Brrr-ski.

Last night a cold front settled down in central Texas. The high yesterday was 92 degrees. The temps today have dropped nearly 50 degrees. A rude awakening.

All but one of my hummingbirds have moved on. This one has spent the day under the eaves out of the rain, sheltered from the north wind, and with its personal supply of nectar. I named her Ellie. I hope she makes it.

Fountain 4.0.

A year or two ago, I installed a small water feature under the oaks next to our back patio. It was a small fountain powered by a tiny water pump (4W, 80 gallons per hour). The birds have enjoyed it almost as much as I have.

The first pump lasted about a year. I clean it every few weeks. But one day it just stopped working. No problem. I ordered another pump from amazon and installed it. A week later some varmit pulled the pump out of the water basin, and it ran dry until it melted. 😦

I bought a third pump and the same thing happened; probably by the same damn varmit. 😡

This time, I’ve placed the pump under a rock and added a piece of plastic tubing to carry a stream of water through holes in the rock onto the pebbles below.

Wish me luck!

Wrapping it up.

We took the scenic way home from Rachel’s, dropped Rebecca and Aaron off, and then came home and whipped up a delicious risotto for dinner.

The next day we stopped by my nephew Jared’s new house, and then had a fun family get together at Noreen and David’s.

Then, FINALLY, we had one glorious, clear summer day on Hood Canal. Jake went for a hike with us and then we met up with James for dinner.

These are two pictures from the same place, taken at about the same time of day. The first is from one of the smoke-filled days, the second one was taken 5 days later.

I MUCH prefer this one….

Blue sky days.

We headed west with a mission to see where the Pacific Ocean meets the state of Washington.

Along the way, we stopped in Aberdeen, home of Kurt Cobain, former frontman of Nirvana. We stopped at a modest but touching memorial to him.

We thought this sign at the neighbor’s house was especially funny.

And we did finally make it to the coast. It was our first smoke-free day, and it was lovely. We spent a day at Ocean Shores…

And another clear sky day at the coast, this time at Westport…

We spent the night at our niece, Rachel’s, new home, joined by Fran, Aaron, Rebecca, Noreen and David. We had fun exploring the area and enjoying our time together.

Boats, et cetera.

We toured the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain tall ships with Francine, Rebecca & Aaron. It was fun to learn they would be here during our visit.

The next day we ambled through some antique shops, and then took the ferry to Seattle to visit Pat, Nga and the boys.

A photo of the Southworth ferry (manipulated with the Prisma app)…

They have a beautiful new home in seattle with a view of the Sound. Another pic, manipulated with the Prisma app that I so enjoy playing with.

Will helped Monte hang their dartboard. And the throwing ensued.

We walked around the neighborhood garage sales, and all the beautiful yards.

Then blackberry picking…

Then we made a wonderful seafood dinner. I sautéed some Manila clams. They were eaten so fast I only got an after photo…

Pat grilled salmon and it was perfect!

Nick and I put together Lego dinosaurs after dinner – well, I helped. 🙂

The wild outside.

I love finding visitors just outside my kitchen window.

A napping fawn on the lawn Saturday afternoon:

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A rare migrating Rufous (or possibly Allen’s?) hummingbird this morning hiding out from the rain.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fungus amungus.

We spent last week driving to Florida and back to attend the best-reunion-evah.  🙂  I have so many pictures, my eyes are glazing over.  I kind of like this one.  The old gives life to the new.  Bloom where you are planted, my friends.

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A new (to me) park. 

I discovered a lovely park, right off Loop 360 and Spicewood Springs Road. The trail head for the Irving and Hazeline Smith Memorial Trail is on the northwest corner of the intersection.  You can park right nearby.  It’s an easy, flat, 1.5 mile loop through woods, grassland and near the creek.  No dogs permitted, though.  

Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve.

Today I went birding with my friend, Doray, to Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve.   I’m a novice.  I was able to get a lot of amazing photos of tree branches.  🙂   If I ever get an amazing photo of a bird, I may share here.  But for now, I won’t bore you with it.   We did see several kinds of birdies, so I’m calling it a success.

Here are two non-bird shots from the morning:

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Garden guest.

I was walking back from the shop today when I saw a butterfly fluttering among the zinnias.   She flitted around, while I stopped to watch, for a good 2 minutes, posing, in perfect light.  Of course I didn’t have a camera with me.  When I got back in the house I grabbed my phone and popped back out.  She was still there, but wouldn’t let me get as close, and didn’t pose as perfectly this time — camera shy, i guess.   I took some zoomed-in shots, not crisp, but pretty.  I think this is an eastern black swallowtail.  She does love the zinnies.

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Whoa, Nellie. 

I took a walk around the hood tonight to hit my step target. And I came across this little lady who was very wary of me.   I said hi, took a picture and kept moving on down the road.  I’d like to think that she has a similar snap of me. 

  

Renewal.

We have been working in the yard quite a bit lately.  Two weekends ago we set out to save a stand of 5 or six struggling young liveoaks in our back wooded area that had been dealt two bad cards:  they were being overshadowed by invasive hackberry trees, and completely defoliated by catepillars this spring.   They looked like goners.

So we cut the hackberries down, fertilized the oaks, and sprayed to get rid of the remaining catepillars.  For the last two weeks i’ve been checking on them every day, watching tiny lime green buds pop out up and down each branch, and then watching the buds turn into tiny leaves.   And with all the recent rains they are starting to look like trees again.  I think they’ll make it!

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