Tree Planting: an Exercise in Optimism

I remember reading somewhere that planting a tree is one of the most generous expressions of optimism a person can make. Stubborn optimism is surely needed when you propose to do something that requires both muscle and money. Tree-planters invest in a future they are unlikely to witness, yet they do so with the confidence that others will some day enjoy the full glory of a mature tree they helped to plant. Symbolically, planting trees is also a way of “paying forward” to help replace the countless trees that die each year. I started these observations on tree planting and woodlan...   read full post »

posted on 2/11/2017

   

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I realize I have been a little sluggish on writing more frequent blog entries this year, but I have a good reason. I’ve been busy producing a series of land stewardship videos for the Hill Country Land Trust. We’ve been very fortunate to have range and natural resource specialist Steve N...   read full post »

posted on 9/20/2016

   

A Combo Platter of Observations and Questions

Our yard in Austin is beginning to look like the Mekong Delta after a solid month of rain. At the ranch in SW Llano County, we are deeply enjoying a lush, drawn-out spring, while still aware that in Texas, these tropical years do not bring joy to everyone. Someone downstream, along the Brazos River...   read full post »

posted on 6/6/2016

   

The Spaces in Between

It was the first week of March, and I was sitting on the back porch at the end of the day, admiring the intricate pattern of bare branches on the cedar elm further out in the yard. Everywhere the quickening pulse of spring was evident, yet the branches of the cedar elm with their slender fingered t...   read full post »

posted on 4/8/2016

   

Landowner Incentive Bulletin

I am proud and honored to be in the 2016 L.I.P. Bulletin Annual Newsletter. They published my essay, The Mindful Conservationist, in this year's issue along with a very nice profile of me under the Landowner Spotlight section of the newsletter. The essay is an adaptation of an earlier article I wrot...   read full post »

posted on 4/4/2016

   

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 ...   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

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