Just Another Shaggy God Story

23 January, 2015 (19:39) | Uncategorized | By: Gail

Scuppers checking out the auction.

Scuppers checking out the auction.

We had to phone Hurricane Charlie and call him out on the rug over the recent brouhaha at his local law enforcement office — the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.   The office had purchased a custom rug featuring a close-up of the county’s deputy badge at a cost of $500.  The rug had lent an air of authority to the Office’s floor for seven months before someone noticed that the Seal proclaimed “In Dog We Trust”.  Oops.

 

Cutting the rug.

Cutting the rug.

Proofreaders everywhere were enjoying the Schadenfreude and we couldn’t let sleeping gods lie.  Hurricane Charlie thought Scuppers would be bidding on the blooper rug, now being sold at auction.

Dude!  We on the Big Lebowksi have been searching for YEARS for the “rug that really ties the room together” , this must be IT!

Doggoneit, the auction is over!

Doggoneit, the auction is over!

Hot diggity god, Scuppers was on the Web in a flash ready to bid beau coup biscuits.  But, alas, he was barking up the wrong tree.  The auction had already ended with a winning bid of $9650!   Oh well, who can pick a bone with that.   Dyslexics untie!

24 Hours at the Bird Feeder

18 January, 2015 (00:00) | Uncategorized | By: Gail

Flat fields for miles and miles...nothing left but the Roundup residue.

Flat fields for miles and miles…nothing left but the Roundup residue.

We moved the Big Lebowski inland 50 miles to Lake Corpus Christi — a reservoir perched in the midst of endless tilled fields, flatter than the Red River Valley of North Dakota.  Given that the area surrounding Lake Corpus Christi is the only habitat for birds and animals for miles and miles we bought a bird feeder and some seed to see what we could attract.

Greg set it up on a shepherd’s hook about mid-afternoon and by 5 pm a deer and her fawn moved in for a treat.  The doe could not quite find a way of shaking the seed down — it was a little too high to whack with a hoof and her tongue a little too short.  Greg re-rigged the feeder to hang from a tree a bit higher.

Doe looking for a treat.

Doe looking for a treat.

Whole flocks of cardinals moved in next but these rural birds could not figure out how to land on the feeder.  So Greg obliged by throwing some seed on the ground.

Golden-Fronted Woodpecker.

Golden-Fronted Woodpecker.

During the night some squeaky but unseen critter cleaned every last seed out of the feeder. The birds barely waited for Greg to finish replenishing the next morning before they moved in to dine. We saw up to 20 cardinals at a time, doves, sparrows, meadowlarks, woodpeckers, titmouse and the local stars — tropically colored Green Jays.

Green Jay scoping it out.

Green Jay scoping it out.

Success.

Success.

This Kinglet exhausted himself fighting off all those rival Kinglets that appear in the RV mirrors and windows. In-between mighty battles he grabbed refreshment at the feeder.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet fighting off rival.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet fighting off rival.

About mid-morning a bobcat emerged from the woods in front of us and sat patiently waiting for a quick raid on the squirrel who was dining at the feeder across the street from us.  We watched the bobcat for about 45 minutes before it attempted to make a run at the squirrel but the squirrel vamoosed in an instant.

Bobcat eyeing lunch at neighbors feeder.

Bobcat eyeing lunch at neighbors feeder.

 

What's on the bobcat menu.

What’s on the bobcat menu.

Beginning the stalk.

Beginning the stalk.

Unfortunately, by the second day a bully mockingbird moved in and is preventing all other birds from landing anywhere near the feeder.

 

A Boatload of Errors

7 January, 2015 (00:00) | Uncategorized | By: Gail

USS Lexington.

USS Lexington.

They are all just boats to me but my Navy veteran father says you cannot call the air craft carrier USS Lexington a “boat”. I miss boats a lot so we took the tour of the Lexington, anchored in Corpus Christie, the one day we had sunshine.

Flight deck of the Lex.

Flight deck of the Lex.

It did not dawn on me that the vast majority of an air craft carrier is indoors so I squandered my only good chance at some solid vitamin D production.

He always has to monkey with the equipment.

He always has to monkey with the equipment.

The tour of the Lex did not gratify any boat yearnings as I simply felt like I was in a big parking lot while on the flight deck and inside a large government building below decks. Anybody need a sailboat charter?

All her flags were flying.

All her flags were flying.

 

I hope my life never depends on these instructions!

I hope my life never depends on these instructions!

After returning to the RV, I again complained that the Lexington didn’t feel at all nautical and compared the visit to our tour of the Battleship Missouri anchored in Virginia.

“That was the Wisconsin”, he said. ”

“Sorry honey, there are no Battleships in Wisconsin”, I remarked.

“No, the Battleship is The Wisconsin, anchored in Norfolk, VA”

Shoot!  He is still chortling as this is the SECOND time in 25 years he has been right.  As I write, he is nodding his head smugly, saying “North Santee River” and “Battleship Wisconsin” over and over.  Of the hundreds of anchorages along the ICW, I once claimed we had anchored the previous season in the South Santee River and he claimed the North — he was right, a particular victory as navigation is MY specialty.  I will never hear the end of this.

Corpus Christi bay bridge, framing a scene right out of the Koch Brothers.

Corpus Christi bay bridge, framing a scene right out of the Koch Brothers.

 

It’s the Birds, Again

6 January, 2015 (00:00) | Uncategorized | By: Gail

Parked at Goose Island State Park.

Parked at Goose Island State Park.

Since sunshine proved elusive, we decided to concentrate on the local birding.  We aren’t Birders with a capital B but do enjoy trying to identify the birds we see in each new location.  If you think that sounds like we ARE Birders, we offer the following evidence to the contrary:

1. Our total armament of binoculars cost  less than 4 figures.

2. Neither of us own nylon pants with zip-off legs.  Yet.

3. Neither of us roll out of bed before dawn to go check out the local birds.

4. Swarovski to us is an entity that produces figurines, not optics.

5. We throw away our lifelong list at least once a season, usually after we notice a number of entries such as McKays Bunting, Hawaiian Moa, Kookaburra, or Flying Sea Monkeys.

We've never seen an American Bittern so close.

We’ve never seen an American Bittern so close.

Nonetheless, we spent a couple of hours at the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center in Port Aransas marveling at hundreds of water birds in the marsh tucked away by the sewage treatment plant.  It’s always by the sewage plant!

Tricolored Heron.

Tricolored Heron.

The Center has a short boardwalk built over the marsh and the birds bask in the warmer water totally unruffled by your close presence.

Northern shoveler.

Northern shoveler.

Our final tally for Leonabelle included Roseate Spoonbills, White and Brown Pelicans, Green Heron, Great-Blue Heron, Great White Heron, White Ibis, Blue- and Green-Winged Teals, Coot and Common Moorhens, Kildeer, Red-Winged Blackbird, Pied-Billed Grebe, an American Alligator and a Nutria.  We also saw the stately Whooping Cranes that winter on Aransas Bay just north of Goose Island S.P along with a flock of Sandhills.   We’d love to come back to this area during the spring migration, as long as the sun comes back with the birds.

 

Texas Riviera

2 January, 2015 (00:00) | Uncategorized | By: Gail

Scuppers still likes to navigate.

Scuppers still likes to navigate.

We headed down to the coast with the intention of finding some much-needed sunshine.  We picked a park that looked remote on the map, which we translated as quiet.  It was quiet indeed if you could ignore the noise of the airboats that launched right behind us every morning at 6 am to go duck hunting.  The sunshine we hoped was scarcer than ever and I was amazed to be roused by the sound of airboat engines one morning when it was 38 degrees with pouring rain and 30 mph winds. Wow, those hunters are dedicated!

We felt this was just not right.

We felt this was just not right.

We understand that the locals call this portion of the Gulf Coast “The Redneck Riviera” and we found evidence to support the nomenclature.  ”Hook em Horns!” does not mix well with Ahoy! in our world.

Cattle guard.

Cattle guard.

Most local pickup trucks sport these largish cattle guards.  Greg says we call those “mosquito catchers” in Minnesota.

One morning when Wanda, our land-based GPS navigator, routed us waaaaaay around Corpus Christi Bay rather than taking a ferry we decided that road GPS software must not recognize ferry routes.  We took the ferry on the return route and were tickled to find that Wanda knows we ARE on the ferry and even shows a little boat symbol in the upper left corner of her display:

The GPS does do ferry boats.

The GPS does do ferry boats.

After the ferry docked, Wanda graciously told us to “leave the ferry”.  We did wonder a bit about the economies of ferries versus a high bridge.  This particular ferry runs 24 hours a day and they were operating 5-6 ferries each time we used the service, which is FREE!  And yes, that includes RVs and trailers, unless it’s low tide.

Busy ferry service.

Busy ferry service.