Monday, April 28, 2008

Hello.......Mr. Lizard

About the time we moved into the new house, we had a lizard move into the flower bed located below the screened porch. We saw him quite often in the beginning as the bedding plants were new and he didn’t have a lot of cover.  We occasionally saw him over the years, but knew he was still there as Kenzie was always chasing something in that bed. We call him Larry.

He/she was an average sized lizard compared to the lizards we would see while clearing the cedar. There have alway been a lot of them. In fact Kenzie would circle a stump for hours if there was a lizard in it. She did almost catch one, but it ‘popped’ his tail off and got away. We actually saw that very lizard a few weeks later and he was growing back the tail.

I assume Larry really likes his home since he has been there so long. He can get the bugs which may be attracted to lights of the house. This week I was looking out the screened porch at a stump we were burning on the bluff and noticed something on the screen. It was Larry the Lizard. He was huge. I called Terry over to see him and she said it looked like a small alligator and you know he kind of did look like a mini-gator. He was a very dark green. Most of his lizard friends we see are the reddish brown of a cedar tree trunk. As you can see from the photo there is now a lot of green cover in Larry’s little bed. He lives in the far right corner. The Jasmine is in bloom and it smells teriffic. Larry and the rest of us are really enjoying it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Storm last night!

Most of the spring storms have passed north of us this year and last night seemed as though it would be the same. Although the northern part of the county got most of the storm we did get the tail end of a trailing squall line. There was high winds and lightning for over an hour and we thought again we had been passed when we caught that trailing cell. We needed the rain but we had 2" in about ten minutes which is not good. A little small hail as well. All the run off was gone within hours as it came so fast. Our ranch road was really gullied. We lost several trees, one that we had groomed to be the only tree on the new western bluff we are clearing.

This week we have again been working on that western bluff taking out several cedars and burning a few stumps. We have really come up with a good system for burning the stumps. We can have one burned below ground in less than two days using the burn ring and old dry cedar stumps for heat. We plan on taking out more cedar trees. We now almost have a full 180° view both up and down Gary Creek valley.

The Goldfinches are gone and the Cardinals are becoming active. They perch at the tops of the tall trees and sing in the evening. Wildflowers are mixed. A few more Bluebonnets, but not as many as last year. Mixed wildflowers are coming out. Lot's of grass for the goats and they are all doing well. No escapes this week so looks like we got the 'hole' fixed last week.

Photo 1: The downed Spanish Oak. Photo2: View of the western bluff from back of house. Note-Gary Mt. in far background.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Journal Update--Where's the fence tool?

Nice Spring weather, with a little (.80) rain. The trees are still in transition. The late ones are getting their new growth now and the early ones have the new growth. I'd say we are 2/3rds the way through. There are a few old Live Oaks still with last years leaves that hopefully will start the new growth soon. All the Spanish Oaks seem to have come in very well. Bermuda grass is coming in where the dirt was spread last year and looks good. It will take a couple of years to completely cover.

Goats were still getting into the road, but looks like I finally found the main 'hole' on Friday. It was one of the few places that we don't have field fence, a 40' section between the main fence and a gate/cattle guard. The 40' section was 10 strands of barbed wire, but over the years began to sag and the goats could step through the slack. Not easy to spot at all as the fence looks fine. I set new cedar stays between the posts and wired all ten strands. So far no goats out in the three days since. Before finding the exit spot I had rewired many suspect places along the fence. There is about 250' of fence that need to be replaced along the county road. I had 1400' worked on two years ago and there is about 1200' of new fence. That's just the mountain pasture.

I did see the three-legged deer again. Same spot. Fewer deer at the feeders now that the grass is growing. It's been amazing watching the hummingbirds. There are everywhere. They were even playing in the fountain. Still a lot of finches. I guess they know it's still cold up north as they are usually gone by now. Cardinals are starting to get active.

Not as many wildflowers around here, but saw a lot on the way to town. Really great weather of late and very nice outdoors.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Journal Update-Spring is here!

Spring is here. The trees are still in transition, most live oaks have dropped their leaves and new ones are coming out, the oaks have all budded and leaves well on their way on them as well. The grass has turned green and have been cut for the first time. The wild verbena is coming out everywhere and I hope it's as pretty as last year. Not as many bluebonnets or other wild flowers as yet though. We did get 1.2 inches of rain this week, that will help with everything.

I'm a little late hanging the hummingbird feeders, but did so today. I had just hung the last one and stepped back when a hummer flew past my ear to check out the feeder. Wasn't 10 seconds before it was found. They found the others within minutes.

I was repairing some fence up on the mountain pasture and saw the three-legged deer up near the fence row (on the house side) this morning. First time I've seen it that it wasn't at a feeder. It may stay up in that corner all the time. It's really a big deer too. It moved away, but wasn't in a real hurry.

We have friends last weekend and used the new camp fire area on Bobbys Bluff to cook steaks. It was very nice. We've been cleaning cedar from that area, moved the fire pit, and I've ordered some grates so that we can cook out there more often. It's close to the house and you have a good view of upper Gary Creek valley.

We're putting out the begonias and hibiscus this weekend. I'm also going to plant one tomato plant in an elevated tub. The mint planted two years ago is doing great and has taken over the area were I had previously planted tomatoes.

Some of the goats have broken through the fence onto the county road several times in the past two weeks. The goats love the prickly vines that start coming out along the fence row roadway. I really need to replace that fence.