Saturday, March 31, 2012

Alex

 

Grandson Alex went to the State Gymnastic Meet today in Denver.  He did well on all but one event.  He kind of crashed and burned on the vault, but still placed 4th overall in his age group.  I picked a couple videos off Lindsay’s facebook page and put them on mine:  http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/profile.php?sk=timeline

 

Way to go Alex!

 

 

In the meantime, Becky and Brian were feeding giraffes at the Colorado Springs Zoo with the 2 younger kids.

 

 

Meanwhile in the meantime, Tony returned from Italy.  He’ll have that trip to remember for the rest of his life.

 

 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Strange billboard

 

In big letters it says:  “Keep the law away for less than a taco a day.”

 

It took me awhile to connect the dots on that one.  I had to drive past it a couple more times.

 

It is sponsored by an insurance company, Pronto Insurance, offering automobile liability insurance of just the right amount to satisfy the state auto insurance mandate.

 

I guess that works; down here on the border.

 

 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday

 

A nice warm day.  90 degrees.

 

Heckofa thunderstorm tonight.  Slow moving; it settled right down on us.  We sat outside on the deck to see, hear, feel, smell, and taste it.  Pounding rain.  Hail around us.  Flooding in Edinburg.  A funnel cloud sighted.  Near-constant cloud to cloud lightning turned night into day.  Now, hours later since the worst of it, it’s still thundering and raining lightly.

 

Tony is on day 8 of his Italy trip already.  Pompeii today.  He goes back home to Colorado on day 10.

 

We were going to move to our spot on the beach about April 1st, but we need the motorhome repair completed before we can do that.  Remember we took it up to Bandera and dropped it off a few weeks ago?  It was supposed to be done last week.  We thought it might be done this week.  Now we’re starting to hope it will be done next week.

 

Meanwhile, Niece Christie is coming to visit starting Sunday.  She’s actually going to Mercedes to visit Tom and Kathy, but we’ll get a chance to see her too.

 

 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tony has moved on

 

 

Now he’s in Rome.  (That’s him on the right.)

 

 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Well

 

The groomer found a face.  We don’t know whose face she found, but she definitely found a face.

 

 

 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I decided

 

I decided to walk every road and marked trail in Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge.  There is a 7 mile loop road through the 2,000 acre park, but no cars or bicycles are allowed.  From turnouts along the road, trails criss-cross the entire park.  I read that there have been 400 species of birds reported, and 260 species of butterflies.  It is an interesting place to walk.  On successive Saturdays, I’ve walked 21 miles of it.  It will still take another Saturday or two to complete my self-appointed task.

 

Today was a lay-up day.  We slept in, had coffee on the deck, visited with friends, then spent the afternoon cheering Tiger on to win his first major golf tournament in several years.  We laid-up.

 

Grandson Tony landed in Milan, went to Verona the scene of Romeo and Juliet, and on to Jesolo.  The next day they toured Venice.  No cars or scooters allowed; Venice is for pedestrians and boats!  Four kids got busted for violating the alcohol rules and were sent home.  As far as we know, Tony is continuing with the tour.

 

Late afternoon found us back out on the porch as neighbors stopped by with their small dogs to play with our small dogs.  It was comfortable weather with temperatures in the 70s that lasted well into the evening.  It was quite the impromptu visit.

 

It might be time to take Henry to the groomer to see if they can find his face.

 

 

 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

In February

 

It was the Huisache trees blooming:

 

In March, it’s the Retama trees:

 

 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Help!

 

We just watched Mamma Mia.

 

Now can someone please come get Abba out of my head?

 

 

Genealogy

 

A person researching their genealogy was describing their quest to us and mentioned that they had also had their DNA done.  We thought that was cool because you can learn more about where on the planet your ancestors come from, but the teller of the tale stunned us with the declaration that he is a direct descendent of Moses!  Judy and I expressed our skepticism, but he persisted.  The DNA link to Moses has been established.

 

So.  Does anyone out there know about this sort of thing?  Has the study of human DNA progressed beyond describing past regional populations, to identifying specific ancient ancestors?

 

 

 

 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Class Trip

 

Grandson Tony got on an airplane this morning to fly to Milan by way of New York.  Here is a map:

 

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=205131835882428706345.0004bbdee903660def5a7&msa=0&ll=35.46067,-15.117187&spn=90.987586,227.636719

 

A big trip across the Atlantic.

 

 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The edge of the tropics

 

It’s not really the tropics here.  That’s another 300 miles south.  Here in the sub-tropics, at places like Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge along the Rio Grande, it can feel tropical though.

 

Hanging moss.

 

Boardwalks through the marsh.

 

Harris’s Hawks.

 

 

A surprise visit with an Indigo Snake.

 

 

 

And the call of Chachalacas in the morning

.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPS5zUATqDY

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Size matters

 

Sometimes ducks just kind of all look alike.

 

Once in a while though, if you catch the right two side-by-side, like this Mallard and Blue-winged Teal, the difference is apparent.

 

 

 

 

Monday, March 19, 2012

It's not like the old days

 

There aren’t individual gas pumps for each grade of gas.  They’re all on one pump, one nozzle, just pick the grade you want and pump.  What I notice from gas station to gas station is that they didn’t standardize the order of the buttons.  The button for Regular might be on the left.  It might be on the right.  If you get used to it one way and just punch the button by reflex, you might end up unintentionally filling your tank with Super instead of Regular.

 

I wonder if that’s an absolute accident…

 

 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Texas

 

It’s a whole ‘nother place.

 

Of course before it was this place, it was Mexico.  In the 1830s the people of Texas declared independence from Mexico, not as part of the United States, but as their own republic.  The rest of the west hadn’t formed into states yet and Texas was bigger then than it is now, encompassing parts of what are now Oklahoma, Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.  Wyoming!  Texas went all the way to Wyoming!  The new republic had plans that included expansion all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

 

The separation from Mexico didn’t go smoothly though.  The new Texans and Mexico didn’t agree on what the border should be.  Mexico thought the border was the Nueces River which flows through what is now Corpus Christi.  Texas thought the border was the Rio Grande which flows through what is now Brownsville.  After nine years on their own Texas joined as a state with the United States, bolstering their border defense capabilities.  Eventually, as a result of the Mexican American War, the United States ended up “buying” the land in dispute in the 1840s, and everyone agreed on the Rio Grande as the border.  (Of course the Rio Grande continues to complicate the issue by periodically flooding, then settling back down into a channel it wasn’t in before, thus altering the border.)

 

 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I was just wondering.

 

If a cat can see 10 times better at night than we can, does that mean it hurts 10 times as much when we shine our flashlight in his face?

 

 

Friday, March 16, 2012

How did it get to be that.

 

When I’m looking for something and it’s not exactly where I expect it to be, it is invisible to me, even if it is only a foot and a half from where I’m looking?

 

 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's called a Polyphemus Moth

 

After the Greek myth of Cyclops.  It’s not a South Texas specialty.  It can be found all over the United States and into southern Canada.

 

 

Apparently it has a habit of opening *one* wing when disturbed, thus the reference to Cyclops.

 

 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Judy's flower garden

 

Is evolving.

 

A few months ago when it started:

 

Now:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The migration has begun.

 

Driving south on Highway 281 yesterday, we watched a steady stream of RVs driving north.

 

 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday

 

We dry docked the land yacht in Pipe Creek, Texas.  We drove home to Sandpipers in the Jeep.

 

 

I learned something.  Did you know if you peel your hard-boiled egg under running water it helps lift the shell off?  No little pieces to fight, it all just lifts off.  It makes life so much easier, but it took me this long to learn it!

 

 

We had a cool moth at Jeff and Carol’s.

 

 

 

Haven’t figured out what it is yet.

 

 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jeff and Carol's place

 

We think the bus looks good here.

 

They got this property about a year ago.  They’ve been clearing, planting, creating trails, feeding birds, feeding deer, and trying to protect their new plantings from deer….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a great place to hang out.  It’s full of birds, full of deer, and home base for explorations all over the hill country.

 

Tomorrow though, travel day.  We drop off the coach for a repair and head back south to Sandpipers in the Jeep.

 

 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

You might be thinking.

 

That if Henry was *really* that sweet, he’d have left us a candy on the pillow.

 

He doesn’t actually leave us candy, but he did leave us a chew toy tonight!

 

 

 

Henry is so sweet

 

He turns back the bed for us every night!

 

 

 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Oh no!

 

Daylight Saving Time starts Saturday night/Sunday.  We already have light late.  Now we have to make even more of it?  Why can’t we just have time the normal way; the sun directly overhead at noon?  It gets light when it gets light.  It gets dark when it gets dark.  Why does that need messing with?

 

 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bandera

Travel day

 

We relocated to Bandera, northwest of San Antonio.  We’ll stay at Jeff and Carol’s for a few days.  They have such a nice spot for us here on their property in the Hill Country.  Juniper oak forest.  Bird feeders.  Deer.  Full hookups.

 

Monday morning we’ll drop the coach off at a big-rig repair facility near here.  We have a slide that complains when we pull it in.  Maybe they can fix it before its mood degenerates completely.

 

 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Off in the distance

 

Last weekend.

 

There at the edge of the lake.

 

Two big white birds.  I can’t quite make them out with my binoculars.  White Pelicans?  No.  The heads and necks on these birds aren’t white.  I need to get a little closer.

 

Snow geese?  No.  A little closer?

 

Wood Storks?  No.  What else could be that big and that color?  Something else strange about these birds.  They haven’t moved.

 

It’s a long walk there through the mud at the edge of the lake, but it has to be done.

 

Along the way I find Least Sandpipers

 

and Snowy Plovers.

 

 

I think about the name of this place while I walk.  La Sal del Rey.  That means “the King’s salt”.  This is a Salt lake!  As I walk with the prevailing winds to the other side of the lake, the one that takes all the splashes, I see that anything along the edge is salt-encrusted.

 

 

I walk all the way there.  Those big white birds on the other side of the lake? 

 

Stumps sticking out of the water.  Salt encrusted wood stumps.

 

Mystery birds solved.