Monday, October 17, 2011

Birding, Exercising, Hanging Out -- It's Good to be Home!

Green Jays
Hi all -- Dianne here.  We've settled back in at Retama Village, and both of us have restarted exercise routines (still trying to work off the midwestern pounds we gained this summer).  

We take turns, one of us taking Bandido for a long power walk or to the dog park for playtime, and the other can get up and out the door before the heat of the day sets in, and ride bikes, swim laps, or go to the fitness center here at Retama.  Both of us enjoy riding our bikes next door to and through Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park (we get in free with our neighborhood pass).  Roger here....  on the days that Dianne bikes, upon her return, I head to either the fitness center or the pool.  Today was a pool day.  I reached my goal of swimming a mile.  Yippeee.

The state park is especially nice for biking, because there is no vehicle traffic, other than the park rangers.  R: Also, the roads are laid out in concentric circles, so it is easy to keep track of the miles while enjoying the ever-changing scenery.  

Here's my bike this morning, ready to take off for some exercise and birding:

My birding friends (unless they live here) can only drool at the recent sightings below:

Golden-Fronted Woodpecker
I didn't see all of these birds, but in addition to the green jays in the opening photo, I did see an Altamira Oriole, a road runner, and these birds at one of the bird blinds along the route:
Plain Chachalaca

2 Great Kiskadees

The chachalacas and green jays were sparring
over rights to the seed feeder --
But the green jays won out (as shown in the opening photo).  On Roger's bike ride yesterday, he was lucky to see some wood storks and a 
green kingfisher at the hawk tower.  There are usually serious birders staked out at the 
hawk tower with telescopic lenses, and they
 always happy to share their knowledge and
 point out unusual birds to us novices.  Roger 
also saw a bobcat.  I saw lots and lots of
 javelina scat, but no actual sightings.  They
 were all over the place at the park the first
 winter we were 
here, but after the park flooded during the 
spring of 2010 hurricane, they are just re-establishing themselves again.

Our little spot at Retama, being right next door, also has golden-fronted woodpeckers, kiskadees, and other occasional exotics.  I'm still partial to my gang of mockingbirds that 
stop by for a drink now and then.

We also got some good clean exercise by 
washing the thousands of miles of grime off 
our motor home the other day.  I'll let Roger elaborate:

The picture above looks like yet another 
picture of our back pergola area, but its not! 
  It is actually a picture of the newly-cleaned 
side of our motor home.  Pay attention, and 
you can see the graphics of the motor home.

Saturday was wash the motor home day.  I got
 out of bed, and with dogged determination vowed that the task that we had been putting 
off for a week would be accomplished on that day.  No excuses and/or rationalizations would
 be accepted --- 

-  It's too hot!
-  We would have to skip exercise for the day.
-  We'll have to move all the furniture.
-  I'm too tired today.
-  It might be cooler tomorrow.
-  It might rain later in the week and rinse off 
    the grime -- yeah right! 
-  It will get dirty again anyway.
-  I don't want to get wet.
-  Bandido will be bored.
-  Dianne doesn't like to sweat.
-  Yada, yada, yada.

 I took the dog for a walk and assembled all 
the cleaning supplies while Dianne went on a shortened bike ride.  As soon as Dianne 
returned, the fun began.  

I hosed down each section, starting with the
 roof.  (Those colorful Texas birds tend to 
make nasty messes on the roof.)  (Scissor-tail flycatchers are beautiful birds, but I can tell you for certain that their poop is just as unsightly as the grackles --  D.)  

 I then scrubbed with soapy water, then 
scrubbed again with a wet brush attached to 
the hose.  Dianne followed by re-hosing the
 clean surface with soft water, using a squeegee
wipe off the water, then going over the surface one more time with a microfiber cloth. 
 Bandido hid under the outdoor furniture to 
avoid getting wet.  Dianne and I actually
 enjoyed being soaked.  The hot day did not
 seem nearly so hot.  It took several hours,
 the results were worth it. 

Ah!!!!!!!!  The sense of accomplishment!  
Time to sit in the shade with a good book
 and several glasses of ice water.

The pet picture of the day is an older one of Bandido at the dog park with one of his toys. 
 I think that particular toy survived about a
 week before all of the outer surface 
came off.  He loves plush squeaky toys, but 
has become an expert at disembowling them within 10 minutes, so now he has to make do with the indestructible types. -- D.


Nancy and Bill said...

Well, it looks like you have settled in for the long winter nap...NOT!! Way to go with the exercise routines. Sounds like you have some serious swimming going on Roger:o)) Keep enjoying those bikes...we get out every chance we get!! Now if you just start a running program, you will be ready for next years Triathlon!!

Enjoy all the bird pictures, especially the Green Jays!!

Margie and Roger said...

Great photo of Bandido - the little devil who chews up his toys. It is nice to return to a "home" after summer travels. I know 3 of us who started full-time in 2009 and have bought a coach house (you), a double-wide park model (us), and my friend Carolyn just bought a single-wide park model. It sure lightens the load in the motor home for the summer months.

Loved the photos as a birder and a butterflier - funny.