02/18/2024 finally the right spot

A cluster of the broad lobed columbine leaves. They have a blue-gray tint, rather different from most greens in the yard which have a more yellow background tone. They’re pushing through last year’s fallen dry brown red oak leaves.
I have a loose rule that if I can’t get something to grow and thrive after three tries in different locations then our yard is not the home for them. I was delighted that we finally found the right spot for the native red columbine. It’s a foot or two down-“stream” of the bird bath runoff. This friend really prefers to stay moist. The leaves have been growing slowly all winter poking out of the leafy layer.

01/28/2024 grasslands field trip

Mom stands on the edge of overgrazed grass at edge of bare winter woods
Mutual photography of bloggers.
Zoomed out view
A cute little seedling at just the seed leaves stage, near the dew covered spiderweb.
Briar turns to face the photographer against a backdrop of winter oaks
Who me?
After turning around in the previous picture, briar majestically lifts her head in the bright winter sunlight
Briar can pretend to be majestic and noble!
A prairie verbena purpled leaves for winter but still alive.
Last year’s branches of queen’s delight (Stillingia), the limestone species.
Briar sat nearby as Mom tried to get a picture of the Stillingia stems too.

01/28/2024 TX home visit

I managed to get up early enough to see frost on a Texas Thistle!
All the little bluestem sparkled beautifully in the morning sun.
Even the horsemint frost hadn’t quite melted yet.

02/03/2024 Lexington WMA walk

Briar the german shepherd dog solemnly waits in the car for her adventure to begin as I load the car.
Ready to go!
Briar the german shepherd dog smiles up at me, wearing her orange safety vest, from a wash filleed with brushy and little bluestem.  the dam of Lake Dahlgren is in the distance.
We looked around behind Lake Dahlgren. Here is all I put on iNaturalist. I put a few of the prettiest ones here in the post directly too.
I'm holding the dried stem of the plant "seedbox".  Its two visible seed pods are a distinctive cubic shape with a hint of roundness on each side, and a hole in the middle top.
I recognized Seedbox (Ludwigia alternifolia) from its fun pods! We have some in our garden.
Briar the german shepherd, wearing a blue harness and a bright hunter-orange safety vest smiles down from a ravine top at me.
liverwort leaves on damp brown sand
I point at a tiny green patch of moss on sandstone while Briar sits baffled but smiling nearby.
Dog for scale next to moss.
Briar the german shepherd dog stands in her orange safety vest on a big exposed ridge of sandstone, with bluestem grass and cedars and oaks in the background.  she is looking out of frame and smiling.
The clouds came and went. It was cool and breezy but I did okay with just one layer of long sleeves.
Splitbeard bluestem seed tufts lit up by sunshine against red sandstone
Splitbeard bluestem is so pretty with its tufts. I think this picture would be a fun puzzle.

Recent food and beverage

Some tepary beans mixed in those refried beans! The hot sauce is Chimayó pepper mostly. 01/25/2024.
Homemade pasta with homemade pesto. 01/24/2024.
I finally roasted the yaupon holly leaves instead of just having it dehydrated. It’s actually a nice tea now! I did 300 F for somewhere over 1.5 hrs on a cookie sheet. 01/22/2024.

01/22/2024 world’s most long-suffering dog

The OU Campus was very wisely closed due to freeezing rain today. It only got above freezing in very late afternoon. You’d think having humans home would be glorious, but instead the whole world has become a very scary shiny floor. Even the patio isn’t safe! She’s gone out three times and has been eager to return to stable footing. (Briar was spooked by slipping on a shiny floor once in her youth, with no physical harm, and at age 6 isn’t really over it.). Hopefully now that it’s at 33 F we can have a little walk before any refreezing occurs in the evening.

01/20/2024 wren feeder

A wren silhouette is visible on the wire suet cage dangling from the bird feeder above scattered fallen oak leaves with a brush pile in the background. It is clear and bright and sunny.
The Carolina Wren pair has discovered the suet I put out a few days ago! (For fellow Normanites, Ellisons feed sells suet cakes with no weird ingredients for $3.25, very reasonable!)
Update: one of the various flavors of suet available at Ellisons. The brand appears to be Heath Outdoor Products.

01/16/2024 walk to OU duck pond

It’s 22 degrees F and sunny and with very light north wind now, so we walked over to the OU duck pond to see what was happening. All the geese and ducks were at the north end at a patch of open, flowing water on the creek. We also saw two Belted Kingfishers tangling in the air – squabbling? Courting?

A woman in a long blue quilted coat looks into an iced over pond at some big slider turtles.
Paula spotted one big slider turtle under the very thick ice!
Three turtles (two close together near shore and one farther out) under cracked ice that’s at least half a foot deep b
Can you find all three? They were all moving under the ice, which looked at least 4-6” thick.
A big iron sewer or water cover with the tidy graffiti described in the caption as well as a small geometric pattern of partial squares at right angles.  Briar the dog sniffs the concrete under the lid.
“think, look, listen”… smell?
Paula holds a purplish leaf of the spring beauty. It’s very narrow and long, with dry tan bits of bermudagrass around it.
Paula remembered where she saw Spring Beauties blooming last year and after a few minutes of searching we found several leaves! No buds yet.
Briar’s fluffy tail near a geodetic survey marker in low bermudagrass and small forbs.
We also noticed this geodetic reference survey marker for the first time. Dog for scale.