Monday, July 22, 2013


We've spent quite a bit of time this summer watching baseball. Not the boring professional stuff but the really fun 9 and 12 year old games starring Bill's grandkids. His grandson was part of the All-Star Team that played in the state finals in La Junta, Colorado. He had two games on Sunday - one at 9 AM and one at 4 PM. During the intermission, we drove around hoping to do a little birding out on the prairie.

There wasn't much water around, so we were surprised to find a Black-necked Stilt along side this small puddle which was once the Holbrook Reservoir.

We see Killdeer both in Colorado and Florida.

Bill got some great shots of the Black-necked Stilt in flight.

I finally got my camera away from Bill just in time to see this American Avocet.

Our actual destination was Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site along the mountain branch of the Santa Fe Trail. The adobe trading post was built around 1840.  

The fort is an amazing slice of Colorado history!

One of the permanent residents at the fort. One of the guides told us there were 4 babies but we couldn't locate them. Apparently the Peafowl couple are quite prolific and  park rangers are running out of local farms that will take the many offspring. Want a Peacock?

The Barn Swallows were busy building nests in the rafters. This beautiful female was gathering materials - minding her own business when.....

  Notice that she never dropped the nesting materials.

On our way back to the baseball field we passed a farm with some strange animals. I have no idea what these are.

Now I really didn't expect to see zebras in La Junta!

Back at home we have an interesting "problem."

This darling kitty is spending quite a bit of time in our yard. What you can't see is that he is right under one of our bird feeders. He lays in wait and tries to grab one of the birds - and unfortunately, is successful all too often. He has a partner in crime - another grey cat (all grey, no white chin or paws) who is very skittish and will not stick around for pictures. I assume they belong to someone and if I catch them I will tie a note on them asking their owners to keep them closer to home. Think I'll have any luck?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Bishop's Castle

Yesterday was a great day for a ride in the country. Our destination was Bishop's Castle on Route 165 in the San Isabel National Forest near Rye Colorado. Information about the castle, its builder and the history is on their website at

This is the view from the road where cars parked before touring the private property. It's free and open to the public. Jim Bishop watched as the people toured his one-man project. We had to watch where we walked as it is still under construction - and looks like it always will be! Jim started building a one-room stone cabin in 1969 and got a little carried away.

The Bishop family owns an ornamental iron works factory in Pueblo and it looks like Jim is their best customer! You can tour the entire castle inside and out.

This is a close-up of the dragon on the front of the castle. On weekends it spews smoke (except when strict fire bans are in place - like now).

There are no blueprints and Jim has done all of the work himself. The stone work is impressive!

This is the view from the back into the great center room and the stained glass windows.

I couldn't believe the number of people who climbed the steep stairs all the way to the top. I enjoyed it from the ground.

Later this month my grandson Gabriel is coming to visit. He is almost 9. Do you think he would enjoy visiting the castle?

 On the way home we came down Route 50 and got our first look at the Royal Gorge burn area. The bridge is still intact but all the other structures are gone including the carousel, tram and visitor's center. This picture was taken from the picnic area on the east side just left of where the road is closed.

The cactus were beautiful - blooming in the rugged terrain.