Jun 9, 2010

Elusive little bugger

It was about a month ago that I put out the hummingbird feeders.  Three in the backyard, and a new one in the front — right outside the kitchen window.

I haven’t seen any in the backyard yet, but the feeder in the front is very popular with the little birdies.

I’ve been trying for almost a week to get a picture of one of them.  They’re funny birds.  The problem with having the feeder right outside the window is that they have a better view of me than I do of them.  Whenever I try to creep up with the camera they fly away.  As a result, I’ve gotten several hundred shots of the empty feeder.

Yesterday I tried modifying my stalking approach.   I put the camera on continuous shoot mode and closed the blinds as low as I could, yet still be able to see if they’re there.

This little guy would take a sip, then fly off and look for me.  Then take a sip and fly off and hover again.  This went on for about a minute today.  This shot isn’t great, but it’s the best of the bunch.   If I’m able to improve my stealth technique  and it yields a spectacular shot, you’ll be sure to see it here in a future post.

By the way, here’s the recipe I use to fill the feeders:

Hummingbird Nectar
1 part sugar : 4 parts H2O
Bring to a boil for several minutes.
Let cool completely.
Probably shouldn’t leave in the feeder for more than a week or so.

Jun 8, 2010

At a crossing

I’ve recently changed jobs — not a new company, just moved to a different organization.  I’m working to ramp up as quickly as I can, but there’s much I need to learn quickly about this part of the business.   Time to stretch, again.

On the way to work this morning I hit the railroad crossing on Duval just in time to wait for a reeaaealllly long train to pass.     This is going to be one of my less interesting photos, but it does capture a moment (well, several minutes really) from my day.

Hopefully, like the RR crossing that slows you down until the train is past, the learning period associated with this new job will pass soon and I’ll be able to move through this latest career transition and carry on my way.  (…a little philosophical musing from my time waiting at the tracks this morning).

Jun 6, 2010

Hobie fun

Whooooweee, what a fun-packed weekend.   We hung out at the marina on Saturday, floating and fishing around B-dock.   Today, we came out with Jen to take their Wellcraft out to the cove, since the catboat is having its motor serviced.   We anchored and floated for a while.

Then Lori, Dave, Jake, Irene, Laura and Arnie came out on Camelot and joined us in Arky South.

Lori let us bring her Hobie cat to the lake today.  So, after we got back to  B-dock, Monte put it in the water.   The guys flocked to it.  Wally sailed it off the trailer.  Then Tony took it out.  Then Marty took it out several times, giving Kurt’s grandkids a ride.  Then Monte took it out.   Then I took it out, with Monte aboard.   Finally, the winds died;  which was good, because we were pooped.

Afterward, a bunch headed to Los Pinos for some dinner.

It was a very fun weekend… it was great to play with everyone!    Also saw Michelle, her niece Michaela, Robert, Joe, Nick, Isabelle, Morgan and Dimitri, Kurt, his daughters Jessica, Jennifer, hubby Lewis and grandkids William and Wesley.  Whew!

Jun 5, 2010

She-pole

It’s time to renew my fishing license.   I decided it was high time for a new fishing pole as well.   The pole I’ve been using for years on the boat doesn’t cast well — it’ll go about 15 feet, no matter what.

I picked a ladies ugly stick.  It’s short; and it’s pink.  That ought to keep the menfolk away from it.

I took it out to the lake and tried it out.   It casts GREAT!   Very nice.   I caught a bunch of blue gill on white bread balls.

Now, where are those bass?….

Jun 4, 2010

Mexican train

Tonight Jen joined us for dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant.  Afterward we came back to the house for a visit.

Rob and Jen introduced us to this domino game called Mexican Train.   Not sure why it’s called that, but it’s fun.   Monte won several times and I think Jen and I both won one.

This was one of the more impressive set of trains we built.

Choo choo!

Jun 3, 2010

Zinnies

The rain has been kind to my gardens.  This is the patch of zinnias that Monte planted from seed in February/March.   They are clearly benefiting from all the time  Susanne spent during her visit in December  to weed, compost, till and prepare these flower beds.  They’re feeling the love.   Thanks Susanne… you’ll have to come back soon and see them in person.

We’ve already been cutting blooms to enjoy inside the house.   I love fresh flowers!

Jun 1, 2010

Pizza to go

Tuesday.  Busy day.  Meetings starting in the wee hours through the day.   Hair appointment at the end of the day.   I’m going to pass on the cooking thing tonight and decided to pick up pizza from the 2nd best pizza joint in Austin 🙂

Portabello and proscuitto rocks.

May 31, 2010

Climbing vine

Happy Memorial Day.   After two days on the lake it’s nice to lay low.   I had work stuff I needed to get done today, but found time to talk a walk out back and water the flowers.

This is a shot of the morning glory that I planted from seed.   I got this garden obelisk several years ago and have tried to grow a climbing, flowering plant on it several times in the past, but each time it has died.   This one seems to have legs and I like to go out in the morning to see the blooms.

I didn’t get a flag pole mounted for this year.  Hopefully I can do that before the 4th of July.  For now, though, on this Memorial Day, let me just leave you with this:

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.  It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate.  It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”

– Charles M. Province, US Army

May 30, 2010

Red-winged blackbird

This morning I took the kayak to check out the cove.   I also brought a fishing pole with me, but there weren’t any fish interested in playing along.

In the coves on either side of Arkansas Bend we always find red-winged blackbirds.   They have a signature trill, and you usually hear them long before you see them.

While I was kayaking, there were several flying back and forth between shrubs on either side of the cove.  Every time I would slide up close to one to take a picture, he’d fly across the cove.   So, I’d quietly paddle across to try again — and the same thing would happen.   After about an hour of this, I packed it in and headed back to the boats for a swim.

Afterward, I was very pleased to see that I did get a couple of pictures of the birds after all, though all a tad grainy due to the zoom.    This picture was the best of them.   I caught a shot of this guy in the middle of our little game of keep-away-from-sheila,  as he was flying away from the shrub.

Not fast enough blackbird!

May 29, 2010

First raftup

Ahhh, a 3-day weekend!   This is the weekend of the Turnback Canyon Regatta, a 2-day race up the lake and back.  We had talked about cruising along and spending the night up the river.  But as it turned out this morning there was no wind.

By noon the racers had already motored by the marina, sails down.   So, we decided to go to the South Arkansas Bend cove to raftup with Marty, Sue, Lori, Dave and Jake.  Doray and Tom came out to float with us for several hours, too.

Even without the wind, today was as an absolutely great day.  Temps in the 90s;  water temp over 80;  a full lake.   A perfect combination for an afternoon of floating.   We brought the kayak, so everyone got a chance to explore.

Arky south has great sunset views.   This is a classic.

May 28, 2010

My lovely hibiscus

After being out of town all week, I was looking forward to check out the garden and flowers.   So, I took a walk out back with my morning coffee and my camera.   There are so many pretty blooms.

There are 3 hibiscus plants along the back of the house and they always put out a ton of blooms.   This is a picture of a Rose of Sharon — hibiscus syriacus.   Google tells me this is the national flower of Korea.    That’s nice, but I like having it here in Central Texas.