Friday Meleagris gallopavo blogging

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Seeds

I spent a lovely morning yesterday at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center with my naturalist class.

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One of the women who’s helped teach the class works here, as a seed collector. One of her jobs is collecting seeds for the Millenium Seed Project at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

It’s a wondeful, humbling thing to know there are people out there working on projects like this. And it is a lot of work. Individuals traveling to find the plants, collecting the seeds by hand, transporting them,  cleaning and drying them, documenting every detail about where they came from, safely packaging and shipping them around the world for safekeeping.

We have a winner!

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Ed from over at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, along with “Kathryn the horticulturist” have correctly ID’d my mystery plant as Allowissadula holosericea, (Chisos Mountain false Indianmallow, Chisos Mtn. False Indian-mallow, Velvet-leaf Mallow.)

More here from Lady Bird.

And their reward? Another photo, my favorite actually. Even though it doesn’t show the open blossom, I like the composition.

Smarty Pants! Yeah, you. Need your help.

I feel Teh Stupit but I can’t find out what kind of plant this is. I’m not finding it in my Texas field guides. Any help would be appreciated. I thought it was St. John’s Wort but the leaves don’t match. It seems to begun blooming fairly recently, meaning in the summer as opposed to the spring wildflower season. I haven’t seen any on roadsides but rather in heavily wooded areas, here in Hays County. Plants are about 24-40 inches high, leaves velvety and slightly aromatic.

Learn me, please.

unknown yellow flower

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“Because this is not the time to retreat into nature poetry.”

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The post title comes from a reader’s comment on this post a few weeks back over at Creek Running North. See also the response here. I thought of that exchange this morning on a satisfying photo-tramp through Purgatory Natural Area in San Marcos, also of this:

“If you will cling to Nature, to the simple in Nature, to the little things that hardly anyone sees, and that can so unexpectedly become big and beyond measuring; if you have this love of inconsiderable things and seek quite simply, as one who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier, more coherent and somehow more conciliatory for you, not in your intellect, perhaps, which lags marveling behind, but in your inmost consciousness, waking and cognizance.”


~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

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“There’s many a river that waters the land”

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The gorgeous San Marcos River.

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Onion Creek @ Driftwood.

[posted with ecto]

The snake underneath my air-conditioning compressor

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Eastern black-necked garter snake, Thamnophis cyrtopsis ocellatus

There are doubtless readers out there who share that family mythology that contains a subsection of stories beginning with “One day Grandpa/Meemaw/Aunt/Uncle/Cousin __________ was mowing/weeding/messing around out back of the shed/barn/outhouse/cistern….”

As those readers know, that prologue almost always signals that the tale is going to have a reptilian ending. Spiders and/or scorpions may play a supporting role. Depending where your location falls on the east/west axis, the reptile in question may be an alligator. (Sinfonian, I’m looking at you!)

Human injuries, envenomation and/or fatalities may be part of the plot but more often than not, it’s the reptile that comes out the worse for wear, if they survive at all.

Happily, in today’s story everyone survives, though the beautiful leopard frog I also disturbed while weed-eating around my air conditioning compressor may well be on this lovely serpent’s dinner menu.

“One foot in the middle of the big road”

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It’s been my experience that discussing anything related to Texas in the ‘progressive’ blogosphere is all too often a complicated, fraught thing, as is discussing LBJ, and even, in the wake of her death, Lady Bird Johnson.

So, I’ll keep this simple, and focused on one thing. My love of this state, and I do love it, is based in my sense of place. And that sense of place is completely rooted in the natural geographic and environmental characteristics. It’s a physical connection that my intellect and my politics have little control over. It’s about where my feet meet the ground, what my eyes expect to see on the horizon.

There were times, when I was younger, that I actively sought to leave Texas behind, and I found out that this state of belonging to a place was, for me, not changeable, any more than my eye color was. As much as I was in love with New York City, I never once, in the entire decade I lived there, felt physically at home, connected, in the primal way I do here. I feel plugged in here and the environment speaks to me here. I am at home in it and my dedication to the naturalist cause and the global environment springs from this place and its lessons.

Whatever else may be said of her, it’s evident from the historical record and anecdotal evidence that Lady Bird Johnson felt that same connection. I think these things moved her, and I think she served them well.

LBJ Library Photo by Yoichi Okamoto, 1965, from the memorial at the LBJ Library site.

Yesterday is History

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Skeleton Plant (Lygodesmia texana) with unidentified skipper.

‘Tis so far away
Yesterday is Poetry
‘Tis Philosophy

Yesterday is mystery
Where it is Today
While we shrewdly speculate
Flutter both away

—Emily Dickinson

Hummingbird Nest

Hummingbird

Nests are first constructed from spiderwebs and moss, then twigs, leaves and other material are added on the outside for camouflage.