November 27, 2009 at 8:14 pm (Uncategorized)


The Thanksgiving Great Horned Owl

I worked in the Taco Stand on Thanksgiving. I didn’t mind, and it turned out that I had two Thanksgiving dinners anyway. Theresa and Gary, the volunteers in the PGap Visitor Center had all the fixins which they shared with me at lunch: stuffing, candied yams, corn, biscuits, pumpkin pie, and ice cream cake from Schwann’s. So heavenly!

Then we “orphans” (those with no significant other around) went to Jeff’s cool digs for a potluck. He made a divine turkey (his very first) and a creative spicy pumpkin bisque. I brought a version of my sister’s chicken pot pie recipe and used Bisquick for dumplings instead of pie crust. There were all the other usual fixins, including lovely mashed potatoes and turkey gravy – my favorite part of Thanksgiving!

Gretchen suggested we all say what we were thankful for, and nearly everyone was so grateful for working and living in Big Bend. Amen to that. It was a very humorous group of people, too, and most of them work together in the Panther Junction visitor center. So although I love being out here in my Taco Stand all alone doing my thing, taking the fees, talking to folk, watering the bees (more on that later), watching the birds, looking for the elusive desert bighorn, listening to Loreena McKennit and R. Carlos Nikai, I was a little jealous of the camaraderie I was missing out on.

Lots of folk came through the entrance on Thanksgiving Day, all tickled pink to be here. Many enjoyed the buffet at the Chisos Mountain Lodge. We get many visitors from Japan and Europe who are absolutely enamored with our national parks; they often buy annual passes to visit as many as they can. My son, who was a cluster of little cells in the womb when I was on an epic desert hiking trip in 1984, inherited the zeal for hiking and road trips. He says the Interagency Annual Pass ($80) is the best bargain around.

The previous day I was at Cottonwood campground near Castalon, and it was Bird Heaven. First the elusive Crissal Thrashers were calling from the brush, doing a “chaloop” like giant sized parakeets. Their bills are extra long and curvy, and their feathers a bright rust red under the tail. Stunning. At the same time a Great Horned Owl spooked from its perch and I was torn between the two. But it posed nicely for me and continued its serene survey of the campground.

So for your photographic portion of this blog, I will feature the denizens of the Cottonwood Campground.

Come see for yourself, heah?

Vermillion Flycatcher Male catching a bug midair

Eastern Bluebird male

Black-throated Gray Warbler

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