Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Creature Feature

One of my favorite desert native plants is the Texas Yellow Trumpet Bush. I cut two cuttings to root. Arriving inside and setting the cuttings in rooting solution (Aspirin dissolved in water). I discovered there was a tiny stow away on board one of the cuttings.

Some sort of itty bitty spider. Reminds me of a crab

Another view of the stow away.
Have a great day!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sunset in the West, Storms at the Back

Terlingua Sunset in the west and a sizeable sunset reflection against the storm clouds behind us to the east of our house.

Storm Clouds over Maverick Mountain, Terlingua 052813
 You ever had one of those days when you just can't get cool enough. Well, apparently Cow is having one of those days today. He decided that parked in front of the fan with his butt available to the prevailing fan winds was the best sleeping position for him. Not necessarily advantageous for the rest of us.

I call him Cow because when we adopted him and his brother we thought they were sisters. We named them Sheba and Chere. Imagine our surprise when we noticed them preening and grooming items we thought they didn't have. Where did they pick up those things? I don't remember ordering that.

So...I nicknamed him Cow because it sounds a lot better than Steamshovel due to his ability to seemingly unhinge his lower jaw and scoop up a nice chunk of the food dish. His brother is nicknamed Precious Moments because he resembles Barbra Streisand when ever he does something naughty but looks innocent. Sort of like those porcelain works of art you see on people's shelves collecting dust called Precious Moments.

 Bee Mountain in the background with a late blooming yucca this evening as the sunset.

Terlingua Sunset 052813

Remember, the world is what we make it.


Git Back Up!

If you have never fallen down it is because you are still at the starting block. There are some that think failing is a negative thing. I think failing means that you have fallen down, and now you must get back up and continue the race, the journey, continue on the trail ahead. To fail means that you have begun. It is a badge of courage for those that have the initiative to begin the race even when they fear the road ahead. The courage to take the first step.

A rainstorm came through and made for a spectacular sunset.

Terlingua Rainstorm Sunset 052713
Raoul and I were invited to a friends birthday celebration out on Terlingua Ranch and what a beautiful place in the desert it is. It is an oasis. Of course I say that about every little patch I encounter out here in the country...but it is an oasis. I saw some spectacular blooms of plants I had not encountered before. I saw Pink Prickly Poppy plants everywhere. And there was this wonderful yellow bloom of something I know not what, but it was beautiful none the less. I have got to find out what those orange berries were as well. He also has this windmill that when the wind is barely blowing, it sings. Well, that's what I call it anyway. It was dark as we said our good-byes and walked down the hill to where we had parked the truck. That was when we heard this strange singing and moaning. It wasn't a sad sound, it was almost melodic, like a whales song. It was the windmill moving in the slight breeze. To me, it's one of those sounds I would like to hear when I'm dropping off to sleep. Comparable to the pitter patter of raindrops on a tin roof that I remember from staying at my Grandmother's house, or the sound of waves and surf crashing on the beach as I used to hear when as a teenager we lived in Myrtle Beach, SC.

It was great seeing people that I normally only see occasionally. I work in the evenings when most people are at home, having worked already during the day. Some of them I haven't seen in a year or more. The son of one of the birthday celebrities was also the chef and the food was fantastic. I was going down the table placing items on my plate when I noticed a sign by one of the dishes and it said, "salsa diablo". Oh mercy! I just had to have that and yes I did. The first bite was atrociously hot. I thought someone had opened my mouth when I wasn't looking and tossed in a bonfire. But...after that, I was fine. I always say, it's the first bite that gets ya. It just takes the first bite for your brain to acclimate.

This I spotted growing on the side of the porch of our friend's home and I'm just gonna have to find out what
it is. The color is just wonderful.

This is the scenery our friend gets to see every single day. It's beautiful isn't it!

Another beautiful shot of a beautiful view from a beautiful spot on Terlingua Ranch.

This was the sunset from the birthday celebrity's front porch. 

This was waiting for me on the wall of the laundromat at Big Bend Resort & Adventures as I was closing up for the night. The lace wings just fascinated me so I was urged to take a photo.

Then I encountered this Lady Bug on the door as I locked up. I have always enjoyed the sight of Lady Bugs. Perhaps it is from my childhood when our family had a garden. I was taught that Lady Bugs eat the bad bugs of the garden. Plus, they're just so dang pretty. The saying, "Cute as a bug" isn't for nothing.

It was right at the moment that I was turning to leave that this little beauty flew and landed on the door right in front of me. Well, you know me. Yep. I did. I took a picture. But it was going about it's business rather quickly so I really had a tough time getting a good shot. So, I left and headed home.

I know...but just be patient. The story continues...I arrived home. Took off my hat and BAM! There it was on my hat.  So I took the hint that it wasn't going away without it's picture being taken. So...I got right down to business. That's when I found jumps. So, again, I was having to chase it with my lens. The thing is, it's even smaller than the Lady Bug. Isn't the iridescent color of it's back captivating? It reminds me of carnival glass.

The spring of 2012 I ordered some Day Lily bulbs in about three or four different varieties. Raoul and I planted them in
pots and placed them around the doorway. They bloomed last year but it wasn't alot but the colors were bright and vivid.
I like bright and vivid...just not on me. Well. They stayed green all year in our mild winters I was not surprised. Well, they have begun to leaf out alot this Spring and this one greeted me as I left for work this afternoon. Well, you know me...Yep! I had to have a photo of it. Oh! The color!

Lord a mercy. This one was waiting for me at the laundromat when I closed this evening. Heavens ta mergutroid! It's like a bug convention out here lately.
Well, remember, the world is what we make it.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Stormy Weather

Today and the next three to four days the forecast says there's a good chance for thunderstorms and rain. Uh-huh. There's also a good chance I will win the lottery. Today the storm clouds went right over us. It looked like it was threatening to do all matter of nasty things to us this evening. Did it? Why no! That will be the last time I believe the weather man threatening me with a good time.

It also gave us a somewhat somber sunset. Well. I guess I lied a little bit. It did put down a four inch rain...four inches between each raindrop. If I had walked fast enough I could have out dodged them all.

Oh well. someone received some rain and that is a good thing.

Storm clouds over Terlingua at Sunset 052313

Prickly Pear pad with a new pad.

There was a relatively small earthquake in northern California today. 5.7 on the richter scale in Greenville, CA. I despise earthquakes. It is the most unsettling experience I have every been through and I don't care to go through it if I can help it again. You can't run from it. You can't see it. You can't hide from it. Whether you're on the ground or on the 7th or 3rd floor of an apartment building there is just one thing you can count's a free ride and you didn't have to wait in line for it. Dive under a table, brace yourself in a door frame, stay away from windows, and then pray. By the time it's over, those rosary beads will have been rubbed into a much smaller bead let me tell you.

Everyone that lived in San Francisco in October 17th, 1989 has a story about where they were or what they were doing at the time. Me? Oh, I was on the road in my little Chevy Chevette. It was a good car and I never had any problems with it until that wonderful sunny warm day. I was returning from Travis AFB where I had to do finish up some out processing work. There were four lanes on I-80 going west towards Oakland and eventually crossing over the Oakland - San Francisco Bay Bridge into San Francisco. I was on that road just enjoying the sunshine with my window down and letting in the warm air. Suddenly I had a very difficult time keeping my car in my lane. A few days previous I had the tires balanced. If they are not balanced a car tends to shimmy. I said to no one in particular, "Dang it! I've been ripped off! I'm going to have to take the car back to the garage mechanic and tell him my tires are still unbalanced!" Well. I was so busy trying to keep the car in my lane that I had not noticed a huge semi in the lane to the right of me and I thought, "Oh lord how mercy" I was trying so hard to keep my tiny little vehicle from sliding neatly under the trailer of the semi. I thought again to myself, "I hate it when they put those grooves in the freeway." I thought perhaps that might have been the reason also for my car to shimmy all over the place. Those dang grooves!

At about that time, I also noticed something peculiar. There must have been twenty to thirty or so cars pulled over on the side of the road. Again, I thought it might be a caravan of friends or a funeral or something. (It was something alright!) I also noticed the people out of their cars and checking their tires. None of this made sense to me and again, I was too busy trying to stay on the road.

About a week previous to that day, my Pioneer radio and tape deck had been stolen from my car. So I did not have a single solitary clue as to what was happening. I finally found myself on un-grooved pavement and my car was fine after that. It only confirmed my suspicions that it was due to the grooved portion of the highway. I continued on my drive returning to my apartment in San Francisco. I was busy reading the road signs for my exits and one of them said that ahead one mile would be the last exit to depart for the Golden Gate Bridge entry into San Francisco. So I had to make a decision as to which approach I was going to take. Either the Bay Bridge between Oakland and SF or the Golden Gate Bridge. I thought, you know, it's been awhile since I have taken the scenic route into San Francisco so...I chose to take the last exit to the Golden Gate Bridge approach. (I did not know it at the time, but there must have been an angel riding with me and again, no radio. The Bay Bridge had collapsed and there was no way across into SF from Oakland. But, I did not know it at the time.

I crossed over into Richmond, Ca on my way to the Golden Gate Bridge when I noticed heavy thick smoke above the Marina District in SF. Well, I thought, there must be a house on fire or a gas main explosion. The closer I got, my perspective of the fire became more and more evident. Whatever it was on fire was huge. Again as I got closer to SF, I noticed that it was near the Palace of Fine Arts. The only structure left from the  1915 Pacific-Panama Exposition held in San Francisco. It is one of the most beautiful structures in SF and it looked, from my vantage point that it was on fire. So...I said, again to no one in particular, I have to see it one last time before it's gone. As soon as I crossed over into San Francisco and it placed me on Lombard St. right near where the fire was. I took a left into the Marina District neighborhood.

It was then that my eyes began to slowly focus on items that seemed out of place, here and there. Bricks had fallen off of the sides of building into the street. The pavement was buckled and turned up so that I was worried that my car would become stuck on top of one of the buckled places. There was also water coming up out of the street in places. Not alot but just seeping up. Then I saw the fire. An entire block of homes were engulfed in flames and there was smoke everywhere. Fire departments were fighting the fire and blocking off the streets. Tons of people were out and about. Everyone seemed to be just standing around instead of walking towards some unknown goal as is usually the case. I rolled down my window and I asked a lady (again, no radio)..."What happend?" That was obviously the wrong question because she looked at me as if I was crazy and told me there had been an earthquake and to get the hell out of there. Well. she obviously didn't know I lived there but that was beside the point.

It was then that all of the things I had encountered on my drive came together. I turned the car around and began my journey to my apartment. I lived on Divisidero St. which was not that far from the Marina district but again, I did not comprehend what getting there would entail. All traffic lights and electricity were down throughout the entire city. It took me two hours to go less than two miles. At every traffic light there were ordinary people out directing traffic. It really was quite amazing. When I arrived home, I parked and went inside the apartment building. It was then that I had to feel my way to my apartment. There were no lights in the hallways. By that time, the sun had set. I arrived at my apartment and found everything had been thrown to the other side of the apartment. However, my heavy framed artwork was still on the walls and my china was still in the built-in glass fronted hutch.

Tremors or aftershocks continued to rock The City and my apartment. Thank goodness the phones still worked. There were no cellphones at that time that were in wide use. I called a friend and asked if I could come over there. I made my way up Haight St with a flashlight and kept coming up on groups of people congregating outside with portable TV's listening to the play by play of current damages that had occurred throughout the Bay Area. That was when I found out that the Bay Bridge had collapsed. Had I taken that bridge. I would not be where I was. I would have been stranded on the other side of the bay. Many people just left their cars and ran off the bridge since no one knew if it would continue to be safe. I finally made my way to my friend's house. I spent the night there.

At the time I worked at Macy's. I was supposed to be off that day but my supervisor called and left a voice mail to report to Macy's at once to prevent looting. Uhm...I can tell you that that did not happen. There was no way I was going down to Macy's for seven dollars an hour and confront looters and no lights or electricity. Nope. It didn't happen.

Two days later I reported to work and the building that houses Macy's Department Store.  It's actually three different buildings side by side and remodeled to look like one building. Customers don't see that. It's only when you are an employee behind the walls in store rooms and offices that you understand that. The three buildings had rocked side to side and created a one to two inch opening in the floor so that anyone standing there would see the floor below. That was soon repaired in order not to frighten the customers. Please! People are not stupid. I guess though the management was counting on the employees not scaring that easily. You could tell who came first. The building was riddled with back stairwells and hallways. The walls enclosing the stairwells had collapsed and fallen down onto the stockroom floors leaving the stairs open to the stockrooms.

It's not comforting working in a concrete building while aftershocks continued to shake. Everytime I would feel the ground shake I would panic and just freeze and hope that it wouldn't continue. One of my coworkers resigned and moved the very next day. She was on the 7th floor surrounded by concrete columns when it happened.

That was a day I won't forget.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Busted Assassin

Cone Nose Beetle

It's wonderful ain't it? We live on a planet with millions of other critters, plants, animals, viruses, bacteria and just when you think you have finally got a handle on things, something else pops up to let you know...not yet.

From my desk, I got up to finally call it an evening and I spotted the cute little thang in the photo below by the front door...on the inside...with the same room. I got a little closer to get a better look but I think my brain already knew what I was looking at. A bug I had heard about for the last five years but never before now, seen. And here it was. Practically saying hello, nice to meet ya. Weeeell, that wasn't exactly so, it's legs were already curled and the only thing moving was it's antennae. Poor thang.

It's a Cone Nose Beetle also known as an Assassin Bug. It has a reputation for being a nightstalker to it's victims. It finds a victim, asleep, injects an anesthetic into the victim and then begins to suck blood as it's midnight snack. Sounds like my kinda guy, I like a midnight snack except...I like Oreos and milk. Sometimes it's Ginger Snaps though. Other times I just like to eat. But sometimes I get the heartburn thing and...uhm, sorry, I got slightly off the path...back to the ranch.

The other evening I closed up shop at work and on the way home I bumped into some folks at the store and we had been discussing a certain bug that has been seen in groups congregating everywhere imaginable. We've seen so many inside and outside the house, outside the laundromat, I spotted a couple of them hanging out on a few people's clothing last week. Well, they look like Cone Nose Beetles but they are not. They are smaller. For this purpose I have decided to place both of their mugshots below for comparison.

Cone Nose Bug or Assassin Bug (Rhodnius prolixus)
Cone Nose Bug = Long Head, Back Sides resemble fins, Orange coloring along sides appears somewhat seperated or scalloped. These bugs are exceptionally larger than Box Elder Bugs. Cone Nose Bugs consume  victim's blood. They also transmit Chagas Disease. The disease is not pretty and you may look that up on the internet.

Box Elder Bug (Boisea trivittata)
Box Elder Bug = Short Head, No upraised fins on the back sides, Orange coloring is constant along the sides and resembles a solid unseperated line. These bugs are vegetarian and are harmless. Considerably smaller than a Cone Nose Bug.

Have a great day and keep in mind that the world is what you make it.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Field Trip!!!


Combustible Comfort

I know. A field trip sounds very exciting. All the anticipation and excitement building up until you possibly can't stand it another minute...Yep, it was a field trip to Fort Stockton to the Walmart.  Well, I enjoyed it at least but I was exhausted by the time it was over since I also had to work at 2:00pm as soon as we returned. This is sort of how it went...

There is that feeling you get when your stomach is churning from what ever it was you ate the evening before. You know, that stuff that you knew you were going to regret but ate anyway because it was incessantly calling your name. You know, the chicken eggrolls you've been craving all day at work and then get home and discover that the sweet and sour sauce that would go perfect with it was no more.  You know, that sriracha sauce that you chose instead. Yep, that stuff.

That stuff was now calling my name at 4:00am to remind me of how much fun it had last night.  Well. It kinda  was fun and I have to admit it felt great going down. That tasty flavor of chicken and the nice nose searing aroma of sriracha. It was real nice, until my lips suddenly combusted. So....

Here I am at 4:00am, woke up to down a few Tums...Raoul wakes up of course. I turn around and he's dressed already and asks me if I'm ready? What? Ready for what?

Raoul: To go to Ft. Stockton. It's almost three hours drive there. We do grocery shopping and then we have to return in time for you to go to work at 2:00pm.

Weeeeell. I was not ready for that let me tell you! But, it was true. He was right. I almost felt like crying and having a break down right there...but that wouldn't have helped any. I made a mental note to save the break down for another day. Sooooo, I took a shower and purposely procrastinated getting out of the shower since I knew once I turned off the nice hot water that I would have to admit to the was going to be a long day. But I might as well enjoy it.

On the drive something in my stomach was still celebrating but that was okay, I had the window down since the truck doesn't have A/C and his eagle nose wouldn't ever know the difference between that wonderful petroleum scent in the air due to the Liquid Black Gold being harvested in the area.

I was dead tired when we arrived at Wally World so I took a quick nap in the truck and let Raoul go into the air-conditioned shopping paradise.

We made the usual stop at KFC for Raoul. My stomach was still gabbing away as the party down there still continued. Sometimes a party just doesn't know when it's appropriate to call it a night. So, needless to say, I did not want anything to eat that was really heavy. Besides, while Raoul was shopping I purchased a bag of BBQ style chips and two Dr. Peppers to keep me occupied on the drive back. I'm one of those people that has to have something to snack on and drink or I get tired and drowsy. I know, what business did I have getting BBQ chips when the sriracha cotillion was still going on...I guess misery loves company and BBQ seemed like the perfect pairing. And it was...all the way back.

On the return trip to Terlingua I was ready for a leg stretching break and suddenly spotted the perfect reason to pull over. I thought at first that it was Purple Thistle, which there was in abundance along the roadside but when I slowed down to see, it was clearly something else. So I pulled over suddenly and stopped to take a photo of the unique plant and flower.

 I have no idea what kind of flower this is.  I reckon more research is in order. The wind was blowing alot so I could not seem to get the perfect photo with the center surrounded by the light purple strands.

Prickly Pear new spring growth.
 While I was enjoying the sunset I wasn't the only only ones outside. These two Cactus Wren's were chattering away in a yucca in front of the lobby at sunset. These are my favorite birds here in the desert. They are always so curious and known for getting themselves into trouble. Just like two cats.
 The did not seem to mind me being directly below the yucca at all even with the flash going off.

These two seem to be setting up shop in among the yucca leaves.

Hope you enjoyed yer visit.

Remember, the world is what we make it.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

For the love of Jeffrey!

"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."
-Bernard Williams

Today is puppy sitting day. Sooooo....we will not be going to Ft. Stockton or Alpine. Yesterday was "snip-snip" day for our chihuahua, Jeffrey. Poor thing. Today we are going to make sure there are no complications and well, cat's can be curious little critters can't they? We're going to stay home today and make sure the cats retain all of their furry little paws.

Below is Jeffrey the day before, on a happier day.

Jeffrey was jumping around in one of his active moments. I think he knew he was the center of attention and did not sit still for the camera.

Bless his heart.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Red, Hot and Sizzle!

Today the temperature hit above 100 degrees F. It was crispy. But I like that. The warm air and the not cold aspect really pleases me to no end. Heaven has finally arrived. The sunset tonight was fantastic.

Bee Mountain Sunset, Terlingua, TX 051713
Terlingua Sunset over Sawmill Mtn. 051713
I was enjoying the sunset and approached a yucca in order to get a better shot of the setting sun. A cicada must have been in the yucca because all of a sudden it sounded like a chainsaw going off. Those things are loud!

As I was closing up tonight (Friday evening) I found a mountain of these clinging to the laundry outside wall. I think they look like another type of blister beetle. Another insect to look up. I couldn't get a good shot since they were flying all around me and landing on me. I don't know. I just have this phobia of blisters an all.

THE Critter...ain't he cute as a bug?

Tomorrow is a trip to Alpine. Yippeeeee! or perhaps Ft. Stockton....Yippeeeeee! So and so wants KFC and I want Mexican. You've never lived with a picky eater until you've lived with a trained chef. No ones cooking is good enough it seems so every place I want to eat at only has one chance to please. There is Vidal's place in Alpine, Los Jalapenos. Excellent authentic Mexican cooking from San Carlos. I'ts Vidal's grandmother's recipes. My favorite is the Shrimp Culiche. Oh! The first time I ate that dish I felt like the human torch. Then he decides to stroll by and suggest that I squeeze some of lime slices on the shrimp to cut the heat.  That was nice. Especially after I ate all but three of them already. The food is delicious! It's in the old part of Alpine.

There is also the Mexican restaurant, La Casita. It's also excellent. But we are usually partial to Vidal since he is from San Carlos and Terlingua.

sigh...however, I think it's probably Ft. Stockton bound for us so I guess I will have to settle for fake Mexican food....Taco Hell....I mean Bell.

Have a great day and remember...the world is what we make it.