Sunday, April 30, 2023

Final April Sunday Lucy Park Jungle Walk

On this super sunny last Sunday of the 2023 version of April it was back to the Lucy Park backwoods jungle I ventured today for some fast-walking nature communing.

A warm front blowing in from the south has evicted the cold front that blew in from the north a few days ago, returning the outer world to its pleasantly heated norm.

As in the temperature in the 70s, with no wind blowing. Hence no wind chill.

I thought the Lucy Park backwoods jungle might not be doable due to the recent rain.

I thought wrong.

It was easy to circumvent the flooded low areas. Usually such is not the case at Lucy Park after a rain.

But, currently the Lucy Park backwoods is being regularly mowed, so no tall grass prevents passage over it.

One would not want to try and walk through tall Lucy Park grass due to snakes that might be slithering. So, the new thing of keeping the Lucy Park backwoods jungle mowed is a real good thing...

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Sikes Spring Sprung With Gosling Flotilla

This final Saturday of the 2023 version of April is being a mighty fine blue-sky day at my Texas location.

I have not done much nature communing the past couple turbulent thuderstorming days.

So, today I made my way a short distance north to walk around Sikes Lake, along with a lot of others out enjoying the return to non-inclement weather.

You know Spring has totally sprung when you see wildflowers blooming, along with freshly hatched goslings, like the flotilla you see above, which I found floating at the west end of Sikes Lake. A convoy with the goose parental units guarding both ends of the flotilla.

A short distance away I saw another goose family, but this unit had only two goslings, guarded by mom and dad...

Last Century Tulips With Jason & Joey Plus Mount Rainier

Incoming Tulip email, this morning, from my Favorite Nephew Jason, with a Tulip photo from way back in 1988. The explanatory text follows. And following that a new photo of Mount Rainier...

More Skagit flower photos to share…

This one was dated 1988.

Picture must have been taken on a Friday, as Umbarger students were asked to wear Red and White on Fridays. (I usually complied. FNJ2 was usually out of compliance).

This was taken before school in April of ‘88.  

I remember that morning well. We all ate breakfast out that morning.  This was for sure a real treat for me, at a newly opened Burlington restaurant.  I think I enjoyed my Egg McMuffin more that morning than the tulips.  It was better than the usual bowl of Cheerios or Oatmeal. McDonald’s at that time was new to Burlington.  And breakfast was very new to McDonald’s. 

Ironic, that FNJ2 and I and FBJ now live in the same spot 35 years later.

The Umbarger to which Jason refers is Lucille Umbarger Elementary School. The school colors of which are red and white. FNJ2 is Favorite Nephew Joey. FBJ is Favorite Brother Jake, who is the paternal parental unit of Jason and Joey.

And now the promised Mount Rainier photo.

 A week or so ago, two of my favorite Washingtonians, Chris and Sheila, moved to the new home they had built in the town known as Lacey, a few miles east of Washington's state capitol of Olympia.

Chris and Sheila picked a building lot with a backyard view of Mount Rainier, which is the view you see above.

I was recently asked by a Texan if it makes Washingtonians nervous to be living near so many volcanoes. The answer to that is no. I suppose due to the fact that we grow up in Washington with volcanoes always being a reality. And only one has blown up, Mount St. Helens, in our lifetimes.

Mount Rainier pulling a Mount St. Helens type big boom would be a real real real bad thing...

Friday, April 28, 2023

Mount Rainier Is Showing Off This Morning

I saw that which you see here, this morning, on Facebook. The sort of scenery I do not see at my current location.

No mountains no matter which direction I look, let alone a mountain in the form of a giant volcano.

The view here looks to me to be, maybe, from the Point Defiance area of Tacoma. Or it could be a view from Gig Harbor, which is slightly west of Tacoma, on the Olympic Peninsula side of the Tacoma Narrows.

Previously I thought I would be seeing Mount Rainier in person, this summer. But, currently I have no plan to see such.

Flying out of my current location has not yet returned to the pre-COVID norm.

I have not roadtripped back to Washington since July of 2001, the last of five roadtrips back to Washington, after the move to Texas a year before the turn of the century. 

I do not quite know why a long roadtrip has lost its appeal. Maybe it was that fuel pump failure in July of 2017, leaving me stranded on the freeway a few miles east of Flagstaff, in Arizona.

When one is young one worries not so much about a mishap on the road. When one is what is known as being borderline elderly, such concerns take over from the lackadaisical attitude that predominated decades ago.

I wish America had a high speed rail network like Japan, China and Europe have...

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Dark Stormy Thunder Booming Flooding Wednesday At My Wichita Falls Location

The stormy view out my computer room window this morning of the final Wednesday of the 2023 version of April.

Rain has been falling copiously in downpour mode ever since today dawned dark and noisy with thunder booms closely following lightning flashes.

Flooding has made the moat that forms when too much rain falls the most moat I have seen since I have been at this location. 

The moat necessitates taking a detour, through some puddling, to make it to my vehicle's location, under cover, in the carport.

Any nature communing in walk mode will need to happen in Walmart today.

Nature communing in Walmart takes the form of fast walking the aisles whilst being in anthropologic observation mode making note of all the bizarre iterations of humanity who populate the Walmart closest to my home location...

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Windy Tuesday Thunder-Free Walk Around Mount Wichita

Lake Wichita Park was my go-to location this final Tuesday of the 2023 version of April, for a windy walk around Mount Wichita.

Today the tide was not out as far as the last visit to this location, a couple weeks ago.

One would not think, so via the photo documentation of the harmless looking sky you see above, but severe weather is on the menu for today.

Rain, hail, wind, thunderstorms and possible tornadoes.

Currently, coming up on two in the afternoon, the forecast appears to be another dud.

Wind blowing in from the south has blown out the cold air that blew in from the north the past couple days. Climate control switched back from HEAT to COOL.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Final April Monday Walk Around Semi-Chilly Sikes Lake

Some sky drippage yesterday stopped me from doing any outdoor nature communing. Today, this final Monday of the 2023 version of April, sky drippage is predicted, along with thunderstorms, but by the time of my regularly scheduled nature communing the outer world looked relatively calm, a little cloudy, but calm.

So, it was to Sikes Lake I drove for a scenic walk around the lake, with the temperature barely in the 50s, appropriately attired in lined sweatpants, hoodie sweatshirt and stocking cap. I did not overheat, nor did I get cold...

Saturday, April 22, 2023

There For The Sex At The Lucy Park Log Cabin

The temperature heated into the 90s yesterday. And then today, on the next to last Saturday of the 2023 version of April, the temperature plummeted to way below 90. Consequently, I was way under dressed when I went to Lucy Park this morning. I was in shorts and t-shirt, when sweatpants and sweatshirt were what was needed.

I pulled into my regular Lucy Park parking spot by the Lucy Park log cabin to find myself a bit surprised by a sign which had been hung on the fence that surrounds the Lucy Park log cabin.


It took dense me a moment or two to figure out one of those gender reveal events was taking place in the Lucy Park log cabin.

Way back in the middle of February I texted my sister, Jackie, and asked what was revealed at the gender reveal event of my Favorite Christopher Nephew and soon to be mama, Carissa.

The answer to that question came in the form of a photo sent to my phone.

Apparently, the gender reveal at the Chris and Carissa gender reveal event came in the form of some sort of smoke bomb. Pink smoke if a girl, blue smoke if a boy.

That is Christopher on the right, arms in the air, happy at the it's gonna be a boy news.

I do not know when the due date is. I must remember to inquire...

Friday, April 21, 2023

Visiting The Wichita Falls Public Safety Training Center With Breakfast Burritos

Last night I virtually visited the Wichita Falls Public Safety Training Center, where I got to meet an extremely clever police dog, among other things, like meeting the Wichita Falls SWAT Team, whilst seeing their impressive SWAT tools.

Since this was happening during the usual dinner hour time of the day, attendees were provided Breakfast Burritos, with two options, egg and ham or egg and bacon. I opted for both, as did many others. 

At the conclusion of the evening we were given a couple t-shirts. I am modeling one of those t-shirts, above.

I found out this morning it is not easy to use the phone to take a selfie photo of a shirt.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Walking Lucy Park Backwoods Jungle Without Snakes

This morning for reasons we need not talk about I drove to the eastside of Wichita Falls. This put me in the vicinity, sort of, of Lucy Park.

And so by 11 this morning I was at Lucy Park to do some nature communing in the Lucy Park backwoods jungle area.

As you can see via the photo documentation, the Wichita River is running low, despite some rain falling last night.

Last year I made note of the fact that the grass in the Lucy Park backwoods jungle zone grew to being taller than me, as in over six feet tall. This was a tad unnerving, activating the fear of snakes in the grass.

A few weeks ago someone set fire to the Lucy Park Japanese Pagoda.

I think the Pagoda fire, at the edge of the Lucy Park jungle, caused a rethinking of what to do about that tall grass. As in the tall grass is now being regularly mowed, totally changing the Lucy Park backwoods jungle experience.

I sort of like it. One can easily now walk off trail, making your own route through the woods, with no fear of snakes slithering unexpectedly.

Today I ran into one of the walkers I regularly see at Lucy Park but had not seen of late. He told me he'd been hiking the Wichita Bluff Nature Area, til yesterday, when he came upon two large rattlesnakes taking up residence on the Circle Trail cement.

That information put the kibosh on hiking the Circle Trail in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area. I have a strong aversion to all snakes, with the strongest aversion being to rattlesnakes.

Of the deadly snakes in Texas, I have seen more rattlesnakes than any other. I've only had a couple encounters with copperheads, water moccasins and cottonmouths...

Monday, April 17, 2023

Madame McNutty, Linda Lou & Brother Jake With Skagit Tulips

What you see here was posted on Facebook, yesterday, by the entity known as Madame McNutty. A tulip field scene from our old home zone of the Skagit Valley, with the Mount Baker volcano hovering above.

This Facebook post led to a dialogue between my little brother, Jake, who recently moved back to the Skagit Valley from Arizona, Linda Lou, and the aforementioned Madame McNutty.

In that dialogue we learn who lives in that house you see on the right, above the tulips...

Jake Jones--That's where I'm living now.

Madame McNutty--I’m green with envy!!!

Linda Lou--hi Jake!

Jake Jones--Hello Linda Lou!

Linda Lou--I have been out to see the fields during weekdays. (less traffic) I will see if I spot your house when I journey that way again.

Jake Jones--And when I say, "that's where I'm living now." I'm now living in the house in the photo.

The last time I was in the Skagit Valley in April was way back in the year 2006. I did not see any tulips at that point in time, due to the fact I did not make it out to the Skagit Flats, where the tulips bloom...

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Mr. Perry Causes Me To Look For The Texas Testicle Festival

 I saw that which you see here, this Sunday morning, on Facebook, via the entity known as Mr. Perry. 

Mr. Perry has a highly sophisticated ribald sense of humor. So, I assumed this was a joke.

And then I Googled "Texas Testicle Festival" and learned this is not a joke, it is a real thing. In Fredericksburg, Texas.

There are multiple websites which have info about this festival, including the Best of Texas website which Googles at #1 with its Texas Testicle Festival webpage, where I read the following information...

Music and great food underlie the planning for this event, including the sweetbreads and Rocky Mountain oysters, paired nicely with some adult beverages (and a little bit of friendly ribbing), these things go down like butter!

Other delicacies such as barbecue ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, and Oysters can also be found at the Testicle Festival, so you absolutely won’t leave hungry regardless of your tastes.

Don't miss our Testicle Eating Competition! $40 Sign up fee - $100 Cash Prize, all the Testicles you can eat during competition and FREE BEER to wash it down!

From the San Antonio Current Texas Testicle Festival webpagewe learn some more details...

The fest will dole out fried family jewels of several different animals, as well as sweetbreads made from the thymus or pancreas of calf or lamb. Past festivals have included turkey, lamb and veal testicles that have been served up battered, fried or grilled.

I have been to Fredericksburg a couple times. It is a nice tourist town, sort of German themed. I don't think I will make any effort to return to Fredericksburg for the Texas Testicle Festival, even with it being as tempting as it sounds...

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Windy Sikes Lake Walk With Evening Primroses Coloring The Landscape

It was to Sikes Lake I ventured this third Saturday of the 2023 version of April, for a walk around the lake, along with dozens of other walkers enjoying the high-speed wind.

Since my last visit to Sikes Lake the Evening Primroses have blossomed in pink bloom mode.

Way back late in the previous century, in late April, I recollect heading to Dallas/Fort Worth on Highway 287, at some point after passing through Amarillo pink blossoms began coloring the landscape.

This was my introduction to Texas wildflower season. 

At some point, after Amarillo, I got off the road so as to check out, up close, these dainty pink blooms.

It was a few years later I finally learned the name of this Texas wildflower...

Friday, April 14, 2023

With Linda Lou In Lucy Park While Prudy Judy Gardens

It was back to Lucy Park I ventured on this HOT day in Texas. With a clear blue sky with nary a cloud in sight. And the air heated into the 80s.

Linda Lou spent some time with me today in Lucy Park. During the course of visiting with Linda Lou she told me about a mighty fine lunch she had yesterday in Anacortes with Betty Jo Bouvier, Honey Lulu and Mr. Clyde.

If I make it to Washington this summer I hope to have a mighty fine time seeing Linda Lou, Betty Jo Bouvier, Mr. Clyde, and a few others.

Speaking of people from my high school years.

Another person with whom I attended Burlington-Edison High School, showed up this morning on a poster advertising World Wide Naked Gardening Day.

This particular person was a bit of a Prudy Judy when I knew her in high school. Nice to see that the 2023 version is so free spirited....

Thursday, April 13, 2023

99 Degrees With Unexpected Surprise From Amazon

 Yesterday I mentioned going to the library with several books recommended by Linda Lou on my list of what books I hoped to check out.

I blogged about this in Linda Lou Library Recommendations Before Lucy Park Jungle Trek

Of the three authors I could find only one, Rachel Joyce, but not the book of Rachel Joyce which Linda Lou had recommended. So, I checked out a Rachel Joyce novel titled Perfect.

Around four this afternoon of April 13 I set out to go to Walmart to get onions, jicama and mixed greens. When I got in my vehicle and looked at the temperature reading in the rear view mirror, I was surprised. I knew it was hot, but not 99 degrees HOT.

Methinks we are in for a scorcher of a summer.

It is a tad difficult to make out the 99 degrees on the right side of the rear view mirror.

When I returned from Walmart I went to check the mailbox. I found a package from Amazon. I ordered something from Amazon last Friday. It arrived a day later. Fastest Amazon delivery yet.

So, I had no idea what I was going to find in this package from Amazon, til I opened it to see it was the Rachel Joyce book title Linda Lou had recommended, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

Had Linda Lou read yesterday's blogging about my futile book search and proceeded to have a copy sent to me by Amazon, with it again being delivered the next day?

I don't know. I suspect I will soon find out the answer though...

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Linda Lou Library Recommendations Before Lucy Park Jungle Trek

Today was a books due day, so it was to downtown Wichita Falls I ventured this morning, to spend a few minutes in the library returning books and acquiring new reading material. 

Linda Lou had recommended three books by three different authors. I could find only one of the authors, Rachel Joyce, but not the recommended title of The Unlikely Pilgrimage. Instead, I got a Rachel Joyce novel titled Perfect.

Since it was nearby, after the library, it was on the Lucy Park where I opted to speed walk the Lucy Park backwoods, which, as you can see, is rapidly returning to lush jungle mode.

The temperature was in the 70s, still a bit cool for slithering snakes to give chase, but, even so, I kept a wary eye on the lookout for anything slithering.

The biggest snake I have seen since being in Texas was seen in the Lucy Park backwoods zone, several years ago. 

I do not like snakes. Never have, never will...

Monday, April 10, 2023

Hank Frank's First Easter Photo Documentation

Incoming email this morning after Easter, from the Skagit Valley zone, where apparently Hank Frank Jones has learned how to use a camera. 

In the photo that would be my favorite ex-sister-in-law, Cindy, sitting next to her eldest son, Jason, who is sitting next to his eldest son, Spencer Jack, who is sitting next to my little brother, Jake, who is also Spencer Jack's grandpa. I forgot to mention, Cindy is Spencer Jack's grandma.

The explanatory text accompanying Hank Frank's photo...

Thought you’d enjoy this picture.

Henry’s mom and dad cooked a delicious ham and bbq rib luncheon for his favorite uncle, cousin, grandmother and step grandfather, along with his new neighbor known to him as Papa Jake.

The photographer was a young man, who goes by the name Henry. 

He took this picture prior to an Easter egg hunt which was held in less than ideal weather, as Skagit County had a blustery Sunday.

Nonetheless, he was excited to partake.

Hope all is well in TX. 

Hope you can visit soon. 


Sunday, April 9, 2023

Happy Easter Morning With The Lucy Park Throngs

I set out for Sikes Lake, this fine Easter morning, then changed my mind and headed north to Lucy Park to join the throngs in Easter picnic mode, most having hauled in barbecue grills. Such making for a fine atmosphere of barbecuing smoke perfuming the air.

As you can see via the Lucy Park photo documentation, the Lucy Park backwoods zone is now in full green mode, soon to turn into what looks like jungle, where snakes and alligators may slither and lurk.

Gray is the dominant sky color today, with a few blue patches...

Friday, April 7, 2023

It's that time again!

 You know what to do...

Don't vote for the one they call Geren's nephew.
Don't vote for the appointed one, who ran on a slate with two of the current board members, twice.
Don't for vote the one no one knows.

Just Vote Joe!

Good Friday Hiking Around Mount Wichita Being Revitalized

This first Friday of the 2023 version of April took me to Mount Wichita in Lake Wichita Park, for some pleasant temperatured nature communing.

What you are looking at, with Mount Wichita in the background, is the current status of the Lake Wichita Revitalization Veterans Memorial Plaza, due to be completed by the end of May. 

So far that under construction Veterans Memorial Plaza is the only Lake Wichita Revitalization being vitalized. Originally this Veterans Memorial was to be at the fishing dock on the east side of the lake. I remember, way back in, I think, August of 2017, going to an event at Lake Wichita Dam where a local car dealer donated a giant half million dollar check to help pay for the Veterans Memorial.

I first heard of the Lake Wichita Revitalization Project when I moved to Wichita Falls, way back in the previous decade. 

Currently Lake Wichita continues to shrink, creating what looks like tide flats. 

In the above photo we are as close as possible to the water, without the ground being muddy, looking back at Mount Wichita.

And here you see a brave guy who managed to get to the summit of Mount Wichita. Years of erosion has made climbing this mountain a bit treacherous, particularly the going downhill part.

I do not remember Mount Wichita looking as green, previously, as it looked today...

Thursday, April 6, 2023

David, Theo & Ruby's Final France Photos

 A fresh batch of photos from France arrived in my email last night. With the only text in the email saying...

"We head tomorrow. Incredible trip, made harder by a vicious bug we picked up at Disneyland."

That and challenging me to guess what I was looking at in the photos.

Well, the first one was easy. Theo holding up the Eiffel Tower.

The above photo is known as the Sinking House in Montmartre.

I gave up trying to figure out what I am looking at in the above photo. I do see the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

This one was easy, due to most of the name of the place being in the photo, as in this is the Moulin Rouge.

And here we have David, Theo and Ruby visiting the Tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte.

I am curious regarding the specifics of the nature of the bug which was picked up whilst visiting the French version of Disneyland. The kids don't look at all sick in the various instances of photo documentation.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Yesterday's Heat Wave Followed By Today's Chill At Sikes Lake

Yesterday the outer world was heated into the 90s, causing me to turn on the air conditioning for the first time this year.

Today, on this first Wednesday of the 2023 version of April the outer world returned to being chilled way below 90 degrees. 

55 degrees when I drove to Sikes Lake and took the picture you see above, photo documenting the clear, cool blue sky. 

It seems by now wildflowers should be busy blooming. But, I have seen nary a single evening primrose, which are usually the first to appear.

I am currently resisting switching the climate control from cool to heat...

Monday, April 3, 2023

In Paris With Ruby, Theo, David & Mona Lisa

Email this morning from France with multiple photos, with no text telling me what I am looking at, other than, with some of the photos, telling me this should be an easy one. Such as the above. Ruby, Theo and David with the Paris Disneyland castle behind them.

On a train ride in Paris Disneyland. Is this the Paris Disneyland version of Thunder Mountain? I have no clue.

I am thinking above Theo, Ruby and David are in the Palace of Versailles.

I am guessing the Tacoma Trio is still in the Palace of Versailles in the above photo documentation. Before heading underground.

And here we seem to have gone from the Palace of Versailles. to a tour of the Paris Sewers.

I think the next summer Olympics is taking place in Paris, which would make those the Olympic rings we are seeing above.

Finally a totally easy one. David, Ruby and Theo glowing bluish purple, with the Eiffel Tower behind them.

And now it looks like Theo, Ruby and David are under the glass pyramid in the Louvre Museum.

A close up of Theo, Ruby and David doing their best mysterious Mona Lisa smiles, in the Louvre Museum, with Mona on the wall behind them.

That concludes today's virtual visit to France..

Sunday, April 2, 2023

First Sunday Of April Showers With Thunder Booms


The predicted thunderstorm arrived a couple hours late on this first Sunday of the 2023 version of April.

A long downpour has poured down a large enough volume of water that the view of the street from my kitchen window looks like the road is a river.

The lightning strikes, so far, have all been further than a mile distant, so the booms are not loud and concussive enough to scare the cat. If I had a cat.

Earlier today, before noon, I was able to have a mighty fine walk around Sikes Lake, with throngs of fellow walkers. Under a clear blue sky.

Currently the outer world looks to be brightening up a little. So, perhaps I will still be able to make my regularly scheduled Sunday visit to Walmart for anthropological observing humans purposes...

15 Best Airports In North America

I saw this a couple days ago on MSN, purporting to list The 15 Best Airports in North America.

I have experienced a few of these supposed best North American airports, as in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Denver International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Of the three on the list which I have experienced, I would pick D/FW International as the best, with the Denver Airport, next best, with Sea-Tacoma International Airport not my pick to be best that I have been in.

D/FW has an easy to use SkyLink train that quickly gets you to any terminal in the HUGE airport. DFW has a mass transit train connection to the Dallas part of the DFW Metroplex, via a DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) line.

The Denver Airport also has a mass transit train connection to downtown Denver.

Same with Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The only other airports I have been in are McCarran International Airport, in Las Vegas, also known as Harry Reid International Airport. Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, and Juneau International Airport in Alaska.

I have found Sea-Tac to be a bit more confusing than other airports I have navigated around. And it always seems to have construction projects going on. Sea-Tac is aesthetically pleasing, there is that. You know you are in the Pacific Northwest when you are in Sea-Tac, but how Sea-Tac was determined to be the best airport in North America is a mystery to me.

Here is the entire list of 15....

1 Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

2 Vancouver International Airport

3 Houston Hobby Airport

4 Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport

5 Montréal-Trudeau International Airport

6 Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

7 San Francisco International Airport

8 New York-LaGuardia Airport

9 Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

10 Los Angeles International Airport

11 Toronto Pearson International Airport

12 Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

13 Denver International Airport

14 John F. Kennedy International Airport

15 Calgary International Airport

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Burlington's Cascade Mall Being Repurposed As A Theme Park

I saw that which you here on Facebook, this morning of the first day of April.

I thought, wow, that is impressive, my little old hometown, with a population a little under 10,000, is repurposing the Cascade Mall as a theme park, with a hotel, a night club, a themed arcade, an I-Max movie theater, a waterpark, 380 condos, an In 'n Out Burger restaurant, along with the nearby Target being taken over by Trader Joe's.


And then I realized it is the first day of April, also known as April Fool's Day...