Posts Tagged With: storm

CHICKENS AS PETS OR LIVESTOCK?

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I grew up with chickens on our family farm. When I married and moved to our first house, I got my first chickens. We lived in a tract home with close neighbors, but no one complained about my chickens and I’ve owned chickens everywhere I’ve lived since.

I’ve never kept chickens in a coop during that time. This summer,  my son built the Taj Mahal of chicken coops, open and airy.  Easy to clean, no odor. We enjoyed a fun summer with this small batch of three. My housemate, however regards them as pets, while I think of them as livestock. She has been after me to close up the coop as the weather has gotten colder. (The picture above shows the fully open side)

Then we had a 12 hour storm, a real gully washer, badly needed, much appreciated, except by my housemate who was practically in tears and calling me cruel for not providing more shelter for the birds.

I finally gave in and had a handyman  begin the process. And, I’ll admit she is right. Even though all of my chickens through the years  flew into trees to roost, and were never attacked by wild animals,  I did lose my last batch to hawks. Thus the coop.  If you have a coop, it should not only protect, but, since it isn’t their choice of a place to roost, it should also be dry. The storm wetted half the coop. I’ll show some after pictures when its done.

I’m ferociously busy because I’m downsizing and filling my storage building. And, revamping my office to be less crowded. No time to go through everything and toss much. I say I’ll do it later. Jim says I just move stuff around. I find it funny and fun, so I keep at it. It is certainly more fun than all the money begging going on in the political arena where every candidate is now addicted to lots of cash. I wish we could throw them all out and start over with better rules.

 

 

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CHICOT PARK ARBORETUM

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We read a forbidding weather report and the day dawned dark and cloudy. This squirrel outside our window didn’t seem to mind a bit.

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We blogged, showered and breakfasted and got to the arboretum just as it opened. It is part of the park. The first raindrops had already started.

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Inside, good displays, pictures of plants identified. Braille leaves like these and bird and animal sounds. Great stuff for kids and big kids. We took the trail maps and chose the shortest one.

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I finely learned that this flower is a carolina jasmine. A woody, twisty vine.

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The woods are gray and drab during the winter, but you get to see the “bones” of the forest.

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Bright, shiny leaves against the forest gray, draw the eye. A swamp magnolia.

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White patches of christmas lichen. Named so because you can also find it in pink, turquoise, green and yellow. Sometimes on the same tree.

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More of it  on this dead branch.

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A toothache tree. So called because of the swelling bumps that develop on the bark. Double click to enlarge.

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The swamp has  more mature cypress than Sam Houston Jones State Park, and less light on this moody day. The rain is stronger.DSC03401 (Copy)

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The rain chased us home.

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Shortly after we settled in, the skies dumped and obliterated the air, the ground, everything. It poured, hailed, and quickly flooded the area around us. We gave up on the idea of hauling our clothes to the laundry. We stayed in all day and read, edited pictures,  uploaded albums and took care of on-line chores. Not without jumping once in a while at a gunshot loud thunder-clap. It rained so hard,  several times I felt the ceiling inside the closets because I feared they must be leaking. Thankfully not.

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TASTE DE LOUISIANE, CHILDREN’S DAY, A WET PARADE.

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The city puts on a dinner called Taste de la Louisiane.  The idea is to give tourists an idea what Louisiana cuisine is all about. we were in-line with Carla and Mitch, and we had dinner together. Mitch likes the idea of traveling in a motor home, so we filled him in.

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The offering, if I can remember them all from top left to right, jambalaya, gumbo ,spicy okra, coleslaw, red beans & rice, etouffee, tomato shrimp, corn machow. I’m not sure I’ve got the names right. Then king cake and bread pudding for dessert. The gumbo was delicious but we thought the gumbo cook off was a better introduction to Cajun food and people  here,  and much more fun.

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The big room at the Civic Center was filled with activities for children. We took a sweep through there, face painting, a bounce house, many games like ring toss, and hoops.

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The kids were also entertained by various costumed characters like Shrek, Mickey and Minnie Mouse with whom they can have their pictures taken. Lake Charles does a lot for kids over Mardi Gras.

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Jim mentioned when we wandered into the room, “Hey, this band is better than the two we heard yesterday.”  And the two we heard yesterday were good, but these guys were better. A down home style that we associate with Cajun country music we like.

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We spotted a costumed Eva Gidlow, center, who turned out to be an events  promoter for Lake Charles. Jim asked her how we could find some French people?  She was quick to get us acquainted with Renola Simon, on the left. Renola invited us to ride on the French float on Fat Tuesday. We were overwhelmed at such a special invitation. As for French people?  There were plenty of them.

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The two women on the right, (it was loud and I couldn’t get their names) are members of a very active Cajun Dance group that travels all over. Their purpose is to preserve Cajun Music and Dance. They have a membership of 2000 families in 7 Chapters in Louisiana.

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Their official title means The Good Time dancers Assn. of French Cajun Music Lake Charles Chapter. Isn’t that amazing?  We talked about our mutual French heritage, how my grandparents wanted to assimilate and wouldn’t teach my mother, aunts and uncles French, nor we grandchildren. These women,  being Acadians, were punished for speaking French in school and made to feel inferior. We blogged about that subject  in some depth in 2010.

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Then, Eva  introduced us to 82-year-old Lesa Cormier, whose father was a founding member of the Sun Down Playboys. He still plays. His grandson plays bass. His son plays with a different band. There were two players missing on this day, but I took pictures of them all. Only two original members of the band remain. They are one of the oldest Cajun Bands in the state of Louisiana, still playing music after 64 years. In fact, Eva told us, Lesa  sent a pressing of a their music to the Beatles Apple Records and they liked it and promoted his music. He gave us one of his CD’s.  You can read more about them at this address:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sundown_Playboys

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We so enjoyed August Broussard’s accordian and singing.

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And, Red Touchet playing fiddle. Too fun.

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I think this is Lesa’s grandson.

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I just don’t know who is who. All I can be sure of is they are a great band.

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Let the good times roll!!

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We waited for the Children’s Parade. Just before the floats began to roll, it started to pour down and rain, and rain, and rain. These two ladies are sisters. The woman on the left was my favorite dancer, with her twin sister in yesterday’s blog. I didn’t know they were sisters at the time. The sister on the right said to me, “We’re six girls and everyone of us has gray hair. I’m only 50 years old.”Dancing while capturing beads.

This is the twin sisters. They danced throughout the parade in between floats, in the rain, and while the floats were throwing goodies. I never saw such fun. They were born of a family of 12. (I hope I’ve got my info remembered correctly.)

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The floats were fun, and wet. They threw candy, beads, cups, stuffed animals, plastic coins, and various trinkets.

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As we got wetter and wetter, Jim kept asking, “Are we having fun yet?”

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While I tried to take pictures and catch beads, the sisters would give the best ones to me. They filled me up with cups, coins, beads and stuffed animals. They were so much fun, generous and I didn’t even get their names. I didn’t have a hand free to write them down. I hope they read the blog and correct any errors.

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Home, drenched to the gills; purse and everything in it. All of our clothes. I spread the beads out to dry in the Bronco windshield and steering wheel. There was no place to lay them. DSC02584 (Copy)

We had clothing hanging from the cutting board, the visor, the steering wheel, the backs of the seats…

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The heater was on all night trying to dry things with a huge thunder storm roaring outside. In fact, the signal was down for about three hours this morning, which is why we are so late to blog today. When life is wet, we still have fun.

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THE GULF COAST CITIES

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Galveston’s  wharf  reminds  me of San Francisco’s wharf. We went to see the Elissa, an old masted sail boat with a crew that sails her regularly. They are beautiful, no doubt about it. When we got there, you can pay to board her and walk around. DSC01720 (Copy)

If you’ve never done it, it’s worth the price, $6 and $8 dollars, senior/ student and adult prices. We visited one  in New Bedford, MA. and watched the crew prepare for sail and make a staged water rescue in  2010.  I  visited a tall ship in Boston Harbor and another in San Francisco, so we passed and just took pictures. The seafood restaurants smelled tempting. We watched a guy unload gunny sacks filled with  oysters. It was way to early for us to eat.

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Then I saw something I knew would make my youngest son drool. Beautiful Doug Fir, from old growth trees. 6 X 12’s about 35 to 40 feet long. DSC01733 (Copy)

This pile and a couple more like it are $250,000 dollars worth, we were told. I have to cry for the old growth forest, while I admire a beautiful piece of lumber.  I wish I could bring the smell home to my carpenter son.

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We walked around town again today. I took pictures of things you don’t often see. Like this cigar store wooden Indian.

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This is a solar parking meter. We laughed, but it is very effective.

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The entrance to this store has a painted-on rug. What a hoot!

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The businesses  are getting all gussied up for Mardi Gras.

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A  27 inch tall. Wow!

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Decadent, velvet and old wood. The city placed a huge banner across one of the major streets. Everybody is talking about Mardi Gras.

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This is Jonnie Cooks who made a charming ceramic for her Uncle Fred. For Mardi Gras she makes fantastic costume heads out of cardboard of her own invention. (I only got to see a picture.) Her method is original and well crafted. She may be selling them at Mardi Gras this year. It is the biggest event of the year. A half-million people come to Galveston for Mardi Gras.

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When visiting the seaside, the general wisdom is to eat seafood. Some woman coming out of The Gumbo Bar shoved a couple of coupons in my hands and mumbled something about the best gumbo she ever tasted and I was intrigued. Jim had chicken and sausage and I had Shrimp, oyster and crab gumbo. It was a huge bowl. Plus I got my first decent beer since arriving in Texas, an Abita Turbo Dog.  The woman was right. Mine had huge shrimp. There was a shrimp in every bite, down to the last spoonful in the bowl. Gumbo heaven!!

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From the day previous, a Rene Wiley painting. Rene’s husband, Ben, told me she paints about 50 hours a week and she has a huge following and sells about 300 paintings a year. This one is from her Galveston Alley series.

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Hibiscus blooming  in January?  I think of all the gulf cities we’ve visited, Galveston has the most to offer as a vacation spot, or a place to live, at least in winter. It may be hot and muggy in summer.

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I thoroughly enjoyed my visit here. I think Galveston is the star of the coast cities. They’ve wrested the best from their stormy spot on the coast and have it pretty well protected, a great arts community, friendly people, vibrant economy, great food, tourism and a decent beer.

 

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RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY!

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Our planned trip to South Padre Island got dumped on ALL DAY.  That river is in front of the motor home.

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The wind blew and blew. We braved the weather and took my bike to a bike shop. It needed a tire, the brakes adjusted and new derailleurs But, the derailleurs, he told me, will be just as bad in two months carrying it like we do without a cover. A problem to chew over.

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The jack rabbits did their best to stay warm by curling up as tight as possible. This one took refuge away from the wind by backing up to a tree.

This one hunkered down in the grass and made himself as round and tucked in as possible.

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It was a good day for reading and listening to the weather beat around the motor home giving us some unwanted rock n’ roll. The weather report is telling us we’ll be getting more of the same. With 100 percent humidity, it becomes hard to sleep at night as the temperature warms.

Even so, I don’t think it is a good idea to deal with climate change by salting clouds to reflect sunlight and heat away. It seems to me the more we mess with nature, without a clear idea of what can go wrong, things often get worse down the line. (Cloud salting is a new idea to help mitigate warming climate change.)

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BUSY DAYS AND CHEER

 

Finished with my taxes, but still hammering away at neglected paper projects, makes for long days. I complain that I’m cross-eyed with fatigue. My only breaks come from short walks because the weather has been horrific. Somehow the daffodils remain unusually resilient. A storm drenched daffodil may not recover. Yet these have defied the snow, ice, cold, wind, and pounding rain. They do make life cheerier. 

There was a time when daffodils were plain yellow. Now, hybrids provide greater variety

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