Right where we left it in March

More good stuff!  And lots of sunshine today. High temperature today was 80 degrees for us. We got a nice amount rain from yesterday's storm...1.30"

Indian Blanket with a tiny beetle!

Southern Purple Mint moth (Pyrausta laticlavia)!

Snake Herb (Dyschoriste linearis) has an awesome throat!

Texas Bindweed (Convolvulus equitans) has several colors from white to white with reddish throat to this pretty pink!

Its leaf is like a cowboy riding a horse which Shirley pointed out to me many years ago. The "equitan" is the Latin root for riding a horse. (source: "Dictionary of word roots and combining forms" by Donald J. Borror)

The seed head is interesting.

We broke it open to see what it looked like. It was divided into fours.

One red-shafted flicker feather was still there. We saw 6 or 7 feathers in March at this particular spot.

Keep looking!



More from the grasslands...

Two-leaf Senna (Senna roemeriana)!


Easy to recognize because its leaflets are in pairs!

Bladderpod seeds (Physaria engelmannii)!

Don't you love this spiraling grass seed burrowing into the ground.

Texas Wintergrass, Texas Speargrass, or Wintergrass (Nassella leucotricha) are all names for this grass! It is a known characteristics of this grass. Thanks Jeanne for the ID!
Update: Read Suzanne comment to tell how it works!

The head on this plaintain (Plantago wrightiana) has such delicate flowers.

Dodder (Cuscuta) is parasitic on other plants. This is the orange stringy stuff. It has no chlorophyll and some species of it are plant specific on which plant they like.


Closer view. It really wraps itself around the host plant! I think it is a cool plant, but most people are not fond of it. I did find a paper on it from India. It said Cuscuta reflexa (which is not in our area) has medicinal properties used in traditional medicines. In Western herbalism I found the species was used to treat the liver, spleen, mild diuretic to name a few ailments.

We got .74" today and the sun came out too! More grasslands photos tomorrow. We saw a lot of good stuff :-)

Keep looking!

Mystery plant confirmed!

 Back in March, Jeanne and I were checking out a spot on the grasslands to see what we could find. Well, we found a plant that had these hairs on the old stem that hurt to touch. Kathy saw my post and suggested it might be Marbleseed (Onosmodium bejariense) and also known as False Gromwell. So that was the mission on the grasslands. Was it blooming and was Kathy's suggestion correct?

Kathy, you nailed it!

The leaves are quite hairy too!

We were not the only ones to visit the patch; we saw a female hummingbird and a bumble bee!

This tiny plume moth was resting on last season's stalk.

Closeup of the flowers! This patch had 12+ plants in it. We found a couple more plants a few hundred feet further. 

Did I mention how the stiff bristle hairs hurt when you handled the old stalk it. So now we know what to look for even in the winter. And it is a new plant for the grasslands! I only have seen it in one other spot in Wise County.

FYI, due to technical difficulty, there was no Friday night post. 

More stuff tomorrow!  And great job Kathy!

Keep looking!

Benign weather pattern

 Benign weather pattern is how NOAA called this weather we are having today and through Friday afternoon. Interesting way to put it I think. Well, since we have a benign weather pattern day today, it was perfect for visiting the grasslands. Which I did!  Today's post will be short because...well I have a lot photos to go through and as per usual I'm tired. LOL

Antelope Horns milkweed (Asclepias asperula ssp capricornu) was blooming and there was plenty of it!

Two monarch caterpillars were found by Alan. Both were on the Antelope Horns!


Why Plants are Seeding Climate Studies

What Fossil Plants Reveal About Climate Change

We found lots of good stuff and I will share it over the next few days!

Keep looking!

A community

 As I stepped out the back door to take Gracie on her walk, I stopped to look at a thistle next to the sidewalk.

Thistle (Cirsium)! Mine are not blooming yet, but I have seen them blooming along the roadside.

There was at the end of a leaf  something brown which I figured was a dead leaf that had blown over on it. 

To my surprise, I could see it was not!

It looks to me that the prolegs are attaching to the leaf. The real legs and the head are still visible sorta.

Front view! Well, inside it comes to see what develops in my jar! Fingers crossed for its success! Maybe a Painted Lady??

A beautiful fly came in for a landing!

A Painted Lady's frass!

A true bug stopped in.

More beetles!

A Seven-spotted Ladybug!

Even smaller insects! FYI, the insects were not all on the same thistle.

The thistles have quite the community!

Keep looking!

All critters welcome

We have gotten .39" since yesterday. It was a nice rainy day eh! And I can't believe I still need my knitted chicken hat! Thanks Claire!

I wondered if this might be a tarantula burrow? It was fairly big. Let me know what you think.

The Bewick's Wren family is growing!

A top view of Prairie Parsley.

The Square-bud Primrose (Calylophus berlandieri) was showing its age.

Arkansas Yucca was pretty in pink!

Mature Arkansas Yucca flower. Thump the flower and a little white moth may fly out! :-)

My nest boxes make good home for more than birds! See the little pearl eggs? These are Texas Paper Wasp (Polistes apachus)! Such beautiful creatures!

These ants seem to have taken up residency in another box. I'll take all the critters! We need them all!

Keep looking!



  I had big plans to work on photographing mosses, but as Jim and I  started to get up from the morning coffee, it all changed. Jim noticed a piece of wood with a hole in the end and then the moth in my jar (sitting on the shelf in the shop)! I have been checking it on and off for awhile now.

Oh my! I have been waiting since the beginning of October 2020 for it to emerge!

I found the Wilson's Wood-nymph caterpillar on September 28. Jeanne had found one at her place and I had been on the look out for it here at home. Its host plant is Cow Itch (Cissus incisa).

It really was a cool caterpillar with it paddle-like setae (the things sticking up).

This was taken in situ in our field where the Cow Itch was growing nearby in September 2020.

Closeup of its prolegs. Prolegs are not the insect's real legs (which it has 6 legs like all insects), but more like pseudo-legs.

For some reason, it was very cooperative straight from the jar. 

Front view!

It has a red spot on the underwing.

This view made me think it was like a bison LOL.

This is its cocoon. It looked to be made of wood bits. I had put the wood chunks like I read somewhere that it liked for it to pupate.

It had some hairy stuff at the opening!

I released it the same place where I had originally got the caterpillars. I had brought two caterpillars home to raise back in September. Only one has emerged. The leaf above is the host plant Cow Itch.

It really blends in!

Now, go back to the top and look at the first photo again.

You can hopefully see the tiny green egg. They are less than one millimeter!

A look at the eggs under the compound microscope. I found maybe a half dozen of them in the jar when I was looking for the second cocoon. I have not found the second cocoon.  I have put the three little eggs in a small container. Now I will wait again to see what emerges.


Keep looking!