I felt like I needed an antidote to my last post… Over the past few weeks, I noticed that the water in the Infinity Pool and Blue Lagoon was murky. I had my suspicions so we put the night camera out. My heart melted when I saw these baby raccoon kits. The next night we put out some of our old cat’s toys and the kits didn’t disappoint. It has been really hot so they loved having a wee bath. Perhaps they are bathed more than Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ kids?
Raccoons are part of the Procyonidae family widely spread through North and South America. There are 7 species, from Alaska to Argentina, and include Coatimundi and Kinkajou. Their original Latin name, Ursus Lotor, referred to their perceived habit of washing their paws. As omnivores they will eat food in shallow water but the real reason for them moving their webbed paws in a washing motion is because they use them as vibration sensors. Our kits were about the size of the Pyrex dish (although apparently two can fit at a push…) In my mind, they look like a cute little bear/cat/doghybrid.
Mother raccoon did not appear on camera so she was probably resting in the reserve, leaving the kits in the Garden of Raccoon Delights. Raccoons usually have 2 to 8 kits but it’s likely that our 6 kits are cousins. Female raccoons sometimes live together to raise their kits – the original Sister Wives? The biggest raccoon I have seen in our yard was as big as a Bulldog – their weight ranges from 5 to over 50 lbs. Mrs Stripe, who was a street cat from Egypt, looked at it with utter astonishment. It didn’t smell like a dog or a cat, so what was it??
Striped tails are my weakness so I smile every time I look at the video. They are so small, fluffy and playful! In another video we heard them whining for Mama. It sounded like a puppy whining softly. In general raccoons can make a variety of noises – yowling, growling, hissing, purring, chirping and cooing. This litter was really quiet and I couldn’t hear them even though they were feet away from my bed. What goes on in our yard at night? It’s a magical, if occasionally stinky, place.
This is the Hoover Dam with Lake Mead behind it. If you look at the white band above the lake you can see how low the water level has dropped with years of drought. The original Boulder Dam was built in the 30s during the Depression. Thousands of workers flocked to the site for work. The Dam was renamed after President Hoover – it provides hydroelectricity and water.
This photograph shows the scale of construction with the original road. There is now a bypass which makes it safer for tourists to look at the dam. Although it is a miracle of modern engineering, there is always an ecological cost to pay when you divert a river (the Colorado River). We waste so much of our most precious resource on the planet – water.
When you visit or live in arid places you become very aware of how much we need water. I wish we could send a little of our excess water in Houston to our dry neighbors. After a 10 year drought we are now in the throes of a wet decade. There is moss in my garden!!! I left that behind in Scotland…
I am standing in Arizona looking at the impossibly blue sky of Nevada. None of my photographs have been altered. The light is fantastic.
This is my first glimpse of the Grand Canyon through the bus window. More on the trip from hell next time.
Celebrating Teddy’s 60th birthday at a rooftop hotel in Mobile, Alabama
…and he snores too. Teddy and I rarely travel together because of our elderly cat but made a special effort to go to a new place for his 60th birthday. When we married he was 24 years old and I can’t figure out how all this time has passed. Teddy went ahead of me and I arrived at Mobile Regional Airport on his birthday. He picked me up in a rental car and we went straight across the fabulous Mobile Bay causeway . Sometimes water that close to a roadway scares me but this was just sublime. We started looking for brown historical sites signs and starting learning the fascinating history of Mobile.
View from the original settlement of Blakely near Mobile. The city of Mobile is in the far distance.
This whole city, named Blakely, was abandoned after an epidemic of yellow fever in the 1800s and everyone moved to the new settlement of Mobile on the other side of the vast bay. Five rivers create a delta into the bay. From our busy metropolis, this was absolute bliss – very few people and polite drivers. We went to lunch at an Oyster place with a great view across the delta. After two glasses of wine I decided ‘we’ would drive to just over the border of Alabama into Florida. It was wonderful. Teddy and Bunny decided that there was no reason to change the habits of a lifetime and had a spat about which direction we should be going in… There was no cell phone service deep in the country and the GPS stopped working. By the time we had dinner in the rooftop restaurant of our hotel, all was bliss in Teddy and Bunny land. 🐻 🐰
Many more posts of a place less traveled and some funny stories.
This isn’t my first hurricane rodeo but this one worries me. We are way beyond the tidal surge but millions of people are not. Our ground has been saturated with rain this year after a decade of drought and there is no room for the expected catastrophic rain event to go. Our house is on a gentle slope upwards from a containment pond but this year our street flooded up to the garages.
I filled up my hurricane box months ago with water and other essentials but when I went to the supermarket yesterday the water had disappeared. It is ironic that in the midst of so much water you might not have any. If the flood is too much the water treatment facilities break down. That’s why I have so much bleach… We have a new roof (the old one was leaking) so now it will be thoroughly tested. My garage door is leaking so I will get it resealed after it is all over.
There is a lovely generator sitting in my garage with no gas in it but my car is full of gas. Teddy is in Utah and likely stuck because the airport will close at some point. I can’t start the generator but there are plenty of strong men in this street. My email today to the neighbors stated that I have a generator with no gas which I will share but not my ONE chocolate bar! Hurricane Ike brought our neighbors together with a fun community vibe and we are still close.
Katniss (pictured above) is our feral kitty visitor. She disappears for weeks and then reappears like the drifter grifter she is. For the past few days I have been over feeding her like a goose for Christmas dinner. (We used to eat goose in Britain until America’s turkeys invaded). Right now we have the calm before the storm which has a sinister, quiet feel. The temperature has started to drop but it will come down dramatically during the Hurricane.
Harvey is such a happy name, isn’t it? I was communicating with my friend GP Cox, Pacific Paratrooper, who wrote a great post about Jimmy Stewart’s extreme PTSD after serving as a WWII bomber pilot. I saw Jimmy Stewart in London in 1974 when he was starring in the stage play of Harvey.
Well y’alls, we Texans will be grateful for your thoughts and prayers over the next few days. Our power might go out and I will have to write with a pen and paper. Whaaaaat! Just between you and me, I would go buy some gasoline as both the gulf and land oil fields will be affected by this. Perhaps this will bring us all together in a crisis instead of fighting over statues. Now I am going to summon my native ancestors with a ‘no more rain’ dance. 😁
Winter is coming… The evil Canadians sent it last night and the temperature dropped by almost 50 degrees. Those beautiful orange leaves, from the last post, are all on the ground.
Despite that, some of the hibiscus are still blooming and the bottle brush and giving us a splash of red.
My friend at Evil Squirrel’s Nest urged us to feed the outside critters with the cold front and this is a cute little Texas Fox Squirrel eating her snacks. I love the way they look slightly different from state to state. Ours aren’t very furry but their tales are really long.
I’m coming down for the snacks. Muchas Gracias, Senora!!
Morning view from the Grand Hyatt in Tampa of the old bay. There is something about sunshine, water and palm trees that makes us all feel good. There is a manatee viewing point beside a power plant just down the coast from Tampa. Off we went, excitedly, only to find it is closed in low season. It is weird to think that summer is low season anywhere! So no manatees but we drove down to a lovely marina near Apollo Beach and spotted an osprey in her nest in a palm tree. It seems such a short time ago that ospreys were endangered and now you can see them almost everywhere. That makes my heart sing.
Osprey in her palm tree nest
The marina was small and less grand than many. We had a lovely lunch in the Circles Waterfront Restaurant looking out at this lovely vista, below.
I was fascinated by this boat ‘car park’ at Land’s End Marina. There are also boats at the forefront in dry dock. How many thousands of dollars are parked there, I wonder? 🙂
Do you think he had one? A southern gentleman makes me go weak at the knees, especially rich ones with boats… I am still in Charleston on the Cooper River and I love this shot with the astonishing Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in the background.
The Custom House reveals how much money was and still is made currently on the waterways of Charleston. Such an impressive building.
I watched with fascination at this sailing club out on the river – who the heck would take out boat #13. I thought sailors were superstitious?
Look at the sailboat on the right…
It isn’t the southern waters unless there is a pelican. I love these friends just chilling together on a hot day.
Did you see Pope Francis giving them hell (or whatever is appropriate) in Morelia when the crowd pulling on him caused him to fall on a disabled man? He told them that they were selfish – bet they are going straight to hell! He gave a very moving Mass in the poor state of Chiapas in Mexico and yet again railed on the rich Hispanics who had badly treated the indigenous natives in that state and all over Mexico.
Go Jorge (that’s his real name and the one that I use for love letters…)! He would be a fabulous President, wouldn’t he? Okay, so he wasn’t born in America but neither was Ted Cruz. SNAP!!! I can’t tell you much I have wanted to say that. 🙂 Pope Francis has a strong moral code and he doesn’t give a damn who he gives a row to. He would sort out our horrible Congress and Lobbyists. Shame them into doing what they are supposed to – serve their constituents.
The water situation at Flint, Michigan is an example of how we are failing badly, as a nation. Who cares about how much it costs to get new pipes in – these people need clean, safe water. I am shocked at the lack of action. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or even an engineer to figure out how bring water to these residents. In Egypt, only the cities have plumbed water (and it is pretty decent given that it comes from the Nile) and the country houses have water delivered into tanks that supply their pipes. This happens all over the Middle East. If I third world country can do this, why can’t we? I bet it doesn’t cause a trillion dollars either.
Why haven’t they put the people responsible in court, if not in prison? Surely they are guilty of a human rights crime? Send them to a Texas prison – they will never get out. When I returned from my unpaid work yesterday – which I went to even though I had not slept the previous night – I noticed one of these ridiculous weavers, in a BMW, going way too fast along our main thoroughfare. He was skipping in and out of the three lanes in a stupid and dangerous attempt to get somewhere a few minutes faster. I was thinking, ‘Where is the Sheriff when you need him’ and lo, along came a stealth Sheriff, silently but swiftly stalking him. Finally, he caught up with him and took him off into a car park never to be seen again. I am just kidding, it’s not that bad here!
Anyway, I know it will never happen, especially since Pope Francis would be an illegal Hispanic immigrant. SNAP! But I love the idea of an strong, good President who believes in social justice and will give you a row for being greedy. I am now torn over who I would choose to be with in the Zombie Apocolypse. Pitbull or Pope Francis? I am veering towards Jorge since he dances a mean tango…
I am afraid my Game of Thrones week has come a sudden and bloody end. That was literary exaggeration – it was just sudden although my fingertips feel bloodied. I have another deadline for a paid job and blogging life has to stop for a few days. Today I feel like Davos Seaworth, the Knight of Onions, who works so hard and loyally for his boss Stannis Baratheon. Stannis is deeply flawed and has made some dubious choices in his work and love life but also seems wearied by life.
I have two jobs, one paid and another unpaid. The unpaid one requires all my life experience and professionalism. It’s usually a pleasure to go there but this week it was one problem after another and the only thing that helped me was that I was wearing cobweb lacy stockings with my short uniform skirt. That added to my Scottish accent enabled me to put some humor into a mechanical problem (that was really irritating the customers) and blame it on the elves and leprechauns at Halloween. This is making me sound like one of Littlefinger’s ladies of the night…
My paid writing job is much more enjoyable but it is a steep learning curve and a very short deadline. I have spent the last day and night cajoling, persuading and working hard. I have six interviews with entrepreneurs in the next two days all mangled around the much needed one with the psychiatrist. All my plans of psychiatric flirting have disappeared in a haze of ‘what questions will I ask?’, ‘what is an appropriate outfit?’ (not the cobweb stockings methinks) and ‘do I have another UTI, really???’ So, at least you know my flirting will come to naught…
Ah, it will all be worth it in the end and winter is coming…