My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Monday, February 23, 2015

Krewe of Barkus & Meoux Parade

Whoops! I forgot to set this up to run last Sunday.  Currently postponing my next adventures due to icy mist and cold.  But I'll be camping at three different state parks this week.

I multitasked Sunday afternoon, February 14,  and got in a walk as well as taking in a parade. I thought the pet parade might be fun to watch and was not disappointed.

Most of the pets were dogs, but there was one pony, one turtle, one snake, one laid-back cat, 3 or 4 ferrets. and 2 goats, one of which walked as well on a leash as any dog.  Many of the spectator pets were as dressed up as the participant pets.  I walked up the Boardwalk from about 43rd street until I passed all the parade.  Then I just turned around and went back home.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures. If you love looking at pets, the rest are here.


All the young at heart had a good time

Two of the ferrets

The leash -trained kid

The only pony was having to work

The totally laid back cat.....

..... was followed by an equally laid - back bloodhound

Most of the snake was around front but I wanted its head

Many children and dogs were in strollers or wagons, sometimes together

This guy was WAY more decorated than was his dog

This very sweet dog is looking for a forever home

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wild Bird Wednesday - Sunset at the North Jetty, Bolivar

I spent most of a long day getting myself, and my sinker cypress board (to use to build new thwarts and gunnels for my canoe) home from Hammond, Louisiana.  This is usually only a  five hour trip, but it took about 2 hours more to detour to pick up the board, then get it to ride on the car.  I had forgotten to put my racks on so was working with foam carriers.

At Old Wood Reclaimed, where I finally located a board long enough for new canoe gunnels

Then my car was irresistibly pulled into turning down the road that leads to the Creole Nature Trail that runs through Sabine National Wildlife Refuge.  Then, since, the highway no longer exists along the coast from Port Arthur to High Island, I chose to drive to Port Arthur, back up to I-10 at Winnie, and then back down to the coast  on Bolivar Peninsula to drive to the Galveston Ferry.  I anticipated lots of birds but very few were around.

By the time I was on the Bolivar Peninsula,  the light was getting really beautiful. I would be a little early to see the sunset but the perfect way to kill another hour popped into my head in time for me to hunt down the North Jetty. This is on the west side of Audubon's Bolivar Flats, 1.7 miles from the ferry, and is the place to find birds in good light in the afternoon.  The Jetty is nearly a mile long, so there are lots of great views.  And there is a little oyster reef just at the end of my camera's range,  that attracts loafing and roosting birds.

Willett and greater yellowlegs. 


Marbled godwit with food

Laughing gulls are molting into breeding plumage

Marbled godwit pair

Red knots

Snowy egret and willet

A few of an estimated 500 skimmers - they were coming in to roost and their numbers kept growing

White pelicans flying to feeding area on west side of the dike 

Feeding time - there were at least 25 pelicans in this group

Willet trio

Black-bellied plover

Unsuccessful fisherman coming back

Sunset over Fort Travis 

I ended up staying there until almost dark.  It was a wonderful time. And I managed to have one more small adventure when I couldn't start my car to drive off the ferry and had to be pushed by some of the ferry crew to get started. Thankfully, I still drive a stick shift.  I spent two more days getting the battery replaced - you don't want to know - before  finding that I had a bad fuse causing the problem. Two days later, I had to be jumped again and this time my jumper cables caught on fire. I slightly burned my fingers grabbing the cables off both cars.  I think the main problem was a loose connection to my positive post. I went to an Auto Zone  and bought a little gizmo that fits over the post and reestablishes connectivity.  So far, I'm good and my fingers can feel again.

Check out Wild Bird Wednesday

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Celebrating the One Hundred and First Mardi Gras

At least I was at the one hundred and first Mardi Gras.  However it was the first time I've celebrated it in Galveston and has been fifty-two years since I went to a Mardi Gras.  I was supposed to march with my Northwestern College of Louisiana Band in 1963, but tore a tendon in my knee and couldn't march.  I had to use all my leftover persuasive powers from convincing the band director to bring along my boy friend, the school photographer, to get him to let me go without marching. I ran around on one toe - on my right foot - the tendon got into the joint and I couldn't fully open my knee - and had a wonderful time.

I went to a parade on Saturday and about halfway through it, my battery gave out.  I had taken care to charge a couple more, but forgot them at home.  I planed to go on to another parade, but after walking the three mile round trip to the first, wasn't in the mood to start over to go even further for the second one.

The parade I attended featured high school and college bands, as well as lots of floats. It was to be followed by a party in a park with lots of kids activities.  While I waited for the parade to start, I was sitting on the curb.  One of three cute little black girls showed with body language, that she wanted to sit beside me.  I scooted over a little and invited her to sit. Then her sister managed to squeeze in on the other side. Finally, the littlest one wanted to sit and I offered her my lap.  Then the parade started and they were up to catch beads while I was up to capture a few pictures.

House Decorated for Mardi Gras

A zydeco band practicing for the parade

The leading marching group

Even the spectators were in the spirit

This art car came by while waiting for the parade to start

The day was so warm that probably only the skimpily dressed girls were comfortable

Throw us something, Mister

Loved this little dancing kids

This brought back found memories of my seven years of marching band

Got a lotta gold there. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Visit to Big Branch March NWR

I like to get to spend some winter in south Louisiana.  I have a lot of friends between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. There is a lot to see and do and of course, lots of lovely paddles and birding available. 

I've talked to the Volunteer Coordinator  for a group of refuges in south Louisiana, and was even called and offered a job, but they don't have living quarters, only RV sites. But they do have gardening,  and canoe tours and lots of other stuff I'd enjoy doing. I decided to visit the Big Branch Marsh, located just off I-12 and only about 40 miles from Hulin's House. 

This refuge consists of mostly Marsh but has a few high spots where pine trees grow.  I easily found the Headquarters but almost nothing else. The Headquarters grounds are locked and there is no information in the kiosk outside the gate, to tell you where to go.  I knew there was a Lake Road, and a boardwalk that led to a two mile - each way - trail.  I planned to do all of this. 

I figured Lake Road would be along Lake Pontchartrain, so headed on down the road I was on.  I soon came to a roundabout that put me on Hwy 190.  I went east and quickly found  a gas station attendant who sent me west to Lake Road, the next turnoff, going west. Just before the turn,  I crossed Bayou Lacombe and had to stop to enjoy the early morning sunlight on the bayou. 

The bayou from the bridge on Hwy 190

Then I went through a little settlement that ran along another turn of the bayou. Immediately after that, my view was mostly of marsh. The morning was still a little hazy - I'd come through fog to get here - and the grass was so tall, I couldn't get a picture that showed the vastness of the marsh view.

Another view of Bayou Lacombe

Then I was driving between water and grass on both sides, with Bayou Lacomb to the east, looking like a little narrow lake with grassy islands where white pelicans loafed or flew in and out.

A little after sunrise across Bayou Lacombe

Incoming white pelicans

I saw nineteen pie-billed grebes

A boat launch

The road isn't very long and soon I was at the turn-around at Lake Pontchartrain.
Hulin reminded me of a great camping trip we had when we camped on Big Branch Property on the shores of the lake. Another friend paddled across the lake from New Orleans, visited for about an hour, then paddled back.

Royal Terns loafing in Lake Pontchartrain

A picture of my envy - I waited a half hour for these guys to get ready to leave

The only kingfisher I saw

I saw three shirkes

I thought this mailbox was most appropriate - there was water behind the house 

By this time it was almost ten o'clock so I stopped by the Visitor Center.  There I got directions to the walking trail and boardwalk, but then realized I didn't have time to go because I was due back at Hulin's house.  I'll have to check it out the next time I get to Louisiana.

The Visitor Center - once part of a monastery

The exhibits were excellent - this was part of a night exhibit - you had to find the animals with a flashlight off a "back porch"

Swamp maples were already in bloom - spring is beginning!

I had a wonderful time in Louisiana with Hulin, his daughter and granddaughters. I gave Renee a lesson on driving a stick shift after she got her learner's license.  Hulin and I threw a party for four friends and then we ate lunch with two of those friends and then went to a party thrown for one of Hulin's grand nephews who just got a football scholarship at Rice University, over in Houston, Texas.  The boy's name is also Houston.  We also did a short bike ride, my first since my surgery.  Hands didn't hurt at all!

I came home last night after picking up my sinker cypress board.  I was in panic mode Monday, after I called the place I thought was all ready to hand me the board, only to find they didn't even have a 16' long one.  I finally found one that I didn't have to haul as far, since it was about 100 miles closer to Galveston. But it was 18' long so was a little more floppy.  AND I forgot my racks so had to use foam racks.  I lost one in the first 20 minutes of driving and had to use my rope bag to hold the board up in the back.

Ready to drive off with my board

On the way home, I also managed to get in a little more birding at Sabine NWR in the southwest corner of Louisiana, and at North Jetty, which is about 2 miles from the Galveston Ferry landing on Bolivar. The only other excitement was that my battery died and I had to be pushed off the ferry.

'Twas a good day from 5:00 A. M. until after 7P.