“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” -Leopold
This was the first quote in the book that really stuck out to me, mostly because it reminded me of home, which for me is Maryland. At my home, the majority of our heat comes from two wood stoves we heavily rely on. Therefore, heating the house becomes a serious chore. Throughout the year, my family gathers wood and stacks it in a hut. When the cold weather comes, we stack some wood on our front porch, and while home, the stoves constantly require more wood. Not only did this quote remind me of home though, but it pointed out how distant our society is from nature. It seems Leopold’s point is that with our many conveniences, it’s easy to forget where things really come from. I found this an appropriate way to begin a blog which engages students to reconnect with nature.
Throughout the semester, I’ll be revisiting Blunn Creek Nature Preserve. However, I only went once this month because I had the opportunity to go to other places in Travis County and beyond: McKinney Falls State Park and Pedernales Falls State Park. In all three locations there was some sort of water source, which I plan to focus on in my blogs.
I went to McKinney Falls on January 17 from about 3 to 5pm. It was a very nice day out, so there were many people out. Although I didn’t observe many animals other than pet dogs, I did observe something I found to be quite interesting. After walking across and beyond the upper falls, I walked around a part I hadn’t seen before. What was so interesting was that much of the plant life here, including trees and cacti, looked like they had been washed out by a flood, based on their sideways position.
On January 24, I was at Pedernales Falls between 3 and 5pm. Pedernales Falls was amazing. It’s located in Johnson City, TX, about a 45 minute drive from Austin. What’s awesome about it is that nearly the entire place is stone. A river runs through the maze of stone, and although now it’s low enough for people to walk on, climb, and jump around the stone, I wonder what the river would look like after a heavy rainfall. I imagine it would be very violent.
On January 31 between 5 and 6pm, I went to Blunn Creek where I spent the majority of my time observing the creek there. When I first walked up to it, I noticed some minnows in the water. The water level of the creek was low enough to easily cross it. There was also a significant amount of algae, and some kind of orange muck in spots that were particularly low. A swarm of gnats bothered me for a bit, and I didn’t see many birds.
Throughout the semester, I plan to focus my blogs on the water of Blunn Creek. I’m not sure of the exact rainfall totals, but I know that January 2014 has been particularly dry. I look forward to seeing how life in and around the creek changes in the next few months.