Saturday, July 13, 2019

HUMMINGBIRDS

Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 70 Mostly Sunny High 93) 

When the wildflowers start blooming in the Hill Country of Texas that means its time for the hummingbirds to return. 5 species return each year and 3 others are periodically seen. We setup a couple of feeders outside our back window which we and the cats enjoyed. Here is JJ keeping track of them.



Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, June 23, 2019

PEACHES, PART 2

Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 70 Clouds and Sun; Humid High 92) 

Of the more than 23 varieties of peaches available in the Hill Country we've had 6 or so. We also got some great strawberries too.


All the peaches so far have been really good, some even terrific. We have been told that the best is yet to come in July and August. When we heard this as we were eating peaches with juice running down our arms we wondered how it could get better.

We did finally get some good tomatoes and had a real good BLT this morning. Great peaches, strawberries, peach cider, old fashioned peach preserves, corn on the cob and tomatoes make the heat and humidity of a Hill Country summer somewhat bearable.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

WE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER

Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 64 A Thunderstorm in Spots High 93) 

"It was a dark and stormy night"

You would think that seasoned fulltimers would have been better prepared for what happened Sunday night, but we weren't. When we were traveling through 'tornado alley' we were aware of our surroundings, whether the park has a shelter or not, etc. One thing we liked about the Kerrville Texas area, and the Hill Country in general, is that there is a very low risk of tornadoes. As the locals would tell us after Sunday night, "we just don't get tornadoes here", "been here all my life and never had a tornado".

This area does get severe thunderstorms which our weather apps have helped us. We have relied so much on the weather apps that we no longer have a weather radio. So in the midst of a thunderstorm Sunday night we get an amber alert type warning separate from our weather apps screaming that a tornado has been sighted within one mile of our location. 

We just stare at each other and start stuttering. The power goes out then we start mumbling and running around like the Keystone Cops of old. We check our phones and the storms have disrupted our internet so we can't see current radar. We quickly realize how badly prepared we are; we don't have a weather radio and we don't know where the nearest storm shelter is but we do know there is not one here at the park. We don't even have a dang 'go bag'. We say a quick prayer, "Lord, I wanna go to heaven, I just don't wanna go tonight". We also made a vow to be much better prepared the next time.

Bob goes out and talks to some neighbors who don't know where shelters are either and are deciding whether to run to a hotel or not. Bob decides to bring in the cat carriers so we can leave if we want to but he stands on the steps in the rain holding the cat carriers so the cats can't see them and tries to tell Jo to close the bedroom door so the cats cannot get under the bed. Jo is still in Keystone Cop mode so it took a while to get the door closed. Thankfully she did close the door because as soon as the wet carriers and the wet one carrying them came in JJ and Sandra hid. Much easier to get them in the downstairs area than from under the bed.

Now Tiger did surprise us as she is usually the most afraid of storms. She did slept on the couch and did not move. We put JJ and Sandra in the cages and just decided to wait and see. Once in the cages and with occasional cooing from us they were OK. The tornado warning passed as did the severe thunderstorm warning so we let the cats out of the cages.

The next day we read that a tornado did not touch down in Kerrville and we worked on being better prepared. We bought a weather radio which we plan on using if we lose our internet again.



We weren't as lucky in finding a storm shelter. Not being in tornado alley and in an area where most of the house don't have basements we are not sure where to go yet but we are still looking. We are also putting together a 'go bag'.

Strange as it sounds with power outages we are glad that we live in an RV, strange as that may sound. We are glad because we have 12 volt lights that stay on so we can see while in Keystone Cop mode and we have a generator in case the outage lasts.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

PEACHES (to be continued)

Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 65 Mostly Cloudy; Humid High 89) 

We knew that by staying in Kerrville this summer that we would be able to enjoy some locally grown peaches. What we did not know is that there are 23 varieties that are grown in nearby Fredericksburg. We've already had some but the market didn't know if they were Spring Gold, Regal or Flavorich. Yesterday we went to Das Peach Haus of Fischer and Wieser's Orchard and they had the Regal variety.

They also offered samples of peach cider and one sip convinced us to buy a couple of bottles. Of course we had to get some of their peach preserves. And of course JJ had to inspect what we brought home.


Here is the ripening schedule for peaches.


As you can see we may have many more reports on the peaches in the Hill Country of Texas. Don't know if we will be able but we want to sample some of all the varieties. They do have a high bar as we are big fans of Missouri peaches.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, May 25, 2019

AUTO SHOW

Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 62 A Shower or Two High 86) 

So far this year there has been a couple of events, an Auto Show and a Chili Cookoff. The Auto Show was delayed a week due to rain. Here are the autos lined up on Crawfish Island next to the Guadalupe River with the view from our back window.


It was still a little muddy so we did our viewing from our site.  As you can see we have a great view of the island and the river. We got to see the cars and spectators arrive and then leave.

There also was a chili cookoff to help pay some medical expenses so Bob did his part. This was official Texas chili which means no beans. Bob sampled the five different offerings and the adage that there is no bad chili, there is just some better than others, was true at this event. He was too busy eating to take a picture though. It's great having events within easy walking or in our line of sight. We don't know if there is anymore events planned this year.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, May 11, 2019

WE SAW 'BREAKTHROUGH'

Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 54 Rather Cloudy High 67) 

Seems like we are seeing less and less movies at the theatre. We made an exception with 'Breakthrough'.


We saw it for a couple of reasons. We really like Chrissy Metz who plays on 'This is Us' and because this was a Christian movie. Based on a true story 'Breakthrough' tells us about one mother’s unfaltering love in the face of impossible odds. When Joyce Smith’s adopted son John falls through the ice in a lake near Wentzville Missouri all hope seems lost. About 45 minutes passes but Joyce refuses to give up even after the doctors and nurses left her alone with her supposedly dead stepson whose heart starts miraculously starts beating. That is just the beginning of this amazing story which we highly recommend that you see.

We have learned to never underestimate the power of prayer.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, April 20, 2019

WILDFLOWERS

Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 45 Plenty of Sun High 82)

Late March to early April is peak wildflower season in the Hill Country. You can see them driving down the highways and interstate but getting a good picture at 65-75 miles an hour is challenging so we went again this year to Wildseed Farm near Fredericksburg, the nations largest working wildflower farm. You can easily get great pictures of wildflowers, kind of like a zoo for wild animals except it is wildflowers.


The entrance.


Walking trails take you to different wildflowers.




This way we can walk and relax and see the wildflowers and get great pictures and just take mental pictures while we are driving. 

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

ON THE ROAD AGAIN (SORTA)

Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 51 Mostly Cloudy With a Stray Shower or Two High 68) 

Subtitled: Felt like we were camping.

We departed 'By the River RV Park' Monday and drove 0.25 miles to our new park, 'Crawfish Island RV Park' at the Blue Gar Complex also in Kerrville.


Here is the view out our back window.



When we got to our new site and raised the satellite dish we got the dreaded 'NO LNB VOLTAGE' message. Bob called Winegard and the most likely culprit is the cable between the LNB (low noise blocker) and the turret. So we were without satellite for Monday evening and boy did that feel like we were camping :-) 

Tuesday a new cable was tried without success so a different LNB was tried, also with no success. Winegard tells us that the problem is now in the turret so we are working with our warranty company to get the turret repaired. The satellite tech was able to manually point our dish and bypass the turret so we have TV.

We will be here for the foreseeable future so will have plenty of time to get this fixed. Jo recently had a MRI and her back problems have progressed to severe, the worst rating that the pain center has. Steroid shots didn't touch the pain so they are now working on cauterizing her nerves. With her current pain levels travel is out of the question. We are hoping that sufficient deadening of the nerves will occur so that we may be able to travel north to the Kansas City area this fall.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, March 22, 2019

IT'S MARCH MADNESS AGAIN

Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 51 Cloudy High 73) 

No matter which 64 teams end up playing in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, aka March Madness, that started yesterday, it is always something Bob looks forward to. Last year his alma mater, Iowa State, wasn't in the tourney and it was still great. This year at one point it looked like Iowa State could make some noise this year, then they went into a funk, then they won the Big 12 Tournament, so they enter on a roll. They play one of latest games tonight.

Bob will be in front of the TV again today watching 16 games on 4 channels just like yesterday.


Picture-in-Picture (PIP) is going to get a work out over 13 hours today just like it did on Thursday.



Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

CAJUN ETOUFFEE

Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 26 Clouds and Sun High 54) 

On Fat Tuesday Bob had a great meal of shrimp and crawfish etouffee while Jo had grilled catfish.


As we mentioned earlier in a previous posting this etouffee was not what we expected when we had etouffee on Valentine's Day. Turns out it was the cajun version. The creole version is what is generally available.


Basically the creole version is thickened with a brown roux while the cajun version is not and the creole version has more vegetables like peppers, celery, carrots while the cajun version is mostly onion and spices. The creole version that Bob has had before has been spicier so Bob added Tabasco to his cajun etouffee. 

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, February 24, 2019

REALLY ENJOYING SHRIMP AND OYSTER SEASON

Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 37 Plenty of Sunshine High 65)

We have been very happy with the gulf shrimp and oysters being in season and have had boiled shrimp many times and purchased raw oysters too. Here are some raw oysters you can buy in a plastic container already shucked which we had with cocktail sauce.


Everything was so good we branched out to lobster tails on the grill.



Then pan seared scallops with parmesan sauce over pasta.


We also enjoyed shrimp scampi with fresh shrimp and we fixed oyster stew. It's a great time to be in Texas during shrimp and oyster seasons. It gets even better next month with Mardi Gras. A cajun place in town serves old fashioned cajun etouffee which is different than the creole etouffee which is what you see mostly. If we remember we will take a picture so you can see the difference.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, February 8, 2019

GOT A WEATHER ALERT FOR GRAUPEL TODAY

Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 28 Light Snow and Graupel early then Cloudy High 37) 

NOTE: this entry will probably appeal more to weatherbugs. 

We got a weather alert today for graupel and we had to look it up. Turns out graupel (aka soft hail or snow pellets) is one of the many types of frozen precipitation.
 
Hail is a form of precipitation that occurs when updrafts in thunderstorms carry raindrops upward into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere where they freeze into ice. To be considered hail, the frozen precipitation pieces must have a diameter greater than 5mm (.20”). 

Sleet (a.k.a. ice pellets) are small, translucent balls of ice, and smaller than hail. They often bounce when they hit the ground.

Snow forms mainly when water vapor turns to ice without going through the liquid stage. There is no thunderstorm updraft involved in either of these processes.

But what is graupel you ask?

Graupel (a.k.a. soft hail or snow pellets) are soft small pellets of ice created when supercooled water droplets coat a snowflake.

Here is some graupel on our truck bed cover.


From the web comparing sleet to graupel with better photos.


It has been a wild two weeks going from running the furnace to needing to run the air conditioner to hearing graupel on our roof right now.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, January 27, 2019

2 WEEK UPDATE

Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 33 Sunny High 62) 

A couple of boring weeks since our last entry. At least we don't have the cold weather that our friends up north are having.


The biggest excitement was a new screensaver for our DirecTV Genie DVR.


Flips thru wonderful scenery pictures of some of the places we have visited while fulltiming.

Till next time,


Bob and Jo

Sunday, January 13, 2019

WEEKLY UPDATE: MOSTLY PICTURES (BIRDWATCHING AND WEATHER)

Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 32 Mostly Cloudy; Cooler High 53) 

The weather that dropped a lot of snow in the midwest did affect us in Kerrville like it did our friends in Leawood Kansas after 10 inches of snow.


We also had a great sunset this past week.


We had some excitement this week at our birdwatching station. A squirrel was trying to get some bird seed. It sure entertained the cats.


Obviously scared by the cats the squirrel moved to the woodpecker feeder on a shepherds pole.


Looks like this bird on the ground is on the back of the squirrel, which it is not.


Looks like the squirrel is inside the feeder, which it is not.


This wore out the cats so much there are now sleeping all the time.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, January 6, 2019

WEEKLY UPDATE: STILL MOSTLY MEDICAL

Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 45 Times of Sun and Clouds High 68) 

We've had quite the week weather wise. We didn't get any snow but we had some interesting temperature fluctuations. One day the low was 31 and then only got to 37 for the high. Yesterday was 72 and the forecast for today is 71 yet the overnight low last night was 26. This is what our truck looks like after that chilly overnight.



Medical wise Jo had her last physical therapy session for her foot sprain and then an evaluation. She is making progress, just not enough so she has another month. She also got hit hard by the cedar pollen that is really bad this year. So the cats won't feel left out JJ got his stitches out for his lumpectomy.

One of the perks of living in Texas is large gulf shrimp that we have been enjoying. It is also fresh gulf oyster season which we hope to get next week.

Next week looks pretty good weather wise and Jo has more physical therapy sessions scheduled.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 27 Mostly Sunny: Cooler High 48) 

We want to wish everyone a Happy New Year!! 


For a yearly review we include here what we sent with our Christmas cards this year. 

We had another great year of full-timing. Jo’s neck and back pain are always with us but she just said she was going to live her life and enjoy this great country as much as possible. This year was tough on her so we shortened our trips and tried to stay longer at each visit. 

We spent last Christmas at our new normal winter spot in Kerrville Texas and stayed till early April for Bob’s recovery from his thyroid surgery and other routine medical stuff. We then headed to Denver for Bob’s beryllium surveillance testing which turned out okay. Then we stopped in Albuquerque where our friends Bob and Wilma joined us on their way from Arizona back home. We also met up with our friends TC and Linda while there. 

From Albuquerque we headed north to Colorado and along the way had some unplanned events mostly dealing with water. We have been dealing with a slideout leak for a long time and each time something is caulked or sealed or taped we kept thinking we had it fixed but we never did.  We finally gave up and had a slideout topper installed in South Dakota. While in South Dakota we the Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo that included autos and great memorabilia. Also in South Dakota we visited the Corn Palace in Mitchell, we thought it was going to be corny, but it turned out to be terrific. But in South Dakota the alternator went out on the truck causing a couple of day without the truck. Stay tuned for more water stories, good and bad. 

Now some good water stories finally as we had a 9 week 2 day stretch where we had 9 weeks backed up to Lake Michigan, St. Mary River and the Portage River, all in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The views out our back window during those 9 weeks were amazing. Friends figured in as we met some friends again (Bob and Carol, Herb and Jan, Bob and Sandy at The Soo (aka Sault Ste. Marie Michigan) including new fulltimers Steve and Vicki. After The Soo we spent 6 weeks in Houghton Michigan where our friends Bob and Wilma joined us for a month. Jo had a bad foot sprain while in Houghton that required an ER visit and a week doing absolutely nothing. It got barely tolerable so we planned to take care of when we get back to Kerrville. We left Houghton and then moochdocked at our friends Bob and Carol’s place and then on their 2nd site at an RV park in southern Wisconsin. 

Family figured in as we headed to Iowa and Missouri. A couple of weeks in Iowa seeing Bob’s family and friends.  We then headed to the Kansas City Missouri area where we met up with Jo’s family and friends. We also met up with our old unplanned nemesis, bad water. Even after the slideout topper we still had water so the mobile service, which was one of many to caulk and seal, found a couple spots that might be letting in water so they caulked them and we haven’t had a leak since. After Kansas City we headed down to Kerrville for some more medical stuff, luckily this time mostly just routine checkin appointments except for Jo’s back and foot sprain. 

As usual we jammed a lifetime of vacations into this year but there is still so much more to see and do. We aren’t too sure about our plans for next year, we hope we can escape the heat of Texas for awhile in the summer and then back to the midwest in the fall. 

We hope everyone has a Happy New Year!! 

Till next time,

Bob and Jo