Coyotes Are Big

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Not the coyote I saw! Free photo from Pexels.

I have a lot to write about from yesterday, but I’ll quickly share this morning’s nature sighting. Alfred the Giant Dog started his alarm barking (different from his “I’m on patrol” barking). The Spousal Unit looked out the window and saw two of what appeared to be wolves checking out the tank/pond behind the house.

We hear them often, but have been seeing them more and more lately, usually at night. This was in bright sunlight, which gave us ample opportunity to get an idea of their size.

The coyotes I see in Austin are usually smaller than our cattle dog, Brody, and look hungry. These were much larger, and very healthy looking. They weren’t as big as Alfred (an Anatolian Shepherd), but not much smaller. They looked over at the house, then just walked into the woods.

As soon as Alfred got out of the fenced-in area behind our house, he did a big patrol of the area. A few deep barks, and there have been more signs of our coyote friends. I hope they are eating lots and lots of mice.

Foraging Fun

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In Texas, amaryllis bulbs usually bloom in April, not at Christmas. You can plant them and enjoy them for years.

It’s Friday the 13th, but I’m not worried! The first thing I saw when I stepped out of my house this morning was a pair of bluebirds, which did indeed bring happiness. Way to go, nature!

I got to our business office in Cameron to receive another surprise, the amaryllis bulbs Mrs. Trubee had planted were all blooming. The big ole wind that’s been blowing since last night had broken one, so it’s sitting on my desk as I type.

But, what about foraging?

Last night was the April Master Naturalist chapter meeting, and the speaker was a really interesting young man named Sean Wall, who has self-published a book on foraging for food in Texas. He’d already sold all the books he’d brought by the time I talked to him, but I’ll be picking up a copy on April 21 at the Rockdale Earth Day event.*

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Finding Your Passion

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This bluebonnet cake was a festive addition to our graduation!

I was a member of the 2018 class for the El Camino Real Texas Master Naturalists. One of the most amazing things about the Texas Master Naturalist curriculum is the breadth of topics covered in a short three months.

Class members all gained a wide breadth of knowledge on all components that make up the state’s ecosystem, ranging from plants and animals to weather and waterways. We now have a working knowledge of the variety of climates and habitats in this huge area, and how that affects the life forms found there.

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Thanks to everyone who helped with the class, especially Dorothy and Pamela, who coordinated it.

Sometimes the depth of information got overwhelming. Of course, we didn’t learn all details about all birds, butterflies, or snakes in Texas, or even in Milam County. But we did learn how to find out more and who to contact if we had questions. Thank goodness for Texas Parks and Wildlife and the AgriLife Extension folks! They are all so generous with their time and expertise.

But, where do I go now?

Now that the big knowledge dump is over and it’s time to go out and volunteer and learn more, my job is to figure out where my personal naturalist passion lies. I can’t do work on everything, even if I’d like to.

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The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining us! This is the default first post WordPress stuck in here, but I really like it, so it’s staying. In the future, I (Suna) will be blogging here about my observations at my home ranch. It will probably be organized, even.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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I will also be sharing these posts on our Facebook page, so please follow us there, too.

Getting Started

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The young redbud tree near the cabin on the Wild Hermits property.

Hey! Today I made a few pages for this site, including one for Sightings, which is on the main menu, and some sub-pages on birds and mammals I’ve seen since I’ve been coming out to the Hermits’ Rest. That’s been since 2011, the year of the Big Drought.

I thought I’d also practice writing down what I saw and did each week (you see, I’m there half time; the other half of each week I’m in Austin, leaving my spouse to guard the place).

Bird Sightings, April 6-8

The big excitement of the week was multiple flocks of snow geese going overhead. They flew low enough to easily identify their black wing tips. They also weren’t making all the noise the cranes make, and were lower than cranes tend to be.

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