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June 3, 2001: I don't have many words for this entry. We have been so busy with various activities and I have not had the reflection time it takes for me to write, so I think we can call this the scrapbook entry.

Last weekend we went with friends to see "River Dance" in Austin and it was awesome. I was so conscious of being in the presence of great talent as I watched those dancers and listened to the songs! Then we had a nice Mexican dinner after the show. Nothing like a pleasant afternoon with friends we really care for and excellent entertainment. The nice thing is the special friends are Max Keele, who built our house, and his lovely, vivacious wife, Zudora. It says a lot about Max that we all became good friends as he built our house. He is very skilled and a person of integrity.  I know people who end up disliking their builders. Along the same lines, we had another nice experience last week in the form of a surprise telephone call from our architect, Jim Boyter of Dallas, who now has an office in Granbury, Texas. We hadn't heard from Jim since he designed our house seven years ago. He just called to see how we are and if we still like our house. We enjoyed him so much as we worked with him and it gave us a lot of pleasure to hear from him. He goes to Austin occasionally to see his daughter at the University of Texas and has promised to stop by for coffee on one of those trips. I hope he does. 

Today I am going to show some of the critters that have been visiting The Lair and other pictures.

I want to show you the water lily that I put in my sugar kettle fountain last winter. It bloomed this spring and I especially like the way the flower is reflected in the curved spray of the fountain itself:

water lily

I  have often spoken of the beautiful Painted Buntings that we see occasionally here. I do not have a telephoto lens strong enough to get a good picture of them, but my cyberfriend Mike Nichols got some wonderful pictures of a pair at his bird feeder and he has graciously given me permission to use them on this web site, along with some other of his pictures. Here are the Painted Buntings:

Male and Female Painted Buntings
Photo by Mike Nichols

I think the male may be a young bird, perhaps just getting its adult plumage; usually the red breast is much less mottled and a more brilliant scarlet. In fact, Farris rescued one here a couple of weeks ago that had flown into our window and was stunned, and it was much more brilliant than the male in this picture, but this will give you an idea of the pattern of the beautiful, almost tropical look of these birds that I love so much. 

Last entry I mentioned having lots of butterflies. Here is one, looking a bit bedraggled; I took this as he sunned on the side of the house. Best identification I can get on him is that he may be a somewhat faded Eastern Black Swallowtail; they are listed as resident and abundant in this area.

Eastern Black Swallowtail

Mike got good pictures of four more that we also have here at The Lair:

Variegated Fritillary
Photo by Mike Nichols

butterflyThis is one of my favorites.
           Spicebush Swallowtail
          Photo by Mike Nichols

Mourning Cloak Butterfly
Photo by Mike Nichols

The Mourning Cloak Butterfly is resident but scarce in this area, and I am glad to have this documentation of it from Mike.

Red Admiral Butterfly
Photo by Mike Nichols

Now, here are a couple more of my pictures, and these are strange ones:

Walking Stick

Joyce, my cousin, sent me identification of the Walking Stick. She says there are lots of web sites about them. You might try a search engine if you are interested in more information.  It visited us this afternoon and I had Farris put his hand near it so I could show the scale. It looks remarkably like a twig from the side. 

The following is stranger still: 

Slime Mold?

This is a picture of some kind of mold that was on our front step. The laceration on the upper left is where I poked it with a leaf to see what the insides looked like. The oak leaves provide the scale. I sent this to my wildlife illustrator friend Richard Bell in Yorkshire and he said it reminds him of slime mold that he has seen. I went out to look at it a few hours later and there was no trace of it. Farris says he has seen it in several places over the land. 

We have heard "Poor Wills" calling and wild turkeys. The Yellow Billed Cuckoo has been calling from the trees in the front. A doe with the first fawn we have seen this season came up to the yard the other day.  A Great Blue Heron was at the Pond yesterday, a good sign that some kind of food is developing there to attract him. Other visitors we are having right now are grasshoppers by the thousands. Mike Nichols says the plural of grasshopper is "plague." They are eating lots of leaves and plants, but the good side is that they are providing lots of food for the quail and other birds. 

Oh, one more picture. Here is our Rio:

Rio Grande

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Last revised: November 26, 2010

Copyright 2001-2010 Rheba Kramer Mitchell. All rights reserved.