Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Flowers and Birds

Flamingo Gardens, Davie, FL
February 27, 2023

 Yesterday we made another trip to Flamingo Gardens

It was just as much fun as our first trip. There is something exciting every time we visit. I just enjoy the combination of birds, animals, and botanic gardens. 

The orchids are coming into bloom around the gardens and they add a touch of color to the developing springtime. Photographing the orchids allows me to play with the settings on my iPhone camera to add a touch of artistry to the images. Orchids are good for that because unlike animals, they do not move. 

Flamingo Gardens, Davie, FL
February 27, 2023
Of course, walking through the aviary the are many birds that do not move a lot. For instance, this anhinga provided me with a show yesterday as it was spreading its wings and collecting sunlight and warmth. What was exciting, for me, was that the anhinga was within 3 feet of me and seemingly unconcerned about my presence. Some of the other birds, especially pelicans, are not so comfortable or rather they have a larger interpersonal zone.

Even though it the drive to the Gardens is a bit over an hour, I find the trip more than worth the investment. Getting out with the animals and the plants is exciting and there is still so much of the botanical gardens that we need to explore.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Monday, February 27, 2023

Monday Musings - February 27, 2023


1. And it has arrived; the long awaited last Monday of February. March begins in two days and with it the promise of Springtime, flowers, and warmer temperatures. Cue the birds and the insects! Oh yes, and there are 43 Mondays remaining in the year. 

Surf Crashing onto the Beach
Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, FL
January 26, 2023

2. Sunday was a perfect beach day. The temperatures climbed into the mid-80s and there was a light breeze coming off the ocean. We went to a great beach at the Hobe Sound Wildlife Refuge and were surprised to find so many of our fellow Floridians were also visiting. There was a wait to get into the area due to the parking lot being full. It was one car out and one car in. Even so, the beach was not crowded and we enjoyed watching the surf crash onto the beach. We watched a group of five boys and two dads play in their surf for a long time until the boys were exhausted and the group departed. Although we arrived a bit later than we had planned, our trusty beach umbrellas protected us from the burning rays of the sun.

Sue and Chris at the Bar
Hog Snappers, Tequesta, FL
February 26, 2023
3. For dinner we visited a great local restaurant, Hog Snappers. I have become fond of sushi and the restaurant provides a great variety to choose from. I especially enjoy the canoe, which comes with over 40 selections and is more than enough for two people to enjoy. Chris and Sue got a bit bored waiting for our table. They were sitting at the bar which, as it turned out, was where we ultimately ate dinner once an additional bar stool became available. We had a lot more fun at the bar than we believe we would have had sitting at a table. The wait staff was a lot of fun to interact with during our meal.

4. Today in History. On February 27, 1827, a group of masked and costumed students dance through the streets of New Orleans, Louisiana, marking the beginning of the city’s famous Mardi Gras celebrations.

The celebration of Carnival—or the weeks between Twelfth Night on January 6 and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian period of Lent—spread from Rome across Europe and later to the Americas. Nowhere in the United States is Carnival celebrated as grandly as in New Orleans, famous for its over-the-top parades and parties for Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday), the last day of the Carnival season.

Electric Vehicles Need AM Radio, Former Emergency Officials Argue - The Wall Street Journal

'It's all a lie': Russians are trapped in Putin's parallel universe - CNN

He deported thousands. Then investigators showed him his birth certificate - CNN

Nine western states under winter weather alerts today as heavy snowfall is forecast across the region - CNN

Islamist militants have Pakistan's police in their crosshairs - Reuters

Republican war on 'woke' policies creeps into U.S. debt-ceiling debate - Reuters

China urges peace in Ukraine after U.S. warns against aiding Russia - Reuters

Low-elevation snow, blizzard conditions in California amid season’s coldest storm - The Washington Post

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Baseball Returns

Roger Dean Stadium
Jupiter, FL
February 25, 2023

 The first Spring Training games of the brand new MLB season were played yesterday.

Chris and I along with our friends visiting from Maryland were in attendance as the Washington Nationals came to town to play the St Louis Cardinals!

Baseball is Back!

Jupiter is a baseball city. Two MLB teams conduct Spring Training here and there are two Minor League teams that play here after the MLB teams head north. 

Yesterday's game was exciting and enjoyable. The only real problem was the two teams playing both wore red and so it was Red on Red. The only visual difference in the uniforms was their pants. The day was blessed with beautiful weather, 80s and clear. The game was close, but I have to admit the crowd seemed somewhat subdued. The game felt more like a late season MLB game with both teams out of contention for the playoffs. 

There were two distinct parts to the game. The Cardinal starters beat the National starters 2-1 during the first 5 innings, but the Nationals Spring Training invitees defeated the Cardinal invitees 2-0 for the final 4 innings, making the final score 3-2 Nationals. I took the image of the scoreboard before the game was complete, but it accurately depicts the final score.

It was baseball and I was there to enjoy it. 

Roger Dean Stadium did have some opening day security issues. The lines were over 20 minutes long to gain entrance to the stadium. We missed the first half inning and the National's first run because of the lines. I am hopeful that the security processing issues will be solved as the season progresses. 

In other Spring Training news, it should be noted that the Orioles defeated the Twins 10-5 in Sarasota. 

Go O's!

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL 

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Sea to Savanna

Osprey Diving for the Ocean
Carlin Park Beach, Jupiter, FL
February 24, 2023

 I promised myself that I was not going to blog about a seashore activity today, but then I witnessed and caught on camera an event that I enjoy seeing. That event? An osprey diving into the ocean to get a meal.

I had been watching the bird hover and attempt to find the right spot and so I had my iPhone camera at the ready. And I got lucky.

Osprey into the Ocean
Carlin Park Beach, Jupiter, FL
February 24, 2023

The GIF plays fast and I'm not astute enough to slow it to a better speed, but there is the osprey hitting the ocean.

Lion Country Safari
Loxahatchee, FL
February 24, 2023
That all happened during out morning beach walk. Later in the day, we headed out to Lion Country Safari to enjoy seeing the variety of wild animals which are kept in open areas. It was a fun afternoon and we saw many different animals. I was most impressed with the Scimitar Oryx, which I found out has been declared extinct in the wild. Wild Country Safari has a large breeding herd and is part of the species preservation project. 

Lion Country Safari
Loxahatchee, FL
February 24, 2023
Of course, we spent time driving slowly through the preserve and looking at the variety of land animals which included large groups of rhinoceros and giraffes along with a the largest herd of zebras in the United States. It was definitely worth the time. We stopped after the driving portion of the tour to walk through the area where some animals are kept in pens and cages, pausing to feed fish and of course take pictures of the flamingos. I love flamingos!

I discovered, during the drive through the animal park, that lions do not excite me much. They are regal, yes, but for the most part boring. The varieties of antelope were far more active and interesting. And the rhinos are just massive and impressive. 

And so it was quite a day moving from sea to savanna!

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Friday, February 24, 2023

Ending the Day

Very Low Tide Atlantic Ocean
Jupiter island, FL
February 23, 2023

 Was it Thursday? Friday-eve?

I suppose that it was. 

Friends arrived from the frozen northlands, which are actually experiencing an early Spring, it seems. Chris and I are excited to have them and it seems we will be enjoying idyllic weather for the duration of their visit. 

Seagull Posing for the Camera
Jupiter Island, FL
February 23, 2023

We went to the beach for Happy Hour and were greeted by one of the lowest low tides that I have seen. On the Intracoastal side of the island, the tide was so low that the mud flats were exposed and children were running along rescuing starfish that were exposed as the water receded so rapidly. On the ocean side of the island, where we were enjoying Happy hour, the rocks were exposed which are normally covered with water.

February is coming to a rapid close and the weather is forecast to be fantastic. We have a lot planned as the month closes out and are already looking forward to activities in March.

For now, we are enjoying the great weather we are experiencing.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Flat Water

Flat Atlantic Ocean
Jupiter, FL
February 22, 2023

 Walking the beach in the morning when the weather is nice is like opening a gift. I never know what to expect until I am standing on the stairs atop the sand dunes. 

That is what makes heading to the beach for the morning walk so invigorating and far better than walking around the neighborhood where I am assaulted by the sounds of vehicles and landscape maintenance equipment.

Shore Bird Taking off from the Beach
Jupiter, FL
February 22, 2023
Yesterday was a prime example. The ocean was flat! That almost never happens. Even the waves coming to the beach were some of the smallest that I have seen. The waves have transitioned, in less than a week, from monsters crashing on the beach to become gentle and almost caressing. That is part of the daily enjoyment, discovering what will the ocean be like today?

The birds and wildlife on the beach change daily as well.  I continue working with my camera to capture birds in various stages of flight, as in this image from yesterday of a shore bird taking off as I approached. The flat water provided a nice backdrop.

Yes, it was another day in South Florida.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Sea and Sky

Fishing Vessel (FV) Lady Lily
Jupiter, FL
February 21, 2023

 It was a day bookended by sea and sky.

During our morning beach walk we observed a large fishing vessel off the coast. There were actually two vessels sailing in tandem towards the south. They did not appear to be fishing and my Marine App identified them as Lady Lily and Big Ben. I took an image of Lady Lily as she was making her way along the coast. The very interesting aspect was that I cannot find an image on line of the the FV Lady Lily. Weird. As my image was at a great distance, it is not very clear. I found an image of its sister vessel, FV Big Ben and they appear similar, which is what I observed yesterday. 

Jupiter, Venus, Moon
Tequesta, FL
February 21, 2023

Closing out the day, Chris and I decided to enjoy Chinese for dinner and as we walked out our front door we were confronted with an astronomic beauty. There they were, nearly in a line, Jupiter Venus and the Moon filling the western sky just after sunset. The colors of the fading sunset were still visible in the sky. It was a sight to behold and we enjoyed our walk to and from the Chinese restaurant accompanied by the two planets and the Moon. We had been watching Jupiter and Venus for a couple of days and last night the Moon joined in the astronomic dance. I was reminded how difficult it is to get a good image of heavenly objects especially against the fading light of the sunset. Ugh! But I think I did OK. The other problem I had was finding a place where streetlights did not find their way into the image. I had a great image of the three in my viewfinder at one point with a silhouetted palm, but I could not get rid of the streetlight and keep all three objects in view.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

A View of the Beach

Shell Bed
Carlin Park Beach, Jupiter, FL
February 20, 2023

 Walking the beach yesterday morning, Chris and I imagined a scene in our minds of the shell beds weaving into the waves of the ocean and with the horizon in the distance. 

We tried to capture that vision, but alas, I think we were too late in the day and the sun had risen too high into the sky for the colors to be as vibrant as we saw them in our minds. At some point, I guess I will need to head out sunrise when the tide midway between high and low to attempt capturing the scene in our minds with a camera. 

Shell Bed 2
Carlin Park Beach, Jupiter, FL
February 20, 2023
We enjoyed our beach walk, however. The day was beautiful with temperatures moving into the 80s again. The ocean was calm and the surf breaking in the beach was not so violent as it had been.

Finnegan enjoyed walking with us. He does not like the water so much, but enjoys sniffing the seaweed and other items that find their way onto the shoreline. The best part is that it is mid-February and we are enjoying beach time. How awesome is that?

BTW, following the beach walk, Chris and I rode a 16-mile ride, just to get moving for the week. I love sunny and bright weather.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Monday, February 20, 2023

Monday Musings - February 20, 2023


1. Welcome to the 3rd Monday of February. Scary! There are only 44 Mondays remaining in the year. And it seems as if the year only just began.

2. Happy Presidents' Day. I hope, that if you work that you have the day off to celebrate the presidents. 

3. I am amazed that I can remember that it is Monday!

Arti Gras
Northern Palm Beach
February 18, 2023

4. It was festival weekend! Chris and I went to two very different festivals and enjoyed very different weather conditions each day. The first was Arti Gras, a gathering of 300 juried talented artisans. It was fun to walk the grounds and marvel at the art and sculptures on display. There is one piece that we are seriously considering--actually, we have been considering since we first saw it last year at an artisan show. Maybe we'll pull the trigger. The day was cool and overcast. Temperatures were in the low 70s and the breeze was cool. Rain threatened all day, but never materialized.

Jupiter Seafood Festival 
Jupiter, FL
January 19, 2023

5. Sunday we visited the annual Jupiter Seafood Fest. How can you not enjoy seafood? There were mountains of seafood and also many marine related vendors. The weather was very different from Saturday. Temperatures were in the mid-80s with a sunny sky. It was hot! The festival had a great band playing solid country music and we enjoyed visiting the vendors as well as stalking the seafood. I had pulled pork even though the seafood looked delectable. I did come home with a new sun shirt from our favorite vendor.

6. Take a moment today, Presidents' Day, to consider the life and presidency of Jimmy Carter. In my opinion, he was a greater leader after being president by demonstrating how much a person can accomplish by doing good for others.

7. Today in History. In a highly controversial vote on February 20, 1985, the Irish government defies the powerful Catholic Church and approves the sale of contraceptives.

Up until 1979, Irish law prohibited the importation and sale of contraceptives. In a 1973 case, McGee v. The Attorney General, the Irish Supreme Court found that a constitutional right to marital privacy covered the use of contraceptives. Pressured by strong conservative forces in Irish society, particularly the Roman Catholic Church, the government was slow to change the law to reflect the court’s decision, and a number of proposed bills failed before reaching the books.

Biden walked the streets of Kyiv during surprise visit - CNN

Some in GOP worry DeSantis has overstepped against 'wokeness' - CNN

Water levels rise, covering reservoir's 'bathtub' ring - CNN

North Korea fires two more missiles into its Pacific 'firing range' - Reuters

Even a weak Russia is a problem for Europe - Reuters

Infected in the first wave, they navigated long COVID without a roadmap - Reuters

Debt-Ceiling Backup Plans Have Plenty of Hurdles - The Wall Street Journal

Google Case Heads to Supreme Court With Powerful Internet Law at Stake - The Wall Street Journal

A nuclear reactor was melting down. Jimmy Carter came to the rescue. - The Washington Post

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Sunday Funnies

 With the demise of newspapers and newsprint, I realized that I have not been reading the Sunday comics in many many years. 

A friend sent a a number of single frame thought provoking items that might have once been used in the papers and I though I would pass on two this morning.

They come from an email labeled cartoons for intellectuals. 

This one made me laugh. How often has this been true. The the tongue cuts deeper than we often believe.

Read carefully for context!


Oh yes, thanks to Mary for these and others which I may share in the future!

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Busy Days Even in Retirement

I grasped Friday firmly and ensured that the day did not pass with a whimper.

The day began with a great 21-mile bike ride. I added a few new twists and turns to an existing 17-mile route and enjoyed the best part of the day cruising through Jupiter and Tequesta. The route has more traffic than I like and so I do not ride it often, but I enjoy the loop down Loxahatchee River Road and then along Indiantown Road and back towards home along Island Way which continues to have wild and open spaces that I enjoy riding past. It felt good to be out on the bike for a significant ride after a couple of short workout days. 

During the middle part of the day, Chris and I went to our storage room to sort and repack. It seems that with every visit we reduce the amount of items stored there, even though we continue to add boxes to the mix. In an important side note we have replaced all of the cardboard boxes with solid containers. Some items are there for the long haul. Our storage room is convenient to the recycling center and we take the cardboard directly for recycling. The box containing Easter-themed decorations was bright home in anticipation of decorating for the holiday. As a side note, Ash Wednesday is next week. I didn't write that it was next Wednesday intentionally.

And then last evening Chris and I went to see A Man Called Otto, finally. The movie was a good as I had hoped it would be and it represented my first trip to the theater since Top Gun Maverick!

It was a full Friday, even without a trip to the beach to enjoy the 86 degree temperatures, and today promises to be a busy day as well.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL


Friday, February 17, 2023

Trying New Places - Dive Bar Restaurant

Dive Bar Restaurant
Jupiter, FL
February 16, 2023

 We did not make it to the beach yesterday, even though it was a beautiful day, but we did enjoy Happy Hour at a new location, the Dive Bar Restaurant,  along the Intracoastal Waterway.

In an effort to widen our knowledge of local watering holes, Chris and I are trying some new places for Happy Hour and possibly dinner. Happy Hour is a creative way for restaurants to bring people in and have them stay to enjoy dinner. Although we did not order dinner last evening, the apps that we enjoyed became our last meal of the day. 

Being on the waterway, the bar was very enjoyable. There was a lot of activity and both the apps and service was great. This place is definitely a keeper and that explains why it was so busy. The Happy Hour prices are fantastic. 

The restaurant also boasts very nicely presented salt water aquariums. 

For a great Happy Hour to head off into the evening, I recommend this place.

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Hump Day and the Beach

Morning Pelican Fly-over
Carlin Park Beach, Jupiter, FL
February 15, 2023

 Yesterday was a more normal South Florida day. The weather moderated a bit, the temperatures were warmer and the winds were calmer. The better weather meant that there were two visits to the beach and a shortened bike ride, 12 vs 15 miles.

Sanderling Gathering
Jupiter Island Beach, FL
February 15, 2023
At the beach, both in the morning and at Happy Hour, we were greeted by birds. The morning fly over of pelicans was very enjoyable while in the afternoon the sanderlings gathered at our feet. As we went to a less visited beach in the afternoon the sanderlings seemed to be less wary and more aggressive. Chris of course baited them with some crackers, bet even before that they came within two feet of us to see if there were and morsels of food being shared.  

At one point yesterday afternoon on Jupiter Island Beach, Chris and I were the only people on the over one-mile long expanse of beach. It is always enjoyable to have the entire beach to ourselves.

Although the winds were calmer and Chris and I decided to head out for a bike ride, the wind was still strong and we cut out one 3 mile loop. We still managed over 12 miles and enjoyed the beauty of the day. This morning the winds seem to have returned and the sky has a rainy gray appearance and so we will have to see what develops as the day progresses. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Hearts and Roses and Valentine's Day

Flowers for Chris
Tequesta, FL
February 14, 2023
The day of cards, wine, flowers and expensive dinners, not to mention chocolates, is past.

Chris and I had a full day, but mostly wasted day waiting for another shipment of wine from UPS. It was another mess, but at least the wine arrived, finally. UPS really needs to get their act together on deliveries. Yesterday's delivery was not on the truck for which they continued to send me tracking information. I know, because as the day got late I tracked the truck down and talked to the driver. Fortunately, the truck with the wine finally came and made the delivery.

Gopher Tortoise
Tequesta, FL
February 14, 2023
I enjoyed a 15 mile bike ride, while Chris stayed home waiting for the wine. Along the way I spied a tortoise which kept a watchful eye on my as I took an image. That was early in the day.

Instead of going out for an expensive dinner, Chris and I celebrated the event with a home grilled salmon dinner and a very nice bottle of wine. We find dining together to be far more enjoyable that being out in public fighting for a table in an overcrowded and understaffed restaurant. 

And so it was Valentine's Day 2023. 


-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Valentine's Day 2023


Happy Valentine's Day!

Yup, it is mid-February and the day none of us dares forget is upon us. 

I bought a card! Well, and there might be some flowers this afternoon.

It is a good day to remember the ones we love and also our close friends who help us over the hard times. 

Sometimes it is good to review the history of the days we celebrate. I invite you to read about Valentines Day on Wikipedia. A short excerpt follows:

Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine.[16] The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae) and Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae).[17] Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who was martyred in 269 and was added to the calendar of saints by Pope Gelasius I in 496 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. The relics of St. Valentine were kept in the Church and Catacombs of San Valentino in Rome, which "remained an important pilgrim site throughout the Middle Ages until the relics of St. Valentine were transferred to the church of Santa Prassede during the pontificate of Nicholas IV [1288 - 1292]".[18][19] The flower-crowned skull of Saint Valentine is exhibited in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. Other relics are found at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland.[20]

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Monday, February 13, 2023

Monday Musings - February 13, 2023


1. It is the second Monday of February. The Month is approaching the halfway mark. There are 45 Mondays remaining in the year.

2. Important safety tip: Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. Enough said.

3. And it was Super! The third highest scoring Super Bowl (combined) with 73 points was a great game. Neither team had a lead of more than 10 points and it was clearly a game between two talented teams both led by gun slingers. Congratulations to Patrick Mahomes on winning the MVP after turning in a gutsy and brilliant performance.

4. Chris and I got out for our 15-mile base bike ride yesterday. We have developed a complicated route that covers 15 miles around Tequesta and passing through parts of both Palm Beach and Martin counties. 

5. Now that the NFL season has concluded, let's begin planning for baseball. Pitchers and catchers report this week.

6. Today in HistoryOn the evening of February 13, 1945, a series of Allied firebombing raids begins against the German city of Dresden, reducing the “Florence of the Elbe” to rubble and flames, and killing roughly 25,000 people. Despite the horrendous scale of destruction, it arguably accomplished little strategically, since the Germans were already on the verge of surrender.

Among the conclusions reached at the February 1945 Yalta Conference of the Allied powers was the resolution that the Allies would engage in concerted strategic bombing raids against German cities known for war-production and manufacturing, in an effort to bring the Nazi war machine to a crashing halt. The tragic irony of the raid on Dresden, a medieval city renowned for its rich artistic and architectural treasures, is that during the war it had never been a site of war-production or major industry. Both Allies and Germans alike have argued over the real purpose of the firebombing; the ostensible “official” rationale was that Dresden was a major communications center and bombing it would hamper the German ability to convey messages to its army, which was battling Soviet forces at the time. But the extent of the destruction was, for many, disproportionate to the stated strategic goal—many believe that the attack was simply an attempt to punish the Germans and weaken their morale.

Chinese ship aimed laser at Philippine vessel, temporarily blinding crew, officials say - CNN

Thin details make an unusual episode even more bizarre - CNN

The controversial penalty call which played a decisive role in Super BowI outcome - CNN

Russian forces claim gains along Ukraine frontline - Reuters

Earthquake could cost Turkey up to $84 billion - business group - Reuters

Analysis: Loans to Russian soldiers fuel calls for European banks to quit - Reuters

Death toll passes 36,000; key Turkish airport reopens to aid shipments - The Washington Post

One day. One city. Three lives in the shadow of Myanmar’s military rule. - The Washington Post

China Says U.S. Sent Balloons Through Its Airspace More Than 10 Times - The Wall Street Journal

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Celebration Week


United on the Ground
West Palm Beach, FL
February 11, 2022

It is Super Sunday. The culmination of the NFL season is today when the Kansas City Chiefs face the Philadelphia Eagles for the Lombardi Trophy and bragging rights as the best team in football for the next year.

Yesterday was a travel day. Chris and I enjoyed a pleasantly routine flight from Houston back to West Palm Beach and then home. The trip was made more enjoyable as it was a direct flight and once we took off we knew that we would be sleeping in our own bed at night. 

Today, however, will be consumed with preparations for the Super Bowl. We are not hosting a party, but will be attending one. I was amazed at the mixture of baked items in the store yesterday for Valentines Day AND the Super Bowl. It was quite a sight, but Key Lime Pie is always good and covers both celebrations.

Remember, Valentines Day is Tuesday. It is a busy week of celebrations. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Spring Arriving


Japanese Magnolia in Bloom
Weston Lakes, TX
February 9, 2023

It is mid-February and in Texas Spring is arriving. Since we have been here I can see that the leaves are beginning to reappear on many of the trees. There is a definite green hue to the seemingly bare tree branches. 

The Japanese Magnolia Tree in the yard here in Weston Lakes is in bloom. I was able to capture a few images of this early Spring flowering tree. 

Of course, today I return to Florida where Spring is also in full swing, although not quite so noticeable since more trees retain their leaves during the winter and of course the palms are always green.

Enjoy the day.

-- Bob Doan, Weston Lakes, TX

Friday, February 10, 2023

Dirt to Ice Cream to Wine

 Yesterday was a day for touring. 

We departed the homestead about 9:30 for a tour through Central Texas. We were excited about the prospect for the day. 

First stop was near Brenham, Texas. We went to view a plot of dirt that may one day become a homesite. Because of the rain the day before, the area was very muddy and we could only view the plot from afar. It looks to be a very nice more than an acre lot that will someday be an enjoyable residence. 

From the future building site, we went to the Blue Bell Ice Cream factory. It happens to be in Brenham. We had an enjoyable time and especially liked the $1 per scoop ice cream. There is not real tour, but there is a small baseball museum devoted to local heroes and an ice cream parlor with a viewing area overlooking the factory floor. 

Entrance to Saddlehorn Winery
Burton, TX
February 9, 2023

From there, and because we did not spend much time at the future building site, we searched for wineries in the area and actually found one that was open. Being the winter season many of the smaller wineries are only open on the weekends. We made the 17 minute trip to Burton, Texas and Saddlehorn Winery. We enjoyed the winery, it is something that we do not get to enjoy in Florida. The wines were solid for house wines, but the price point was high by comparison. I did enjoy two uniquely Texas wines: Blanc du Bois, a white with a lot of minimality and good flavor; as well a Black Spanish, which was a semi-sweet wine with some interesting flavors, but not my type of wine. Since we do not plan on checking a bag for ur return flight to Palm Beach we did not purchase any of the wines.

We had a very enjoyable drive through the Texas countryside. 

-- Bob Doan, Weston Lakes, Texas

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Pelicans in Texas


White Pelicans
Fulshear, TX
February 8, 2023

Here we are, west of Houston and nowhere near the ocean and we were shown a large flock of white pelicans wintering on a local lake. They were a sight to see paddling around mostly together. 

We watched them paddle around together for a while. I had hoped to get closer, but they kept moving away from us. 

Single White Pelican
Fulshear, TX
February 8, 2023

In doing some research, I found that the White Pelicans winter in the Houston area but migrate back north to the Dakotas and Canada for summer breeding. There are a number that likely got lazy and remain in the Houston area full time, but this group seems too well formed to be locals. They appear to be together waiting to return north. 

-- Bob Doan, Weston Lakes, TX

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Fly Day to Houston

Terminal C
Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
February 7, 2023

 It had been exactly a month since departing on our last trip, which was a voyage aboard the Wonder of the Seas. Yesterday, we climbed aboard a United Airlines direct flight from Palm Beach to Houston to visit family.

We had made the journey from Palm Beach to Houston previously, aboard a Southwest flight, but that was not a direct flight. I had some miles saved on United and was able to get a roundtrip for two. The difference in flight time was about three hours, each way. The direct flight was three hours versus the change planes with a ground stop in Jackson, MS, which was about six hours of travel with most of it trapped inside of an airplane. 

That written, it was great to have most of the day at home and journey out in the afternoon. I was amazed when I deplaned in Houston. Wow! I have not seen an airport so grand as Houston. The terminal was something right out of a space-age movie. Not at all like the terminals I have been frequenting on my other flights. I was very impressed and I am looking forward to exploring it further when we return home on Saturday.

For now, Chris and I are in Weston Lakes, Texas. It used to be considered Fulshear, but they decided they wanted to be their own city, and so they are. 

More fun to come, I am sure. I have already been invited to baseball practice with my seven year old grandnephew this afternoon!

-- Bob Doan, Weston Lakes, TX

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