05 September 2011

Bats! But No Bulls!

5 Sep 2011--Happy Labor Day to one and all!!! Hoping the weather is good for all the cookouts that should be going on today. We are having the best day of the summer so far...finally have some bearable temps here in San Antonio; 83 degrees and breezy as I type this. The high is supposed to only get to 91 degrees, which may seem hot to normal people, but is almost "fall-like" here in Texas after the summer we have had!

Friday afternoon Cathy, Barb and I we drove up to Austin to see the famous bat colony emerge from the Congress Ave Bridge in downtown Austin. The underside of the bridge, shown in the middle picture, is home to the Mexican free-tailed bats that arrive around March every summer. Approximately 750,000 females come here, have one baby each, raise them here, and then leave to go back to Mexico around November. They are hideous, aren't they!?

The bridge area is very pretty and you wouldn't even know there were up to 1.5 million bats here (counting the babies) during the day unless you stand close to it. Only then can you smell them and also hear them inside the concrete. Inside that tiny space, if you had binoculars, you would actually see them all. The stains are urine stains!!!

Tens of thousands of tourists come every year to see the bats emerge for their nightly insect hunt. There is a small park below the bridge where people gather; that is Barb standing up and Cathy sitting right beside her in the 3rd picture. You gotta love the guy selling water/soda/ice cream...what an entrepreneur!!!

Tourist boats gather to see them also...I would want a covered boat if I were that close...they say a lot of people get pooped on from the bats as they cross over the people!

The bats come out at dusk every night and don't return till morning, eating from 10,000 to 30,000 pounds of insects each and every night. If you click on the 1st pic you can see the bats coming out of the cracks, and then of course you see them against the sky as they raise up over the bridge. In the 1st video there are so many bats coming out at the same time that it almost looks like the concrete is moving. The 2nd shows they are moving so fast they are just a blur, and the 3rd video shows the view from when we moved up to the bridge to get that view of them.

Concrete moving!

A blur!

From up on the bridge.

Time to go home!

On Saturday, Cathy and I headed out to the town of Bandera, about an hours drive from San Antonio. The town was even smaller than we thought...population 957! Every year they have what they call "Bandera Days", where they have a parade, an event called "Mutton Bustin'", and a professional rodeo over the Labor Day weekend.

Bandera fancies itself the "Cowboy Capital of the World", but the biggest attraction to the parade is that they usually have a herd of Texas Longhorns lead off the parade and march straight down Main St. Unfortunately, due to the heat, they had to cancel that part of the parade...Cathy and I only came to see that, but it was brutally hot out there, so we were surprised they didn't cancel the whole thing!

Here is the start of the parade. That is the town's Courthouse in the middle pic, built in 1890 and still used today.

I grouped some pics together that caught my eye as interesting, as opposed to showing everything in the whole parade.

Here in the video are some horses that will be performing another day at the rodeo, doing some fancy footwork. But what I am really interested in is the last horse in the video, and the same one in the still picture beside it...the poor thing is frothing at the mouth and literally sweating so bad that a pool of sweat is gathering beneath his belly...if you blow up the pic you can see it. I felt really bad for him and kept wondering, if the weather was too hot for the Longhorns, why wasn't it too hot for these horses to perform?

The float is carrying the Prince and Princess from the Poteet Strawberry Festival...what a claim to future fame!!! The stagecoach was named "Deadwood", the city in South Dakota that we visited last summer. And I can't remember why I loaded the 3rd pic! haha

At the corners of all the streets off Main St are these posts with the metal pictures hanging from them...and then a sign I saw in a store window that I thought was funny.

This is a series of pictures I took showing how many guys, even little boys, were in either long pants and/or long-sleeved shirts. I am not kidding when I say it was 100 degrees in the shade, so I don't know what these guys, and some women, are thinking of.

Of course I got the roping man to do a little show for us. Even a little leg action!

I don't know what it is about kids dressing up as cowboys and cowgirls, but I think it is adorable. Check out the little girl with the gun on her hip, and then the first boy on the horse and how serious he looks with the sunglasses on. Cracks me up!

Not sure how a water buffalo and camel got in on this parade, but there they were!

Would have expected horses to be pulling these trailers, but tractors worked just fine.

And this cracked me up, too. A lot of people put these mesh coverings on the heads of their horses nowadays, but this guy decided to draw a little face on there. (By the way, the 1st time we saw this was in Wyoming. We didn't think the horses could see thru them, but they can. We are told that they are used to keep the flies out of the eyes of the horses, so the flies won't lay eggs in their eyes...if it wasn't such a gross thought I wouldn't even mention it--haha!)

Here I am admiring this really big horse, right up until he comes straight for me!

After the parade was over we headed over to the Court house area and took in a little Texas Two-Steppin'. This one guy really thinks he's special!

And then we headed over to the Mutton Bustin' event. A lot of rodeos have events where kids can get involved, and this is usually one of them. These sheep have been shorn of most of their wool, all except around the neck area, so the kids that are ultimately going to try to ride them have something to hold on to. I think this all-white one is an albino...all the rest had black heads and legs. In the 2nd pic the little boy is rounding them up to go in the pen.

Here a couple little boys get their helmets on to protect them when they fall off. The 1st little boy even has some chaps on...too funny!

Here you can see how it is supposed to be done. The kid riding is older than most of the others who were trying, but not that old...maybe 10, 11.

And here is a littler kid who didn't quite make it! haha

And here is a very little girl trying...notice they lead the sheep right back into the pen!

So that was our past weekend. The bats were interesting and the parade some fun, but we really wanted to see the Longhorns, so we will have to wait till another time to see that. In the meantime, I took these pics of my neighbor's plants they have outside their RV. Have you ever seen an eggplant other than in a grocery store? All I have ever seen is the big, purple ones in the store, so I was quite surprised that they actually do look like eggs when they 1st start growing. This particular variety turns yellow instead of purple, but doesn't the one in the middle picture look like a hard-boiled egg growing on a plant?

So that's all folks! I have my surgery on Thursday, so it may be awhile for the next posting. In the meantime, keep the prayers coming!!! Love to all!!!


  1. glad ya'll had a nice cool weekend, looked like a fun time. The white eggplant is much tastier than the purple. we grow them when we can find the plants, they are hard to find sometimes, but I love them. we will be praying for you. love ya'll

  2. Real cowboys don't sweat !!!!!!!
    Some beautiful bldgs in these towns.
    Thinking of you and praying all the time. Remember, Karen always said you were the luckiest person she ever met!
    Love ya lots,

  3. And I have to believe that Karen was right!!!

  4. It look like it was a fun weekend, but way to hot for me. I never would have made it thru everything.
    I called you last night, no answer, but not reply either, don't make me worry!!!!
    Call me tonight if you have a chance.
    Love you

  5. Super time you had. I do love seeing the kids on the sheep. The Horse had blinders on it keeps them from spooking. Hope to see ya soon.

  6. The bats were pretty cool. Not so sure if I'd want to get too close to them. I liked the little films. Cool.
    Paula did you have to laugh so hard when the little kid fell? (ha ha)
    (saying my prayers)

  7. Hallie, the blinders that horses wear go on the sides of their heads to keep them from seeing other horses to their left and right (usually in a race). These mesh things really are to keep the flies away from their eyes.

    And Fifi...even at this age, I just can't help myself! haha