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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.

Lonely Prairie Seeks ♥ & $

Prairie Notes #182
January 26, 2022

01) Lonely Prairie Seeks  & $ 
02) 
Field Report - January
03) New Species - January
04) New Trails Project Report
05) PrairieSky / StarParty Report - February
06) Manly Men Wild Women Hike Report
07) Coming Up: Trout Lily Walk w/Sam Kieschnick
08) Heroic Clean-Up Crews
09) Prairie Proverb - Richard Brautigan

01) Lonely Prairie Seeks  & $

 

Here at, Friends of Tandy Hills HQ, our work is never done. A small number of volunteer stewards do what needs to be done on a daily basis as we watch over our natural treasure with loving grace and for the benefit of all. It adds up to a lot of work but it's also a labor of love. I should also mention: It takes money.

 

You can demonsrtate your support for these efforts and help pay for our various initiatives with a 2022 Membership donation. Go HERE to become a Friend of Tandy Hills: http://www.tandyhills.org/donate

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

02) Field Report 

 

January is generally not the best time of year to be outside, exploring Tandy Hills. Nevertheless, there were a few good days that drew me in. The place is dry as a bone with almost no rain in January. The few warm days did bring out a few butterflies and bees but, I don't recall seeing any wildflowers except for a couple of cheerful Dandelions that were getting lots of attention from pollinators.

 

Without tree leaves to block the view, the prairie / winterscapes are different and somewhat enchanting this time of year. Before you know it, the Trout Lilies will be blooming. So, come on in for some winter solitude while you still can.

 


Early January prairie-scape.

 


A well-traveled Gulf Fritillary feeding on a common Dandelion on a warm day in January.

 


A variety of insects were seen on warm days in January including, this Orange Sulphur Butterfly.

 


A brief and light rain blew in with a norther on January 19, creating a momentary rainbow.

 

Life and death on the prairie: An unfortunate Bluejay met his demise on the talons of a Cooper's Hawk.

 


January 22, was an especially fine day to hike the Tandy HIlls.

 


January 22

 

One of the most striking colors in the winter landscape is the electric green Moss that lines some of the creeks.

 


Perhaps my favorite tree at Tandy HIlls is this rare and finely shaped, Red-berried Juniper.

 

January came to a close with a wispy blue sky at sunset.

 

03) New Species Report 

 

There were only 4 new species added in January, bringing the new count to 1647. See them all on the Tandy Hills iNat Project Page HERE: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/tandy-hills-natural-area-stratford-...

 

04) New Trails Project Report

 

A brand new and inviting trail was completed on January 12. Maps of new trails will come later but, for now, you can find it in the Northeast corner. An old, heavily eroded trail nearby is now closed. If the weather cooperates, we will have several other new trails or re-routes completed in February. 

 

 

 

 

 

05) PrairieSky / StarParty Report

 

The star party will not return until March, but Pam Kloepfer of the Fort Worth Astronomical Society has some home-based star gazing news for February. Don't forget to look up!:

 

"Jupiter is the only visible planet we will see low in the west in February. Mercury, Venus, and Saturn have all transitioned to the morning sky. Set the alarm for dawn on Feb 27 to see a thin waning crescent Moon southeast of Mars, also joining the morning planet line-up. Back in the night sky, the winter constellations are on full display. Check out the Winter Triangle composed of Sirius the Dog Star, Orion’s shoulder Betelgeuse, and Procyon in the Little Dog. The constellation Gemini reigns overhead. Look for the “heads” of the twins, the bright stars Castor and Pollux. Castor is a multiple-star system. Messier 35 (M35) is a large open star cluster that can be seen with binoculars. Remember all-time favorites as February progresses - Orion the Hunter, Taurus the Bull, and the visible Pleiades star cluster!"

 

 

06) Manly Men Wild Women Hike Report

 

Well that was fun! The morning of January 1, 2022 was pleasantly mild and attracted a good number of folks for a 3 mile hike at Tandy HIlls. But those who waited untill late-afternoon or the next day were welcomed by a blast of arctic air and horrendous winds. Manly Men & Wild Women, indeed. Four year-old, Adelaide Parker, got her second certificate of completion as the youngest hiker again this year. Her parents are justifiably proud. See pics below of a few participants. You can tell by their clothing which day they hiked.

 

If you completed the hike and desire a a signed, official, Certificate of Completion, send us your name, address and photo from the trail and we will send you one. Suitable for framing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

07) Coming Up: Trout Lily Walk w/Sam Kieschnick

 

The 13th Annual, Trout Lily Walk w/ Sam Kieschnick, is schedulaed for February 20 @ 10 AM. The current plan is to have a LIVE, in person event with possibly a simultaneous Facebook Live virtual event. Final details are being worked out at press time and will be posted on our website and Facebook Event page later this month. For now, let's just hope those little harbringers of spring are blooming on February 20.

 

NOTE-----> If you plan to attend the LIVE event, be aware that the hike is moderately difficult and will last about 1 hour.

 

 

08) Heroic Clean-Up Crews

Three different volunteer groups, not directly affilicated with Friends of Tandy Hills, converged on New Years Eve and New Years Day to clean up trash and litter that had accumulated in various areas. Paul and Wendy Roach spent several hours on New Years Eve picking up several bags of trash, just in time for the New Years Day hike. Thank you Paul & Wendy!

On January 8, about 25 hard working volunteers from, One Team Earth and FIND, joined togather to collect more than 48 bags of trash from the creeks on the Stratford side of the park. We are VERY grateful for their formidable efforts. Learn more about FIND and One Team Earth at these websites:
https://www.findapparelcompany.com
https://www.facebook.com/OneTeamEarth

09) Prairie Proverb - Richard Brautigan

 

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

I like to think (and
the sooner the better!)
of a cybernetic meadow
where mammals and computers
live together in mutually
programming harmony
like pure water
touching clear sky.

I like to think
(right now, please!)
of a cybernetic forest
filled with pines and electronics
where deer stroll peacefully
past computers
as if they were flowers
with spinning blossoms.

I like to think
(it has to be!)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal
brothers and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.

- Richard Brautigan, (American poet and novelist, 1935 - 1984, from his collection of poems titled, The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, 1967)

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.

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