Looking back so that the view looking forward is even clearer

Reflections

July 23, 2022

Photo Number 204

We have Pilieated Woodpeckers in our neighborhood, but, in spite of their size, we don't see them very often. They have been hanging around our yard more than usual lately, and their fun to watch. Our guest photographer, our daughter Kim Norton, took these pictures this morning, but she used my camera, so I'm claiming them as my own!


July 25, 2022

Photo Number 206

We joined Kim and Eric for some pizza at the "This is not a" pizza place. Everyone said it was very good pizza. Eric was our guest photographer.


July 1, 2022

Photo Number 182

Our Broad-winged Hawk has been getting bolder. Yesterday she had a Blue Jay over for dinner and it didn't go well for the Jay. Today she is coming right down in the yard and sitting on the platform feeder where the Blue Jays come to eat. I know Mrs. Hawk needs to eat and feed her chicks, but I wish she would stick to grasshoppers and lizards.


July 21, 2022

Photo Number 202

One of favorite things about the Norton's visit was introducing Oliver to birdwatching. He loved our backyard birds. He's going to be a natural.


July 15, 2022

Photo Number 196

We were blessed with a rain shower this afternoon. It didn't last long but it was sorely needed and our yard really appreciated it. Charles even needed an umbrella to get the mail. We could use another one tomorrow.


July 31, 2022

Photo Number 212

When our family was visiting last week, Oliver, our great grandson, became fascinated with all of the birds in our house, particularly the "Portlys", or, in his words the "fat birds". So, he got a few sticky notes and went around to all the Portlys, numbered them, and did pencil sketches of them. He also liked our backyard birds. We might make a birder out of him!

July 4, 2022

Photo Number 185

Happy Independence Day from our town to yours. We're proud to be Americans!


July 2, 2022

Photo Number 183

One of Mick's hobbies is to research important events and dates in his life and document them. Name an event or date in his lifetime and he can find it on his phone and tell you the date and what was happening in his life on that day. Well, at least 30% of his life. We went on our annual camping trip with him and his family last week. Last Monday, June 27, we had gotten to our destination and he told us that, on that date in 1987, we were at the Astroarena in Houston, at the National Square Dance Convention, putting on our fashion show for the event. That was 35 years ago. As most of you know, we were heavily involved in square dancing at that time. In 1984 we had been put in charge of planning and directing the Texas State fashion show. It must have impressed someone because after the show we were asked to do the same for the National Convention, which was 3 years away and we agreed to do it, not knowing what we were getting ourselves into. We decided on a western movie theme and Charles made this poster to promote the fashion show at one of the state planning meetings. It was a once-in-a-lifetime event for us. It was a huge success and we had a lot of fun, even though it was a lot of work. We had a lot of help and made a lot of good friends during that time. I'm glad we did it, and we're proud of the job we did, but it's something we wouldn't want to take on again. We have the poster hanging on the wall in our garage to remind us of that happy time.


July 18, 2022

Photo Number 199

You've heard the old saying "eating like a bird"? Well, when you have as many birds to feed as we do, it adds up. I had to go to Tractor Supply today to get more bird seed and the price of feeding birds, like everything else, is going up. I know I've complained about the hawks that are nesting in our yard, but it may be a blessing. I've haven't had to buy as much bird seed this summer as I normally do because the hawks keep a lot of the birds away.


July 16, 2022

Photo Number 197

I've seen a Fish Crow 3 times: first in the Everglades at the tip of Florida, second time a couple of weeks ago on the Mississippi River in New Orleans and the third time this morning across the street from our house. I went out to walk and I heard what I thought was a duck, then I realized the bird was in a tree almost right above me. It was a crow that sounded like a duck. That was a clue. After I took its picture, I got my phone and turned on the bird sound app, which identified it as a Fish Crow. Later I checked the photo id on the same app and it also identified the bird as a Fish Crow. So, it's a Fish Crow.


July 10, 2022

Photo Number 191

Today I'm thinking of my Dad. Ray Mack Watson was born on this day in 1907, 115 years ago. This is a favorite picture of him holding me. It was taken at White Sands in the summer of 1942. I was nearly 2 years old.


July 22, 2022

Photo Number 203

All good things have to come to an end. We've enjoyed our visit with Kim and Eric and her family. Their two sons, our grandsons Bradley and Colby and Brad's two sons Oliver and Emilio agreed to pose for our photo of the day. Brad and his family are flying home to Virginia today. We don't get to see them often enough, so these moments are precious.


July 7, 2022

Photo Number 188

A few days ago we cut down some reeds that left a tree stump exposed, so we decided that it needed to be dressed up a bit since it would be a big chore to remove it completely. So, today I cut it off as level as I could with my tree saw and removed the top. Then I took one of the flat stones from around the fountain and placed it on top. It looks better. Now, we need to find a use for it, like a plant stand or pedestal for statue or something like that. That's a story for another day I guess.


July 8, 2022

Photo Number 189

We were sitting on the patio this afternoon, as we often do, and these insects were buzzing around us, so Janet asked if I had anything to kill them with. I had a can of Wasp and Hornet Killer in the trailer, so I went and got it. Wasps can sometimes be a problem around a campsite. When I got back, I pointed out to Janet that the insects on our patio were not wasps, or hornets, they were Mud Daubers, so I didn't know if the spray would work on them. Besides, I said, Mud Daubers were different than wasps and hornets. Wasps are protective of their nests, and will aggressively attack if you get too close, and actually sting you. That's not fun at all. Mud Daubers, on the other hand, are much more passive. The only time they might sting is if you actually try to pick them up. Besides, all of them are pollinators like bees, so I really don't want to kill them. She was skeptical, so I Googled Mud Daubers and proved to her that I was right. We followed a few of them and found them daubing for mud under a gate in our side yard, where the ground is normally muddy. We also found that they were building their mud nests in crevices above our windows or in the expansion gaps between bricks above the windows. I think I convinced her that she was not in any danger from Mud Daubers, even if they buzzed around her head. Now we need to be able to recognize the difference between wasps and Mud Daubers. so she knows whether to panic or not.


July 28, 2022

Photo Number 209

Kim and I went over to Will and Sheila's apartment this afternoon. We had a good visit and were glad to see that Sheila is recovering and feeling good. It was the first time we had been to their new apartment. Tomorrow is Sheila's birthday so we took her some roses. Happy birthday, Sheila! We love you.


July 9, 2022

Photo Number 190

A burn ban is in effect for our town, and has been all summer because of the hot and dry conditions.. As a matter of fact, Montgomery County is under a burn ban as is most of Texas. So, my fire ring is full and I have the back corner of the yard filled with branches and leaves that I have gathered since early in the spring. That's what happens when you live in a forest. This winter when the freeze comes, I guess I'll have a big bonfire. Or maybe it'll rain if we're lucky.


July 24, 2022

Photo Number 205

I'm enjoying having my daughter Kim visiting us. She has spent the last few years living out of the country and just moved back to the states. She's still a long ways from me, but for now I have her near. So, since I needed a photo of the day, she was an obvious choice, even is we don't have our shoes on. This photo preserves this moment in time.


July 12, 2022

Photo Number 193

We try to make our backyard a sanctuary for birds by providing food and water when we can. In this kind of weather, water is important and the birds will seek it out. The two cardinals on the left are getting a drink and a little spray from the water fountain. The birdbath is a favorite for bluebirds, like this young one, so we keep the birdbath filled for a quick drink or a bath. It's the least we can do for the pleasure our backyard birds give all year long.


July 17, 2022

Photo Number 198

I thought there was a YouTube video for every possible do-it-yourself project, but when our enclosed blind on the patio door malfunctioned, I found out that isn't always true. The problem was that the blinds inside were hanging up on one side, making them all cattywampus. Most of the videos I found concerned replacing a broken glass or replacing a broken string, but nothing addressed my problem, or even how to remove it from the door so you could get inside and find the problem. 90% of them said to call a repair service or stated that the blinds are permanently sealed between two pieces of glass and are not repairable. Such is not the case. Someone who knew what to look for could fix this problem in 10 minutes, start to finish. I took me a little longer than that because I didn't know exactly what the problem was. But it didn't take long. There is an apparatus inside that holds a string and guides it through a series of small pulleys. There is a counterweight hanging from that pulley apparatus. Somehow the string got snagged on that hook, making one side shorter than the other. Using a screwdriver and an icepick, I managed to free the string from the hook. Problem solved. I just put it back on the door and it worked perfectly. I need to make a YouTube video. I could do as good as the people that made all of those other ones that didn't solve my problem.


July 30, 2022

Photo Number 211

I got a pleasant surprise in the mail from some friends that I grew up with. Cindy and Carolyn Huff's mother Eddie was a life-long friend of my Mother. While Cindy and Carolyn were going through their Mom's things, they came across this book that was my Mom's when they were both students at Midland High School in the 1930's. It's a textbook from a Gregg's shorthand course. The class came in handy later when Mom was a court reporter. I remember that throughout her life she used her shorthand skills for making personal notes.

Each shot is already history......                                                                                    

July 19, 2022

Photo Number 200

Normally, I wouldn't be posting a photo of changing the registration sticker on my pickup, but it's the most interesting thing I did today. That tells you something about my day. Getting a car inspected happens every year, it just seems like it comes around more often. Life is like a roller-coaster; it takes a while to get to the top, but not so long to get back down. At least it seems that way.


July 5, 2022

Photo Number 186

Kim made this mosaic plaque for me a few years ago and it's been hanging on the wall in my bathroom ever since. I know it should be out where more people could see it because it's so beautiful, but I like seeing it the first thing every morning. I love the birds and it's a good place to hang some of my other birds. But, most of all, it makes me think of Kim. It makes me happy. It makes my heart sing.


July 27, 2022

Photo Number 208

We got to take Kim birding with us today and had a great time finding and identifying a lot of birds. We were at the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, driving down Boat Ramp Road when Kim decided to try out her Merlin app that identifies birds by sound as well as appearance. The app identified the sound of a bird called a Common Yellowthroat, but we couldn't hear any birds or see any in the bushes. I was driving so Kim and Charles got out and walked along the road for a ways. They spotted a bird and got some good pictures of a Seaside Sparrow, which is much less common than a Common Yellowthroat! We've only seen one once before, and that was on this same road a few years back. Getting to spend the day with our daughter made our trip worthwhile. Finding this little bird was a bonus we didn't expect.


365 Project July 2022

July 14, 2022

Photo Number 195

Our daughter Kim and the rest of the Nortons flew in today from Virginia for a quick visit on their way to Midland. We invited the rest of the family over for a meal and a visit. It was a good day for us. We'll see them again next week on their way back to Virginia.


July 13, 2022

Photo Number 194

We have kids, grandkids and great grandkids coming tomorrow. Guess we should have cookies.


July 11, 2022

Photo Number 192

Continuing the saga of the Broad-winged Hawk babies.  Only a couple of weeks ago, the baby hawks were in the nest and had fuzzy white heads. Now they're fledglings and hunting food on their own. The one on the left is crying for his mom because he's used to being fed by her. The one on the ground, and I don't know if it's the same one, came down to the ground in our yard and found a bug to eat. It looks like a roach to me, but he can't be choosy this early in his life. Their markings are a little bit different, so these are probably both of the babies.


July 26, 2022

Photo Number 207

Mick hasn't been feeling up to par lately, but he's feeling better today, so he and Kara came over to visit with Kim and Eric before they leave to go back home. We grilled some burgers and had a nice visit.


July 29, 2022

Photo Number 210

I knew this day was coming, but it came too soon.  We had to take Kim and Eric to the airport today to catch their flight back to their new Virginia home. They were able to stay for a week and we thoroughly enjoyed being able to spend some time with them. At least they're back in the good old USA so hopefully we'll be able to see them more often. My favorite part of this week was the birding trip we took with Kim on Wednesday. It was like old times!

July 3, 2022

Photo Number 184

A few years ago when we installed the little water feature in our backyard, we thought it needed some water plants, so we went to a local nursery. They had a pond where they featured water plants. Since we couldn't decide, the salesman clipped a few samples and just gave them to us. From that beginning, the Horse-hair Reed took over. It's been trimmed a few times, but keeps coming back. We gave it a deep trim today and exposed more of the water. Unfortunately, we exposed the dead stump of an oak tree that isn't very attractive. Looks like I have another project ahead of me. But, not today.


July 20, 2022

Photo Number 201

I washed the pickup early today, another routine task that needed to be done. I had some "Armour-all" glass cleaning pads in the garage that I had forgotten I had, so I tried to use them to clean the windshield. Unfortunately, the windshield was so hot that it heated up the moist pad so hot that it nearly burned my hand. So, I wasn't able to finish the job. I need to try some old fashioned Windex and use an old towel. In the morning when it's a little cooler. I'll be glad when it gets cool enough to go birding or to do some other interesting activity.


July 6, 2022

Photo Number 187

We love the deers that live in our neighborhood, until, that is, they decide to make lunch out of our flowers. The first photo was taken on June2 when I planted flowers in the pots on our side yard. The inset shows what they looked like this morning after being munched on by our deer neighbors. So we went and got some new flowers and I painted the peeling yellow pot. I decided to change the color because the yellow paint was getting worse. All I had was orange. Then, after I planted the new flowers, I sprayed them with "Deer Out" which is supposed to, well, keep the deer out. I hope it works.