Sunday, April 2, 2017

Spring Is In The Air

Spring is in the air & boy are my shrubs doing well this year...finally!
Pride of Barbados


With the new irrigation system everything is doing fantastic. Shrubs that were stunted & not flowering are now very prolific. Shrubs that developed root rot & now thriving. 

For the first time I am having good luck with growing Jasmine & the fragrance is just amazing.

All of these are in our courtyard except for the Desert Rose
Jasmine


We are starting to see the butterflies in the garden but the hummingbirds haven't returned yet. But now my garden is ready for them! They should be very happy with all the natural nectar.

Our bottle brush tree that was planted in June, 2016 is now about 2 ft higher & wider & it is beautiful. We put this in to replace a queen palm that I hated. The first photo was taken right after it was planted & the close up will show you what the bottle brushes look like when they are in full bloom.
Desert Rose


We get to sit in our courtyard & look at all the beautiful flowers & colors. Quite a change from living in the Desert for 8 years!


Bottle Brush Tree
Duranta

The photos below show the Bottle brush tree when it was planted a year ago & what it looks like now

   
Bottle Brush Tree 6/16
Courtyard 4/17

Front Planter Bed 4/17
All new plants except for the Robellini Palms on either end

Courtyard with new plants

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mardi Gras Celebration Retama Village Style

I am so far behind in posting our vacation & our community Mardi Gras celebrate. So, I'm posting in
order of priority....our party! Don't let anyone tell you that us "old timers" in Retama Village don't know how to have fun. Of course this is NOT your ordinary 55+ community. We do our parade in style with beautifully decorated golf carts. Some of them were just amazing & I wish I could have gotten more photos because they were all awesome.

Do you know any community that has Border Patrol leading a Mardi Gras parade? Well we do here &
they love to join in & have fun with us...in between catching the illegals of course! We love them & they love our cookies & parties! Don't let anyone tell you that living in the Rio Grande Valley isn't a safe place to live. Retama Village is the safest place you can be & the best place to live...not to mention party!

The golf cart on the right is our community manager. Carol. Carol & Jerry were very creative & did a great job!

Once the parade started people were throwing candy & beads to those of us standing around or sitting on the sidelines watching the parade. This was one fantastic celebration.

After the parade was over there was a party on the clubhouse patio where many were dancing & enjoying some decadent desserts.


Friday, December 30, 2016

South Padre Island

December 26-28

We had a very nice time while we were at South Padre Island. On Monday we headed to the island & on the way
we stopped in Port Isabel & had lunch at Pirates Landing. It's been 14 years since we've been to SPI & to Pirates Landing & we were not disappointed. Our lunch was very good.

Once we got to SPI we decided try restaurants that we have never been to rather than going to our old favorites. Since we had a BIG lunch we passed on dinner Monday. Tuesday morning we had the free breakfast buffet at the hotel which was mediocre at best. All the "bread" items were "white flour".

White bread & plain bagels. The muffins were miniature & intended to appeal to kids. Nothing healthy except an omelet at this buffet. The waffle was mediocre so I just ate a few bites. The egg dishes did not look very appealing so I passed. The omelet was made to order & they had a nice selection of veggies I could choose from.

On Tuesday afternoon we went out exploring to see all the changes that have happened since we left Texas back in 2003. We stopped at Rene's (Owned by Rene's in Mission). I was disappointed that it was just a gift shop & no restaurant but while there we checked out two places along the same strip shopping center & we came across Yummies Bistro (it was closed) & Gabriella's Italian Restaurant which was getting ready to open. They gave us menu's to look at & we decided to stick around & have an early dinner.

The food & service was fantastic & of course we both over indulged but walked it off on the beach. Everything is made from scratch
(no Sysco here), including the decadent desserts & each is made with their special "twist" to it. My favorite Italian meal is linguini with white clam sauce which is hard to find & they used fresh clams (still in the shell). I was in heaven. Al had his usual lasagna but he said it was the best he ever had. Not bad for a guy who doesn't get easily excited.

Based on reviews I read I decided to try Yummies Bistro for breakfast on Wednesday instead of the free, but not so good breakfast buffet. It was the best decision! I had a multi-grain waffle with pecans. It really was fantastic....even better than Cracker Barrel's pecan pancakes. Al had the Tex-Mex scramble that he said was very good.

Our itinerary:
Monday after we settled into our room we stopped over at the Birding & Nature Center which was cross the street from the hotel....very convenient & what a great place.

We did a dolphin tour on Tuesday with South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Nature Center. This is a small tour that only seats 6 per pontoon. It really was so much nicer than going on the big boatswith a bunch of people & not getting that personal touch. Scarlet & her husband George do an outstanding job. George was out Captain along with his dolphin spotter, Gorgi (one of their dogs). She was a
hoot! Every time she heard their "sonar"under water she would bark & point to where they were & she was right on every time. George & Scarlet communicate with each other when dolphin are spotted & we sure did see a lot of them. It was very hard to capture photos because they are gone by the time you hit the button but I did get a couple of decent ones. We had lots of sightings thanks to Gorgi.

The photos are posted in the order taken each day
The parrot is one of several birds in an aviary in the same area as the Pirates Landing & the Dolphin tour. The aviary is maintained by Davy Jones Locker. After we checked in at the hotel on
Monday we went to the Birding & Nature Center was our second stop which was across the street from our hotel. The turtle's were in the front of the building & the heron was wandering around in the bay side.
Tuesday afternoon was the highlight of our stay, the Dolphin Tour
Wedding Cake

The foodie photos were taken at Gabriella's
Gabriella's

Linguini with Clams





Tiramisu

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Courtyard Face Lift

Ok, now that we have the Pergola & fans our plan is to spend more time in our
yard & have our friends over.

It's hard to believe that after only a year our concrete was badly stained & had lots of chips in it. I wanted to cover up all the stains & chips in the concrete & as long as we were going to do that I wanted it perk it up.

Several neighbors have used a local company to paint the concrete surface with a concrete/paint mixture. I chose colors to coordinate with the house & yard furniture & then chose a mosaic design with speckling.


The results were fantastic!

The 1st photo is "before"

Tomorrow we have our first day to entertain!


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Our New Pergola

We waited a little more than a year to finally make a decision that we needed a
pergola.

Our next door neighbors put one in & we checked it out along with several other neighbors before making the final decision. 

George Smith came over & gave us the estimate & we decided to go forward with it. We also decided that we should explore the option of putting in fans. Again more research...the common theme was yes, do it. When I asked those that had them installed several responded that they should have put in more
than one. So, based on the fact that our courtyard & pergola extended 25 feet we decided to get 2 large fans. 

I called for estimates on installing the electrical & fans & of course my buddy Rene Villareal (R&R cooling & Electric) was not only the cheapest but he planned on doing it the "right way". This is why I use him for everything!

So, the pergola & fans are now in. It looks fantastic & boy is it cutting down on
the sun & heat...even inside the house. Rene's guys, Berto & Rene (different last name) came over to drill & run the wires to the Pergola on the first day. George started on Tuesday & was finished on Thursday except for a couple of last minute touches done Friday morning. Berto & Rene came back Friday morning & installed the fans, set up the 2 remotes, mounted them & installed the switch on the inside next to the patio door.

We rearranged the furniture so that when sitting on the sofa & chairs everyone can see the planter bed with all the flowers. We also have new bushes (Croton mammy) & tree (Crepe Myrtle) that are very colorful & will look great when they get a little bigger. So, we have a nice relaxing environment in our courtyard now...& it will be cooler, which is even better.

The finished job looks fantastic!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Birds And The Bees!

Oh, the birds & bees are very busy at our house. It seems like I'm feeding the whole neighborhood. 

My hummingbird feeders seem to be attracting birds that sure don't look like hummingbirds. 

I guess that's why I'm making a lot of nectar but at least I know I do have a lot of hummingbirds getting some too...they are just too fast for me to get good photos!

I'm surely not going to complain because it's wonderful to see all these birds.


We have lots of hummingbirds but they are a lot harder to get photos because they flit around so fast. 

We will be having our Pergola built in the next couple of weeks so we will be able to sit outside more & enjoy watching all our fine feathered friends without baking in the sun so much. We are both looking forward to it.

We have a lot of experts in our community that can probably name all these birds but I sure don't know what they all are. All I know is they are absolutel beautiful....even if they drink all my nectar. 

    






Saturday, August 27, 2016

Destination South Padre Island

Well, we had so much fun on our first non-working vacation with no dogs or motorhome so now we are planning our next trip.

When we lived in TX in before we used to go to South Padre Island (SPI) a couple of times a year & stayed at an RV park called Destination South Padres. That RV park is now a KOA. 

The last time we were in SPI was back in 2003 before we moved back to WA state so I'm sure it's changed quite a bit. It's also interesting that down here in the Valley (RGV) where we live now they refer to South Padre Island as "The Island". Up north it was South Padre Island. 

Dayla is going to take care of the dogs again & reservations have been made. We are going in November so it will be my last "relaxing vacation" before I gear up for the holiday shopping season. Perhaps when it's over we will come back & I can recuperate.

I am looking forward to a Dolphin cruise & relaxing walks on the beach! Not as nice as the Oregon coast but certainly a lot closer.