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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.

Pics & Proverbs 2018

Prairie Notes #145
January 1, 2019

01) Pics & Proverbs 2018

02) Your MEMBERSHIP Matters

03) New Species - December

04) AttaBoy of the Year: Sam Kieschnick

05) AttaGirl of the Year: Debora Young

06) MM&WW HIke the HIlls is TODAY

07) Videos of the Year

08) Painted Prairie Skies 2018

09) Prairie Proverb



01) Pics & Proverbs 2018


With Tandy Hills more or less at rest, January is a good time to review and reflect on the past year via 2018's Prairie Proverbs and a few of my favorite pics from each of the past 12 issues of Prairie Notes. 


2018 quotations included a quirky mix naturalists and environmentalists from the distant past to the recently deceased, artists, poets, musicians and philosophers. Each quote had a particular fit for the issue in which quoted. As usual, there were a few surprises. (I'm especially fond of Aldo Leopold's quote in issue #138.)


Herewith, Prairie Proverbs I - XII from, Prairie Notes 2018, with a photo of the quoted author and a favorite pic from the same issue. Thanks for reading and for your continued support!






> Prairie Notes #133, (PIcs & Proverbs 2017) January 1, 2018



"Mr. Thoreau dedicated his  genius with such entire love to the fields, hills and waters...that he made them known and interesting to all reading Americans...The country knows not yet how great a son it has lost."


Ralph Waldo Emerson, lifelong friend of Thoreau and fellow transcendentalist, from an excerpt of his 1862 eulogy of Thoreau.


Joseph Lippert rescued a Texas Spiny Lizard during a January Prairie Posse.


The much-celebrated, Blue Moon, over Tandy Hills, January 31, 2018. Photo by Patrick McMahon



Prairie Notes #134, (Good Bone Structure) February 1, 2018



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 story doesn't show."


Andrew Wyeth, (1917 - 2009), American painter


The good bone structure of Tandy Hills is evident in winter.


Manly Men & Wild Women laugh at 17 degree temp.


Russet colored Little Bluestem grass in Febrruary 2018. (The same area was burned in December.)



Prairie Notes #135, (T.L. Time) March 1, 2018



"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."


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


Trout Lily magic, 2018


Big Root Cymopterus (Cymopterus macrorhizus) aka: Big Root Springparsley.  This early spring plant is easy to miss, at 3 - 5" tall.


Our new Wildlife Trail signs were installed along I-30 in March 2018.



Prairie Notes #136, (No Place Like Tandy Hills) April 1, 2018



“The discovery of spring each year, after the winter's hibernation, is a discovery of the universe. This recollected smell of fresh loam in my nostrils is the smell of eternity itself.”


Louis J. Halle, (1910 - 1998), U.S. State Dept. official, author, birder and conservationist, until now, mostly forgotten.


An early indicator of spring is Texas Blue Star.


Tersa Sphinx Moth (Xylophanes tersa), a new species for Tandy Hills in 2018.


You know spring has sprung when Purple Paintbrush have begun.


On March 10th, FOTHNA hosted 75 young people from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Fort Worth for a 2-hour volunteer work day.



Prairie Notes #137 (Ah, Spring!) May 1, 2018



"Ah to be a buzzard now that spring is here."


Edward Abbey, (1927 - 1989), from his essay, Death Valley (1977) self-portrait, by the author


Barbara's Button Hill on the SE corner of Tandy Hills deserves to be a protected state landmark.
Here's a look back at BB Hill on April 27, 2017:


When the pink puffs of Sensitive Briar mature they are equally complex and beautiful.


Tandy Hills at sunset in mid-April is a dreamy prairie ocean of color and texture.


On April 30th a gaggle of Girl Scouts got their first taste of a prairie. We had fun checking out Spittle bugs, wildflowers, 
coyote scat and enjoying the wild wind on the last day of April.



Prairie Notes #138, (Happy Trails to Tandy Hills), June 1, 2018



"The prairie was built by prairie plants, a hundred distinct species of grasses, herbs, and shrubs; by the prairie fungi, insects, and bacteria; by the prairie mammals and birds, all interlocking in one humming community of cooperation and competition, one biota. This biota, through ten thousand years of living and dying, burning and growing, preying and fleeing, freezing and thawing, built that dark and bloody ground we call prairie."


Aldo Leopold, 1887 - 1948, from his 1938 journal, A Survey of Conservation


FOTHNA Friend, Kim Clemmons, exclaimed when seeing this photo, "Looks like a delicious field of Lucky Charms."


Queens Delight (Stillingia texana) cheerfully celebrating the Royal wedding, no doubt.


Grooved Nipple Cactus (Coryphantha sulcata) a rarity in this area.


Familiar Bluet Damselfly (Enallagama civile) dining quietly in the noonday sun.


On an enchanted evening in May with a clear sky above, 60-odd people headed for the Tandy Hills to do a little star-gazing.



Prairie Notes #139 (Summertime Bluebells) July 1, 2018



"All the world is beautiful, and it matters little where we go. The place where we chance to be always seems the best."


John Muir, (1838 - 1914), American naturalist, author and environmental philosopher, from his unpublished journals


Texas Bluebells: Pretty and Texas tough.


I came across this majestic specimen of White Compassplant (Sylphium albiflorum) in mid-June. We had a nice chat.


....and here is an American Bumblebee coming in for a landing on at Cafe Dalea....


....annnnd dinner is served.



Prairie Notes #140, (Feelin' the Flames) August 1, 2018



"We should care about monarchs like we care about the Mona Lisa or the beauty of Mozart's music. To me, the monarch butterfly is a treasure like a great piece of art. We need to develop a cultural appreciation of wildlife that's equivalent to art and music."


-Lincoln Brower, (1931 - 2018), scientist and lepidopterist who died on July 17, 2018, at age 86. He spent 60 years studying Monarch butterflies and their awe-inspiring migratory journey.


July 23, 2018, was a hot day on the prairie topping out at 111 degrees.  


The sunset was equally remarkable.


False Gaura is one of the few plants that reliably bloom despite the heat of summer.


Gathering Sumac berries to make thirst-quenching, Sumac Lemonade.



Prairie Notes #141, (Citation of Honor) September 1, 2018



"August rain: the best of summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time."


Sylvia PlathThe Unabridged Journals, 8 August, 1952


Friends of Tandy Hills received one of its highest honors in August 2018.


Rain of any amount in mid-August is cause for celebration, but, this much was unexpected.


A new species for Tandy was observed in August: Wavy-lined Emerald Moth larvae hiding in plain sight.


After the rain, Two-leaf Senna started popping up like rain lilies, all over the meadows.



Prairie Notes #142 (Second Spring) October 1, 2018



"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all daylight hours in the open air."


Nathaniel Hawthorne, (1804 – 1864), American novelist and short story writer


Monarch Butterfly larvae consuming Side-cluster Milkweed. The plant completely disappeared in a few days.
The butterflies will appear a few weeks later.


Pink Fluffgrass is endemic to Texas but never recorded at Tandy Hills until September 2018.


Scudder's Bush Katydid surveying a kingdom of Azure Sage.


It's increasingly rare to spot a toad at Tandy Hills. Good luck little lady!



Prairie Notes #143, (Aster-nauts) November 1, 2018



"I feel a wonder and comfort on this prairie similar to when I was a child, when prairie was once backed up to my house and the creek next to it. Civilization eventually tore it down to make way for subdivisions and strip centers but this place (Tandy HIlls) brings the wonder back."


Gustuf Young, from the liner notes to his 2018 album, Tandy Hills Project


Great Plains Ladies Tresses Orchids (Spiranthes magnicamporum): Note the pollinator stuck inside the flower head.


A glorious, Green Lynx Spider getting ready for dinner atop a Gayfeather flower.


Ghost Grass of AutumnRevershon Muhly, moving mysteriously, in currents of pink, across the October prairie.


Southern Dogface Butterfly one of 42 insect species observed on a single Aster bush in October.



Prairie Notes #144, (Rear View Mirror) December 1, 2018



"We learn by doing when we reflect on what we have done." 


John Dewey, (1859 - 1952), American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer


Before the Monarch miracle and...


...a few days later.


One of the new species ID'd in 2018: Salt Marsh Moth caterpillar.


Thanksgiving Oaks revive the soul.


A series of fires burned a few acres of prairie in late November 2018. 


02) Your MEMBERSHIP Matters


2018 was another productive and award-winning year for Friends of Tandy Hills. We hope these accomplishments will inspire you to help out with a donation:


> Texas Society of Architects awarded Friends of Tandy Hills, 2018 Citation of Honor
> FW Weekly awarded Tandy Hills, Best Greenspace of 2018 Award
> Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission awarded Friends of Tandy Hills a $28K grant to improve the entire trail system
> Brush Bash and Prairie Posse brought out the best in our crew of volunteers who restored key sections of Tandy Hills
> Our outdoor education program, Kids on the Prairie (KOP), notched year #8 hosting or sponsoring school field trips


For 2019 FOTHNA has specific goals for improving the trails and restoring prairie pockets in key locations. You can show your support for these and other initiatives with a 2019 Membership donation. Go HERE to become a Friend of Tandy Hills:


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


03) New Species - December

Only one new species was recorded in December. The Genus is, Cerebella, a tiny and very unusual looking fungi that grows on the tips of Indian Grass and, yes, it resembels a brain. It was first spotted by Sam Kieschnick and recorded on iNaturalist as the 1067 species at Tandy Hills. Check out the cool photo below by Michelle Villafranca.

Photo credit: Michelle Villafranca

04) AttaBoy of the Year

Speaking of Sam K, he's the Friends of Tandy Hills, 2018 AttaBoy of the Year! Sam Kieschnick earned this high honor by leading the Trout Lily Hike in February, spending many hours at Tandy recording many new species. He also helped ID plants for me and wrote a support letter for our Trails grant. And like everything Sam does, he did so with ENTHUSIASM. Thank you Sam!

05) AttaGirl of the Year

The 2018 AttaGirl of the Year is Debora Young. Her dedication to Friends of Tandy Hills goes back to its founding in 2004. Whether leading the charge or behind the scenes, her attention to detail and passion for doing things right has made FOTHNA better. She records meeting notes, greets visitors warmly, organizes events, makes monthly volunteer reports to FW Park & Rec, keeps an active archive for the organization, does the hands-on work of brush cutting, seed dispersing, trash removing and trail marking and so much more. She also reguraly hikes the hills and creates artwork from her experiences at Tandy Hills. Thank you Debora Young!


06) MM&WW Hike the Hills is TODAY

Baby it's going to be very cold outside today but don't let that keep you from participating in the 10th annual Manly Men Wild Women Hike the Hills on New Years Day. Get your details here:



07) Videos of the Year

Five short videos showing the amazing diversity and wonderment of Tandy Hills were recorded throughout 2018: Texas Bluebells on a Summer Solstice EveHigh on HyacinthPollinator FrenzyMonarch Butterfly fresh from Chrysalis and Prairie Fire at Tandy Hills can be accessed from this page:

High on Hyacinth in 2018. Check out the short video at above link

08) Painted Prairie Skies - 2018

On some days of the year, the sky is THE most interesting feature at Tandy Hills. The variety of color and texture is always astounding. Here are my best sunset/sunrise shots from some magical days on the Tandy prairie in 2018.


1/31/18 (looking east at sunrise)


7/23/18 (summer solstice)




11/26 (during a prairie fire)


09) Prairie Bookshelf

Two wonderful books for nature mystics recently came to my attention. I was lucky enough to get both for Christmas. Check 'em out!
The Lost Words, a beautifully written and illustrated oversized book originated in 2007 when a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary -- widely used in schools around the world -- was published. A sharp-eyed reader noticed that around forty common words concerning nature had been dropped. deleted words included, acornbluebell and dandelion. (WTF?) This book will appeal to both kids and grrownups who have a passion for language, art and nature. Reading it is a revolutionary act.
Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness, by Utah native, Amy Irvine, is both an appreciation and a taking to task of Edward Abbey, whose masterpiece, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness, turned 50 in 2018. Irvine uses Abbey's book as a jumping off point, directly addressing the man who influenced her life and work while challenging all that is dated—offensive, even—between the covers of Abbey’s environmental classic. 

10) Prairie Proverb

"The name, given to the month of 'January', is derived from the ancient Roman name 'Janus' who presided over the gate to the new year. Janus is symbolized by an image of a face that looks forwards and backwards at the same time. This symbolism is associated with the month as the start of a new year which brings new opportunities. It is the time to reflect on events of the previous year.”


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.