This year was my fifth year participating in the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count. Doray and I joined a bunch of other birders to count birdies in the Westcave area. Over 8 hours we logged 7+ miles and ~40 species over 3 different properties. I haven’t birded much this year. Other things have crammed their way in to fill my free hours. But I do enjoy walking around with my eyes on the treetops.
The temperatures started out in the mid-60s this year, instead of the 30s, for a change. No rain. Just a perfect day to tramp around the hill country trying to tell one Sparrow species from another.
Today we headed over to Noreen’s to celebrate Memorial Day. On the way we stopped by the cemetery to put a flag and flowers on Dad’s grave. Cheers, Dad!
We spent the day together: Noreen, Jared & Kelsey; Fran, Art, Rebecca, & Aaron (& Jojo); Colleen & Jake; Monte, Mom & me. Brian was down with the flu, so he and Gail will have to join us another time. It was another amazingly beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest when it was really supposed to be raining.
Jared and Kelsey cooked up the burgers & dogs, and we put out all the fixings; we also had halibut that Art caught just a day ago off the Washington coast. Delicious. Afterwards most of us headed down the road for a hike to the beach. Wow, that sure was steep! We found one of the 2 geocaches we searched for along the way.
This is a panarama, looking west to the Olympics, of the beautiful beach along Hood Canal at the bottom of our 1 mile, downhill, switchback-y hike. Becca and Aaron are skipping stones and Jojo is splashing around.
Then we turned around and slogged up the way we came down and were all extremely happy when we made it back to the upper trail head. Whew-ie!!
We headed out to visit Old San Juan this morning. Caught a bus right outside our hotel. The old town is a beautiful place to see. Here are some of the sights….
A guard turret in the old wall — called a garita.
A view looking out at the sea from one of the garitas.
The colorful building facades:
A view of the stunning Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, built in the early 16th century.
We went back to the hotel in the afternoon to meet up with Susanne and Laura. Then we all went back to Old San Juan. We ate dinner at a restaurant Irene recommended – El Jibarito, and I recommend it, too! Great home cooked Puerto Rican dishes. They also make a yummy sangria.
We’re on our way to the Caribbean for a sailing vacay! Our flight itinerary takes us there via Puerto Rico. We’ve decided to stay 2 nights in San Juan, since we never visited there before. We won’t have (and don’t want!) internet connectivity while we’re away, so I’m drafting these blog entries as I go along, and am posting them in order, after I get back.
Saturday, March 29.
We are leaving on a beautiful day in Austin. Here’s a great shot from the plane showing Lady Bird Lake, Zilker Park, the booming downtown skyline, the 40 acres, Longhorn stadium, UT tower, Erwin Center, the Capitol, Disch-Falk field, … What else can you spot?
After arriving in San Juan and checking into the hotel, we took a walk around the neighborhood. We stopped into a pub nearby and I found one of my favorite brewskis from my misspent awesome youth!
Our crew, Susanne and Laura, arrive in San Juan tomorrow!
A thunderstorm blew by us to the north this afternoon. The wind whipped up and dropped a bunch of leaves from the live oaks in the yard. All we got was small hail. While I’d love an endless downpour, I’m glad we didn’t get skylight-breaking hail (again ).
One doctor always stopped at a local bar after work for a hazelnut daiquiri – a special drink the bartender created just for him. One day, the bartender ran out of hazelnut flavor so he substituted hickory nuts instead.
The doctor took one sip of the drink and exclaimed, ‘This isn’t a hazelnut daiquiri!’
‘No, I’m sorry’, replied the bartender, ‘it’s a hickory daiquiri, doc.’
We enjoyed a nice night on the boat last night, and spent a leisurely morning at anchor. We were back home in time for me to bake a cake for the birthday boy. And, taking liberties with being the big kids that we are, that’s what we had for dinner! #notgonnagrowup
According to Sky and Telescope, Mercury is at its highest tonight, and reportedly the best view of it, all year. So, after sunset, I toodled over to my favorite nearby west-facing vantage point and caught this shot of it to the top left of the crescent moon.
For those of you that are inclined to look towards the stars for influence on our day-to-day lives, be warned that Mercury will enter retrograde from Feb 6 to Feb 28. Get ready for some weird happenings and funky vibes. More background here. And you may want to bookmark this link for future reference.
And, let me wish everyone a happy Chinese new year. 2014 is supposed to be the year of the horse. But let me just add….. GO HAWKS!!!!!
Sandwiched between the snowpocolypse of last week and another cold front due in tomorrow night was a beautiful day with temps in the 70s and winds blowing in the 20s. We headed to the lake and Lori and Dave joined us. We sailed up and down the lake for about 4 hours and enjoyed being out in it.