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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Prairie Restoration Area


Near Patty’s home in Missouri City there is an area of man made lakes, four small ones to be exact, where they all go fishing during the summer months. She took me by last week when I was searching for WATER and I found something much better. The area around these small lakes has been designated as a prairie restoration area. Instead of planting domesticated vegetation the land is being allowed to return to its natural state. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy formal gardens as much as I know you all do, I see the photos of irises and Roses and find them extraordinarily beautiful but this small area of prairie land with its array of wild flowers was moving to the max. Here are just a few of the Texas wild flowers – the prairie as the first settlers must have seen it before a more advanced society too over. Enjoy.

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In case you didn’t notice yesterday I inserted in the left sidebar a map of this area for your reference.

Double click the photos to see them just a bit larger.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Shoot-out, water

This week I had so many possible water, whet areas to choose from that I had a hard time finding a direction to take this Shoot-out.  Houston is just west of the ship channel that comes up from Galveston and ends just south of I-10.  It is 60 miles north of Galveston and is partially on the flood plane of the San Jacinto and Red Rivers. There is no limit to the photo opportunities.  But I am now visiting with my daughter and her two children, Carl and Marissa and she doesn’t really live in Houston but in Fort Bend County.  To the west and south of the Houston (Harris DSC_4289County) line in Fort Bend County there are three smaller communities, Sugarland, Stafford and Missouri City.  All three of these cities are on the Brazos River flood plane.   That means the area is FLAT, flat, flat and is crosshatched with creeks, ponds and horseshoe bends. 
Over the millennium as rivers snake their way across the flood plane, they gouge out new riverbeds, changing course and leaving behind small bodies of water called horseshoe bends.  Fort Bend County Texas  has thousands, well maybe hundreds of these small isolated horseshoe shaped bodies of water.  You don’t realize at ground level what they are but if you look at a map of the area they are apparent.  The local developers and city planners have used them to create private lakes for some very pricey homes and public parks for the rest of us.  The result is a very pleasant, garden like area with plenty of fountains, fishing holes, boat ramps and picnic areas in which to enjoy life.  
Private lake off Sugar Creek.
It doesn’t take me long to end up with too many photos.  
I decided to focus on the Missouri City park of Kitty Hollow.  Small, with a man made pond incorporating two horseshoe bends, this park has the requisite fishing pier, grassy knoll, park benches and picnic tables, wild birds and lots and lots of personality.   I can not wait to see this park as it matures, the cypress trees around its edge will be beautiful.  I Don’t know what the pink is on the base of the cypress, looks like pink fish eggs. 
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DSC_4430Double click any you want to see a bit larger.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

One moment in time

DSC_4458DSC_4452  It doesn't happen very often. As a general rule I move along not Happy and not unhappy, just moving along. On a rare occasion something will happen and I think - at this moment in time I am Happy.
Today I was out hunting for 'Water' and out of the long grass flew a bird - I snapped 3 photos in a row. He flew in, landed and then took off again..... I still can feel that one moment beating inside my head. 



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realized beauty in Houston

DSC_4282Yesterday while I waited for my temporary membership card to be issued at Bally's Fitness, I decided to walk around Memorial park. Memorial park is on Memorial drive practically in the shadow of downtown Houston. I have been walking this trail for over 30 years. CAN you believe it?
I used to go over on Sunday mornings and go around 2 times. It is 5.5km so just a little smaller than walking the Lagoa in Rio.
Yesterday morning it was cloudy, the air heavy with humidity, a typical summer DSC_4280morning in Houston and I did about 1 and a quarter way. There is now newly planted trees (a reforestation projected that is now matured), a golf course and club house in the center, a restaurant (Beck's Prime), a pool, tennis courts and dozens of soccer fields and contiguous to the park is a arboretum that I have yet DSC_4281to walk through. (can you believe it?) As the city has improved, enlarged and maintained the park, drinking fountains for man and beast have been added. There are benches tucked along way to sit with your lunch or to enjoy the birds enjoying the inner city forested area. I have had people in Rio tell me that they don't like Houston (Camillo doesn't for that matter) that it is a city with no personality. But for me it is a city that is clean and organized, it is loved and decorated with flowers in front of homes and businesses, it has color and texture - it is painted as home. The local 'mothers with twins' group out enjoying the morning at the park.    DSC_4283

Monday, May 25, 2009

More about being Home

scan%2520Mariissa%25205%2520yrs%2520%25282%2529Marissa, 5 years old, decked out in her Easter finery - another scanned 35mm photo. I got my first digital camera in 2002, the year after this photo was taken and I wish I'd had it sooner. There is no comparison with a digital photo for sharing with others via the Internet or just sending with an email.
I still haven't decided to buy another camera.... Am still thinking about it.
It took me nearly 12 hours to transfer my backups and photos from the old external storage to the new. They now have an external drive with a faster transfer capability called eSATA (External Serial Advanced Technology Attachment.) - but this is available only for the newest computers. My computer, which is only 2 years old, is still USB dependent so I opted to save the extra $50 and not upgrade to the more sophisticated technology. When I have to buy a new computer will keep it in mind though, I love {shopping} the newest technology.
Everything seems faster; faster Internet connections, faster downloads, faster transfers, faster traffic - it seems the only thing moving slower is me.

Today was Memorial day, we had hamburgers cooked on the grill, potato salad, corn on the cob and a bunch of other stuff including fresh strawberries with my secret sour cream topping. Good good good. It was fun to have both grand kids here for a while, to meet Carl's newest girlfriend, to talk and laugh with young people. Tomorrow everyone starts back to school and work and I will start back at the gym - promise.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Being American in America

scan%2520Marrissa%2520birth%2520%25288%2529 I have been enjoying my first week in Houston. I took a couple days to rest and then hit the floor running. I slip back into the routine at Patty's just like I have been here all along. I didn't go to the gym this week and I miss it - I am now 3 weeks without spinning class and my (old) abs already look slack. But this week, I promise, I will go get a one month's membership and get back in the groove.
(Marissa, age 5 days - photo not apropos to this entry, just that Sarah Lulu has been bragging about the coming of her new grandbaby and it made me think of these old photos - she was the most beautiful baby ever!)
Patty actually lives in Missouri City, just outside the Houston city limits and to the southwest. To avoid renting a car I take her to work in the morning then use her car until 4:30 when I have to pick her up. This somewhat limits my day but when here I need some limitations. I spent most of last week getting my eyes examined, a mammogram, seeing an orthopedists for my creaky knees, etc, etc and scouting out prices and options on electronics such as a new digital camera. There are doctors in Brasil but I prefer when possible to go to them here just so I can be sure of what they are saying and the focus on electronics because it is impossible to buy them in Brasil. The technology is at least a year behind and the prices 3 times as high.
I bought right off a new external drive for my photos. I have carried the one I had around for two years and it had a sound of a piece of plastic rattling around inside and was 95% full. The old one is 250 gb and I paid $160.00, my new one is a terabyte and was $137.00. A terabyte is 1000gb. Now I am trying to decide on a new small pocket camera and/or a zoom lens for my Nikon d40. The pocket camera is a must (having one not the new one). In Rio I don't carry my big camera around on the street. It would get me mugged or worse, I carry a little Sony Cybershot and have been very pleased with the photos it produces. The knobs and buttons are wearing down and beside I just like new cameras.... my old one is 8.1 mp with 3x zoom and there is a newer version that is 12.1 mp with 4x zoom. Probably in the whole scope of things there is not much difference - anyone have any opinions?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Shoot-out: Paint the town RED

It is amazing what we don’t see that is there everyday.  I thought whatever will I find RED in Houston?  I am in trouble this week.  When I really started to looking I found red at every turn.  I found -

DSC_4192DSC_4202 Red that warns us

Red that instructs us and

Red that guides our way


DSC_4241DSC_4240  and Red that helps us every day.DSC_4218                                                                                                     


I found red that tells where to save and where to spend


DSC_4247 and what is best to eatDSC_4224DSC_4226








there are places of worship and old buildings with new red roofs…

and red cars and red trucks making fun for you and me





red that is ready to protect us

and red that is hard at work.




And finally there is red that shows our love, and red that gives us a ‘welcome home’.