Paperwork and Photographs
January is the time of year when I want to be outside working if the weather is nice, and inside quilting or weaving if it isn’t. But instead I seem to spend the whole month on paperwork – year-end reports for our little wildlife ranch and for a volunteer organization I belong to, as well as property taxes, homeowners’ association payouts, etc. etc. I am pretty tired of it already.
Fortunately the weather is cold and rainy, which makes it easier for me to focus.
But still, I need a little break from all these statistics. So let me share some of the cool pictures that those dry statistics are based on.
Here’s a little background. I live in East Texas, which is mostly full of pine trees and usually gets plenty of rain. But our family has another place in the Hill Country of Central Texas, six and a half hours away from here. A lot of the land there is too rocky and arid for crops and even for cattle or goats. Yet Texas values its open space, so the state allows landowners to dedicate their land for wildlife conservation. That’s what we do with our place in the Hill Country, and every year I have to do a big report that proves that we are managing it properly.
One of the goals is to provide water to the native wildlife, without letting the feral hogs get to it. That is why I have a pen around my water trough – the deer and elk can jump in, but the hogs can’t get in and tear up the hoses and trough. (I built the pen myself, and you can’t set fence posts in that rocky soil, so I built rock barrels and used them to support the fencing. Not gorgeous, but very serviceable.)
Another goal is to document what animals are on the ranch. We can’t be out there much, and when we are, of course the animals go into hiding or onto a neighboring ranch. So I position game cameras with motion sensors at the trough and along the game trails. Then I bring the memory cards home, look at each picture, document all the species and how long they stay at the water and so on.
I love opening up the files and seeing who really has the run of the ranch while we are not there! My biggest goal in life is to preserve this place for its real residents.
Wow!! This is a very cool thing you are doing to preserve a space for those animals! And the photos are really exciting to see.
Thanks, it is a pretty big thing across Texas. The animals need huge areas without development – our little ranch is part of a bigger ranch where all the landowners promise to do conservation.
I love this kind of weather. It’s time for for coziness and reflection and reading and daydreaming and hot cocoa.At least if you are a city gal like me and don’t have any outdoor chores. Love the pictures.
I manage to do those outdoor chores pretty quickly on a day like this!
Fantastic! I didn’t know about the other place, but it looks amazing. I have been hearing more and more about feral hog problems in TX over the years, and I’m impressed by your ‘hog-proof fence’ (as an unrelated aside, have you seen the Australian movie – now probably 10-15 years old – ‘Rabbit-proof Fence’? It’s only relevant in that the title also refers to trying to keep out invasive species, but it’s a fascinating film). Thanks for sharing your pictures, I always love seeing the life down there – and keep counting 🙂
Thank you for admiring my fence! I am very proud.
I am a West Texas girl at heart so when the pine trees are closing in on me, I love to go out to our other place (which is almost in West Texas) and get some open sky and dry air. If you remember the porcupine picture I posted once, or the blue norther clouds, those are from out there too.
I haven’t seen Rabbit-proof Fence but I will check it out. I did see a very funny and memorable documentary about cane toads in Australia – another invasive.