Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

The Diversity of Life

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

I have started reading this book by Edward O. Wilson published in 1992 – following his opening chapters he describes this books purpose in which he will:

“…describe the formation of life’s diversity as it is understood-with traversals-by most biologists. I will give evidence that humanity has initiated the sixth great extinction spasm, rushing to eternity a large fraction of our fellow species in a single generation. And finally I will argue that every scrap of biological diversity is priceless, to be learned and cherished, and never be surrendered without a struggle.”

Dr. Wilson is the guy that came up with the idea of using the internet to create an Encyclopedia of Life, the purpose of which is to document all species of life on earth. What an immense idea!

Monarch Waystation – Texas Wildflowers

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Casa de Wolf is officially a Monarch Waystation. We qualify due to the large number of milkweed and nectar plants that we have naturally growing on our property. We do not have any “grass” per se that is watered, our whole habitat is completely natural. So, this morning Theo and I took a walk around the prop to start our list of all of the wildflowers that we have growing – so here goes (Dean is up now and will help with photos…)

It is SO important for everyone to maintain some kind of natural habitat since our wild places are disappearing at an alarming rate. I would like to think that we have created a small ecosystem here (or at least not destroyed it by moving here and planting water-sucking grass and other non-natives…) and based on the bird, mammal, lizard, insect, and plant life that we have here, I think we have been pretty successful thus far.

For more pics of our growing wildflower property, visit Dean’s beautiful site Wildflowers of Central Texas

Texas Lantana

Prairie Verbena

Mexican Hat

Purple Horsemint

Texas Thistle

Indian Blanket


Texas Star

Woolly Ironweed – this is last years pic, there are no flowers yet on this guy, should be in June or so

Texas Dandelion

Square bud Primrose

Pink Evening Primrose

Standing Cypress
Baby’s Breath – pink

Black foot Daisy

Navajo Tea
Widow’s Tears

Silver Leaf Nightshade

Two-Leaved Senna

Scarlet Pimpernel


Bushy Skullcap


Antelope Horns (milkweed) – seed pods from this year

Antelope Horns (milkweed) – flowers and monarch caterpillars from 07

Twist Leaf Yucca – for some reason the deer have not eaten all of these, nice to see them in full bloom this year

Snake Herb

Rain Lily
Texas Bindweed

Wind Flower – this was blooming in late February

Wild Garlic – this was blooming at the very end of March

Blue-eyed Grass – also blooming at the end of March

False Nightshade – bloomed late March

Drawing Mexican Hats

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

This is a drawing that I started about a year ago, it feels good to pick up the pencils again. Note to self, more art, less everything else

Sunday morning walk w/Theo

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

First stop – the garden. Green beans!

Mmmm…..cilantro. This is going in our scrambled eggs this morning

Pink Evening Primrose from the wildflower bed

Coreopsis from the wildflower bed – these have taken over

Theo leads the way…


Yellow Mexican Hat

Indian Blanket

And we wonder why he is scratching himself like crazy…hmmm

Renault makes a comeback!

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

We actually owned a Renault when I was growing up, it was not so affectionately referred to as the “tin can”

Saturday afternoon

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

Hot as ever but still fun to take a walk around the prop. This is a Square Bud Primrose

My worst enemy…the dreaded posion ivy

We have bees!! I saw no lack of these guys buzzing around the Lantana and other wildflowers…a good sign

The Mexican Hats

97 degrees!

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Wow, it is hot today, the AC has been running non-stop. Supposed to be 95 tomorrow… we go!

some things we do for our environment

Friday, April 18th, 2008

I wanted to get a list started here regarding our “green”-ness, unfortunately that word is getting a little overused and stale, but if for a good cause, why not.

So, here are some things that Dean and I have been doing for quite some time now to be more friendly to our mother planet:

* Recycling – plastic (what they will take…which is NOT enough), aluminum, glass. Now, where we live, we do not have curb-side recycling, we have to take it to a place out by Nanny Pop-Pops and load and unload ourselves. So, if you have curbside recycling, are you using it?? If not, why not?? Tell me you are not also using paper plates and napkins and plastic forks like our neighbor family….ugh.

* Clothesline – I had Dean hang this for me the second we moved in. I just LOVE my clothesline! It always smells good out there with the wet clothes breezing in the wind. We live out in the country where there are no idiotic restrictions on things like clotheslines….god forbid.

* Work from home – yep, I have not been to a gas station to fill my tank in well over a month. Not only am I saving on gas, but not sitting in traffic fuming the planet up for sometimes an hour each way. And you know what? I am a significantly more effective employee since I have started working from home over a year ago…and why not?

*Composting – this would work better if we have more fruits and vegetables than we currently do (oh, it is on the list..) but nevertheless, we like to compost any matter like this. Doogs likes to sniff the pile.

* Rain-water collection – we have a 305 gallon tank in which we collect our rain water. Why in the world is this not a practice for our water supply rather than sucking it out of the reservoirs??? This makes absolutely no sense to me and really hit home after watching a doc about the guy who built the original EarthShips, who went over to Thailand after the Tsunami and built a home for them out of old tires and sand in which the center of the house was a huge cistern in which the roof collected rain water for them since the tsunami had flooded all of their wells with salt water and they did not have fresh drinking water. In a country in which they have over 200 days of rain a year, they were dependent on the water coming out of the ground rather than the sky, which was more than plentiful. So, we should all take a page out of that book and look to see how we can utilize rainwater collection to reduce the drag on the water table. We use ours only for irrigating our plants at this point, but a plan for whole house rain water usage has been brewing for some time.

Cloth grocery bags – nuff said

* SolaTube lighting– These have been incredible. We keep asking each other “who left the light on?” in the rooms that we had them installed in. Nothing is better than heatless bright natural light for free from the sun.

Here are some things that we would like to add to the list in the near future:
* Solar – come on, we live in Texas. Why would this not make sense??
* Rain water collection for the whole house
* Electric or bio-fuel VW Thing – or other vehicle

So what is on your list?

It is February and it is 80 degrees!

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

The warmth made me inspired to actually take Dean’s camera and prowl around outside in the sunshine. Look at the new growth comin up already on this Lion’s Tail! What a fabulous day.

Spring's a comin'

Here is the new toy – the VW Thing. Couldn’t resist a pic under the live oak trees.

New toy'

And some more pumpkin color, I do not know what it is with our house and pumpkins, but they seem to last forever!

Pumpkins in Feb'

Just look at that sky….had to bring out the ficus so it could get some sun and fresh air!

Ficus and blue sky'

More from John Hay – In Defense of Nature – 1969

Monday, September 4th, 2006

“Extra-human, extra-natural terms divide us from compassion. We have a death-dealing capacity that is without parallel; and, having to a large extent disorganized the gradual, assimilated experience which bound man to place, we have thrown events not only into the hands of unpredictable change but into the unknown capacity of mankind to keep control without appalling tyranny. We are governed by our obsession with means. We have been treating the earth with a recklessness which is no tribute to human genius. The almost total poisoning of the natural environment is only being postponed by fragmentary efforts.

The great danger in a revolutionary world that takes us with it in spreading mobility, forced communication and unprecedented speed, uncertain of the outcome, is that we will take our own risks and live out our own violence as we can. In other words, we may risk the habitable earth for the sake of mere impetus. Perhaps the awareness of disaster will prevent us from bringing on our artificial ice age which could postpone spring for ten thousand years. Perhaps we can, by conscious, continual effort, keep turning the bow aside to save the ship. We will have to try, in this one world. We have come now to the point where we meet the living earth either in terms of fundamental conflict or fundamental cooperation. All our pillaging and presumption have brought us face to face with ultimate limits. We have pushed ourselves and the rest of life on earth to a point where one step more could mean survival or extinction.”

More recent reading

Saturday, September 2nd, 2006

From John Hays – The Immortal Wilderness (1987)

“We put the whole animal kingdom down as being lower than ourselves, but their travels are flexible and they have minds which work according to rhythmic consistencies and recurrences of the earth. That’s about as deep as you can get.”


Thursday, August 31st, 2006

World Birth Rate 2000-2005: 22-20.15 births/1,000 population
World Death Rate 2000-2005: 9-8.78 deaths/1,000 population
World Population: 2000-2005: 6,080,671,275 – 6,446,131,400
Land on the Earth – 148,940,000 sq km
Acre of land on earth/person – 5.68

Round that up and you get 5.7 acres and growing per person on this planet. Now consider all of the other living stuff that is crowded in around us.