Monday, June 30, 2014

TX and CA Giveaways

Found the following giveaways that I thought might be of  interest to Texifornians.

Orange County Fair Tickets (7/2) Orange County, CA

Mt. Playmore Annual Pass (7/7) Austin, TX

Texas Metal Star (7/11)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mockingbird Chick

About a month ago I went out to water my potted plants, and as I went to get the hose this grey bird started going CRAZY chirping and ruffling it's feathers and doing everything it could to get my attention.  It even swooped at me.  "Hmm...I thought.  Must be a nest nearby.  Good mama"

But as it turns out, it wasn't the nest she was concerned about.  When I went to water my flowers I almost watered this little guy...

"How on earth did he get there?" I thought.  These planters weren't under any trees, or anywhere else there might be a nest.  I wondered what I should do...but in the meantime brought my children out to take a look.

"Do you see the baby bird?  Don't get too close.  You don't want to scare it.   Just look...don't touch."

Afterwards I went online to identify it's mom, and see what I should do.   Our mother and baby were  Mockingbirds--the Texas State Bird.   I can't believe I've lived here all this time and never knew what our state bird looked like.  I've seen these birds all around but just never tried to find out what they were.  I didn't get a good picture of the mom, but here's one from Wikimedia Commons...

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
Photo by DickDaniels -

Not only is this bird the Texas State Bird, it's also the state bird of Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee  (and used to be the state bird of South Carolina).  On Florida's site about this bird I learn this...

  When the chicks are about 12 days old, they will venture from the nest and hop around on the ground or in low shrubs. During this transitional period (after leaving the nest and before they can fly), the young birds are still in the care of the parents, who feed them up to five times per hour. If found hopping around on the ground, they should be placed low in a tree or in a shrub and left alone. The parents will continue to care for them for several days until they learn to forage for themselves.
- The Florida Gardener

My mom, who always kept birdfeeders out and full, once commented on this bird.  "I used to like those birds," she said, "...until I saw how they bullied the other birds.  They chase away any other birds that come around."  I wish I could have shared with her what I learned (she passed away last summer).  She would have loved seeing the baby bird we found, and I think knowing that these birds acted the way they did to protect their fledglings would have warmed her heart towards them.  She was fierce like that as a mother too.

Camera Critters

Friday, June 06, 2014

This is Wherever Wednesday

Welcome to This is Wherever Wednesday (um...Friday)!  SORRY I'M LATE.    Here's why:

  1. May was CRAZY!  A good kind of crazy, yes.  My birthday, our anniversary, Mother's Day, and all sorts of end of the school year activities all happen this month.
  2. For the last two weeks I've been sick as a dog.  
  3. This was the last week of school and I've been going to school stuff with my kids nearly every day of it.  

So anyways, THANK YOU to everyone who posted last week.  I enjoyed every single post.  Here are a few of my faves:  

  • Crazy Running Girl shared a post about her first six months in Austin, Texas.  She moved there from Brooklyn, NY.  I always say that when people move to a new place they notice things about it that long time locals just take in stride, and this post is a perfect example of that.  Loved seeing Austin through a New Yorkers' eyes.  (You might also enjoy her 10 Things about NYC post, and for the same reason.)
  • Bailey from Let Birds Fly shared a lot of great posts...but my favorite was a post about Lost Maples State Park, TX.  I loved all the beautiful pictures, and wished I had known about this place while my mom was still here.  She was from New England and would have loved the reminder of home--I wish I could have taken her there.  
  • Tayla of Grits, Grace and Gardening shared a beautiful comparison of Spring and Fall in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

So, if you missed any of those last week I hope you'll take the time to check them out now.

And, if you're new to Wherever Wednesday and are wondering what's this all about...every month we share those little moments that really show the character of the places we live:  your "This is Wisconsin,  Boston,  India,  WHEREVER" moments.     If you're still a little uncertain what that means, this post over at Budget Blond will help you out.  And, though it's not required, I'd love if you would grab the This is Wherever button on the sidebar and share it in your post or somewhere else on your blog!  

The linky is open all month!  Thanks for participating!

Dear Texas Drivers,

Thanks to Bill Abbot for use of the picture above. 

OK, Texans (well, some of'll know who you are)...I want to share with you about a useful communication tool in your car.  It's called a BLINKER.   You use it to let other people know that you are turning into their lane  (really, that's what it's for).  When you see someone using their blinker, you are supposed to slow down to let that car into your lane.   If ya'll can't manage that, at least have the courtesy to maintain your speed in stead of speeding up to block the person from getting in.

Cause Texans, I know you all pride yourself in your Southern hospitality.  And honestly, it's true--ya'll are nice people, by and large.  That is, until you get into the car, and then all that hospitality gets thrown out the window.

Really, California has you beat on that.  And it's not just my own idealized memory.   My friend and her husband from New England were telling me about how they noticed that on their last trip to California:  "When people there put on their blinkers, they do it well ahead of when they are going to merge, and everyone, universally, just slows down to let them in."  My friend thought it was so polite.

And politeness is a good thing, right?  If we rewarded people by letting them in when they use their blinker, maybe more people would use them, and we'd have safer, friendlier roads.  Wouldn't that be great?

So, Texans, DRIVE FRIENDLY and PLEASE use your blinker or at least be nicer to those who do.  Thanks.

A Texifornia Girl

(OK, rant finished).

Thursday, June 05, 2014

This is Wherever Wednesday is a Little Late...

So sorry...may is my crazy busy month.  It will be up soon.