Sunday, February 23, 2020

Valentines Day and A Concert in the Rv Park

Its not that I haven't been taking images/pictures. Its just that our internet service is so poor that I can't retrieve them after I send them as an email. Suffice it to say that Verizon is not a service that I would recommend. I will be happy when I can switch to a better system but until one is available in Star Valley it just won't happen.

We have been extremely busy the last two weeks. Our park held its annual Valentines Day feast. The dinner was cooked by our resident barbecue pit master, Alan and organized by his wife Zita.  They are the activities directors here at Blue Lagoons and are the best we have seen in thirteen years of rving.
The dinner, as all ones here do, started with a prayer before the tables were called up to be served a giant plate of prime rib or chicken. Alan had smoked both in his Traeger grill. They were excellent.
Another night found us gathered together for a free concert by Kevin Motsinger. He is the son of our friends Dale and Delores and he plays a mean guitar and sings many old country western tunes, church songs, and even some of his own works. It was a great concert and we all love it when he is here.Thank you Kevin!
Adding to these days were three days of fishing. The first day fishing Renita, Terry, and I paddled the Sailboat Channel. Its a place where we have had some great days but there were so many people there that the fishing was slow, (Presidents Day).
The next day our fiend John invited us to go fishing at the North Jetty where I caught a pompano, one of the best eating fish there is!  Our friend Terry unintentionally hooked a rare sea turtle but we were able to get it near enough that I was able to carefully unhook it. It swam away and a little later we saw it feeding with no apparent damage.
The third day found us again in John's boat and Terry caught a great black drum on he first cast. A few casts later I hooked a keeper red fish, and we continued to catch more fish but none were in the slot limit. Still it was a fun day, it always is when John takes us out, Thank you John.

So I wish I could show you some more images but I can't even find them in the server or in our sent and received email accounts.The one picture of our friends took half an hour to download and save.
Hopefully things will get better when our account is reset. Clear skies

Sunday, February 16, 2020

A Day at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, 2020

Each year we travel to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge for a day of birding. The highlight of course is getting close enough to see whooping cranes, but we are usually left with a distant view from on top of the Birding Tower.
The birds are so far away that they look like little white spots, instead of the five-foot-tall regal birds. A good pair of binoculars is a must!
However, we got a much closer view as another pair has showed up and has claimed an area near the Heron Trial!
Arriving at the Refuge Headquarters we saw that the old building and museum has been leveled. The roof had been torn off by Hurricane Harvey. The refuge now has plans to start construction this summer, provided that the budget is passed and that the funds are not diverted.
The Volunteer told us that they were excited to announce that a pair of bald eagles had successful produced an eagle chick and that the nest was visible from the Nine-mile one-way loop. She also showed us what the nest looked like form the road and told us to drive exactly 5.6 miles, park in the turnoff and walk a little further for an unobstructed view. It’s the first pair to successfully nest in the last fifty years.
Deer were everywhere but it was very cold and windy, and the alligators were not in their usual places. We stopped at Jones Lake where we saw pied billed grebes, Green winged teals, and shovelers. There had been talk of two large gators, but they were not in sight, we did see a family of raccoons, one of the gators favorite food, and they tempted fate as they made a brief trip to the lakes edge.
We wee pleased to see that the boardwalk at the Towers had been reconstructed and allowed us to walk to the Big Tree trail. The Refuge’s Big tree is four hundred and eighty years old, about half the age of the Big Tree at Lamar. It has not had the care of the oak tree there and most of the large branches had been shorn off by the hurricanes direct hit.
The view from the Tower gave us a great panoramic view, and we watched the whoopers, along with a fly fisherman being guided as they polled along the edge of the bay. Returning to our car we next drove the Nine Mile Loop in search of the eagle nest. The directions we had been given wee excellent and we easily spotted the aerie with one of the adults standing guard. It dd leave the nest briefly made a dive and before returning with a fish!

Renita spotted an armadillo and so we stopped for images but the best view we got of armadillos was at the picnic area where she got an image of an armadillo standing up as it watched her. After lunch we finally stopped to see the alligator named George, by the refuge staff, and as usual it appeared to be sleeping while sunning on a muddy bank.
It was a good day filled with many wildlife moments. Lots of birds, deer, armadillos and a big gator. We also ended up with ten thousand steps for the day, its too easy to sit inside during the cold and not get any exercise, something 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The 2020 Blue Lagoons Show and Sell Crafts Fair

Each year Renita and I organize a small art fair that highlights the crafters and artists in our Winter Rv Park, Blue Lagoons. Its not always about selling as we encourage each person to show and talk about their craft. This year we were lucky to have seven talented people display, and if they wanted to, sell some of their work!
Our park is a small park and so before the show we shared the poster on social media. Renita also traveled to parks in the area and a craft store and all agreed to let her put up a poster. The show is a three-hour show and too soon the doors opened.
It was slow at first, as usual, but then got busy. Here are pictures of each talented person and their work.
Diane has showed for several years and you can see many examples of her work around the park. Her handmade silverware holders are all around the room during our weekly buffets.
Nancy shared Diane’s table and brought her beautiful quilts. I am always amazed at quilters as their work requires so much thought and planning. My favorite was her three-dimensional block quilt!
Sue, who is new to the park and works at a rv park north of Yellowstone covered her area with a plethora that included hats made from t-shirts, small bags/purses/cell phone holders and lots of cool jewelry, (we bought several of her hats)!
Al is from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and as soon as he heads north, he starts to tap maple trees for his maple syrup. Last year he produced over five hundred gallons and we always purchase some for our own consumption!
Evelyne’s art goes above and beyond as she paints with watercolors specializing in coastal birds, shipwrecks, and flowers, (she painted us a picture of our dog Molly). Her work is always a treat and we have purchased several of her paintings.
Jim, from Kansas City specializes in making rosaries. His rosaries are made from semiprecious gemstones and he also makes wire wrapped jewelry and finished cabochons, (we taught him how to wire wrap and his work is identical to ours.
Finally, opening picture, is a picture of our tables. They are covered with fifteen displays of wire wrapped precious and semiprecious gemstones. Almost all of which we have cut, polished, and mad into finished pendants, rings, bolo ties, and bracelets. It’s the most we have ever shown, and the opal case contains nine different types of opals!
After the show was over all the artists/crafters told us that they had a good show and enjoyed meeting new people. That’s really what this show is all about, meeting new friends.
Clear skies

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Birding, Fishing, and Getting ready for our First Show of the Year

The last week in January has been crazy busy as we are preparing for our first show of the year. Still we found time to go birding in Lamar and fishing on the south jetty in Port Aransas.
Renita and I finished cleaning the dust and tarnish off of our sterling silver jewelry. Its really easy as we use some basic chemistry. Its summed up in the metal activity series, but I will forego an explanation. The solution we use is 1/2 cup baking soda, one tablespoon salt, stirred in a glass container in really hot water, (you can clean a single piece of silver in a coffee mug with a tablespoon of baking soda, a /14 teaspoon of salt, NaCl and a piece of scratched aluminum foil).
Then we submerge a piece of aluminum in the bottom of the glass container after we have roughed up the surface with a piece of course sandpaper. Finally, we place each piece in the solution making sure that the silver touches the aluminum plate.
It happens really quick as the sulfur tarnish is removed off the surface and redeposited on the aluminum. If you use this be careful if the gem contains copper minerals and don’t use the solution if your jewelry contains several different metals, (it has no effect on gold- or gold-filled wire). It only takes about two hours to clean all of our jewelry pieces, but the rest of the day is taken in replacing all the price tags.
It’s always a good day when you go birding to Lamar. It’s only a ten-minute drive and we can usually spot whooping cranes. That day was no exception. The usual black bellied whistling ducks, rosette spoonbills, redheads, and sandhill cranes also dominated the area.
We didn’t see anything unusual and did not spot any night crowned herons, but the whoopers were really close, (do you see all four), and any day you see this endangered species is a special day.
Dave, from an earlier post, asked Terry and I if we wanted to go fishing with him at the south Jetty in Port Aransas. Finding a great parking space, we began the trudge to the fishing spot. If you ever walk out on the jetty, its really dangerous when wet so be sure to watch out for dark wet spots as many people are injured when they slip on them.
We got to our spot and the fishing left a lot to be desired. It was still fun watching the huge ships pass through the channel. There were also several dolphins and green sea turtles who seemed to be a little slow with the cold temperatures. The fish did not cooperate, and we left with only one keeper, a seventeen-inch sheepshead.
Tomorrow we set up in our rv park hall and so it will be an early day. It’s a good practice show for our multiday shows and lets us inventory what we need to make for the summer. I always wonder why time flies by so fast and we are both amazed how we ever had time to work. If only we had retired earlier!
Clear skies