Tag Archives: Houston Chronicle

Tall-Grass Triumph – The Nash Prairie

Thats why the Nash Prairie matters so much. As Chronicle reporter Matthew Tresaugue reported Tuesday “Life abounds at states last surviving bit of coastal prairie,” Page B1, July 26, the 400-plus acres of never-plowed land in Brazoria County remained pristine by historical accident: The Czech and German immigrants who first settled the area grazed cattle on it infrequently and harvested hay only once or twice a year, allowing plants to regenerate. And the owners who followed them simply continued that pattern.

The result was a rare piece of virgin prairie – and we were thrilled to read that it was recently acquired by the Nature Conservancy, so the ecosystem can be preserved in perpetuity.

via Tall-grass triumph: Nature Conservancy saves pristine piece of Texas coastal prairie | Editorial | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

I have driven past this little piece of nature unnumbered times over the past decade and never realized what a treasure it was sitting beside the county road on the other side of the Brazos River from home. Just a bit north of this “pasture” sits the old windmill I like to capture with my camera. When I read the article and saw the maps, I knew exactly where this relic of the past was. Knowing where and what required a road trip and yesterday was the day to make the run. The video above was the result. Considering the drought conditions we are under, the Nash Prairie was still a beautiful place…Even under the afternoon sun on an August day. I will definitely be making more trips for exploring…

Here is a video from the Nature Conservancy explaining a bit more about the importance of the place.

Nash Prairie Preserve Fact Sheet

The Only Thing On Our Minds Is The Weather

Sitting out with my coffee as the sun came up this morning I was hearing the distant rumble of thunder. Scanning the horizon line I could see nothing through the haze to explain it. Once I came in and turned on the computer I could see the fun. It is all located offshore at this time. An it probably won’t make it into our area.

Last evening we watched (and listened to) thunderstorms on all sides. From the radar they must have come to within a mile our so of the house. But as usual, not a single drop of rain fell on us. The weather prognosticators were saying last night that after today we will not see even a chance of rain for another week…This is beginning to get very, very old.

And here is what the Houston Chronicle had to say about it all this morning…

The sizzle continued over the weekend on Sunday as Houston recorded its warmest June day in history at 105 degrees. That’s only 4 degrees short of the hottest temperature ever measured in Houston, 109 degrees on Sept. 4, 1990. Violent thunderstorms in the evening slightly cooled the area, but also knocked out power to 66,000 customers while delivering little rain.

As the local National Weather Service office reported in an almost awestruck tone, “new maximum temperature records … have been established on four out of the first five days of June. Galveston and Houston both crushed their previous high temperature for the day [Sunday] by seven … yes, seven degrees.” Monday also set records in Houston and Galveston.

Magnifying the continuing heat is the perhaps not coincidental drought gripping most of Texas. Houston is more than 12 inches behind its normal rainfall of just over 19 inches by early June.

via Hot topic: From soaker to sizzler, Houston’s climate abhors moderation | Editorial | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

It Seems I Was On to Something Yesterday

Ironically, then, a month of extremes will end up with an average temperature around 55 degrees, within a few tenths of normal levels. via SciGuy: Houston Chronicle.

The first half of last month was the coldest on record in the last century. While the last half is the second warmest on record. Nothing like living through the extremes to end up just average…Yesterday, we topped 80° in the protected yard out back…Again.

Today, after a half a month of early summer temperatures, the sun rose over a gorgeous spring morning. The temperature has moderated all the way down to 50°. For the first time in a long time I have the back door open with the cool morning air flowing into the house. Birdsong is coming in with the cool fresh air…Even they seem happier with the spring-like day we are being blessed with.

Single Iris Bloom

The iris above grows in a bed around a crepe myrtle behind our house. Each spring it surprises us with it’s vibrant colors before any other plants begin to bloom. I noticed it this past weekend as it brought the colors of the sky down to our dreary garden.

Before we modernized this old house with new plumbing a few years back, our kitchen sink drained into a ditch on the border of our property. Many years ago as I drove home to Pasadena (before we moved to Alvin) I came across a ditch filled with Louisiana Iris’s. I stopped and pulled up a few and planted them in the front bed of our new home. They flourished and I shared a few with my Mom. Mom has a reason to love Iris’s, her mother loved them enough to name my mom Iris.

When we moved to the country I didn’t have the foresight to dig any up to bring out here but, shortly after we moved in my Mom was clearing a bed and gave me a box full of old clumps. I threw a few of them into the kitchen ditch where they thrived in the constant moisture. For years they were a mass of blue each spring. They continued to put on a show for a while after the kitchen sink quit watering them on a daily basis. But…A few years of drought did them in. Now that spot in our landscape is just a low spot that holds water when we have a heavy rain…This little iris is all that is left of it’s wilder, more aggressive cousins from years past.

Time for my second cup of coffee….

Photos Available:

Leon Hale Talks About Owning Rural Property

I caught Leon Hales latest in my feed reader last week and thought he had a lot of good points. After spending a quarter of a century posting columns from the porch of his place in Winedale, Leon Hale has come to some conclusions about the joys of a second home in the country.

Here’s the main one: Your weekend hideout will end up costing you twice as much as you probably thought.

He explains this point this way…

Owning a weekend farm, or whatever you want to call it, is a great deal like starting all over. You’ll likely have another mortgage payment to make. And more insurance. And another set of taxes. (Taxes in the country aren’t super high, but they do the same thing taxes in the city do — they go up.)

I’ve heard weekend landowners say that somehow it didn’t occur to them that when they bought their little place, they would also need to buy everything they already owned in town.

Then he reminds all us men of this terrible fact of married life…

Here’s the gravest risk of them all:

A couple buys 30 acres in the woods, 100 miles from Houston, and the husband loves the place and wants to live out there. But the wife hates it. Can’t stand the loneliness and the insects, and once she saw a snake. That husband has big trouble.

This is the one that worries me about planning a move to the mountains…What happens if my wife isn’t happen once the move is a done deal. It’s not like you get a do over. And moving to the mountains wont be a perpetual vacation.

His most important point is this…

What you need to do, before making a move like this, is realize that you’ll have a good many days when you wish you hadn’t done it.

For his reasons to these points you’ll have to read his column from this past week over at  Owning a country home is no easy chore | Leon Hale | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

When you live in the country full time, not just on the weekends, your life moves at a different rhythm. The things you take for granted in town just take longer in the  country. Especially when it involves repairs. Parts are never available when you need them. The parts warehouse is far away in a distant city.

Even finding someone to do work on your place takes more time and effort.

p.s. I have been having a bit of trouble finding my voice these past few weeks…Blame on the dog days of summer…Blame it on procrastination. What ever the cause, I will make a more concerted effort to restart the habit of opening the stream and letting the words flow.