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Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sluggish Saturday

Just like last Saturday, I did next to nothing today.  It had been a busy week, and it was dreary with a few sprinkles today.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.  I couldn’t even muster up the ambition to go get a 1/2 gallon of milk. Sad smile

61 On the way to Indiana1

It’s a good thing I had the second half of yesterday’s wildlife drive to post pictures from tonight.  The drive is only three miles long, but it was packed with water birds.

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It was nice to see this young alligator (about 4’ long).  This guy was squeaky clean looking.  The gators I saw at Anahuac all had lots of mud on them.  I only spotted two alligators on the drive, but I’m sure there were more out there.

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I even found two black-necked stilts sitting on eggs.  I’d sure like to get some photos of the chicks hatching, but I’ll be long gone by then.

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What a productive wetland area this is.  Great egrets are usually camera shy, so I’m lucky I got these shots.

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The thistles up North won’t be blooming for a couple of months yet, but the plants down here are already going to seed.  I’ve become accustomed to temps in the 80’s the last few weeks, so I may be in for a shock as I head North next week.

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This is part of a flock of about 100 fulvous whistling ducks that I encountered.  I’ve never seen a flock this large before.  I usually only see two at a time.

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And who could pass up a chance at a shot like this of the abundant killdeer?  I’m sure there was a nest nearby, as this bird went into it’s broken wing act just after this photo. 

61 On the way to Indiana

My personal favorite for the day was finding this cooperative green heron.  I could have watched it hunting the bank forever.  Several cars had to pass me along the drive.  They probably did the route in about ten minutes, whereas it took me about an hour and a half.  They may not have been bird watchers.  It’s amazing what you can see if you slow down and really open your eyes and ears.

 

Now all I have to do is remember to call the Visitor’s Services Manager for the refuge complex after the weekend is over. (sometimes that remembering is a problemSad smile)   There are three NWRs in this complex, and the intern told me they have a hard time getting volunteers since they require 32 hours/week.  Traveling solo, I’m pretty used to that requirement even though I think it’s too much.  Of course, if that’s what they require for each member of a couple, it makes me wonder if they require even more hours from a solo.  If they do, it will be their loss.  32 is my absolute maximum.

 

A thought popped into my head this afternoon.  Why is it that when people use swear words in their conversation, some of them say pardon my French?   Does this mean that French speaking people swear all the time?

 

Thanks for stopping by…. talk to you later,  Judy

Friday, April 29, 2011

Louisiana Byways

There was a knock at the door this morning at 8:30.  They wanted my rig to work on those things on my list other than the new shades.  Okay, time to get everything in order for the rig to move.  I managed to do that in 20 minutes.  Then, Emma and I headed out for a drive in the country.  I figured we be gone for an hour or two, but it turned into a 200 mile drive!

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As we headed south, we passed many crawfish fields and rice fields. 

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We drove the Creole Nature Trail which is a National Scenic Byway.  Can’t say that anything really impressed me along this route.  I guess I’m spoiled with the Idaho Scenic Byways. 

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After about 90 miles or so, we came upon this little gem.  I had never heard of Cameron Prairie NWR, but I’m sure glad I decided to take Pintail Drive. 

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Shortly into the wildlife drive, there is a boardwalk trail that goes for about a half mile or so.  What a delightful little trail this turned out to be.

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This wetland area had abundant wildlife to observe.  Besides the savannah sparrows, there were scads of black-necked stilts working the waters.

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The algae made interesting patterns where the wind blew it into the vegetation. 

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As we continued down the wildlife drive after the hike, I was amazed to see all the birdlife in the wetlands.  This greater yellowlegs was very busy looking for lunch.

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Of course, birds were not the only things out and about.  I saw quite a few turtles as well.  I think the one on the left is a red-eared slider.

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The Eastern kingbirds were out hawking bugs on the wing, and…

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I was able to spot this Northern shoveler mom with her three young chicks.  All of these sightings were made within the first mile of the three mile wildlife drive.  I’ll be posting the rest of what I saw probably tomorrow.  I’ll just say it was a great drive. 

 

A little further down the road, I stopped at the refuge’s visitor’s center and talked to one of the interns about RV volunteers.  They do have them on this refuge, and I now have a contact person to talk to about possibly volunteering here in the future.  With all the birdlife, it seems like it might be a good match for me.  It’s definitely a possibility.  Smile

 

It was almost 3:00 when we got back to the fix it shop, and there I learned that I certainly did need some new house batteries.  That was not a surprise to me.  While I was gone, they also rotated the tires, and installed a Fantastic Fan in the shower area.  The original fan there was a piece of crap.  Most everything on my list has been taken care of, so now it’s just a matter of waiting for the shades to be built and sent.

 

Thanks for stopping by…. talk to you later,  Judy

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I made it to Louisiana

The 214 mile trip to Thibodeaux’s Premiere RV today was uneventful.  There were no storms, and I was able to get on the road shortly before 9:00.  With all of the storms in Mississippi and Alabama yesterday, I was thankful for blue skies and only slightly breezy conditions.

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We’re parked with full hookups in this ‘gated community’.  My neighbors are all rigs waiting to be worked on, but Emma and I are the only live bodies in the lot.  I don't know smile  The scenery is nothing to rave about, but the price is sure right.  The owner, Billy, did all the necessary measurements for my sun screens this afternoon so the order could be sent in today.  I changed my order, but I’ll explain that further once the screens arrive.

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I’m guessing they’ve been busy enough around here that they haven’t had time to mow the meager lawn around the edges of the property.  These ‘weeds’ are growing along the fence.

 

I did get some other good news yesterday.

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KAREN got my T-shirt quilt back from the long arm quilter lady.  This is just one panel, but I sure like the quilting design.  I can’t wait to see how this quilt is going to look on my bed!

 

That’s about it for me tonight.  My inner ‘ready to move’ clock had me awake at 5:00 this morning, so after the drive and setting up, I’m about done in.  There were some nice views today along the route including the Louisiana 18 mile long bridge through the Atchafalaya wetlands , but I surely don’t try to take any pictures while I’m driving.  I have enough on my mind just keeping the rig on the road and keeping tract of traffic.  Confused smile

 

Oh yea, I’ve got to mention that I finally tried the Boudin that’s been in my freezer since I last left Cajun Louisiana country.  Holy Mackerel!!  That stuff is just way too spicy for my bland taste buds!  My mouth felt like it was on fire.  Guess I won’t buy any more of that.  Nyah-Nyah

 

Thanks for stopping by…. talk to you later,  Judy

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

So-long Mississippi!

I think taking an extra day on the refuge before I head out was a good idea.  Not only were there high winds today, but I could take my time getting all my pack up chores done.  All I have to do tomorrow morning is pull in the slides, pull up the levelers, and detach the electrical cord.  When you’ve been some place for three months, there’s a lot of packing and organizing to do.

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It also gave me some time to review my stay here at Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR.  At times, it seemed like I didn’t do a whole lot here.

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But while composing these collages, it gave me a chance to reflect on all the experiences I’ve had.  As usual, there wasn’t enough time to do everything I wanted to do.

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I guess it’s a good thing I’ll be returning again next year.  I know by then that I’ll be missing the tasty gulf shrimp!  Winking smile

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I’ll be heading out tomorrow for Scott, LA.  Can’t remember if I’d mentioned that I’ll be returning to Thibodaux's Premiere RV to have solar shades installed on the rig.  I also have a few other minor maintenance things to have done on the rig.  It’s a journey of about 215 miles to get there.  I’m hoping to get there by early afternoon so the measuring can be done for the shades.  They then have to be ordered since they’re custom made.  I’ll probably be staying at the repair shop for about a week.   I have several places to tour in mind while I’m waiting.  When I was there in January for the frig installation, I got sick, so I couldn’t visit all the places I wanted to.

 

I was busy enough today with all the preparations that I hope I’ll sleep well tonight.  The night before a move is generally a pretty restless one for me.  Among the normal chores, I boiled up a half dozen eggs for traveling, and got a shovel to fill in Emma’s tunnel to China.  Now the site looks as least as good as it did when I arrived.  My neck is behaving itself, and the winds are supposed to lessen by morning.  I’m keeping my eye on the sky, however, and will only travel if I’m comfortable with the forecast.

 

Thanks for stopping by…. talk to you later,  Judy

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I QUIT!!

Laughing out loud  Okay, so today was my last day of work at Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge.  I generally like to quit before they say you're fired!  The firing or quitting are all in fun, but I must admit that it’s always liberating to put in my last day, and know I’ll soon be on the road again.  I’ve committed to return to this refuge next year, so my leaving will only be temporary.

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As I was opening the rear doors to the Visitor’s Center this morning, I noticed this box turtle traversing the patio out back.  Since Bruce was starting to mow the back yard, we put this female box turtle in a box and brought her inside.  She was not especially happy about that, and let us know by leaving an unbelievable amount of sh#* (excrement) in the box.  Smile with tongue out  You may be wondering how I knew this was a female turtle.  Well, you pick them up, turn them over, and look at the bottom plate under the carapace.  If it is level, it’s a female.  If it has an indentation, it’s a male.  The ‘dent’ allows the male to mount the female and mate.  Bet you never thought about that!  Open-mouthed smile

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Once I the work day was over, I headed back to the rig to do a few more pack up chores.  Since the hummingbird feeder was empty, I took it in and will wash it up and pack it away.  Several hummers came to the spot where it had been located.  I imagine they were shocked to have it gone, but there are enough flowers blooming now to take care of their needs.

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There was a real downpour this morning with about an inch of rain.  I knew I should have packed up my outside rug on Sunday!  I’ve draped it over the community outside furniture in hopes it will dry out before tomorrow afternoon.  With the high humidity around here, that is questionable.

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I had two new visitors to the Hard Rock Bird Caf√© today.  A female rose-breasted grosbeak and a blue jay.  The jays have been around since the day I arrived, but this is the first time one has ventured into the feeder.  Jays holler a lot, but really are more bark than bite. 

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With all the rain we had today, and my taking up of the outside rug, Emma resorted to lying on the seat of the picnic table.  She just doesn’t like to get wet.  I’m thinking she will enjoy the fact that I won’t be working for at least the next 5 months.  (so will I!)

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In another 36 hours, I’m going to blow this popsicle stand!  Slow and steady may win the race, but I’ll be out of here like a hare!!

 

Thanks for stopping by…. talk to you later,  Judy

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bon Secour NWR – “Safe Harbor”

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge encompasses some of Alabama’s last remaining coastal barrier habitat.  Doug and I were off early this morning to drive to this refuge to help with an educational program for 4th graders.  It took us two hours to get there, but this refuge is one of three included in the southeast Mississippi complex along with MS Sandhill Crane and Grand Bay NWRs. 

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Our learning station was located in the pine-oak woodlands.  Students were led on a scavenger hunt hike.  They didn’t physically collect anything, but verified their ‘finds’ with a digital camera.  The 13 items on the scavenger list ranged from epiphytes (air plants) to evidence of the turpentine industry.  Providing them with cameras provided a great hands on activity.  I found it amazing that just about all students remained comfortable, while I was sweating bullets in the high temps and humidity.  I was pretty worn out by the time we had taken three groups on this one mile hike.  Smile with tongue out

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When we were finished, Doug and I took a different route home which included a ride on a ferry in Mobile Bay.  Lots of laughing gulls were around to accompany us on the ride.

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We passed several gas rigs located in the bay.  I had thought maybe they were oil rigs, but not so.

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As we approached shore, quite a few brown pelicans were lounging on the rocks and preening. 

 

We stopped for a rather late lunch on the way, and I enjoyed some crab claws and a shrimp burger.  I hate to admit it, but I think maybe I’m reaching my limit of shrimp consumption for a while.  Disappointed smile

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Back at the ranch, Emma was more than thrilled to see that I had finally returned.  It was a long day for her inside the rig.  We went for a walk, and then sat outside until almost sunset.  This female red-winged blackbird stopped by for a little snack.

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Overhead, this female summer tanager was busy gathering nesting materials.  If I were staying here longer, I think I’d be able to find her nest.  This pair is certainly nesting right around the volunteer campsites.  I’m thinking these fine materials will be lining the inside of her nest.  She’s almost ready to begin laying eggs.  The flow of life goes on…

 

Thanks for stopping by…. talk to you later,  Judy