Life with the Family Around Pearl River

May 9-10, 2016

We had settled into Judy's spare bedroom when we had arrived on Saturday and were very appreciative of her hospitality and the chance to visit with her. Every morning we enjoyed the birds that came to her bird feeders, and that made us feel right at home since watching the birds is one thing we do every morning at home.

We really enjoyed her bold pair of towhees that came every morning. We have a couple of pairs at home, but we mainly just hear them - they are really shy and stay under the bushes. The male on the left appears to have an insect, but we mostly saw them eating the seed and suet that Judy provided.

Judy also had more brown thrashers visiting her feeders. We see them occasionally at our house, but they like Marty's house down the street much better. Here they liked the suet that Judy put out and would fly up to peck some suet loose and then go back to the ground, showing their preference for ground feeding.

The other birds who visited were old friends from around our feeders as well. The behavior of the red bellied woodpecker was significantly different from ours at home. He would hang on the gutter of the house and fly to her hummingbird feeder. It was open enough that he could get some of the sweet solution in it. That was interesting - we don't have anything like that.The information about him is that he sometimes eats tree sap, so maybe this "sap-sucking" was similar to that of his cousin, the yellow-bellied sapsucker.

Judy had three feeders, but they were being regularly raided by a rowdy group of squirrels. We entered into a war against the squirrels, with questionable outcome. I'm inclined to bet on the squirrels, even when I'm the one doing battle against them. They are amazingly agile, clever and persistent (not to mention hungry). Our first step was to get some pepper suet, and that did pretty well shut them down on the suet feeders. I had had success at home with aluminum discs on the poles, but all I had was thin aluminum pie pans. I put a couple up, and they went right by them as shown at right in the photo above. My next step was a baffle made of aluminum sheet riveted together in a cone, and from the pictures bottom left above, I left them looking puzzled. However, it was reported to me that at least one squirrel had gotten past that baffle, so the war is still on.

May 11, 2016

On Wednesday before Ashleigh's graduation, we had the rare opportunity to get the whole family together for a picture at Jeff's house. Rod, Brenda,Darla, Jordan, Ashleigh, Jeff, Elyse and Mark.

Uncle Mark and Cindi arrive at Jeff's house about 4:30, which was a surprise for Ashleigh.

We had been talking with Mark about whether he could come down and join the celebration for Ashleigh's graduation, but there were some uncertainties about his work schedule. So we kept it surprise for Ashleigh - but she had asked whether he was coming down, and since we had pulled this surprise thing a couple of times before in Missoula and Arizona, she must have had her suspicions that he might show up.

It was great to get Uncle Mark together with the girls. This is on the back patio. This is the first time Mark had been to Jeff's house in Pearl River.

Knowing that Darla and Jeff were crazy busy during this time, we went to Canes to get chicken and put together and early supper for the family. It worked out well that Mark and Cindi could join us for supper.

We were also looking for and opportunity to get a picture of Jeff's whole family, so that worked out well at supper time as well.

Everyone had converged just before supper time. Ashleigh had been over at the school for rehearsal, and she and a friend had painted a mural to display at the graduation. As shown below, when we arrived at the Harbor Center that evening, we found it prominently displayed.

Everyone was scrambling around to get ready for the graduation, but we managed to get this picture of Darla, Ashleigh and Jordan in their nice black dresses before they rushed out the door. Darla as a faculty member at Pearl River High School had to robe up for the procession and sit with the graduates. Jordan as a junior at the High School was helping to usher. After they all left, Mark, Cindi and Jeff went together to the Northshore Harbor Center for the event. Brenda and I picked up Judy and proceeded to the Harbor Center for Ashleigh's graduation.

May 12, 2016

After joining Elyse at Riverside Elementary for their awards program, we spent some time at Jeff's house. Jeff and Darla had responsibilities at the reception on the NOBTS campus, so we got together with the girls and Mark and Cindi to go to dinner at Carretta's, one of their favorites. We enjoyed a nice Mexican dinner and got this family picture afterward.

May 13, 2016

Elyse's riding lesson with Mrs Cookie.

We got to take Elyse to her Friday afternoon riding lesson and enjoyed the time with her. She rides mostly English style, but near t he end of the lesson rode a bit bareback as shown above right.

Elyse took her horse around the field a number of times with different gaits, and even over a low barrier under Mrs Cookie's careful supervision.

After the better part of an hour of riding her horse around the arena, Elyse leads him back to the barn to take off his saddle and care for him.

May 14, 2016

With the graduations over, we wanted a picture of Jordan and Ashleigh with the shirts pointing to their new status. Jordan got a Senior shirt since she will be a senior at Pearl River High School next year, and Ashleigh a Tulane shirt since she will be entering studies there for the fall term.

The picture was taken in the back yard by the cypress trees, and that is Olive's domain, so the big catahoula joined the picture.

Elyse's Promotion Celebration

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