2018

Painted Lady Butterfly In November

In Texas, we always have blooms all year around. On the warmer days of late Autumn, the butterflies appreciate the flowers and visit the gardens for nectar. This Painted Lady I’ve photographed a couple of years ago. It was a nice afternoon in November.

2018, In The Garden

Time To Prepare The Garden For Winter

The last few nights did quite a number on the plants in the garden. It got below the freezing point. And everything, which wasn’t hardy, died. But this is a perfect opportunity to clean up the beds and plant for the Texas Winter. It’s cabbage and root vegetable season. In the greenhouse, I’ve got plenty of hay to cover up the beds, so the roots can stay nice and cozy. The next couple of days, the temperature suppose to be in the upper 60s, which is perfect weather to get the garden ready and going for the Winter Season.

2018, In The Garden

After The Rain (1)

Every time it rains in Texas, it feels so good. Later in the week we suppose to get cooler temperatures. Therefore it will be much easier being outside and begin to garden, again. And I won’t have to deal with these pesky mosquitoes anymore. They suck the life out of me. The cooler weather will be great to clean up the gardens and start with the Winter vegetables. In the meantime, I enjoy to capture photos of what is left in my raised beds.

2018

The Colony Shoreline Trail In September

Hiking the first mile from the North Colony Blvd. entrance at The Colony Shoreline Trail, I was very lucky with viewing some wildlife on that September morning back in 2013.

2018

Isle Du Bois/Ray Roberts Lake State Park, Texas (2013)

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The Ray Roberts Lake Dam

The weather was so nice, that Sara and I had quite a few adventures in the first week of September 2013. That Friday after Labor Day, we drove to Ray Roberts Lake State Park. The state park is divided in two parts by the lake: Isle Du Bois & the Johnson Branch. Sara and I decided, we’ll drive up to Pilot Point to get to Isle Du Bois. There is a nice lake beach, where Sara could play in the sand for a little bit. But when we arrived, the maintenance vehicle was out there to keep the beach clean and fresh for the following visitors. Sara and I went for a hike instead. We saw a lot of insects. And we even ran into a road runner. This was the second road runner, I’ve seen in the wild. How cool is that?! Wile E. Coyote was nowhere to be seen. 😉

2018, In The Garden

Beautiful August Flower Garden

In August 2015, I had a beautiful Summer flower garden. It looked very inviting for our backyard wildlife. Next to butterflies, grasshoppers and bees, we also hosted a den for Eastern Cottontail bunnies. And a hummingbird family came over to visit our yard on a daily basis as well. Plant an environment for wildlife, and they will come! Here are some bloom photos of that wonderful Summer:

2018

Wilted Texas Thistle (Cirsium texanum)

At this time of the year, for many blooms it is too hot in the Texas Prairie. Without rainfall for weeks, the soil begins to dry out and and leaves deep cracks in the ground. The wildflower’s roots have a hard time to reach the moisture, which is left in the deeper clay. The Texas Thistle is one of the many plants, which begins to wilt in the heat. Its peak blooming season is in early Summer, when we still get plenty of thunderstorms. But now in the beginning of August, we have an ocean of wilted thistles across the prairie. Even in its wilted stage, the Texas Thistle has its own beauty.

2018, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 3 (Part I): Zion ~ The Hidden Gem of Utah’s National Parks

June 18, 2018

Zion National Park is only a stone’s throw away from the Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. Coming down from Twin Knoll Road and making a right turn on Highway 9, we could see the East Entrance of the park already. Once we entered Zion National Park, we all were in awe. I said to Kevin: “Bryce Canyon N.P. and Arches N.P. might be the famous Utah parks. But Zion N.P. is a hidden gem.” I wish, we would have taken the shuttle bus, since it is free of charge. But we didn’t know that. And of course, we didn’t go to the Visitor Center to ask, if there was a fee to ride on the bus. Now, it’s one of many excuses to come back again. 😉

… to be continued …

2018, Travel/Vacation

Travel Journal, Day 1: From Texas To New Mexico

June 16, 2018

Man, I was in a crappy mood when we packed the car and left for Utah on Saturday morning. I slept only four hours the night prior. And I didn’t feel good. But this was not stopping us from going on vacation. I took a two-hour nap in the car, while Kevin was driving towards Amarillo. Several miles after Wichita Falls, I woke up and felt refreshed. I’ve noticed, Sara was taking a nap as well. It’s not usual for her. But she must have been pooped as well. At the Quanah County Safety Rest Area, we took a break to have lunch. Walking along the pond was a nice break from sitting in the car, before we were moving on.

In Amarillo, Kevin said something about the Cadillac Ranch. I did a little research, and found out that the ranch is west of Amarillo. Usually, we drive through Amarillo at night. So, we’ve never seen it from the Interstate. This time, we decided to make a stop. After Kevin refilled the van tank, we parked on the side of the service road. It took a short walk and we were standing in front of ten half sunken in Cadillacs. I handed Katelynn and Sara each a spray can, which were just laying around on the ground. The girls left their marks at the cars. Sara was not happy, she had spray paint on her fingers. I said: “Girl, it’s a vacation trophy along the way. I’ve got spray paint on my fingers, too.” Katelynn showed her fingers and agreed: “See, we all got trophies from our first sight along the road.” Sara lightened up and smiled: “Yeah, I guess I’ve got a trophy.”

Getting to the Texas/New Mexico border, we got into some rain. The temperatures dropped from 89ºF (31ºC) to 65ºF (18ºC) while the thunderstorm came through. It was very refreshing, after the heat and humidity in Dallas.

At the Pajarito Rest Area in New Mexico, we ate dinner. We always bring food on the road to save some $$. The girls enjoy a good old “Road Sandwich made by Momma with L-O-V-E”, some fruits and apple juice. Snacks are important, too. That keeps our girls happy and Kevin’s wallet gets a break. The sun was out, and the kids could walk around  for a little bit. Our goal was to make it to Farmington in New Mexico that night.

When we approached Albuquerque, it looked like we are driving into another storm. And sure enough, as soon as we got over that hill it looked as we are driving towards a raging volcano. Driving through the city, the sky unleashed it’s “beast”. Getting down the hill, the wind was so gusty, it shook the whole van, while we dried to make it to the get to the other side of town. Once we were on the west side of Albuquerque, the sun came out and we saw a beautiful double rainbow. We were surprised, how vivid the colors came out and how long it lasted. It looked stunning.

On Highway 550, we were on our last stretch for the day. There was another, much lighter rain storm, before we arrived in Farmington. I could not wait getting out of the car and rest for the night. It was a long day. But we’ve reached our goal. And we weren’t to far from the Four Corners Monument, which we would see the following day.

… to be continued …