Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Point : Counterpoint

I opened up Steve's blog this morning to find this bone-chilling, gumption sapping, finger-freezing photo.

So I decided to run out and snap a few of my own down here in less longitudinally challenged Central Texas as counterpoint.

True, at sunup it was 36 degrees around here, enough to make a girl glad for tights under her skirt, but it is headed for the mid 60's today. (In fact, I got distracted after taking the photos and it is now well past noon and the temp is 61.)

With the El Nino rains the pond has been staying up to the spillway. The massive live oak down there to the left below the dam somehow managed to survive the in-expert - to put it nicely- dam building some 15 years or so ago, before our stewardship of this land began, and it's thriving so well every year I have to trim a hole through the vegetation hanging off one of it's out-reaching branches so we can get across the dam to the back-side of the property without having to swim.

Yep, this photo was taken today, January 12th.

In the garden the carrots, radishes, various lettuces and kale are all going strong, and if I had bothered to protect them from the wind the tomatoes would probably also be thriving. As it is they have gotten beat up a little and the tomatoes on the vine are slow to ripen, but still hanging in there.


This photo is nothing to write home about but that bright patch of grass just to the left of center is the high point in the county. From here all trails lead downhill.

The fence along the back side of the property has seen better days with many of the original cedar posts rotted off at ground level. But with the addition of a few T-posts to keep everything more or less upright it seems to be doing the job. The cattle that are run on the ranch on left side of the fence seem to stay over there, but then again, our side is pretty much nothing but woods and dense undergrowth so it could just be that they're not interested.


 There's often cattle over there on the right side of this fence too, but the 73 year old rancher to the south of us tends to keep it in pretty good shape, while I maintain the fence on the north side of the property. Not because we run livestock, but because the weekend hobby rancher to the north of us has rescue horses, mules and donkeys. These things can be twitchy and it's damn scary to unexpectedly run into one face to face out there in the woods. Since he isn't always conscientious about fence maintenance (I guess he'd rather spend his weekends shooting his guns or building the endless burn piles he's always lighting, burn ban or not.) so I do it to make sure his critters stay on their side.

But it looks like I'll have to set the fence-mending aside for a bit and get out the big chainsaw. When these two trees came down right across one of my main trails last year I had to stand on the front of the 4-wheeler and reach up overhead to cut away some branches on the lower one to create a tunnel to walk through. Now the trees have settled and I have to crawl through there.


This particular fungus just loves old dead logs and these examples are growing on the lower log right above where I cut the pathway. I'm holding the camera at about belly level in order to take this photo, so I estimate the trees have settled about 6 feet.


 We don't love the Youpon around here, it's persistent, tough and spiky and pretty much impossible to walk through without needing medical attention and stock in Band-Aid afterwards, but the berries keep the winter bird residents well fed.

So you see, even with our warm, sunny winter days, all is not just peaches and cream around here; so don't you feel sorry for me????


  1. Those photographs made me feel warm up here in the 'tropics'. I like the change of direction in your blog ... good to see the area and who your enemies are.

  2. Yep, we've met up close and personal twice now, but a twitchy mule has no friends, only enemies.

    Admittedly, both times those meetings were unexpected and in dense undergrowth, but dammit he could have been just a little more polite about running me over.