Friday, September 21, 2012

Wide-eyed wondering like a child

It's so much fun to watch our grandson, Slade, explore the world.  Every day, every minute, is a moment of discovery to him. He is definitely a full-time explorer -- he loves to wander around the house in search of new things to learn about.

I was just playing around when I made this poster, but the more I look at it, the more it makes me ask "Why does that wide-open exploring wonder give way to a more mundane daily routine?"

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Soccer kicks into action

Soccer kicked off in Beaumont this weekend with a tournament on the west side soccer fields.  Here, Riley combines a block with an attack move -- I suppose she has been waiting the whole summer for this opportunity.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Summer's swan song splashes past.

The end is coming for the cooling spray of water and the splash in the pool to beat the summer heat.  School starts back up Monday. The fun will be missed, the heat will not.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Giant Swallowtail floats by

This amazing Giant Swallowtail Butterfly graced our garden the other day.  His wings were about 4 inches or more across and he floated through the air so gracefully.  His interest at this moment was my wife's Mandarin  Orange tree.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Overpopulation, heron style.

I am guessing the constant crush of heron flocks led to the demise of this tree.  The site is the Lacassine exit on I-10 in Louisiana.  I was on my way home and saw the flocks zooming in by the hundreds -- Ibis, Cattle Egret, Snowy Egrets, Blue Heron, and even some shore gulls.

The gathering seems to be an occurrence starting about 1 1/2 hours before sundown.  The cacophony grows louder, the lower the sun gets and the more birds that come gliding in.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The highway's sky beckons

This was driving home last night into a serene sunset.  The sky was swept with a beach-sand rippling that turned into an rusty ocher as the sun played out its last rays from below the horizon.  These are the kind of drives that make you want to hit to open road.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Granddaugher sends a message

I think this is just a hint that Papa is taking too many pictures.  That's my interpretation.  I invite your analysis of the photo.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Flowers' powers can't stop showers

Photo of rain soaked flower.

A flower, in the weather we have been having, is essentially a rain gauge.  This battered blossom had about 3/4 of an inch of rain in the bottom of the bulb. More rain tomorrow.... and on and on.  
I jest not when I ask whether we can weather this weather liquid sunshine.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Light-saber aloft

Last night, light-saber like, a rainbow picks up just enough of the sun's last rays to pierce the shield of clouds clambering above us.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

It was a thunder wonder

This thunder boomer missed us, but provided a great show.  You had to get out in an open space to appreciate the whole thing.  This was a full-sky guy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The splash pads have sprung to life

It is that magical time of the year when the splash pads that have been sitting idle suddenly spring to life.  Suddenly, kids are told the weather is "warm enough" and the world returns to the magical place it was last summer.

If you are five years old, you may only remember this happening twice before.   Strange.  Wouldn't it be nice if summer and "warm enough" came around every year?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Storms scatter around us.

This was the big thunderhead that had formed south of us this evening but it may have blown itself out just as the sun was casting its last rays on it. Another storm formed to the north of this afternoon and blew some cool breezes our way, but on a few drips.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Eclipse slips to the west

The Moon takes a bite out of the Sun in today's eclipse, but the clouds are waiting to devour the remains at the Sun slips below the horizon.  The shot is Beaumont Texas, where we were told to expect the moon to cover about 40 percent of the sun at sundown.    The folks on up through the west of the United State will enjoy the better views of the eclipse  -- our time is gone.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Mockingbirds and Grackle wage war for park perks

The Enemy -- the big, bad Grackle,.
Defender No. 1, Mocking Bird
Accomplices for the Enemy.
These are not the best pictures today, but the story? That's a whole 'nother tale.

Monday, I was watching a pair of Mockingbirds doing their work-a-day chores at Riverfront Park in Beaumont, while I was leading a session on the water cycle for a Nederland sixth grade class.
This is all part of the Neches River Adventure Tours' Wet and Wild series -- it's the classroom boat you see plying the waters of the Neches many days.

When the class was over the kids ran back to the buses to get their lunch. They scurried back to park and took over their territories on the picnic tables and beneath the pavilion where we had led the classes.

As I was leaving, I was struck by the continuous crackling sound of a Grackle -- a poor imitation at that.  I finally found the source -- one of the Mockingbirds I had been watching.  It seemed strange to me -- this wasn't the kind of normal behavior for Mockingbirds.  They like to sing a medley of 10 or more songs -- songs of other birds.  They sing mostly chirping songs.  But this bird was fixed on the Grackle sound.

I soon saw why -- a large Grackle (probably a Boat-Tailed Grackle) -- came gliding past and soon was met by a two-bird aerial attack squadron who needled him until he retreated in the direction of City Hall.  Intrigued, I grabbed my camera and began to watch it unfold.  One of the Mockingbirds would circle back and land in the tree by my car.  The other would wander on patrol around the park.

Soon, the crackling sound, strange siren song that is was, would tempt the enemy  and the big Grackle would swoop back. The first few times he headed to the tree with the Grackle-mocking bird, only to become the target of the daring dive-bombing duo.

About the fourth time this happened, boss Grackle headed for the tree you see him perched in in the above above. It is closer to the pavilion we had been in.  Then it came to me.  The Mockingbirds must have a nest over there.  The were using the tree by my car as a decoy to keep the big bosses attention away from the tree where the nest was.   But, the nest-close tree was only temporary rest for the Grackle, because the Mockingbirds made relentless and daring passes at him until he flew back to City Hall.

When he left, his five or six ladies and young Grackles would come and sit on the chain link fence and wait for a student to drop something -- they would then swoop it up quickly.   The Mockingbirds would come sit among the Grackle band and look menacing, but they did not put on a aerial dog fight with these finger-food-fixated feathered ones.   Apparently, the Mockingbirds didn't find the ladies and youngsters as menacing as the boss.

I left after about the fifth  or sixth scene.   The kids were starting to finish eating, so the student-supplied droppings sought by the Grackle band was coming to an end.  I am not sure if the  Mockingbirds were able to preserve their brood or not.  I got the impression that the big boss was very determined, and he wasn't settling for some cast-off potato chips.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Vultures pay pig a visit

We were in Houston to watch our son, Charles in a bike race at Bear Creek Park. While waiting, I noticed in one of the animal pens, the sign said pot-bellied pig, but it had some very non-piggish characters inside.  A flock of about 20 of these Black Vultures had decided that the pig's water looked good, so they would fly in for a visit.  The pig didn't look too nonplussed, but I bet on the inside he was terrified.  How does that go? Never let them see you wallow.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bikers buzz by

 We were watching out son in a bike race in Houston last week (he's not in these pictures) -- it was exciting stuff, including a couple of breath-holding spills.  These guys whiz around that track in the upper 20's mph for a half hour up to one hour (depending on the skill category.   I couldn't decide what was the best picture so I picked these two,  and reserve the right to post more in the future.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Unflying dragon

A dragon-fly takes a rest at the tip of leaf, before he resumes his wandering search for food.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Trapping the stars in time

These two seed bearing stars are trapped in a spider's web, two feet above the forest floor.  Their only hope now is a rain storm that can deliver them to earth and their call to destiny.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Get your red on -- Northern Cardinal

This beautiful, colorful, male Northern Cardinal has been an infrequent visitor to my bird feeder.  Notice all the seeds on the ground.  Those sparrows that do the most eating are messy eaters.  It seems they push everything out of the way except sunflower seeds and corn.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ravishing rabbits wrap Nanny in love

After we took the "Nanny and grand-kids' pictures,"  Sophie and Sullivan wanted to take an Easter picture.  Notice the rabbit ears.  Very bunny.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A child's enchantment

Grandpa's hat, a cane stick, a boardwalk, and all the imagination a five-year-old can tap into being on a warm spring day.  A magic place. A place where you invite enchanting thoughts and give them comfort.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Even bull riders use their heads in a pinch.

From the South Texas State Fair in Beaumont, TX last week  -- you can use your head to get out of any predicament, including a ton of bull.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mother bird defends her eggs from Easter kids

A Killdeer defends her nest this past Saturday as dozens of children descended on the field for an Easter Egg hunt.  Of course, the curious children just raised the bird's anxiety level.  Mother and eggs were soon safe and alone, near a lone tree in the field at a local church.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bronco riding: ride, do not fly.

The goal in riding a bucking horse is to always go the way the horse does,  A goal that is often not achievable.  Especially for a horse that has a lot of experience and bumping and grinding simultaneously to send a cowboy packing.  The scene is from the South Texas State Fair in Beaumont, a couple weeks back.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Reptilian flower-walker shows his stuff.

This photo serves to purposes.  To show you the beautiful day-lilies blooming in my back yard.  Also, I want to introduce you to my legendary flower-walker, Bif.   That's not his real name, but despite my efforts, he refuses to tell me what is real name is.  He is, however, a genuine flower-walker.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Why did the chicken go to the Fair?

"Okay, let me see if I got this right.  They want to see how good looking I am, and see how well shaped I am?  Why would they want to do that?"  The wondering foul was at the South Texas State Fair in Beaumont, TX last week.  No doubt by now he has gotten his answer.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rodeo bull bumps burn in memory

We were at the South Texas State Fair in Beaumont Friday night for the Rodeo and all the other fun.  The Rodeo definitely did not disappoint.  The bulls were giving the riders some bumps they will remember for a long time.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The swooning sparrow

Tweedlely dee Tweedlely deedly dee. Tweet Tweet.  Tweet da Tweet .....
What's more to say

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chicken victory holds keys to scholarship cash

Our good friends, Jenna (right) and Amy (left) Anderson, hold up what they hope will be the winning broiler chicken at the South Texas State Fair at Ford Park in Beaumont, Texas, this past Friday.  The judge points them to a position in the line she wants them to stand in as she tries to sort out dozens and dozens of contenders at the contest.  Youth from through several counties compete with the poultry they have raised this year, to try to earn won of the top spots and the scholarship cash that victory can bring at the Fair auction.

Weighty feathers friends vie for Fair prize

This is from the roaster chicken competition at the South Texas State Fair in Beaumont.  The Fair started last Thursday and runs through this week.  Hundreds of youth and their parents and friends stood waiting for the poultry competition on Friday.  The judge, far left, uses her hands to measure the dimensions and quality of the hens breast to determine the winner.  Each contestant holds up the birds they have raised, hoping to get a leg up (poor pun, I know) on the crowded field.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rains make sloppy eating for sparrows.

This was the scene this week on my bird feeder.  The recent rains had left the seeds wet.  That sogginess made for some pretty sloppy eaters.  This sparrow finds that his food is sticking to him -- good stick-to-the-beak, comfort food.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spring casualites

Spring splendor is spilling out.  Yet, even in the primal spring of life, there are casualties.  A brilliant azalea flower drops, preyed upon by Spring's heavy breath.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

South Texas State Fair -- lights, speed.

The South Texas State Fair is coming up.  That means speed, extra gravitational forces, mind altering experiences, and lost lunches.  It will be fun, fun, fun.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Look up in the air, its a ....

Oh, heck. Once I got started, I had to do it just one more time. So, here is another shot from the Monster Truck show that we took our grandkids to a couple years back. Lots and lots of fun -- watching the grandkids, I mean.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sunflower guest

I wasn't the only one admiring my wife's sunflowers last summer.  This guy was a regular petal walker.

Future football fame?

When he has a host of toys surrounding him and he goes straight for the football, that has to mean he is dreaming of future gridiron successes right?   Okay, let's ignore the fact that it's red and it has a lot of tactile sensations, and give grandpa a chance to swell with pride, okay?   Our grandson, Slade, is just getting to that point where his personality starts to come out.  A wonderful time for grandparents and parents alike.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Air it out, Monster Truck.

We were at some friends house the other day and they said they had taken their grandkids to the Monster Truck show in Beaumont.  Reminded me of the time we took our grandkids.  This is on of the pictures I took back then.