Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gone exploring

We had to get out of the house yesterday afternoon so we headed northwest of town to our land. Of course, during our trekking around, most of the time I had my head down, looking at vegetation while James forged ahead, pulling down dead limbs in our way. Right off the bat, I spotted what I think is yaupon holly (pictured above and below) because there were still leaves on the branches (possumhaw is deciduous). It was a beautiful day to get out and hike....

"Pose in front of that grass, Sheryl!" James instructed. Aw, I don't look so good. But I complied.

Mistletoe, a true parasite.

A rock wall that borders one side of our property.

Even though December does depress me, the grasses really are beautiful this time of year.

Mystery grass (I'll work on an ID).

James spotted a bird nest!

Twistleaf yucca

Two photos (above and below) of a mystery oak (hopefully ID to come)

Another species of yucca

These flowers must have been stunning when they were blooming.
I'm guessing Texas asters, but I could be wrong.

UPDATE March 2, 2011–Now I'm guessing Wright's cudweed (Pseudognaphalium canescens).  I was researching something else and stopped to look at a similar photo (Enchanted Rock: A Natural and Human History).

I noticed this cool doodling on a decaying tree. Beetles of some sort, I bet.

Cochineal on prickly pear. Check out my article, "Bug in Your Punch"
(October 2007, Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine).

An underexposed photo, but it gives a sense of the landscapes on our property...

One view of the hills from our land that James dearly loves....

The End


Ann said...

These are exactly the kind of walks I like to take; looking at plants, trees, flowers, grasses, identifying some and wishing I could identify them all! What fun! Thanks for your pictures!

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

Thanks, Ann! YES, I just want to know the names of EVERYTHING!!!!!

Eliza @ Appalachian Feet said...

Wow, that looks like an excellent day! I like the bug doodling photo -- my daughter is always fascinated when she yanks off bark and sees those underneath.

Unknown said...

Hello Sheryl: Mystery Oak? Just read your December article in Guideposts, and am now enjoying your blog and enjoying your pictures. I have friends near Austin (Kyle) (and a cousin in Houston), but haven't visited them there. I wonder if the land around Kyle is similar to your pictures.
I think the mystery oak tree is perhaps a bay. There is an oak leaf in the upper left corner of your husband's bird nest picture (nice). I just did an image search on Google and found Oak leaves and bay leaves. I love nature myself. Try crushing a (possible) bay leaf next time you're out - you'll recognize the scent if you cook with bay.
Hope to come back and visit another time.

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

Thank you, both Eliza (belatedly) and Flowerbliss!! I'll try that next time, crushing the leaf. Kyle is located on the far eastern side of the Hill Country, which is where we live. That town is now a bustling suburb of Austin. I used to cover Kyle as a newspaper reporter back in the 1980 when it was still a TOWN. It's changed a lot!

Jonni Almoney said...

In your entry "Gone Exploring", you decided the holly couldn't be possumhaw because it had a few leaves. Ours almost never loses every last leaf, and that photo sure looks like possumhaw leaves.

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

Bet you're right then, Jonni! You're giving me a lot of "homework"(stuff to look up)! :-)

I love to investigate and learn. Sounds like you do too. Thanks for visiting!

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