Author Archives: Larry Gfeller

Morning Mists

I could subsist on morning mist—Jarod Kintz We have all been enchanted, at one time or another, by some awesome display of nature. A field of wildflowers, a pastel rainbow, big mountains in mantles of snow, sunlight reflected on the water, the rich white inner light of a full moon. Why do we notice?  By what force is our attention stolen, seemingly beyond our power to resist?  Could it be the rarity—the fear that we may never again witness a sight so grand?  Is it because we don’t… Read More →

The Ghosts of Monahans

  At its most basic level, all experiences can be described as “good,” provided you survive them. While crossing West Texas in pursuit of a cooler June climate in the mountains of New Mexico, we parked our RV for four days at Monahans Sandhills State Park, outside Monahans, Texas. Arriving in the mid-afternoon, the ambient temperature was a withering 103 degrees.  As we navigated our way around the narrow, winding asphalt road to our campsite, I remember an eerie sense that this would be—for reasons I could not… Read More →

Bulls Eye At Ten Paces

The scene is a fruit stand in Paris, a wet sidewalk reflects the hard mineral blue of the morning sky. Streets are all but deserted. As the camera pans in closer, Penelope the cat comes into view; around the corner scampers a shiny black skunk. The proprietor is clearly agitated: Cat/Penelope: Le mew? Le purrrrrrr. Proprietor: A-a-ahhh. Le pussy ferocious! Remove zot skunk! Zot cat-pole from ze premises!! Avec !! Cat/Penelope: (Smells skunk) Sniff, sniff, sniff-sniff, sniff-sniff. Pepé: Quel est ? *notices cat* Ahh… le belle femme skunk fatale… *clicks… Read More →

Back Roads Nature–Davis Mountains State Park

The mountainside is set ablaze by the first reach of the morning sun. I slip and stumble up Montezuma Quail trail, the pale heat of the sun warms my cheek. Footing is treacherous and balance is critical (I should’ve brought my walking stick). Not only is the mountainside gravelly and steep, it’s peppered with sotol, cholla cactus and other nasties—fantasies of being cut to pieces as I roll helplessly down the mountain! From this vantage point, I peer at the surrounding volcanic cradle of cliffs and valleys, all… Read More →

Down on the Farm

This little epistle is about the Luling Foundation Farm and the role it plays in helping educate area farmers and ranchers. So why should farming matter to Texas Master Naturalists?  It’s no accident that Texas AgriLife Extension is a co-sponsor of our organization.  Do you think it possible for a farmer/rancher to be successful today without practicing conservation and sensibly using our natural resources?  Most of our state’s celebrated land stewards are farmers or ranchers.  Who better to understand the local weather patterns, the morphology of animals and… Read More →