Thursday, July 3, 2008

Catch up on our gossip

Along a boardwalk over Weeks Bay
Along a boardwalk over the Weeks Bay bog

Occasionally Wendell feels inspired to share something fairly long and newsy with friends and family. One of our friends referred to his recent email as an epistle.

So in his own words, here 'tis:

Sent: Friday · June 27, 2008 · 10:44 AM

Good morning, afternoon, evening, or whenever it is that you read this. I thought I would drop you a note, just to catch up on what is going on in the lives of Wendell and Mae Dean. We've enjoyed it. It's been a great ride! Hope it lasts many more years.

Here it is the end of June already. In Lower Alabama (called LA down here) we have had just enough thunderstorms to keep everything green. Even had a little one this morning, but now the sun is shining. I can't get over all of the flowering plants, and the varied vegetation in this area. Other than the humidity, the weather has been great! I think that the high for June has been no more than 93°. The temperature forecast for the next few days is 87, 87, 89, 85, and 84. Not bad going into July. So much for global warming.

For those of you that don't know, Mae Dean and I became great grandparents this week. Lori, our oldest granddaughter, gave birth to Maggie on June 25. She weighed a little over 7 pounds. Lori and her Marine husband Kevin are living in North Carolina.

Mae Dean and I sure miss the open road and the travel we did last year, but with the price of gas we felt we could not afford to continue. We think that we have picked the perfect place for us to settle. Fifteen or twenty minutes from the beautiful sugar white sand beaches, 10 minutes to one of the largest outlet shopping malls in the country, lots of things to do, and nearby festivals galore. There are golf courses all over the place, but I don't play golf. Flowers, and flowering plants everywhere. Huge Live Oak trees, and more pecans trees than you can count. Roadside stands selling Silver Queen corn, and other fresh vegetables just gathered that morning. We feel like we are on fulltime vacation. We've been busy, busy, busy, but with all the things to do and see we haven't even scratched the surface.

Even with so much to do, I still find myself getting a little bored at times. This led me to volunteering to "work" Tuesday mornings at Weeks Bay Reserve. The bay itself is a small estuary of approximately 1,718 acres with a average depth of 4.8 feet. The Reserve is about 6,000 acres of water and land in and around the bay. It's located off Mobile Bay. Both the Fish and Magnolia Rivers flow into Weeks Bay.

I answer the telephone and greet visitors that come in. Gives me something to do for a few hours each week. We have a very nice visitors center with a couple of boardwalks. One of the boardwalks goes through a pitcher plant bog. I found this to be most interesting. The tubular leaves of the pitcher plant look like flowers, and are in the shape of a small pitcher. They are death traps for insects. Inside the hollow tubes are stiff hairs pointed downward making it easy for an insect to crawl down into the tube, but difficult to crawl back up and out. The insect will eventually die and fall into a pool of liquid in the bottom of the tube (pitcher). This liquid contains enzymes which digest the insects, and the pitcher plant absorbs the minerals and nutrients from the decomposed prey. There are also several native orchid species located in the pitcher plant bog. Out and back the board walk is about a mile long.

I don't know what got into me since I'm not very handy with tools and woodworking, but I did make a planter box last weekend. It's 5 feet long by 1 foot deep and 1 foot high. Painted it with some redwood stain that matches the carport and the screened porch. Looks pretty good if I do say so myself. Went to Ole Time Pottery, buying a couple of clay pots to place on each side of the planter box, then to Lowes for potting soil and some plants. Didn't keep track of what all of this cost (truth be known, I guess I was afraid to), but we felt we needed something to improve the looks of the front of our little place. I've already received a couple of nice comments about our new curb appeal, so I guess it was worth the work and cost.

We will be visiting family in Texas in August. I don't look forward to the Texas summer heat, but I'm a big boy, and I can take it. A couple of visitors have spent some time with us since we've been in LA, and we're expecting our supervisor from Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery in Kentucky a week or two before Thanksgiving. We plan to be in Olive Branch, Mississippi, then back in Arlington later this year, but the rest of our calendar is open. If you want to come visit just let us know.


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