Mountain Dreaming

I was cruising around the backyard yesterday after work, mowing with the Deere and thinking about how unlike a normal early June evening it felt. The temperature was hovering around the 90 degree mark and the heat index was even higher, so naturally my mind wandered up on the mountains…Daydream style as I went round and round.

I see that Ray is calling for a warm summer day in Valle Crucis. The seventies seem a little warm for this early, but I really don’t have a lot of mountain weather experience to go on. Seems nice and cool to me for the heat of the day…I keep telling my wife that no matter what happens with global warming/climate change, it’s gotta be more comfortable up on the Blue Ridge. Besides, when it’s too hot to do anything but sit in a rocker on the porch, at least you have a view of something outside the yard around the house…

I can remember summers on the porch at my grandparent’s ranch house in south Texas…Way down toward the Rio Grande, sitting high and dry between the Frio and the Nueces River in McMullen County. It was hot and dry but with a breeze most of the day off the Gulf of Mexico over a hundred miles away. Staring off into the distance…Watching the clouds winging north. The buzzards coasting along looking for dinner. An occasional roadrunner sitting in the mesquite across the drive with a collared lizard hanging from it’s beak…Watching and waiting for the afternoon heat to break while my grandfather enjoyed his daily siesta. It wasn’t a habit a teenage boy could acquire, napping after lunch.

That’s the way the weather here is feeling these days…Hot and dry…The grass I was mowing was almost like straw already this year. We don’t normally see weather like this for a couple of more months. All of the rains in the last few months have passed by to the north. Even the rains that get close falter before they fall on this dry ground we call home…Dry, dusty dry.

Today is the second anniversary of my Photoblog. Two years ago today I started posting photos with a shot I am still proud of taken at the Brinegar Cabin on the blue Ridge Parkway…I’ll bet the water from the spring is still cool at this time of the year…

Bluejays

Have you ever watched a Bluejay eat an acorn? Around my home in Texas we have Bluejays year round. Actually, we have more Bluejays in winter than in summer but that’s neither here nor there. The Bluejays in my yard tend to eat acorns they find on the ground. Watching them find an acorn to try is fun but the amusing part is the way they approach opening the shell of the acorn…After selecting the best subject for his attention the discriminating Bluejay takes his selection and flies to a comfortable tree limb out of harms way. Once settled on the chosen base of operations the Bluejay proceeds to pound the poor unsuspecting acorn into submission. Once the hard nut has cracked from the pounding, the hardworking Bluejay is able to enjoy the fruit of his labor.

Then the process is repeated…By a multitude of birds on succeeding days. I have never noticed if the supply of acorns runs out or not, but I suspect there are acorns as long as the birds wish to search for them. I would imagine some of the nuts are from the stash the squirrels hide in the yard all fall and winter long.

As I alluded above, at this time of the year, the Bluejays visit us individually. During the winter months they arrive in the yard in great flocks of upwards of half a hundred or more. They appear to rotate through the yard on a regular feeding circuit they share with the Robins that overwinter here as well. Between the two species, they add a touch of color to an otherwise drab vista out my kitchen window.

First Friday of NCMD Y2

I stood out in the backyard last evening and watched the weather light show as the severe thunderstorms moved across Houston to the north of here. Lightning rolled through the clouds over two thirds of the sky as the mockingbirds sang in the background. We were far enough away that the thunder didn’t really reach us…just the light. Oh, occasionally you’d hear a low rumble from off in the distance, but there nothing coming through to match the grandeur of the lights…Sometime later in the night we must have finally received some of the rain that was in the storms since the back porch is wet this morning, but our rain didn’t come with a percussion section like the rains to the north.

With a chance of rain forecast for the entire day today the prognosticators seem to thing the temperatures here will manage to stay below those in Boone and Floyd. I stay amazed at this weather year. I went out on Wednesday evening and was amazed at the relative cool as I walked along the bayou behind the house. As I did the suburban grassy thing of riding in circles on a large lawn tractor last weekend I cut my trail along the bayou, so the walk isn’t the obstacle course of reaching spiked canes of rose and dewberry. Also, since the grass is short for a double mower width, you don’t have to pay quite as much attention watching out for snakes. I wil be the first to admit though that in the decade and a half we have been here I’ve only seen two or three snakes on my walks through the woods and fields here.

The one thing I did have on that walk was my first encounter with a “wild” hummingbird. By wild I mean not near a feeder or any other human sort of habitation. Since I didn’t take my binoculars I am not sure of the species as the little thing stayed a good 30 feet or more away the whole time I observed it. It flitted around for a good five minutes checking out the tops of last years dead weed stems.

Bald Cypress in fog out in backyard this week.

Stormy Evening


This photo was taken last evening just after sunset as storms moved by to the north. The sky was impressive…

Where has the month gone?

Here we are rapidly closing in on the end of April. Seems like it was just March the other day. The weather system that blew through here yesterday morning dropped the temperature if not the humidity. This morning is dawning a cool 57 degrees with a low fog out the (open) back door. I pulled a Fred first thing this morning (did I trigger your Google alert Fred?) wandering out in the dew covered backyard to see what kind of images I could capture early before the sun came up. It’s always nice when we have a Blue Ridge morning in Texas.

Here is the best of the handful of images I pulled in…my backyard just before sunrise this morning.


The first cup is poured and I see I have mail, so…

Horoscope for the week
I really like Ron’s take on Astrology and find this weeks horoscope ties in with where my head is (how 70’s is that)…

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): According to the macrobiotic approach to diet, the healthiest food for you to eat is that which has been grown near you, or at least in the same latitude. Unless you live in the tropics, for instance, bananas shouldn’t be on your menu. Let’s make that meme your Metaphor of the Week, Aquarius. According to my interpretation of the omens, all your best bets will be local and homegrown. You should pluck pleasures that are close by, and avoid temptations beckoning from a distance. You should trust clues that arrive from sources you can personally verify, and be skeptical of those from friends of friends of friends.

I really liked “the healthiest food for you to eat is that which has been grown near you”. Seems like I keep saying pretty much the same thing…
Source: Rob Brezsny’s Astrology Newsletter

The news from Washington is all the same, so I won’t bother to go there. Just imagine where we would be today had we not tried this experiment in Judicially appointed Presidents. I am sure that just scares the hell out of the right, “Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue”. Come to think of it, that’s just what it’s been, six years of waking nightmares.

Where has the month gone?

Here we are rapidly closing in on the end of April. Seems like it was just March the other day. The weather system that blew through here yesterday morning dropped the temperature if not the humidity. This morning is dawning a cool 57 degrees with a low fog out the (open) back door. I pulled a Fred first thing this morning (did I trigger your Google alert Fred?) wandering out in the dew covered backyard to see what kind of images I could capture early before the sun came up. It’s always nice when we have a Blue Ridge morning in Texas.

Here is the best of the handful of images I pulled in…my backyard just before sunrise this morning.


The first cup is poured and I see I have mail, so…

Horoscope for the week
I really like Ron’s take on Astrology and find this weeks horoscope ties in with where my head is (how 70’s is that)…

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): According to the macrobiotic approach to diet, the healthiest food for you to eat is that which has been grown near you, or at least in the same latitude. Unless you live in the tropics, for instance, bananas shouldn’t be on your menu. Let’s make that meme your Metaphor of the Week, Aquarius. According to my interpretation of the omens, all your best bets will be local and homegrown. You should pluck pleasures that are close by, and avoid temptations beckoning from a distance. You should trust clues that arrive from sources you can personally verify, and be skeptical of those from friends of friends of friends.

I really liked “the healthiest food for you to eat is that which has been grown near you”. Seems like I keep saying pretty much the same thing…
Source: Rob Brezsny’s Astrology Newsletter

The news from Washington is all the same, so I won’t bother to go there. Just imagine where we would be today had we not tried this experiment in Judicially appointed Presidents. I am sure that just scares the hell out of the right, “Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue”. Come to think of it, that’s just what it’s been, six years of waking nightmares.

Wednesday Morning Coffee Muse

Yesterday’s gusty winds had the trees dancing with their limbs going from side to side. I spent a lot of time yesterday afternoon watching from the cast iron chair out back. I had to “babysit” the youngest son as he had tests run that required a strong dose of anesthesia. Let’s just say, he didn’t remember being wheeled out of the facility. Anywho, afterwards, I fixed him some chicken noodle soup and spent some time waiting for the soup to kick in. By then it was too late to run in to work so I sat and watched the day draw to a close with lots of wind shakin’ everything.

The weather prognosticators late last night were telling the world that all of this wind, blowing in of the Gulf of Mexico is going to meet up with a temperature boundary headed over from the west coast and wake us up with thunder and gully washers. So far the morning looks dry (what I can see from the porch lights at the back door as the cats changed shifts), but there is no telling what the morning will bring. I guess I should really take a look at the weather radar…Oh, hell…It looks like the drive to work will be exciting I should be hitting the road about the time the stormfront hits.

Oh well, On to the morning emails…The clock has chased itself around to the place where I gotta run…catch you later.

Later from work…I had a strange commute this morning. I was driving into night all the way to work. It just got darker and darker as I got closer to Houston. I managed to get to work and into the office without getting more than a little damp…Strange drive into a rough looking storm.

From this past weekend…Pecan bark.

There is something about the bark of a pecan tree. It’s shaggy even when young. This tree is barely twenty feet tall and this is what it looks like at eye level. This tree is so young it’s only been producing nuts for the last two years.

Last years left overs…

This is on of the few remaining stands from last years crop of grasses…

The thistles of this year…


The thistles are blooming all over already this year…

Wednesday Morning Coffee Muse

Yesterday’s gusty winds had the trees dancing with their limbs going from side to side. I spent a lot of time yesterday afternoon watching from the cast iron chair out back. I had to “babysit” the youngest son as he had tests run that required a strong dose of anesthesia. Let’s just say, he didn’t remember being wheeled out of the facility. Anywho, afterwards, I fixed him some chicken noodle soup and spent some time waiting for the soup to kick in. By then it was too late to run in to work so I sat and watched the day draw to a close with lots of wind shakin’ everything.

The weather prognosticators late last night were telling the world that all of this wind, blowing in of the Gulf of Mexico is going to meet up with a temperature boundary headed over from the west coast and wake us up with thunder and gully washers. So far the morning looks dry (what I can see from the porch lights at the back door as the cats changed shifts), but there is no telling what the morning will bring. I guess I should really take a look at the weather radar…Oh, hell…It looks like the drive to work will be exciting I should be hitting the road about the time the stormfront hits.

Oh well, On to the morning emails…The clock has chased itself around to the place where I gotta run…catch you later.

Later from work…I had a strange commute this morning. I was driving into night all the way to work. It just got darker and darker as I got closer to Houston. I managed to get to work and into the office without getting more than a little damp…Strange drive into a rough looking storm.

From this past weekend…Pecan bark.

There is something about the bark of a pecan tree. It’s shaggy even when young. This tree is barely twenty feet tall and this is what it looks like at eye level. This tree is so young it’s only been producing nuts for the last two years.

Last years left overs…

This is on of the few remaining stands from last years crop of grasses…

The thistles of this year…


The thistles are blooming all over already this year…

Tuesday Coffee Muses

As I sit here with my coffee reading the morning email and news, I hear the wind chimes outside the door going crazy in the wind. We have had a pretty steady breeze blowing for the last four days. Sadly, the ac is cranking this morning so the doors and windows are closed. It’s not so much the temperature that keeps us running the heat pump in cooling mode as the humidity. This morning at 7am the temperature is at what would be a fairly comfortable 71 degrees if it weren’t for the 92% humidity. And folks it isn’t even threatening rain yet…

I promised more spring photo’s from the weekend so here are a few showing the wild flowers hiding in the grass around my backyard…