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 season. Since then, showers have occurred every week, and it seems possible to hope that the long-promised rainy pattern of El Niño might have actually arrived. Loyal Valley had not seen rain since the third week of June, adding up to more than 100 hot, dry days without rain. The profit and l...   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 ( 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


Why is little bluestem so hard to grow from seed ?

From our earliest days as landowners, we have tried to entice the Queen of the Prairie to reside on our property. That’s the name I’ve given to little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), because to me it’s one of I planted the clumps in groups of 15-20 in various locations that mi...   read full post »

posted on 3/16/2015

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