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Once again winter has painted the outdoors with an abundance of grayish brown, forcing us to take notice of the exterior entryway to our homes. Now is a good time to reflect on those changes we’ve considered, or for that matter, changes we haven’t considered.

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Growing up in Pennsylvania, the winters were anything but mild. It was bundle up, and put your head down to brave the cold. I am so very thankful for the usually mild winters we experience here in South Texas. However as gardeners we need to be prepared for anything.

In late December and through January, those of us in east Texas are treated to the display of the timberdoodle if we take the time to seek them out. Timberdoodle? That’s the colloquial name for the American woodcock, a bird species that likes moist forests. Although they are taxonomically co…

Most folks have seen American robins in the winter months along the mid and upper Texas coast, as they regularly erupt south for food when it gets scarce up north. They don’t as much “migrate” as many migrant species do — they erupt. A few species will tough it out up north as long as there …

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I never thought of becoming president of Victoria County Master Gardener Association. In 2022, the president-elect needed to move from the area and someone had to take his place. The membership voted me in as president-elect at our general meeting July 26.

One of my favorite things about the winter months is the abundance of poinsettias. Poinsettias are perhaps the most popular holiday plant (besides Christmas trees) and for good reason. They’re relatively easy to care for and come in a wide variety of bright, beautiful colors. But even though…

If your lawn is looking a bit thin, it’s not too late to plant temporary rye grass seed that would fill in any spots you don’t want to stay bare until next spring.

Gulf Coast Bird Observatory surveys for nonbreeding shorebirds along the Upper Texas Coast as part of our avian research. We continue to monitor Matagorda Beach, Bryan Beach, Quintana Beach, Surfside Beach, and Follet’s Island until the end of March. Our target species are piping plover, sno…

One of Texas’s most interesting birds is the Attwater’s prairie chicken, a type of grouse. These birds are very local, as they are found only in two Texas counties, Colorado and Goliad counties. They only live in the Gulf Coast prairies, a habitat that is now hard to find.

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Using winter berries and evergreen foliage to decorate homes in the winter has a long and revered history, especially in Europe. Ancient peoples found comfort and a symbolic promise for the coming spring in the evergreen foliage and red fruits of locally available plants like hollies.

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Christmas time is the most magical and possibly the most expensive time of year. I remember as a child waiting with uncontained anticipation for the Sears Wishbook, as well as the Montgomery Ward and the J.C. Penney gift catalogs to come in the mail.

Have you ever heard of an oriole? No, not the black and white cookie. Orioles are colorful birds that eat berries, fruit, insects, and nectar. These birds are not only interesting to look at, they also have an intriguing natural history.

For this week’s column, I thought I’d write something to help you identify some of the common insect pests often found in gardens. Knowing what pest you’re battling can help you to control the problems. I’ll go through many of the pests and popular vegetables I usually get questions about.

Gulf Coast Bird Observatory surveys for non-breeding shorebirds along the Upper Texas Coast as part of our research. GCBO intern Alex Pearcy and I monitor Matagorda Beach, Bryan Beach, Quintana Beach, Surfside Beach, and Follet’s Island from the beginning of August to the end of March. Our t…

Looking at a topographic map of Texas, one can see the Coastal Plain of Texas, the land beside the Gulf of Mexico, has some of the lowest elevation of the state. As one travels to the west, elevation steadily increases to 1,000 plus meters above sea level.

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The Victoria County Master Gardener’s second annual Meet and Greet will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Victoria Educational Gardens (VEG) Pavilion, 263 Bachelor Drive in Victoria.

One of my favorite things to do on a cool day here in coastal Texas is beachcombing. Beachcombing is essentially scouring the beach or coast for little treasures. This can mean sea glass, shells, rocks, coral, or other unique finds.

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Autumn is hands down my favorite time of year with all the different colors of the leaves, flowers and pumpkins. As a child, I remember going with my family to choose our pumpkin at a local nursery. We would walk around the area trying to choose the right pumpkin. We might even have a sample…

It’s the spookiest time of the year, and I’ve been seeing a lot of bat decorations around. This has got me thinking about our winged mammal friends, who often do not get the credit they deserve.

I’ve been thinking a lot about grasshoppers lately because I’m going to use them as bait for our shrike trap in November (I’m a researcher at Gulf Coast Bird Observatory). Don’t worry, no grasshoppers or shrikes will be harmed in this experiment!

For the past 26 years, the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory has hosted the Smith Point Hawk Watch at the Candy Abshier Wildlife Management Area in Anahuac.

When I think of vegetable gardens, I always think of broccoli. I love most vegetables, but broccoli has to be my all-time favorite vegetable.

A while back, I got a text message from a friend with a picture of a snake saying, “Do you know what it is?” After one glance at the image, I text back “Red and yellow kill a fellow. Do not touch that snake. Coral snake dude. Do not touch.”

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As the calendar says, it is autumn and a wonderful time to start your fall vegetable garden. As always, think about where you want to plant your garden. I find it best to put your garden in plain view, that way you will not forget about your garden chores. Important tasks like watering and h…

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  • Glen Zuck said:

    Dawn and family..I grew up around Ralph and Rosalie.Rosalie and mom (Dolores Hosek Zuck) were 2nd cousins growing up together in Dacosta where I still live and maintaining the family farm.I an…

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  • Sylvia Cuellar said:

    Our prayers are with all the family . They have been my daddy’s neighbor’s for quite some time .. she will be missed … 🥰🥰🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

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  • Jeannie Webernick said:

    I worked for many years as a nurse when Mrs Henke was the administrator of our hospital. I am deeply saddened to hear of her passing. Prayers for her family and friends

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  • Darlene Mowels said:

    I send my love, condolences and prayers for your loss. I am always here for you Patsy. Love you,

    Darlene Yvonne Mowels

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