Category Archives: Life in Balance

Milkweed for Monarchs at My Place

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Milkweed Clusters

I have located three milkweed clusters since 2003 on my place–central Texas, Erath County. Today I sought the three clusters again, one directly in front of the house, one alongside the road to the barn, and the cluster in the far field, one-quarter of a mile away. I found only the cluster photographed above–the cluster beside the road to the barn.  I found no milkweed in the far field nor in the front yard.  I believe that this spring has been mild so far and some heat is needed to bring out other patches of milkweed. Today, as I walked the fields, I discovered a large Monarch in the grove that soared out of the grass and into the sky above the trees.  A huge Monarch, one the largest I have ever seen.  Then as I finished my field trip, in the front yard, a Monarch flitted above the cut-leaf daisy and lawn grass. Two Monarchs, one patch of milkweed that has ten clusters of blossoms (you can only see seven in the above photograph)–definitely an event to be recorded for 2015. I will continue to monitor the milkweed and Monarchs, posting the field trips I take to far and near fields on my place.

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Spring at Flying Hat: The Constant and the Transient

   It is spring at my place, Flying Hat Ranch or Ranchito, and I am not sad, even though it is said, “April is the cruelest month.”  I understand the sadness and lament, but yesterday I took several photographs of the constant and the transient forms on Flying Hat.

The constants are the live oaks and yucca.  You see them, they seem always present, but the blossoms of plants erupt, then fade out.  They are the “transients.”

Yet, as the blossoms drop off, transient as they are, I know their roots and stems remain.  That is constant, and given another year about this earth, I will see them again.

Transient, though I may be.

 

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Rosemary and Star

IMG_3308Here in central Texas, Erath County, we remain in a drought.  Since Christmas, however, rain has fallen and we do not have to boil our water before drinking.  The date for near-complete water extinction has been extended into the future.  No specific date for extinction has been given, but the February 15th date for extinction is no longer in effect.

In the photograph above, I hold a rosemary blossom, indicative of moisture in the air and soil about the large rosemary bush on the west side of the ranch house.  The scent of rosemary lingers on my fingers as I type.  I use the rosemary for several recipes, but I favor its use when I prepare a sauce for steaks or lamb chops.

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Before Christmas, my good horse Star died of colic.  The old boy was fourteen years old and in his becoming ill, the first veterinary I called to the ranch said he was a strong, stoical horse in that he did not lash out at us, his handlers.  Star was diagnosed at six in the evening and had to be put down at two o’clock the next morning at the Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery compound in Weatherford, Texas, where he was surrounded by three female veterinarians who took control and managed his passing.  Without being sentimental, I still look out my porch windows, even today, to see where Star is in the pasture.  Is he loafing under the mesquites?  I know he is not there, but I still look.

Star

Star Bars Moore will be just fine.

Star Bars Moore APHA 808164, loafing in arena pasture under mesquites.

Star Bars Moore APHA 808164, loafing in arena pasture under mesquites.

 

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‘Hanna Ranch’ Wrangles With Environmental Issues

Currently, I am wrestling with water restrictions imposed by Barton Water Cooperative. My area is in a drought. Yet, so, I have green grass in all my fields for I have not allowed over-grazing by neither horses nor cattle.

Kirk Hanna sought to employ a holistic environmental approach to cattle ranching. His struggles are detailed in this documentary, “Hanna Ranch.” See also the link within the article to the Holistic Resource Management site, originating on the savannas of Africa.

“This Colorado cattle rancher — a featured personality in Eric Schlosser’s 2001 best seller “Fast Food Nation” — was a forward-thinking cowboy who embraced Holistic Resource Management, a fruitful approach that, among other things, encourages herding methods less stressful to cattle and a more frequent rotation of livestock through pastures. Mr. Hanna used earth-friendly natural fertilizer; to attack weeds, he employed hungry goats.”

See more on the New York Times link.

‘Hanna Ranch’ Wrangles With Environmental Issues – NYTimes.com.

A scene from

Kirk Hanna

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Merry Christmas to you from Sage to Meadow!

A December day two years ago.

A December day two years ago.

Merry Christmas everyone from Sage to Meadow!  I wish you a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year!

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Sage blossom and sky noir

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A mid-morning rain fell on the place. The air is cool, almost cold, and the sky has not cleared and probably will not this day. This photograph shows a break in the clouds towards the south, the town of Stephenville, lying about nineteen miles away. My mother came to Stephenville–I tagged along–and bought plants at Wolfe Nursery. The nursery had a large sign of a wolf that signaled the entry to the nursery that encompassed acres and acres of tended trees and several hothouses.

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The rain caused an eruption of this blossom upon the sage near the house.

Fall has come to the place, the farm, the ranchito, the people of Sims Valley, and all the wildlife abounding.

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Filed under Life in Balance, Plants and Shrubs, Recollections 1942-1966, Uncategorized

Prickly pear fruit

There is a super-abundance of prickly pear fruit this year. I have never seen the eruption of fruit like this year. I buy an Italian sweet soda made of prickly pear. ‘Tis the season! It is 102F in field at 7:04 p.m.

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Soft Fascination: Easing Brain Fatigue With a Walk in the Park

The effects of walking in parks, green spaces, the outdoors, are listed here and backed by new scientific technology that registers such experiences.  Natural settings, i.e., parks and green spaces invoke “soft fascination,” a term for “quiet contemplation.”

When I lived in Amarillo, Texas, I walked in Ellwood Park near the Amarillo College campus, and often drove to Palo Duro Canyon State Park for relaxation and exercise.  My brain fatigue–never knew what that was–eased and I felt better after the walk in the park.

Read and apply the lessons of the article below when you have a chance for it describes life in balance.

Easing Brain Fatigue With a Walk in the Park – NYTimes.com.

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Rare the white buffalo

On the highway to Lubbock from Hermleigh, Texas, there is a byway that goes west to a marker for the white buffalo.  I have visited it once, but I do not see any markers these days to the monument of the white buffalo.  The monument may not be standing anymore since vandals have besmirched much of the statues and markers here in west Texas.

That being written, in Connecticut, a white buffalo has been born.  One in ten million the odds.  See the article in The New York Times:  White Buffalo,

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/13/nyregion/sacred-white-bison-is-born-in-rural-connecticut.html

Good, let us now praise a beautiful calf, and if it is born in Connecticut, so much the better.

 

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Pink Rain

Pink Rain, Caralee Woods, Kanab, Utah

My last post, ‘Cloud Portal to the coast’, prompted Caralee Woods of Kanab, Utah, to send her ‘Pink Rain’ photograph with this appended message,

For some reason your photo reminded me of a different kind of rain photo I took sometime back here in the desert, right out my back door.  The sun was setting and shining through some virga–rain that doesn’t reach the ground.  I thought of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain‘ and decided to call this one ‘Pink Rain.’  The photo wasn’t enhanced, and I like the fact that the sage seems to glow.

Caralee resides with her husband, Jimmy Henley, in Kanab, Utah, where they are building a strawbale compound a few miles from the town.  Jimmy and I have been friends since elementary school in the 1950s.  In the 1970s, I met Caralee when she was a book representative for Harper & Row publishers.  She came into my office at Amarillo College and called me, “Little Francis,” a nickname I had not heard since high school — courtesy of Jimmy, my old school chum.

Their website has several photographs of the guest house, main house foundation and walls, strawbales and their garden:  Building Our Strawbale Home!    The coloring treatment of their floors is fantastic: a dark copper, desert brown.  Caralee and Jimmy established a compound that is off the electrical grid, using solar and backup diesel generators for energy efficiency.  Visit their website also for the landscape vistas in her photographs.  One of these days I hope to visit them again and see the progress they have made as well as gaze at the glowing sage and pink-virga rain.

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