Friday, April 19, 2024

Colorful Wildseed Farm Visit In Fredericksburg Texas

A Microsoft OneDrive Memories from this Day, which I actually remember. Earlier in this current century, around this time of year, I drove south to Texas Hill Country, with Fredericksburg and Enchanted Rock State Park as the intended destinations.

Fredericksburg was the first Washington style themed type towns I found in Texas. Fredericksburg is sort of German themed, due to all the German settlers who settled in this location.

Washington has a German Bavarian themed town called Leavenworth. It is a bit more developed, theme-wise, than Fredericksburg. Both have German-themed McDonald's. 

At Fredericksburg I came upon a mass of various colors, of wildflowers, at a farm called Wildseed Farms.

Wildseed Farms reminded me of Roozengarde in my old Skagit Valley home zone. Only Roozengarde is all about the colorful tulips, whilst Wildseed Farms is about a variety of colorful wildflowers.

Both are super busy tourist traps...

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Walk Around Sikes Lake With Pink Evening Primroses

Since I last walked around Sikes Lake a couple days ago, the lake has become surrounded by pink evening primroses, one of my favorite Texas wildflowers.

If memory serves the evening primroses are usually the first wildflower I see when wildflower season starts up.

My first encounter with evening primroses happened way back late in the previous century, when I drove to Texas, from Washington, to see if moving was something I might want to do.

It was at some point east of Amarillo, heading to the Dallas/Fort Worth zone, on Highway 287, that I began seeing pink flowers carpeting the landscape alongside the freeway.

At some point I felt compelled to geta closer look at these delicate looking flowers, so I got off the freeway to get a good look and a good photo.

It was a year or two later I came to learn the name of these pink wildflowers.

Texas wildflowers are sort of a natural wild version of coloring up the landscape like my old home zone does with cultivated flowers of various types, like tulips, daffodils and others I am not remembering.

The State Wildflower of Texas is known as the bluebonnet. I see few bluebonnets at my current Texas location, during wildflower season.

In my old home zone of Washington I would see bluebonnets, only in Washington the flower is known as a lupine. I recollect seeing a lot of lupines blooming the last time I was at Mount Rainier, August 11, 2008.

I recollect remarking that I did not know Texas bluebonnets blossomed in Washington, to find myself being told that those are lupines.

Googling "lupine" I learned the following...

Lupinus, commonly known as lupin, lupine, or regionally bluebonnet etc., is a genus of plants in the legume family Fabaceae. The genus includes over 199 species, with centers of diversity in North and South America. Smaller centers occur in North Africa and the Mediterranean.

Maybe Texas needs to consider what the State Wildflower is... 

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Ferry Boating To Washington's San Juan Islands & Beyond

Saw that which you see here, this morning, on Facebook. Such puts me in mind of how different it is where I live now, than where I lived the majority of my existence on planet Earth.

From my abode in Mount Vernon I could drive a few miles to the east and be in the Cascade Mountain foothills.

Drive a few miles west and I could be at a saltwater beach, digging for clams, or jigging for crabs.

From Anacortes I could hop a Washington State Ferry and float to the various San Juan Islands. Or float to Victoria, on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada.

The San Juan Islands are in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. Hence way less rain than the Western Washington locations located closer to the Cascade Mountains.

You can drive your vehicle onto a Washington ferry. Or just walk on. Or take your bike. I've done all three, with the vehicle option the most frequent.

There are no ferry boats or saltwater beaches or mountains in any direction, hundreds of miles, from my current location...

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Remembering Being Enchanted In Texas Hill Country

That which you see here showed up a couple minutes ago in my email, in the daily email from Microsoft OneDrive of Memories from this Day.

Took me a moment to remember that it was around this time of year that I hiked to the summit of Enchanted Rock, down south in Texas Hill Country.

It was prime wildflower season.

Getting into Enchanted Rock State Park can be challenging. It is extremely popular, and only so many are let into the park at a time. I was lucky and managed to get in without a long wait in line.

Monday, April 15, 2024

A True Washingtonian Knows A Geoduck When He Sees One

Saw that which you see here, on Facebook, this morning. With text saying, "You know you're a true Washingtonian if you can pronounce 'geoduck' properly."

Well. I am a true former Washingtonian and I know how to pronounce the name of this giant clam.

Gooey Duck.

In my old home zone of the Skagit Valley there is a location called Samish Island, which has not been an actual island since early in the previous century, due to Dutch dike builders blocking off the saltwater, so as to create more farmland.

Samish Island is a clam diggers paradise. 

On an extremely low tide, a sandbar appears. You have to wade through semi-deep water to reach this sandbar. And, once you do you, are at a location known for growing a lot of geoducks.

When you start digging for a clam, after spotting the telltale sign in the sand, you don't know if it is gonna be a horse clam or hit the jackpot with it being a giant geoduck.

Horse clams greatly outnumber the geoduck population.

I can not remember when last I had homemade clam chowder made from freshly dug clams...

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Belated Michele Happy Birthday From Lucy Park Backwoods Jungle

All day yesterday I thought it was Friday, which had me thinking today was Saturday, April 13, when the day is actually Sunday, April 14.

I learned I was a day off after I texted my little sister, Michele, a Happy Birthday message.

I was hiking the Lucy Park backwoods jungle when Michele texted me back saying, "Uh, that was yesterday!!!!"

This morning I hit the button on a reposting of last year's Happy Birthday To Half Century Plus Baby Sister Michele and could not understand why it showed up after yesterday's afternoon blog post. 

Now that mystery is solved. With a new mystery being wondering if not knowing what day it is is an early dementia indicator.

Anyway, I had my a hot time hiking the Lucy Park backwoods jungle today. The high today will get into the 90s. With a big storm brewing for tomorrow, which I now know is Monday...

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Apparently Wichita Falls Is The 22nd Best Place To Live in Texas

I do not know by what criteria USA Today ranked the best places to live in Texas, but, apparently, the town I am currently living in, Wichita Falls, is the 22nd best place to live in Texas.

With Wichita Falls being a better place to live than Frisco, Plano, Denton, Austin, McKinney, Fort Worth and Dallas.

I have been to those towns which are supposedly not as nice a place to live in as Wichita Falls. And I've lived in one of those towns listed.

Fort Worth.

I definitely think Wichita Falls is a much better place to live than Fort Worth. In so many ways.

I think I'd like living in Dallas or Austin...

Happy Birthday To Half Century Plus Baby Sister Michele

On today's date, April 13, over half a century ago, after a long day at Burlington-Edison High School, I drove my 65 Mustang, with Linda Lou onboard, to United General Hospital to meet my new baby sister.

I remember this like it was yesterday.

The arrival of our new sibling was eagerly anticipated. Back then one did not know if the new arrival was going to be a boy or a girl. A long family discussion regarding what to name the new sibling resulted in it being Joey if a boy, Michele if a girl.

That would be Grandma Slotemaker-Jones holding Baby Michele. Michele, being the baby of the family, never got to experience the arrival of a new sibling. I do not remember the arrival of my two oldest siblings. But, I clearly remember the arrival of the sibling that arrived before the arrival of Michele, she being sister Jackie.

Michele liked to go for rides in my aforementioned 65 Mustang.

Michele also liked to drive her own car.

And here we see Michele on a horse with aforementioned sister Jackie. I have zero memory of a horse being in our Burlington yard. No clue where the horse would have come from.

Via the candles on the cake I think I can intuit that the above was from Michele's 4th birthday party. I recognize sister Jackie at the upper right. And next to Jackie, in blue, is Barbara Brown. I do not know who the others are.

The last time I saw Barbara Brown was back in July of 2019, I think. It was at my mom's in Sun Lakes, in Arizona.

I knew Barbara and her husband Dave were visiting Jackie, a stop on a long roadtrip. Jackie did not know if a visit to mom's was going to happen. So, that day I brought up the subject of Barbara Brown, so she'd be fresh on mom's mind, if a visit did happen.

And then around five that afternoon Jackie texted me that they were on their way. I did not let mom know. Barb, Dave, Jackie and Jack arrived. I went outside to greet them.

They walked into mom's house, to the living room, where mom was sitting. I said, "You have some visitors".

I don't know if I have previously mentioned mom had macular degeneration and was thus pretty much blind.

Mom said "Who is it?"

Barbara then said, "Shirley, it's me!" 

To which mom said, recognizing the voice, "Barbara"? 

"Yes, Dave's here too".

Mom then said something like we were talking about you just today.

I don't know if I told this tale very well, but it was a memorable visit. Made mom real happy.



Friday, April 12, 2024

Friday Lake Wichita Park Walk With Windy Waves

The second Friday of the 2024 version of April is another totally clear blue-sky day at my location in North Texas.

It was to Lake Wichita Park I drove this morning to do some high speed walking in order to get me some endorphins.

Recent rain has made Lake Wichita not quite as dried up as it has been for months. But, insufficient rain has made its way to the new Lake Wichita dock which has been waiting a long, long time to float for the first time.

I think the purpose of this dock is to serve as a kayak launch pad, if the lake ever gets enough water to float a boat.

A steady strong wind was a-blowing today. You cannot tell it via the photo documentation, but the wind was whipping up waves with whitecaps. 

No one was seen trying to surf the waves...

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Endorphin Acquisition At Sikes Lake With No Geese, Swimming Or Boat Floating

It has been a day or two since I have gotten myself an endorphin fix via aerobic stimulation. I get grumpy when I don't get some endorphins.

Yesterday rained and thunderstormed til late afternoon. When the rain finally stopped I drove downtown to the library, to refresh my reading material.

Today, Thursday, the 11th day of the 2024 version of April, the sky at my location is totally free of clouds.

So, it was to Sikes Lake I drove today to get me some endorphins. The rain did not drip enough to flood Sikes Lake to more than a drizzle drizzling over the Sikes Lake Dam Spillway.

Every time I see that NO SWIMMING sign, at this location, it causes me to wonder if they actually had a problem with people trying to swim at this not appealing to swim at location.

And NO BOATING CANOEING OR KAYAKING WITHOUT UNIVERSITY APPROVAL also causes one to wonder. I've never seen anyone floating in a boat, canoe or kayak on Sikes Lake. Does mean the university universally denies approval for anyone asking to go floating? 

Or, more likely, no one has ever asked to get approved by the university to go boating on Sikes Lake.

The multiple installations of coyotes around Sikes Lake seems to have greatly reduced the bird population. I saw no geese or ducks today. I saw one seagull. 

Where have all the birds gone?