• J. Darris Mitchell


ON Desk

I am gearing up for Nanowrimo. I’m going to attempt to write 50k of a sci-fi book aimed at my fifth grade self for my son to read when he’s ten. I’ve already told him the entire story, so hoping I can tap into that and fly through it! I believe in rough rough-drafts, so gonna do my best to finish and deal with making it decent later! Wish me luck! I wish you luck on yours! Let’s do this!

Personal Note

We ripped out a bunch of grass from our front yard and put in a ton of native flowering plants, shrubs and a pecan tree! It was so much fun! We’re hoping that everything gets established this fall and winter, so when spring comes everything is ready to explode with growth. I did this last year with some natives and it worked great. I’m going to be a nervous wreck every time it freezes this winter, but letting the plants get their roots going before the summer is a huge advantage in the central Texas drought-prone climate. Planting the pecan tree was amazing. It's eight feet tall! Easily the tallest tree I’ve ever planted, and one of the skinniest! I hope it survives the winds of winter.

Once we finished planting and watering, a ton of butterflies showed up to sip water from the mud. A good sign! They don’t yet know that I’m going to hella-mulch on Friday.

If anyone is considering landscape plans in Central Texas let me know! If know a thing or two about what grows here without fertilizer or irrigation systems.

Bird of the Week

There is a tiny sharp-shinned hawk in my backyard hunting my sparrows! And to him I say, EAT THEM ALL! I find it totally rad that a suburban landscape can support predators.

In other news, that juvenile Harris Hawk I wrote to you about ? Turns out it was a juvenile, red-shouldered hawk. Am I embarrassed? Hell yeah! Am I glad someone caught my mistake? Definitely!

I’ve wanted to see this bird since I started birding, so when someone claimed to spot one, I believed their photo, even though it was the scraggliest juvenile I had ever seen. But that’s because it wasn’t actually a Harris Hawk. Derp!

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