Columns/Opinions

Wed
17
Oct
Edgar's picture

The Richland Springs Report

By Sue Ransom

Hang onto your hats everyone; we are in for a crazy week of bad weather. My daughter just posted they went from 90 to 55.

Russ just told me to expect weather in the 30’s. I don’t know if that is true, but it will be a relief from this hot muggy weather.

Spirit week is over and we have a tired and worn to a nub staff and student base. The students had Monday off, but the teachers were required to attend staff development classes. That’s just fine with me since we need to always be improving our skills.

I went to brush Fuzzy today to see why he was itching and discovered fleas. Those nasty little critters were running around all over the place. I have been itching ever since.

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Wed
17
Oct
Edgar's picture

Hill Country Naturalist

Musings About Change in the Ways We Farm, Ranch and Eat

 

When I was growing up, Texas advertised itself as the "Land of Cattle, Cotton and Oil," and the area where we lived had plenty of examples of each. We lived in an oil company camp that my father worked for in Gains County, surrounded by ranches and cotton fields. After high school, I worked several summers in the oil field there as well.

Initially, at least in my memory, most of the surrounding land was cattle ranches, although being in the "drought of the 50s," there weren't that many cattle most of the time. So, as far as I was concerned, the pastures were just there for me to explore and watch the wildlife, and later, do a little hunting.

 

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Wed
10
Oct
Edgar's picture

Hill Country Naturalist

What Happened to All the Critters I Used to See?

Growing up in the country in the Permian Basin between Lubbock and Midland, I spent a lot of time roaming the pastures around our house, although much of it was being plowed up to make new cotton fields back then. But the time I spent in the mesquite/ shinnery/short grass prairie was so much fun because of all of the critters I could see.

I lived away from Texas for a number of years, but when I returned 19 years ago, I was saddened to find that many of the critters I enjoyed as a boy have become much less common. Some are even quite scarce and becoming more so.

Wed
10
Oct
Edgar's picture

The Richland Springs Report

By Sue Ransom

Wed
03
Oct
Edgar's picture

A Whaco Waco Call

Hello my San Saba friends, so nice to see you! Well, I can’t really see you, I don’t have spy equipment and while I am great at bugging the parentals…I have no idea how to bug a newspaper column and no, I haven’t had a recent head injury…just went mind word walking with you for a moment.

Did you know I really enjoy being a dachshund…at least the cute, cuddly, adorable part, anyway…the long pencil with short stubby legs look…sometimes not so much. The truth is I get by on my looks and I am fully aware of it, use it to my benefit and will not apologize for it. Hey, if I am able to reduce my dad to mush, get what I want from him…I know I have been given a gift!

 

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Wed
19
Sep
Edgar's picture

Hill Country Naturalist

Animals and Their Food Choices

When we want something to eat, our available choices are many. We can pick one of a long list of restaurants and other prepared-food places, or we can go to the grocery store and choose from an unimaginable assortment of things to eat. Furthermore, most of these choices are available to us 365 days a year. And most of us have lived with these conditions for so long that we don't even think about how truly incredible that is.

Our ancestors, and the Native Americans before them, certainly didn't have it this easy. And neither do all of the native animals that live around us today.

Wed
19
Sep
Edgar's picture

The Richland Springs Report

By Sue Ransom

I find myself wishing for a hurricane style rain without the wind gusts. I know we were richly blessed a short time ago, but my tank is still pitifully low. The cows have a decent amount of green grass and I hope it will last at least a month or so before it’s time to start feeding. I am praying for all those folks along the coast who are getting ready to be drenched. We humans are just too needy.

The quilting ladies went to the City Sewing Center for some sale material. They have some really cute fabric at excellent prices. When you turn 17 women loose in a fabric store, dangerous things happen. I believe we worked that poor woman’s fingers to the bone.

Wed
12
Sep
Edgar's picture

Hill Country Naturalist

How to Live in the Country Without Spoiling It

Often, in talks to various groups on the subject of our native habitat, I say there are three forces over which we have very little control but which are decreasing the amount of native habitat in the Hill Country.

The three are: (1) farm and ranch land sold to development {housing projects, shopping centers, schools, parking lots, roads, etc.}; (2) land fragmentation of larger ranches being broken up into many small parcels, thus, giving myself and many others a place to live in the country; and (3) the projected doubling of the state population in the next 30 to 50 years. Economics is obviously the main driver for all of the above.

Wed
12
Sep
Edgar's picture

Happy Herman's Hideaway

Fishing You The Best

Hello wonderful San Saba friends! It’s me Herman. Oh wait, it says Happy Herman’s Hideaway…who else would be writing the column…a random skunk passing by my laptop? I wonder how a skunk would begin an article to you, probably with…:” Hey, if you think your life stinks people of San Saba you should smell mine!” Of course I don’t want to be putting words in a skunk’s mouth, I don’t wish to get near enough to put anything near them! I think they are cute, don’t get me wrong but I like to think they are cute from a safe distance.

Wed
05
Sep
Edgar's picture

Hill Country Naturalist

Whenever anyone in this part of Texas thinks of a disease of trees, or just thinks of trees dying, they always think of oak wilt. And with good reason. Oak wilt is probably the proximate cause of the death of more mature oak trees in the Hill Country than any cause, other than man.

But there is another fungal disease, called hypoxylon or hypoxylon canker (Hypoxylon atropunctatum) that infects and kills oaks. Both oak wilt and hypoxylon are caused by fungus, both cause a destruction of the vascular tissue of the trees. Red oaks are the most susceptible and quickest to die from both diseases.

That is about where the similarity ends. Oak wilt is a primary pathogen which means it can infect a perfectly healthy host. Hypoxylon is an opportunistic pathogen which means it is always or usually ever-present but only infects the host when the host is stressed.

 

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