Tag Archives: photographs

Drought: Blue Oaks


March 24, 2015

March 24, 2015


The impact of three years of drought on the Blue Oaks shows up well as the trees that have survived begin to leaf out. (Click to enlarge) These Blue Oaks are across the creek from our house, on a north slope at the 1,200-foot elevation. No rain in sight, the grass has turned 30 days earlier than normal as we prepare to head into an early summer.


Eurasian Collared Dove



After a brief visit last spring, our count of Eurasian Collared Doves increased to four yesterday, including what appears (above) to be a juvenile, in just a matter of weeks. In order of appearance, the first pair began breeding and nest building almost immediately, followed by another male, then yesterday’s juvenile.

Pretty birds bigger than a Mourning Dove and slightly smaller than a Rock Pigeon, we’re not sure their presence is a blessing. Time will tell whether the most invasive species in Texas will become as big a nuisance as the Rock Pigeons, who thankfully disappeared last fall as their numbers dwindled through the summer.

The Collared Dove makes what has become an annoying two-syllable cooing sound just before it lands in a tree or on the ground where it feeds, that I can only describe as a distant baby crying, like the 1950s dolls that cried when you tipped them. Wiki notes that the species is ‘not wary’, that has connotations of stupidity for me, but I’d agree they’re fairly tame and unafraid, but observant enough to find our bird feeders immediately. The bird has many unique and interesting characteristics described in the links included here.

All About Birds



Supermoon, June 23, 2013

Supermoon, June 23, 2013


What gift of light
have I to offer
dark mornings,

the coyote’s howl,
of stars reflecting suns
above the ridgeline

of her body sleeping,
breathing beside us
in this canyon apart

from the news
of mortal men
and women staged

to sell consumption
and wealth
to the enslaved—

before I fail
to be so generous
in the daylight?






Hollow pipe songs at first light
pierce the darkness, own the dawn
with answered calls from oak trees

and granite piles of fractured rock
balanced on the edge of time
frozen around me. Early morning

solos grow into a chorus of chants
on the other side of the door,
a primitive awakening to greet me,

to ignore my circle of chores.
We’ve become part of the landscape
they return to, generations born

near cattle, horses and water troughs.
After these dry years, a colony—
a reunion of Roadrunners nesting.


McKee Branding — Woolly Canyon 2015

Beautiful day for the last branding of the season. At this stage of the game, we don’t know until we wake up in the morning how we’re going to feel about getting a horseback or roping in the branding pen. I’ve long been demoted from the ground crew wrestling calves when I’m not roping, relegated to visiting and watching the action from along the fence — which suits me fine.

Followers of drycrikjournal will recognize Kenny and Virginia McKee in nearly all the photographs of our brandings, and yesterday was our turn to try and repay them for their help all season. To be of help becomes increasingly important as we age, especially in this culture, and it’s been gratifying to see the next generation of cowboys mature as cowmen, horsemen and human beings. We’re truly grateful to be among them and this cattle community. Robbin was able to take a few photos between vaccinating calves that highlighted a day of fun while we got the work done.


Fresh Calf

September 5, 2012

September 5, 2012


We calve in the fall and brand in the spring. As newborns go, this calf is fresh, only minutes old and yet to stand and nurse. Robbin and I are off this morning to help our neighbors, Kenny and Virginia McKee, brand the last of their calves.







Ithuriel’s Spear Triteleia laxa – March 18, 2015

Ithuriel’s Spear Triteleia laxa – March 18, 2015


When the angel’s touch
spills with long-stemmed purple blooms,
no room for deceit.



Wiki: “Ithuriel”




Ithuriel’s Spear Triteleia laxa - March 18, 2015

Ithuriel’s Spear Triteleia laxa – March 18, 2015


We jump into spring
without looking or thinking,
craving wild nectar.





Pretty Face, Triteleia ixioides - April 11, 2014

Pretty Face, Triteleia ixioides – April 11, 2014


Steep east slope damp,
tall green grass slick,
pale Pretty Faces hold their grins
beneath Buckeyes and Live Oaks—

                    heavy thatch of fallen limbs
                    holds the old fence down,
                    shelters a rat’s nest.

Nature has been winning
since I was here last
with the chain saw,
packing posts afoot
and splicing rusty wire
to keep cattle straight—
pretending to be in charge.

I see my mark: old cuts
with decomposing rings.
                    Not near as near
                    as in my mind—
four years since the low snows,
ten more for this six-inch growth.

Steep east slope damp,
tall green grass slick,
pale Pretty Faces hold their grins
beneath Buckeyes and Live Oaks.






Beneath the blankets
of fuzzy bloom, arms and legs
serve dinner for two.