Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mission, TX - 4th Week - 3rd Month

Mar 26th (Monday)
Went to Hidalgo pump house- we were on our way to Estaro Llano in Weslaco, but when we went through Hidalgo decided to stop and see the old pumphouse. It was on our want list of things to do, and this seemed to be a perfect chance. When we arrived we were just in time to join a bus tour of the old historic town, the new pumping facilities, and then a tour of the old restored pumphouse. It was well worth the $10 entry fee.

The Old Hidalgo Pumphouse-World Birding Center was built on the banks of the Rio Grande River in 1909. Located in Hidalgo, Hidalgo Co., TX, this WBC site is fantastic for both birds and butterflies. The Pumphouse used Honey Mesquite to fuel huge steam-driven boilers that drove massive pumps, which pumped water from the Rio Grande River into agricultural irrigation canals. This maze of irrigation canals runs throughout Hidalgo Co., and they are still in use, today.

The Old Hidalgo Pumphouse-WBC is easy to get to. From US-281 (Coma Ave.) in downtown Hidalgo, turn south on Bridge St. and go six blocks to Flora Ave., turn left (east) On Flora Ave. and go two short blocks to 2nd St., and turn right (south) into the Pumphouse park. It is easy to just follow the signs to the Pumphouse.
On special occasions, the City uses its trams to bring tourists to the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse.

Before crossing the bridge that goes over the "Old Swimming Hole" and taking the path to the Pumphouse, go slowly and watch for birds and butterflies as you meander. This walk is excellent for Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Long-billed and Curve-billed Thrashers. During migration, you can find numerous Neotropical passerines. Watch for Tropical Kingbirds (that prefer a "golf-course" type habitat) in the Pumphouse Gardens inside the fence on your left

The view back towards the parking lot, after you have parked and crossed this bridge over the Old Swimming Hole. The parking lot is filled with flowers, shrubs, and trees. It is very easy to spend an hour wondering in the parking lot, looking for birds and butterflies. Several rare butterfly species have been found here. Be sure to stop in the middle of the bridge and search the banks for Green Kingfishers, Kiskadee Flycatchers and Green Jays and several species of waders. Look down into the butterfly plantings and search for butterflies.
As you are walking down towards the Pumphouse museum, check out the numerous butterfly species you should see in the beds that border the Gardens. Again, go slow and watch for the many species of flycatchers that can be found in this area.
The high smokestack at the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse can be seen from almost anywhere in the City. The very tall smokestack helped, with winds that almost always prevail from the south, carry the dense, oily, black smoke away from the City and towards its northern neighbor, McAllen. In the winter, it dumped its smoke onto Reynosa to the south.
The entrance into the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse-World Birding Center is just below and to the left. Notice how even the old galvanized siding has been preserved and actually make for a pretty effect.
The long walk from the Pumphouse entrance to the Museum gift shop/restooms/offices has loads of interpretive displays on both sides of the walk. Whether or not you are into old tools and heavy machinery, you will enjoy all the displays.

During the Christmas Season, the WBC is decorated with hundreds of Chrismas miniature scenes, and the entire Pumphouse grounds are filled with Christmas Lights. The City of Hidalgo's annual Festival of Lights celebration is the largest display of Christmas lights in South Texas, visited by tens of thousands of people. For more information, check out "Events" on the City of Hidalgo's webpage.
Offices, a gift shop, meeting room, and restrooms are on the right. Downstairs are the enormous pumps and boilers that visitors can view. Just imagine what working conditions were like, below, in the poorly ventilated vast basement of boilers. Heat and fantastic noise had to make for miserable work hours
The tiny City of Hidalgo has invested millions of dollars, developing the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse-WBC. Unlike the other 8 WBC sites, the City utilizes the park differently, with numerous events for its citizens. The amphitheater is used for talks, performances and during the summer, free movies.

The Pavilion, located in the center of the fenced Gardens, is a great place to sit, cool off and up-date your checklists. Many weddings have been performed under its roof; the Pumphouse Gardens are especially pretty at night, when the trees are accented with lights.
Several water features, fountains, and streams are found both outside and within the Pumphouse Gardens; and, wow, do the birds use them.

Birds, odonates, butterflies and frogs, many of which are unique to the Lower Rio Grande Valley, can always be found in this large pool. You crossed over the Old Swimming Hole when you took the bridge from the parking lot. You can access this large pond from the trail that leads under the bridge to the east end of the Old Swimming Hole.From the west end of the Old Swimming Hole pond as you look back towards the Pumphouse, watch for the many species of birds you can see here.
One of the numerous streams that course throughout the Gardens. One of the truly unusual landscape architectural features of the Pumphouse Gardens is that all these streams that are found here (and there are many) simulate the Rio Grande River as it actually exists along the southern border of the City, separating the U.S. and Mexico.
The average annual rainfall in Hidalgo is only 23"/year. Fortunately, the several water features at the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse are of great benefit to the birds.
The bubbling sound from these moving streams bring in the birds. Be sure to watch for odonates around these features, because there are numerous species of dragonflies and damselflies that can only be found in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and many of them can be found at the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse-WBC.
All of these water features have been planted to attract butterflies...and they do.
This "bend in the River" stream is exactly as it occurs just south of the City. The huge, paved, circular patio is an exact representation of the City streets as they exist just north of the "bend".
Map of the City as you face east.

On the west side of the Pumphouse building, the Observation Deck overlooks a large resaca (ox-bow lake). The resaca is the former intake channel that was at the Rio Grande River. Before flooding of the River caused the River to move and to change course and isolate this bend in the river as a resaca, the Old Pumphouse lifted the water out and pumped the water into the irrigation canals.

In the top-right corner of this photo (just above the interpretive sign), you can see the flags that mark the border between the U.S. and Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Be sure to check out the resaca for Ringed and Green Kingfishers, numerous waders and ducks and many flycatchers.
The large, mowed lawn just to the left and below the Observation Deck is a great place to watch for Long-billed Curlews.
The cool, shady Pavilion is an example of how all nine of the World Birding Center sites in the Lower Rio Grande Valley are appreciative of the fact that we all need to find some shade when running around chasing critters.
Fishermen really like this covered deck. Catfish, bass, and perch are caught here. This is another spot that birders can use to search the resaca and its banks.

Directly behind the Pumphouse Gardens, the Border Patrol truck is parked at a break in the Border Wall. This gap is where the soon-to-be-completed Border Gate will be. Once the Border Wall is finished here, the Dept. of Homeland Security has promised that the Hidalgo Bend Tract of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlfe Refuge and its 900 acres will be re-opened to hikers, bicyclists, and nature observers from the Pumphouse. A neat feature of the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse-WBC is that they provide FREE use of their many bicycles to Pumphouse visitors (just have to leave your Driver's License at the Office).
This is the north side of the Border Wall that is immediately behind the World Birding Center. The Border Patrol truck is almost 6 ft. tall. It is on top of a 16 foot levee road. On top of the levee road is an 18 foot fence. It is a straight drop down the other side of the fence, making the total Wall on the south side ~34 feet tall. The Wall separates the Lower Rio Grande Valley NWR Hidalgo Bend Tract from the Old Hidalgo Pumphose-WBC, and cuts off the National Wildlife Refuge tract from the entire City. An ugly site to most Valley residents.
Directly behind the Border Wall which is directly behind the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse-WBC is the start of the Nature Trail into the 900 acre Hidalgo Bend Tract of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. This trail leads all the way to the Rio Grande River. We have found both Elf Owls and Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls, here. This is absolutely the best location in the entire Lower Rio Grande Valley to see Groove-billed Anis. Hundreds of these birds nest here and are easily long as access is given back to the birders, as promised.

Mar 27th (Tuesday)
Went for a short levee drive. Drove a couple of miles down along the levee so Denice could take some pictures of birds, specifically, a yellow fly catcher. Then when we came bck continued up the levee towhere I could see the sugar cane fields that had been harvested recently. Now this Sugar Cane growing is a whole new experience to us. I am including a bunch of photos in my blog to hep explain the rotation and gowing of it.

Mar 28th (Wednesday)
Yup, thats what we did!!!!
Mar 29th (Thursday)
Waiting at home for my anchor seal to be delivered. We find the FedEx, or UPS process for that matter, quite amazing that either of them can keep track and deliver to you, so fast from anywhere in the USA in 5 to 7 business days. Here is the report that this product of mine has shown to the present time. It should be delivered here this afternoon some time so we are staying home waiting for it. Here is the report:
(Read from bottom up)   It has been delivered
Date                   Time               Location              Event Details
March 29, 2012 03:42:24 PM Mission TX US Delivered
March 29, 2012 07:54:00 AM Edinburg TX US Out for delivery
March 29, 2012 05:51:00 AM Edinburg TX US Arrival Scan
March 28, 2012 10:01:18 AM Fort Worth TX US Departure Scan
March 28, 2012 01:16:00 AM Fort Worth TX US Arrival Scan
March 27, 2012 04:16:47 AM Grove City OH US Departure Scan
March 27, 2012 12:57:00 AM Grove City OH US Arrival Scan
March 26, 2012 10:20:53 PM Cambridge OH US Departure Scan
March 26, 2012 08:14:00 PM Cambridge OH US Arrival Scan
March 26, 2012 12:00:00 AM Cambridge OH US Shipment received by carrier
March 26, 2012 11:38:00 AM US Shipment has left seller facility and is in transit
Amazing eh!!!

Mar 30th (Friday)
This is Denices interpretation of events ---

WELL!!!! What a night we about 6:00PM park management came to warn everyone about bad weather coming our way and if necessary, where to go in case of a tornado (club house basement). 6:30, power went off, neighbour Ruth comes over with an update......Tornado Watch......packed my purse (money and passports) pills and camera (of course) ready to head up to shelter if necessary. 7:00PM, Dennis decides to put the awning up..dead calm outside ( calm before the storm) and just in time...starts to rain. Neighbours are staying I watch next door neighbor, Rosemary calmly knitting........torrential rain!!!! Sheet lightening, high winds...Rosemary still knitting....bang on the roof (debris?) that was our weather station blowing over...last recorded wind speed.....54mph...unbelievable lightening (now taking video). Rosemary still knitting. We still have lights, battery power . Storm continues for about 3 hours, Rosemary knitted the whole time...if she had left her Motorhome, I would have been right behind her!!!! No tornado!!!! thankyou God!

Damage, this beautiful morning, trees down, fences down, palm bark all over,neighbors window blew out of his golf cart, one 5th wheel had their large back window sucked out.....lots of devestation in McAllen. Power on at 11:30 this morning. But, we survived! NO HAIL!!!!

Mar 31st (Saturday)
Went on a riverboat tour today on the Riverside Dreamer. We see it going past the RV Park all the time, but never joined them until today. It was a very enjoyable ride for an hour. It docks only a half mile from us. The boat is a cataraman pushed by twin 135 HB outboards.It will take about 25 people in great comfort with air conditioning and very comfortable seating.  We went up the river for a few miles enjoying the scenery , both in the US and in Mexico. We had a chance to view a lot of the devastation from the 2010 flooding of the area. I am not sure that I had previously explained that flooding, but in July of 2010 huge rainfall was reported in the southern central part of Texas and Mexico. The huge Falcon Dam suddenly reached its capacity and someway commnication was lost between the Mexicans and and the Americans and Mexico opened the gates to the dam without American notification. The result was a huge flood all the way from the dam to the Gulf. Waters were reported up to 10 and 20 feet above normal. The RV Park we are in was flooded right out, with only a few sites on high land avoiding damage. This trip on the Riverside Dreamer allowed viewing a lot of those areas most effected.  Soon we turned back and returned and went down the river the same distance before returning to dock and the restaurant. As it was now 1:00PM we decided on lunch there. It was very good. Denice had the shrimp basket, I, the pork sandwich that was huge!!
Apr 1st (Sunday)
It’s going to be an uplifting Sunday in Calgary.

An incredibly rare sequence of celestial events will see residents of Calgary and the immediate area briefly experience the wonders of weightlessness.
The out-of-this-world phenomenon will allow Calgarians to briefly levitate in almost zero gravity.
It’s an occurrence that hasn’t happened since 1925, with the epicentre in the small town of Shymkent, Kazakhstan. At the time, panicked citizens blamed the bizarre incident on witchcraft and mass hysteria.
“This is literally a once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Dr. Lyle Upshot, of the University of Santa Monica, who pointed out that scientists only confirmed the cause of the Kazakh event in the late 1960s.
“And Calgary is so, so lucky to win Mother Nature’s lottery.”
Upshot said the current solar flare acceleration, a full global aurora and the fact an asteroid, B3NHD1420, will pass directly between the moon and Earth will lead to the so-called Lunar Molecular Astro-solar Oscillation levitation event at exactly 10:15 a.m. Sunday.
To take full advantage of the gravity deficiency, people are urged to lay on the floor at 10:14 a.m. in preparation.
Standing during the slight window of opportunity, which may last as long as six seconds, displaces body mass and results in only slight tremors and flesh quivers.
When all the celestial factors collide, people can expect to levitate 3 to 5 inches above the ground, depending on weight, bone density and housing/shelter factors.
People are best able to enjoy the moment outside, where they may also witness a darkening of the sky and atmospheric ripples akin to heatwaves on a hot day.
While being gravity-free for a few seconds could be thrilling, Upshot warns there can be slight dangers involved.
“When this happened in 1925, hundreds of people suffered concussions, so we recommend you wear a helmet,” said Upshot.
You can report your experience to the Calgary Solarium at 403-250-4308.

April Fools !!!!!

Mission, TX - 3rd Week - 3rd Month

Mar 19th (Monday)
Strong winds today - at 9:00PM had to put the awning up - gusting to 30MPH from SSW

Worked on my stained glass most of the day - Using my grinder to fine tune all the pieces to make precision fits
Mar 20th (Tuesday)
Put out the awning again this morning
Mar 21st (Wednesday)

Mar 22nd (Thursday)
soldering latest Stained Glass creation together today
Mar 23rd (Friday)
Nice hot day today

Complete my latest stained glass piece today. Not completely satisfied with it. My Monutains are not as defined as I had hoped, but for a first try at designing, I guess its not too bad. I did put a zinc frame around it, and that worked out well. I think I will try to enhanse some of the areas in the picture with some glass painting. I'm not an artist either, but will give it a try.

Re-order Anchor Seal today - I thought I had it ordered, but failed to complete the order last weekMar 24th (Saturday)
slightly foggy this AM, but that burns off by 10:00AM  - Then hot at about 90 F
Mar 25th (Sunday)
Another nice warm day

Went down to McAllen and bought some things Denice wanted - scent chips and some books from Barnes & Noble - I stopped at Best Buy and bought some printer cartridges for my printer

Mission, TX - 2nd Week - 3rd Month

Mar 12th ( Monday)
Zilch, I went for some needed groceries
Mar 13th (Tuesday)
Went up the road to Bentsen State Park to do a little more birding. There is one segment of a trail to no where that we had never been on, called Resaca Vieja Trail, and we had heard that the rare Pauraque might be seen there. Don't know what a pauraque is? Well you are not alone. Denice was able to see one in Estaero LLano, another state park, that she went to one day with friend birder Laura. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the pauraque:

This medium-sized nightjar is 8.7-11 in (22–28 cm) long and has two colour morphs, the plumage being variegated greyish-brown or rufous-brown. It is long-tailed and has broad rounded wings. The buff 'eyering' and 'facial stripe' contrast with the reddish sides of the face.[1]

The adult male Pauraque has a white band near the wing tips, and the outer tail feathers are mainly white. The female's wing band is narrower and the white in the outer tail is more restricted. There are seven subspecies of the Pauraque, differing in size and greyness.[1]

The male Pauraque's song is very variable, but includes a whistled weeeow wheeooo, ("who-r-you"), soft puk puk and a whip given in the courtship flight as he flutters around the female. Her call is a rapid succession of whip sounds.

It is found in open woodland/grassland habitats, but also scrubland and crop fields. This species has long legs (by nightjar standards) with bare tarsi, and is more terrestrial than most of its relatives. If disturbed, it will sometimes run rather than fly, and it frequently rests on roads and tracks. In general it prefers mixed habitat which offers densely vegetated hiding places – ideally forest – for the day, as well as open landscape – perhaps even rivers or wetlands – to hunt at night. The Pauraque is nocturnal, like other nightjars, and starts to fly at dusk. Like its relatives, it feeds on insects caught in flight, usually by flycatching from a low perch, but also by foraging over open ground.

How ever we saw none!! In fact few birds today, but we had a good walk. The trail to nowhere ends at a resaca. Oh, you don"t know what a resaca is either! Well wklipedia does not give an English version of the definition, only Spanish, so I will interpet. It is nothing more than an old oxbow left abandoned after the Rio Grande changed course. In days past when the river flooded these resacas would fill with water and retain most of the summer, but now with the control on the Rio they are usually just old dry beds where birds find good habitat. On returning home we took the levee along the river and we find that Sugar Cane harvest is in process. We find this intrigueing to watch the whole sugar cane cycle.
Mar 14th (Wednesday)
To McAllen for more glass - first went to Hobby Lobby, but could not find all that I wanted, so had to do a side trip to McAllen glass. There are so many types and designs that it is slightly mind boggling to find the perfect piece to match your design
Mar 15th (Thursday)
Over to HEB for some groceries. Denice needed some supplies for the "Pot Luck" tonight. Once home I took in a few minutes of the Golf Cart Rodeo. Each contestant had to have a co-pilot, the pilot was blindfolded and had to maneuver his golf cart down a corridor missing pre placed barrels along the way, and ending in the "Kitchen" between two barrels and stopping before running into one in front.  Quite hilarious actually!!
Mar 16th (Friday)
Laundry Day    --- What can I say??
Mar 17th (Saturday)
St Patty's Day - Just chill out all Day - Do a little glass cutting on my new "Self Designed" project
Mar 18th (Sunday)
SKYPE'd the kids - all good on that front

Worked on Stained glass - all pieces cut out for latest project (#6)
Ordered Anchor Seal from Amazon

Mission, TX - 1st Week - 3rd Month

Mar 5th (Monday)
Went to Butterfly Center a couple miles up the road today. After registering at a very nice facility , you take a short walk down a nice shaded lane until you come to an area with lots of flower gardens to attract the butterflies. They tell us that there are more varieties of butterflies here than anywhere else in the USA. To me they sort of all look the same, but there are literally hundreds of varieties of them. Also in conjunction with the butterflys there is a good bird feeding station, with comfortable tables and chairs. We must have spent a couple of hours there just watching the various birds. Most we had seen before, Kiskadees, Green Jays, Orioles, Cardinals, Thrushes, Doves, Chachalacas, plus a bonus of a rare Leucistic Gold Finch and a small Sceech Owl sitting in a football shaped hole in an old tree. To explain the Leucistic Gold Finch. It is somewhat the same as an Albino, but does not have the Red Eyes Albinism is a genetic mutation that prevents the production of melanin in the body, whereas leucism is a genetic mutation that prevents melanin from being deposited normally on feathers. There you have it!!

After a couple of hours there returned home and were treated to a nature event. A water snake, and not a very large one at that, grabbed a small catfish, about an 8 incher, by the nose, and the battle was on. There was no question who was going to win, since once started the snake has no way of releasing the fish, so over the next half hour we watched him just spread his mouth over the poor little guy, just slowly swallowing him whole. We took a lot of pictures, and although it was rather gross, it was Mother Nature just doing what comes naturally.
Mar 6th (Tuesday)
Was going to have a wash / wax job for ELTORO, but the guy that was going to do it was late arriving, and the wind had come up, so finally when he called back we cancelled until a calmer day. A couple of days ago the group who are all next to us invited us to join then at a Bar-B-Que place for group supper. We had accepted, so about 4:00PM we all piled into cars, and headed off th "492 Bar-B-Que for ribs, chicken and what ever else. Ended up there was a total of 30 of us, and we had a great dinner, before returning home for the evening.
Mar 7th (Wednesday)
Went to Selineno, about 60 miles north along the Rio Grande to another bird watching area.  Then from there to Falcon Lake State Park and had a picnic there, then to Roma Bluffs,  The day started at 8:00AM when we headed north. Arrived at Salineno in an hour or so. It is a neat site supported by your donations and The Valley Land Fund.  The site is part of Natioanal Wildlife Refuge System. It has lots of feeders and two couplesvolunteer their time to explain and identify the various birds that feed there. Our thrill of the day was to view a Brown Jay. As far as they know, it is the only one in Texas, and the first one here in the last 5 years. The Jays usual home is in Mexico. In early spring they had an adult as well as a juvenile, but after a few weeks the juvenile disappeared, and now only the adult remains. We also say scads of the usual Kiskadees, Green Jays, Audobon Oreoles, Altimira Oreoles, one hooded Oreole, Cardinals, various kinds of Doves, a spotted Towhee, a Grey Blue Knatcatcher, a Black Headed Grossbeak, two kinds of Thrashers, curved and long billed, a Black Crested Titmouse, and another new one for us, a Pyrrhuloxia. Rather than try to explain that last one it is easier to just add a picture of him.  After spending a couple of hours here we left and headed to Falcon Lake. This is a 60 mile long dammed lake on the Rio. According to all reports it is rather natorious for Mexican Drug Cartel Operations, with a lot of reports of robbings and shootings along the Mexican side of the waters. The US Border Patrol stronly advise you if boating, to stay on the American side of the lake. The two big Patrol Boats that I showed on a previous blog are based here to protect these waters.. There is a nice Texas State Park along the shore and we stopped in a shelter and had our picnic lunch. Once finished lunch we drove down to the dam and went looking for a site identified as site 83 on our birding map. We could not find it and ended up driving up to the American Customs, and asking where site 83 was. As often is the case Denice was interferring with my explanation, and the border guard cut her off, asking what her career choice had been. Denice added that it was to be the "Boss"  or "Nagging Wife". He just laughed, and then I showed him the map blurb about site 83. He read it and stated it was in the center of the dam at the spillway, also at the Mexican / US border point. He suggested we go there and take pictures with one foot in the USA and one in Mexico, but only if no Mexicans guards are there, Then he asked if we had our drivers licence to return to the USA, We stated, we did, Canadian ones, but now we had a problem. US citizens only need a drivers licence, Canadians need their Passport, and as we had not planned on going through a border had not brought ours along. Oh well, I guess another day. These USA Customs guys were really helpful and we enjoyed chatting with them, I think we broke up a very menotinous day for them, we tuened around and headed  back. Next stop was the Roma Bluffs, an overlook area in Roma looking down on the Rio Grande and Mexico across the River. Only stopped here briefly to enjoy the view and take a few photos, and then headed for home. One short stop at a DQ in Rio Grande City for Ice Cream and then home.
Mar 8th (Thursday)
Very strong winds through the night, registering often above 20MPG on my weather station. We got up at about 1:30 and talked about putting the awnings down. Procrastinated until 2 and finally just decided we had better or possible face some damage. It was extremely warm out, even at that time of night, at about 75 F. We had the awnings strapped down well, but even so, thought that they might be damaged. Really only took about 15 minutes to get them stored away. Soon after putting them up we had a gust over 30MPH. I was wide awake now so read for an hour or so before getting tired again and going to bed. While I was up putting ours to rest I walked down the line of motorhomes adjacent to us to see if anyone else was up or needed help to put theirs down, but saw no action. I the morning one on a big motorhome had broken its support arm and was hanging down. I talked to the owner, John and he said at 2:45 a big gust did the trick. That would be the 30MPH one my weather station recorded. Now he has a big bill to repair, that could have been avoided. I have none! For once, I was smart!!

"Pot Luck Supper" tonight. Dennis and Denice were hosts, but only about a dozen people showed up - A lot have left and are starting their trecs northward already, so participation is waning. Also one of the site units was hosting a birthday party for someone. We don't know who. So with only a dozen people we had lots of food, and surprisingly a good variety!
Mar 9th (Friday)
Thunder, rain, and wind overnight, and quite cool this morning at only about 48 F, and only got up to about 52 F during the day. Was warmer at home in High River today!! So with the cold spent the entire day indoors. Denice called it a "House Coat Day". Just read, computed, stitched, ate, etc, etc.
Mar 10th (Saturday)
Another cool night at 44 F this morning, but at least the wind is down.  Little to report for today --
Mar 11th (Sunday)
Denice Birthday

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mission TX - 4th Week - 2nd Month

Feb 27th (Monday)
Started new stained Glass today. Decided on one of a desert scene at sun down. I guess I had really decided on this one a few days ago, and had bought the glass at McAllen Glass, when we were there. So today got out my equipment one more time and started cutting glass. By days end had all the pieces ( 32 of them) rough cut out. Denice was busy with here stitching and enjoying the air conditioner inside.  Much too hot for her outside!
Feb 28th (Tuesday)
Today was a grinding Day!! I mean grinding as in glass, not as in a difficult day. Each of those little pieces of glass needs to be ground to a fairly precision fit with its piece beside it. Seems simple, but remember the one on the other side, the one above, and the one below. It does sometimes create a conundrum of sorts. You grind to fix one and create an imperfection with another. Takes lots of planning and thinking about best way to achieve desired results. Seems it took a good share of the day to get all 32 pieces done. But then for a retired guy the work day is quite short!!!

Denice again doing some stitching. She is working on about five separate pieces, called hardanger. Now I do not really understand what that is but it sure keeps one Denice happy and busy. It involves a whole bunch of different type stitches, and I just watch here nimble fingers pushing a needle and thread through from the top and then reach around and pull through from the bottom, and then find the same right hole from underneath, without looking, to push the needle back up. She never misses a beat, and I don't hear too many, "Oh Damn" exclamations, so she must be good at it. Each of these five pieces are about a foot square, and by the initial showing will be very nice when completed. She showed me a pair of scissors she bought at Harlingen the day were were down there. I knew she had bought a set, but when she showed them to me I thought she had been had!!! $20, and they are only 2 inches long and do not even look like scissors, but I guess this is what it takes to do hardanger!! What can I say? But I know these scissors will be safe as they certainly will not be working their way into yours truly's work chest!!
Feb 29th (Wednesday)Leap Year 29th of Feb. Only once every 4 years!! Sure wish my birthday was today. It would only be my 18th birthday. OOHH to be 18 again!!

Not much to report - worked on my new Stained Glass project. Had to recut a couple of pieces.
Mar 1st (Thursday)
Went to Weslaco audobon birding center. Denice had been there a few days ago with birding friend Laura, and she wanted to go back again to see if she could see a few birds, a couple of warblers that she had not seen, namely gold crowned one. We did see one of them, but unable to get a good picture of it. After leaving there we stopped at Nanna's for lunch. It was a little Mexican Restaurant. We had chulapas, not sure of the spelling, but they were little flat pancack type thingys with a salad type topping. Must admit they were good. 
Mar 2nd (Friday)
Today we went down to Boca Chica Beach. To get there  down Military Highway and back through Brownsville but on the south side of the Brownsville canal. About 20 miles out  the terrain flattens and only scrub bush grows among salt marshes. Soon the sand dunes are visible indicating where the surf has deposited the sands from the bay. Pavement ends here right on a lonly beach. We turn south toward the mouth of the Rio Grande and the Mexican border. It's easy driving along the beach with only an occasional fisherman or people picking up sea shells. After 2 1/2 miles we reach the Rio Grande. Nothing very spectacular there, just a meandering little river entering the Gulf. A few Mexicans are throwing fishing nets into the river to try and catch a few fish, but seems  not a lot of luck. Across the river was a Mexican tower.

Even some drilling out there

Mouth of the Rio Grande

Beach flowers

A beach Beauty

She sells sea shells!!!

On the beach

Close Encounter
 Not sure if it was a light house or a border watch. Seemed to be a lack of broder patrol there, as the Mixicans that were fishing were wading almost to the USA side. Water was only up over their knees, so it was no big deal to just walk over to the USA  side, but I guess thre really was no place to go, as it is wide open with no hiding places. There is only one road, and it does have a check point on the way back to Brownsville. Then we started toward South Padre Island chanel up the beach, but there was abso;utely no oneon this side, the tide was rather high and we had to drive through soft sand, so we only went a couple of miles - less than half way, and decided to turn back. Was getting later in the afternoon anyway, so headed home. Made a short detour to Palmitto Ranch, the site of the last battle in the civil war, 1 month after peace was signed
Mar 3rd (Saturday)
Off to Harlingen today to pick up some stitching supplies Denice had ordered. Left about 10 AM, and it is about a 1 hr drive to Harlington down Highway 35. Highwy 35 is a very nice 6 lane highway all the way with good over passes and turn off lanes every mile or so. A person is able to make very good time on it, even with a speed limit of 65. Denice spent an hour or so in the store while I just shopped around in some discount stores. On the way back we stopped at a Texas Travel Info place for some more maps of the area, especially birding places. Then after that stopped at a favourite lunch place , Olive Garden, but this time in Weslaco. As always, it was very good. How can you beat lunch with all you can eat salad and appetizers for under 20 bucks, including the tip. Thats all we old folks can eat any more for lunch. Then home by 3 PM for a good cup of coffee.
Mar 4th (Sunday)
Sat around most of the day. Went down town for some groceries at HEB

Also stopped at Walmart and bought some movies as we are to the point that we are replaying old ones over and over . We watch a movie almost every night now. I guess its our new thing!! Ended up buying about a dozen new ones. Then went across the highway to HEB for some groceries, then to Home Depot where I bought a couple of new short hoses to connect ELTORO to the water supply. I have been using one of those curly ones (Like a spring) But it seems that in the last few days it has sprung at least 3 pin hole leaks, so I guess its time for a new one. Also bought an electronic bug zapper that is supposed to clear a half acre of flying bugs. In the evenings we are now seeing a lot of mosguitoes. They are relly small, but really hungry!! Also on the list was some ant poison. Lots of little tiny ones around here, not sure if they are fire ants or army ants or what. But they do bite!