Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Birds

Our birdfeeder is very busy here.



Ooh


Went out for a nighttime excursion, looking for the barred owl. Saw bunny rabbits, a rearing armadillo, raccoons, possums, wild boar, deer, a pair of bobcats, and heard something get killed. Can’t complain about not seeing the owl.

Brazos bend

Today is Annie’s birthday; seven years old. Lucky us.

Travel day tomorrow. Loved the swamp. Same weather, different place. Time to go back to the beach.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Brazos

More sound sightings of the owl. Distinctive “who cooks for you” call. Heard him while walking the Hoots Hollow Trail in the evening.

Meanwhile...


Monday, January 29, 2007

Brazos bend state park

A couple hundred miles north of Port Aransas, just southwest of Houston, home of the American Alligator. Swamps and trails to explore. Red bellied woodpecker. Carolina chickadee. Tufted titmouse. Ruby crowned and golden crowned kinglets. Hermit thrush. American pipit. Pine warbler. Armadillos. Coons. Least grebes (pretty far north for them). Anhinga. Pileated woodpecker. Yellow bellied sapsucker. Red shouldered hawk. Swamp sparrow. Vesper sparrow. Cardinals galore. Black vultures close enough to hear their wings. Grassy fields littered with robins. They have two birds here we haven’t seen before, the Henslow sparrow (a reclusive little thing), and the barred owl. We heard the barred owl tonight, but haven't been able to get close enough to see him yet. No sign of the sparrow yet. If we do see him, it will most likely be a fleeting look at his backside as he disappears back into the grass.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Brazos bend

Road trip! Travel day; we’re taking a trip! Time to explore another Texas State Park: Brazos Bend State Park. Forest and swamp. Keep your dog on a leash at all times. Don’t go in the water.

Okay. We can stay out of the water.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

My wife's criminal behavior

We used to think I was the only one in our household with a jury-duty-criminal-past….. but noooo. When last we wrote, Judy had received a jury subpoena and rescheduled her date. They told her she would receive another summons before the rescheduled date, but that didn’t happen, so Judy didn’t show for jury duty. The following Saturday, guess what.. the replacement summons, dated in December, arrived. So in a show of good faith, Judy showed up the following Monday at the courthouse, summons in hand, to report for jury duty (on the wrong day). Her efforts were not well received. Not only did Judy not get to do her jury duty, the jury clerk was so offended that Judy would reschedule then not show, she told Judy she would be reported to the judge and the judge would be giving her a call to tell her her fate.

That was a week ago. No fate-defining telephone call yet.

We’ll keep you posted.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Port a

Well, Seattle winter weather has settled in on the Gulf Coast. Cool and wet as far as we can see. Heavy rain this morning, but we had an appointment in Corpus Christi, so we unhooked the utilities and took the coach in for chassis service. They determined we need one new shock absorber, but it’s a Bilstein, not one they have in stock. So, after a day driving around in the Jeep while they had the motorhome, we’re back at Gulf Waters.

When you’re on a trip, stopping at night then driving off again the next morning, you settle into this nice rhythm. It’s all so easy. When you stop for a week, it takes a little more time to get ready to go when it’s time to leave. When you’ve been somewhere for a month, it’s like you put down roots. It takes a whole day to get everything sorted out and put back where it needs to be for traveling mode. We’ve been here a month, but we didn’t have to go through that much today, though. We just unhooked and left a bunch of stuff in our spot at Gulf Waters. We considered going on to somewhere else tonight, but realized one of the things we left at our site while we drove in separately to the repair shop, was the tow gear for the front of the car. We didn’t want to go anywhere else separately, so we just came back here.

One hundred twenty-seven days until the Americas Cup Challenger Series.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Along the way

Sometimes you don't see any black skimmers at all.


They like to hang out in flocks on the beach. They always stand facing into the wind together.



To fish, they fly along the surface of the water with that oversize lower mandible right in it, and snap up anything they hit. Looks risky, but it works and it is graceful as all get-out, except for that part where their heads snap down when they hit something. They're so good at it. We've never seen one of them hit a stick and do a header into the water.




Saturday, January 20, 2007

The birds...

The birds are back. All the usuals. The beach is packed with sanderlings; swarming with small plovers. Every day is different.

Warmer weather. Temperature in the fifties doesn’t feel cold like the thirties and forties did.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Along the way

Caving in to a fast food craving, I pick out a table as far as I can from the teenage girl describing to her friends exactly how wasted she got the night before, while Judy waits at the counter for our tacos. The next customer orders. The cashier asks: “for here or to go”. He pauses, answers, then turns to Judy to ask: “What difference could it possibly make?” Judy volunteered that maybe they needed to know whether to put his food on a tray or put it in a sack. He said: “It’s a coke!”

The more he thinks about it, the more agitated he gets. His coke shows up at the counter. He can’t help himself. He asks the cashier: “It’s a coke! What is the difference between here or to go?” The young kid at the counter patiently explains to him: “Some people want to eat their food here, some would rather take it with them.”

Speechless, the customer left.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Winter

I’m tired of weather in the thirties; sitting in the coach with the furnaces running. I’m threatening to move south, but there is not much south left… not without exposing ourselves to a whole new set of jury duty difficulties, what with the language difference and all….


Meanwhile...

… we just heard from some friends in the mountains that it had warmed up from seventeen below to a balmy three below.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Winter on the beach

Last night the power went out but we had our Y2K plan in place: plenty of water and fuel, battery backup for electricity, and a generator to recharge if we needed it. We’re set for weeks. Only needed a few hours before the electricity came back on, though.

The wind and rain have diminished. Temperature still in the thirties.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Life on the beach

A two thousand mile long cold front drags across us. Yesterday it was seventy-five and calm. Today it is thirties, wind in the twenties, and rain; with more of the same forecast for tomorrow.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Motorhoming

Another installment in my continuing effort to document everything that a person might do wrong while motorhoming. Item number 3,842. Let’s say you’re in a really nice RV Park with excellent desert landscaping and nice cement pads, and you don’t want to wait until you’re parked on gravel, you want to rinse off your batteries with a hose while the weather is warm, and you think you can just rinse off the cement below the batteries with the hose afterwards, and not leave a mark. Don’t imagine that you can spray some neutralizer from the auto supply store on it to stop it. Don’t think laundry detergent will help. Don’t think you can go buy some baking soda to scrub it with and make it go away. Nothing will help. It will leave a mark; a really interesting colorful mark. Then you have to go to the office and confess what you’ve done and everyone comes to look at it and shake their heads.

Happily, this has never happened on our site here in Texas. It has happened on a really nice site in Mesa, Arizona, however.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Movies

We have avoided the movie “RV” with Robin Williams. We like Robin Williams, but previews for the movie made it look like a string of lame RV clichés. Didn’t seem to be any reason to go there.

Well, we clicked around the pay-per-view channels last night and decided to watch it. Last chance channel: last chance to pay for it before it goes on the other channels for free. We were right, a string of lame clichés about motorhoming. What a riot! Predictable: like watching a favorite standup routine where you see the punch line coming and it is funny every time. Best $1.99 we’ve spent lately.


The beach

You walk the same beach every day and see the same birds…. except now. Suddenly, they’re gone. The gulls are still here, but there is hardly a sanderling to be seen. Not a willet, plover, red knot, or turnstone to be found. They were all here the first week of January. It’s too soon to head north. Wonder when they’ll be back.

You walk the same beach every day and every day it’s different. One day will be hundreds of sand dollars, the next day nothing. One day starfish the next day none. White jellyfish. Purple jellyfish. Chevrons. Cockleshells. Barnacles. Ghost shrimp. Sometimes the differences are subtle, but it’s always different.

We drove the National Seashore beach last week with John and Jo. We drove it this week with Ron and Linda. Both times there were plenty of birds there, although this week we only saw one small plover. Hard to perfect our revised plover identification skills when all we see is one.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Texas

We returned to Texas with some trepidation. After all, there could be warrants out for my arrest, having not reported for jury duty as ordered. Judy, however will not go to jail. Her jury notice included a number to call if you couldn’t make it. Judy called and rescheduled her jury duty… to January. That worked so well, I decided to call the telephone number they gave Judy and reschedule mine too. No such luck. “I’m here in January, schedule me!” No can do. Without a current jury summons, I can’t be scheduled. I have to wait until I get another summons, call and reschedule that one. No penance allowed just because I happen to be in the state.

Meanwhile, when Judy called to reschedule hers, they told her the date to appear and said she’d receive a new summons in the mail. She is scheduled to appear on Tuesday, but still no notice. Think she should go without one?

Naa. No way they’d recognize her without a jury summons in her hand. We’ll just see what happens. After all, how bad could it be?


Winter Pictures from Western KS

At the risk of making everyone colder than they already are, let me forward the pictures of Western Kansas Ken sent me.

It would really suck to be that steer.


From: Steve Taylor [mailto:steve@taylorroth.com]
Sent: Friday, January 12, 2007 4:08 PM
To: spt@thetaylorcompany.net
Subject: FW: Winter Pictures from Western KS


From: Ken Roth [mailto:ken@taylorroth.com]
Sent: Friday, January 12, 2007 3:06 PM
To: Steve Taylor
Subject: FW: Winter Pictures from Western KS

Hope you are warm down there.

Weather update

We're currently 75 degrees warmer than Colorado.



Iron gator

It's a two page cut and paste job, but here is our site plan.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Teigan's exciting day

Teigan's first lost tooth.

Teigan's tooth fell out at school today. "I was doing a work, and it felt like my tooth was in mid-air in my mouth, and I spit it out, and my teacher asked if it fell out, and she gave me water, plain water, with no salt, to rinse my mouth, and it bleeded a lot, and she wrapped it in a tissue and put it in a plastic bag, and she showed the whole class, and they all thought it was scary, but I wasn't scared at all!" Now picture that being said about twice as fast as you just read it, in a really high, lisping voice (the chipmunk voice) .



Copyright © Eastman Kodak Company, 2006

Football

Did anyone watch that Ohio State, Florida game? Did you see the way the Ohio State defense dominated? They must have been on the field twice as long as the Florida defense…


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Port a

You walk the same beach every day and see the same birds. Swarms of sanderlings, flowing up and down the slope of the beach with the rhythm of the waves, punctuated by the little plovers and the occasional dunlin. The flock magically opens as you walk through, like a school of tropical fish, closing like it never happened when you’ve passed. The larger ruddy turnstones and red knots, larger still black bellied plovers, and even larger willets. Biggest are the great blue herons. Finally, after all these years, we recognize them all at a glance, always watching for something different. Then, without seeing something different, we realize we’ve been wrong on the little plovers. We thought there were two little round birds with collars and bald heads, reminding us of friar tuck of the Robin Hood stories, but there are three. The snowy plover has gray legs, but piping plover legs don’t range between yellow and orange, the yellow legs are piping and the orange legs are semi-palmated plovers. We thought we were looking at two tiny peeps on the beach, and they were three.

We’ll keep working at it.


Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Monday, January 8, 2007

Along the way

Just in case anyone questions whether there really is such a thing as a pyrrhuoxia or not...

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Conner

Okay, if you insist, one more picture of grandson conner (well, with brian and judy too).



Friday, January 5, 2007

Port aransas

The pelicans approach...

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Gulf waters

The landscaping is growing in nicely.




Port a

Another monster storm. Lightning crashed all night. Wind and rain. Pouring rain. Last big storm, we had a problem with rain blowing up under one of the slides and getting the inside carpet wet, so this time we pulled the bedroom driver-side slide in when the storm first started. That worked. When the storm ended today, we put the slide back out. All dry inside.

Mid-day today, it wasn’t warm, but it was sunny and calm. I went for a run on the beach and discovered I’m a trendsetter. About a mile down the beach, a guy, obviously not from around here, looked up at me and said, “Am I glad to see you. I wanted to take my shirt off, but I didn’t want to be the only crazy guy on the beach.” and off came his shirt. Well, there you go: he got to be crazy guy number two.

Piping plover and snowy plover.


Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Padre island

You park your motorhome on the beach, never know what will take shelter next to it.



Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Along the way

The elusive gilded flicker. This isn't a wild bird, he's in a giant aviary, but we got several good looks at flickers flying free too.



Meanwhile

We put the trailer lot in Louisville up for sale. We're digitally exchanging "offer", "counter offers" on it as we speak.


Exciting times, clearing out of Colorado real estate for real estate in other states.




Monday, January 1, 2007

Port aransas

Mercifully, the Bronco season is over. Almost… almost… almost, naah. No more of that. Now we can watch playoff football without being tortured by the Broncos.

Drove down the national seashore beach and over Yarborough Pass to the Laguna Madre side. Long billed curlews, red knots, white tailed hawks. A quiet start to another exiting year.

Happy New Year all.