Sunday, April 23, 2017

Tour of Rosedown Plantation House

Rosedown Plantation is very beautiful.  It was bought from the family and fully restored before being sold to the state. You can only see it by going on a tour. I enjoyed both the house and the talk given by the tour guide.

The house has front porches on both levels. You enter into a stunning front hall. To the left of the hall is a master bedroom; to the right the parlor. Behind it is the dining room and then walking left you get to the kitchen, pantry and Martha Turnbull's workroom. The wing on the far right houses the master's study. Bedrooms and work rooms are upstairs.

The house sits down a long allee  of Oak Trees - with the front yard fenced from the main garden that I featured in a previous post. 

A line of rockers invites lingering

View down the allee from the front porch

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The stunning mahogany staircase and the block wallpaper by Dufour et Cie

A detail of the wallpaper

The dining table set for a banquet with the "fan" over it. 
The stairs for the slaves - these worn stairs evoked the many feet that had climbed up and down over the years

The desk from where Martha Turnbull ran the plantation - The room is just off the kitchen and has an outside door so the slave managers can come in to get their orders. 

Ceiling medallion

Lace curtain detail

The master bedroom just off the front hall

Same bed from another angle

Window treatment

Medallion and chandlier

The nursery

The rest of the nursery

A sewing area

The upstairs rooms had this flooring - a kind of painted canvas, a precursor to linoleum

Chess table of inlaid wood

Detail of rug in the study

First used as a doctor's house, then schoolhouse

The greenhouse and surrounding garden

Inside the greenhouse

Chicken coop

Currently I'm traveling and will soon have a blog about the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum, one of my favorite places. And three friends will all be taking me sightseeing so I'll be able to share lots of adventures. I'm finishing this on the Friday before it comes out from a motel in Tucson, AZ.  It was too hot to sleep out in my hammock last night and was 93 today, so I chickened out of camping and got in a shower. I also drove over 650 miles so I'm ready for bed.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Just Gotta Paddle Sheldon

Sheldon Lake State Park is in the Houston Metroplex and is unknown to most of the region's inhabitants. But the lucky few who know about it find it magical. The park was made on land used for a fish hatchery and many of the ponds still exist, surrounded by trees and bordered with a huge meadow to the north.  The west side of the park is a 1230 acre shallow lake with several islands. It has become a rookery for roseate spoonbills, white ibis, little blue herons, snowy egrets, great egrets, cattle egrets tricolored egrets, black crowned night herons, neotropical cormorants and anhingas. Usually all the islands are covered in squabbling birds raising their young in the breeding season.

But this year, the numbers were way down and we only saw a few islands with birds using them. The water quality has been degrading as less water is getting into the lake due to development. This may be harming the birds as well.

Three friends accepted our invitation to paddle with  us - Natalie, our house guest Winnie, a paddler and birder from Corpus Christi, and me. We put in at the southwest corner of the lake and then had a longer than expected paddle because, for the first time in years, the water was open all the way to the the northeast corner of the lake where there is a put-in for paddle craft and where people fish from the bank.

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Snowy egret

Cattle egrets

White ibis

Common gallinule

Paddling along the islands

Watching the birds

Almost full grown chick begging for food

Cattle egret pair


Heading over to the marsh side of the lake
 In this area, I got to a place where I had four great pictures, the great eagle, a black crowned night heron, an roseate spoonbill, and a little green heron. I got semi decent ones of two of them.

Bald eagle

Black crowned night heron all spiffed up

Tracy enjoying the day


Cypress pair

Eastern kingbird

Purple gallinule - one of three I saw

An anhinga in non breeding plumage - couldn't get close to any of the breeders 

A little blue heron in its second year and starting to change to adult plumage

I loved the glow I got from this lily - it looked lit.

A princely great egret

Almost to the north road

The invasive apple snails had left lots and lots of egg masses about

Pat and Sheila at the Carpenter Bayou Bridge on the north side of the lake

A second year spoonbill

A breeding spoonbill

We came off the lake starved as it was way after lunch. I got out the stuffed eggs - in two flavors and offered them around. Only one of them actually got to the picnic where I supplied Mississippi Caviar, Southwest Eggplant Salad with crackers and chips. The rest of them were devoured on the spot.

Winnie made the four of us get in a picture

After lunch, most of the group left, leaving only Winnie, Shiela and me to take a walk on the lovely shaded trails and enjoy the ponds.

This guy was walking down a trail ahead of us and then turned around and gave us this picture

Winnie walking to the tower

A view of part of the lake in bright sun

Pickerel weed

It was a wonderful day on one of the last little wild places in the Houston Metroplex.