Friday, July 11, 2008

Galveston Island Beach Bunnies

Copyright © 2007-2009. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.

We had a rejuvenating time on Galveston Island. The water was warm and the weather was almost perfect. One of our biggest surprises was seeing rabbits in front of our beach house each morning.They would eat the grass, run and play. Then they'd hide among the vegetation of the dunes in the heat of midday. The first time I saw them I said "Rabbits? On the beach? Then they must be 'beach bunnies'." To which everyone replied, "Ugh!" Heh.

You can see the fence below that separates the beach from the dune in front of the house we were renting. According to the park rangers at Galveston Island State Park, the dunes are one of the most important environments on the island. The plants there help control erosion, provide food and shelter for birds and other wildlife and even offer protection during storm surges.

We were told that this is a sort of beach morning glory that grows in the Galveston Island dunes. It is very salt tolerate and its roots hold the sand together very well.

We saw several kinds of plants on the dunes including sea purslane which is the small-leafed plant on the far right of this photo.

All of these plants could be found just outside the little bridge that crossed the dune from our house to the beach.

Here is a view from the beach. You can see the rental houses, including ours, lots of pelicans and two of my step-father's kites...

He really liked flying these kites. The one in the photo below is my personal favorite since it would hang in the air for hours without any fuss once it was airborne. You should have seen the birds rubber-necking as they flew by this thing when it was first put up. I can't blame them. It's huge and looks like a giant eye!

My son had a great time body-boarding and building castles in the sand.

The birds to the south loved to gather near the fishermen for any bait they might discard.

The evenings were my favorite time for a stroll on the beach...

When we weren't at the house we also took some time to shop on The Strand. One of the most colorful places we discovered was Nautical Antiques & Decor.

It's a store you have to see to really understand. They have everything you could possibly want if you're into ships. But even though I'm best with my feet firmly on dry land, I found the place fascinating and bought a couple items.

The figureheads were very cool, but I couldn't think of a place to put one in my own house, so I passed on an actual purchase.

And I must admit I was not tempted to buy a genuine toad coin-purse, either. Yikes!

This year we enjoyed seeing the Bishops Palace (c 1886) on Broadway. It was absolutely magnificent inside and out. The house survived The Great Storm of 1900; a devastating hurricane that killed 6000 to 8000 people. Many people were saved by finding shelter in the house during the infamous storm.

I loved the garden conservatory at the side of the palace.

I was sad to hear that someone recently stole one of their griffins that flank the front of the entrance. It's identical to the one shown below. They are offering a reward to whoever can locate the statue. You can read about the theft here.

We had lunch next door to the tall ship Elissa. She's a real beauty; originally launched in 1877.

It was fun to eat where we could watch The Port of Galveston in action. This ship was impressive...and much more enormous than it seems in my puny photo.

Back at the beach house we watched people parasail with gas-packs at their backs up and down the beach. One man (not the pilot in the photo) came within a dozen feet of hitting our house!

We saw a harmless green snake on the board walk below our house. On a walk the same day we were told by a man that his dog was killed by a rattle snake in the dunes the previous night. We had not even realized there were rattle snakes in the dunes. We were much more mindful of the dunes after that.

My step-father wanted to fly the flag his parents had flown at their lake house. It lasted on our deck until a storm blew in and snapped the pole. Luckily we saved the flag.

My son made great friends with the gulls.

With all my son is about to face I often find certain songs entering my mind. I'm especially fond of the music of Libera lately. Here is an outstanding video they have created that you might enjoy as well. The words are looping in my head a lot today...

All in all it was a good holiday from reality. Though I'm now dealing with doctors, stubborn hospital admins and presurgery red-tape almost daily, (my son's spinal surgery is August 4th), I do believe part of me is still on that beach.

"You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That's where I'll always love you, Peter Pan. That's where I'll be waiting" Tinkerbell from Peter Pan

Copyright © 2007-2009. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.


mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Great story through photos especially the brilliant parting shot.

I've been wondering how things were going with you and the forthcoming surgery. Thanks for the update.

arythrina said...

Those are wonderful photos - I hope your son has a successful surgery and speedy recovery!

Libbys Blog said...

What a fantastic place to holiday. In fact I think I might even like living there permenantly!! Wish I could find somewhere like that in the UK!!!
Lovely, lovely post! Thinking of you at this time.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a wonderful holiday. Thanks for taking us along.

Pam/Digging said...

What a lovely vacation, snakes and all!

May everything go perfectly with your son's surgery, Dawn, and a speedy recovery to him.

Bob said...

Were you tempted to dig some plants up yo take home? I know I always am.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog, as have such a gift, both for taking your readers on the trip with you and also for your wonderful photographic "eye"!

I do check in here often...and am thinking of your DS...all will be as it should be...have faith!


Dawn said...

Thanks MSS
Yes, no matter how little sleep I get it doesn't seem to slow the clock down. Time keeps clicking on to that day. Hope you're having a good summer.

Hi arythrina
Thanks! It was a fun vacation. It's nice to make good memories. We're hoping all goes well.

Hello Libby
Oh, I would bet you'd enjoy Galveston Island. It's not as pretty as most places on the coast of the UK in my opinion, but then I'm quite keen on the British Isles in general. The one thing Galveston does have is very warm weather, which is lovely.

Hi Lisa at Greenbow
Wish you'd been there with us.

Dear Pam,
I'm just glad we only saw the green snake. Thanks for good wishes. We've managed to talk the surgery hospital out of some redundant bloodwork (torture), so that's good news. Hopefully it's all rainbows and butterflies from now on.

Hi Bob!
I'd only be tempted if I thought I could actually grow the plants. In this case I didn't think I could, so I didn't feel inclined to murder them. ;-)

Dear Karen
Thanks for dropping by and saying "Hello". It's heartwarming to know my friends are here to support me. So kind!

Thanks to You All for Your Kindness & Friendship,

Annie in Austin said...

Hi Dawn - this looks like a great vacation - our North Carolina trips included the same laidback life of sand castles, looking at the wildlife on the beach and flying kites so your photos drew a nostalgic sigh from me!

We were on Galveston Island for half a day a few years ago and the water birds were the part I remembered most - had no idea there could be rattlesnakes.

I'm also glad you had some restful days and will keep you and your family in mind as the operation date draws nearer.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Dawn said...

Thanks Annie,
It was a great vacation. Your North Carolina trips sound heavenly too! I've only been to NC once, but would love to go back someday.

The rattlesnakes on Galveston Island were a rather unpleasant surprise to me as well. And that poor dog was a very sad story. We were careful of the dunes after that. The birds are amazing to watch as you say. But for me the beach bunnies were the very best find this year.


Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Lovely post, lovely pictures. I used to take the kids to Galveston all the time when we lived in Houston, and we have been to all the places you mentioned. Isn't Bishops Palace a jewel? I loved shopping on the strand too! Thank you so much for bringing back many wonderful memories.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

p.s. Best wishes for your son's surgery. We will keep him (and you)in our thoughts and prayers through the coming weeks.

Carol at Lost Valley Gardens said...

Such an enjoyable post. I haven't been to Galveston in years, although I visited there often as a child growing up in Houston. Thanks for sharing your trip and thoughts.

I hope your son's surgery goes well and that his recovery is swift and smooth. Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way.

A wildlife gardener said...

You will be in my thoughts and prayers, Dawn...God bless you and your son :)

Mother Nature said...

The beach is a great place to clear your mind and refresh.