Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
First Week at Trophy Gardens, Alamo, Texas
At 3 PM I joined the neighbours at the clubhouse for a Brown Bag Christmas exchange - 100 people joined in with the exchange of $5 gifts in these brown paper bags - lots of bottles of wine, tins of popcorn and boxes of chocolates ( which everyone down here refers to as candy). I was fortunate to go back to the trailer with my new gift - 4 muffins and a loaf of homemade bread made by the neighbour across the road from us. Poor Don was back at the trailer still setting up things so the food came in handy since we hadn't shopped for food yet.
Thursday morning, I took Don's bicycle (mine has a flat tire - which happened right before we left last April) and joined the Bike Club here for a 10 mile ride - with a stop for breakfast at a restaurant - which was the destination. The weather was a bit cloudy but still warm. The afternoon was spent washing the Texas dust and dirt off the trailer. We had drinks later that evening at Rick and Brenda's new mobile home - they were leaving the next morning for their home in Hot Springs Arkansas for Christmas with their family.
Friday morning I went to exercise with the ladies in the Clubhouse to a 30 minute Jane Fonda dvd at 8 AM and did a line dancing session at the Clubhouse from 9 to 10 AM. In the afternoon we visited the local hardware store and signed up at the local library - but we do have a library in our clubhouse that may have more books. The weather has turned cooler and cloudy today and will be that way for a few more days. Don played poker with the boys in the Clubhouse in the evening and I caught up on my emails.
Saturday - still cool and rainy. I went with our Kincardine, Ontario friends - Bonnie and John - to a World Birding Centre in Edinburg for a talk and hike from an experienced birder - focusing on Winter Wetland Birds. It was weather for the ducks and we saw lots of them and herons and a flock of over 100 White Pelicans. Also learned that the Moorhen is now called the Common Gallinule. Meanwhile, Don took my bike to the Don West Flea Market Birke Repair Shop and had a new back tire installed on my bicycle.
Sunday - still rainy - vegetation is greener all the time. Highlight of the day was attending the Christmas Concert of the University of Texas-Pan American's award-winning Mariachi Aztlan Band at the UTPA Fine Arts Auditorium. The show also included performances by the Luz de Luna Folkloric Dance Ensemble and McAllen High School's Mariachi Band. It was a Christmas music day with carolling back at TG in the Clubhouse at 6 PM.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Today I was off on an adventure to King Ranch - a 2 hour bus trip north of us. The King Ranch is the largest family owned ranch in Texas - 825,000 acres. I wanted to tour this ranch because we have a Ford "King Ranch" pick-up truck and have passed the ranch on our way to the Rio Grande Valley for 2 winters now. So here is some info on the King Ranch.
Captain Richard King (1824-1885) , a Rio Grande Steamboat Captain bought 2 Spanish land grants on the Santa Gertrudis Creek and founded the legendary King Ranch in 1853. He bought Longhorn cattle from Mexico and battled droughts and cattle thieves to build a profitable ranch. Note the famous "running W" brand used by the King Ranch. Santa Gertrudis beef cattle were developed here in 1920 from Brahman cattle ( 3/8th) from India and English Shorthorns (5/8th) - a dark red hide which protects the cattle from sunburn and the first American produced breed of beef cattle. Later came the Santa Cruz beef cattle. Today they have 60,000 cattle - 30,000 breeding stock and 30,000 for market each year. the cattle and horses are sold to a buyer. There is a herd of Longhorn cattle on the ranch. Longhorn cattle are well suited for the climate and conditions of Texas but are too lean for the beef market - their colourful hides and horns are more valuable.
There are also cinnamon colored quarter horses and thoroughbreds - famous for the horse "Assault" who won the Triple Crown in 1946 - only Texas horse to do this. There is a horse cemetary for its famous horses - about 7 stones are in view. The horses were buried head, heart and hoof.
On the property is the Ranchhouse - 32,000 square foot house that has 17 bedrooms and 19 bathrooms, a diningroom table that holds 40 to 50 diners - now run as a hotel for King Ranch corporate personnel.
There was a dairy operation (Jersey cattle) on site until 1953 - used for supplying milk for the ranch's families.
(Bedtime - more info to add tomorrow)
Sunday, March 6, 2011
So what else have we done - besides golf and potluck dinners? Don and I went on a little bus trip to a Rio Grande River Cruise last Monday. We had an hour ride on the Rio Grande River - saw the damage on the riverfront properties from the flooding of the river last fall. The river stayed elevated for 33 days. We had a delicious lunch at the Riverside Grill where our cruise started and ended. The Border Patrol presence is certainly seen. We saw their lookout tower right beside this RV Park right on the river. I am sure it gives the residents some excitment at times.
Today, Maureen, Gail and I went to see "Man of La Mancha" A Musical Play at the University of Texas in Edinburg. It was very enjoyable and the actors were very talented.
Tomorrow is the Bike Club's Picnic at a local park. Some RVers have already left to go home and more take off each day. By the end of this month, the place will be alot emptier.
Almost forgot to mention I won $5 at Bingo on Friday night. I taught the weekly craft class on Friday - the Art of Zentangle - structured doodling. Got to keep busy.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Did get out of the park with Maureen (cousin Don's wife) and Gail (another Manitoba friend) to visit the nearby town of Pharr. There was a 45 minute Trolley ride to see its historic buildings, followed by a chicken dinner and then a "Senior Cinderella Play". This was put on by the Pharr Literacy Program - a grass roots organization that started several years ago to bring ESL classes to the hispanic population (97% of their population) and now they run a nursery, their classes in English, Spanish, sewing, computer, business are all free with the students having to do volunteer service for their classes. This county is one of the poorest in the USA so they are giving these people a chance to better themselves. The evening cost us $15 each and was enjoyable.
Today we had a block potluck lunch party with about 40 people of our street participating. The food was great and I conducted a icebreaker game - each person had to write on a little paper - 2 unusual, unknown things about themselves and I read them out and people had to guess which person they came from. The things you find out???
The weather temperature is nice and warm - 80 degrees today but there is a strong wind - which isn't helping my golf game much. Someone told me that the wind is good to have - with no wind - little pesky bugs come out.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Yesterday Lynn and I spent the morning on a Historical Tour of Florence - travelling around in a trolley and stopping to tour homes or public buildings in that town. For lunch we had enciladas and tacos at an old Inn and listened to a man talk about a gunfight that took place in Florence between the sheriff and his deputy for unknown reasons. After lunch we went to the Casa Grande Ruins for a Native American Music Festival - featuring flute music. The weather has been sunny and 80 degrees so it was a pleasure to be outside for these events.
Tom, Lynn and I went to the movies to see the new "True Grit" movie with Jeff Bridges and then we had to rent the old "True Grit" with John Wayne. The new one is more sophisticated but the old one has its charms too.
That is it for Arizona.