Sunday, April 30, 2006

Keeping an eye on things

Since I'm not around the Wimberley property most of the time, I've hired a couple of resident security personnel to make sure everything is OK in my absence. They are great about never sleeping on the job, and don't seem to mind being out there in bad weather. Problem is, these guys don't seem to be real great at keeping an eye on the WHOLE property, so maybe I need to hire some more of them.

For example, the turkey eggs I talked about on an earlier blog posting were completely gone when I visited last week. No empty shells, no evidence whatsoever. I can't see how mama turkey could have moved them, and I would think that any predator would have left some shell pieces behind as evidence. Are there any turkey egg experts out there who have an explanation? When I asked my security experts about it, they just looked away...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Spring Break

My son Alex spent some of his college spring break with me in Wimberley. Here he is, taking an actual break after helping me find, haul, and stack the stones you see at the base of the deck. I'm fortunate that he seems to actually enjoy getting out of the big city and working in the muck with me. That weekend the weather was drizzly. After this work, plus cutting down a few trees, we looked pretty nasty. I can just imagine him going back to school and listening to the stories of his classmates and their spring break binges on the beach. Then I'm REALLY thankful that he spent this time with me. It's a true blessing to have a tradition like this with him, and I'll do my part to continue it for as long as he can resist the lure of those other happenings.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Turkey Time

Last weekend at Wimberley brought another new discover, this turkey nest deep in the woods near the little creek that passes through our place. I would have preferred to discover it in a gentler way; the momma bird flew up suddenly and gave me quite a surprise when I walked within about 20' of her. See that one egg off to the side? I'm guessing that she booted it there as she took off, but hopefully she returned after I left to reclaim her nest. She built it in a little depression in the spot where a tree had been uprooted, but it offers amazingly little protection from any dog, snake, or raccoon happening by. Maybe that's why she laid so many (at least nine), in case a few were donated to the tummy of another creature. I'll be checking on them during my next visit in ten days, hoping that my status as an honorary turkey godfather will be intact. I'll send photos!

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Funny how almost every time I see a snake it give me a little start at first. OK, sometimes a big start. Even when I'm on the lookout for them, the snake's initial movement that catches my eye triggers a very deep survival reaction. The first thought that runs through my mind is to run like hell, and the thought close behind is to kill them before they have a chance to get me or anyone else. Luckily, this Blotched Water Snake offers no real threat. It was just sort of hanging around a dry creek, probably wondering where all the water was. So, the snake survived another day, hopefully to find something smaller and more appetizing than the crazed human with a camera that I represented. When I was researching it in my Texas Snake book, I noticed that there were hundreds of non-venomous snakes in Texas, and only a handful of venomous ones. In the hill country, only the Diamond Back Rattlesnake, Water Moccasin, and Copperhead are common. But, I doubt that I'll remember that for the first few seconds after I see my next snake, and I'll be leaping backward and wondering where the nearest hoe is until I settle down.