Messy Ecosystems

A few days after Christmas, Jack and I were hard at work burning brush piles out at the ranch, when suddenly we heard a raucous, clattering sound high above: it was the rolling call of dozens of migrating sandhill cranes. We paused to lean on our rakes and watch as the cranes spooled out into long chains, and then, according to some mutual signal, re-formed into chevrons, then back into lines - all the while calling back and forth to each other. Different groups continued to pass through over the next few days, marking their ancient journey from northern North America to their winter home al...   read full post »

posted on 1/28/2016

   

The Rains Finally Returned

Sometime after midnight on Friday, October 23rd, a sudden wave of heavy rain surged over the roof and continued in a slow and steady rate throughout all the next day. It was as though a switch had been thrown somewhere in the Universe that instantly released us from the prison of an endless summer ...   read full post »

posted on 11/8/2015

   

This Year’s Crop: Learning More in 2015 About the Best Time to Plant

Last year, Jack and I decided to try our hand at beekeeping. As it turns out, being a successful beekeeper is a lot harder than we’d imagined. Like quail and horned lizards, bees have a lot going against them, and figuring out how to best protect and take care of them can be very daunting to...   read full post »

posted on 8/31/2015

   

Taking Another Stab at Prickly Pear Removal

Thanks to an extension of our 2014 LIP (Landowner Incentive Program) grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept., we were able to wrap up some of the brush management work begun in the fall of 2014, and move on to another area that was heavily covered in prickly pear. Building on what we had learned f...   read full post »

posted on 8/6/2015

   

Acme Botanical Services: Call Today- You’ll Be Glad You Did!

“I need to get Bill Carr back out here!” I told myself in mid-April, after spring rains began to show up on a regular basis – a welcome change in a long, dreary drought cycle. In 2014, we were well into May before we got any rain at all. That’s almost half the year without a ...   read full post »

posted on 6/16/2015

   

Malta Star Thistle: A Wet Spring’s Unwelcome Bloom

As I write this report in the middle of May 2015, we’ve had nearly two solid weeks of rain, with good chances for more in the 10-day forecast. That brings the total for the year in our part of southwest Llano County to 13.5 inches. After four years of extreme drought, this tropical season is...   read full post »

posted on 5/19/2015

   

The Mindful Conservationist

This essay was written in March, 2015 for the quarterly newsletter of the Texas Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration (http://chapter.ser.org/texas) The rigorous structure of scientific inquiry can often offer guidance to the average landowner, but I have found that outcomes are more suc...   read full post »

posted on 4/11/2015

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