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Prairie Notes are monthly photo/journal observations from Tandy Hills Natural Area by Founder/Director, Don Young. They include field reports, flora and fauna sightings, and more, mixed with a scoop of dry humor and a bit of philosophy. They are available free to all who get on the FOTHNA email list.

T.L. Time

Prairie Notes #135
March 1, 2018

01) T.L. TIme

02) Last Call > Membership

03) Field Report - February

04) A Decade of Trout Lilies

05) Great Texas Wildlife Trail Official

06) In Memoriam: George McBride

07) Prairie Proverb



01) T.L. Time


Your long wait for spring is nearly over. The triumphant Trout Lily announced as much in early February. The hearld of spring emerged about a week later than 2017, paving the way for a new year. Tandy Hills is blessed with several large colonies of Erythronium albidum which are coming on strong as of this writing.


The annual Trout Lily Walk, led by, Texas Parks & Wildlife Biologist, Sam Kieschnick, was well-attended again this year, despite the muddy trails. At least 33 enthusiastic people including, several excited children and a good number of newcomers, showed up on a near-perfect day. Sam in his usual good form, was armed with a wealth of factoids and anecdotes. He noted that the name Trout Lily comes from the speckled leaves resemblance to the skin of Brown Brook Trout. Other common names are, Fawn-Lily (think fawn ears) and Dog's-tooth Violet, named for the corm shape. Less common names depending on locale include, Adder's Tongue, Serpent's Tongue and Deer Tongue.


Whatever you call them, now is the time to see them. Come on in!





Nature enthusiasts leaning in to see and hear the wisdom of Sam Kieschnick.


A pumped up, Sam, was at the top of his game, finding a story in every plant in his path.


After a week of rain and gray skies, not even muddy trails could keep these Trout Lily lovers from their goal.


Trout Lily magic, 2018.



02) Last Call > Membership


Friends of Tandy Hills depends on your support to help improve YOUR park. Your support helps fund outdoor education, conservation and restoration programs being done by Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area. Your membership also funds, Brush Bash, Prairie Posse, Wild Food Walks, Trout Lily Walks, Kids on the Prairie, Wildflower Walks and PrairieSky / StarParty.  Please renew your membership today.

Become a Friend HERE

Thanks to the following new and renewing 2018 members: Happy GardensJim Marshall, Greg & Mary Kay Hughes, Becky Dobyns, Elsa Zamarripa, Betsy Booth, Wendy Elias, Don Ferrier, Jim Hart, Barry & Nita O'Neal, Robbie Crawford, Suzanne Tuttle, Lisa Newsom, Scott Kiester and Kathy Livingston.

> > > FYI - Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting Tandy Hills.

03) Field Report - February

We had us some rain in February. More than 4" over a 3 day period, alone. Wildflower emergence, however, is running about a week behind last year. At this time in 2017, there were already several species blooming. This year, only Trout Lily and Big Root C. were flowering as of Feb. 28. There are signs however that things are about to pop. Stay tuned.

Late February, 3-day total.

Big Root Cymopterus (Cymopterus macrorhizus) aka: Big Root Springparsley.

This amazingly complex plant is easy to miss, at 3 - 5" tall.

This bright green moss is quite common at Tandy Hills, and one of the few bright colors in Feb.

Mountain Cedar Fever trees (Ashe Juniper) were bursting with pollen in February.

Enjoy the winter prairiescapes while you can, as spring is right around the corner.

04) A Decade of Trout Lilies

I first heard of Trout Lilies from, Suzanne Tuttle, back in 2004. It's her favorite wildflower and one of the iconic wildflowers of the impressive Tandy HIlls botanical inventory. One of the earliest Prairie Notes from Febraury 2007 was titled, Stalking the Wild Trout Lily. And stalk with camera, I did, trying to get just the right shot (not an easy task) and also capture the various growth stages. Their charming appearance invites close scrutiny of the subtle (and varied) coloration of the petals and the striking yellow anthers. Their tiny size and nodding flowers can be a challenge for photograpers.

I'm strictly an amateur, but here are a few of my favorite pics taken at Tandy Hills from the past 10 or so years.

05) Great Texas Wildlife Trail is Official

Tandy Hills is now officially part of the Great Texas Wildlife Trail system. Signs have been posted by TXDoT on I-30 at the Oakland exit, both east and westbound. Friends of Tandy Hills have come a long way from protesting threatened fracking activities at the park to Prairie Fest, Kids on the Prairie and our recent Lone Star Legacy Park status. Will you help support our education and restoration programs with a membership? (See #2 above.)

Oakland exit eastbound

06) In Memoriam: George McBride

Friends of Tandy Hills were saddened to learn that, George McBride, passed on Februalry 14. George was a Cross TImbers Master Naturalist and an accomplished accordionist. Using both skills, he was a good Friend of Tandy Hills, leading Kids on the Prairie hikes for a few years. After his health became compromised, George showed up to play accordion for the kids during their post-field trip lunch under the trees.

In this video from October 8, 2015, he is seen and heard entertaining the kids with a rousing polka. Godspeed George!



07) Prairie Proverb

"Wee have had from Virginia a roote sent to us, which the naturall people hold not onely to be singular to procure lust, but hold it as a secret, loth to reveale it."

- English herbalist, botanist and gardener, John Parkinson, (1567 - 1650) author of Paradisus (1629) commenting on the alleged aphrodisaic reputation of Trout Lily bulbs.

Prairie Notes© is the official newsletter of Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. All content by Don Young except where otherwise noted.