HARVEY AND THE HUMMERS


FIGHTING FOR THE NECTAR IN OUR BACK YARD

September is the time of year when thousands of hummingbirds  make their way south for the winter.  This section of the Gulf Coast seems to be right on their migratory path.  The 29th annual  Hummerbird Celebration that was scheduled for Sept. 15-17 was canceled as the Fulton-Rockport area is recovering from Hurricane Harvey.  The festival provides education about the visitors as well as an opportunity to see them close up; many people put up dozens of feeders up and open their yards to the public. This year residents and businesses are busy  making repairs and trying to get back to normal so a festival in the midst of chaos was just not possible.

A few days after Harvey left I saw my first hummingbird in the back yard and got out my three feeders and mixed some nectar for them. I was sure there would not be a Hummerbird Celebration this year and worried about these tiny jewels that normally feast on flowers and feeders in the area.  Even in my neighborhood we were still dealing with downed fences, repairs and downed trees.  But the birds were not forgotten.

As they began their annual descent upon the Fulton-Rockport area volunteers started to help and donations came in for them as well as those affected by the storm.  Wild Bird Unlimited stores collected donations and sent feeder kits complete with poles for hanging.  Winter Texans sent money.  The crew from the King Ranch’s nature- tour brought 100 Best-1 Feeders  made in Poteet , Texas.  Outdoor writer for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times David Sikes wrote:

                                    “The ranch’s nature staff decided not to burden Rockport residents with DIY hummingbird kits, white they were in the throes of the storm.  So the King Ranch crew began filling and putting out feeders themselves at six Aransas Pathways nature sites.

    Aransas Pathways is a collection of sites in the county aimed at creating and preserving nature area and historical treasures for locals and visitors.

     Attached to the feeders is a laminated note, explaining how folks can adopt a feeder.  This would involve keeping the feeders filled and clean.  Within a week or so seven had been adopted.”

WHEN THE FEEDER WAS NOT SO CROWDED

Some locals have put up feeders amid the debris  just to make it more normal and help restore life to the community.  Most of the flowering plants and shrubs that the hummers feed on were torn apart by Harvey’s winds.  The mayor of Rockport and local companies have encouraged aid for the hungry travelers.  In the fall they come south and cross the Gulf of Mexico to Mexico and Central America; in spring they make the return trip north.  I will keep my feeders up until they are gone.  Usually the last ones move on by the end of October but I always leave one up for the stragglers.  When spring comes I will welcome them back!  Right now they are keeping me busy refilling them at least twice a day.

THIS ONE SHOWS MORE OF THEIR IRIDESCENT COLOR.

RECIPE FOR ARTIFICIAL NECTAR (SYRUP)
1.  Use 1 part sugar to 4 parts water.
2.  Boil the water 1-2 minutes.  Stir in the sugar while the water is still hot.  Let cool before filling the feeder.
Store unused syrup in refrigerator for as long as 2 weeks.

  PHOTOS BY HUSBAND

POST-HARVEY


View of our back yard with a bedraggled oak tree. Back fence is leaning slightly but that can be easily corrected.

Harvey made landfall in the middle of the night here with rain and shrieking winds as we listened through the night in darkness with storm shutters down. The power had gone off hours before.  The morning brought gentle rain and stillness.   Our neighborhood was fortunate with little damage other than downed trees, limbs and fences.  The eye of the hurricane went in a little to the north of us so we did not experience the strongest of the winds which damaged and destroyed many homes.  Flooding took its toll also.  Harvey worked its way up the coast to the Houston area and into Louisiana.  Relief and rescue efforts are ongoing.  I am sure many of you have seen the devastation in the news.  Our power came back on Monday evening.

FAMILY UPDATES

Daughter across town had little damage to her home beyond downed fences and broken limbs.  The USS Lexington Museum where she works held fast anchored just off North Beach in Corpus Christi.

Son in Houston had no loss of power and no flooding.  He works for United Way of Greater Houston and was able to volunteer taking 211 calls.

My 81-year-old sister is staying with us as her home in Victoria still has no power but little damage.

Ironically, on Friday my brother-in-law called to check on us and invite us to ride out the storm with him and my sister on their ranch outside of Freer (80 miles to the west of us and 60 miles from the border of Mexico). I declined as we wanted to stay.  Two hours later I got a call that their house had been completely destroyed by a fire; they got out unharmed but could save nothing.  They will rebuild, but at 89 years and 86 years old it will not be an easy transition.  Thursday we drove out to see them.  They are strong people with a proud Texas attitude.  My brother-in-law could joke that he really hated to lose those new boots and hat he had just bought.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Life goes on.  I am grateful for all that I have.  My heart breaks for the loss of life, damage to property, and hardships (financial and emotional) that the hurricane has brought.  It has encouraged the best in people as neighbors and strangers help each other.  Governments, military, non-profits and volunteers have pulled together to help.  May it bring our country together.  Thanks to all who have shown concern for this Coastal Crone!  I am far behind in responding and reading blogs but life comes first.  Sending good wishes to all!  The sun is shining brightly today.  Cheers!

WATER, WINE, WHISKY AND HURRICANE HARVEY


Hurricane Harvey is soon to be an uninvited guest on the Gulf Coast of Texas.  It is gathering strength as it approaches land and is expected to be a category three hurricane.  The last time one with that strength hit here was in 1970 with Hurricane Celia.  We are prepared for the worst.  Many people have already evacuated.

We have chosen to ride it out here in Portland, just across the bay from Corpus Christi.  While we are a block from the Nueces Bay, we are on a bluff so we are not worried too much about flooding.  On all the windows we have shutters that roll down easily manually.  Plant and furniture on the patio have been brought in or secured.  The neighborhood is quiet with some homes boarded up before the residents left.  Some, like us, have chosen to stay.

We have plenty of food, water, libations, candles, flashlights and an emergency radio.  Last night we had over an inch of slow rain.  Today the wind is picking up slightly and it is drizzling off and on.  The heavy rains are expected to start later this afternoon.  Predictions right now having Harvey make landfall around midnight  but that could change.  More later.

 

FOOTPRINTS CHALLENGE BY A FRANK ANGLE


Usually I don’t participate in challenges but I thought this one was not too much of a commitment.  The rules were 150 words or less in any genre, show the photo below, show my STAR for meeting the challenge and link back to A Frank Angle’s post and his story.

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND

     The jogger was back on the beach…the one with the black wavy hair and black shorts; torso legs and arms brown with perspiration even at seven o’clock in the morning.  He reminded the old lady of someone but she couldn’t remember his name or what had been their relationship, whether lover, friend or only a strangerThe young jogger never knew that he was faithfully watched from four floors up by a woman who thought she knew him or had known someone in her past who looked like him.

Today he was barefooted and walked slowly with a piece of driftwood to steady himself.  The old lady resisted a strong desire to wave to him as she sipped her morning coffee.

Here is the link to AFrankAngle.  https://afrankangle.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/on-footprints-in-the-sand/


 

 

FRIDAY FOTO: MONKS ON NORTH BEACH


Wednesday Son and I drove to North Beach to  see Daughter who works on the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay.  As I stopped at a stop sign, we looked up to see these monks walking single file and looking rather out of place amid the tourists.

  Where had they been?  Had they toured the Lex?  Were they going to visit the Texas State Aquarium next?  Son captured the moment with his phone.