Sunday, March 4, 2012

Saturday March 3, 2012-Caddo Lake NWR

We woke this morning to another nice morning. It was cool but dry and the day turned beautifully. We all met at the headquarters building for Texas Parks and Wildlife's Vanessa to give us a class on Invasive Species which includes both plants and animals. We learned that an invasive species is one that is not native to Texas and tends to eliminate or hinder naturally occurring plants and animals. One, the giant Salvinia is being fought by TPWD here at Caddo Lake. Read more about it HERE. We also learned about other species that are considered to be invasive. Did you know that the common chickweed, dandelion, perriwinkle and water hyacinth are considered invasive? Other common plants are: camphor tree, chinaberry tree, Chinese Tallow tree, Chinese Privet, Chinese wisteria, elephant ears, several species of bamboo trees, Pampas grass, salt cedar, mimosa, and many others that we commonly see. Check out the invasives website for more.

After the class, we got fed a good meal of pizza and then they put us to work. A local artist had gone out to one of the large concrete magazines that once housed munitions when this was a working ammunition plant and had drawn several invasives on the walls. We colored the drawings in and some day, they may clean up the magazines and permanently paint them with these.

Here us everyone getting ready to begin coloring the invasives on the walls. You can see a bit of color that is already there.

Here are several of the people coloring on the walls. Stella, walking behind everyone that is working, became very defensive when I told her that I had taken several pictures of her walking around when the others were working. I only call 'em like I see 'em... just sayin'

Some of the finished drawings. They turned out pretty well if I do say so. It still seems kind of silly to me, but we got some good training and will get a certificate from the state.

Stella and Sue hard at work! Let that be a lesson to me.

The Crew: Vanessa, Linda, Ron, Sue, Todd, Stella and me. It was a nice day and we all had fun.

We went for a ride down to the Starr Ranch. This property was owned by the Starr family and was their weekend home. It sits right on Caddo Lake and I'm sure that in it's day, it was a fine place. I'm not sure if the Starr family once owned some of the land where the Longhorn Army ammunition plant was or if the army just bought out the Starr family's property. I searched for information on the Starr family but couldn't find anything on them or their ranch.

This is a close-up of the ranch house. The white building was the kitchen, but it is in really bad condition and should be demolished. I'm told that this is the plan.

The back side of the house shows the cistern which is on the back side of the house and just above the small enclosure for the water heater. Also seen sticking out of the back window of the kitchen is an air conditioning unit. They did have some amenities, with a full bathroom in the main house.

I'm told that the plans are to demolish the kitchen building and then repair the main house as a sleeping area for scout groups. Someone stole the large cedar mantle over the fireplace but it can be replaced.

The north east section of Caddo Lake, the only natural lake in Texas.

One of the large cypress trees out in the middle of the lake. There are many more at the state park that is nearby.

Will is going to get some fishing in this afternoon. Will is an intern that is staying here at the refuge.

Here are some of the signs that the Boy Scouts put up a couple of weeks ago. They did a really good job.

We came back home and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. Well. to be honest, Stella went over to the education center and washed our clothes while the dogs and I relaxed...

So long.

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