Monday, September 28, 2009

Quoth the Raven

None of the Ravens at the Tower of London are named "Edgar," but given their association to the famous poem by Poe, it would be appropriate.

We watched this guy - named Edgar, by me - rummage though the trash bin pulling out wrapper after wrapper, littering the ground with refuse, until he found the perfect leftover fish-and-chips morsel. I was left wondering whose job is it to pick up ravens' discards?




The legend of the Tower Ravens is that they originally arrived as carrion-eaters - their "leftovers" were the remains of the gruesomely executed. Remember what happened to Mel Gibson at the end of Braveheart? The further legend is that if they ever vacate the Tower of London, the monarchy will fall. Care is taken to avoid this in that their wings are now clipped. No one I asked admitted that this had ever happened, but I read an article in National Geographic that claims the unthinkable once did happen, witnessed personally by the author. In 1993, a raven named Jackie "got hold of a favorable wind and was last seen gliding toward London's traffic-choked business center." This was during the time of the Queen's declared "annus horribilus," and it seemed just possible to imagine her reigning days were numbered.

Happily, that story had a fairy-tale ending. Jackie was found in a neighboring yard by a woman who tried to feed him. He obliged by biting her.

96 comments:

Ivy Green said...

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore —
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

—Edgar Allan Poe

Ivy Green said...

Wiki on the Tower of London's Ravens:

"The ravens' wings are clipped to prevent them from flying away, though they are free to roam the tower grounds, and they are cared for by the Ravenmaster, a duty given to one of the Yeomen Warders. The ravens' names/gender/age are (as of June 2009):

Gwylum (male, 18 years old)
Thor (male, 15 years old)
Hugin (female, 11 years old)
Munin (female, 11 years old)
Branwen (female, 3 years old)
Bran (male, 3 years old)
Gundulf (male, 1 year old)
Baldrick (male, 1 year old)
Fleur (female, 4 years old)
Colin (male, 2 years old)"

I assume the Ravenmaster (or the Ravenmaster's lackey) has trash pick-up duty?

read more about the Tower Ravens on Wiki

Ivy Green said...

Another synchronistic tidbit...
"There is evidence that the original [Tower]ravens were donated ... by the Earls of Dunraven..." Ha, it was none other than the 4th Earl of Dunraven who tried to appropriate the whole of Estes Park, CO as his private hunting preserve. He wiped out the elks, and they had to be re-introduced (hard to believe now, as numerous as they are).
"Dunraven claimed 15,000 acres in present-day Rocky Mountain National Park. His efforts resulted in what has been called 'one of the most gigantic land steals in the history of Colorado'."

The late Earl's lecherous ghost is said to wander the corridors of the Stanley Hotel where it is rumored he preys upon women from the hereafter, as he once did in the here-and-now. Even so, his portrait is prominent in the hotel's lobby.

4th Earl of Dunraven

Ivy Green said...

I've never seen a butterfly come to a hummingbird feeder, but today I have one!

Chloe said...

Ivy, I overwhelmed by your pictures. They're beautiful and the story that you've given us about them is even more fun.

Edgar sure is a hard worker, and smart too. I wonder if their sense of smell is a good as a dog, for instance.

I just read what you wrote about a butterfly being at your hummingbird feeder, and I looked up and saw a little hummer at mine. I'd love it if a butterfly showed up there too.

I'd like to get a shot of some feeding, but they sure don't stay long. They take a quick drink or two and are on their way. (Can you tell I've never observed a feeder before?) This is my first, and I've put it so close, that I have a great view. I'll keep it up year round, as you suggested, so hopefully I'll have more and more as time goes by.

Chloe said...

I'm with Jan, I want to go to Scotland now too. I was most take with the shots you got where you caught the immensity of the ocean behind them. I don't think I've ever seen bluer water.

We are so lucky that you are sharing your 'pilgrimage' with us. It's a little bit like we were there too, and learning some of the things you learned. Thanks!

Chloe said...

I'm not sure what to think about the ravens wings being clipped... but it is nice to know they're so well cared for that they have their own Ravenmaster. They do look very well fed.

Carol said...

Great post Ivy. Is that "annus horribilus" anything like hemorrhoids?

Carol said...

And you would think the Queen would probably want to keep that to herself.

Carol said...

Just kiddin folkes. I did look it up, thanks to the Wiki, and found out it meant horrible year but if you had a few of those hemorrhoids it would make for a bad year.

Ivy Green said...

Carol,
The Queen likes to bandy about her Latin.

I was also reminded of the Queen's use of that particular phrase by the title chosen by Geraldine Brooks for her novel, "Year of Wonders." It is the translation of a quote from John Dryden in writing about the year of 1666 in which the English people endured the Plague, the Great Fire of London, and war with the Dutch. He called it "annus mirabilis." The "wonder" is how they survived all the traumas and still retained their faith.

Ivy Green said...

I gots a "Great Fire of London" story too with an American connection that came from my tour of the All Hallow's Church in London...more about that later 'cause I have to run out the door for the evening. You guys will probably be relieved when I finally run out of stories from my trip...

Ivy Green said...

Chloe,
The butterfly had only a fleeting moment before the hummers shooed it away. It was bright yellow(hope they didn't eat it). I have never been able to get anything other than a blurry image of a hummingbird on my camera.

Carol said...

I have spent a lot of time with the camera sitting and waiting for one of those hummers to stay still for a moment. Even when they do, it seems to take my digital camera a while to actually take the picture. By then, they are long gone.

Carol said...

Ivy, keep the stories coming. We won't get tired.

Ivy Green said...

I will...

Carol said...

I didn't see Braveheart Ivy. How did Mel meet his end in that movie? I'm not much into anything really violent anymore.

wayfarer said...

Carol, I saw Braveheart a few years ago and I still can't get the picture of how they killed Mel out of my head. I am also not into much violent any longer. It stays with me too long.

Ivy, your pics and stories are great. I won't get tired of them.

Carol, I too have not been able to get pics of the hummers, but you got a good one some time back of the pretty green one on your red feeder.

wayfarer said...

Hi Chloe, how are you? I missed you for a couple of days. Guess you were getting your new windows put in.

wayfarer said...

Ivy, I look forward to the "Great fire of London" story.

Chloe said...

Hi Jan, Yeah those windows aren't quite done yet, and they caused some chaos (and a lot of noise) around here. But things are getting back to normal, and going more smoothly now.

It was nice being able to come in at the end of the day over the weekend, and read everyone's posts and links. It always puts things back into perspective.

Ivy, I'm with the others, keep those stories coming!

Chloe said...

I intentionally didn't see Braveheart myself. Just don't enjoy the violent movies any more either, never did but saw them anyway in the old days. Now if I don't want to see a certain movie, there are so many movies in the same theater, that I just go to a different one than whoever I'm with, if I don't like the one they're seeing. Which is usually. I see a lot of good movies that way, that I would miss otherwise. I most enjoy the small, independent movies.

Chloe said...

Carol, I was just over lurking at TM and see that Ivy put in a plug for your 'fishing camp'. Very cool.

"We gots a fishing camp over at Carol's Place..."
Posted by: ivygreen.myopenid.com | September 28, 2009 5:03 PM

Keep up the good work Ivy!

Chloe said...

I just had to come back and drop this off. Corey linked it over on Facebook, and it even made me 'giggle a little'... because we've been discussing squirrels.
Squirrels In My Pants Music Video

Carol said...

I saw that Chloe. I'm watching the National Park series. It's great. I'm learning so much history.

Ivy Green said...

Carol,
I went by this pub, the name of which describes what happened to Mel Gibson at the end of Braveheart. It was cruel, and it was usual. Became the reason why our U.S. Constitution bans the inflicting of cruel and unusual punishments. Moot anyway, now that our justice system is so much into rehabilitation and restoration.

Walking by the pub in London, you see that marquee, and you say, nooo, they didn't use that name??, but then it's yesiree, they did, you betcha. The place is always packed for business.

Tower Hill Pub

Ivy Green said...

I got home in time to see the last half of the National Park Series. Awesome, wish I'd set up my tivo from the first night. Overwhelmed with all this spirituality in Nature. John Muir was a Scotsman, ya know.

Carol said...

Ya'll sure took long enough to give me the answer to that question. I could have looked it up but I was going to wait. Wasn't in too big a hurry to find out. Glad I didn't watch Braveheart.

When I select my entertainment these days, I want something that won't cause any discomfort. There is enough of that in reality.

Well the UK finally learned and got rid of capital punishment but not us. I really don't think it deters any crimes because people never think of consequences when they commit crimes. The people who would, are not people who would ever commit a crime.

It was interesting to learn, on the National Park series, just how early people were trying to wreck the environment for personal gain. They were doing it in the horse and buggy day. Where there is beauty, there's someone who wants to exploit and destroy it.

And now I know some of those to thank for saving all the beauty for us to love and appreciate. Didn't GWB want to open up the National Parks to hunting a while back?

Carol said...

Ivy, that National Park series will be available online:

National Park Series Online

Ivy Green said...

Thanks for the link, Carol. I missed the first hour, being not home and all, but I didn't want to pay $100 or whatever it is for the dvd's. Tonight I will hook up the tivo machine. Also, I wonder if PBS will play re-runs when I can tivo the first two. I do want to order the companion book.

Ken Burns is a genius. He can turn what looks like sketchy material into cinematic art. Largely due to the narrative he creates.

Ivy Green said...

Chloe,
According to the NatGeo article (a way back issue), it doesn't hurt or bother the ravens to have their wings clipped. They're just getting a few feathers taken off, more like a haircut than surgery. I do think it's "cheating," however. If they want to send the Queen a message it's time for her to fly the coop, they should be free to do so.

Ivy Green said...

These days, the Tower Ravens are kept on site mostly as a tourist attraction, imo. Their little pen enclosures have a zoo-like aspect to them.

Same as with the ghosts of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. It occurred to me that Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, 4th Earl of Dunraven eventually returned to Great Britain where he died in 1926 and is buried in Ireland. Why or how would his ghost travel all the way back to Colorado just to grope unsuspecting American women in the hallway?? Because it makes for a thin hair-raising story on the creatively spooky Stanley Hotel Ghost Tour?

Chloe said...

Carol, Thanks for linking the National Park series online. That's the best way for me to see it... in my spare time.

Chloe said...

"I do think it's "cheating," however."

I agree Ivy. I didn't really think it was painful to clip their wings, but it just doesn't seem right, in the same way I could never declaw a cat. I know some people find it necessary to do.. but the way I see it, it takes away there 'catness'.. a handicap. Same with the birds.

Carol said...

Ivy, we have those same birds at the jail. I have been seeing them and thinking they were black birds but they are actually ravens.

I think they are also the same birds that like to shop in our Wally World parking lot.

I see Chloe that you brought the bird poop over to the Trail today. You have lots of hummers feeding over at your house?

I only seem to have the same 6 little hummers. At least 2 are here year round. My friend in town has lots. She says she is putting out almost a gallon of sugar water every day. She does have a tendency to exagerate a bit.

Are you guys having a little taste of Fall weather today. It didn't even get to 80 today and may get as low as 59 tonight. That's exciting.

Carol said...

Anyone hear from Solar lately?

Chloe said...

Carol, I wouldn't say I have 'lots' of hummers, but I have several (I mean I don't know if they pass through, or I have regulars). I've got the feed within about 8-10 ft., through what is now a very clean window, and I think I heard one or two hit it, but they were ok, because I ran over and looked down, nothing there. Iknow they can see me, because they always get to the farthest side of the feeder where they can hide from me. It's always just one at a time so far, although one sometimes waits on a branch.

Flatus said his daughter found a dead hummer, so I mentioned what I learned here, that they can't go long without eating. I looked up something else today, that said they can make it through the night, but no longer. I also read they can't live off nectar only.

I guess you saw Champ brought up the subject of his hummers too. I guess TM'rs like them as much as we do.

My hummers are still very skittish, but I laid on my sofa inside the window, where I was less visible for a short time, with my binoculars in hand, and got to catch one at the feeder for a short time, no picture yet though.

Knowing they're watching me too, reminded me of the time you said something like that. Are we watching them, or are they watching us.

(plus, they're aware of the cats and other birds too. don't know if the other birds bother them or not)

Ivy Green said...

That was a nice post Chloe made on TM referencing Darwin and the distinctions among birds. I was in Scotland for only a day when I realized I needed to get some binoculars and a field guide to Scottish birds. That was if I was to have ANY chance of id'ing that recurring owl. I never saw the owl, but I saw numerous other species, and figured out what they were, even. Many, if not most, had their North American counterparts. They were therefore, familiar to me, yet so different.

My favorite find, the robin-like Mistle Thrush which resembles another favorite that I rarely see these days, the Wood Thrush which I think has the most musical song in all bird-dom.

see the British Mistle Thrush

see the American Wood Thrush

Chloe said...

It was only around 71 here today (according to my car thermometer) and it reminded me a lot of that day you described a while back, that is clear and crisp (I know, not cold enough to be crisp, but it just felt and looked that way). The sky was very blue and there was a slight breeze, and it was very close to being one of those days like the one you talked about, at least enough so, to remind me. A good day. I was due

Chloe said...

Ivy, I was surprised to find that Darwin reference, and found it very interesting. It surprising that I didn't know what our state bird was until you linked that site, but like I said there, I'm ashamed to admit. Well, your link is what led me to Darwin.

The binoculars I got a couple months back at the WM sporting dept. are a little to strong, but small to handle, which is what I wanted. I may pick up another pair not quite as strong, so it's easy to get a focus, when there's a lot of greenery to look through, to find what I want.

Carol said...

Have you ever used "Birds of North America"? You can listen to the bird sounds there.


Wood Thrush

Ivy Green said...

Chloe,

I think your State bird should be the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher...do you see those?

see the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Chloe said...

Oh Ivy, That Mistle Thrush is a beautiful bird.
And that little North American Mistle Thrush is soooo cute.

I was thinking today how much I enjoy my alone time, to think and explore. I realized all the really important discoveries, the ones that catch my breath, and feel like moments of pure gratitude and contentment, along with all those other feelings that come with it (that feeling when you're totally center, and feel like you've arrived), are almost always when I'm alone. If I don't have my 'alone' time, I feel like I'm losing myself.

Thinking about this reminded me of that day you got alone to explore while you were in Scotland. And I wondered if you didn't enjoy that, just as much as the other days of your trip.

Ivy Green said...

Carol,

First time for that link, thanks!

There were Wood Thrushes at Bear Woman's cabin this summer. She didn't know what bird was singing. The Wood Thrush is most often heard, but not seen. Years ago, I tracked one for days until I put sight-and-sound together.

Chloe said...

That scissor-tailed fly catcher is so adorable too. These birds are both beautiful and cute at the same time. I don't think I've seen one Ivy. I did see some unusual little birds this last winter and early spring, when the branches were bare, and I spent more time on the south side of the house, enjoying the sun and trying to stay warm. I can't usually name them though. I plan on spending a lot of my days on that side of the house again this winter, as soon as it gets cold and the sun comes around that way.

Ivy Green said...

Chloe,
That wiki photo makes the Wood Thrush look small, but it's nearly 8 inches, almost the size of the Robin.

Chloe said...

Cool site Carol. I bookmarked it. Thanks.

Carol said...

I like that site because you can listen to the bird sounds and birds that sound alike.

Chloe said...

lol Ivy, it looked tiny and cute in that picture. That's one of the things I like about hummers, they're so tiny and cute. My cardinals are small too, but they've spent a lot of time (at least on this north side of the house) deep inside the tall trees nesting this year. I see them fly out to eat and then take things back inside. Once I'm back on the south side, I'll see a lot more of those cardinals and blue birds.

Chloe said...

.. no better sound than birds either, Carol. I think they sell cds like that, but I haven't found one I like yet.

Ivy Green said...

Chloe,
I think you're about to get bit by the birding-bug.

Chloe said...

Carol, I don't know where Solar is. I only know that he was going to be out of pocket for a while, and that he was getting tired of TM. I think he probably just needed a break.

Ivy Green said...

Chloe,
I think Texas should take the Scissor-tail from Oklahoma.

(^_~)

Carol said...

You know the birds that are out here by the river are somewhat different than those at my house, just a little over a mile away.

Chloe said...

I think you may be right Ivy. But I've enjoyed them for quite a while now. I'm just not very into categorizing and naming things. I'm the same way with the trees, etc. I enjoy them all immensely, but not really interesting in know the names (except for the obvious ones).

There's hardly and bird, animal, greenery, earth, stone, wood, weather, that I don't love. Tree's are one of the most important things in my life - I don't know why. I gave up living near mountains and the ocean, for oaks, pines and dogwoods.

Chloe said...

"I think Texas should take the Scissor-tail from Oklahoma. "

I'm all for it Ivy.
I'll take it as my 'own' personal state bird. I'll keep an eye out for it, now that I've committed.

Chloe said...

"You know the birds that are out here by the river are somewhat different than those at my house, just a little over a mile away."

Carol, Somehow that doesn't surprise me. I'd think the birds at your camp would be more like fishermen, like you are. And enjoy the insects, etc. that hang out near water.

Chloe said...

"Years ago, I tracked one for days until I put sight-and-sound together."

Persistence and patience Ivy. I respect that in you.

Carol said...

I want to get a picture of Harry the Great Blue Heron. He's around but never when I have my camera. I also want a pic of Woody Woodpecker, the pilated woodpecter. It took me a while to find out what was making that bird sound. Listen to it's call:

Pileated Woodpecker

Ivy Green said...

Chloe,
The Scissor-tail is my "Amazing Grace" bird...I was blind, but now I see.

Carol said...

Harry's sound is not that interesting. Kind of what you would think a witch would sound like:

Great Blue Heron

Ivy Green said...

Those crazy woodpecker calls have my dogs (and Hubs) in a tizzy..."whut the Hale is that???"

Too funny they compare it to the Flicker. I once was over-confident about identifying birds by sound, sight-unseen...one time I casually said to my neighbor, "That's a flicker behind us," only to turn and witness my first-time pileated flying through the trees. This was near my own house, when my only previous opportunity resulted in chasing the same damn bird unsuccessfully through the Florida swamp at Loxahatchee.

Chloe said...

"The Scissor-tail is my "Amazing Grace" bird...I was blind, but now I see."

That cinches it. The Scissor-tail is 'definitely' my own special 'state' bird. At least of Montgomery county. I will be on the look out starting tomorrow.

An important Journey. 'I was blind, but now I see. That's true of me in so many ways.

Ivy Green said...

It was Bear Woman's first husband who introduced me to both the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and the sport of birding.

Carol said...

Have you guys ever seen an Indigo Bunting or do they hang out around your places? Haven't seen one in quite a while. I have caught a peek at a few around April at my house. They are just moving through. It says that they are here in the summer but I don't think so.

Indigo Buntin

Ivy Green said...

It's been a while, but they are the bluest of the blue. Used to come to my feeder along with Blue Grosbeak.

Chloe said...

Another cute bird Carol. Weird, did you see that it said they're actually black, but the light through their feathers makes them look blue? I had some very similar (very tiny though) looking birds the end of last winter and beginning of spring. They looked like an olive green color. Very odd. I looked them up, but never completely figured them out. They left when the leaves began to appear. ('course, they were almost the color of the leaves, so who knows). I think maybe they were just passing through, or came here temporarily from a colder climate.

Carol said...

My older sister is the one who introduced me to bird watching. When she comes down we usually will drive down to the Gulf, bring a pad of paper, and write down all the different birds we see along the way. On that trip, the Roseate Spoonbill is my favorite bird to see along the way, if we're lucky.

Roseate Spoonbill

Carol said...

There is another in that family Chloe, the Painted Bunting. Was it that? Maybe it was the Indigo Bunting. The female is not quite as pretty. Just a little blue. They are small birds and usually feed on the ground. I saw them in April just for a few days.

Chloe said...

Carol, I just looked up an image of each. The Painted bunting is too (beautifully) colored. The Indigo Bunting, maybe, but those I saw sure looked lime green and blended into things. I noticed the male and female Indigo are a different color, and apparently the colors can be deceiving, like that one that changes because of the light.

I'll look it up tomorrow and see if I can find one closer to what I 'think' I saw. I studied it pretty well, because I was real interested in it, since I'd never noticed them before. I did try to find out what it was, but never completely succeed to my satisfaction. You know your birds a 'lot' better than I do.

I'm beat and will see you tomorrow. Nite.

Carol said...

Wiki has a better pic of that little Indigo Bunting.

Pic of Indigo Bunting

Ivy Green said...

Jeez, Carol, Roseate Spoonbill was the other bird I saw for the first time with Bear Woman's husband. Man, I hated when they got divorced.

Carol said...

Nite guys. Time for me to go nite, nite also.

Ivy Green said...

Quitters.

Carol said...

It is a bummer when you lose part of a friend team Ivy.

Carol said...

We did have a nice birding evening though. Almost like it was still daylight out there.

Carol said...

My camp is not so special at night. When the sun goes down and I can't see outside anymore, it's just a regular place.

Chloe said...

... no Carol, it's still special at night, because you 'know' what's out there. I bet it's quieter, but the insects and frogs are louder to. There's more 'peace and harmony' out there, than there is any place else.

I just know you can feel what's out there, even in the dark. And you can anticipate what the morning will look like.

nite again to both of you (you know I almost always have to peek back to see if I missed anything)

Ivy Green said...

Guess I'm getting over my jet-lag. I'm still awake. It doesn't feel like 4 a.m.

Ivy Green said...

Who's got a new thread up their sleeve?

wayfarer said...

Ivy, Carol, Chloe, I am too late to get in on the talk of birding. I have not been much of a bird watcher until lately. I looked up all the links and loved it - I am hooked now.

Chloe, why do you think Ok should give up the scissor tailed flycatcher to Texas? Just curious? I am especially fond of woodpeckers. We have a couple we watch outside one of our windows and we had a couple we watched in Little Rock.

We have the balloon fiesta here in Albuq this coming weekend for 10 days. I will try and get out there and get some pics and send to Carol to post - if you all would like that? Jan

Ivy Green said...

Chloe,

Whooping Cranes. I never went to see them when I lived in Texas. Still sad about that.

see the Whooping Crane

Ivy Green said...

Jan,
Yes, for sure. We LOVE hot air balloons. All the photos you can get...that festival must be one spectacular show, I think I've heard of it...

Ivy Green said...

Jan,
That was mostly my joke about about Texas taking the State Bird from Oklahoma. I lived in Texas for 7 years years, and I never knew Texans to let Oklahoma do them one better and be happy about it. Just seems to me it's time for a border raid.

Ivy Green said...

"The border between Texas and Oklahoma meanders peacefully along 540 miles of twists and bends of the storied Red River. Peacefully, that is, except for an area within Lake Texoma, about 60 miles north of Dallas, that has been in hot dispute between the two states for almost 200 years."

http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/news/aa073100a.htm

See, they can move into that gap and grab that bird...

(^_~)

Carol said...

Well that conversation didn't last and I got my coffee and thought I was going to sit down and have a lot of good stuff to read. Drats.

Hot air balloons, wonderful idea Jan. Brings back a memory.

I was working at my Diabetes Education Center. My big boss, who had been my student many years before, didn't like me. My less big boss said it was because she was jealous of me. The less big boss was Corkie Jan.

Well my big boss said that she wanted me to quit my part time teaching, quit going to school and open all the other diabetes ed centers and they were going to pay me no more than what I was already making. Hah. I think she wanted to run me off and it worked. It must have just been in the cards. My destiny.

I left and went back to teaching full time. It was very sad to leave my baby, that I birthed and raised for six years, behind but I finally did want to complete my NP.

When I got back to the University, I was low in the pecking order. I was a little excited that I was going to have all those nice school breaks again, some real time off to enjoy. It would make up for the 50% drop in salary I was going to have to endure.

It was right before the Christmas break, almost a month off. Whopee. Not so fast sister. Because I was low in the pecking order, the faculty gave me all the subject areas no one else wanted to teach and there was good reason no one wanted them. They weren't in my specialty areas either. One was the immune system. Does anyone really understand the immune system?

My month off was no longer a month off. It was a month of preparing lectures and tests on poop I didn't want to teach. I even think I cried about that.

Well a friend called and asked me to go to New Braunsfel for a weekend. We went and stayed in this really old hotel. I can't remember the name of it but it was supposed to be haunted. My friend was the ghost hunter.

We went and I had to bring all my books so I could still work on my lectures. Don't remember any real ghost experiences but one night we went out walking and ran into this park where they were having some kind of hot air balloon thing. The balloons were all lite up and they were playing Christmas music to the flashing of the butane lite fires under those balloons. It was beautiful. It was a very nice surprise.

I wonder if that is an annual event in that area? I'll try to look it up later, when I have time.

Carol said...

Well I found the name of the hotel. It is the Faust Hotel.

The Faust Hotel

Carol said...

Chloe, if you have never visited that little town, you need to take a little trip over there. It is a neat town and area. The downtown area makes you feel like you've gone back in time.

Also check out Gruene, pronounced green, a town right next door.

Gruene, Texas

Carol said...

Whoops, I'm late getting ready for work.

Carol said...

Ivy, we aren't through with your vac pics are we?

Ivy Green said...

'Mornin, Carol. I don't want to hog the blog.

'sides, I'm probably getting near the end of the "scenic" pictures. You've seen the best, I don't know about the rest. Remember, the camera conked out at some crucial moments...nature walks, castles,etc. What's left is boring photos of us sitting around dinner tables.

Ivy Green said...

Carol,
I just read your post about the Faust. It out-spooks the Stanley Hotel. Now if Stephen King would write a novel there, and they would make a movie from it starring Jack Nicholson, then people would be flocking there.

Ivy Green said...

Funny thing, we were talking about cat-declawing yesterday (on this thread.) And along comes this article from the NYT.

Give Birds a Break: Lock up the Cat

My good friend Bear Woman loves her cats as much as her birds and wildlife. Therefore, her cats stay indoors at all times, and they are declawed. I thought that was incongruous, but maybe not so much?

Chloe said...

Ivy, That Whoopin Crane is another beautiful bird!

This is a very interesting and beautiful bird too, imo. There are a few farms in our nearby area, and we frequently see these birds following horses and cattle, although I rarely see any around our horses.

"The Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) first showed up in the United States in the 1950s. Originally from the Old World, this species is a well-known long-distance wanderer and has colonized many new areas. Since its first arrival here, it has become common and widespread across most of the United States. The species follows cattle (especially), horses, and some other large farm animals across fields where the bird picks up grasshoppers and other insects that the cattle flush up while walking. It is a colonial nester and may often be found by the thousands in large nesting concentrations." The Cattle Egret

Chloe said...

Carol, Thanks for link that Gruene site. I'm going to check it out some more when I get back, to see exactly how far it is from us. Something's come up and I'll be out for most of the day. Will have to catch up on these posts when I get back.

See you all later.

Ivy Green said...

Edgar finally gets some respect...

Edgar Allen Poe Laid to Rest

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091006/ap_on_re_us/us_poe_funeral