100 degrees F

Nothing too exciting happened this past week, we celebrated our neighbours birthday, went on a 20km bike ride, started planning the trip home (we're meeting my sister at a state park so I needed to make a reservation) and vegged out in the 100 degree weather. OK, it only got to 100 today but it was in the high 90's for a couple of days. I'm very happy to veg in the heat here instead of the cold at home.

Last night the moon and Venus were side by each .... very pretty.



Chuck Wagon Supper

Tonight is the Chuck Wagon Supper at the park and this year we were given cutouts of boots to decorate as decorations for the event. Here are some of the boots.

Here are the winning boots. Art foam (that feels like suede) was used for the top portion of the boot on the left and seed pods which can be found on the ground by our trailers really looked like alligator skin for the bottom part of the boot. The creator of the second boot used a pencil to create a well worn old boot .... a couple of plastic spiders were added for effect.

Native dancers were brought in as tonights entertainment. Once again not only did they dance but they also told us a history of the dances and costumes.

This is the "hoop dance" --- I think he had 25 hoops on the go at one time.



Bike Ride

Even though it was a damp and drizzly day six of us decided to go on a bike ride. We left the park and rode up the road to the bike trail and followed it to Bentsen State Park and then we rode through the park. The trip there and back was 15 miles ---- not bad for our first real bike ride in a long time.

The drizzly weather really showed off the spider webs.

Ed's bike seat was wet so he covered it with a bag to keep his butt dry. Four of the bike riders.




This woodpecker decided to try some aloe vera flower nectar. The aloe vera plant is quite close to our trailer.



Senior Ambassadors

Bob (Zaph's chauffeur in the parade) sings with a group of men in the Senior Ambassadors choir which happened to be preforming at our park tonight. It was a very enjoyable concert.

Bob is third from the left in the front row (he's hiding behind the microphone). Clarence (he rode one of the bikes in the parade is second from the left in the front row.



Mardi Gras

This year they decided to try something new and I think it went over really well. The new "thing" was a Mardi Gras celebration with the highlight being a parade. My neighbour Linda thought a few of us should ride our bikes in the parade which I agreed was a good idea. Then we ended up with a golf cart to decorate (needed something for Zaph to ride in) and we were recruited to help the couple across the street decorate their four wheeler. Our trip to "ropa" a couple of weeks ago (you remember the place where you buy clothes by the pound) was to find our "costumes" and costumes we found. This past week we worked on decorating ideas and finally today we were in the parade. The parade was split into two parts --- a daytime parade leading us all to dinner and a night parade so we could enjoy the lights. The daytime parade consisted of 17 golf carts, 1 four wheeler with trailer and 6 bicycles. The night parade included 4 golf carts (they were in the daytime parade as well) and 9 motorcycles or trikes. I was very happy to see lots of people out to watch the parade and cheer us on. After dinner we were entertained by some great home grown talent (they were all from our park).

This blog took a while to put together as I had to collect photographs from those that watched. I know it's hard to believe that Ed didn't take any photographs but he couldn't figure out a way to ride his bicycle in the parade and take pictures of everything. Thanks Jean, Zack, Rosetta, John, Pat and Jim for copies of your photos.

I got caught!!! Needed a nap before the big parade.

Ed and I waiting for the parade to begin. Ed was very proud of his tail.

Five of the six bicycles in the parade. Ed and Glen won first and second prize for bicycles --- somehow that didn't see quite right as Linda and I found their costumes and decorated their bikes. From left to right Glen, Linda, Clarence (behind Linda), me, and Harold on the 3 wheeler behind me. Ed was racing ahead.

One of the prize winning golf carts.

Judy and the pups. There were 6 dogs in the parade.

Zaph and his chauffeur Bob. Zaph had a good time till Bob tried to shoot someone with a can of silly string. Luckily the cart was stopped when Zaph decided to get off. After Bob promised not to spray anyone Zaph agreed to get back on the cart. (guess Zaph doesn't like aresol spray cans).

Everett and Linda, the couple who live across the road from us, wanted to drive their four wheeler in the parade but didn't have any ideas on decorating. I thought we did a good job decorating Everett and Linda, the four wheeler and trailer not so good. Little Max (a mini poodle) was sitting up front with Everett. It's hard to believe that Everett had a massive hard attack in mid December and here it is mid February and he's driving his four wheeler in a parade. Being fit before the attack seems to have aided the remarkable recovery.

One of the motorcycles in the night parade.

Ken and Carol on the winning motorcycle.

The "committee" did a great job decorating the hall.

A couple of the entertainers.



Rancho el Charco

In December a woman from Rancho El Charco came and spoke to us about the Rancho. It is located in the small town of La Joya about 15 minutes west of us. Rancho El Charco has both historical and nature significance --- the land was part of the ranching operation on the original land grant made by the King of Spain and some of the cactuses found here are not found anywhere else in the Texas. After the presentation several of us decided that it may be fun and at the very least something different to do, so we chose to the package that includes a covered wagon ride, a nature/history tour and a meal. At the end of the day we all decided that it was quite enjoyable.

The covered wagon.

The current owner of the property owns a film company mainly producing movies. Throughout the property you see props that were used in some of the comericials. In one spot is a small man made lake complete with large rocks, a waterfall, a swinging bridge and a pavillon. This spot is currently used for wedding --- I don't remember if it was ever used for a comercial.

An old wagon.

One of the lovely views.

Part of the tour included a "tree walk". This walk has many of the trees native to this area of Texas including several very rare trees. A number of trees have been planted in the last year or so but some others have been growing here for years. We timed our trip well as several of the trees had just come out in bloom.

There is also a restaurant on the property. This is where we ate our meal. The restaurant is situated on another man made lake and offers a full menu plus live entertainment daily. There were a number of winter texans there enjoying a cool drink and dancing to the country western music.

Ed liked this sign.



WTAA Dance

In our area of the valley the Winter Texan Activity Association has an annual dance and some how I persuaded Ed to go with a number of people from our park. Even more amazingly I got him up to dance more than once.

The band was very good. They played an interesting mix of music including King of the Road, the Beer Barrel Polka, waltzes and by request the Chicken Dance.

Each park elects a king and queen. Our king and queen (Luther and Gaynel) are dancing in the maroon robes.



One Wedding and Four Hula Dancers

A woman knocked on our door in the early afternoon to ask if Ed would come down to the rec hall and take a few photos at the first wedding to be preformed in the 30 year history of the park. A fellow who had stayed in the park earlier in the season phoned and asked if there were any retired ministers in the park who would preform a marriage ceremony. As there was, the couple drove over.

Luckily there was a woman in the park who spoke English and Spanish. She translated as the bride only spoke Spanish.

Tonight was the Luau and Betty (the entertainment director) had managed to find some Hula dancers. The four dancers danced a number of different traditional Polynesian dances and gave us a brief history of each dance.

Some of the park women tried to get in on the act .....

and not to be out done a few of men showed what they could do.



70 Years of Wedded Bliss

Can you image celebrating your 70th wedding anniversary? Well, Dorothy and Rollo Winters can. Today is their 70th wedding anniversary. Dorothy is a young 91 year old and Rollo is very spry at 92. They have been coming to the park for a long time and still enjoy a lot of the activities including playing Euchre and Bingo.

Let's see .... If Ed and I make it to our 70th anniversary I'll be 100 and Ed will be 106 ..... hmmmm don't think that'll happen. Maybe we'll just aim for 50.

Dorothy and Rollo.



A Perfect Day

It was time to go birding again so Ed, Jean, Zaph and I piled into the truck and drove to Estero Llanno Grande State Park. The day was perfect for birding --- the sun was shining, there was a gentle breeze and it was in the mid 70's.

I think these are House Sparrows, they were very entertaining today.

A White-faced Ibis. This picture really shows the irisescent colour of his wings.

These turtles were sunny themselves beside a log that has a small alligator on it. You have to look closely to find the alligator.

A Belted Kingfisher.

This Cormarant was drying his wings.

We saw several Vermillion Flycatchers today. This one put on a nice show for us.

We watched this Sora having lunch while we were enjoying our PB&J sandwhiches.

This White-faced Ibis and White Ibis were hanging out together.

White Ibis

A Malacite butterfly. There were several of these colourful butterflies hanging around this bush.



Visiting with the Girls

Today the girls, that's Splash and Mexi, came to visit --- oh Colin and Margaret came with them. As it was too windy to barbecue we went Chinese and ate soup and stir fry for dinner. Margaret brought a pineapple, coconut crisp ..... just a little rum flavoured whipping cream and it would have been perfect, mind you it was excellent the way it was.

Mexi was very funny. When she saw Zaph she decided that she didn't need to get out of the truck and when she finally was coxed out of the truck she walked around it and tried to get in the other door. Eventually she decided that Zaph was OK. Later when we were all in the trailer, she was sitting on Margaret's lap on but jumped to the couch to bark at Zaph and keep him from getting on the couch. Poor guy didn't know what to do as I had invited him to get on the couch.

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