Blog of the El Camino Real Chapter, Texas Master Naturalists, Milam County, Texas
Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall
The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!
The El Camino Real Texas Master Naturalist training class was treated to a great program about bugs by Wizzie Brown, entomologist for TAMU AgriLife Extension in Travis County. Even the long-time members learned many new facts about Texas bugs. Ms. Brown’s favorite bug is a roach. That happens to be my least favorite. I’ve attached the ways to connect with her.
The Travis County AgriLife Extension office does blogs, programs, and YouTube posts about all things Texas nature. Many of these will give you AT hours while enthralling your interest in nature. If you email Ms. Brown, you can get on the email list that gets everyone notified of what is available. Kathy Lester, student trainer, emailed all the PowerPoint screens to everyone. The talk was even more informative.
At our regular meeting, March 9, Debbi Harris will teach us how to compost with worms.
Yes, all kinds of native grasses, flowers, and animals are up and getting ready for the new year. Love is in the air. So, you need to be alert and watch where you put your hands and feet.
Animals do not understand boundaries. If you live in the country or the city, the entire earth is in their hood.
Yesterday, I was putting my truck up under the carport. I stepped out and put my foot down to see a snake about two inches from my foot. I know to be still and look at the head to first ascertain if it is a poisonous snake. But even so, the alarm button went off in my head as soon as my mind said SNAKE! I think that is natural.
Luckily, during a talk for our Master Naturalist group, I knew this snake to be a non-poisonous Eastern Hognose snake. A short but stocky very nonaggressive snake that eats mostly frogs. Since I like frogs, I hate that part.
This snake has a neat way of self-preservation. If it senses danger, it rolls over in a tight coil, hangs its tongue out and throws up.
The other thing it will do is hiss and spread its head up like a tiny Cobra. A very interesting small snake common in Central Texas.
I asked Dr. Paul Crump to correctly identify this snake for me.
The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with nature. –
Well, it’s past due time for another Sheenanigans so I’ll lump several together!
Last night, I took the Big Hairy Beast (aka Newton, the dog) out for his bedtime constitutional. We were standing on the porch, and both heard a rustling in the Popcorn rosebush (Big Hairy Beast is on a leash because with the slightest movement he’s off! He LOVES to chase the neighbors’ guineas!) I do digress. I didn’t smell a skunk, so everything was OK. Anyway, he rousted out this creature with a LONG skinny tail. At first, I thought it was an opossum. They have a mouth full of sharp little teeth and a nasty disposition and hiss and growl if they are not happy!
Seems the Bit Hairy Beast was after Army, the armadillo. Well, armadillos are pretty quick at times and he was chugging right at me – I screeched before I realized it was Army. He charged right over my FOOT and between my legs, then crashed into Fred, the Rock, next to one of the tree trunks that support the porch. Army bounced back, dead canna leaves were flying, and Big Hairy Beast’s teeth clanked against Army’s shell. Army felt his way around Fred, the Rock, and dashed behind some more rose bushes, heading to the HUGE hole he had dug at various times (I expect the rose bush to fall into it any day). Big Hairy Beast hit the end of his leash and couldn’t go any farther.
Fred, the Rock, is a big sandstone rock we found at Lake Texoma, and we rock-napped him when we lived in Oklahoma. When we moved back to Texas, my daughter had a hissy fit until we agreed to move Fred with us! Uncle Grump lived under Fred, the Rock – he was a very large gray toad with a light stripe down his back – the brand name escapes me right now. Uncle Grump was really grumpy that we took his rock, but now there are several of his relatives living around it down here!
Several weeks ago, I opened our front door, and there was Oooh-Yuk, the six-foot-long Texas rat snake! He has a very neat diamond design on his sides – no, he’s NOT a diamond-backed rattlesnake! In looking at him, I had the idea that his skin would make someone a very nice belt! Ooh-Yuk looked at me and slithered around five inches. I slammed the door and went hunting for Wes to get his gun. Couldn’t find him, so Oooh-Yuk gets to live a little longer. If I catch him trying to rob bird eggs or baby birds, he WILL be a dead Oooh-Yuk, like a couple of his relatives! Yeah, yeah I know! I’m a Texas Master Naturalist and he’s a “good” snake. Unfortunately, I STILL think the only “good” snake is a dead one! So Sorry!
Oh yes, if you want some “fun” and action try kicking the top off a fire ant nest! Be sure to jump back after that! Fire ants do like to get even with you! Nasty things!
Ol’ Mother Nature decided to shake her fist at everyone last week. I don’t know about y’all, but we had several large limbs fall out of our trees or at least break and split down the tree trunks. Some fell across our lane from both directions so we couldn’t get out very easily. You should see the pile of trimmings we have tractored out to the burn piles! Son, Brian, came out today and did quite a bit more trimming for us. The chainsaw is a very alluring piece of equipment for him.
While Brian worked outside, our daughter-in-law Christina, worked inside on some light bulbs I needed changing, Seems like I have acquired a bad relationship with ladders and nine-foot ceilings! Somehow it seems easier to ask the younger generation for help sometimes. Grandsons Eli and Oliver raided the candy jar and drinks from the refrigerator.
See y’all again sometime when I get around to more Sweet Sheenanigans!