Tag Archive | Texas

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Birds

This week, Cee is looking for birds for her Black & White Photo Challenge.  We saw plenty of birds while we were in Texas! In fact, while we were in San Antonio, one of the biggest challenges for me was visiting the Riverwalk which was lined with birds.  If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know about my life-long fear of birds and the problems that I have, dealing with them in everyday situations.  After the first few minutes of dodging pigeons along the pathway I was almost tempted to give it up and return  to street level but with the help of my husband, who walked ahead of me, as a kind of anti-bird bodyguard, I managed to stay the course for quite a distance and I was glad that I did. There is so much to love about the Riverwalk!

However, it’s not all fun and games on the river.  This young bird (heron?) was standing alone on the banks of the Riverwalk. He was quite unconcerned that we were so close. I guess he must have become used to people walking by and the boats packed with tourists going up and down the river. I’m no bird expert so I couldn’t really tell how old he was but I hoped that he was capable of taking care of himself as, when we walked back on the other side of the river, we spotted an adult heron floating dead in the water just opposite to where he was standing.

For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to Birds

On The Beach – In Galveston

When it’s 95 degrees in the shade, where else would you go but the beach, right! They say “Mad dogs and Englishmen (women) go out in the midday sun,” and perhaps they’re right.

For the first 25 years of my life, in England, we went to the coast every year for our holidays; nothing fancy, just a week at the seaside.  Since I came to the USA some 45 years ago I’ve been to the coast on only one occasion; a brief stay in Virginia Beach, and I’ve really missed that whole ‘holiday’ experience.  So when it was suggested that we go on a day trip to Galveston, while visiting family in Houston, I was all for it! Never mind that the heat index had reached 101 degrees at times that week.  I wanted to go to the beach!

Our first stop was the beach near Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. The current pier, opened to the public in 2012, replaced the original pier that was destroyed in 1961 by Hurricane Carla.


There weren’t too many people about, although footprints in the sand indicated that we weren’t the first folks to visit the beach that morning.

But for that moment in time it was just me and this laughing gull – at least I think that’s what it was; he seemed fairly amused about something –  standing, gazing out over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Bearing in mind that we were only in Galveston for a short period, I said goodbye to the gull and we went our separate ways, he to look for something to eat while we ventured further along Seawall Boulevard to East Beach.  Having found a parking spot that didn’t involve the car sinking mid-wheel into the sand, we made our way across a wide expanse of beach before reaching the water’s edge.

From a distance it looked very much as though the passing cargo ships had come aground but upon closer inspection it was apparent that all was well and the flow of sea-going traffic was progressing smoothly.

There were a few more people around by this time but there were no takers for the chair rentals.  At $30 a day, most seasoned visitors had the foresight to bring their own seats and umbrellas.

One of the things I always loved about walking on the beach was looking for shells or bits of seaweed and although there wasn’t quite the variety of items that once graced my childhood nature table, there were some interesting finds among the bottle caps and broken glass.

Despite the heat, there was the occasional breeze blowing which made being on the beach tolerable and I could have cheerfully stayed there all day, but apparently that wasn’t the plan so, reluctantly, I trekked back to the car, taking in one last glimpse of the waves as they washed ashore. I hope I won’t have to wait quite so long for another trip to the seaside. Sitting on the beach in Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan somehow just isn’t the same.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Animals

The squirrels in Texas are very bold, let me tell you!  I didn’t need a long lens for this shot, in fact I was half-inclined to take a step back, as this feisty little critter gave every indication that he was about to run straight up my leg!

For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to Any Animal (no birds)

The Sweetest Flower of All

We recently took a road trip to Texas to celebrate the birth of our youngest granddaughter and I thought that it would be interesting to take pictures of our garden prior to leaving and compare them to how the garden looked when we returned two weeks later.

The beginning of June is the most colorful time of year in our garden and I knew we would probably miss seeing some of the flowers that were on the brink of blooming, but there were enough of them out to wish us a cheery farewell. The peonies were in full bloom and irises of all types and varieties were looking quite spectacular despite losing many to iris borers this year.


Blues and pinks and purples were well represented, with flax flowers, bluebells, salvia Caradonna, Baptisia australis, pinks, weigela, heuchera Coral Bells, Johnson’s Blue cranesbill and aquilegia all making a fine show.


The poppies, including my favorite Turkenlouis, were continuing to burst open but I figured I’d probably miss the pink Carneums.

A lot can happen in two weeks!  Apparently we had quite a bit of rain while we were gone and the weeds had taken over. There were still a few remnants of the flowers that had been blooming when we left and some that had come and gone while we were away. However, the garden was not without some fresh color.

Apart from all the weeds that have invaded every part of the garden, some of the plants that are supposed to be here have run rampant and there is also quite a bit of deadheading to be done; a lot of work ahead of us, no doubt. But all the toil will have been well worth it as we got to see the sweetest flower of all, our little Texas treasure.