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 truly a balm for the soul. The grass seed we planted last winter now has a decent chance of getting established, and I’m hoping that this year we won’t lose any trees because of drought. Unfortunately, the same conditions that contribute to a spectacular wildflower display (cold, wet w...   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

   

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

   

What Happened to All That Seed?

In 2014, the long-awaited rains that typically arrive in September to revive the summer-parched landscape did not appear until mid-October. In contrast, the early fall of 2013 received enough heavy rainfall to small brush pile (photo by Stanley Farrar) is a good way to stay warm!...   read full post »

posted on 1/6/2015

   

Landowner Incentive Project: Part II

The first phase of this year's LIP project was described in the previous post: "Not Our First Rodeo: LIP Project 2014". For this year's grant project, we began by selectively clearing brush in the woodlands along our riparian corridor so that we could plant more native grasses, encourage more divers...   read full post »

posted on 7/16/2014

   

Not our First Rodeo: LIP Project 2014

This spring, thanks to receiving another Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (www.tpwd.state.tx.us/lip), we have been able to continue what for us is an ambitious schedule of conservation projects on our property. The work supported by this grant is inten...   read full post »

posted on 5/16/2014

   

In the Deep Midwinter: Update on Projects

Suddenly, the mornings are filled with of the sound of white wing doves calling one another. Only a week or two ago temperatures stuck near freezing. Mother Nature sure has had some serious mood swings this winter! Typically we expect the coldest weather to arrive soon after the New Year, but a kin...   read full post »

posted on 2/20/2014

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