Archive for May, 2005

Clematis Blooms

Monday, May 30th, 2005

DSCN2080, originally uploaded by trekr.

One of the joys of spring is the flowers. These Clematis were transplanted from our old house over eight years ago. Every year, they pop out of the vines along the fence for a few weeks before the heat puts them into a serious hurt. By the way, this photo makes a great wallpaper on your PC. Check out my photos on Flickr of the other flowers Jacqui and the girls have planted around the yard.

Organic Gardening

Monday, May 30th, 2005


DSCN5294, originally uploaded by trekr.

One of the benefits of avoiding the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides on our property is the presence of a large number of toads, frogs, lizards, and salamanders. They help keep the insects in check and create a balance that’s easier to live with then the chemical warfare alternative. The amphibions seem to be the first effected by chemicals because their skin readily absorbs the toxins. So when I see them in abundance, I don’t worry about the kids playing in the grass and dirt.

This is a Gulf Coast toad that I photographed yesterday in the flower bed near the back porch. Notice the distinctive ridge forming a valley between the eyes. The Gulf Coast toad can grow to four to five inches. This one was about three.

I Own my Ideas

Friday, May 27th, 2005


DSCN5242, originally uploaded by trekr.

"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen."John Steinbeck

For the first time in my working life, I own my ideas. Since they are mine, I’ve decided I’ll share a few on these pages in the coming days. It’ll be a change from the nature posts you’ve been seeing, so fair warning is due.

Now this little rabbit has been living in our garden. He finds a nice home there because we failed to weed the garden where it hasn’t been planted. The weeds are several feet high and provide a nice place to hide and some shade as well. Yesterday, Jacqui harvested the garlic and found an area laid flat by the rabbits nest. This rabbit and I have made our acquaintence over the past several days, so I was able to get within five yards to take this photo.

School’s Out

Friday, May 27th, 2005


DSCN5183, originally uploaded by trekr.

It’s summer. We hit record temperatures earlier this week, 98 degrees. That’s what I love about Texas weather. There is only a one day transition from spring to summer. If you’re indoors all day, you might miss it.

Leaving the Nest

Thursday, May 19th, 2005

DSCN5161, originally uploaded by trekr.

All three of the remaining Louisiana Waterthrush hatchlings left the nest this morning, twelve days after hatching. I was in and out the back door frequently this morning while repairing my lawn mower and was lucky enought to catch the last two leaving. Their first flight was about 10 yards to the edge of the porch. Then their parents called them into the Hawthorne bushes. All day long you could hear the baby birds calling for food. It will be interesting to see how long the parents continue to feed the babies. The first bird out of the nest is still being fed by the parents.

Pool’s Open

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

DSCN4809, originally uploaded by trekr.

I mentioned in an earlier post the mallard ducks that have made swimming in our pool part of their daily routine. I managed to photograph them the other day. Its difficult to get close to them. Check out my other photos on Flickr and you can see what I mean. I forgot to turn off red eye reduction and the blinking flash sent them flying. We’re seeing them less often lately and soon they will move on until next spring. The water is warm enough for the youngest of our children, so “Pool’s open !” (Just as soon as I clean up after the ducks :)

Off to College

Friday, May 13th, 2005

DSCN5014, originally uploaded by trekr.

The first baby bird has left the nest this afternoon. About four days early by my estimates. Now that the biggest baby is out of the nest, I can see that there are three left and one egg that didn’t hatch. It didn’t take long for a pair of cardinals to start chasing him, but the parents drove them off. An avid reader of my posts (thanks Mom !) identified these birds as Louisiana Waterthrush. This little bird is used to having his picture taken and didn’t mind me getting so close.

Stewardship

Friday, May 13th, 2005

DSCN5003, originally uploaded by trekr.

We’ve had to cut down a few oak trees over the years that died from hypoxylon canker. As stewards of the land, we’ve tried to plant more then we’ve cut. This is a Chinese empress tree in its second year. It’s growing about five feet a year so far. This spring, its doubled in size! I can’t recommend it yet. I’ll let you know what I think of it in a decade or so.

Free Lunch

Thursday, May 12th, 2005

DSCN4900, originally uploaded by trekr.

There is a infamous story about squirrels and the previous homeowner’s wife. She claimed a squirrel came out of the toilet just as she sat down. She called the police and there was a big to do about it. So much fuss was made that the story continues to be retold by neighbors whenever the subject of squirrels comes up. I don’t know if its true. Its hard to imagine how a squirrel would get in a toilet. But I do know, that her husband pounded in the lead vent pipe coverings on the roof.

In any case, there is a free lunch around here if you are a squirrel.

Devoted Parents

Wednesday, May 11th, 2005

DSCN4876, originally uploaded by trekr.

Today I caught of photo of one parent feeding the hatchlings. It wasn’t easy to get the shot because these birds are very careful approaching their nest. If you know what kind of bird this is, please let me know.

More hungry mouths

Saturday, May 7th, 2005

DSCN4730, originally uploaded by trekr.

Some of the birds hatched yesterday. They make a very quiet chirping noise. Their parents are busy feeding them. I’m amazed that they chose to nest so closely to our back door. We’re all used to each other I guess. My wife reminded me that I forgot about our other springtime visitor. A wild rabbit has decided to help us weed our garden. So far he’s been a good guest and hasn’t destroyed any of the vegetables. The beehive has divided as well and taken up residence in another pillar across the pool.

Springtime in Texas

Friday, May 6th, 2005


DSCN4710, originally uploaded by trekr.

Every spring this pair of little birds makes a nest in the same flower pot under our back covered porch. Welcome back. There are five eggs in the nest. We are hoping they all hatch. We have other regular visitors every spring. Check out my photostream to see the mallard ducks that have made our swimming pool their springtime home. This is their third year to camp out in the pool. They stay a few weeks and move on. There is a frog that lives somewhere in the landscaping by the pool. At night, he parks himself in the skimmer basket and catches an easy meal or two. The frog has been living in the pool for at least four years now. I make an extra effort to be careful about when and how I chlorinate the pool. My wife is an organic gardener so there are no man made chemical fertilizers or pesticides on our property. Works out nicely, because it would cost a fortune to use chemicals over our acre. Finally, a hive of bees decided to take up a home in one of the fence pillars around the pool. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to find a way to live with them or if I’ll have to call a bee keeper. I’ll keep you posted.

The Pace of Change

Thursday, May 5th, 2005

I received some feedback the other day from a retained recruiter on my candidacy for a VP Engineering role at a company that wanted to change, but not too fast. The CEO and CFO felt that because of my military background, I might be too aggressive with the pace of the changes.  Most organizations that fail to change, fail because not everyone is on board.   In business, this is usually middle management.  I’d be more worried about hiring a passive aggressive manager then one that is mistakenly perceived to be too aggressive because of their military training.   I’ll post later about misconceptions of the military.

The pace of change is really about the process of making a decision and building consensus. It is not about the schedule for executing the change plan. To paraphrase Yoda, change or change not…there is no try, no fast or slow. Decisions are made or not. Decisions are accepted by others or not. The pace of change is fast or slow depending on how long the CEO allows for everyone to accept his decision, because the CEO enforces accountability for meeting the milestones in the change plan.  Or he does not.

Volunteering

Wednesday, May 4th, 2005

ice sky bird
Originally uploaded by trekr.

My wife volunteers at our children’s elementary school and she talked me into helping with a major landscaping project last Saturday. Just as we were finishing, the sky turned to colors. Volunteering has many rewards.  I plan to do more.

A Healthy Attitude

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005

“The nonchalance of boys who are sure of a dinner, and would disdain as much as a lord to do or say aught to conciliate one, is the healthy attitude of human nature. A boy is in the parlour what the pit is in the playhouse; independent, irresponsible, looking out from his corner on such people and facts as pass by, he tries and sentences them on their merits, in the swift, summary way of boys, as good, bad, interesting, silly, eloquent, troublesome. He cumbers himself never about consequences, about interests: he gives an independent, genuine verdict. You must court him: he does not court you. But the man is, as it were, clapped into jail by his consciousness. As soon as he has once acted or spoken with eclat, he is a committed person, watched by the sympathy or the hatred of hundreds, whose affections must now enter into his account. There is no Lethe for this. Ah, that he could pass again into his neutrality! Who can thus avoid all pledges, and having observed, observe again from the same unaffected, unbiased, unbribable, unaffrighted innocence, must always be formidable. He would utter opinions on all passing affairs, which being seen to be not private, but necessary, would sink like darts into the ear of men, and put them in fear.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

My six year old son reminded me of self-reliance. “Dad, did you get fired?” An independent, genuine verdict. It was easier and more honest to just answer yes rather than try to explain restructuring.

These pages will be a view looking out of my corner.