It’s The Little (Exoskeleton) Things


“It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible.” ~ Samuel Johnson

Readers Beware: This post is crawling with bugs.
Relax! Take a Prozac and learn a little something today.

We Are Outnumbered, But That’s Okay

This is an insect’s world and we’re living in it. When people think of insects it’s typically the nuisance ones — mosquitoes, cockroaches, caterpillars, lice — and it is usually in the context of how to kill it. We call them ‘pests.’ We call them ‘creepy.’ We squash them and swat them without second thought.

We rarely consider the inter-connectedness of our species to them, that our survival is dependent upon their survival. Before we assumed dominion over the earth, this was their world, and when our extinction comes to pass, they will still be here, still ruling the planet, no doubt heaving a sigh of relief that we are gone.

Without us, they thrive. Without them, we die, plain and simple.

Continue reading It’s The Little (Exoskeleton) Things

Floods, Surf, and Frigatebirds


When A Foot Of Rain Falls in 4 Hours

Houston isn’t called The Bayou City for nothing. There are spaghetti noodles of tributaries and creeks and bayous all over its map, so when the sky let loose late Memorial Day 2015, it was just another rainy day. Until it wasn’t. Texas towns to the north of us saw their share of heavy rainfall, too, and all of that water was already rushing down to us via two rivers — the Trinity and the Brazos — which were already expanding into flood plains.

No need to watch the news. This was going to be a disaster.

Continue reading Floods, Surf, and Frigatebirds

Spring Babies, Blog Update


 “Just living is not enough…one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” ~ Hans Christian Andersen

A Personal Note

We are officially ‘off’ for the summer with lots to be done — and savored — off-line. New posts will lag for the time being, and though I strive to keep to once-per-week writing, I never promised posts would all be new.

So, for you email followers… Reading from within your inbox, you may have noticed fewer posts arriving. This is because I’ve been re-posting from the archives. It is a lazy blogging effort on my part and won’t result in anything landing in your inbox. (They’ve already been delivered, remember?)

For you registered WP bloggers… Some posts showing up in your WP or RSS Reader will be from previous years — I call it ‘up-cycling.’ New content will be mixed in with others. Don’t forget to check specific tags like garden or vegan or birds, depending upon why it is you followed DirtNKids in the first place. Four years of blogging makes for a lot of posts, and there’s plenty here to be read and viewed regardless of my time away.

In short, I’m not going anywhere! Continue to interact here however you like, and I will continue to reply back. We will simply be immersing ourselves into summer — with all its organizing, lazing, exploring, learning, growing — much as you will be with yours. But enjoying every moment to its fullest means ‘unplugging’ in the most general sense.

~ Shannon @ DirtNKids Blog, 5/29/2015

Smith Oaks Rookery – Water Babies

During our week-long trip to the coast recently, we braved the mosquito onslaught to see some babies that we might never see otherwise. What we saw was worth the quick run in and quick run out (mosquitoes don’t land on running bodies).

Continue reading Spring Babies, Blog Update

Happiness With A House Finch


“The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it.” ~ Richard Bach

This is my first encounter with House Finches on the back porch. They don’t usually let me get close enough for photos, and I almost always am relegated to inside the kitchen with field lenses to view these beauties. They are very skittish and fly off with the slightest detected movement forward; for once, they stayed.

Continue reading Happiness With A House Finch

Gulf Coast Monsoon: When Rain Clouds Lurk


“A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is rain. ~ Arabian proverb

No Complaints

It’s been very wet and cool down here on the Gulf Coast of Texas this spring. ‘Cool’ is not normal for the month of May; ‘wet,’ on the other hand, is expected. Thankfully, I work and live in the same place, where there is no need to get out in it unless we run out of food. Floods are common in heavy downpours and traffic problems do result, but they are nothing like the real monsoon rains along the equator. Just check out this Freshly Pressed piece in the style of Steve McCurry’s fabulous photography:  Monsoon: A Photo Essay.

Continue reading Gulf Coast Monsoon: When Rain Clouds Lurk