Saturday, December 28, 2013


This was supposed to be a Christmas post, and it will still sort of be, I guess, but it has turned into an after-Christmas post by now.
The Internet here is so bloody slow that most of the time it's just impossible to get any images uploaded and a post without pictures just doesn't do it for me.
Oh well, 'nough complaining, let's get to the Christmas cheer!

The resort put on a Christmas dinner for all employees at the Starlight Theater in Terlingua. 

We had a really fabulous dinner, anytime I can have Prime Rib is a good time for me and there was a delicious pecan pie for desert!

There's about 100 people working for the Resort and a lot of them showed up together with their families who were also invited. 
Santa made an appearance and there was pretty good live (country) entertainment.
(The pics came out too dark so I had to lighten them up a little which didn't do them much good I'm afraid.)

Next we went to a Christmas Celebration at the Warnock Visitor Center here in Lajitas.

The staff of the Center, together with the Terlingua School District, are holding this celebration every year, already for 16 years, and this year's 'theme' was 'Christmas on the Border'.

We just loved the typical 'small town' feel of this celebration. It had everything from the reading of the 'night before Christmas' to Mexican folklore dancing, a Posada, the High School (Roadrunner) Band, a sing-a-long with the Community Choir and of course a visit from Santa!

There was hot apple cider, hot chocolate and, my favorite, plates and plates of delicious and colorful Christmas cookies afterwards!
It's not easy to get in the spirit in the dessert but this went a long way to get us there!

Talking about cookies; I baked some too!

Raspberry Bars, red and green Sugar Cookies, strawberry Thumbprints and (almond) Roley Poly's

And than there also was the Potluck at the campground's clubhouse on Christmas Day!
It was a little bit of a last minute event, after some of us realized that there was 'nothing' going on on the day itself, which meant there were several people who'd be all by there lonesome at Christmas.


Well, you probably know how potlucks go, everybody brings a dish and their choice of drink and if you're the organizers you're always afraid there won't be enough, so you throw in some extras and than you end up with enough food to feed an army and than some!

We finally got to know some people that are staying here for the winter which was really nice. It sounds that we might get together more often in the future. We'll see.  

So far I haven't seen too many different birds here but the other week this pair spent a few days at the campground. 
These are the real 'Snowbirds', as in Snow Geese, and they like to winter here along the Rio Grande. I think they live over at the ponds at the golf course but they might have come by to see if the grass is greener here. :-)

And after weeks of stalking this little guy and not being able to get close enough to 'shoot' him he finally let me approach without flying off. Got tired of me, I think.
It's a Loggerhead Shrike: 
A small gray, black, and white songbird of open areas, the Loggerhead Shrike hardly appears to be a predator. But it hunts like a small hawk and uses its hooked beak to kill insects, lizards, mice, and birds, and then impales them on thorns to hold them while it rips them apart, reminding people of the way butchers hang meat and earning them the name 'Butcherbirds'. By this ingenious method, shrikes compensate for the lack of talons with which birds of pray hold their catches.
Some feisty little bird!


Days are quite nice weather wise at the moment. 
Although we often wake up to around freezing temperatures, skies are blue and when the sun comes out we reach the lower 60's F. 
It usually does get windy, sometimes very windy, later in the day which cools things down considerably, but there are beautiful calm evenings too during which we enjoy 'happy hour' outside while the sun is setting!
Aaahhh ... the good life!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A foggy morning at the golf course

Although we didn't get as cold as some during the last couple of wintry storms that have passed through, we did get down to freezing at night a couple of times and had a little bit of rain off and on.
The moisture in the air made for some foggy mornings. Rather pretty!

But James doesn't let some fog keep him from playing so out we go:

Hitting some balls on the driving range while giving the fog some time to leave the area.

We even had 'a river run through it'

After the fog cleared we enjoyed another beautiful morning on the, mostly empty, course. No wind at all, which makes for nice reflections in the pond on #3.


Let me show you a little more about the golf course. This is the clubhouse:


It actually is a historical building, it was a trading post in the good old 'Wild West' days (around 1900) when Lajitas was established.


If you look closely you can still see the bullet holes in the outside walls of the building which they left uncovered when they renovated and turned it into a clubhouse.

Besides the golf shop it nowadays also houses the Lajitas Longhorn Museum! Talking about odd!

Apparently this local guy, Fayette Yates, a third generation Texas longhorn raiser, Historian and Texas Longhorn expert, collected over 1,000 Texas Longhorn Mounts (skull and horn, horn and full body) of Texas Longhorn Cattle. After he died in 2007 his horn-ucopia was bought and moved to Lajitas.
The museum has about 500 sets of the horns on display in five rooms (plus the bathrooms!) of the Trading Post.
There isn't another collection this size anywhere on Earth!

It also features the head mount of the famous Texas Longhorn steer "Amigo Yates," current World Champion longest horned Texas Longhorned steer, with a confirmed live measurement of 8 ft. 9 1/2inches. His horn spread out distanced past champion "Old Tex" by almost one foot.

That's 'Amigo Yates' in the middle

Right next to the clubhouse there's the Ocotillo restaurant. It's a beautiful building on the outside and, as far as we could see, also on the inside but unfortunately it's only used for big groups, retreats, etc. 


So far we haven't seen it used once, which really is a shame. Not only is the building very nice but the view is  incredible, looking out over the Rio Grande and into the mountains of Mexico.
It's actually standing on another historical site, the ruins of the Ivey House, built as a family homestead in 1946 by a Mr Ivey.


Apparently the bathroom of the building was bullet proof so as to serve as a safe room for his wife and kids to take shelter on wild Saturday nights when guns could be fired around the Trading Post next door, in any directions and for any reasons.

Oh yeah, definitely the 'good old days' !
Talking about those days, on the 5th of December I made an attempt to get somewhat in the 'Sinterklaas' mood. 
Something that I have to say gets more difficult each year. 
As some of you might remember from previous blogs it's an old dutch tradition. It's sort of a 'Santa Claus'-christmas equivalent.
It's just hard to keep it up when it's not celebrated anywhere around you.
At least I baked the traditional speculaas, although I was out of the store-bought special spice-mix it takes, so I had to mix some up myself!

Which was actually surprisingly easy! There are numerous recipes available on the Internet and although I didn't have exactly all the right spices (it takes a lot) it came out great!


Ofcourse we also celebrated Thanksgiving! 
There's quite some more holidays to celebrate if you combine 2 cultures!
I didn't have to cook since the Resort put out a great buffet-lunch for employees! 
It was pretty good, turkey with all the trimmings and such but I'd baked an apple cranberry pie myself, just because it's our favorite for the season, and for the evening we made a poo poo platter with some nice cheeses, humus and, James favorite, devilled eggs!


And we watched Macy's parade. I just have to see the Rockettes  and the Jolly Guy himself at the end to properly start the Christmas season! Call me silly!


Oh, and this happens when you give your cat too much turkey and the tryptophan kicks in! 
I can't believe I ate the whole thing .....

Friday, December 6, 2013

Queen butterfly

It's been already a few weeks since we ventured out on another hike but somehow I keep forgetting to write about it. So here it is.
This time we did the Rancherias Loop, another beautiful trail in the State Park.

The trail follows the Rancherias Canyon all the way to the end where
a spring forms the Rancherias Creek and falls down a steep cliff as the Rancherias Fall.
At least, we were told they did!

The hike is moderately difficult, it ups and downs a little but climbs only very gradually towards the end of the canyon.
It's not super well signed, you have to climb your way over some rocky and swampy areas and be watchful you stay on the trail and not wander off to far.

Most of the canyon was dry at the moment but in the rainy season a seasonal stream will form.

About halfway you come across a few natural springs. Although small you can spot them easily since it's where you'll find the only trees in this area, lots of grasses and even reeds.

It is also where you find the wildlife. Like this pretty Queen butterfy, family of the Monarch. Its larvae also prefer milkweed to feed on but they don't migrate (the butterflies, not the larvae):


And this Hackberry Emperor (top left) and whole clouds of Orange Sulfurs (bottom right):

I also made an impressive quick side jump for one more of these:

You better be careful where you set your butt during a coffee break!


a Buckhorn 'Cholla'

By the time we reached these steep cliff walls, about 5 miles into the hike, we were starting to feel a little tired.
We weren't quite sure where to expect the waterfall but to us it looked as if during the wet season something like a waterfall had to come down at the here at the 'V', since there's a lot of (white) mineral build up on the rocks. But apparently at the moment everything was dry.
Oh well, too bad, we thought, it must be one of those seasonal waterfalls, (geez, someone could've told us!) and turned around.

Later it turned out we should have walked just a little farther, maybe half a mile or so, and we'd have found the actual falls, the ones that that are there all year round! 
Gosh! I was pretty miffed about that I can tell you that! 

Nobody to blame but ourselves though since we didn't take any map with us and hadn't even so much as glanced at the sign at the trailhead. Hey, how hard could it be? You just follow the trail!
Just goes to show how much of a hikers we are!

On the way back it started to warm up, the canyon was almost in full sun now and apart from starting to break a sweat we were also starting to feel our feet!

Desert Prickly-Pears

All in all it was a nice hike despite missing the waterfalls but I have to admit I like my hikes a little shorter than the 12 miles this one turned out to be! Of course we haven't had any training lately (as in years) and my walks with Sadie have drastically gone down, and are much shorter than they used to be, now she's getting old.

All this walking around makes you thirsty so we headed over to the hotel's bar, theThirsty Goat Saloon, and treated ourselves to some well deserved Marguaritas. The pink one is a 'Prickly Pear' one, too bad it didn't taste any different from the regular, it just looked interesting!