headed back down to the river where I saw all the armadillo munching away yesterday. I only saw one today, but that’s because I walked through the river. The bed is glaringly white, since it consists of polished limestone with a layer of white sediment on top of it. It’s positively lunar.

Continue reading “Went Down to the River, but the River Was Dry”

Survived the Mosquito Squad! Then, Rum.

Onward and upward with the travel fun! We are spending mornings in the condo, since Anita is still working, just not all day. No rest for the contractors, you know. That gives me time to blog, and well, I did a bit of work today, because our Hearts Homes and Hands business got its licensing approved, so I had to share that on the social media! We are so excited!

Low tide in low country.

As for yesterday, we still had it in our minds that we wanted to walk and walk, so we headed over to another island, and visited the Pinkney Island National Wildlife Refuge. Now, this is a naturalist’s paradise!

Datura in a butterfly garden. Look at the little wasp!

It had everything I love, including swamps, wetlands, coastal forests, and ponds. My iNaturalist account got quite a workout, and I’m still not finished uploading things.

Marsh periwinkle.

I really enjoyed the little crabs that scuttled along the wetland areas, since we were there at a pretty low tide time. Little marsh periwinkles were all over the reeds, too.

Continue reading “Survived the Mosquito Squad! Then, Rum.”

Bee Happy, We Won!

Howdy. I hope you didn’t miss me too much yesterday, but I was too zonked once I got home from the Master Naturalist Conference to write anything, and I did want to spend some bonding time with Lee, since I won’t see him again until November.

Our merry band, plus a guy I don’t know, but must have been one of us once. Mike, in the back with the hat, is going to re-join us once he retires as a game warden. Apparently he was the only one who brought his gun with him. Yee-haw, Texas.

The blog title tells you two big things that made me happy yesterday, learning about bumblebees and our Chapter’s brochure winning the best brochure award at the conference. Everyone worked SO hard on it (yes, including me) that it just felt great.

Most of the folks showing off our certificate participated in the brochure project.

Of course, I was busy loading my stuff in the car when the announcement was made, but my colleagues valiantly handled it themselves.

I was so thrilled my eyeballs went crazy. Also note my fancy nails. They do glow!

As for Bumblebees

My main session yesterday morning was about bumblebees, which will be the Texas creature featured on next year’s re-certification pin (by the way, we FINALLY got our golden-cheeked warblers for this year). It turns out I didn’t know much about bumblebees. Now, I do!

Continue reading “Bee Happy, We Won!”

Killing Two Birds with One Stone: learning for all my jobs

I’m still at the annual Master Naturalist conference, and enjoyed getting recognized for achieving 250 volunteer hours so far. That does pale in comparison to the dude who achieved 10,000 hours. But I’m proud I got so much done in just two years.

I did this. So did a lot of other people!

I’m also proud of myself for signing up for a few of the more administrative sessions today. I did one on doing social media for your group and another on leading effective meetings. The networking in both was great, and much of what I learned will help with my other jobs, since they also involve social media and leading meetings.

This book was my door prize. It’s much smaller than it appears to be. There is loads of info in it, though.

The tidbits on dealing with folks who disrupt meetings and in how to actually get things done in meetings were invaluable.

Naturally I got books. I’m me. One is on things that are invading Texas and the other is on things that are in danger of disappearing.

But wait, there’s more

Continue reading “Killing Two Birds with One Stone: learning for all my jobs”

From Exploring the Woods to Peering into a Microscope

Happy day. I am enjoying my second Texas Master Naturalist conference very much. It’s so nice to just enjoy learning with no pressure at all.

The prairie area

This morning I went on a field trip to the Spring Creek Forest Preserve. Wow, the people presenting me so much about the area. My head is full of little tidbits about prairies, forests, and riparian areas.

I also saw so many beautiful seed pods and fall plants. Lots of photos were taken by everyone.

Dew and webs.
iNaturalist says this is liatris.
Continue reading “From Exploring the Woods to Peering into a Microscope”

Walking around Lake Travis

This morning I took a walk while waiting for the rest of my team to arrive. This is an interesting area, because it was all laid out to be neighborhoods, then no one showed up to build houses, so the land has stayed pretty much untouched. Now, people are finally starting to move in, as the Austin suburbs move further and further out. Still, where we are staying has a lot of empty property.

Typical terrain in this area. Lots of juniper, little oak trees, and some mesquite.

This means that you can get a good idea of what the area around Lake Travis looked like, at least since the advent of all the cedar (ashe juniper) trees.

The lake is low. But it’s been MUCH lower.

I’ve been here in the spring, and know the wildflowers are spectacular. It was easy to see from all the dried seeds heads I saw.

Mexican hats and seed heads. Camera stubbornly focused on the back one.
Continue reading “Walking around Lake Travis”