Nature and Travel

Lots of photos of guys like me in here!

For my Master Naturalist and other nature-loving friends, here’s a collection of writing about my nature sightings and travels.

Surprise Guests!

Yesterday, we were going shopping in Bandera when we saw a car that looks just like Blackie, Lee’s late-life crisis sports car. Out came the relatives, Kathleen and Chris. What a fun surprise! I now had a co-shopper, which made the last couple of stores way more fun. We stopped in a little boutique that … Continue reading “Surprise Guests!”

Cat-astrophe?

I wrote this blog entry originally for Milam Touch of Love, our animal welfare organization, but hey, who doesn’t love a story about beautiful kitties (other than Lee)? This week I’m in Bandera County, Texas, which is west of San Antonio in the Hill Country. I’m staying in a cozy log cabin in a pleasant, … Continue reading “Cat-astrophe?”

What's in Bandera, Texas? Many Armadillos and African Game Animals

Lee and I are spending Christmas week holed up in a log-cabin condo outside of Bandera, Texas. Why? It was the only place I could use my travel points on that was within driving distance of Austin. Also, it’s the Cowboy Capital of the World, you know. And it’s in the Texas Hill Country, a … Continue reading “What's in Bandera, Texas? Many Armadillos and African Game Animals”

It’s Okay to Be a Tourist

When I was a teenager in a tourist destination (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida area), I sure didn’t like tourists. They showed up and drove strangely, got horrible sunburns, and asked ignorant questions. Grr. They filled “our” restaurants. I currently spent half my time in another tourist destination, where natives carefully avoid downtown or our beautiful parks … Continue reading “It’s Okay to Be a Tourist”

Ahoy! We Set Sail!

Admission: we were not on a sailboat, we were on a ski boat, but nonetheless, Anita and I had a glorious time with Boat Captain Scott out on the waters surrounding Hilton Head Island yesterday. We spent two action-packed hours as our guide took us to beautiful spots filled with birds and dolphins. It was … Continue reading “Ahoy! We Set Sail!”

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. The blog title tells you two big things that … Continue reading “Bee Happy, We Won!”

Just Having a Sit-Along

Today has been non-stop meetings, work, and networking, but it’s been fun. After working at my actual job all morning, we had another wildflower brochure meeting at the Hermit Haus. I’m almost done with the brochure, thanks to lots of proofreading help. You can never see all your own typos. And I don’t spell in … Continue reading “Just Having a Sit-Along”

Lesson Learned: Registering for the Texas Master Naturalist Conference

I’m happy to announce that my wallet is smaller, but I have successfully registered for the 2019 Texas Master Naturalist Conference! It’s in mid-October in Rockwall, Texas. I hear it’s a nice setting away from Big City stuff. Or it’s in a resort area. We’ll see. Why do I say I learned a lesson? Well, … Continue reading “Lesson Learned: Registering for the Texas Master Naturalist Conference”

Batty Bits

It’s been quite a week with so much work and such that it’s been hard to find time to write. I may perhaps have too many jobs and volunteer positions, but I love them all! I especially enjoy my Master Naturalist group and its members. I get a lot out of observing their personalities and … Continue reading “Batty Bits”

Cameron History Note

We’ve decided to activate the website for The Hermit Haus, our meeting center at the former First Christian Church in Cameron. We are interested in knowing more of the history of the church, and would love it if any of you know about events or people of interest that happened during the long history of … Continue reading “Cameron History Note”

Summer Dead Stuff

Hey again. I’ve got some more deep thinking coming up, but first I have to say it’s hard to get anything at all done this time of year, because there’s always something interesting and deceased laying around. Our first thing isn’t dead, just empty. That’s the tiny nest the baby finch tried to fall out … Continue reading “Summer Dead Stuff”

Book Report: The Biohistory of Alachua County, Florida

Note: this post is about the history of a single county in north Florida. I am quite aware that there were civilizations, settlements, and migrations throughout North America long before events I talk about here. In fact, my own ancestors were in Florida long, long before Alachua County was settled. While we were visiting Gainesville, … Continue reading “Book Report: The Biohistory of Alachua County, Florida”

Grumpy? Not Us!

The intrepid travelers are heading back to Texas, so most of yesterday involved driving and looking out the window. And making sure to talk frequently so Lee wouldn’t sigh loudly and turn music on, because we were too silent. There’s not a lot to say about trees and more trees. I guess he thought we … Continue reading “Grumpy? Not Us!”

What Gives a Person Nightmares (and more Gainesville Stuff)

Here’s more on our adventures in Gainesville, Florida. My hometown! One more stop We had plenty of time, so we visited a small museum that highlighted Gainesville history, the Matheson Museum. There was an exhibit on modern buildings of Gainesville, which featured many places familiar to me from the 1960s. We also found postcards of … Continue reading “What Gives a Person Nightmares (and more Gainesville Stuff)”

Airboat Adventure

After the shrine and a vitally important coffee stop for Lee, we headed off to, um, somewhere in the middle of Florida, because I’d decided I wanted to go on an airboat ride to see some nature. Where we went was actually in Kenansville, Wild Florida Airboats and Gator Park. I think Lee was a … Continue reading “Airboat Adventure”

Sunny Florida

They always used to say “sunny Florida,” even though it rained most days. It rained just a little yesterday as we finished driving through Mississippi, zipped through Alabama without buying anything, and then spent a very long time on I-10 looking at trees. We’d had a nice night in a cheery hotel in Pascagoula, MS … Continue reading “Sunny Florida”

Brain Overload

Today we were in San Marcos, which is south of Austin. Why? Lee and Kathleen are starting a new business, which I’ll go into another time, so we went to a continuing education on how home health care providers can screw up when they are being inspected. We were in a building so dull I … Continue reading “Brain Overload”

We’re a YEAR Old!

This is the first post I accidentally posted as a page, not a blog post. Hooray! Our little blog is a year old! I’m happy to have over a hundred followers, since so much of what I write is so I’ll remember stuff that happened. It’s been great sharing my nature observations, rants, and thoughts … Continue reading “We’re a YEAR Old!”

New iNaturalist Project

Yesterday I was thinking about how many observations of plants and birds and such I make around the office park where I work in Austin. I said to myself, “Suna, that would make an interesting iNaturalist collection, and then you could also see observations other people make around there. Since I’d just taken a nice, … Continue reading “New iNaturalist Project”

Driving Thoughts

I’ll write about my day at the riparian ecosystem workshop I attended when I’m not so tired. But i can tell you why I’m tired. Traffic jams. Why does anyone live in Austin if they have a commute? My drive home from Bandera was a lot of fun, or at least two thirds of it … Continue reading “Driving Thoughts”

Getting Ready for Earth Day

Originally posted on Nature Along the El Camino Real:
Yesterday, the Environment and Recycling Ad-hoc Committee’s Earth Day subcommittee met to continue to work out plans. I was glad I could finally attend a meeting, because it was fun to see the team at work. I was joined by Ann Collins, Linda Jo Conn, Joyce…

Let’s Read Nonfiction

You might not be surprised to learn that I mostly read nonfiction (when not reading my many magazine subscriptions). I do this, because I really love to learn new things, especially how the natural world works and what makes living organisms tick. For example, two of my past favorite books were an excellent history of … Continue reading “Let’s Read Nonfiction”

Birding in the Fog

Admittedly, I was excited to go to Galveston Island, because I had the thought that a lot of the migratory birds would still be hanging around and I could see them. I didn’t count on it being a rather dismal day for photography, in which everything around was the same shade of brownish gray. We … Continue reading “Birding in the Fog”

Beachy Keen

We spent last night in a misty Galveston Island, Texas. I’ll write more about it later, but thought I’d share a few pictures of things I found washed up on the beach. One particular piece of wood that had been in the water enough for barnacles to grow on it really seemed beautiful. Such a … Continue reading “Beachy Keen”

Sunday of Amazement

Wow, yesterday was just one amazing discovery after another around the ranch! The wind finally died down, which made it much easier to be outside, so I engaged in a lot of running around with dogs and exploring things, once the cattle moved off and the cattle torture ended. Our neighbor Mike came over earlier … Continue reading “Sunday of Amazement”

Old Catholic Cemeteries

Yesterday was certainly the most active Christmas I’d spent in a long time. That’s great, because going on walks with my kids is among the greatest pleasures in my life. I love listening to them talk about their lives, about local history, and about the plants and animals we see along the way. The house … Continue reading “Old Catholic Cemeteries”

Birding at Christmas

There’s always an Audubon Society-sponsored Christmas bird count that naturalists and bird lovers do every year. While I didn’t do that, I did enjoy the easiest bird watching ever, right outside the door of our rental house. I shared the photo above on Facebook already, so you may have already seen it, but I was … Continue reading “Birding at Christmas”

Christmas Fun

Many of you will be celebrating Christmas with friends or family this year. We have both. Even if this isn’t one of your holidays, looking at cheery lights at the darkest time of the year isn’t all bad. So, that’s what we did last night. Lee drove me, Anita, and my son, Kynan to the … Continue reading “Christmas Fun”

The Rebel Radio

The view from our balcony. When we got to our vacation rental, we noticed there were a lot of satellite dishes across the street, and big towers. Then we looked to the left and saw a 50s style building. It had letters on its sign: KFAN. Of course we had to look it up, and … Continue reading “The Rebel Radio”

Rio Guadalupe Love

Today was our day to get out of town, so we decided to head down the most scenic highway we could think of, the road from Fredericksburg through Kerrville and on to Hunt, Texas. You may recall that I took this same drive when I attended the Bennett Trust Women’s Conference. This time, Lee, Anita … Continue reading “Rio Guadalupe Love”

Keep Looking Up

Look up! Hi sparrows! Since I’ve been vacationing I haven’t forgotten to look up. Since we’re in a house over a garage, it’s easy to look up and see lots of cute sparrows. This is just one of the many great ceilings we saw. In the town, I discovered that quaint tourist spots are great … Continue reading “Keep Looking Up”

Bring on the Light!

Yule greetings to all you blog readers! Thank you for being there, and for brightening my life with your likes and comments. I wanted to send you a personal Yule greeting, since my work commitments didn’t allow me to write cards or anything. This time of year always makes me feel closer to the rhythms … Continue reading “Bring on the Light!”

The Love of Karst

Expect scenery posts for the next few days! Sadly, I don’t have any great scenery from yesterday, because I was driving, and I’m not one of those folks who uses their phone and drives, especially on hilly two-lane roads. Forgive my stand-in photos. Yes, Anita and I spent three wonderful hours (minus 15 minutes on … Continue reading “The Love of Karst”

I Can See for Miles

Sunday I needed to play tech support for my Master Naturalist and artist friend, Pamela. I love the detective work aspect of figuring out why a computer doesn’t work. I’m happy to report that I got her frozen computer unfrozen and set her up with WhatsApp so she can talk to her friend in India. … Continue reading “I Can See for Miles”

Small Town Joys

A great part of living in a small town is community theater, which Cameron is great for. Jonathan Deal and the rest of the Milam Community Theatre board have been making some changes, but it’s still fun! We went to last night’s performance of “A Fairy Tale Christmas,” which was cute as the Dickens. Dickens … Continue reading “Small Town Joys”

Caving in the Old ‘Hood

My bucket list is one item smaller. Ever since I saw sealed over cave openings in my old neighborhood (the Brushy Creek/Cat Hollow/Avery Ranch area in Williamson County), I wanted to see what was under the neighborhood. The area is in a limestone karst formation (quite near many limestone quarriees). After a cave collapsed pretty … Continue reading “Caving in the Old ‘Hood”