Mardi Gras! New Orleans!

We weren’t there.

But we did visit New Orleans during warm weather way back in 2008. I’ve been wanting to post a few of our pictures from that trip and this seems like a reasonable time.

This is a horse (mule?) that pulled a carriage around the French Quarter. It was drinking from a trough at Jackson Square.


This is the St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square during the day.

square in day

This scene is nice during the day, but it really shines at night.

square at night

I took this by leaning against a building and hand holding the camera.

We spent a good bit of our time in New Orleans just walking around. We got hot one day, so we decided we needed a hurricane.

hurricane leah

One day we drove up along the river to see some of the old plantations. This one is pretty famous, and this view is the most famous part of it

oak alley

The plantation is called Oak Alley. A number of movies and TV shows have been filmed here, among them “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte”, “Interview With the Vampire”, and “Primary Colors”.

We also took a boat ride into the swamps. Here is a snowy egret keeping an eye on us.

snowy egret

The tourist boat takes a regular route. They stop at one point and feed the alligators, which are used to being fed there. That was OK, but they also let the tourists hold an alligator baby. Leah wanted to take this one home.

take my alligator

Not really. I was busy with the camera so I couldn’t hold it.

We missed Mardi Gras that year, but I visited New Orleans for Mardi Gras back around 1984 with another graduate student. He had a doctor friend who was in the Navy stationed near New Orleans, so we had a place to stay. The doctor friend took us downtown to see the parade. We got some beads and a few glimpses of naked lady parts, but the thing I remember most was how cold it was. New Orleans experienced a very cold snap for a few days around Mardi Gras. Street vendors were doing a great business selling yellow and purple knit caps, one of which I bought to save my ears.

The other thing I remember is portable toilets overused to the point that urine was streaming down the street. As it happens, the human body does not sweat as much during cold weather, so the body must eliminate fluids some other way. Urinating is that way. Although there were enough portable toilets that they might have sufficed in warmer weather, there was nowhere near enough for the cold weather we had.

Maybe I need to go to Mardi Gras again to wipe that memory away.

Leah thinks I have already posted these picture. If I did, someone might kindly tell me.

Out of the road, turkeys!

We see turkeys around the mountain fairly often. A few days ago Sam flushed a flock in our back yard, and then a few days later the four of us (Zeke, Lucy, Sam and me)  flushed a big one in the same place. Turkeys don’t like to fly, but this one took off like a loaded tanker and sailed away just above the trees.

Monday afternoon, after a visit to the grocery store and a couple of building supply stores, I saw this as I drove by the front of our new lot. (For some reason, it’s not showing the first frame of the video, so you have to click the link to see it).

Turkeys by the road

I counted seven turkeys. I hope they survive turkey season. Here in Georgia it runs from around late March to mid-May.

At home?

Sam has almost made himself at home here, and it looks like we’re going to end up keeping him. I would never have believed we would end up with three dogs. I have always been a one-dog person, despite having two Dobermans for about a year back in the late ‘90’s.

When my mother died three years ago (Leah and I both have trouble believing that it has been that long.) we inherited Lucy. So, at that point we had one and a half dogs, or, adding up legs and dividing by four, two dogs on average. And now three.

As I have mentioned, Sam came to us a nearly wild dog. He retreated if anyone approached. Zeke brought him up to our house and must have convinced him that we wouldn’t hurt him, because he let us pet him. He literally didn’t have enough sense to come in from the rain. I had to train him to go into a dog house, back when we thought we would have him transported up north for adoption.

For a long time he didn’t seem to understand anything we tried to teach him. It wasn’t like he just didn’t understand, it was like he didn’t even realize we were trying to communicate with him. I have never really trained a dog. My dogs seem to have learned through osmosis. They just seem eventually to get the idea. And, slowly, Sam seems to be getting the idea. And he was house trained from the beginning.

Strangely enough, he is turning into a good dog. When we go for walks, he ranges widely but remains in contact, and he comes when I call (which is more than Zeke does). It’s been so long since I had a dog that I could trust off the leash that Sam seems remarkable. When he first showed up here, he had a bad habit for this household of chasing cats. Now, if he looks a little too intently at a cat, or starts trotting towards one, he stops and comes back when I call him down.

He loves to be petted so much that I can’t give Zeke any individual attention; Sam always figures out and comes trotting in to get his share.

In some ways he behaves better than Zeke. In fact, Zeke is a bad influence. A few days ago Zeke managed to escape through a door that was left open. A little while later we got a call from someone a mile and a half away on Huffaker Road, down at the bottom of the mountain. A woman had found Zeke and Sam running loose on the road. I drove down and met her where she stopped when she saw the dogs. I was amazed that they had approached her and stayed with her, a complete stranger, until I got there. Fortunately it had not been raining, so they weren’t too dirty, but they still needed a bath.

So Sam is getting to be one of the pack, but he still has some strange behavior. If we let him outside by himself, he seems to revert. We have trouble getting him back inside. Sometimes I can get a leash on him, after which he follows meekly behind me. Sometimes I have to take Zeke out kind of like a Judas goat to get Sam to follow us back in. But once inside, he’s back to the same loving dog.

petting sam

I can’t tell how Sam’s life is going to unfold here, but I guess we’re going to find out.


Pink clouds peeking

We saw some nice clouds on the way home from the Mexican restaurant on Sunday night. We had just finished eating our traditional Wednesday lunch of huevos rancheros, rescheduled for Sunday evening because of Leah’s slow recovery from her surgery. Most of the western sky was covered with dark clouds, but there were some pink clouds peeking through gaps here and there.

pink peeking clouds

As usual, this was taken with my iPhone. It does not capture the contrast in brightness and color, but it was the best I could do. I keep saying I’m going to take an actual camera along with me everywhere I go, but I keep not doing it. With a camera I could have zoomed in on the pink areas, but even then it would not have shown enough of the darker clouds to see the real contrast. I imagine a better photographer or a better Photoshopper could get this shot.

Leah did OK with the huevos rancheros, but she didn’t really eat much. She said her eyes were bigger than her stomach, which is probably pretty small these days given how little solid food she is eating. The incision and the interior of her abdomen are still hurting. That combined with arthritic pain in her neck forces her to lie down occasionally through the day to try to calm the pain. It’s slow, but she’s making it.

Stag Party

The artist known as “Emily”, about whom we posted back in December, is a winner of the Colorado Art Awards and will have her sculpture “Stag Party” displayed at the Denver Art Museum with other winners from around the middle of February to the middle of March.

Since you can never have too much art or too many stags, this seems like the right time to show more pictures of Stag Party.

These are the stag in various early stages.



catsniffsstagThe cat, known as “Spencer” in the art world, sniffed out the work before the stag got its antlers. He is not part of the sculpture.

Here are some other views.





It’s pretty cool. I wish we could get out to Denver to see it at the museum.