Saturday, November 30, 2013

Home at Retama Village

Roger here...  We have been home at Retama Village in Mission, Texas now for a couple of weeks.  It took three days to move things back and forth from the motor home to our coach house so that we could truly enjoy the quiet times here.  A major chore involved moving all of our outdoor furniture from inside the coach house to our outdoor living area under the pergola in the back.  We love the lush plant life and the privacy of our back yard.

Backtracking a bit,  the last leg of our journey to Retama Village was pretty much uneventful.  We opted to take the toll road around Houston.  It was kind of expensive, but probably worth it due to the relative lack of traffic.  The bridge in the picture spanned a vast waterway and an endless view of the trappings of an oil-based economy.

I am happy that the economy seems to be thriving here, but I am equally happy that our home for the winter is in a quieter area of Texas.  I am also happy to have the bug splat off the windshield.

Back to our place at Retama Village....  Look at this picture and the picture below.  Can you see two things missing in the second photo?

The first missing items are the two propane tanks. One services our gas grill.  The other gives us warmth and serenity in our fire pit.  It was relatively easy to get them filled and operational.

The second missing item involved a full day of sweat, sticky goo, and labor --- moving and trimming the aloe plant that we lovingly refer to as Seymour (from the Little Shop of Horrors).  

We planted Seymour three years ago.  He was in a four-inch pot from Home Depot.  Each year when we return, he has gotten noticeably bigger.  This year he was gigantic and weighed as much as a half-ton pickup truck.  (Slight exaggeration, but I quipped that Seymour was the size of a Volkswagen -- D.)

Dianne's beloved Meyer Lemon Tree (that she grew from a seed from a lemon provided by her cousin's daughter, Leigh) was literally being crowded into non- existence by Seymour and the spineless prickly pear cactus on the other side.  Something had to be done.  

The cactus was simple.  With a few cuts with the pruners that I brought from our former home in Indiana, I was able to get rid of a third of the plant. I replanted a small section in the back which will probably get too big in a year or two.  

Seymour was another matter.  It was very difficult to remove the outer growth, and each section was a gooey mess (good for my skin).  It took a lot of hacking, twisting and tugging to remove each of the very heavy sections.  

I was finally able to dig out the much smaller center section and plant it in a shallow hole near our property line.  (We contacted our neighbors to ask permission, for we know that Seymour will rise again).  Fortunately, one of the lawn maintenance guys saw me stuffing the various Seymour parts into lawn bags and offered to haul them away.  I was very glad he was there.

The Meyer Lemon Tree again has room to grow, and hopefully produce fruit someday.  (After a dose of citrus tree fertilizer, Lemon Tree now looks perky and ready to grow...D.)

Moving Seymour also allowed a better place to display our other killer plants.  The cacti with the needle-like spikes.  Three puncture wounds and several fire ant bites later, and I have satisfied my Indiana farming genes.

Dianne did some gardening as well.  The asparagus fern and begonias that she planted in pots survived our recent cold snap (40s), wind and rain.  

So did the Texas Bluebonnets.  Dianne is looking forward to a springtime display of blue.

We are beginning to have the feeling of settling in for the winter.  The rocks that we picked up during a beach hike on Whidbey Island are displayed on the Texas bar.

Dianne here:  I'm back in my twice-weekly routine of volunteering at Cinderella Pet Rescue walking dogs.  I was sorry that my favorite pal, Bart, had not been adopted while I was gone, but I was really glad to see him again and get a good black lab ear cleaning!  
Me and my Pal, Bart

My good friend Sue, who volunteers with me, took this photo with her phone.

Roger's last day as Chairman of the Retama Advisory Committee is today.  He plans to use all his new-found free time to get back into an exercise routine.  Back to Roger....

The bicycles are in the rack and ready for use.  Let the much needed exercise begin.

The lights by the pool at the clubhouse that we pass on our evening walks are lit.

The social gatherings are in full swing.  Yesterday, Dianne made two pies to share at a delicious community Thanksgiving dinner.  The week before, we were invited to a hog roast.  Thanks Eddie!

The roses are in bloom.  The temperatures have climbed back into the 70s and 80s.  Life is good.

For our readers who like to follow our travels, I apologize in advance:  We won't be updating our blog as often while we're settled in here in the Texas Tropics for the winter.  -- D.

The pet picture of the day shows Dianne and her friend, Sue on one of their daily morning walks with the dogs.  They are walking on top of the levy near the Rio Grande River.  

Klick, Gabe, Sue, Tequila, Dianne, Bandido - 4 Miles Every Morning!


Bill and Nancy said...

OK, we are the jealous ones now. We had the warm weather in the Keys, but now we are back in South Carolina and it is cold:o((

Enjoy your WARM winter and we'll look forward to your posts whenever they appear!!

Tina said...

Looks like you really had fun. I really enjoy your pictures. Enjoy your stay...