The great Elfphod

The festival of lights is held each year in Hidalgo Texas which is about 15 minutes from Mission. Nine spots in town, including the city hall, parks, and court house were decorated. A number of private homes along the route were also decorated.

This home was across from the City Hall Plaza and seemed to be getting as much attention as the plaza did.

As you drove past this home you could hear music and watch the animated figures.

Zaph decided to pose with the horses .... unfortunately he forgot to wear his Christmas lights.

We had stopped by our friends Mark & Lynn's place to say hi and noticed that they had three dogs instead of the regular two. They explained they were puppy sitting "Bear" a 9 month Rottweiler/lab/German Shepherd/etc. mix. Mark takes take Bear out for exercise using a golf cart as neither he nor Lynn are all that stable on their feet. Having raised a large dog we know that they need a lot of exercise so we offered to take Bear when we took Zaph for a walk. The walks are generally uneventful except when we stop to chat and the dogs decide it's play time.

Having a water break .... this was one of the few warm days we've had so far this winter.

Christmas Eve means a program down at the rec hall. Betty did an amazing job again this year especially since some of her regular participants either went home for Christmas or were late coming down.

The lights are turned off and candles are lit giving the room a wonderful ambience.

Christmas morning in the trailer revolves around giving Zaph his presents.......

The stockings were hung by door knobs with care.....

Elfphod checking out foxy. Zaph puts up with alot. We even made his walk around the park wearing his new hat .... thought it would be nice to spread some Christmas cheer

Not the happiest elf in the workshop

Christmas dinner was a pot luck at the rec hall for about 150 people. Everyone really out did themselves this year --- I think there was enough food left to feed another fify people. Santa and Mrs. Claus also made an appearance to hand out gifts to the park managers daughter and Jose's (park handiman) children. It was especially fun to watch the little girls (under 4 years old) reactions to Santa --- no fear at all.



Merry Christmas



Ah... sun.........

Finally .... the sun came out and temperatures warmed up a bit. So over to Bentsen state park for a walk.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker

Altamira Oriole

On the feeding stations complete with 2 Orioles and 2 Kiskadees



Wishing we had Brought a Boat

It wasn't great weather but we all needed a walk so we drove over to Estero LLano Grande State Park and walked around. Ed was happy to see that the Vermilion Flycatcher was in residence and we noted that there were a number of different ducks floating around the pond.

Black-necked Stilts

The flowers have been enjoying the wet cool weather.

Couch's Kingbird

It started raining on Tuesday and by Wednesday morning I was really starting to wonder if we should have brought a boat with us. Zaph and I ventured out for one walk and came back looking like drowned rats. A fellow stopped us on the walk and asked if the owner of the park was charging us extra for the swimming pool around the trailer. By time the rain had stopped late Wednesday night there had been more than 2 1/2 inches of rain ---- very happy it wasn't snow.

After returning from our walk, I grabbed the camera and took this photo. The trailer itself is sitting on high ground.

In the late afternoon on Wednesday, the neighbour who parks behind us arrived with his motor home. He miscalculated his path a little and went to pull forward --- ooops not going forward just going down. Luckily he was off the road so he decided to land where he was. He would move another day when the ground had dried out a bit.

On Thursday I went out and too this photo of one of the rear tires.



Decorated for Christmas

The club put on a "sloppy joe" dinner tonight that was very good .... especially since I didn't have to think about dinner or cook it. After dinner I played euchre .... haven't played since we left the park in the spring. While you are playing euchre are you suppose laugh so hard that your cheeks hurt? Obvious I had a lot of fun and no one has told me to not to come so it must be OK.

It's not fancy but we did get some lights up for Christmas. The RV park looks very cheery with all the Christmas lights.

.... bored.......... The weather hasn't been very good ---- chilly, cloudy, drizzly ---- so we've spent a fair bit of time in the trailer. But ..................

it's been a lot better than it is at home. Rob & Ellen, thanks for the photo of our house. Not missing the snow at all.



The Valley

After an uneventful drive we arrived at Oleander Acres RV park in Mission early Sunday afternoon. The office was quiet so we ended up having a long chat with Lois (one of the work campers and president of the club) and got caught up with the goings on at the park. One of the "goings on" was Jack (Lois's husband) was bitten by a rattlesnake a couple of weeks ago. They had gone out to do an errand in the park one evening and had stopped to chat to some people when Jack noticed what he thought was a dead snake on the road. He decided to move it off the road by picking it up .... big mistake .... as it managed to get Jack's finger with one fang. After "the bite" Jack ensured that the snake was dead. Jack & Lois went to the hospital, where they were moved to the front of the line and seen immediately, and were told that the snake was required to ensure that the correct anti-venom was used. The snake was brought to the hospital and Jack was treated. The doctor told Lois that Jack was in critical condition and she should call family ---- it's was 3am. The treatment worked and Jack's back at the park being Jack. Rattlesnakes are in the area but rarely seen.

Monday the trailer got a bath and Tuesday the truck got it's bath so all of the big jobs are done and we can start to relax and enjoy the winter. I think the weather is going to be really interesting this year ..... the park experienced a frost on Saturday morning (pretty much unheard of) and it was 87F on Tuesday and today the high was 60F.

Yesterday we did our first walk of the season at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. Think the timing was bad as we didn't see a lot of birds. We did seem some very interesting ants though. If you look closely at the above photo you'll see white dots on the bottom of the feeder and on the post.

The white dots were pieces of bird feed being carried by ants. There was a steady stream of ants going up and down the poles.

The Green Jays made an appearance.

as did the Javelinas.



More Zaph at the Beach

Happy 23rd Anniversary to me and Ed .... 29 (if you count co-habitation). Seems like a lot to me till I think of the people I know that have been married for 60 years. For each of those 23 years Ed and I have spent the day together, sometimes doing fun things and sometime not. The things we've done include Christmas Shopping, sitting beside each other on a plane going on vacation, waiting in line at the passport office, going to an afternoon matinée and now walking on a beach watching Zaph have a roaring good time. Oh, we also went out for a very nice Greek dinner at a Steak and Seafood restaurant (the chef is Greek and does a Greek dinner on weekends).

All body parts need to enjoy the beach equally.

Nothing beats a good stick, sand and water.

perfect posture.........

Walking on air ......



Play Time

Another cool, windy, sunny day and another walk down the beach. Zaph thought it was a great idea. This is our "chill out" week and so far we've managed to do a good job of "chilling".

Again, not a lot of people on the beach other than fishermen. Just about every group of fishermen had a Great Blue Heron hanging around.

Some birds hunkered down in the wind.



Port Aransas

After two days of rain we were very happy to see the sun this morning. Unfortunately, it was cool and windy --- still better than warm and rain.

Didn't see a lot of birds today and most of the ones we saw were hunkered down.

Black-crowned Night Heron


Dogs are not allowed at the birding areas so Zaph persuaded us to take a walk at the Port Aransas beach. It wasn't bad when you were all bundled up. Didn't see a lot of people out on the beach but there were a fair number fisherman.

Sunset at the state campground.

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