Monday, January 19, 2015

Songbird Banding at McAllen Nature Center

Sunday morning I went over to the McAllen Nature Center for Songbird banding. This was the first time I've seen songbirds banded and my first time at the McAllen Nature center.
The nature center has been closed for several years and has just reopened recently.
You can read the very interesting history of the Nature center here.
 The bander and volunteers catch  the birds in nets at the feeding stations and then place them in bags until they are ready to band them.



























Bird banding is important because it helps keep a record of migration, behavior and life-span and survival rate, reproductive success and population growth.

The banders are very careful to not stress the birds too much and to not hurt them.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Merry Christmas

Lots of things have happened since we got back home.
Phil's mom came for a three week visit and we had a terrific time with her.

We didn't do a lot of sightseeing but we did go to Sabal Palms, the Rabb Plantation.







We got to decorate the house and yard for Christmas this year.


We hated to see Joan go back to the dreary PA weather.

On December 10th I had partial knee replacement. I had such a difficult time nearly three years ago when I had the left knee done, that I didn't see how I could ever put myself through that again.
But with the increasing pain and limited mobility it was coming down to nit having a choice
Luckily I met an xray tech that recommended a surgeon in Edinburgh
Dr Marquez has his own hospital and rehab center. Less than a week after surgery I was walking without my walker and kicking butt in physical therapy.
I'll be glad to finally get these stitches out though.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Space Center Houston

Before leaving Houston for the Valley,Phil and I went on a tour of the Nasa Space Center in Houston.
It was a very interesting place, with objects and films on the history of space exploration








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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Babe Didrikson Zaharias Museum and Spindletop

I am so far behind on blogging.  Phil’s job in Houston ended and we speedily left for our home in Mission.
After living seven years fulltime in our fifth wheel, there was a lot of “stuff” we needed to move out of the RV into our house. We have also been busy hanging out with friends and attending village activities.
Before we left Houston, I got to go on one last history trip with the folks from Cypress Top.
We went to the Babe Didrikson Zaharias museum and then to Spindletop, where the first oil gusher “came in”.






































Babe Didrikson Zaharias  gained world fame in track and field and All-American status in basketball.  She played organized baseball and softball and was an expert diver, roller-skater, and bowler.  She won two gold medals and one silver medal for track and field in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.









































She died at the age of 45 of colon cancer.
 At the time of her death, she was still a top-ranked female golfer.


There were some lovely flower beds outside of the museum.





























This is a reenactment of the Spindletop gusher that blew oil over 150 feet  in the air at a rate of 100,000 barrels per day before they figured out how to top it off.





















Spindletop was the largest gusher the world had seen, and catapulted Beaumont into an oil-fueled boomtown. Beaumont's population of 10,000 tripled in three months and eventually rose to 50,000.


The Gladys City museum is a recreation of an oil boom town.















































































































































All in all it was a very enjoyable trip.  I’m just sad it was my last one with this group.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

My 52nd Birthday


Every year my birthday gets better and better. I’m usually some where new with new friends and it is so much fun.

This years festivities started out with a birthday luncheon for the volunteers at Kleb Woods for birthdays of July and August. The food was so good! I brought Red Velvet cupcakes but my favorite was this coleslaw dish that a lady brought.

Slaw Salad Kleb Woods
4 cups slaw mix
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped pecans
¼ cup chopped red onion
Mix together
Dressing
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. celery seed
Mix and pour over slaw
Chill as least 3 hours
Serves 6

So simple, yet so delicious.

The next event was Phil taking me out to dinner to a wonderful little Italian place, called Capri Pasta. I had won a 50.00 gift certificate to Restaurant.com and this restaurant was on the list of places I could use the certificate.

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Our meal started out with this wonderful fried mozzarella appetizers.

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This was followed by the Italian Wedding Soup, which frankly I think mine is better.

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Then the Lasagna which was very, very good.

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Then there was desert, cake balls!



One of the best birthday dinners ever!

On Sunday, Phil took me to Galveston to take a Duckie tour of Galveston.

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Galveston Duck Tours is a land and water sightseeing adventure spanning 15 miles of Galveston Island.

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Commissioned by the Galveston Commission for the Arts and installed in 2000, David W. Moore's bronze sculpture is a monument to the victims and survivors of the 1900 Storm, which killed in excess of 6,000 Galvestonians.

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The duck goes down into the water, what our guide called the Offatts Bayou

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Moody Gardens

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Galveston's Stormy Past

40,000 trees were killed on Galveston Island during Hurricane Ike in 2008. The city found chain saw sculptors to work on the trees in the historic district with amazing results.
A picture of one of the tree stumps that was cut down and an Oleander bush. Oleander is not native to Texas. It was brought here
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In 1841. Joseph Osterman, a prominent merchant, brought them aboard his sailing ship from Jamaica to his wife and to his sister-in-law, Mrs. Isadore Dyer. Mrs. Dyer found them easy to cultivate and gave them to her friends and neighbors. Soon these new plants were growing throughout the city.
Galveston tree sculptors saw destruction and turned disaster into a thing of beauty. Hurricane Ike destroyed many of the ancient trees lining Galveston's streets. They are now beautiful works of art.

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Tourist Attraction
The dead tree sculptures can be found all over Galveston island on every street and corner. The artists took the time to look at each tree and find the inner heart that turned the trees into mermaids, dolphins, squirrels, dogs and even angels. These sculptures are truly spectacular and will stand the test of time and the weather. They are worth a visit.
There are several old cemeteries on Galveston. I wish it hadn’t been so hot, I would have loved to wander through them looking at the dates and epithets.

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This shows where the water level came to during Hurricane Ike at the Napa Parts Store.

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The Moody mansion

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W.L Moody Jr. bought the home from the heirs of the original owners soon after the great hurricane of 1900. Mr. and Mrs. Moody and their four children celebrated the first of more than eighty Christmas seasons in the house in December of that year. The house remained home for Moody family members until 1986.
Galveston is a beautiful city with more history than I expected.
After touring the city, we met Terry and Ginger for dinner at Outback. I laughed so much I almost got sick. It really was a terrific birthday.