Friday, November 30, 2007

Geocaching Again

Well, the rv park we're in is starting to fill up with other Winter Texans. We've been here since November 7, and this whole time, we haven't had any other rigs on either side of us. Yesterday, we got a neighbor on one side of us. They're on the side opposite our door, which isn't too bad for us. Now we like people, we like to socialize, but we don't like to be scrunched in like sardines. And that's what it will feel like with rigs on both sides of us. It's about time to move on.

But, that will mean saying "see ya later" to our friend Karon and her husband. We met them at a mutual friend's house almost two years ago, and we've become close friends. They are leaving Monday to go have some work done on their motor home, so they're not sure when they will back here. We're here for one more week, then we'll start heading to California.

So, today, Jim suggested I get together with Karon to have a last "girl's day out" before we both leave. She had an errand in Corpus, so we took care of that first, then headed out for some geocaching. She's getting darn good at this!

Here she is with her second find of the day. Sorry, I can't tell you where this is, but if you're in the Rockport/Fulton area, it's not too far away.

While she signed the log, I got some pictures of the bloomin' bushes nearby. I'm sure someone might recognize these, but I have no idea what they are.

Here's a different one
Another find near Conn-Brown Harbor in Aransas Pass.

After finding three of three caches, we stopped at a local restaurant and had some lunch. When we went to the location of another cache, we noticed several people hanging around where we thought the cache might be, so we moved along to the next location. This one proved to be invisible, so we finally gave it up and headed home.

While he was out, Jim saw this boat and the piles of burlap bags on the dock. These are bags of oysters, and he watched them getting bagged. Interesting!

Ah, another day in the life.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Coyote and the Cranes

This morning we got up and went "park hopping" with Karon. There are over 30 rv parks listed in this area and we want to explore what other options are available for our next trip here. We found a couple of possibilities, but I haven't found The Park yet. As far as a good park, this one isn't too bad, but I'm just not all that impressed with how we've been treated. Anyway, we're exploring the other possibilities in the area.

One of the activities I had on my list of things I want to do while in Rockport was to take a boat tour to see the whooping cranes, which is about the only way to get a glimpse of these magnificent birds. The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge has the largest wild flock which migrates here each year from Alberta. The estimated number in this group is over 260 now. Upon the recommendation of another blogger and one of my readers, Sandra, I contacted Rockport Birding and Kayak Adventures with Capt. Tommy Moore to book a tour today.

Here's the boat we went out on.

Getting underway.
What's this! It doesn't look like a crane, oh, no - it's a coyote, heading right towards a family group of whooping cranes.

In this picture, maybe you can see that the two birds on the right have slightly reddish heads. These are juvenile twin whooping cranes. The parents are the ones on the left. This is an unusual group. Whooping cranes lay 2 eggs. What typically happens is that one chick will kill the other so there is less competition for food. But in this family, both chicks survived. The juveniles spotted the coyote and moved towards it, apparently curious, but unafraid.

It's a little hard to see in this picture, but the coyote (look closely on the left) has approached the juvenile cranes, who have wandered towards the coyote. These youngsters almost seem to be taunting the coyote. We were mesmerized by this drama for the longest time! Will the coyote attack the cranes? The crane parents were a few yards away, watching the youngsters closely.

One of the parents decided to make sure the juveniles were not in serious danger from the curious coyote

The coyote decided against taking any action against the 4 whooping cranes and moved along. Everyone on the little boat was relieved to see the coyote moving away from the cranes. The juveniles remained curious and unafraid of the coyote, though and followed along for a bit.
The juveniles, strutting their stuff

This pair took off nearly in front of our boat

The trip on the boat was mostly about whooping cranes, but we did see many, many other birds. Between the two of us, we took over 350 pictures. One of the new birds for me was this American Oyster Catcher, here he has an oyster on his beak.

What a day of adventure and drama!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Toy

Have I mentioned how much I like Jim's Canon Rebel camera? Well, today was the day he finally decided I'm not going to be borrowing "his" camera any more. We drove into Corpus Christi and visited Best Buy. I now have my own 10.1 megapixel SLR Canon Rebel XTi.

Today's pictures are my practice shots, since we didn't do much else today. I spent the entire afternoon reading instructions and playing around with the new camera.

Here are the dogs, on a bench at the dog walk area of the rv park.

This is the wooded area that borders the dog walk.

Another view of our rig. Good thing we don't have close neighbors, these sites are very close together!

Fulton Harbor area as it was getting dark.

One of my readers, Jenny, wanted to be sure I didn't forget what snow looks like. She lives in Spokane, Washington. I just saw a news report about the snow there, hope you're not slipping and sliding too much, Jenny, and thanks for the pictures!

It's been a fun day! I know, I say that nearly every day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Day With a Friend

We must have been pretty tired after our day at the National Seashore and Monday Night Football because we didn't wake up until almost 8:30 this morning. With a later start than usual, I was a little disorganized this morning.

In spite of that, Karon and I decided a day out was just what we both needed, so I picked her up and away we went. I wanted to check on the location of a geocache that we've looked for 3 times and couldn't find. I had emailed the owner and got a response back with a strong hint about the placement of the cache and a request to let them know if wasn't there. Nope, it's just not there. But there was a pretty good photo op with this boat surrounded by birds. Do you think they have some fish on board?

I'd heard about a birding area in Port Aransas, so we thought today would be a good day to check it out. It is the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center , Here's the boardwalk and observation deck

There are a couple of resident alligators in the area

We saw several turtles
And, of course, birds!

This is a very interesting area, I'd love to come back again and spend more time.

After leaving Jim home with no transportation for several hours, it was time to head back to Rockport. On the way back, we stopped at another geocaching location, where Karon logged her first sighting on her own! Congratulations, Karon!

Monday, November 26, 2007

National Seashore and Finding Rosey

Sunshine! Oh, yes, the sun came out from behind those clouds and we packed up our picnic lunch, the dogs, cameras, binoculars and map and headed off to find adventure.

We drove down through Aransas Pass and took the ferry across to Port Aransas.

We drove down Mustang Island and then to Padre Island and on to the National Seashore. This has been designated as a "Site of International Importance for Birds".

We were here on the wrong day, or the wrong time of day, or didn't sit still long enough, but we didn't see very many birds.

Here's the visitor center where we enjoyed our lunch. We ate in the car since it was pretty breezy.

A walk on the beach provided some interesting shells, and many of these starfish

I loved the sight and the smell of the sea grasses. The scent reminded me of pepper.

I was feeling kind of let down that we didn't see any of the birds I was still waiting to glimpse, sandhill cranes, roseate spoonbills and whooping cranes. I think we'll probably need to take one of the bird cruises to see the whooping cranes.

On the way home we were already back in Rockport when Jim suddenly yelled at me to get the camera ready as he screeched to a halt beside the road. Eureka!

Here are two roseate spoonbills, one white ibis and one other ibis, maybe a white faced?

I must have taken at least 30 pictures of these guys, they are so incredible. And there they were, right by the side of Highway 35 in Rockport!

It has been a good day!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Another Inside Day

Today started off quite a bit calmer than yesterday. In fact, the whole day has turned out to be pretty calm. We talked about the possibility of going for a drive, but with the weather still cold and drizzly, we decided another day of relaxing would be just fine. Maybe the prospect of watching a few more football games contributed to that decision.

So we settled in. It was cold enough that the dogs were a little shivery outside, so I dug out their cold-weather gear.

Jim has been craving s'mores, so we roasted a few marshmallows over the gas stove for a little treat. They didn't have that smokey flavor of a campfire, but were still tasty!

I spent most of the day looking through information about the National Seashore and working on a knitting project. I've taken the dogs out for about 4 walks, but otherwise, it's been more football.

The clouds started moving out late this afternoon and finally, the sky is clear. We hope to take a drive to the Padre Island National Seashore tomorrow.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Is This Saturday?

One thing about fulltiming, I don't always know right off what day it is. Yesterday there were college football games on tv, which usually means it's Saturday. But today there were college football games on too, so I was wondering if we had 2 Saturdays this week. After he retired, my dad used to say it was just awful, he never had any weekends or holidays any more. Yeah, right. I usually know if it's a weekend day, but during the week, I often lose track of which day it is.

I didn't sleep much last night. It was raining, and that was noisy enough on our roof, but to add to the noise, a tree right above us blew waves of rain that hit the roof every time a gust of wind came along. I had a hard time getting up this morning, until Jim started grumbling that some of our electric outlets weren't working and the coffee pot wouldn't come on. About the same time, Jasmine got sick to her stomach again.

Oh boy. Rain all night, a sick dog. Those are tough, but no coffee!! Now that just can't happen. So I got up and checked to see if the little blue light on my computer was lit. That means it has electric power. Yep, it's on. I moved the coffee pot to the dash, where I could plug it in to the front outlet and got the coffee going. Ok, now we can deal with the rest of the trouble.

I don't know what's going on with Jasmine. She was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis a few months ago and we have to be careful to make sure she only gets her prescription food. She hasn't gotten into anything lately. She's not acting sick, but she's thrown up twice in two days. We'll just watch her and if she keeps doing it, I'll take her to a vet next week and have some blood work done.

As to the electrical trouble, we found the gfci outlet was tripped. We think the cord for the outside lights got wet in the rain and popped it. Once it was reset, everything worked.

It also quit raining, so I didn't get soaked walking the dogs. But I was not full of energy, so I've just stayed inside most of the day. I got the dogs' bedding washed and dried.

I also defrosted the freezer. We have a two-compartment freezer, with the ice maker in one compartment. That gets covered in frost every few months and the ice maker gets jammed up if I don't defrost it fairly often. Today it needed to be done.

We didn't take any pictures today. However, I was going through some of the ones we've taken that haven't been published yet. I found a few with some birds I had not identified. I still don't know some of them but I'll play "guess the bird" -- feel free to join in.

My guess on this one is a greater yellowlegs

This is a gull, but I don't know which one

Guinea Hens?

At first I thought this was a great blue heron, but now I'm not so sure. Maybe it's a little blue heron.

I don't know about this one, maybe some kind of ibis?

All of these pictures were taken from the wetlands area here in Rockport where there is a bird observation deck. This is the place we've seen roseate spoonbills at a distance. There's also a geocache here that I've not been able to find in 3 tries. But I have a new clue, so when the weather gets a little better, I'm heading back over here. Maybe I'll find the cache, and maybe I'll get more birds.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Quiet Day

I knew the day would be filled with college football. However, Jim did agree to go out for a drive this morning before the games he really wanted to see were scheduled to come on. We wanted to see Goose Island State Park, and after our little tour, we think we would like to stay there some time. They have nice sites right on the shore of the bay. There are hookups for water and electric. There are also wooded sites, which would be ok too.

The day was gray and misty, so we didn't see many birds. Jim took the pictures of the shrimp boat and windmill.

After lunch (leftovers of course), I thought I'd try to set up my electronic keyboard in "my" corner and see how that worked. I've had it set up outside a couple of times, but since it's cold and damp, I sure didn't want to be out there today. The first time I got the keyboard out, I was dismayed to find out I'd forgotten to put in more music books, and the owner's manual. I found a copy of the manual online, that's what you can see on the computer screen in the picture, which also shows "my" area. We each have claimed a little part of the motor home as our own space, and that works out well for us. Sometimes people ask if we feel closed in or cramped in here. If we're stuck in here for days on end it does get a little close, but we generally spend enough time outside that we don't get claustrophobic.

I have room on the folding table to put my keyboard, or my sewing machine. I could use it for other crafts as well. My computer sits on the little fold out table most of the time. When I'm done with my project, the table folds flat and goes under the couch for handy storage.

When I practice the keyboard, I use ear buds, so the music doesn't interefere with the tv. That works out great for both of us -- I don't hear the tv and Jim doesn't hear me play the same song ten times!

I've had several requests for my crustless pumpkin pie recipe. I originally got the recipe from the Weight Watchers website, but I've revised it a little bit.

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
  • 1 can evaporated skim milk (12 oz.)
  • 3 egg whites (I use whole eggs)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice (1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 ginger, 1/4 cloves)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup splenda or sugar to taste ( I use the brown sugar splenda blend)

  • Combine all and beat until smooth. Pour into pie plate that is lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake 400 deg 15 minutes and then 325 for 45 or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Top with a little fat free cool whip for even more of a treat. Counts as a vegetable serving and high in fiber.
I ran this through the Weight Watchers recipe builder and for 8 pieces it comes out to 1 point per piece.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


This is our first Thanksgiving as fulltimers. We'd planned a celebration with our friend Karon and her husband. We cooked the turkey, which was actually 2 nice turkey breasts that Jim smoked on the little Smokey Joe. I made Rachel Ray's apple onion stuffin muffins, a sweet potato casserole, green salad and a crustless pumpkin pie. Karon provided the green bean casserole, rolls and a pecan pie. I had a fun time cooking in my little rv kitchen. Somehow it seems easier to cook and keep up with the "clean as I go" approach, since there's really no other way to do it. In the house we once owned, I was a pretty messy cook. Now, there's such limited space, I really need to stay more organized.

I started about 9 or so this morning and had everything coming together by around 2:00 when our guests arrived. We sat down and gave thanks for all of blessings of our lives and enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. It was just right. In yesterday's journal I mentioned many of the things we're grateful for, our health, family, friends, and the freedom we have to live this wonderful life traveling our beautiful country.

We visited for quite a while after dinner, watching football and all the goings on around the park. Several new rigs have come in yesterday and today. It's fun to watch all the folks gather. Some will be here all winter, and others are just passing through on their way to, who knows.

The weather turned much cooler today. The cold front moved in last night with a big gust of wind. We're all toasty warm in the motor home, though, ready for our respective Thursday night shows. I'll be watching Survivor China and Grey's Anatomy, while Jim will head for the bedroom to watch yet another football game.

We hope all our friends and family have had as nice a day as we have.