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…

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…

Spring Blooms

Yesterday I posted on the perfume wafting on the spring air. Here are the two main culprits for the ultra sweet fragrance. White and yellow blooms are everywhere along the edge of the woods along the backyard.

As I wandered here on both Saturday and Sunday I was amazed at the insect life that abounded on all of the blooms attracted, I’m sure by the same fragrance that had me adrift in time. The predominate insect seemed to be what we call locally “love-bugs”. Tiny black flying insects that at this time of the year are always joined to each other in the nether regions. Soon they will be so numerous you have trouble not inhaling vast quantities as you roam around outside.

I was happy to see some honeybees working the blooms this weekend. While they were few in number, at least they are still around. Earlier I had mention the lack of sightings this spring. You can definitely tell they aren’t as common as in past years just by the number of apples on my two (way to south) trees. Each year we have a large number of really small tart apples. This year I’ve only spotted a couple of apples trying to grow…

Then there is this big guy. These bees are always visiting the thistle blooms in our field. I was actually amazed I was able to catch any shots at all over the weekend due to the almost constant wind. It did make the day much more enjoyable, without the breeze the high of 78 would have been a bit much, but then this is Texas…I’ll post some more shots tomorrow.

Y’all have a great day…

The View Out My Window

As I sit this morning at the laptop this is the view out the window beside me. As you can see from the image, the predominate color has to be called Spring Green.

Looking around my yard you will still find the Pecan Trees and the Hackberry Trees leafless. Even the Redbud Tree in the front yard is now showing leaves and not the flowers of last week.

If the weather continues like this the Bluebonnets should be putting on a great show next weekend. If the weather holds I try to get some shots from the road to Austin.

Sunday Morning – Sprung Forward

Springing Forward Into Daylight Saving : All of the clocks were set before bed last night with the exception of the weather clock. That thing is going to be a problem. I can not update the software so it will have to be set forward, I doubt it will take. It will just reset itself every time it communicates with the “atomic clock” until it’s software tells it that daylight savings time starts in 3 weeks.

Weather report : Doors and windows are wide so we are listening to the morning chorus outside. The fog is thicker than yesterday morning, but clearing. The temperature is in the upper 50’s outdoors; upper 60’s inside. From my way of thinking, that is the perfect temperature to start the day. Cool enough to feel but warm enough to be comfortable when dressed. The prognosticators are calling for rain in the next couple of days, that’s sure to play havoc with the Spring Break around here.

Vitamins and Death :
Last week I posted on the report about vitamins causing your death. I said then I wanted to see who paid for the study. After reading the health column in this weeks US News and World Reports, I find that interest in the funder of the report even higher. Dr. Healy’s explanation of how the report was arrived at leaves more questions of why this report made such a splash in the news and who was pushing the studies findings to the press.

Vitamin studies always seem to stir controversy, but certainly not visions of death. On that score, last week’s report on antioxidant vitamins, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was a doozy. The researchers concluded that people taking the antioxidants vitamins A, its precursor beta carotene, and vitamin E, for whatever reason, at whatever dose, and for however long, may be putting their lives in jeopardy. But before you toss out your vitamin pills, let’s examine this alarmist study a little bit closer.

Researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital set out to determine whether the antioxidant supplements lengthen one’s life. That’s difficult to answer, since most people taking vitamins are healthy. So the researchers identified antioxidant clinical trials large and small, as long as they reported at least one death. Any death counted, whether from heart disease or cancer, kidney failure or hip fractures, murders or suicides. Out of 747 antioxidant trials reviewed, 68 met the bill. Then, in what is called a meta-analysis, the 68 trials were combined into what is effectively one study.

It’s a hell of a way to come to a conclusion, throw away the results that don’t agree with your proposal. Have these guys been taking lessons from the Bush Administration and their backers in the Oil Industry? Anywho, I guess that for myself, I’ll continue to take my vitamins (when I remember) and worry about them killing me, not.

Source: USNews.com: Bernadine Healy, M.D.: A Closer Look at the Vitamin Study

History Lesson for Today : From Garrison this morning we get a history lesson, that touches the news stories from the past year or so. The more you read about the recent discoveries being made in the study of the 1918 influenza pandemic, the scarier this whole pandemic thing becomes. National Geographic had a good article a couple of months ago, Tracking the Next Killer Flu. After reading the CDC’s recommendations on what

It was on this day in 1918 that the first cases of what would become the influenza pandemic were reported in the U.S. when 107 soldiers got sick at Fort Riley, Kansas.It was the worst pandemic in world history. The flu that year killed only 2.5 percent of its victims, but more than a fifth of the world’s entire population caught it, and so it’s estimated that between 50 million and 100 million people died in just a few months.

Historians believe at least 500,000 people died in the United States alone. That’s more than the number of Americans killed in combat in all the wars of the 20th century combined. Usually, the flu would have been most likely to kill babies and the elderly, but the flu of 1918 somehow targeted healthy people in their 20s and 30s. And it was an extremely virulent strain. In the worst cases, victims’ skin would turn dark red, and their feet would turn black.

Source: The Writer’s Almanac from American Public Media

Yesterday’s Drive in the Country

The youngest and I went for an afternoon drive so she could practice. I took along the camera. We stopped at an old windmill to take some photo’s. As I was headed back to the car I glanced across the road I spotted a bright yellow spot on top of a bush in the pasture next to the road. When I put the camera to it I saw it was a bird. Now I am going to show how much of a neophyte I am when I say I did not recognize what I was seeing. Once I downloaded the pictures this morning and started going through the Peterson’s I found what I was amazed to discover that what I had seen was a meadowlark. I find it hard to believe that in all of these years here on the coastal prairie I have never seen a meadowlark. Now I am not even going to take a shot at trying to differentiate whether it is eastern or western, that I leave up to the more experienced birders out there…Anyway, here are a few shots through the handheld long zoom from further away than I would have liked cropped as close as I dared…


And just for good measure, here’s the first Bluebonnet Bloom of the year in my yard. After spotting this one I notice there were quite a few on the roadside coming home…Thanks TexDoT, your planting work is appreciated.



A Quote for Today

Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Source: Thought for the Day

Foggy Morn Redux

Well they promised fog on the TV news last night and Mother Nature delivered. Mild temperatures with lots of gulf moisture stir gently with little to no wind and you get fog, lots of fog. So needless to say sunrise just ain’t a happening this morn.

The morning email brings some news from the mountains…

I see that ASU made the Washington Post today…

Appalachia Helps Where D.C. Fails

Unlike many college students who spend their spring break partying, about a dozen students from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., are going to seize the “chance to give back to the community,” according to a news release from the D.C.-based National Center for Children and Families.

The center said the students, supported by Appalachian State’s Alternative Spring Break program, will leave their school, in the heart of the Appalachian mountains, to volunteer their services to “one of our nation’s most economically distressed areas.”

Their spring break excursion will take them to Southeast Washington — specifically to J.C. Nalle Elementary School in the Marshall Heights community of Ward 7. Once there on Monday, the students are expected to work through the week with children in kindergarten through fifth grade, as well as on various projects around Nalle.

Now that is putting a Spring Break to good use. Way to go ASU.

Source: Colbert I. King – Appalachia Helps Where D.C. Fails – washingtonpost.com

I was sitting here musing about how so many of the blogs I frequent are by authors, some newly published, some with many books on the shelves, some with only the beginnings in their minds. I think that is one of the thing that makes blogging deferent than other forms of publishing. In the world of books you are presented with a polished piece of art, if you assume writing is art. Whereas with blogging you usually get an insight into the thought processes of the author. You will discover in the ongoing conversation, and that’s what most of these blogs I read become, the reasons behind the words. You become privy to the person behind the pages not just the words upon the page.

I have always wanted to know more about the authors I read, especially the ones I keep coming back for more from. Pre-internet that wasn’t always easy. Even in the early years of the internet you only found publisher bios of the author, sometimes the author would set up a web page, sometimes they would even update it occasionally. But with the advent of blogs you begin to really get to know the person behind the words. You begin to see what they are passionate about, what just ticks them off. They become a person not just a name on a cover, sometimes a friend and not just an acquaintance. Makes life much more interesting, don’t you think?

The really great thing is watching some of these “bloggers” just getting started. They begin with a bit of hesitation. They wander around looking for a path to follow that matches up with their particular version of the “muse”. Then you begin to see it in their post, they are finding their voice, their passion. They begin to speak with a clearer sense of what it is they want to say.

With any luck I will find my voice here someday. Right now I am stumbling around the language hoping I don’t stub my toe too badly. Until such a time that I actually start to make sense, thanks for stopping by and listening to the mumbles that show up here.

…Sorry, I got distracted by the light on this foggy morning. I am sure the sight of an overweight, middle aged ex-hippie wandering around in a field with a camera and a tripod wearing house shoes and jogging (ha) shorts was a sight I am glad I could not see…

Here are a couple of apple blossom images hot of the printer, so to speak.


Dew covered Apple Blossom Buds.


And dew covered Apple Blossoms.

Today’s Outlook – Foggy early, clearing later

How about a quote to start the day…

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.
– William Blake

I think William Blake had one hell of an insight in the remark. In a lot of ways that one comment covers the differences in the two ends of the political spectrum. It also explains the lack of common ground in most public issues. The two side just can’t fathom the viewpoint of the other side. We aren’t talking different planets here, we are talking about being from different solar systems mentally. Sorry for the “duh” moment, but I just had a “duh” moment.

I am running a little behind this morning due to a doubling of my normal morning email load. Mind you we aren’t talking about spam (well none that wasn’t actually requested by me at one point or another), mainly just Google Alerts I have running to check on if family or friends end up in the news somewhere. Just another way to keep in touch.

Then there is this from a newsletter I get in my daily email…

What is the most dangerous animal on Earth?

They often work from trucks traveling the roads and streets at night when most people are asleep or fretting about the next day’s activities. Without them, road and barge crews couldn’t work safely, children would not be safe on playgrounds, dinner on the patio would risk infection, spending a day fishing would bring home more than fish, swimming, hiking, jogging, gardening—any of these activities could be the last outdoor activity one had from life. Their work is not glamorous; it is long and tedious, filled with its own hazards. They battle the single most dangerous animal on Earth; they are the mosquito control officers.

If you like oddball facts about plants (or even just real down and dirty facts), go check out the Killer Plant site. I’ve been subcribed to their daily emails for years now.

Source: Renfields Garden – KillerPlants.com

The big yellow children hauler just passed by so I better start wrapping this up and finish getting ready to drop my youngest off at the High School. Stay warm, stay happy, we’ll catch you down the information superhighway.

Signs of Spring…

But winter’s still hanging on.

As the sun comes up this morning the field behind the house sparkles with one of the few frosts of this winter season. And this comes after what appeared to be a beautiful spring weekend. Even with the morning dew freezing on the grass though, the forecast for the week is for more of the beautiful weather.

I spent some time wandering around the yard documenting some of the signs of spring that were showing yesterday. I also spent some time just sitting on the still dormant grass, soaking up the sun and watching the birds play.

It’s already apple blossom time here…

But then it seems it almost always is. The poor apple trees can’t seem to figure out when it’s time to be apple trees around here.

Azaleas are blooming…

But only under the cover of the trees around the house.

Unopened blossoms.

Out under the trees.

Covered with these buds. Give it a week.

The Redbud in the front yard.

Later than some because it isn’t in full sun.

Closeup of Redbud bud.