"On a New Shore," steel silhouette sculpture by Brian Norwood of Jal, NM @ Indianola, Texas, 2/5/19

"On a New Shore," steel silhouette sculpture by Brian Norwood of Jal, NM @ Indianola, Texas, 2/5/19
"On a New Shore," steel silhouette sculpture by Brian Norwood of Jal, NM @ Indianola, Texas, 2/5/19

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Un-Comfort-Able -- Sun., Mar. 31

Dis-"Comfort." That's how I'm feeling today. You see, I made a boo-boo and it made me feel un"comfort"able. It's also a play on words.

I was all pumped up to do an Easter Volksmarch in the historic, antique-y town of Comfort, Texas. The local Volkssport Club was sponsoring an event that sounded so much fun. The walk was to start at Comfort Park in Texas Hill Country, criss-cross the historic town, and go along Cypress Creek under majestic Cypress trees. In addition, decorated Easter eggs were being placed along the trail and, if we found one, we could trade it in for a prize. Doesn't that sound wonderful?

We drove almost an hour to Comfort this morning, got to the park and no one was there! I was so disappointed. Bob says, "Are you sure you have the right day?" I had the flyer in the car, opened it up and, guess what? It was yesterday, Saturday, March 30. It said so immediately under "Easter Walk." I was sooooooo disappointed! But I should have known. Who would go to a Volkswalk or volunteer to work at one on Easter Sunday?

Well, we made lemonade out of my sourpuss and thought quickly about what Volksmarch we could do  in the area. There was a Volksmarch in Boerne (pronounced burney) we hadn't done yet: the Cemetery Walk. The walk starts at the "Comfort" Inn. (At least there was some comfort today!) Because the walk box is in the lobby of the motel, we could check in and pick up the walk instructions even on a holiday. So that's what we did.

And here are photos of our 10K (6.2 mile) walk.

The Boerne water tower.
View of Texas Hill Country--a bit hazy because of high humidity.
Nice residential areas:

We crossed Frederick Creek.
Front yard full of pink evening primroses.
White-lined Sphinx hummingbird moth (Hyles lineata)

Pipevine swallowtail butterflies on thistle.
Cemetery we walked through.

Very old headstone
Another old headstone
Courtyard of a Mexican restaurant in Boerne.
Field of bluebonnets.

Cedar waxwing.
Easter service in the Boerne town square.
Interesting information on the Theis-Bergmann House
Wow, smart mule.

We like this sculpture!
That was it for the walk. We headed back to the 5er.

A brief re-cap of Saturday: We took Mom and Jan to the airport at 4:00 a.m. for a 6:00 a.m. flight. Went home and finished sleeping. We woke up around 10:30 a.m. Nice!

Bob had a project he wanted to do. Our water pressure in our 5er has slowed way down for no apparent reason. He had changed our water filter at the park spigot already. Today, he wanted to remove the panel on the backside of the water pump which necessitated completely unpacking our "basement" and removing a panel which covered the working parts of our water pump. He took out the original filter and made a trip to Camping World in New Braunfels to get a new filter. When he returned to the 5er, he installed the new filter. We continued to have the same problem with low water pressure. What makes this perplexing is when we turn on the water pump, our water pressure is strong and normal. Thank you, Bob, for working on that.

Saturday night we watched our latest Netflix movie selection: Ruby Sparks. I enjoyed it and gave it 3 out of 5 stars. Bob rated it a C. It's a chick flick with a geeky guy as the main character. He is an author/misfit/introvert/psychology patient who writes about his dream girl and she appears in his life exactly as he has written about her. Quirky-cute movie.

Tomorrow starts the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. I did it last year and enjoyed it so much I decided to do it again. The goal is to blog every day (except Sunday) in April starting with the letter A on April 1, B on April 2, etc. Sundays are blog-free days (unless you want to write on Sundays). Some bloggers choose a theme for all their blogs, others write about random topics. It's fun to visit other people's A-to-Z blogs during the challenge too.

Travel Bug out. Happy April!!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Safari! -- Wed., Mar. 27

Hat? Check. Water? Check. Coat? Check. Exotic animals? Yes. Camera? Check. Land Rover? Nope. Gun? No. Food? Later.

Hey! What kind of safari is this anyway? A south central Texas Exotic Wildlife Tour, that's what.

Today required a 7:30 a.m. start for the two-hour drive out to Y.O. Ranch in Mountain Home, Texas. The goal? To photograph over 50 species of exotic animals from all over the world and to learn about the history of the ranch. Our two-hour group tour cost $32.95 each and included a chuckwagon lunch. Bob and I did this tour a year ago and we loved it. He did not go with my mom, sis and I as he had surgery to remove skin cancer this morning.

We made it to the ranch as requested at 9:45 a.m. to pay for the tour. At exactly 10:00 a.m. our school bus painted in giraffe camouflage colors left the parking lot. The bus bumped and rattled up and down a hill on the way to our first locked gate. Apparently the locks on the gates had just been changed from numbered combination locks to keyed locks. Our tour driver forgot the key. Oops.

Our driver/guide, Burna, telling us she forgot the key.
Back down the hill we bounced over the gravel and rocky road. She rearranged our tour to see the historic lodge first instead of last. While she was telling us the history and lay of the land, someone from the office brought over the gate key. She finished telling us about the buildings in the resort area and we were on our way.

Auodad from Africa, one of the first exotic animals
introduced to YO Ranch.
Spotted Axis deer.
The bar with fireplace reflected in the mirror.
See story below.
The above-pictured bull is from Africa. Normally the horns grow upward; however, this bull was born with horns facing downward. YO Ranch built special water and feed troughs to accommodate his horns. Wasn't that nice of them? This bull lived a long life and died a natural death.

Our driver had to go back up the rocky road to the gate. This time she unlocked it and we watched rheas up the road. The rhea is a flightless bird from South America. The male builds the nest and sits on the eggs. He may find a surrogate male to sit on the eggs while he goes out in search of more females.

Rheas can be gray or white and look similar to ostriches or emus.
The first paddock we came to had a plethora of different exotics. My sister, Jan, loves giraffes. Our guide spent quite a bit of time by the giraffes. A number of people, including Jan, were able to feed cookies to the giraffe. One man even got a giraffe "kiss."

Red deer (Europe, Caucasus Mountains, Asia) losing winter coats.
Blackbuck antelope does (India)
Two-year old giraffe
Momma giraffe
Close-up of female giraffe.
Mouflon sheep (?)
Beisa oryx (East Africa)
Wildebeest mom and calves.
Four horned sheep
Blackbuck male (India)
Ostrich in foreground; emu in background
After leaving the giraffe/wildebeest paddock, our tour continued in a paddock with larger acreage. Again we saw many animals.

Scimitar-horned oryx (extinct in the wild since 2000)
Greater Kudu (East Africa)
Ellipsen waterbuck (Africa)
Dama gazelle
Giant eland (East and Southern Africa)
Giant eland
Dama gazelle visits the tour bus.
Sika deer (East Asia)
Our driver explained to us that the school district for their area is the wealthiest school district in the nation. Grades K-6 have about 18 students. Instead of buying a large school bus, the school district bought a limousine. How about that? Little kids get picked up and dropped off by limo. 

At the end of our Exotic Wildlife Tour, we had a chuckwagon lunch consisting of sliced top sirloin, scalloped potatoes, baked beans, a roll and almond cake. Very hearty and tasty.

Our next stop on today's itinerary was South Llano River State Park outside Junction, Texas. This state park is a birder's paradise in the spring and fall. Wild turkeys roost in the trees by the river at night. Here you can see some of nature's gorgeous brightly colored birds: painted bunting, vermilion flycatcher, and yellow-cheeked warbler.

When we drove in the entrance road to the park, my mom no sooner said, "Oh, I'd love to see a wild turkey," when we saw eight! There were two toms vying for the attention of six hens. The toms were in full display with tail feathers spread to the max and their chests puffed out as big as they could go. The dominant, large tom kept himself between the young tom and the hens. I wish I had remembered to take a photo. We watched them for about five minutes. Quite the show.

At the Visitor Center, we saw a black-chinned hummingbird. Off to a bird blind we went. No painted buntings have showed up yet this year. The wildflowers haven't bloomed (not enough rain apparently). We did see a few birds...


Pine siskin or yellow-rumped warbler or Cassin's finch??
Eastern kingbird
Song sparrow?
House finch
Yellow-rumped warbler?
House finch

Lark bunting?
Cardinal bathing
The following bird used to be lumped in with the Eastern towhee and both were called rufous-sided towhees. The two bird species have now been named individually.

Spotted towhee
Spotted towhee.
All of a sudden our peaceful bird watching drew to a close. The birds shrieked off as we saw a hawk swoop in hunting the little birds. The birds did not come back. We headed over to another bird blind. There weren't as many birds at the second blind.

Definitely not a bird! Cool lizard, though.
Brown-headed cowbird.

Black-crested titmouse.
A very thirsty Inca dove.
Tufted titmouse

Goldfinch? Wilson's warbler? Anyone know?
Bird blind
Lots of turkeys at this time of year.

Trail from campground to bird blind. See how winter-like it still looks?
It was 3:30 p.m. when we left South Llano State Park. On the way back to San Antonio we took a scenic route through Hunt and Ingram along the Guadalupe River.

Long day, but a wonderful time.

Travel Bug, Mom and Jan out.