Sunday, July 31, 2016

Maybe it's time


For some goofy woodpecker pictures.





Saturday, July 30, 2016

For those of you who haven't seen it


This is what the border fence looks like.


From the U.S. side.


From the Mexico side.


Here in Texas, the border fence isn’t exactly on the border.  The river is the border.  We can’t really put a fence right down the middle of the Rio Grande, so the fence location is a compromise.  Since the Mexican government hasn’t actually volunteered to build it or pay for it, the fence is located on U.S. soil and follows a path that approximates our border, but is practical to build on.  It leaves a lot of land on the other side.


The fence is not continuous.  There are gaps.  The Border Patrol does what they can to monitor the gaps.  It’s not unusual for us to walk and bird along the border fence.  It’s not unusual for us to walk or drive through gaps in the fence and bird on the other side.  These pictures are from near the town of Hidalgo.


One birding park we go to, Sable Palm Sanctuary, is entirely on the other side of the border fence.


Sable Palm Sanctuary Map Link


Trace the park road north to the next road up.  I put a pin there.  Zoom in.  That’s the border fence.  All the farms, fields, and birding spots between there and the river are cut off from the rest of the U.S. except for a few gaps in the fence.


Friday, July 29, 2016

It's Judy's turn


My attention deficit disorder having been satisfied; I’ve had plenty of attention lately; it’s time for Judy to get something fixed.  Her thumbs are bothering her so we went to a hand specialist in Corpus on Thursday.  He said the thumb joints are shot; worn out.  (This happens to women a lot.  We don’t know why it happens to women more than men.)  The problem is where the thumb meets the hand.  There is supposed to be a nice cartilage cushion there.  Judy’s thumbs; no cartilage.  Bone to bone.  That’s not good.


She has been to see a hand specialist here in the Valley.  He diagnosed the same problem and tried the cortisone shots that are supposed to help.  They did help, but only for a few weeks.  The real fix comes with a tendon graft operation.  They cut off the end of the thumb bone, take a section of tendon from the forearm, (that I guess we don’t really use all that much), and bind the thumb bone back to the wrist with the extra part wadded up in the joint to act like cartilage, and eliminate the bone to bone.  No more pain.


Sounds good to us.  We’re headed back to Corpus on Tuesday for a Wednesday operation.  Day surgery.  We should be back home Wednesday night.  A few weeks of recovery and we can do it again for her left thumb.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

I'm still an Obama Mama


I’m a day late saying it, but I love listening to this man talk.  He speaks with care and clarity; an intelligent compassionate human being.  I realize he’s not everyone’s cup of tea; some don’t like is message; some don’t like him, but I love what he says and I love the rhythm of his rhetoric.  He gets on a riff, the emotion rises, the cadence builds, the audience gets on their feet, they start clapping, and I want to shout hallelujah.


It’s the closest I can get to a revival without succumbing to religion.  I’m going to miss this guy.



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

When I was in school


I never actually had a class on how to figure out whether something made sense or not.  I was left to figure it out for myself.  I guess in school they’re only supposed to tell us stuff that makes sense, so we didn’t have to figure it out then.  Out in the real world after school though, sometimes we hear things and it’s up to us to figure out whether to believe them or not; especially in these highly-charged political times.


When we hear something that kind of sounds true, but we’re not sure, wouldn’t it be nice if there were a few simple rules one could apply, to determine if the premise made sense; something concrete that would inform us as to whether what we were considering were true, not true, or we needed more information to make that determination?


Maybe a school of thought.  It could be called “logic”.  What if we all had the same underlying perspective and could agree on whether the starting point for each conversation actually had any basis in fact, before we started building arguments on it?


Just wondering…


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I think I figured it out!


For all these years, I’ve wondered why I get so much spam in my business email account and so little in my personal email account.  If spammers just randomly discovered email accounts, over time they’d have discovered both my email accounts equally.


When I buy things, I always use my personal email account.  (Unless it’s for business, but I don’t buy much for business.)  So it doesn’t seem that I’m getting all this spam because I shop on, or because retailers are selling my email address.


This has been a longstanding puzzle for me.


With absolutely no data or evidence to back up my conclusion though, I think I’ve figured it out.  My business email address is published on our work website.  We invite people to contact us.  Perhaps spammers crawl web pages and pick email addresses off them.  They’ve taken us up on our invitation.


That would explain it.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Judy's plant project


All the pieces assembled and ready to go.


Two and a half hours later.


Little fairies admiring the bubbling water feature.



Other little critters lurking.


Each of the larger rocks came from somewhere along our summer trip.  This rock is from Lake Wohlford.


Leftover plants are stashed in a tray below until they’re needed on another project.



Sunday, July 24, 2016

How to kill a Sunday afternoon



If you’re a mockingbird with crested caracaras in the neighborhood.










Saturday, July 23, 2016

Friday, July 22, 2016

Solution to the puzzle


Little water buckets next to trees for no apparent reason.  There are five little buckets spaced around the park.


We can always come up with some kind of explanation for something we haven’t seen before.  Our self-imposed rule is that our explanation doesn’t have to be right, it just has to make sense in some way.  This time though; nothing.  Couldn’t figure it out.  We gave up and asked Bob.


Turns out, it’s all about the rabbits.  And the dripper system.  Jackrabbits and cottontails.  They’re everywhere.  It’s true, we, and Henry, watched those rabbits every day.  The park was having trouble with rabbits chewing holes in the drippers that water the trees.  Rabbits have to have water, even desert rabbits.  Maybe especially desert rabbits.


The park solution was to set out water buckets for the rabbits, and keep the water buckets fresh and full.  It’s working.  They haven’t had any water lines chewed since.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Unsolved Mysteries


At Rusty’s RV Ranch.

See in the photo above?  That little red bucket?  It’s just there.  What do you suppose it’s for?


Here it is a little closer.  We saw a Park utility cart stop at it briefly.  It looks like it has water in it.


It’s probably not a low-tech watering solution.  We’ve seen those before in the back country.  Native plants are planted, then they put a large bucket of water with a small hole in it next to each one, and the new plant gets a nice slow prolonged watering to help it get established.


That’s not what this is, though.  It’s right next to a tree that has a higher tech watering solution.  There are drippers run to each tree that give it a good soaking once every week or so.


Yes, the little bucket has water in it.  Park maintenance cruises by and makes sure there is always water in it.


It’s a puzzle.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Even though it lasted three months


It was a modest trip.


It only involved five states (Unless you count Oklahoma and Utah.  We didn’t stay in either of those; just drove through them briefly.)


We only drove 5,000 miles.


I only gained 4 pounds.


Henry is happy to be home again too.




Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Three months on the road


It was a good time traveling, but it’s good to be home too.  Now for the last mark on the trip map for the year.


2016 Summer Trip Map


Back to our cozy little house.



The mandevilla went crazy while we were gone.


The esperanza got really happy.


Some things outside got a little dusty.


There are a few blooms left on the crape myrtle.


And Judy’s cactus/succulent collection traveled well.

She’ll be transplanting them into little fairy gardens once we get settled back in.



Monday, July 18, 2016

We needed three birds while we were here


American oystercatcher, magnificent frigatebird, wood stork.  Saw seven oystercatchers at Indian Point Park outside Portland, and a frigatebird at the Port Aransas marina area over the weekend.  Got the last of the three, the wood stork today.


We also needed to see the neck surgeon for our last follow-up.  He says I’m excellent!  He may have expressed that with a limited scope in mind, but I’m going to take it as an unqualified endorsement.


Drove past our most favorite billboard for an update.




Same message over time.


Nature rules.


Dinner with Rich and Carolyn at Fins.

(Rich and I are not pictured.)



Sunday, July 17, 2016

Marina Beach RV Park


2016 Summer Trip Map


Port Aransas, TX.  Interestingly, it is not at the Marina and it is not at the Beach.  The words go together well though.


The Corpus Christi skyline.

It includes an aircraft carrier in the middle, and a really big bridge over the ship channel.


The ferry ride across Corpus Christi Channel in the rig.

The ferry ahead of us is empty.  There is so much traffic coming off the island on a Sunday mid-day, they don’t fill every boat on the Aransas Pass side before sending it back for more.



Got to meet-up with Bigfoot this evening for dinner; Chris and Jan Christenson.  Bigfoot is the guy who, for all those years at Gulf Waters, would sit in “his office” (the bench at the top turn of the boardwalk over the dunes on the way to the beach) and visit with anyone/everyone who passed by.  We got to catch-up on stories we have missed these last few years.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Friday, July 15, 2016

If we were driving in any other state


We’d be out the other side by now.  As it is, we’re northwest of San Antonio, at Buckhorn Lake RV Resort.


2016 Summer Trip Map






A classic Kawasaki Mach III.  A good place for it.



Here is Henry modeling his Muttluks.



If the asphalt is too hot for us, it’s too hot for Henry.  The Muttluks are his freedom machine.