Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Can you find the.


Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in the picture?


How about the Verdin?


I’ll give you a Great Kiskadee.



Tuesday, November 29, 2011



It was special to go to Anzalduas County Park a while back.


It got flooded by the Rio Grande a year ago and they closed it.  There was a lot of damage; a lot to repair.  We didn’t know if it was going to reopen or not.  They did a fine job though, and we got the park back.


There is a comparable park on the Mexican side.  It’s easier to survey their damage, looking across the river, than to see our own.


You can see the high water marks on a couple concrete buildings that got displaced.


They have a ways to go yet on their repairs.



Monday, November 28, 2011



A couple more pictures from Matt and Lindsay’s wedding:




Sunday, November 27, 2011

Where are we now?,-96.987305&spn=23.828274,56.90918


We’re on the beach!  (zoom in on the map)


Gulf Waters RV Resort.  Mustang Island.


A Wood Stork flyover on Highway 77.  Gray Catbirds, Brown Thrasher, Hermit Thrushes, and a Swainson’s Thrush at Paradise Pond.  Missed the American Woodcock.


Mexican food at Juans.



Saturday, November 26, 2011

We didn't decide to move out of the motorhome


In fact, we recently realized we were describing ourselves as full-timers to someone……while we were standing in our house!  I guess we’re not full-timers anymore.


We didn’t mean to move out of the motorhome.  We didn’t mean for an era to come to an end.  It just happened.


Seven years.  We didn’t even have a chance to get tired of it yet.  Rest assured, the motorhome is alive and well, and only parked a couple hundred feet away from our house.  We can walk over and touch it at any time.  We can leave on a trip on a moment’s notice.


Now we have a house that feels like a home and a motorhome that feels like a home.



Friday, November 25, 2011

Life bird!


Golden-crowned Warbler.  It has been reported at the International Butterfly Park south of Mission each of the last several days.  A South American bird that wanders north into Texas every once-in-awhile.  Met up with Jon.  He came down from Port Aransas to look for it too.  We looked for a couple hours.  Nothing.  Took some time off and went to a couple other places to look at birds.  Came back in the afternoon and GOT IT within half an hour.


I got pictures:



That was a nice surprise.  Haven’t had a life bird since July.



Thursday, November 24, 2011



All set for dinner.



Happy Thanksgiving




Warm weather.  Some sun.  Some exercise.  A LOT of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie, ice cream, and a visit with friends Barbara and Henry.  Nice.


And then some more ice cream.



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Homework assignment


School is not like it used to be.  Well, not like it was for me anyway.  Here is a homework assignment our granddaughter brought home:


In case it’s hard to read the scan, it says:  “Discover the value of each of the shapes.  The total weight is 180.  Each of the three arms is equal in weight.”


It’s not a problem, it’s a puzzle.  It doesn’t say “solve”, it says “discover”.  It is encouraging the kid to think in shapes.  That’s interesting.  It doesn’t say anything about variables, unknowns, or solutions.  But I recognize what that is.  It’s algebra.  I remember how much I enjoyed Algebra…..IN HIGH SCHOOL! She’s 10 years old!



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

That was fun


We had our deck-warming party.  At least a hundred people showed up.  Everyone brings lawn chairs to events, so our driveway and yard were filled with people.  The weather was warm, perfect fall weather, and a good time was had by all.  We did deck tours, cement work tours, and house tours.


I like the way this works.  You invite everyone in the park, provide a little food and refreshments, they all talk to each other, then at the end we get credit for putting on a great party.  All these people just entertained each other for a couple hours and we get the credit.  Life is good,


So the deck work is done.  All the fancy cement work is done.  It has all been properly celebrated.  Now we’re really done.


Nothing else happening  before…..let’s see…..Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Along the way


This moth landed on our window screen.


I looked it up.  (Thank you Google.)  It’s called a Black Witch Moth.  With a 6 inch wingspan, it’s the largest moth found in North America.  They’re tropical and migratory, but live in the Rio Grande Valley year round.  They’re nocturnal and can be mistaken for bats.  I wouldn’t have known any of that if this guy hadn’t visited our window screen and posed for a picture.



Sunday, November 20, 2011





It wasn’t really a Scaup, it was a Ring-necked Duck.  “Scary, scary, scary Ring-necked Duck” doesn’t really work though, so I’m sticking with Lesser Scaup for the story.


Nice day today; warm and windy.  Judy planted more flowers.  I’m sure I must have done something.  Brother Tom and Kathy spent the afternoon with us.  Judy tried out a couple fresh Mexican food recipes on them.  Real home-made Spanish rice and Charro beans to go along with her usual grungy tacos.  It worked.


Me, I tried out the traditional holiday ice cream recipe in our new high tech ice cream maker from Cuisinart.  That didn’t suck either.


I think we’re ready for Thanksgiving.


In the meantime though, everyone is invited to our deck-warming party on Tuesday.  It’s official, the deck is done.  The cement is done.  So, show up at 4pm (remember, that’s Central Time), and stay until the food, beer, wine, water, pop, and conversation runs out.  The dress code is casual; wear whatever you happen to have on.



Saturday, November 19, 2011



Last Saturday, Anzalduas County Park



This Saturday, Estero Llano Grande State Park




American White Pelicans.


Sleeping Pauraque.


And a scary, scary, scary, Scaup!



Friday, November 18, 2011

Before and after


A little bare:


A little more balanced.



We have worked with three different companies on this project.  Different teams did the cement pour, deck work, and concrete painting.  It all brings to mind that classic picture on the internet entitled “It’s not my job”.



What we experienced is the exact opposite of what that photo illustrates.  Nobody painted over any possums.  Three different crews of hardworking men taking great pride in their work.  Leveling, squaring, aligning; people working on their hands and knees making sure there wasn’t a stray pebble or leaf.  They were making this project as good as it could be.


Everybody knows everybody.  They depend on each other.  The last crew, from Concrete Designs, consisted of Rolando, the son, setting up the job and doing the computer work, creating the forms for the graphics; Frank, the dad, and Artemio, Frank’s brother, doing the scraping, grinding, and painting.


For us, the whole experience couldn’t have been better.



Thursday, November 17, 2011

So you think you had a bad day?


This is what Turkey Vultures are supposed to look like.


Smooth.  An elegant soaring bird.



Try to imagine what this Turkey Vulture must have gone though to end up looking like this.



Now *that* looks like a bad day.



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Part three


With all that done, it’s time for the tape and paper to come off.



One more brushing and blowing before the end of the day.


Put the crime scene tape back up, and there we have it!



The finished product!



Part two


Then spraying brown speckles all over everything.



Then spraying the borders and graphics.



Then black specks.


Then dark highlights.



And the finish


Today began with more sweeping and blowing.


The switch over to the uniform of the day, knee-pads and socks.


Then, the taping.


And taping.


And taping.


That took a long time.



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Base coat


Today is the day for the base coat.  First they scraped any rough spots off yesterday’s texture.


Then the paint/sealer went on.


Two coats in fact.


Which brings us to today’s result, now color-coordinated with the house.



Monday, November 14, 2011

Just one more thing


We did the deck.  We did the flower garden.  Today, it’s time for the concrete finish work.  It starts with the prep work.  This machine fires tiny ball-bearings at the concrete to roughen the surface.


It recaptures most of the metal, but not all of it.  The balls left behind are picked up by a magnetic sweeper.  The sweeper is that two wheeled, single handled contraption in the picture below.


I don’t know how the sweeper works, but you close the lever on the handle and it’s magnetized.  You just wheel it around then come back to the middle of the driveway, release the lever, and all the escaped ball-bearings fall in a pile.  Like a giant metal-shaving etch-a-sketch.


Those ball bearings are fed back into the machine to be used again.  As the ball-bearings are worn down to dust, the vacuum collects them to be discarded.  It’s a very slow process with only about a 4” swath on each pass.  It took hours.


After that, they seal all the cracks and smooth them out.


Painstaking hands and knees work.


Then they applied the texture coat.  That’s a spray gun beneath the big funnel in his hands.


And we arrive at the finished product.  For today.


Stay tuned.