Thursday, October 22, 2009

Texas Hill Country 2009
I moved to Bandera on the 15th of October, and picked up Gail for a long weekend stay on the way. Sorry, Gail, I guess all the decent pictures of you are on your camera. But, we visited a few of the old reliable sites in the area, as well as a few new, more out-of-the way places.
We took a scenic drive around the area, but unfortunately the leaves have not yet begun to turn. It has been dry here, so the rivers were low, but I did get these shots of the Medina and Sabinal rivers.
We also spent an afternoon/evening in San Antonio at the Alamo and the River Walk, which were quaint, but inspiring as usual.
Gail suggested a stop at the Medina Garden Nursery, which at first seemed a bit odd. But it was a very nice garden in Medina which caters to local plants and butterflies. Here is a nice butterfly perched on a beautiful Turk's Cap.

We didn't see a lot of wildlife, but I did catch these at midday from the comfort of my porch.

We topped things off with a slice of pie from the Lost Maples Cafe in Utopia. Just another nice, relaxing weekend in the Texas Hill Country. Another month of this, and I'll be spoiled rotten.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Check the Sky

Here in Temple, my top hobby recently has been checking the sky. A significant amount of rain over the past month has slowed projects to a crawl. We have gone from about 6" below normal rainfall for the year to several inches over normal within the last month, and several more inches are predicted for tonight and tomorrow. And, of course, as you know, getting in and out of my private retreat is often a function of the weather.

So, I've naturally started paying more attention to the sky. Last night I saw a shooting star for the first time in several years. Sunsets have sometimes been spectacular. And, the pond is full and occasionally reflecting a blue sky and green grass. Also, a few days ago, I witnessed a lightning show so spectacular that it prompted me to get out my camera. Lightning in the north lit up huge thunderheads like white pillows. Meanwhile, to the south and west, we had horizonal and dramatically forked lightning appearing to go both from the clouds to the ground, as well as from the ground toward the clouds. Unfortunately, good photos of lightning are beyond by capabilities. But after a few minutes of experimenting I did get a couple of shots that at least show some of what I saw.

For all that, the rain has put a damper on my fun here in Temple. Mosquitos have become an issue for the first time in months. Fishing or hunting with the mosquitos is less fun than otherwise. The dove I enjoyed hunting in the first few weeks of the season have become more dispersed. Besides, hiking around the fields in their pursuit is less pleasant in the muddy conditions. I've even gotten to the point where I can tell almost to the minute when the rain will start by looking at the radar on the full time weather station. So, I'll soon be moving on. I leave this weekend for College Station and an Aggie game against Oklahoma State. (Oddsmakers say there is a good chance I won't like the ending, but I'll enjoy the game.) Then, it is on to Houston for a couple of days and eventually back to Bandera, where I'll be for a month and a half. I've worn out most of the great hiking spots there, but Bandera is lovely in the fall. And, several folks have promised to visit there, so maybe I'll pull out of my hermit persona for a while. After that, a quick trip to Ireland with the kids. Then, who knows... North Carolina, perhaps?

Ahh, the life of Riley!