High grass in the pasture 1:46 pm

Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), Flying Hat Ranch, Texas, February 2011.

[February 27, 2011, added comment.  In my field work, the constant tools (carried in pockets or small rucksack) are stenographer’s pad, pens, tape measure, compass, topographical map and watch.  Close by in the pickup are engineering graph tablets, colored flags, binoculars and camera.  The camera is ofttimes carried around the neck.  I have also been using a GPS lately.  I’ve not used a laptop in the field, but I can see its utility with uploaded topo maps and data entry.  The iPhone may have some applications in field work, but the fundamental tools are steno pad, topo map, compass and tape measure.]

The experiment with in-the-field short note taking has come to an end.  I am back up at the ranch office and am writing on the desktop, not the iPhone.

The use of the iPhone in the field for short bursts of updates works, but the photographic uploads into my blog via iPhone did not work.  Part of the problem is that our ranch is way out in the brush and our cell towers are at Bluff Dale and Morgan Mill, Texas, miles and miles away.  For any extended commentary, a laptop with a wireless connection is much preferable to the iPhone although I will try the iPhone mode again.

While in the field today I kept a written journal and took photographs with another camera.  I am posting the photographs of high grass in the pasture.  The Big bluestem is “big,” reaching six-feet tall.  The Little bluestem is about three-feet tall.  For now, enjoy the field photographs.


Unidentified duck taking flight from the stock pond.

Still waters on the stock pond, ducks have taken flight to Blue's pond to the north.

A typical Cross Timbers life zone that has been harvested and cut for several generations. The tree grove is rebuilding itself.

Big bluestem, Flying Hat Ranch, Texas, February 2011.


Filed under Bluestem Field Log (Live)

15 responses to “High grass in the pasture 1:46 pm

  1. Kittie Howard

    Enjoyed your photos. Yes, the stock pond looks low. Is that the bottom I see shadowed in the foreground? I love how the browns and russets turn the grasses into a French Impressionistic painting. Well done, Jack!

    Sorry about your iPhone. I enjoyed your posts but understand the problems.

    • Thank you, Kittie. Yes, in the foreground is the bottom, but as you get to the middle, it is about fifteen feet deep. It’s as low as I have ever seen it. Yes, the iPhone experiment was almost a bust. I’ll see about uploading some of the photos I took on it. My Nikon camera was used for the photos on this post. Thanks for all your comments on the short burst-posts. I set them aside on the blog.

  2. I sure enjoy seeing the photos of your area, especially those of the grasses after reading a bit about them. The bluestems are beautiful grasses!

  3. Your writing and photos of the land is always educational. I am glad you take the time to bring the information to people who tend to overlook our natural environment. Thank you.

  4. Kay Gray Malone

    It is great to be a part of your life on the ranch via your blogs. You seem to really enjoy life on the FHR. Who would have thought when we were kids how life would turn out! Katy

    • Katy: How nice of you to say that. One of my aims is to create a record so that you and others can vicariously go along and enjoy the life here on FHR. I never thought about any of this happening. Maybe a life in New Mexico, but not here in Texas. I think of you a lot, Katy, and wonder how life is treating you. Our family has a diaspora all over this continent. I miss you and hope if you are down this way, let me and Brenda know so we can visit.

  5. Pingback: Little bluestem with iPhone | Sage to Meadow

  6. The native grasses look fabulous. Remind me, did you plant these or just encourage them to grow? It is wonderful that you are using your ranch as a prototype for native Texas landscape.

    I liked the stock pond. This really adds a lot of habitat value to your property, doesn’t it. Do you see a lot of animals watering at the stock pond?

    Thanks for the inspirational tour.

    • Hi, Bill: I have planted native grasses in 2004 and 2010. I stopped shredding early on. The growth, I think, is mixed. Some of my planting, some just come up without the planting. The 2004 planting was for all of the 35 acres, the 2010 was about seven acres in the middle of the pasture. It’s expensive to buy the native grass seed. I’m still trying to analyze what I did versus natural comeback.

      The stock pond adds considerable value. I used to see deer drinking at the pond, but my “neighbors” have stripped the brush for their cover and the migration is just about gone, dead gone.

      Aside from ducks, I have counted track of deer, fox, skunk, raccoon, coyote, rabbit at one time or the other. Herons fly in, cow birds. Three years ago, two cougars were sighted south about two miles. They were NOT hunted, thank god. So much of where I am around me is being shredded, hunted, cleared. My neighbor to the east, the Blue family, leaves things alone and our ponds give rise to ducks and herons. Thanks to them, really.

      I have had to write a letter to the Halls to not mow the area that is in the front of my pasture, call my neighbors to the west to stop firing bullets that whiz past Brenda on the porch and me in the corral.

      I’m not for sure you have the similar problems there, but at times I say to Brenda that we ought to go up and join Hija in Alberta or go farther north.

      I’m here for now and I am going to bring back the wild on my 53 acres.

  7. If I had a neighbor that was firing bullets that were whizzing by my wife’s head and my head I’d call them too.

    I must have a terrible sense of humor. This struck me so funny! I had a picture of Yosemite Sam for your neighbor just blazing away. What is wrong with me!

    • Not a darn tootin’ thang wrong with ye. It was funny once we got over the shock. I’m not kidding, it was the wild, wild west for awhile. The neighbor’s nephew from the city had gotten turned around in the brush, thinking he was shooting to the south when it was the east, towards my wife on the porch and me in the corral with Hija.

  8. Started my irrigation of my field today and saw flocks of birds taking advantage of all the water. It was a beautiful site.

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