Archive for June, 2009

The Reason for Ugly Ducklings

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program

Twice a year you may find yourself face-to-face with some ugly ducks…

A duck will undergo two times during the year what we call a molt where they lose and replace all the feathers on their body.

Kevin Kraai is a waterfowl specialist. The first of the twice yearly molts leaves the birds vulnerable.

They molt every feather on their body, including their wing feathers, or their primaries. That takes place in late summer. And there is a period when they’re replacing their wing feathers that they are flightless, and it is a vulnerable time in their lifecycle.

However, these creatures are programmed to survive, and plan for their safety.

It just so happens that they will migrate to places that are conducive to their survival where they aren’t close to land bearing predators – and they’ll be out on the middle of large wetlands – away from predation.

Waterfowl molt because feathers don’t last forever. Drakes molt first, and hens molt once their ducklings are a little older. The reason waterfowl go through a second…partial molt… in winter …is strictly personal.

And this molt is the replacement of feathers – putting on their
breeding plumage

That’s our show…sponsored with a grant from the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program…working to increase fishing, hunting, shooting and boating opportunities in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Texas Oases

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

The July issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine is traditionally devoted to water, and covers serious issues. This July, Managing Editor Louie Bond says they’re having a little fun.

This July’s fun article will be about natural water gems—these beautiful little oases. And the ones we’re focusing on are primarily in Central Texas. And so we have places like Blue Hole and Jacob’s Well in Wimberley, and Hamilton Pool and West cave, and Gorman Falls. And these places are just magical. The thing about these places is that they’re actually very fragile, and we’ve loved many of them to death. And so, there’s a balance that we have to find between enjoying these wonderful places and preserving them. So, we tell the stories of these five places; I’m lucky enough to live near several of them, and I know in my little home town of Wimberley, we’ve gone to great efforts to preserve Blue Hole and Jacob’s Well. And, it takes citizen action, government involvement, and so, there’s a call to action, I think, for people to look around them in their own communities. If they don’t have a place like this, they might want to come visit one and see if they want to be part of that. But, we can all work together to enjoy and protect these natural wonders.

The July issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine is on newsstands now.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Reconnect with the Past

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

When I come here in the morning I milk cows or run a cream separator, or do all the things the men used to do, or might have done.

That’s not the typical way most of us start our days, but then, Ricky Weinheimer’s job isn’t typical. He manages the Sauer Beckmann Living History Farm in Stonewall, where he performs the daily chores of a typical turn of the [20th] century farmer.

Back then, folks worked hard, slept good. They didn’t have everything to distract them in life. They stayed put on the farm. And, they still had time on Sundays to visit with neighbors. And that’s something you don’t find much anymore—everybody’s too busy in this modern day world.

When Weinheimer leaves the historic farm, he continues his agricultural avocation at his family’s farm.

Actually I have the best of both worlds: a modern life of tractors and equipment we have; plus, once I step across the fence here, the clock gets turned back, and we farm with horses, turning plows, a machine called a garden hoe and push plow…and blacksmithing and everything else that goes along with it.

Rural life in Texas changed slowly, and many people still recall those simpler times—something that Weinheimer says is often lost on the very young.

Adults will come into our barn and they’ll just take a deep breath and they’ll say…’ahhh…smells good’. The children behind them are holding their noses.

Reconnect with your farming past at the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm…it’s never too late…learn how at

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

The Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm in Stonewall offers visitors a glimpse of life at a turn of the [20th] century Texas German farmstead. Virginia Grona is a site interpreter.

Interpretation for us here at the farm is actually living life early nineteen hundreds to about nineteen eighteen.

That includes wearing period clothing, cooking on a wood stove, tending farm animals, and whatever needs doing on the farm…without the convenience of motorized farm equipment, running water or electricity.

We’re doing it all because we want the visitors to see life like it would have been before electricity and running water. So, we literally work it with those limitations.

Women’s work was extremely physical then, says Grona, and, she adds, those gals were tough.

And you had to be. But everybody was. A lot of people say, well, I couldn’t have done it, but I say, you didn’t have a choice. You had better than your mother had, hopefully, but you don’t know what’s coming, so you just live with what you had at the moment.

Although men and women had different farm jobs, when necessary, everyone worked together.

When things have to be done—whether it’s crops brought in or something major going on—everybody had to work together. That’s the only way a family is going to make it—when everybody’s working together.

Many hands make light work in any century.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Spend a Little Time at State Parks

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Time spent in the outdoors is never wasted. And Texas state parks afford all citizens nearby… cost effective outlets for all flavors of nature lust. Walt Dabney is Director of State Parks for Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Texas is largely privately owned, so the parks – if you like to go out and do things in the out of doors – the parks are one of the primary locations you have to do those kinds of things. So whether you’re a horse user, or a fisherman, or a camper, or a hiker, or a birdwatcher, or a photographer – whatever it is – parks are where you have to go enjoy those things. The other thing about parks is that we have some very important places that represent Texas history, important places where events occurred or people lived, and that remind us of who we are and how we became what we are. So, a lot of interesting things from an educational or interest standpoint and certainly lots of places to just go have a great, fun experience in the out of doors.

And with a Texas State Parks Pass, you and your family will get unlimited entry to all state parks and historic sites for a full 12 months. Learn more about the pass by logging onto the Texas Parks and Wildlife Web site.

That’s our show for today…for Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.