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Goals

Goals have been on my mind recently. I am always planning something or other, and now I have the opportunity to really focus. But I have too many choices that cause their own frustration and sluggishness.

Here is my list of things I wanted to do last month:

1. Make a worm box. 2. Set up my container garden again, hopefully to include a dwarf citrus tree. 3. Have an open house for our friends who helped us move, to prove that everything fit! 4. Try every recipe in my clippings stack. 5. Finish my mini-quilt. 6. Use the book I bought a while back to make a skirt. 7. Organize the hurricane evac kit. 8. Organize the pantry. 9. Find a rec bike group to ride with. 10. Make some freezer cookies.

So that looks like some goals to work toward. I threw some herb seeds out in pots, but only the chives (of course) are showing any kind of spark. We also have a hot pink geranium and an aloe plant, but neither citrus trees nor worms have made it yet.

I need another ruler and larger cutting mat to work on my mini-quilt (and probably the skirt, too). I will have to see when the next bike ride is, plus I need to have my own tools for tire changing. Open house…I wanted to have curtains, but apparently there is nothing I like less than shopping or thinking about curtains! I think I am just going to throw out the recipe clippings rather than have them hanging over my head. There’s a reason why they aren’t calling out to be made. Freezer cookies still sound like a good idea, though, so I will look for good recipes for those. Tomorrow, I’ll buy a few things for the hurricane kit.

I also realized that I haven’t read a Supreme Court decision since I graduated. First, so I wouldn’t confuse myself with new material for the bar (a lovely excuse!), and then because I was lazy and busy. Now, I don’t have any excuses so I think I might dig in and read from 2007 onwards. And, I want to teach myself Texas civil procedure because I want to know how things are set up here and how they work. And because I love rules.

Hmm. I guess I’ll work on these and see how it goes.

P.S. I rode my bike to the library today and back, almost 7.5 miles! Woohoo!

Hiking Goal update

I have absolutely no idea where I am with regard to reaching my hiking goal. Life got a little busy after August last year, so all bets were off the table. I’m not going to create a new goal for this year, just get back to working on 10 miles a month.

This month we have been good about being outside, so I’m happy about that. Looking back, I would say that we have hiked about four miles (3.9). I’m not counting our walks around town, because they aren’t really on trails. Good for not trying too hard, but not good for my goal. I don’t think I’ll get six miles in by the end of the month because I only have the rest of the week.

Maybe May will bring more hiking miles.

Brazos Bend State Park

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Yesterday afternoon, Reed and I went exploring on a short road trip down to Brazos Bend State Park. I’ve been meaning to go ever since Reed moved here, because it is supposed to be a great place to see wildlife and a very nice park. And it was.

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Brazos Bend is known for alligators, and we saw probably a dozen or more while we were there. We walked around the 40 Acre Lake trail, where the alligators were sunning themselves near the path and where we saw plenty of great water birds. I found a new handful for my life list, which was fun. This one is a Tri-Colored Heron, and is now one of my favorite birds.

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We climbed to the top of the observation tower and looked out across the lakes and beyond. Texas is flat, flat, flat.

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After we had walked around the lake, and down to the bridge on the spillway trail and back, we hopped in our car and went to the Nature Center. We were able to catch the afternoon ranger program about owls, which was nice. That is where we saw the owl mummy! It was found in a barn.

While we were there, we also drove through and looked at the campsites and picnic area. It is a beautiful park. There is also an observatory there, which is open on Saturday evening.

We both had a very good time, and I bought a park pass so that we can go to state parks and historic sites for free! Reed took all of these pictures.

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We took another walk around this afternoon, although not as far as the park. This time, I wanted to walk to the waterfalls.

Waterfalls? In Houston?

A park a few blocks from us has the closest thing we’re going to get to waterfalls here. Of course, they are actually very large fountains. Houston is a great town for fountains.

We walked over the bayou to Main Street. Our apartment complex is on the right.

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Then, after a few blocks of strolling, we came to this little hemlock garden. You can see the waterfalls in the background. Behind the tall towers there is a little dynamic fountain flanked on both sides by shady walkways with benches.

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After we had wandered about here and watched the dynamic fountain, we took the long way home which took us back towards the shopping center and fast food places near to us. We stopped in at Southwell’s and Reed bought a shake. And then we moseyed on home through the pretty neighborhood and back across the bayou, pausing to watch the fish swimming up against the current.

I posted some pics on facebook, which led to a blog post request. So here it is. This past weekend, I went to FeatherFest in Galveston for an afternoon, and had a great time even though I didn’t get to do what I actually went there to do. Galveston is just about an hour away.

I had planned on going on a birding walk, but by the time I got there, that trip was full. If it weren’t for the very helpful woman who took my registration, I would probably just have wandered around Galveston on my own. But, when she heard I was looking for a 2pm trip, she saw the beach walk was open and happily signed me up! I hadn’t read anything about the beach walk, so I had no idea what I was in for but I figured I was probably prepared for anything.

The beach walk was at Galveston Island State Park. The park, like all of Galveston, was hit hard by Hurricane Ike in September 2008. The nature center is still standing, although it was flooded with four feet of water. Most of the other facilities were destroyed, including the picnic shelters, the main visitor center, campgrounds, etc.

We started out at the nature center, which is a small building with a touch table of shells and some aquariums with little fishies and one large lightning whelk, which is the state shell of Texas. This is where we met our trip leaders, whose names aren’t listed on the website, but were master naturalists and/or marine science professors. (I didn’t pay attention because I thought it would be on the website!) They told us about the different kinds of shells we might see on the beach, and then we crossed the street and went to the beach.

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We didn’t really walk very far–actually just from the parking lot down to the water! But I had a good time, because I learned a lot. I learned the difference between รูเล็ตออนไลน์cockles and ark clams by looking at the hinges on their shells, for one thing, and got to see different kinds of sea life that live in the sand, like ghost shrimp, cabbagehead jellyfish, and tiny little clams and snails.

My favorite part was catching the little sea creatures and looking at them. Basically, they walked out a little ways in the waves and troweled up some sand into a box with a screen in the bottom and sifted out the sand. This is how they found the tiny shells that still had the animals in them! Then, after we all had a chance to hold whatever it is and look at it closely, they put them in these viewing containers filled with sea water and we could watch the little critters move around as they tried to figure out what was going on.

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The shell in my hand is a Salle’s Auger, and you can see it as the speck crawling out of the container, too. It was pretty fast for being so small. There were also some tiny clams in there, and they were rocking back and forth, trying (unsuccessfully) to bury themselves back into the sand.

While we were standing there, a man and boy walked by with this shark they found. They let us look at the shark and the trip leaders told us facts about sharks in general and we got to touch the shark’s skin to feel the roughness.

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After that, it was time to ride back to downtown. I walked through some of The Strand, and jumped in the car to drive home. It was lots of fun, and I would love to go back and dig around to see what else I can find that lives in the sand.

Besides the beach walk, there were other field trips that were birding-focused and workshops about all sorts of local nature topics. There was also a birder’s bazaar, where I finally picked up a Texas guidebook which will help me learn the Texas birds and where they can be found better. There was a fee to go on the field trip, but I think it was worth it. To find birding festivals near you, you can search the American Birding Association’s website.

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