On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

I’m back from my mad dash halfway across the country for some high-altitude mushrooms, Palisades peaches, Pueblo chiles, Pueblo Jalapenos, and some assorted trinkets and touristy stuff. I had a wonderful, if brief time, in a state I had the pleasure of living in for 9 years. I visited a number of places and did things I wanted to do in a mad dash of nostalgia and reminiscence. I also checked on my rental property, so there was a business component to my trip as well. I learned a lot about modern travel tech, and I’ll share some insights soon.

Monday and Tuesday, I have some canning and roasting, and sauteeing to do. Yes, I’ll be posting about my kitchen adventures, and am grateful to John for providing much helpful info and technique to remind my rusty ass on proper canning.  I’m pulling my canning stuff from storage tomorrow morning, the jars are in the dishwasher awaiting the morning, and I’ll be briefly visiting Walmart for fresh lids and Fruit Fresh, then hitting the local international/ethnic supermarket for some fresh herbs, spices, shallots, garlic, sugar, vinegar, and ginger.

The drive – to and from – was also a grand adventure. Luckily, no bad weather or issues.  I hope next year to do something similar, though not so fast paced (I drove when the rains hit, and when I could squeeze some time away from things at home), and for a few more days. Perhaps we’ll do a meetup or two along my route so I can drive 8 hours a day instead of 12.

On that note, today we see some gorgeous photos of birds (and prairie!) in Kansas. I really enjoyed driving through the state going West, but my eastbound route was different, and I missed the western third of the state on I-70, so missing most of the topography and prairie that I so love. I didn’t see any birds of note beyond hawks and some wonderful songbirds singing at a rest stop in the Western part of the state. I really enjoyed the Kansas rest stops – they were not fancy, but the space, layout, green, and general atmosphere were just relaxing. They felt like an oasis.

I have a cool 4k dashcam and had it running for the drive out, but a) I did not realize the microSD card was only 128 GB and so I overwrote my drive after 6 hours, and b) even though I had some of that Western Kansas footage, when I went to swap memory cards the next morning, it somehow popped up and hit something plastic on my dash/console and bounced who-knows-where. I suspect it went into the ac vent. So for now, I have lost footage, literally.

I’m busy copying footage from other days and adventures and hope to have a few clips or stills from them to share to complement the photos I took with my iPhone. All dashcam videos and stills show the windshield and top of the hood, but the wide angle and high quality are neat, and I hope to be able to share some small clips of things I saw that caught my eye or deserve a share and a story. Since the early part of this week is about canning and cooking and food preservation, I don’t expect to have my photos and content until next week.

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


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Pink Pterodactyl (Open Thread)

When I moved from the beach to the swamp, I was afraid I wouldn’t regularly spot one of my favorite Florida birds, the roseate spoonbill, but they followed me here:


Here it is hanging out with a snowy egret friend:

I’m not sure if the light color saturation is due to its age or diet or what. I’ve seen some birds that are as pink as a yard flamingo. Maybe it’s trying to blend in with the egrets?

Anyhoo, open thread!

Rainy Sunday Open Thread

Well, it’s raining here, anyway. And muggy! Breathing the air is like huffing steamed cotton balls. I’m staying inside as much as possible, like any sensible person would in such a climate.

Here’s a picture of an osprey saying, “Skreeeee! Skreeeeee, I tell you!”

Isn’t it gorgeous? It was perched in a bald cypress tree across the river, where it often hangs out and fishes. But that day (a few days ago), it was focused on communication rather than food.

For those who saw my panicky comment yesterday morning about a cake I’d ordered for a family birthday party, I’m pleased to report that it was delivered as promised and was fabulous! Whew! For a while there, I thought I’d have to bake a giant cake for 40 people.

Hope you’re having a peaceful Sunday, rainy or otherwise. Open thread!

Ducks in a Row (Open Thread)

Since this is a full-service blog, TaMara provides video of domestic duck baths, and I’m in charge of wild duck bath videos. (Sorry about the Twitter format, but that’s the easiest upload these days — long story!)

That’s their pal the juvenile white ibis hanging out in the background. It’s weird how some bird species get along just fine, even when they’re competing for the same food, whereas others get all huffy.

There’s a great blue heron who hangs out here a lot (he of the frog stuck on his face, I’m almost certain), and he doesn’t mind ibises or little blue herons or limpkins hanging about, but if a great egret stops to visit, he’ll charge it and keep charging until it flies away. Even if he’s not in sight and an egret lands (a great egret, not a snowy — those are allowed!), he’ll fly back to defend the turf!

Well, today, three great egrets landed on the strip usually occupied by the blue, who was away at the time. Honest to Christ, I think the great egret who kept getting chased off went home and told her older sisters to come help her stand up to the blue bully! I never did see the blue while the three greats were fishing. When they flew off, the blue came back.

In other animal news, I took Badger to the vet for his vaccination updates on Wednesday morning. That afternoon, he was really listless, so much so that I got worried and called the vet. When the vet tech answered the phone, I guess I must’ve said, “I took my Badger in for shots this morning, and he’s really listless this afternoon — is that normal?” Because she paused a long time and said, “You brought your…badger…to this office?”

I had to explain I meant my DOG, whose name is Badger, not an actual mustelid. She assured me he’d be fine, and he is. Good lord, I felt like a fucking idiot. Anyhoo, open thread!

UPDATE: A friend on the Twitter pointed out that there IS a gator in the video — sneaking up on the ducks to the left of the screen! Just a little ‘un, and no ducks were harmed, but sorry, Mnem!

Other Ducks of Note (Open Thread)

Some black-bellied whistling ducks stopped by the Swamp Compound this evening. Check out this handsome fellow:

I mean, look at him!

A snowy egret also stopped by:

No matter how awful the humans get, the birds in Florida make it all bearable. So far!

Open thread!