Sunday, May 31, 2009

Baby Bluejay

Poor little birdie

Last week Mark and I heard a great big bird commotion outside, I mean it was LOUD! So we went to check the action. I saw a Bluejay and it was squaking (or whatever the official Bluejay sound is called) like there was no tomorrow. And wouldn't you know it, there was Smokey, sitting nearby along the fence, looking suspicious (to me anyway). I went over to see if Smokey had anything to do with the fuss and the answer was y-e-s. Oh my goodness, he was sitting right next to this poor little baby and it looked scared to death! He wasn't on it; he wasn't biting it; he was simply there. About eight inches away from the bird, maybe less. So I snatched up Smokey and put him in the house so that the birds could settle down and hopefully fly off.

It didn't look like baby was hurt, probably just stunned, and it had trouble flying but it tried. In the picture below, you can see the zoomed out shot of where it took sanctuary after escaping Smokey's clutches. The parent bird is up on top of the fence, coaxing it. I think Bluejays are vey beautiful and unique looking birds, but they sure do make a lot of noise. Especially if they are feeling threatened. :)

Parent & Baby Bluejay

My mom used to garden while we lived in NC and there was a Bluejay that would swoop down on her even though its nest was not near our yard at all. My mom would try to talk to it and tell it she wasn't bothering them but she wasn't going anywhere either. I don't know why, that memory has stayed with me a long time.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sky Watch Friday

Storm 3

So I barely got in a second post this week but I've been wanting to share this one for Sky Watch (be sure to check out other cool sky shots!). Lately we have had a few storms rolling through and that is always a welcome weather event! I got several really neat shots of this sky activity when i was coming back from the Target in New Braunfels, which is about 15 minutes west/north-west of Seguin, along IH-35. I was so mezmorized by the clouds and color that I just parked and watched. I love storms. The color and clouds changed pretty rapidly so I just snapped away. I tried the panaramic setting but didn't get it right. I really want to practice that setting more. And I need to remember my tripod clip. :)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Kicking Off the New Week

Bee in Esperanza
I have a presentation I'm working on for tomorrow so no time to upload pictures I took this weekend. Instead, let me at least share another one I liked when I snapped the Esperanza. My friend liked the colors of the shot and so do I. The sky turned a blue that made me think of a card, not true blue but still lovely to look at.

I hope everyone had a nice holiday today. We really enjoyed having an extra day together. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bee in the Esperanza

Bee on Esperanza

This year our Esperanza bush finally came back on its own without my having to prune it back, which is what I've been hoping it would do for a while now. We have actually been lucky enough to receive a little bit of rain here and there this year though we're still in drought. It is, however, still nice and green around here and there is some food for the bees. Still, we could use more. After work one day last week, Mark told me the bees were getting into the Esperanza so I tried to catch a few shots. They were such busy bees, it was hard to snap them but I do like the way this one turned out.

Tomorrow is a holiday so we have it off from work in order to observe Memorial Day in honor of our servicemen and servicewomen. I am grateful for them since I wouldn't be here in this great country had it not been for the people who helped us in Vietnam and then our sponsor helping us out of Vietnam. Not a day goes by that I don't realize how different my life could have been and I know that I am truly blessed.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Caterpillar Comes to Seguin

Caterpillar is coming to Seguin!

We're all very happy that Caterpillar is bringing operations to Seguin! The land is being prepared and it looks pretty impressive each time I pass by going to and coming from work. Before I left for North Carolina, there were two homes still up and plenty of trees so that you couldn't see IH-10 from Kingsbury/Hwy 90. I am gone a week and a half and it's all changed! It's exciting to see the new changes around town. Across from here, the Breismeister Middle School is also undergoing some growth construction.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We're Home & So Are Mark's Books

Mark's first of four books!

We're back!!! And it is so wonderful to be home after ten whole days away. We are both feeling refreshed and ready to tackle things we need to do. But first...

Mark's books arrived finally!!! I was so hoping to see them before I left for NC but it wasn't meant to be. But they are here now and I am so, so happy for Mark to get his first book on the topic published already! It's so cool to stack the books up and flip through them, knowing that he pulled together all the information...and to think about all the stories to be told about those people listed. It's truly amazing. It's also a very interesting look into what life was like for Seguinites back during the 1840s through 1865. The publisher (Janaway Publishing) did a fantastic job on the format and look of the book. We really appreciated that they spent more money in order to make sure the old documents and photographs came out great. And now Mark's going to start a lecture and signing tour -- he's got a couple of "gigs" lined up so I'll keep you posted on where he'll be. [By the way, thank you to those of you who have ordered copies and others who have called or spoken with us about buying a copy from us. We really appreciate your interest and support. :)]

You can also check out Mark's blog because I believe he's going to post about the book this week also. :) Congratulations, honey. I am SO proud of you!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Home Sweet Home & Happy Days

Thien & Mark

Greetings from Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina! I am so happy to be at the Outer Banks and to finally show Mark the island I love so much. For my big 4-0 birthday, Mark is taking me on this trip and I can't tell you how much we are enjoying ourselves. I can't post everyday even if I wanted to because we don't have wi-fi where we're staying AND there is absolutely NO AT&T service anywhere on the island. At least none we found. Yesterday we took the ferry to Hatteras so that we can see a few text messages so people know where we are and to call our moms for Mother's Day. By the way....HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY moms out there. :)

Anyway, we just enjoyed some beverages here at the coffeehouse and checked some personal email. I refused to log into work though I thought about it for about 3 seconds. LOL. No work. It'll just have to wait.

This is a shot of us on the two hour and fifteen minute ferry ride between Cedar Island and Ocracoke, crossing the Pamlico Sound. I so enjoyed it, as you can tell by the big ole grin I have on my face. Didn't spot any dolphins this time but I hope to before we leave. Having a blast and will upload more pictures when I get home. It's gorgeous and perfect for another dip in the sea after lunch. I love the Atlantic waters.

Hope you are all enjoying the weekend and hope that the new week will be a great one. Catch you later!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Quiz for Thursday


Who knows what this is? :)

And guess what? I'm on V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N!!!! And I am sooooo excited. Not sure I'll post between now and when we get home next week so if you don't see something new, you know where I'm at.....

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Greetings from NC

Scrapping the seal of the honey
Hi everyone. Before I get on to do some work, I wanted to get a post up for you. I'm in NC so I'm going to have to dig through some pictures to share with you from afar. I am L-O-V-I-N-G visiting my home state again. It's wonderful to be back and see all the changes in the area as well as some good ole things that haven't changed. AND I got to have lunch with my best friends from college as well as dinners with my sister and her family. I love snuggling with my nephew.

And now to the picture....guess what I got to sample before leaving Texas?!?! Mark's first batch of honey. OMG it was DELICIOUS!!! I wish I had taken some with me. In this shot, Mark is scrapping the wax off the top so that we can get to the honey. This is called "capping." The bees seal up the little compartments (sorry honey, I don't know the official name and you're not sitting across from me for me to ask) once it's full of honey. This is my simplified explanation. Anyway, it was really neat. That one little frame produced quite a bit of honey. And at first, I thought it looked really dark so I assumed the honey was dark. BUT that was not so...check out this shot below. The comb is dark but the honey is very clear. Cool. I love being married to a beekeeper! Miss you honey (my man, not the bee stuff)!

Sweet light honey

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Beetle Battle!

Beetle Battle!
Originally uploaded by tgretchen
Visiting the bees DID help perk me up quite a bit today. I just love watching them, busy with work! It's an amazing world to me. I was so pleasantly surprised by the growth in Mark's hives...they stand pretty tall now so it was pretty impressive. We even took one small frame back with us to sample the honey. Verdict: DELICIOUS!

This is one of my favorite videos and I've been trying to record one where guard bees are at work protecting the hive. They protect against robber bees (from other hives) and intruders such as this beetle. They pushed it out and made sure it left before they returned to the entrance of the hive. That is pretty neat in my book. So now I know there are drones, workers, attendents, guards and the Queen. :)

By the way, they are still very gentle and accepting. I snapped photos and videos without wearing a veil or gloves and never got stung. At one point, Mark even pointed out that I was right in the middle of the flight path and they just flew around me. It was so cool to stand among all the bees. Really made my week. Thanks for taking me out there, honey.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Week's End Summary

Garden by the door

Sorry. I had really intended to post garden shots this week for you while I was in Irving but it just didn't happen. :( I'm afraid I've been woefully neglectful of my blog so I apologize. Things have just been so darn busy that I don't even remember to eat breakfast sometimes. Now that's bad! LOL.

I always enjoy driving by this house because they were very creative with their garden -- I love how it's right there by the door in the flower beds! I have not seen this anywhere else so I just had to share it with you. There's just something about seeing the cornstalks next to the house. Very cool looking, if you ask me. Their tomato plants are looking pretty nice also.

Our garden is coming along though we're not sure what we'll get this year. I'll keep you posted. Like I said, maybe the mere act of gardening is the therapy for long, stressful days and weeks. That and visits to the beehives. Speaking of which, Mark is taking me tomorrow to visit the country hives. I'll see what's new and share with you. I do know our city bees in the backyard are bringing in all sorts of colorful pollen on their little legs. It's really neat to watch.