Monday, February 28, 2011

Our house


Our house in Edinburg is a trailer.  It’s a single wide.  It looks like it could have been what you see going down the road in two pieces, but it came in one piece.  Still, it has a peaked roof and is sixteen feet wide, so it doesn’t feel narrow at all.


After living in it for one day, I’m finding that things are a lot farther apart here than they are in the motorhome.  If I put my reading glasses down in the master bath then end up front in the office without them, it’s about a quarter mile walk back to get them!


We got to explore all the mobile homes at the various trailer lots Dad worked at when we were kids.  I remember them being rather flimsy.  This doesn’t feel like that at all.  It is solid, and strapped to the ground.  It has six inch thick walls and a ton of insulation.  Cozy and warm or cool, as desired.  The heating/air conditioning is located outside instead of on the roof, so it’s a lot quieter than the motorhome.


More cabinet space than the motorhome and a lot more floor.



Sunday, February 27, 2011


Saturday we had a good day birding. Copano Bay Bridge. Goose Island. Lamar Penninsula. We got a family of Whooping Cranes up close!

Mom, Dad, and a kid. They’re big birds; almost as tall as Judy.

Saturday we packed everything we needed into the Jeep. Drove down south to Edinburg and moved into our house. We’ll stay here for 10 days or so and get everything like we want it. This is fun.

Friday, February 25, 2011


We needed a centerpiece for our yard, so we planted a Foxtail Palm. It was so special we named it Enrique.

It got cold. Enrique died.

We planted a Cuban Royal Palm. Ricardo.

It got cold. Ricardo died.

The last cold spell, all the Pony Palms on the island survived. Meet Jethro, a Pony Palm.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A while back

I sent out a picture of an Altamira Oriole. Here is an Audubon’s Oriole.

And a Green Jay.

And an Inca Dove.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Nothing to say today.

I’ll just send a picture of us last week along the Rio Grande.

Saturday, February 19, 2011



Our schedule is a little goofy.  We closed on the house yesterday.  We don’t take occupancy until the end of the month, so today we packed up and drove the motorhome back to Gulf Waters.  We’ll stay on the beach for a week, then we’ll go back down south and move in to our new house.  We probably won’t stay down there long, we just want to get it set up the way we want it.  Then we’ll come back to stay on the beach until we leave to go north the first of May.



Friday, February 18, 2011

What's wrong with this picture?

We returned to the coach from outside and found this bag-headed dog-like creature standing on our kitchen cabinet.

It kind of looked like Henry.

Guess it just stopped by for a bite of leftover microwave popcorn.

Orville Redenbacher.

Thursday, February 17, 2011



Now that we’re making our plans to move into a house, I look around and notice how small the space is that we’ve been living in.  How could that happen?  How could we live in this space for 6 years, and I never noticed that it was small?  Our entire house is the size of anyone else’s living room.


The place we’re buying is four times the size of our coach with the slides pulled in.  Twice as wide, twice as long.


It never felt too small in the coach, and it still doesn’t.  I marvel at how much space we have, but wow, it is not a very big house.



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I've learned my lesson


Last time I got an injury, I waded in the surf afterward.  As a result of that innocent act, I contracted a Vibrio Species bacterial infection that wanted to eat my leg.  It turns out Vibrio, a member of the Cholera family, hangs out in the high salinity warm water of the Southern Gulf, waiting for some unfortunate human with a wound to walk in.  That infection was difficult to beat back.


We have nice wood folding tables we put up every night to eat dinner on, then fold up and put away again.  That’s my job, opening up and putting away the tables.  A few nights ago, I fumbled one and it fell and landed on my little toe.  It didn’t hurt all that bad, but it peeled the skin back.  It’s not a very big toe, but that sure looks like a lot of skin peeled back.  I won’t be wearing shoes again right away, my foot won’t fit now.  I’m not going in the hot tub or pool any time soon either, and I certainly won’t be going in the surf!



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Great Backyard Bird Count


It starts this Friday and runs through Monday.  Anyone can do it.


Here is a good description of how and why:


GBBC is an annual 4 day event that involves birders of all ages to count birds across the continent.  Anyone can participate, from beginning birders to experts.  The count is used to look at bird populations (declines, changes), migration times, bird diseases, differences in bird diversity in cities vs. suburban, rural, and natural areas.  Participants count birds anywhere for as little or as long as they wish during the four day period.  You tally the highest number of birds of each species seen together at any one time, and fill out an online checklist at the GBBC website (


It’s easy.  It’s fun.  It’s citizen science.  It’s part of a greater effort for the benefit of birds.



Monday, February 14, 2011


Birding up-river with friends. Lots of birds. The coolest surprise of the day, an up close extended flyover by a Zone-tailed Hawk!

Second sighting ever. By far the best look ever.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I wonder why


We don’t accidently call Henry “Matt” nearly as often as we call Annie “Becky”.



Friday, February 11, 2011


Time for a Northern Pintail picture.

And maybe another.

Graceful, aren’t they? Good looking ducks.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Yard count


There are great birds at locations all around us, but we don’t usually see very many birds in the park.  We get doves, mockingbirds and sparrows every day.  Maybe we get 6 different kinds of birds.


Today was different though.  Every time we looked up there was something else flying past.  We got 15 species:


Flyovers by:

  Greater White-fronted Goose

  White-tailed Kite

  White-tailed Hawk

  Red-tailed Hawk

  Crested Caracara

  Sandhill Crane


And the usual suspects:

  Eurasian Collared-Dove

  Mourning Dove

  Inca Dove

  Ruby-throated Hummingbird

  Golden-fronted Woodpecker

  Northern Mockingbird

  Northern Cardinal

  Great-tailed Grackle

  House Sparrow


Tonight we met some friends in McAllen to watch Green Parakeets and have Chinese food.



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wishful thinking


From Becky’s house.  Conner’s dream bedroom would have a secret button.  When you pushed it, a ladder would drop down out of the ceiling and he could climb up to an entire bedroom in the attic all his own no-one else knew about!


Tiegan’s dream bedroom would also have a secret button.  When you pushed it, a secret elevator would take you direct to the basement, and the basement would be full of rats!


Teigan thinks they’re fun pets.



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Check this out


Becky and Brian have been working on a project.  Together they’ve built an iPad app: a Labrynth.  It’s only for the iPad; the graphics are too big for an iPhone, or iPod.


It’s a collaboration.  Becky came up with the idea, researched the concept, found the music, and created the website.  Brian wrote the code and graphics.


Here is the website link:


This app went online Saturday.  In three days they’ve sold 110 downloads.  The majority went to the United States, but 6 went to Canada, 4 to France, and 2 or 3 each to Brazil, the UK, Turkey, Italy, The Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, India, Russia, and Australia.  How cool is that?  An instantaneous world market!


They had to pay for rights to the music they used and buy an Apple Developer’s license.  They’ve recovered those costs.  If they can come up with a really good game, it could even pay for programmer time.


This one is relaxing.  They’re thinking something educational next.  Maybe something Montessori based.



Monday, February 7, 2011

South Padre Island

There were kites in the air Saturday when we visited South Padre Island; all shapes and sizes.

Even an octopus.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Anywhere else, this would not be an unusual sight; a field of ice. Here, in Deep South Texas however, this doesn’t happen much. It happened a couple nights ago.

It’s all a matter of context.

(And today it was back to eighty.)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Not everything we find in a tree

…is a bird.

It appears to be a Texas Spiny Lizard. They live in trees.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cabin Fever!


I got out of the house a little bit today.  As I did, I realized I hadn’t left the house in two days!  And it’s not a very big house; we’re still in the coach.  I didn’t even go out to run.  Each day I waited for Judy to go out on errands and I ran back and forth in the motorhome for half an hour.


So today, we moved some things over into the house.  It’s only about 50 yards from where the coach is parked.  How cool is that; to get to test-drive a neighborhood before you buy?  We really like this neighborhood.


Mike and Linda, at the house we’re buying, let us have a closet to store stuff in until they move out at the end of the month.  Judy has done some shopping the last couple days for kitchen gadgets and household supplies we’ll need when we move in.


It has been below freezing the last two nights, so we disconnected the fresh water hose.  We’ve been running off the tanks the last couple days and the hose has been lying on the ground on the north side of the coach frozen.  I dragged it out into the sun today to thaw, then hooked it back up to replenish the tank.  One more cold night and we’re done.  65 degrees projected for tomorrow.  We’re going to get way out of the house.  We haven’t birded in a week.  We’re heading for the south end of South Padre Island about eighty miles away.  We’ll go get some marine environment birds we haven’t seen for the year yet. 



Thursday, February 3, 2011

I suppose

We could have a real close-up of the bird.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We haven't been homeless

We haven’t been homeless, but we have been houseless for the last six years. We decided to change that.

We just bought a house in Sandpipers Resort. We get to move in the 1st of March. It will be good to have a stationary house as home base. When we’re in South Texas, we’ll leave the motorhome on the lot at Gulf Waters so we can stay there on the beach whenever we want. We’ll continue to roam the country in the motorhome in the summer.

From the living room looking north past the front bathroom to the office/television room.

The office/television room.

From the living room looking south past the dining room and kitchen toward the bedroom.

The bedroom.

The master bath.

It’s 1,200 square feet; a lot more space than we’ve had lately.

Sleeping Pauraque

Here it is. A little closer. A sleeping bird camouflaged as leaf litter. It’s a side view. His head is to the right. His eyes are closed.