Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Travel Day

 

Gotta love flying out of McAllen International Airport.  This is both the drop-off and pick-up.

 

The lobby.

 

The TSA station.  No waiting; just friendly agents talking us through it.

 

The plane we flew out on today…

 

A one hour flight to Houston.

 

A four and a half hour flight from Houston to Seattle with our friend-for-the-day Spencer.

 

A bus ride to the rental car.  A drive north to Lynnwood.  Check in to the hotel.  And we’re all set for the night.

 

Got in a quick walk.  Saw crows.

 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Plane Trip!

 

Christie and Andy are getting married.  Edmonds, WA.

 

Got all packed up today.  Printed out our boarding passes tonight.  We’re turning ourselves over to the travel gods all day tomorrow.

 

Trip to Christie's wedding map

 

We’re excited.

 

 

Monday, July 28, 2014

I wanted a license plate cover for the Mazda.

 

Something other than the one that came from the dealer who sold us the car.

 

I couldn’t get the one that said:  “I’d rather be birding”; because if you see me out in the Mazda I probably already am.

 

So I got this one.

 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Have we all had enough of Anis

 

….except me?

 

Groove gilled anis in flight.

 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Feet need to breathe too.

 

That’s what I used to say as I kicked the covers loose from the bottom of the bed and stuck my feet out.  I was young.  Feet weren’t something that needed to be kept warm.

 

Now I find my feet get cold at night; even under the covers.  I don’t like the extra weight, but I put an additional small blanket over the foot of the bed so my feet won’t be cold.

 

Oh well.

 

 

Friday, July 25, 2014

I used to walk this trail by the town of Hidalgo.

 

South Texas points of interest

 

 

But there is a problem with it.  It’s on the other side of our border fence.  The border fence doesn’t follow the exact border.  The real border is the river.  It would be inconvenient to put a fence right down the middle of the river, so it has been built where it was most practical to put it, sometimes quite a ways from the river.  This trail I like is entirely south of the border fence and maybe a mile north of the river.  When they built the fence, they left gaps for where the gates were going to be, but it was years before any gates showed up, so I parked the car on the north side of the fence, walked through the gap where the gate was going to be, and walked the trail.  Well, I can’t do that anymore.  They installed the gate, closed it, and left it closed.

 

Recently I discovered a different access point farther east; a gap in the fence that hasn’t been closed yet.  I can get on the other end of the trail and walk it right up to this point, where I used to start.  This is the view of our border wall from the south looking north.

 

Knowing the other access point now, this would have been a good loop trail.  I could cross over and walk the length of the trail on the south side of the fence, pop back through the gate to the north side, and walk a levee trail back to the car.  As it is though, I can still walk it as an out-and-back even though I have this aversion to out-and-back trails (going back the way you came being an admission of defeat).  Given the construction of that gate maybe an out-and-back can be excused in this instance.  (I probably don’t want to try climbing over the gate just for fun.)

 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Can you spot the Great Kiskadee nest in this tree?

 

 

The nest is right here in the middle.

 

Here is what Mom looks like.

 

The nest doesn’t look like a normal cup nest.  It looks more like a fort kids would build.

 

There are two babies, one of which stepped up for a better look at us.

 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Judy's Garden

 

It’s a little more open now.

 

A little more native.

 

More drought tolerant for when we’re not here.

 

While still providing a watery respite for critters whether we’re here or not.

 

 

 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Big Drip

 

We have a birdbath in the back.  We decided to put in a dripper to make it more attractive to the birds.  They like moving water.

 

I couldn’t find a dripper kit online that everybody didn’t hate the control valve.  I bought one anyway, knowing the valve wasn’t going to work well.  Everybody was right.  The plastic valve only rotates ¼ turn from full on to full off; not nearly sensitive enough to damp the flow of a faucet down to single drips without just turning all the way off.

 

So off we went to the hardware store and bought a good brass needle valve.  I installed it in the drip line by the faucet.

 

Better, but still not good enough.  It drips too fast, or it’s totally off.  What can we do to gain finer control over the flow?  How about two needle valves in sequence; would that help?

 

My question is: is there a difference between pressure and flow?  If the problem is too much pressure, then installing another valve in series with this one won’t help.  When the pressure builds up the water will run by the second valve too.  If the problem is flow, then all we need is a series of valves, each reducing the flow, until we get just what we want.  I installed a second valve in the drip line out by the fountain to see what would happen.

 

Two brass needle valves.  I turn the first one down as far as it will go without shutting the water completely off then turn the next one in line down until it is almost completely shut too, and Voila!  The perfect drip every time!

 

 

About one drop per second.

 

The birds love it.  So far we’ve got cardinals, doves, (grackles and sparrows of course), and groove-billed anis.  We have a family of three anis that come in to bathe, drink, and gargle the bathwater every afternoon.

 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A drive to Port Mansfield

 

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zRXJT6qqTEFI.kIKgOVFB4lj0

 

Port Mansfield is a small fishing town with access to the Laguna Madre, and by way of Mansfield Channel through Padre Island, the open Gulf.

 

There are also deer in Port Mansfield.

 

In yards.

 

Under trees.

 

Even under your house, if you’re not careful.

 

 

A time for velvet.

 

…and spots.

 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

They were doing errands

 

Like we do.

 

They married young, lived together, worked together, and went everywhere together.  Like us.  They stopped at the pharmacy.  She went inside.  He waited in the car.

 

She didn’t come out.

 

She had a brain hemorrhage and collapsed.  He went inside to check on her and she was already unconscious.  The paramedics came and took her to the hospital.  She lived for a few more days but never regained consciousness.

 

It was so sudden and unexpected.  They didn’t even get to say goodbye.

 

 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Black bellied whistling ducks

 

 

 

 

That’s a lot of babies to keep track of.

 

 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Help!

 

We have a new Facebook Page for our accounting business; Taylor, Roth and Company, Certified Public Accountants.  We’ve got the basics put in.  We made a timeline and put in a lot of photos.  Now we need some momentum.

 

Here is a link to our page:  Taylor, Roth and Company Facebook Page

 

Any Clicks, Follows, Likes, Comments, or Reviews would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks all.

 

 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

One of these birds

 

…is not like the others.

 

It’s a leucistic green parakeet.

 

It is missing its green pigment, but is not altogether an albino.

 

There is that much yellow in every green parakeet, we just can’t normally see it.

 

Grooming and snuggling in for the night.

 

 

 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Who invented months?

 

I understand a day.  That’s one rotation of the earth relative to the sun.  (Although at the time it was first described, it was probably thought to be one rotation of the sun around the earth.)

 

I think I understand years too.  One orbit of the earth around the sun. (…or in the old days, the sun completing its cycle of swinging from center to its farthest point north in the sky, south in the sky, and back to center point.)  Whatever, they got that right too.

 

But what is a month?  It’s kind of a lunar cycle, one orbit of the moon around the earth, but not really.  So I’m back to my question: what is a month and how long should it be?  I can understand a month being 1/12th of a year to approximate the lunar cycle (which does not divide evenly into 365 days).  I can understand having to alternate one day longer or one day shorter each month to make it all come out (about) right at the end of each year.  But why alternate between 30 and 31 days in a month, then make a big catchup with a month that only has 28 days?  Does the month of February really need to be three days shorter than January or March?  Why not just have 7 months that are 30 days long and 5 months that are 31 days long?

 

30 days hath February and March, May and June, August and September, and November.  Whatever the names of the others, they have 31 and we’re done.  (Except for leap year because there aren’t really exactly 365 days in a year.)  (Because the time it takes for the earth to rotate about its axis isn’t really related to how long it takes for it to orbit around the sun.)

 

  Pure poetry.

 

 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Annie

 

Elle painted a watercolor of Annie and sent it to us.

 

We got her framed and hung in her place of honor on the wall.

 

Nicely done, Elle.  Thank you.