- Holidays and Celebrations
It's Summer and the Fish are Jumping
Out at North Oso Bay
It's Summer and we're watching TS Debby...
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It’s summer, and the fish are jumping in Oso Bay! I’m sitting in a Show House as a hostess and it is quiet. There is little human traffic today and I’m wondering whether people are out having fun or relaxing at home with their families. The house in which I’m sitting is luxurious and backs up on the tranquil Oso Bay, which is an inlet of a waterway from the Gulf of Mexico. This is part of the central flyway for migrating birds flying north or south, depending on which season it is. The Oso is a wonderful habitat for water birds. I am hoping that the building of homes in this area will not impact negatively on this environment. A hiking and biking trail has been developed so that nature enthusiasts can enjoy nature at their door.
There is a blue heron which fishes here every day. Last weekend, I spotted a snowy Egret, seagulls and a hawk. It is beautiful to sit here and watch fish jump out of the water and I was quietly minding my own business, when I saw a canine run across the stretch of beach, looking this way and that. In the twelve years since I have lived here, I have not seen a coyote, although my friends have told me there are groups of them roaming around the outskirts of the city. So, dear reader, this is the first time I have ever seen a coyote with my own eyes. Of course, I know them from movies or television, but this was my first sighting since I’ve lived in America. I find it really timely as my remaining time in Texas is limited and I am very aware of it. I was so thrilled to spot the coyote. I managed to get my camera out and zoomed in as the animal was running away from me, so it’s not the best photo, but it will do! I was so excited!
Blooming, hot summer
Sultry days of Summer
As I wait for my paperwork to leave for Manitoba, Canada, I am enjoying the summer days here fully. I will be moving from nine months of summer to a part of the Americas which has nine months of winter! I was doing some laundry and putting quarters into the slots in the washing machine. Since each State has designed a quarter to represent it, I always look at the back to see which State coin it is, and now that national parks are being represented, I am even more curious. The coin I held in my hand was from North Dakota. Suddenly, the two bison that appear on it, took on far more significance for me. I looked at their thick, heavy fur and realized that it was going to be MIGHTY COLD further north! I have never experienced that kind of winter, and I decided that I had better make the best of the summer that I am experiencing right now!!
During these summer days, this is a time when the kitten population has been burgeoning and cats are busy answering the call of nature and finding mates; these are days when sunlight lasts a long time and the heat and humidity becomes intense and unbearable regularly; this is the time when nature has burst into color and flowers are blooming, attracting many insects and butterflies; a time when crops are ripening and inviting Grackles, Pigeons, Doves, Sparrows, Mockingbirds and all other manner of flighty creatures; and this is also a time when children are left largely to their own devices.
This is the first season that a group of children in these apartments, get together in the afternoon, to see what havoc they can wreak. They manhandle the animals; they break off leaves and flowers and break branches; they hang from trees which have rather thin limbs which obviously break; they run around corners at breakneck speed paying no heed to someone who might be on the other side. These children have never been taught to make way for their elders, or to mind their manners or to listen to what an adult tells them. They run around unchecked. It is unpleasant. These kids don’t care that property does not belong to them, and they enjoy breaking birdfeeders, or emptying birdbaths, or destroying statuary belonging to other tenants, without a second thought. Gone are the days of discipline and a spanking so that they learn to mind their manners. These kids are often non-responsive and have a short attention span. This is a world filled with technology in which they are growing up – almost like weeds sprouting in the woods – a world where someone usually has a phone attached to their ear in some form or other, and eye contact is usually non-existent because people are frantically texting, or playing games, on their cellphones or other gaming devices – sometimes, even when driving (the adults in the population, of course). It is time for humans to get back to their roots and connect more fully with one another and with nature around them.
This morning, I had a meeting with the Realtor. She was looking out the window and exclaimed: “Look, there’s a baby bunny!” I looked out the window and saw a baby rabbit hopping under some plants. I will be the first to admit that I am a “bunny hugger” and I was unaware that there actually are rabbits living in this environment! I immediately wanted to rescue the bunny, but realized that nature is nature and creatures either survive or they don’t. As I had no cage, and no food to give it, I realized I would have to let the bunny be and hope that it would survive very well out there. There seems to be lots to eat!
On my walkabouts I have been noticing pretty flowers and trees, butterflies and birds and I think I may have become a “cat whisperer.” The cats have learned to trust me. Even old Tom-Tom doesn’t slink away from me any longer. Mamacita and her two kittens, Smudge and Calico Katie, have taken cover under the Bougainvillea bush. It provides them with shade and cover from humans and other cats. I have begun providing food and water for them over there and I am hoping I can get to the point where Mamacita will allow me to pick her up so that somehow I can get her into a carrier and take her to be spayed. I know I can catch the kittens without too much trouble, but I will need to ask tenants if they can contribute to costs so we can stabilize the cat population here, using the “Trap, Neuter and Release” method. This mama has contributed way too many cats to the general population. I discovered yesterday that Precious is one of Mamacita’s offspring.
Looking after the strays
Precious and Snowball and the other kitties
Precious is doing well since her spay. Her kitten is adorable but even so, the vet could not find a home for it. The lady downstairs calls the kitten “Snowball” so I will adopt that name too. What a feisty and cute little ball of fluff it is. One of the tenants here is interested in the kitten, so hopefully it will find a home. Now that the two little orphan kittens I spotted have found a fairly safe environment and a supply of food, they are staying in this part of the complex, although they are still fearful and bolt if I move toward them. If I walk softly and do not make eye contact, and go about the business of putting food down and then walk away quietly, they seem to be a little more confident. I am aware of them watching me. It will just take a little time and they will learn to trust me too.
I took Precious about twenty minutes out of Corpus Christi as that was where the MASH unit was based to fix animals that day. I arrived quite early (partly because I was anxious and partly because I didn’t want to be caught in traffic). There is a large gas and oil operation out there. I stood outside my car and took some pictures. Then I saw a fairly large dog which was obviously lost and frightened. I felt quite helpless and wasn’t sure what to do to help. After I registered Precious for her spay, I needed to do some grocery shopping. I decided to include two cans of dog food just in case. I returned to the area to pick up Precious at 4:30 in the afternoon. The dog was still there and looked even more distressed. It was hot. I approached the animal which got down low and watched me warily. I emptied the dog food into a paper bowl and poured water into another, and I could see the dog quiver. I said: “It’s okay – come and eat!” The dog crawled toward the food and gobbled it down in a few gulps. I realized that it was not a sufficient quantity of food and returned to my car to retrieve half a loaf of bread. I also had some cat food there and emptied the contents of one can over the bread. The dog gulped it all down. I retrieved Precious and put her in the back of the car. I realized I could not get that dog into my car and take it back to Corpus Christi. I did call all the shelters I knew of and was told that they just had no more space for any more animals. I stopped in at Peewee’s on the way home. I chatted with the woman who runs that shelter and she told me the same thing.
When I got home, after I put Precious in the bathroom and closed the door, I got online and placed an advertisement on Craig’s list and also placed one online (with photo) in the newspaper. This morning, I found an email in response to the ad. saying that they had lost a dog that matched the description. I responded and said the dog had stayed at that location all day. I will check my email again when I get home and hopefully the dog is reunited with its owner. I will be so happy and I will keep you updated, dear Reader!
This month has been terribly hot, and the cats are feeling it. They sought shelter in the basement where there was shade and the heat was not as intense. Thankfully, we had a little rain which cooled things off a bit. There is a tropical disturbance around the Yucatan peninsula at the moment and hopefully, we will not get any hurricanes coming ashore this season. It is a frightening event to see a hurricane bear down on a city. For me personally, having come from a city almost a mile high, where we generally have wonderful weather, summer rainfall and thunderstorms, and cold, dry winters… I had never been familiar with hurricanes or tornadoes, and I was very nervous when hurricane Rita bore down on Corpus Christi, then veered off at the last minute and visited Houston instead! I am trying to imagine myself amidst a winter landscape fairly soon, but will have to hold those thoughts until I get to Canada.
Meet some of the apartment cats
Birds wait for breakfast
Snow or Sunshine?
Snowbirds are lucky! These folk, who escape the rigors of ice and snow during a real winter, are lucky enough to go south, like the birds, and enjoy an extended stay in lovely places like Corpus Christi, where, if you sneeze, you may miss winter altogether! This city, like Johannesburg, usually gets no snow for years and years. During December 2004, however, I had just left to visit family in South Africa, when it snowed two days later, on Christmas Eve. My late-husband did not accompany me on that trip, and would email me constantly describing the snow that had fallen. The snow lasted for two days. He told me that the bird bath had frozen over and the birds didn’t know what to do! Everyone felt that the snow on Christmas Eve was magical and someone put together a book of photographs that had been taken by residents in the area. We bought a copy to give to my parents-in-law as a Christmas gift the following year.
I was given two tickets to attend the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas program in 2005. I got teary-eyed when the audience stood to sing the beautiful national anthem before the show began. The song: “The 12 days of Christmas” was rewritten to tell the story of the magical Christmas Eve the previous year, when it had snowed in Corpus Christi – an event that happens as rarely as it does in Johannesburg! It was FABULOUS! My husband and I loved the evening. I was so grateful that we attended that concert – it was the last concert my husband ever saw. The following year, like a bolt out of the blue, he had a fatal heart attack – a month before our sixth anniversary. A few days later – I was sworn in as an American citizen. My husband had been planning to pin me with the American flag – but he didn’t make it. I did, however, feel his presence very strongly at the ceremony. When the events concluded, I told my story to the judge (a woman), and we hugged one another, while tears flowed down both of our cheeks.
Snow on Christmas Eve in Corpus Christi 2004
Tropical Storm Debby forecast
N. Oso Bay - Corpus Christi, TX
So, dear Reader, I will leave you with an image of the house in which I have been sitting while I write this, and some pictures and videos of the birds that inhabit this part of the city. I have enjoyed the tranquility of this part of Corpus Christi, where the sounds that I hear are the wind and the birds. I am thankful for the air-conditioning and fans in this house, which are keeping me cool when it is so hot outside. I am most grateful for the view through these wonderful windows. From where I sit, I can watch the water of the Oso Bay, and enjoy watching the creatures that visit.
One last paragraph: It is only June, but Tropical Storm Debby is forming in the Gulf of Mexico. Please keep an eye on the storm which will make landfall possibly on Wednesday, in the US on the Gulf Coast, possibly in Texas!
Trying to video butterflies on a very windy day
Please give credit to Suelynn if sharing photos or writing
© This writing is the work of Sue-Lynn Grace.
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