Bio Blitzing and Mental Gaps

Today’s big activity (and ONLY activity, thankfully) was to go to a local park and do our very first bioblitz in Milam County. That’s where you find as many plants and animals in a specific place at a specified time. I had a lot of fun, though there was a lot of cat herding involved and I didn’t do a very good job of trying to teach what I wanted to teach. If you want some photos and such, visit the blog article I wrote for the group.

The sun even shone a little bit.

I enjoyed hanging around with my old and new friends, and sure found a lot of plants that were hard to identify, but I guess that’s part of the fun. If you want to see what plants, animals, and birds we found, you can visit the little project we created for our bioblitz.

Nature’s bird bath.
Chickasaw plum is one of the first trees to bloom here.

After the blitzing, we came back to our office, where it was warmer, to talk about uploading our findings, then a few of us had a quick lunch. There I was a bit disturbed at myself. I could not remember things. The entire topic of the mind blindedness I wrote about just last week completely escaped my mind. I blanked out on the names of a couple of people I knew, too.

More and more often I find myself coming up with a big hole where I was certain a word, fact, or memory should be. I’m not declaring myself to have dementia or anything, but it sure is annoying. It’s hard to know when you’re just tired, and it’s normal, or when there’s something actually wrong.

So, if you know me, let me know if I’m drifting off.

Look. Insects doing it. I actually typed “insexts” at first. They are crane flies.

ANYWAY, I did get to take my friend Dorothy to see the Pope House, and there we found beautiful stairs! I was pretty excited and ran up them.

Stairs! Indoors! Safe! photo by Dorothy Mayer

The steps themselves are really pretty. Chris made them bull-nosed, so they have a lot of class. I can’t wait to see what next week brings. Until then, I am officially resting, reading, and maybe even knitting for a while. I hope I remember what I’m doing.

Those steps are gorgeous, and nice and deep, too.

The Introvert Party Girl

Fact about Suna: I’m what they call a “well socialized introvert.” That means my system functions as an introvert, with all that need for alone time and recharging, but people perceive me as an extrovert. In fact, I’ve been laughed at many times when I reveal what I score on personality tests. Hmph.

Right now, as you are no doubt aware, it’s party season. Like many of us, I’ve been invited to a party or two or three. Most are work-related or volunteer things, but even I have a few purely social events I can make it to with my weird schedule (I am invited to many things on weekends in Austin that I can’t get to; the ranch life does require some sacrifices.)

Maria is the queen of selfies, as you’d expect from the youngest book club member. She knows technology!
The collection of glass trees in the windows looks beautiful when the sun shines through it.

So, I went to parties two nights in a row this week. They were good parties, full of laughter and fun. Our book club ladies had a great time talking without the bother of discussing a book (ha ha). We had a lot of adventures trying to open wine bottles with less-than-ideal openers, and also spent a great deal of time admiring our neighbor’s beautiful collections of trees. She’s my tree decor role model!

And last night was the annual Master Naturalist party/December chapter meeting. That one was harder, because there were a lot of people there I didn’t know, which makes me vacillate between not wanting to talk to strangers and feeling like I really should mingle and be friendly.

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TEAM: It Sorta Has "Me" in It

Well, apparently I did NOT have an original thought on this topic.

How many times have you heard the saying that “there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’?” More than enough, I’m sure. It hints that we should all be selflessly working together to achieve our organizational goals, a thing that totally goes against the annoying American worship of independence, yee haw.

I admit that I have always wanted to be a member of a team. Gosh, if only I wasn’t small, chubby, and extremely slow, I could have even been on a sports team at some point in my life. But, though I was very accurate at kicking and throwing a football, girls couldn’t play on those teams (and my distance sucked). As a young adult, I was politely asked to stop participating on my husband’s volleyball team, because they were actually competitive. Sigh.

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Planning to Be Interesting

While I have little exciting to report today, I sure planned to be interesting later! I think that counts as good news.

I did a lot of work for my volunteer jobs. The best part was planning for next year’s Master Naturalist activities with our Vice President, Donna. She hates computers and I love them, so we are complementary.

The back of Donna as she talked about bluebirds

We even made a survey to ask the members what they want to learn about next year. The one person who has filled it out so far is me, but then it hasn’t gone out in email yet.

Carlton wants his fellow pound puppies to get to run around like he does.

Lee and I then went to Tractor Supply in scenic Hearne, where I not only got horse and chicken supplies, but also scoped out supplies for the dog run our family and business are going to build for the Cameron dog pound.

We even got an invitation to do a dog adoption day at the Tractor Supply store! Thus, I did work for ALL my volunteer jobs! Interesting!

The evening has started well, too. As I walked back from horse feeding at dusk, I heard the sandhill cranes above me. I guess they were heading to the big lake by the old Alcoa plant.

Imagine cranes here. They are too high to photograph.

Then I walked through the field as flocks of Savannah sparrows took off at my approach. Their wings were beautiful to hear.

Ahh, autumn.

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!

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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

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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”