Burn Ban In Effect for Colorado County

We received word from Mr. Chuck Rogers, Colorado County Office of Emergency Management, that a burn ban is in effect until further notice.  No outdoor burning is permitted for 90 days per county ordinance.  No fireworks per county ordinance.

Please take care of your family, your pets, your animals and your neighbors to ensure everyone has plenty of cool water.

 

President’s Message, June 2013

Amazing how the year is going by. June has brought us the heat and humidity. Along with that are sightings of the new fawn crop. We hope all are delighted with these amazing births of nature’s wonders. Please use caution as you mow, the fawns may be hidden in the tall grass. What will July and August bestow upon us?

UPCOMING EVENTS You are all invited to the ORWMA Ice Cream Social on Saturday, July 20th at 6 PM.  Bring a lawn chair and your ice cream bucket to Lynne Bigelow’s back yard (1287 Oakridge Road). We will be cranking the ice cream there to share with all. ORWMA will supply rock salt and ice. If homemade ice cream isn’t in your area of expertise bring a topping or desert (cookies/cake) to share. We will have a contest for: 1) most unusual flavor 2) personal favorite 3) creamiest 4) best presentation 5) most refreshing. (Jean Herring)   All Oakridge is encouraged to come and if friends/family are visiting, bring them as well.

We will also roll out our new website at http://orwma.org.  Membership is now being updated. If you have not filled out the membership application you may now find it on the website. On the home page, scroll over to “ABOUT” and you will see the membership application tab appear.

Seminar News:   The Value of Land – Water, Oil, and Gas Leasing and Estate Planning Seminar-July 19, 2013. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service of Austin, Colorado, Fayette and Washington Counties will be sponsoring a Seminar on Issues Affecting Land Owners, on Friday, July 19, 2013, at the Cat Spring Ag Society Hall in Cat Spring. The focus of the program is make landowners aware of issues that could be affecting them in the near future. Pre-Registration required, 8:30-3:30, meal provided with registration, $50.00 per person or $75.00 per couple. Please contact the Texas AgriLife Extension Office of Colorado County at (979)732-2082.

IN THE WORKS –
August Deer Census- (Jim Trickett)
September 21 Oakridge WMA Fall Meeting

We are always excited to hear your comments — Have you seen the moon setting over Oakridge Ranch?   Seize the moment—check out our website.

 Larry Petter, President-ORWMA

Water Sustains Life for All

Birds share their bath with a thirsty fawn; Photo by Earl & Maria Fly, May 2013
Birds share their bath with a thirsty fawn; Photo by Earl & Maria Fly, May 2013

All life must have water to survive.  Like many of these pictured here, the wildlife hidden in this beautiful Oak Prairie region of Texas will take water where they can find it.

Barred Owl female with her owlet drinking water; Photo by P.Wilcox, May2013.
Barred Owl female with her owlet drinking water; Photo by P.Wilcox, May2013.
Yearling White-tail Deer; Photo by Earl & Maria Fly, May 2013
Yearling White-tail Deer; Photo by Earl & Maria Fly, May 2013

Be sure to clean your water containers at least once a week such as stock tanks for large animals.  Even our bird baths need to be kept clean and filled with fresh water during these hot summer days.  Water is truly the basic need for all types of wildlife.  Let’s help out our wildlife by providing clean water where we can during this season.

Baltimore Oriole "Sun-Bathing" with his Northern Cardinal friend; Photo by Earl & Maria Fly, June 2013
Baltimore Oriole “Sun-Bathing” with his Northern Cardinal friend; Photo by Earl & Maria Fly, June 2013

 

Great Leopard Moth

Great Leopard Moth; Photo by D.Burrows, June 2013
Great Leopard Moth; Photo by D.Burrows, June 2013

The Great Leopard Moth, Hypercompe scribonia , can be seen flying from April to September.  We have all seen the caterpillars; the black fuzzy one with red stripes, that feeds on a variety of plants to complete its life cycle.  It is certainly successful at making a living on the ranch.  Check out this excellent source:   http://bugguide.net/node/view/493

Japanese Honeysuckle (Invasive)

I am not providing a picture of the invasive Japanese Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica, because I suspect most, if not all of us recognize the vine and have fond memories of the summertime fragrance.   We have found several vines on our tract.   It appears to not particularly like the drought conditions, but it is here.   My recommendation is to pull it out to keep it from establishing a foothold.

Do check out this excellent site for more insight: http://texasinvasives.org/plant_database/detail.php?symbol=LOJA

 

Planting Natives for Hummingbirds, Butterflies & Bees

Native Coral Honeysuckle; Photo by D.Burrows, June 2013
Native Coral Honeysuckle; Photo by D.Burrows, June 2013

One of my absolutely favorite natives to have around.  This is Coral Honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens , not to be confused with the white, invasive Japanese Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica, the Coral Honeysuckle has no fragrance for humans to enjoy.  But no fragrance is needed for the pollinators.  It will bloom in early spring for the first migrants; then off and on until the first cold snap.  While my original primary interest in the vine was attracting the hummers, I am learning the fruits, when available, will feed Goldfinch, Hermit Thrush, American Robin and Quail.

When looking for this vine to plant, look for the scientific name and watch carefully for the many cultivars that can be found.  Plan to provide support of some kind.   You will not regret adding this to your organic garden.

Blossom, prior to opening
Blossom, prior to opening

 

 

Pokeweed

Do you know what I am?   Photo by Donna Burrows_May2013
Do you know what I am? Photo by Donna Burrows, May 2013

The plant quiz posted in May included the picture above of the American Pokeweed, Pokeberry  Phytolacca Americana, in its late spring growth.

pokeweed_DBurrows_June2013 Now this native plant should be looking more like the picture above, and may be more recognizable in the summer  blooming form with small white to pink blossoms.   The very distinctive winter look has the black/purple berries on very red stems. This perennial can become quite large, reaching 12 feet and can be considered a weed.  Prior to the berries forming, very young leaves can be carefully cooked and eaten, but otherwise all parts are toxic, including the rootstock.  Early Native Americans had many medicinal uses.

The berries will attract such birds as our Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird and the Gray Catbird and Brown Thrasher.  It is deer resistant. The Giant Leopard Moth, Hypercompe scribonia. will use it for a host plant.

Patterns in old wood

We are always on the lookout for interesting patterns in old wood.

Patterns in old wood; Photo by D.Burrows, June 2013
Patterns in old wood; Photo by D.Burrows, June 2013

Can you see it?

Ongoing Hog Removal in the Ranch

Here’s the first hog trapped on Oakridge this month.  Douglas Mason & crew have worked to remove 212 hogs from the Ranch so far this year, both by using traps and dogs to track & hunt these predators who can be dangerous to both humans and livestock.

First trapped hog of the month; Photo by D.Mason, June 2013.
First trapped hog of the month; Photo by D.Mason, June 2013.

Douglas & his crew of ladies & men with dogs, shown here with Cody Moore, work diligently to keep the growing number of wild & feral hogs to a minimum within Oakridge Ranch.  As noted on the main Predator page, Douglas donates much of the meat to the hungry.

290 Pound Feral Hog; Photo Courtesy of Douglas Mason, June 2013.
290 Pound Feral Hog; Photo Courtesy of Douglas Mason, June 2013.

 

A Wonderful & Versatile Native Shrub

Buttonbush_DBurrows_June2013

We planted this wonderful native down on our dry weather creek for bank stability.  This plant likes/needs wet feet, and is perfect for the task.  This is the Buttonbush Cephalanthus occidentalis.  It can grow to 18′ tall and 10′ wide in full sun.  The blossom looks like a button, as you can see and attracts all the pollinators; look for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds to come to it once established.  It is particularly favored by our native bees.  The plant is deciduous, but in my experience, some stems freeze back to the ground. The plant recovers each year to bloom in the summer.  I found that used in a pond environment, any submerged portion will provide habitat for amphibians, reptiles, ducks, and fish.  Some 25 species of birds eat the seeds.  A native worth planting by our creeks and ponds.

Common Buttonbush down at the creek; Photo by D.Burrows, June 2013
Buttonbush down at the creek; Photo by D.Burrows, June 2013

This picture shows the “button” later in the season, about to go to seed.