Monday, April 11, 2005

What's Going On Here

I've got the day off, and I spent most of the morning gardening, that is until the big thunderstorm arrived - at this moment there are waterfalls pouring off my roof, and the front yard is becoming one big puddle. Just watched a Green Anole scurrying frantically in a panic to escape the torrents. I'm writing this at noon, but it's dark enough outside that it could be late evening...

The garden is coming along nicely in spite of today's deluge. Michelle enjoys gardening and has been a great help. We've bought a lot of new plants, moved some things around, and started new flower beds in the backyard. We've also planted more azaleas and shrimp plant along the driveway. All the weeding and raking is done now, and the place looks pretty good, but it's gonna look great when the flowers are in full bloom. I'll have to post some pictures.

Michelle is completely moved in now. It's been quite an together is sort of like a marriage with training wheels. I've been a bit of a loner and I'm still getting used to sharing my home with this other person and her small barking creature (Pipa). It's been stressful at times because I am not as good as Michelle is at dealing with the discomfort of change (change which has definitely been for the better, incidentally).

Yesterday I took Michelle on her first trip to High Island and Galveston. The weather was beautiful, but the birding totally sucked ass. High Island was dead as the proverbial doorknob (why a doorknob, I've always wondered?). Strong southwest winds probably pushed migration well to the east or further inland. At the Boy Scout Woods we saw a Louisiana Waterthrush, a male Summer Tanager, and a couple of Scarlet Tanagers. Not much else. Mostly we were just tree watching. The Houston Audubon Society was having a plant sale there, and we picked up a couple of new additions to our garden (a black & blue salvia and a flowering maple hibiscus), so it wasn't a total disappointment. At Smith Oaks there wasn't much of nothin' - not even a plant sale going on. Saw a Northern Parula and an Indigo Bunting or two near the parking area, but the woods were birdless. We did enjoy seeing the large breeding colony of wading birds there - Some of the Great Egrets already had downy young in their nests.

After that we drove up the Bolivar Peninsula (stopping long enough to see a white morph Reddish Egret and flock of Black Skimmers at Rollover Pass) and took the ferry to Galveston. We had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, a restaurant on the beach with a tropical reef/jungle ambiance. It was very Disneyesque, with tiki-hut architecture and an impressive waterfall outside, lots of faux foliage and audio-animatronic elephants and gorillas inside. While eating, patrons are treated to simulated monsoon cloudbursts. Our table was next to a big tank full of reef fish. I got a nice buzz off the big margarita I drank, and the food was ok. Afterward Michelle and I took a walk along the beach and she got her feet wet while I did my best not to.

On Saturday (April 9th), as I was leaving for work, I heard my first Summer Tanager of the season. Later that day, while I was busy raking leaves, Michelle found a Blotched Watersnake in the backyard. It was a BIG one (at least 3 feet long), but stretched out in the tall grass of the lawn it was easy to miss. Unfortunately my neighbors kill every snake they come across, no matter how harmless, so I don't get to see snakes here very often. That evening we had a bonfire down by the pond, and sat watching the flames until mosquitoes drove us back indoors. Weather has been mostly very pleasant lately, aside from today's downpour.


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