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.

May 26, 2010

Somers geese

Another long day.  The IBM site here in Somers sits on a huge, wooded piece of property.  For as long as I’ve been coming here there have always been large flocks of Canadian geese and many deer all over the property.

I took this picture as I was leaving the site at the end of the day.   The geese were heading down to one of their ponds for happy hour.

I went to dinner at a nearby Indian restaurant with a team of IBMers.  Around the table were 2 Americans, 1 Canadian, 2 Indians, 2 Koreans, 1 German and 1 person from Taiwan — a very enjoyable evening.

Now I must say goodnight so I can finish the presentation that I have to give first thing in the morning.

May 22, 2010

First float

We headed to the lake for a sail today.   It was very windy out, but Ryan and Mary both tried their hand at the helm and did great — first time sailing for both of them.

We anchored up in Arky south and took the first dip in the lake of 2010.    The lake temperature is about 73 degrees, and was a bit chilly for the first 5 mins or so, but it was great to be at waterline again.  🙂

Lori, Dave and Jake showed up a bit later on Camelot.  And Marty & Sue tied up to them on Caribbean Hug.    It’s beginning to feel alot like summer!

May 21, 2010


We’re having visitors this weekend, from San Antonio – Mary and Ryan.  Ryan’s birthday is today, so I baked this cake last night.  We will celebrate when they get here this evening.

The cake was staring at me as I was making coffee this morning.   It’s calling my name.  It won’t leave me alone.  I must be strong.

It’s going to be a long day.   😉

May 20, 2010


Our basil is booming.   In anticipation of lots of pizza feasts in our future, we have 2 patches of basil plants this year.  This patch was planted from seed.  Well, actually, there were probably about 5 times this many plants that sprouted, but Monte has been thinning them down to a managable number.

I think it’s time for some pesto!!!

Apr 30, 2010

Better late than never

The bluebonnets in the way back have all gone to seed.   On my walk back there tonight I saw a couple of newcomers — indian blankets.  There are 4 plants that I can see there, and this is a picture of their first bloom.

I’m very excited to see what pops up next Spring.   As I post this, Monte is out back spreading more wildflower seed that he’s collected.

Apr 29, 2010

Recycling bananas

I’ve been staring at a couple of brown bananas on the counter today.   Instead of tossing them into the compost bin, I decided to bake some banana bread.   Mmmm, smells great!

I used an easy recipe from our so-very-well-used-that-it’s-falling-out-of-its-binding Joy of Cooking.

Banana Bread

1 1/3 c flour
3/4 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
5 1/3 T unsalted butter
2/3 c sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c mashed very ripe bananas (~2)
1/2 c coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

Whisk together first 4 dry ingredients.  In separate large bowl beat butter and sugar on high speed until lightened in color and texture, 2-3 minutes.   Add dry ingredient mixture to butter/sugar and beat until blended.  Gradually beat in eggs.   Fold in bananas & nuts until just combined.  Spread evenly in greased 8 1/2″  x 4 1/2″ loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 mins, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.   Cool in pan 5-10 minutes then turn out onto rack.

Apr 28, 2010

Dinner and a movie

We went to a special event at the Alamo Drafthouse tonight — a wine / dinner pairing and the movie Bottle Shock.   The movie is based on the real story of the Chateau Montelena vineyard whose Chardonnay won 1st place in a Paris blind tasting in 1976, putting put Napa Valley wines on the map forever.

It was weird to eat food that you couldn’t really see in the dark.   But the food, wines and movie were all great.   Love the Alamo!

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