Lewis Weil

And obligatory bird counting volunteer badge?

I watched Dr. Katz when I was a kid and I still think about this sea cow bit

My brother and I will still say to each, “I have a layer of blubber to keep me warm in the water.”

Whatever sea cow.

I got more flour from Barton Springs Mill, I had run out and missed using it. At first I thought using it would be a fun experiment and then I would go back to using King Arthur bread flour. Once I did switch back I really missed all the character of the Barton Springs Flour. My mix is 90% their premium all purpose flour and 10% their Rouge de Bourdeaux whole wheat. King Arthur makes a nice loaf, but this local flour just has so much more character. And the dough just feels luxurious. It isn't that much more expensive than King Arthur, this is my everyday flour now. Plus, the folks at Barton Springs Mill are super nice!

I am experimenting with the restoration technique. I am laying down cardboard and then a layer of mulch. Then seeding the mulch with a mix of Blackland Prairie seeds. If it works well this will smother the grass under the cardboard, giving the native seeds a chance to get established. Eventually the cardboard and mulch should breakdown, leaving only dirt and native plants.

This is a variation on my usual technique of laying down muslin fabric and topsoil. I have hopes that this will work as well or better. It is cheaper and uses discarded materials. It is my hope that the mulch is harder for the squirrels to disturb compared to soft soil.

I went to my first prescribed burn today with my friends John and Hazel. Burning the prairie replicates the natural fires that used to burn in the wild. Fire is an essential and natural part of the prairie ecosystem. Plus it damn cool.

Don't try this on your own. We were on a prepared site, with trained wildlife professionals and firefighters on site. As the firefighters said, there is no such thing as a controlled burn.

Last week Eric Paulus and I planted a Bald Cypress tree at Circle Acres. I was really happy to get that tree a good home near some water. They need a lot of water, more than I could responsibly give it at my house. I had it for a few years, it was a replacement tree from Jonsteen trees. I had bought a baby Redwood at Muir Woods a few years ago. It died from me overmulching it. Even though it was my fault Jonsteen kindly sent a replacement tree and suggested a Bald Cypress which is found in Austin. In a way this tree had a very circuitous route to being planted in a forest in East Austin. Hopefully it roots well and thrives. Picking spots to plant trees is a funny thing.

(ignoring my finger in the shot, it's an otherwise good photo of Eric in action)

I was so motivated from planting with Eric that I went home and planted a Chinquapin Oak that I had waiting to go in the ground. It is a replacement for the Redoak in my yard that failed last year. Chinquapin Oaks are native to the area, produce acorns that wildlife love, and I read are “stately” trees. I look forward it becoming a giant in my backyard.

Here is some bonus pics of some mushrooms we saw growing on a log.

And another fascinating cypress from Circle Acres, it is a clone of the 2000 year old Árbol del Tule in Oaxaca

Me after we chopped down a failing tree in the front yard and then cleaned up the mess.

AND try to be better, and more true to my goals.

I was happy that Tesla was making an electric truck. The direction they decided to go with is a sad missed opportunity. Their other vehicles have been a great way to get a larger audience for electric cars. I drive a Nissan Leaf, which I am big fan of, but I know that the design is not winning anyone over who isn't already into electric cars. To slow global warming emissions big vehicles that use a lot of gas need to be electrified.

Trucks are great, they are functional, and they are beautiful. They are a statement. It is very easy to romanticize trucks. Instead of embracing the romantic and practical aspects of the truck Tesla chose to fully embrace the violent, personal tank, version of trucks. The thing they built is a personal tank, it is not practical for people who use a truck for work. Maybe it will sell well to some market, but it won't be to people who are replacing their F150. Which to me was the whole point.

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