Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Just a Swingin'

Before we exited our place in LaCombe, Louisiana, we took our truck to Supreme Ford in Sliddell to have the accelerator pedal fixed.  Sometimes it would not engage when pressed.  Well, when they were working on that, they discovered we needed the front end (ball joints) repaired...$3000.00 later, we picked it up from the dealership and noticed the steering is now loose!!!  We took it back...now the steering box needed to be replaced and one of their mechanics works on the side and he can fix it.  Oh Yeah.  It's time for us to move on to South Texas (doctor's appointments).  We have so much play in the steering, but we manage to make it to Bentsen Palms in Mission, Texas where we stayed for two weeks...just a swingin.'  Wallace took the truck to Boggus Ford in McAllen to have them look at it.  Our mechanic discovered a part on the repair had been left off (dust cover) by the mechanic in Slidell.  Good Grief!!!  He can't work on it because he is booked up until after the holidays!!!  Supreme Ford supposedly is going to make it good.  Can you rely on anyone out there to do their dang job right?  Our advice  is don't have any work done at Supreme Ford in Slidell, Louisian!!!  

We left the Valley and are now sitting on the side of the road about 30 miles from Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR where we will be parked for three months...we just blew a tire on the 5th wheel that is only two years old.  Towmax STR tires made in China.  I tried to get Wallace to change them out from the start, but he thought they would be okay.  We are now looking to buy all new tires!!!  It has been an expensive closure of 2013.

We did have a wonderful two weeks at "home" in the Valley with family and friends.  But for now we are still Just a Swingin.'

Until next time...

Friday, December 27, 2013

Family Fun at Christmastime

We have been in the Valley with family for Christmas for the past two weeks staying at Bentsen Palms in Mission, Texas.

Our youngest son, Mitchell and our Granddarlins,' Lindsey and Joaquin.

We have been enjoying family, fruit, and FOOD.  One of our favorites is the beef and bean patos.

We will be moving to Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR, near Houston tomorrow...so getting all the hugs we can possible get!!!

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family too.

Until next time...

Saturday, December 7, 2013

This n That

We have one work week left and we will be moving on to spend Christmas with our son in South Texas before we move back to Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR for our second time.

When we first got here to SELA NWR, Wallace and I worked together.  Then we were split up, much to my dismay.  Seems like some manly jobs came up...oh well!!!

Since we were not together, it was hard to document our work and share on the blog...so here are a few things we managed to get photos of.

Brochure inventory along with somewhat of organization with the list for someone else to type up and make sure it gets to the proper person.

A picture of the boardwalk at Bogue Chitto before we worked on that.  I operated the blower.

Below is what it looked like afterwards.

Under the railing, the leaves and gunk were so compacted it took a lot of bending to get the blower to finally release the stuff...oh, my back...as the blower was a heavy duty blower.  But, we gotter done!!!

Wallace and I paired up once again to do the brochure run which includes picking up trash at several places along the route, and recording visitation counts.  There are five counters at various places and this is what he is doing in this picture.

Back to the pink jobs.

I planted 57 snapdragons in this sugar pot. Sugar pots were used by the sugar plantations to boil the sugarcane.

Time out for a little fun on Cane Bayou out to the mouth of Lake Pontchartrain.

This is a huge bat box Ken wanted installed...Wallace got to help on this project.  Ken asked us to put the brace on it with specific instructions on how he wanted it done...ha...I got to help with a blue job.

Another semi-blue job.

Replacing three interpretive signs that were bad or changed because of the death of a tree.

Ken had 18 pictures he had printed out.  My job was to find the best placement of the subject, cut and place in a mat. They were then placed in a frame to hang.

Ken is a stickler for details. This wall was to have 5 pictures hung evenly across this wall.  This was the stressful assignment as there were 13 of these large pictures that were hung, all at the same level.

Is that level or WHAT?

I am a stickler too and put a lot of stress on myself, but I must say I was satisfied at the end of that day.

Later, Ken said he was very pleased...allrighty then.

Wallace helped with this bridge so the mower could cross the ditches.  The guys put two of them together and they did a super job.  A post will be installed later so some bozo want try to drive his car across.

Santa Claus is coming to Bayou Lacombe at the visitor center.  We have all pitched in to decorate and it really looks nice.  This is just one little corner.

We won't be here for the festivities, but the building is now ready.

Until next time...  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Side Trip

to Biloxi, Mississippi.

We took the coastal route to get there, on US 90.

There are some beautiful homes and huge live oak trees with Spanish moss dripping from those trees, and the beach goes on for miles.

My brother was stationed there many years ago when he was in the Air Force.  Our family visited him there and I remember how the beach looked then.  A long way to get to the water if you wanted to step around all the crabs that were there and there were no waves!!

I am seeing Biloxi with a different set of eyes.

Mississippi has only one lighthouse and it sets in the middle of a four lane busy highway.

It was built in 1848.  It survived the Civil War and more than 20 hurricanes with Katrina being the last one.

We just missed the last tour so we were unable to climb the 57 steps to the top.

The Visitors Center is just across the street from the lighthouse with plenty of parking.  It is a real beauty inside.

We walked around learning what we could from the nice displays.

There were some nice sculptures made from the dead trees and driftwood Katrina left behind.

We particularly were impressed with this horse head.

Coming in to town, we noticed these carvings in the middle of the four lane highway.

This is the Katrina Sculpture Garden.

The sculptures line the road.  They were made using a chain saw from the trunks of the trees that did not survive Katrina's wrath.

We were told this was the place to have lunch...Beau Rivage.

You will notice the flag is at half staff in memory of President Kennedy.

The place was beautifully decked out for the Christmas holidays.

And the food was absolutely delicious.

On my plate was alligator sausage (just had to try it), pulled pork, ribs, fried green tomato, yams, catfish, green beans, jambalaya, and mac n cheese.  The salad was exceptional.  Then we had dessert.  We were glad we stopped here, but we ate TOO much.

People that know us know if there is a refuge close by, we will make the effort to visit.

We met Tom and Sally who are in their 5th year there, and Melissa, volunteer coordinator. 

We wanted to see the cranes.  Sally gave us some ideas with not a lot of hope of seeing them at this time of day. I finally spotted these two way off the busy road.

I should have taken my Cannon for this shot!!!

I don't give up easily, when I yelled, "there they are!"  They were the only ones we saw...but it made me happy, happy, happy!!!

We enjoyed a short walk on the trail and were delighted to see the pitcher plants are still fresh, not too many though.

It started to sprinkle on us so we headed back to the truck.

We circled through the volunteer area where we decided this was not a place we would be interested in staying.

We drove back to our lodging through the fog of the coast, then decided we better go back on the interstate.

We had a wonderful time on our day off.

Until next time...

Friday, November 15, 2013

Jewel in Jackson

Mississippi's State Capitol was built in 1901-03, on the site of the old state penitentiary at a cost of $1,093,641 with funds from a lawsuit against the Illinois Central Railroad for back taxes. It was restored in 1979-82 at a cost of $19 million.

The gold-coated copper eagle stands at the apex.  It is 8' tall and 15' across.

The central dome rises 180' from the first floor. There are 4,750 original light fixtures with 750 being in the Rotunda.

I surely would not like to be the one who changes light bulbs, and you will notice some of them are burned out.

It is amazing how light is used in this building.

The formal (grand) staircase ascends to the 4th floor (or you can take the elevator).

At the first landing, there are three huge stained glass windows. Mother Mississippi is shown in the middle with the American Indian and the Pioneer Settler on either side.

The building is rectangle in shape with semi-circles at each end.  The Senate Chambers is at one end with the House at the opposite end.

They each have a beautiful stained glass (minor) dome.

When they are in session, the Mississippi flag is raised above the dome and lowered when they adjourn.

In the House of Representatives, Tennessee pink marble is used on the walls.

We sat in the visitor's gallery and admired the grandeur. The semi circular arches, each with the coat of arms with the words "Virtute et Armis," Latin for "by valor and arms."

The dome in the Senate with the six panels depict an American Indian woman and the inscription "The people's government made for the people...made by the people...and answerable to the people." 

There are 122 members in the House and 52 members in the Senate.

The architecture is Beaux Arts style and is grand and lush.

This style has a lot of beautiful details.

I really liked this area showing the pink marble
and the stained glass window with pretty colors.

The long hallway on the 4th floor, the little black squares are glass cylinders (bottles), which allows sunlight to shine through to the 3rd floor.  There are stained glass windows above letting in plenty of natural light.

Corinthian columns are used extensively, inside and outside. Blindfolded Lady Justice reminds us all that laws are to be fair for all people.

The letter M is displayed in several places...this one is on the floor in the Old Supreme Court.

There are 242,500 square feet in this State House.

Mississippi comes from an Indian word that means "Father of Waters."

Jackson Mississippi is named in honor of Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States. 

In our walk around the town, we enjoyed several sites, had a wonderful meal at Elite Restaurant, and got another stamp for our visits to State Capitols.

Again, another great big thanks to our wonderful friends, David and Marianne for introducing us to these magnificent places of history.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Youth Art Show

We assisted in the Youth Art Show last weekend here at the refuge, and my, what talent these kiddos have.

There were entries from eight years old to 14 years of age.

This little cutie took first place in her age division...8-10.  A watercolor of a wolf.

There were many to judge from, and I am glad I was not one of the judges. 

One particular teacher had many winners from her class.

Outside was where the fun began.  This little bobcat kitten stole the show walking around on a leash, playing with the skunk and circling the Gopher Tortoise.

And of course, we had to have the baby alligator out and about.

This Short-eared Owl drew some attention.

Then I just had to hold this boa constrictor!!!  What a beautiful snake.

It was on display, snaking around on a table for kids to touch.

The art show was a success with many in attendance, and of course the animals added to the day.

Here's looking at you kid.

Until next time...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

It's Open...

Remember a few blogs back, that I said we would come back to this place, The Dew Drop Jazz and Social Club.  Well, the doors and windows are open, and we enjoyed the evening listening to some great music.

The cost is $10.00 which is really a donation.  There are only benches to sit on...nothing fancy, but the place was packed. Of course, you can bring a cushion if you so desire.  The church next door has plates of food to purchase and there is plenty of beverages.

These were the groups playing.  They were very good.  Tom could really play that piano, and Aurora could really play that saxophone and clarinet.  She also sang some really old fashioned songs about the area.  I had never heard them, mostly about the Mississippi.

At 8:00 pm, the New Orleans Jazz Vipers took stage.  They were very good too.  The feet were tapping to the music.

This water feature caught my eye...an old french horn, which was located in a yard nearby.

We had a wonderful time and enjoyed some wonderful music.

Until next time...