Au revoir, Isaac

but I can't say "come again".

Hurricane Isaac finally came and went and is busy providing to drought stricken Arkansas and southern Missouri.  Speculation was that it could come on land, slow down and dump massive amounts of water on us for a 2 or 3 day period.  For some, that was the case but for me personally,  it was relatively mild.  For some, things did not work out so well.  

Wind damage for our area was limited, although my son lost a tree in his front yard and there were a few fences and roof shingles blown around.  The worst part around us was the rising water, particularly in historic flooding places.  Now that it's gone, there are areas that will have to contend with rising waters from the run-off that will fill the bayous and rivers flowing into the diversion canals of Lake Ponchatrain.

Electrical service for many of us went out Wednesday morning and some as late as early evening.  Those of us who have generators quickly absorbed friends and families that did not have them.  Our power was restored 24 hours later but as of this writing, Friday morning, there some who are still in the dark. 

Prior to Isaac coming ashore, most families went into to hurricane mode by stocking up on food, batteries, water and essentials.   As early as Monday afternoon, any kind of bread except Sunbeam white bread had been cleared from many grocery shelves as well as certain brands of milk.  Many canned goods that required no preparation other than opening the can disappeared.  The same was for beer.

Rising water was not a primary fear for us personally but concerns about blowing rain at our front door caused us to seek out sand bags.  The parish government set up sandbagging points around the area so Darlene and I found ourselves at the Dutchtown Fire Department filling a few bags for our own purposes.  Feeling like there was little more we could or should do to prepare for the storm, we found ourselves volunteering to help others who seemed a bit more desperate.  Most of the volunteers at the fire station were members of the the volunteer fire department so two old geezers who were helping others in the hot humid sun was somewhat of a novelty to the firefighters.
Realizing this might be a good way to teach our nieces/god-daughters the value of community service and love for others, Darlene called them and told them "Pop" would be at their house in 10 minutes.  Figuring I would not be well received when I picked them up, I was pleasantly surprised when they arrived at the bagging point and went right to work without so much as a groan.  Darlene and I, as well as the community were very proud of them for doing their part.

 When Isaac finally arrived, we were fortunate enough not to be close to waters that would rise and the force of the rains and winds hit primarily on one side of the house and the front which allowed us to sit on the screened back porch and pass the time watching the rain and discuss a broad range of topics.  The girls watched movies, played video games and slept.  With eight of us holding up in the storm, we never seemed to get on each others' nerves to any large degree.

This being Friday, everyone but me is back to work while I watch over 3 girls who still are sleeping late.



I've been in Alamogordo for four months now and any assignment, good or bad, has to end.  Due to news I've heard from the home office, this could very well be my last weekend here.  However, that's not a definite.

This is the Otero County Fair weekend and I'm a fan of fairs, especially in small towns where everyone tries to get involved.  Aside from the usual handicrafts, jellies and photos there's the livestock competitions.  For anyone never going to one like this, they have missed out on all the elements involving the senses.  Temperatures have cooled some but this place is dry so when there is any movement,  the dust is stirred and hangs in the air.   With that and the smoke from barbeques, there is a light haze over everything.

As for smells, it's a unique combination of the charcoal smoke and the livestock.  Every other ride has music blaring, bingo callers yelling "G 19!", pigs squealing, chickens squawking and throngs of unlovely people laughing and talking.

My particular interest was the rodeo so I climbed up into the bleachers and sat on some of the hardest wood I've had my backside on in years.  As I sat around a wide mixture of young and old, I could hear part of conversations begin in English, merge into local Spanish and back again into English. I suppose that's Spanglish.

As for the rodeo itself, it was run by a small rodeo company that provided the bucking bulls, horses and calves.  It was complete with two rodeo clowns that cracked some of the most corny politically incorrect comments and jokes I've heard in ages.  I loved it.

Enough with the ramblings.  Here's some pictures.  Clicking on the photos will enlarge them some.

The usual Ferris wheels and rides

The Merry-Go-Round had seen better days

 Rodeo Queens (also contestants)

 Saddled Bronc Busters

Some went the full 8 seconds

Women's Calf Roping



Then there were the Bull Riders

I'm pretty certain there were no qualifications in this.

At any rate, it was a very pleasant evening and everyone
had a good time.......except maybe for some of the horses, 
calves and bulls.


Birds and Bees Weekend

There's not much story to tell, other than riding around hoping to take pictures of smaller things this weekend.

The first part was Friday afternoon south of town at a local state park, where I was continually watching for rattlesnakes.  Thinking (maybe my imagination was going wild)  I heard a light rattle, I changed directions and in doing so, a large Jackrabbit hopped across the trail and scared me.  I believe I've seen deer that size in south Texas.  Anyway, the only slinking thing I positively saw was a couple of lizards.

In a small cluster of flowers, there were quite a bit of honey bees gathering pollen.

Saturday afternoon, I rode up into the mountains east of town near Sunspot.  Way out in the boondocks, I was attracted to a small waterfall near where a group of ATV enthusiasts were camping.  This time, I figured if I fell off the side of the thing, somebody might be able to rescue me.

The best part of the whole thing was a patch of gypsum weeds and thistles growing in the delta of the falls.  Dozens hummingbirds of a couple of different varieties battled for the choice flowers.  I was totally absorbed it it and shot birds until it was really too dark to be doing so.

All of these pictures were taken with a Nikon D7000 with a Tamron 60mm prime lens.  As for the bird pictures, I was not able to get very close so most of the pictures have been cropped from a larger shot, as much as 400%.

Here's a few.

I am not sure what this was.  It was much larger than the Hummers 
and looked quite a bit like a parakeet.

 This is not a bird but some kind of huge insect.

As I mentioned before, dark came much earlier than I wanted, so I left and drove slowly, being careful not to hit any of the several deer that stood on the edge of the road.

Beautiful sundowns as usual.