Friday, February 27, 2015

Although we're freezing our butts of today, again, there were a few pretty mornings this week. 
One of my morning hikes landed me in this meadow of Texas Blue Bonnets. Sure thing to beat the winter-blues!

When the sun is out the birds are twittering like crazy! Time to impress the ladies!

I think this is a Common Yellow-Throat Warbler

Cardinals sing especially loud and beautiful!
And the cacti are staying doggedly positive and are steadily growing their buds:

And lets not forget the Brittlebush, one of the desert's earliest and hardiest.
The flowers attract butterflies (I've already seen a few) especially when other blooming plants are scarce and broken mature stems exude a resinous, aromatic gum that was used as chewing gum and burned as incense in the past.

And they're so cheery too!
And we could need some cheering up since all of the 'regulars' from this winter have left us now. 
Last to go was John, and his attached-to-the-hip, faithful sidekick, Carlie.


I'm gonna miss them, period, but especially because John was a 'juicer' and whenever he made a little too much, he would bring me some:


The left one has a little more carrot and the right more beets, together with celery, kale, cabbage, apple and ginger.

I've never gotten into it myself but I do believe it's a very healthy habit. It's a sure way to get your daily veggies in and to my surprise it's actually very, very tasty. Delicious even!


To offset all this 'healthiness' I returned the jars with a variety of homemade cookies, chocolates, deviled eggs or macaroni salad, etc.
We both got a kick out of being surprised by what would be in it next time!
I doubt we will see each other again, since he (still) lives in Kerville, TX, but stranger things have happened and we got him thinking about full-timing too!
Another one bites the dust!

So to cheer us up (even more) I just had to have some cake (and wanted to eat it too) so I baked this apple-raisin-cranberry one ...

This is how I bake: since I didn't have enough eggs, I substituted applesauce, some orange juice and extra baking powder, and since I didn't have enough butter I used half/half butter and veg. oil, and since I didn't have enough apple, I added raisin and cranberries! 
By some kind of miracle it (almost) always turns out great.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

We're still not quite done with 'old man' Winter here, as you can see by these threatening storm clouds over the Chiso Mountains, but the temperatures seem to be slowly rising, we even had a couple of low 80's this week!

A week ago these cacti only showed the faintest black dots if you looked very carefully, but look at them now! Those are definitely buds!

It just amazes me to see some of these Prickly Pear sport large bite marks and have big chunks (including spines) missing.
They're an important resource for many animals because of its high water and nutrient content. 


During winter, black-tailed jackrabbits and desert cottontail rabbits eat the pads, somehow avoiding the spines or biting the spines from the pads and Packrats feed on them by peeling only the surface layer. In most cases not all of the pads are eaten and the cactus produces new pads in the spring and early summer. 
Pads that fall off can sprout roots from any place the areoles (where spines are attached) touch the soil.

Talking about food, I was inspired by my Italian neighbour, and new friend, Rita, to try my hand again at baking some Biscotti.
They never come out quite like the store-bought stuff, more chewy and less risen, but I like that better anyways!
I threw in some trail-mix that was getting a little old and I thought they were very good.

As you might recall, we had a full campground due to the annual Bikefest. Fortunately, the weather cleared and it stopped raining so most of their rides and activities could take place as planned.

Like the traditional (old) bike-toss!  
This weird custom takes place after the daily rides and under influence of liberal quantities of beer.

The event is sponsored by the Big Bend Brewing Company but the one James is holding up, one that we occasionally have 'in stock', is actually more appropriate. It's called Fat tire!

We're starting to take care of some truck and RV maintenance since April is approaching fast and there are still a few things on the to-do list that need to be replaced and or repaired.


For example: the (front) shocks of the truck .....


A little tight to get to but not too bad and something that James could do himself in a couple of hours.

We're waiting on a couple of break pads and a new power inverter for the truck to be delivered. 
Hopefully, with a little help from a co-worker, James will be able to do that himself as well.

My most photographed object in Lajitas. It's always pretty, especially during the 'golden hour'!

For the last month we've been enjoying the delightful company of Rita and Tom who were parked one spot over from us.
They've become fast friends, together with John, our neighbor on the other site, and Jerry, an older Texan, on the opposite site of our 'street'.


This week we finally sat down all together for a great Italian meal, cooked by Rita. A delicious red sauce, or 'gravy' as the New Jersey-Italians call it, with sausages and meatballs over pasta.
I'd made a salad and John had brought garlic bread.

What a great evening it was! (nice wine too)

And last night some friends of John, who are staying for a couple of days, joined us for a combined goodbye party /campfire as Tom and Rita were leaving the next day and John and Jerry will be gone later this week as well.
John had made a big pot of Chili, always a winner, and for some reason some hilarious stories about the edibility of Javelinas were among the main topics that evening ..... ?
                     (By the way, it turns out, they are!)

But, all good times must come to an end (?), and the next morning they drove off and left us behind .... :-(


We hope to see them again, and we might, since they live in Vermont, and that's definitely on our 'to go to list!'
In the meantime, there's Facebook!    :-D

Friday, February 13, 2015

This is a Sora, a member of the Rail Family. A funny looking little dude, but I love the pretty 'white-edged' feathers on his back, his perky raised tail and those olive-green legs.

Wow, did we have some gorgeous weather this week! Temps in the low 80's (25C)!!
Perfect weather to bring out the BBQ again!

... must be very funny ....?
Some smoking (literary) hot sausages, some tasty macaroni salad,  a nice glass of cold white wine .....

... aahh ...the good life!

Not that it stayed around for very long but hey, it's a start ...

You can see the clouds already gathering again over the Mesa in the background, in this picture taken from the back window,  during the 'golden hour' in the early evening .....

Which was followed by another amazing sunset!

The next day the wind picked up something fierce in the afternoon.
I thought this time for sure we would be picked up and blown into the next State over, and than it started to rain, .. and rain, .. and rain ..all through the night, and all through the next day!

Which was very unfortunate since this Wednesday was the start of the annual, three-day, Desert Bikefest.
There were some cancellations but the die-hards that started to arrive on Tuesday have so far braved the storm in their little tents, and today most of them took off for the first of several trail rides.

At the moment, the rain has stopped, the sun is supposed to come out today and should stay around for a couple more, so I hope I'll be able to take some sunnier pictures for my next post! 

                 Until than, lets think 'dry' thoughts for these guys!
annual three-day bike festival
annual three-day bike festival
annual three-day bike festivalBikefest

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Lots of pretty clouds are coming through the area lately, which makes for spectacular sunsets again!
I think it's a first though to have one hanging over the mesa like that. Quite a picture it made!

I also like the soft purples when the show is almost over ....

The clouds brought a little bit of rain, which of course turned every trail around into nasty mud again. 
I went hiking the next day, and really ought to know better by now, but I ventured of the beaten path and got thoroughly stuck in the muck.
Barely made it out without leaving my shoe in it!


The reason I went 'off the road' was to try to take an artsy cactus shot. 
So pretty (and only than) with the water drops still hanging from it's thorns ...

More signs of an early desert Spring are popping up!
And on a otherwise gloomy, foggy morning earlier this week, this beautiful, downright 'sunny' looking girl, showed up!

She's my first Golden Fronted Woodpecker! Considered 'stable' as far as the population goes but in North America only to be found in Central or Southern Texas!

I almost didn't take the shot when I heard the 'kek-kek' while passing by the restaurant, presuming it was 'just' a Ladderback. 
So glad that I did! Definitely brightened up my day! (Although, secretly, I quite like gloomy days).

Another bright color caught my eye that morning, right next to the bakery (note to self; do NOT pass the bakery when hungry). (Or .. whenever ..)

This rose has flowered stubbornly all through the winter. 
When it comes down to it, there's really nothing like a rose, don't you agree? 
And this one smells too! (or maybe it's the cinnamon rolls from the bakery)

I knew, vaguely, that we had some old ruins around the resort and made an effort to look them up the other day.

Remnants of the wild, wild west....

There's not much left of the few adobe buildings from the small Cavalry Post that used to stand here.

And the following picture at the end is quite fitting for what is definitely going to be 'the end' of me!
I can't stay away from these 'special-K bars I made! 
I swear I can here them whisper from the cupboard every time I walk by ..... "come to me ...  just one more ... I know you want to ...!"

Seriously! Do NOT make these!