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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.

A Tandy Hills Lexicon

Prairie Notes #74
February 1, 2013

1) A Tandy Hills Lexicon
2) "E" is for Eagle
3) "M" is for Membership
4) "B" is for Bluebirder
5) "N" is for Nest
6) "F" is for Fest Update
7) "V" is for Vote
8) MM-WW on TV
9) "W" is for Wildflower of the Moment
10) "P" is for Prairie Plant Puzzler
11) Prairie Proverb

1) Tandy Hills Lexicon

The Spring-like weather of late January has me wondering: Where are signs of Spring at Tandy Hills? Last year at this time there were a number of wildflowers showing their first sprouts and blooms including, Lotus Milk-vetch, Trout Lily and even a few early bird, Purple Paintbrush. But in 2013, only a few green rosettes foretell, Springs promise. A lack of early bird color has me fiddling around with letters and words instead of my camera and photos.

One of these days, just for the fun of it, I intend to create a complete A - Z lexicon of Tandy Hills. You know, like, "A" is for Antelope-Horns Milkweed, a host plant for Monarch butterflies. "Z" is for the Zeppelin that flew over Tandy Hills in 2011, and so on.

But no time for that right now because "B" is for Brush Bash and that takes place on Saturday, February 2. We need your help. Read more about that here:


"A" is for Antelope-Horns Milkweed, a common plant at Tandy Hills.

"Z" is for Zeppelin floating above Tandy Hills.

2) "E" is For Eagle

Michael Fazi of Boy Scout Troop 180 has finished his Eagle Project at Tandy Hills and is well on his way to attaining Eagle rank. The eight benches he designed and fabricated for the outdoor classroom are in place and ready for use by all visitors. They will be particularly useful in May during the Kids on the Prairie field trips.

The benches can be located by following the west branch of the Wildflower Loop Trail north from View Street. See trail map created by Eagle Scout, CR Wright, HERE:

Troop 180 Eagle Project participants, from Left: Austin Hines, Devon Ramachandron, Martin Grunow (Scoutmaster), Floyd Fazi, Zane Donald, Mike Alonso, Henry Grunow, Nick Alonso, Michael Fazi, future Eagle Scout, John Nelson, Troy Hines. (Not pictured, Michael Alonso, Maxwell, Hexel, and Dexter Colorado)

A dream becomes reality: Compare Michael's finished project with this sketch created for the Tandy Hills Strategic Master Plan in 2008

3) "M" is for Membership!

This is IMPORTANT---> Friends of Tandy Hills Memberships are on the calendar year beginning January 1. Your membership donations are VITAL to keeping FOTHNA healthy by supporting programs such as the Master Plan for restoring and improving Tandy Hills and the well-received, Kids on the Prairie, that introduces hundreds of school kids each year to their local prairie. We offer cool thank-you gifts to all members. Click HERE to get 'er done, E-Z.

➤ Another way to support FOTHNA is through a Prairie Fest Sponsorship. Sponsors at the $250. level get a free booth space, year-round exposure on the FOTHNA website and a listing on the festival program and poster. Other perks are available at higher levels. Sign up HERE. Special rates available to certified Non-Profit organizations.

4) "B" is for Bluebirder

FOTHNA Treasurer and all-around treasure, Jim Marshall, was recently honored as "Bluebirder of the Year" for 2012 by the Texas Bluebird Society. His Project Bluebird maintains about 80 nest boxes around Fort Worth. Jim was also recently nominated for a 2013 Green Source DFW Environmental Leadership Award. Read more about Project Bluebird here:

Jim Marshall attending to his Bluebirds.

5) "N" is for Nest

Have you ever imagined what a Hummingbird nest looks like? Me neither, but I stumbled upon a well-preserved nest in early January in a remote corner of Tandy Hills. This tiny, cup-like nest is about the size of a golf ball, just big enough for a tiny egg. It is artfully constructed of, among other things, leaf hairs, moss and lichens. The whole thing is glued together with spider web silk. Read more about this fascinating subject here:

Hummingbird nest found at Tandy Hills Natural Area. January, 2013.

6) "F" is for Fest UPDATE

Prairie Fest 2013 is gaining momentum. Brave Combo will be back along with the Brazen Bellies for an afternoon set. We are very proud to announce that, Whiskey Folk Ramblers, new to Prairie Fest, will be the closing musical act. More details coming soon. Check the website for updates.

Our Prairie to the People theme is meant to call you back to the prairie for a day of fun, and is also intended to call forth your Citizen Soul. Saving open space for common use is what inspired Don and Debora Young to launch the first Prairie Fest from their driveway just across the street from Tandy Hills. We hope you'll hear our call, and join a small group of dedicated volunteers working to make the festival a reality.

Volunteer hike leaders are invited to a free workshop presented by the Texas Wildlife Association. Everyone is welcome, and educators who need continuing education hours will receive SBEC credit for PF volunteer training this year. We also need the help of Master Naturalists. TWA trainers assure us that regional Master Naturalist chapters have also been awarded credited hours for the workshop. Lunch will be provided by Dixon Water Foundation. Go to to register for the Saturday, April 6 training. For a list of Prairie Fest volunteer options, go to:

Poster design by Jen Schultes for FOTHNA.

7) "V" is for Vote

Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area has been nominated in the Non-Profit category for a 2013 Green Source DFW Environmental Leadership Award. We would like your vote. Go HERE:

8) MM-WW on TV

The Manly Men Wild Women Hike the Hills on New Years Day drew about 25 people on a cold and yucky day, many of them new to Tandy Hills. At the end of the hike they were greeted by a reporter and cameraman from CBS-11 TV. You can watch the TV video report online, HERE:

9) "W" is for Wildflower of the Moment

The Wildflowers are slowly coming out of hibernation and will come roaring back in March.

10) "P" is for Prairie Plant Puzzler

This time of year my sandpapery, brown leaves are often seen blowing around the prairie like Tandy Hills tumbleweeds. But in Spring they are silvery green, stiff and erect. In late Summer my yellow blooms resemble Sunflowers. Once upon a time, thousands and thousands of acres of my ancestors covered the prairie, "tickling the bellies of buffalo." What's my name?

I once tickled the bellies of buffalo. What's my name?

11) Prairie Proverb

"I walk here and there, seeking open,
flat spaces against a sky up high.
I have discovered, too late, perhaps,
that I always preferred the empty more than the full,
for breathing and forgiving."

- Teresa Palomo Acosta, The Prairie Farmland Fields, (from, Between Heaven and Texas) 2006

A late January thunderstorm rolls across the Tandy prairie, soon to be carpeted in colorful wildflowers.

Prairie Notes© is the official newsletter of Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area. All photographs by Don Young except where otherwise noted.