Saturday morning a welcome cold front brought cloudy skies and a morning of descending temperatures. During my drive east from our home to Park Hill Prairie, the temperature dropped five degrees during the first half hour of the drive, from 75 degrees F. to 70. Then I outran the front, and the temperature went up again to 78.
I needed to turn from a main highway to a smaller farm to market highway. I got in the left lane as my turn was but a short way off. A man in a pick up truck began to tail gate me though I was doing the speed limit at 70 mph. I could not easily move to the right lane, because my left turn was coming up. So I ducked into a left turn lane for the prior farm road to let the fellow by. Unfortunately, road debris, perhaps from a prior accident,littered that lane.
After I turned left a few moments later onto "my" farm to market road, my car's electronic sensors told me that my front left tire was substantially lower. I understood instantly that I had a slow leak. I slowed down but kept going to get to the prairie, as I knew that would be an excellent place to change the tire. I arrived at the prairie. The cold front had begun to catch up with me. The temperature fell to 55 degrees F. I hiked around a little in the prairie. Other than a few turkey vultures flying very low in the curious cold front thermals, the calls of a few Carolina chickadees, the birds and butterflies seemed hunkered down. Cattle across the country road grazed.The prairie was dark green and browns, with stalky yellow flowers and middle size purple flowers.
Modern jacks seem designed to enhance safety but also to guarantee slowness. In the old days, a jack was speed-oriented and designed for ease of use. Now they are designed to use slightly wrong components for purposes not quite their intended purpose so as to minimize any risk of over-enthusiastic calamity. Still, I enjoyed being able to get the change done. It was in its own way a decent form of exercise.
I drove home slowly on very rural roads so that I could avoid traffic. I did stop at Farmersville, which was having its olden days street festival. I took pictures of hot rods at a car show and had a very nice cup of hot chocolate. When I placed a dollar in a fund-raising fireman's boot, he complimented me on my kid's false moustache. I took this to mean that I had
some smearing of oil or some such from the tire-changing, and remedied the situation. Farmersville has a curious historic Baptist church whose architecture is, to paraphrase the
historic marker,a melange of disparate styles, which makes it look like something from a children's film about Europe. I like its one-story unpretentious pretentious charm.
I saw lots of American kestrels on the telephone lines near the very small town of Altoga. I stopped on a country highway and took two pictures of one. I also saw two eastern phoebes,but did not get any pictures. I see lots of eastern phoebes this Autumn, when I usually see only a few.
I stopped by a Church's fried chicken. For some reason, this is the one fried chicken place whose wares fit with Weight Watchers points plans. With others, the chicken is fine but one must take off the skin. I had a two piece combo.
I took my car to Discount Tires in McKinney.They greeted me, checked me in, and told me the wait was two hours.My wife came and picked me up,as she wanted to go cell phone upgrade shopping.
Cell phone shopping these days is easy.The android phones offer so many options that there is one for every purpose. I also liked the Windows phones, as Windows 8 makes a lot of sense on a mobile screen. We ignore Apple, despite its vogue, since we made the decision in the early 1990s that if one gets sucked into the Apple eco-system there is no escape. Other than my wife's second generation or so iPod, we have stuck with that credo.
I asked the salesman if Verizon yet supported the Firefox phone, but he did not know about Firefox O/S at all. Still, he did a capable job of helping us. When my wife decided to get a Samsung Galaxy Note II, rather than wait a week for the somewhat more expensive Note III,
he directed us to a nearby store as the McKinney store was out of inventory on that model.
We went to the nearby Allen store and another great saleman at the Verizon store took care of us. My own cell phone is only 14 months old, so I did not look much for what my next replacement will someday be. By the time I want another one in a year or two, I suspect that a later-generation Firefox phone or an Ubuntu phone will be available. I enjoyed helping my wife shop, because she has a good way with being positive and yet asking good questions of salesfolks.
We drove back to Discount Tires. My car was ready. They were able to plug the flat, and charged me nothing. I was very pleased.
Last night we went to a night hike at the Heard Natural Science Center. A rainstorm moved in just in time for the hike, but we all waited it out and then went hiking. It was great
to see the Heard in the dark, as I often hike there in the daylight. Forty people showed up for the hike. Our sub-group was 12. Both kids and parents had a penchant for ignoring the sensible advice to avoid flashlight use and acclimate to the night light ,and the kids were far too noisy. Still, my wife and I heard an owl (the kids did not pause enough to listen) and we saw some great orb-weaver webs.
We drove home, changed shoes and trousers, and headed to Wasabi for sushi. I accidentally checked some sashimi boxes on the order form when I meant to check for rolls. I usually like sushi better than sashimi, but I must admit the sashimi was good.
We headed home, where I watched the NCIS on-demand episode in which Ziva David leaves the show. I liked Cote de Pablo's time on the show,and am a bit surprised she would turn down a decent TV paycheck on a show whose life is probably finite. But that is the way of things.
Today I plan to go for a bird walk in nearby Connemara nature preserve.