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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A new day brings new energy

Once I got the old joints moving this morning it was easy to finish painting the potty shed.

Then I watered lightly. This time of year things don't need a good soaking, so I get frugal with my water supply. I still had energy left, didn't feel ready to head to town so soon, so I did a bunch of pruning, mostly branches the bear had broken.

Turned out I should probably have saved some of that energy because I got to town tired and had a ton of things I had to do here. But now I'm sort of caught up and should have an easy next few days. And maybe easy for the winter. At some point before spring migration I need to work on the birding trails. Don't think I'll work on the mountain trail anymore. There's a trail up that I can make it fine on, and doing work to it wouldn't really improve its usability, so probably not worth the effort. Might change my mind, though.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Worked til I dropped

I made it until almost 4 PM, then couldn't go anymore. Left Alpine this morning after catching up my work there. Then when I got to CMO I unloaded a kitchen table that had been given to me. I'm excited about it because the guesthouse is 40 years old this year and never had a silverware drawer in the kitchen. So today is the day.

When I unloaded the table I noticed the porcelain top had been painted. Couldn't have that. So I spent hours with a scraper and oven cleaner before I was ready to put it in the space I had made for it.

I love it! It has two pullout breadboards too. The table originally had a stool that pulled out, but I only know that because I looked it up online. Here's one that recently sold on ebay for $1000.  

You see, when I built the guesthouse 40 yrs ago, it was with the idea of it being temporary living quarters while the house was being built. I never expected to live in it for two years, but that's how long it took for the house to get done. Now, instead of it being a storage area as I had intended, it's a guesthouse. I would have done it a lot different had I known it was going to be a guesthouse. It's good that I no longer have to put the silverware tray on the counter, since there is virtually no counter space.

I don't like the large noisy refrigerator in there, or that tiny one. At some point I plan to get rid of them and put a medium-sized or apartment-sized refrigerator in there. But as long as the big one works, I don't bother. 

By the time I got done doing all that I was tired, but pushed on wanting to get the potty shed painted. I just couldn't finish though. Will finish in the morning. As with every project, something unexpected arises and makes it take longer. Like I totally didn't know the table had been painted. Well, I couldn't paint the potty shed with that yucca up against it. A new one had sprouted nearby, and I couldn't think of any reason to keep the bigger one. At first I tried to protect myself from the thorns with a blanket, but still couldn't get the ladder close enough.

So I went up to the house and got a chain and pulled it out with my pickup. But I'm old and slow and tired, so everything is a big task. I'm just grateful I can even do it, fast or slow.

As fast as time flies, it'll soon be spring and I'll be ready!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Good ole scenery

When there are no interesting birds, butterflies, dragonflies, or flowers to photograph there's always the scenery. It never leaves. This morning started out with the oasis being up in the clouds. Lovely!

Unfortunately I had to go to Alpine, but plan to get back real soon. On the way out, going down the big hill I could see the valley was still in the clouds/fog. (Nine Point Mesa in the background to the right center.)

Then at the highway I saw a sign I hadn't seen before. It's at the intersection of Terlingua Ranch Road and Highway 118. Still foggy so no background scenery on the last shot.

Friday, November 10, 2017

I dropped the ball

I should have stayed more on top of that Costa's Hummingbird. Not only did I not get suitable photos of it, but I don't even know for sure when it first arrived. Today I searched all day and didn't see it.😟

It's amazing the difference a quick turn of the head can make. Case in point: These shots of a male Anna's Hummingbird were taken only seconds apart.

And here's an example of color variations within a species. These two Fatal Metalmarks were side by side, yet so different in color.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Back at CMO

The weather has been a bit brisk but I needed to come to the oasis and service feeders, etc. Happy that no bear has been back. But he's not far away. He went to the Lake Ament area, which is 3 miles to the south of the oasis. This posted by TP&W.
Texas Parks and Wildlife has received multiple confirmed reports of a male black bear in the Lake Ament Rd area of Terlingua Ranch. Several of the reports detailed that the bear was eating some form of "attractant" (dog food, corn/protein from a deer feeder, chicken feed, horse feed, etc). And although the bear has NOT displayed any aggressive/predatory behaviors, he has demonstrated that he may not fear humans or human structures as much as he should, which increases the potential for human-bear conflict.
Given the time of year and what we know about bear biology, we are confident that the bear is trying to consume as many calories as possible to fatten up as he prepares to hibernate and thus he is taking advantage of all the "easy" meals (attractants) he has access to around the ranch. Thus, it is imperative that the residents of Terlingua Ranch, particularly the Lake Ament Rd area, secure all attractants as soon as possible for your safety and the well-being of the bear.
We have also received requests to remove the bear from the area, however, this management action is a last resort action after all efforts have been made to secure attractants in the area and hazing actions (noise deterrents, less-lethal rounds, etc) have failed to convince the bear that humans are to be feared and human structures are NOT a place to get an easy meal. Furthermore, relocating a bear is often ineffective, as bears can travel great distances and may make their way back to the capture area in a week or two.
Please contact the TPWD Wildlife Office in Alpine or my cell (below) if you see a bear or to request a biologist to provide recommendations on how to best secure your attractants.
For your own personal safety and the bear's well-being, please secure your attractants as soon as possible.
Russell Martin
Wildlife Diversity Biologist
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Wildlife Division – Trans Pecos District
109 S. Cockrell
Alpine, TX 79830
Office: (432) 837-2051
Cell: (432) 244-9945

On Nov 4th I saw a calypte hummingbird that I thought just might be a Costa's. I finally got a picture of it today and sent it to Kelly for ID. He confirmed that it is a Costa's. It has yet to visit a feeder. It just catches gnats in the mornings. Never could see gorget color on it. Will try to tomorrow.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Trip to Albuquerque

Still no sign of bear at CMO Sunday when I headed to Alpine. Then this morning we left Alpine to go to Hugh's brother's memorial service in Albuquerque, NM. The trip went fine and it helped that I brought a crossword book. Makes traveling time pleasant instead of miserable. I told my niece at the bookstore to pick me out the hardest one. Boy, be careful what you ask for. After no progress in 5 hours on the first of the 50 crosswords, I gave up and started the second. Still on it, but it's doable at least. I couldn't pick out my own book because the bookstore in Alpine isn't open on Sunday, so I had to call Hugh to go pick up what my niece, Julie, chose on Saturday. She did good. I've got a lifetime supply of traveling puzzles now at the rate I'm going.

We arrived to Los Lunas where we had reservations at a Days Inn there. Hugh didn't want to go any farther tonight. We'll navigate the city in the morning before the service and then head back toward Alpine. I'll probably have to help drive back because Hugh doesn't hold up as good in the evening.

At the motel there happened to be a guy traveling across the country on a solar-powered electric bicycle. Rather interesting, I thought.

For more about his journey go to