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.

rain on pond

Rainy morning in East Texas

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.