One of the issues that the refuge is dealing with is Oak Wilt. It is killing off the live-oak trees. What twisted branches this old oak tree had! It stands in mute silence to it's now ended life.
Some of the other volunteers have suggested that I put Emma, on my work days, in one of the bull pens that are just south of our rigs. We walked down to check them out.
That got me thinking about the words bull pen. I always thought of bull pens as where pitchers warm up in baseball. (I suppose that is due to my growing up near and going to Wrigley Field in Chicago) Thinking about Texas ranches, I decided it was where they kept the bulls before they serviced the ladies. :) Hmmm, similarities there...both pitchers and steers waiting to score! After googling it this afternoon, it turns out that on the ranching side, it's where bulls were kept before going to slaughter. Ugh, I like my version better.
Anyway, after looking at the enclosures, I decided it would take too much work to make those pens Emma proof for the amount of time I'll be here. She would certainly have plenty of room to run around, but there are too many spots that she could sneak through since they haven't been used since at least 1992 when the refuge was established.
As we walked down the hill along the pens, I marveled at the intricate designs left behind by a dying prickly pear cactus. It was like looking at a snowflake stuck on a window, only it didn't melt away. Or maybe the web of a very industrious spider..........such beauty in death.
Speaking of death, we also discovered a wire cage with multiple feral hog skulls in it. Don't know why this was out in the grass. I do know that feral hogs are a real problem on many refuges in Texas, and there were actually hunters up in planes this weekend trying to eliminate any hogs they found.
I thought these cacti looked like a gathering for a family reunion. :)
As we neared Headquarters, we stopped at the photo blind that was built to resemble many of the karst caves in the area. Last year, I did an education program in this "cave" on cave dwelling insects. A local artist has painted the inside walls with depictions of cave inhabitants. This is really a very unique photo blind...
and here's the view out the front of the blind. In a few weeks, migrating birds will be bubbling around in the vegetation. I can't wait. Well, that's the end of this week's scenes.
Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy