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Saturday, November 18, 2017

A bit wintry

Early morning sun

Not much going on at the oasis this time of  year. Actually, nothing going on. I finished watering, pruned a little, then headed back to town into a cold front moving in. Culture shock. Went from calm mid 70s to cool and windy in town. Not that unusual, though.

The oasis cholla patch is looking good. I don't see why a Lucifer Hummingbird won't choose to nest in it next spring. If one doesn't it's just because they're programmed to nest up on the mountain, but it could happen, I think.



Friday, November 17, 2017

Perfect fall day weather-wise

This morning I was chomping at the bit to get to the oasis since it was a lovely day and tomorrow is supposed to be quite a bit colder. Got up to 86° today and not a bit of a breeze.


Mostly I just puttered around. Seemed like hard puttering though. First I got a ladder and went to replace an 8 foot fluorescent tube in the kitchen ceiling. Got the old one out and discovered the new one, which I babied all the way from Alpine for fear it would break going over the bumpy road, didn't have the same connectors. So I had to put the old one back in to make the other side of the light fixture work. A wasted hour there, plus I have to try to see if they have the right type and exchange it. I dread hauling it back to town and then hauling another one down. That means I have to tie my ice chest to a corner of the pickup bed so it won't slide into the bulb. Have to pad the bulb, drive slow, can't bring the mulch down with me that needs to come, etc.

Next I went to paint the kitchen chairs in the guesthouse. Seems when you improve one thing, then it just shows up the contrast to things that need improving. The spray paint can (and I bought an expensive one) didn't work at first, just dribbled out, but eventually it did work. Somehow in all that process I ended up with the paint running on one of the chairs.


Finally, I decided to change out one of my watering hoses for a longer one that was given to me. It was better quality and didn't have the repair on the line that kept snagging on trees and stuff that my original hose has. But the connector that hooked to the faucet on the longer hose leaked. I did everything I could. So all that was left to do was to replace the connector. I got the old one off, sawed the ragged edge of the hose to be sure it fit snugly, put on a different connector, clamped it back together, tightened everything really tight, and it still leaked, though not as bad. Another hour wasted. So I just added a short hose that didn't leak to the faucet and made it to where the leak was under a tree. I can live with that. Once I quit watering and turn off the faucet it doesn't leak, just while I'm watering. 

By then it was late in the afternoon and I was tired and hungry. Will finish the watering in the morning. But I did go back down later and service the feeders. I saved the perch pieces the bear ripped off and this evening glued some of them back on. Don't know if they'll stay, but it's worth a try.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A new day brings new energy

Once I got the old joints moving this morning it was easy to finish painting the potty shed.


Then I watered lightly. This time of year things don't need a good soaking, so I get frugal with my water supply. I still had energy left, didn't feel ready to head to town so soon, so I did a bunch of pruning, mostly branches the bear had broken.

Turned out I should probably have saved some of that energy because I got to town tired and had a ton of things I had to do here. But now I'm sort of caught up and should have an easy next few days. And maybe easy for the winter. At some point before spring migration I need to work on the birding trails. Don't think I'll work on the mountain trail anymore. There's a trail up that I can make it fine on, and doing work to it wouldn't really improve its usability, so probably not worth the effort. Might change my mind, though.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Worked til I dropped

I made it until almost 4 PM, then couldn't go anymore. Left Alpine this morning after catching up my work there. Then when I got to CMO I unloaded a kitchen table that had been given to me. I'm excited about it because the guesthouse is 40 years old this year and never had a silverware drawer in the kitchen. So today is the day.

When I unloaded the table I noticed the porcelain top had been painted. Couldn't have that. So I spent hours with a scraper and oven cleaner before I was ready to put it in the space I had made for it.













































I love it! It has two pullout breadboards too. The table originally had a stool that pulled out, but I only know that because I looked it up online. Here's one that recently sold on ebay for $1000.  


You see, when I built the guesthouse 40 yrs ago, it was with the idea of it being temporary living quarters while the house was being built. I never expected to live in it for two years, but that's how long it took for the house to get done. Now, instead of it being a storage area as I had intended, it's a guesthouse. I would have done it a lot different had I known it was going to be a guesthouse. It's good that I no longer have to put the silverware tray on the counter, since there is virtually no counter space.


I don't like the large noisy refrigerator in there, or that tiny one. At some point I plan to get rid of them and put a medium-sized or apartment-sized refrigerator in there. But as long as the big one works, I don't bother. 


By the time I got done doing all that I was tired, but pushed on wanting to get the potty shed painted. I just couldn't finish though. Will finish in the morning. As with every project, something unexpected arises and makes it take longer. Like I totally didn't know the table had been painted. Well, I couldn't paint the potty shed with that yucca up against it. A new one had sprouted nearby, and I couldn't think of any reason to keep the bigger one. At first I tried to protect myself from the thorns with a blanket, but still couldn't get the ladder close enough.


So I went up to the house and got a chain and pulled it out with my pickup. But I'm old and slow and tired, so everything is a big task. I'm just grateful I can even do it, fast or slow.



As fast as time flies, it'll soon be spring and I'll be ready!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Good ole scenery


When there are no interesting birds, butterflies, dragonflies, or flowers to photograph there's always the scenery. It never leaves. This morning started out with the oasis being up in the clouds. Lovely!






Unfortunately I had to go to Alpine, but plan to get back real soon. On the way out, going down the big hill I could see the valley was still in the clouds/fog. (Nine Point Mesa in the background to the right center.)


Then at the highway I saw a sign I hadn't seen before. It's at the intersection of Terlingua Ranch Road and Highway 118. Still foggy so no background scenery on the last shot.




Friday, November 10, 2017

I dropped the ball

I should have stayed more on top of that Costa's Hummingbird. Not only did I not get suitable photos of it, but I don't even know for sure when it first arrived. Today I searched all day and didn't see it.😟

It's amazing the difference a quick turn of the head can make. Case in point: These shots of a male Anna's Hummingbird were taken only seconds apart.



And here's an example of color variations within a species. These two Fatal Metalmarks were side by side, yet so different in color.