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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.

Good Bone Structure

Prairie Notes #134
February 1, 2018

01) Good Bone Structure

02) Don't Forget > Membership

03) Why We Do What We Do

04) MM&WW HIke Report

05) 10th Annual Brush Bash Report

06) Tandy Hills Time Lapse

07) Trout Lily Walk w/Sam K

08) Ed Abbey Lives!

09) Big Rock Tandy Mountain

10) Blue Moon on the Prairie

11) Prairie Proverb




01) Good Bone Structure


The look and feel of Tandy Hills in winter is a comforting sight. For about three months of the year, when most trees are leafless, you can clearly see the hills themselves. Defined by drainages and seams of Ashe Juniper and Oak, free of wildflowers and flying insects, the muted hills are silent and serene. 


From the street this phenomena is not noticeable. But once you hike in a-ways, the hills reveal themselves in all their topographic glory, inviting you to investigate the secrets hidden within each one. In some areas they tumble into each other like a crazyquilt. Other places, they stretch out in long dignified plains, reaching for the horizons before gradually levelling out to the flatlands beyond.


By early March, however, this monochromatic love affair loses its power and poetry, replaced by a burning desire for color. Before you know it, the winter hills are cloaked with wildflowers. Trout Lily, Lotus Ground Plum, Big Root and Creek Plum lead the way, followed quickly by the full tilt palette. One blossom at a time, the lavish carpet of wildflowers is stiched together.


American painter, Andrew Wyeth, undrestood the winter landscape, capturing the essence of rural Pennsylvania. (see Prairie Proverbs, below) For a few short weeks more, you too, can indulge yourself in the comforting winter hills of your local prairie. Come on in!











02) Don't Forget > 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 & Cathy Livingston.

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

Design by Jen Schultes


03) Why We Do What We Do


This short video illustrates why Tandy Hills keeps inspiring our restoration and education efforts. We hope it will inspire your financial support. It aslo reminds that spring is coming again!

04) Manly Men & Wild Women Hike Report


On a bright and cheery 17 degree New Years Day morning with a 2 degree wind-chill factor, a group of 20 hale and hardy troopers showed up for their well-earned Manly Men & Wild Women credentials for one full year.




Our brand new certificates were sent to each attendee.



05) 10th Annual Brush Bash Report


A small but dedicated group of 15 Brush Bashers showed up on January 27 and worked for 3 hours to help liberate a big chunk of prairie. More than 11,000 pounds of brush was removed. New scenic views are now evident along View Street, the Trailhead and Northeast Lookout Point. This dedicated group proved the old maxim that, just showing up is 80% of success. Thanks a mil!


Brush Bash veteran, Ray Regal


Newcomer, Nate Scott, lends a hand.


Superstar, Abel Cerros


Erin Blythe


Garry Vasquez


Don Ferrier wields a mean chainsaw on a Privet patch.


Bash boss, Joseph Lippert, rescued a Texas Spiny Lizard from his work area.



PARD staff hauling away 11,000 pounds of brush.


New views to the west, anticipating the upcoming Pavilion.



06) Tandy Hills Time Lapse


As a photo documentary project, I stood at the same spot nearly every day for 17 straight months taking still photos of the Iconic Trail at Tandy Hills. That ridge contains possibly the most diverse collection of prairie biota in north Texas. I started the project on February 28, 2015 and stopped on June 9, 2016. This 7-minute video is the fruit of my labors.




07) Trout Lily Walk w/Sam K


The one and only, Sam Kieschnick, will lead a Trout Lily Hike on Sunday, February 25th at 2pm. RSVP here:




08) Ed Abbey Lives!


January 29th was the birthdate of our patron saint, Ed Abbey. He's often mentioned in Prairie Notes for good reason. His words, deeds and his example have always been a major inspiration of Friends of Tandy Hills. The New York Times published a nice essay last week titled, President Trump, Please Read Desert Solitaire. The title refers to Abbey's 1968 non-fiction masterpiece. Both essay and book are highly recommended reading.​


Photo by Kirk McCoy



09) Big Rock Tandy Mountain


With help from FW Park & Recreation Dept., a couple of giant limestone boulders have been delivered to Tandy Hills and strategically placed at scenic overlooks for your use. They have quickly become useful as seating for contemplative park visitors gazing into the west and northeast. Debora Young hand selected the rocks from the PARD rockyard. 


09) Blue Moon on the Prairie

On January 31, about a dozen moon gazers braved a chilly, pre-dawn breeze high atop Tandy Ridge to catch a glimpse of the Lunar eclipse and so-called Blue Moon. Patrick McMahon, of Fort Worth Astronomical Society, set up his telescope for the main event plus a nice view of Juliter and its not-so-blue moons.

The view east just before sunrise.

The Blue Moon minutes before full eclipse. Cell phone pic by Don Young

The Sunrise caused the moon to quickly fade.

Patrick McMahon, of FW Astronomical Society, focusing on Jupiter and its moons. With Debora Young.

Photo by Patrick McMahon

Finally, a shot by, Gavin Sigler, who was one of several photographers at Tandy Hills this morning.


10) Prairie Proverb


"I prefer winter and fall, when you can feel the bone structure in the landscape - the loneliness of it - the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it - the whole stroy doesn't show."


- Andrew Wyeth, American painter, 1917 - 2009

Photo by, Kirk Wilkinson, 1960


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.