Allow me to apologize for the recent flurry of posts if you have felt somewhat at a loss to keep up.  This happened for two reasons: (a) I was on call this week, a fact that often leaves me with small chunks of free time that lend themselves to posting rather than working on a novel; and (b) I made a decision to rush through the migration of the old xenogere unseen photos, mainly those I had already reprocessed to high quality images.

The avalanche will slow as soon as I get through the remaining 25 pictures, after which moving the remaining 108 entries to this blog will decelerate dramatically as I intend to revisit each image and reprocess those that I uploaded in degraded form.

Once xenogere unseen is no more, I will immediately begin the migration from Zooomr (1668 photos) before kicking off the migration from Flickr (518 photos).  In all cases I will reprocess each image before moving it to SmugMug and updating the impacted posts.  Having originally reduced the quality of all photographs, I’m taking this opportunity to reverse that decision with every image I migrate.  Expect that to take time; likewise, expect it to increase the quality of the images already available here.  (Note that Zooomr and Flickr posts will be migrated in reverse chronological order; that is, I will migrate images from the oldest post to the most recent post.)

I need to reorganize the sidebars.  That work will begin shortly.  With a truncated blogroll and the removal of various meta pieces, not to mention dropping the link to xenogere unseen, it’s time to shuffle that content around a bit to even out the space usage.

Adding additional header images into the rotation also needs to be done.  That’s been on my list for some time—especially since I have several things I want to include—but I’ve not been able to get around to it.  Hopefully I can address that in the coming weeks so it’s off my plate and not bothersome for several months.

A year after launching this design for xenogere, I find my capricious nature once again asking if indeed the time has come to change themes.  I know…  How many times do I intend to change it?  The short answer is simple: Every time I think it appropriate.  Mileage may vary.

While I do like this theme, perusing the options with an open mind wouldn’t hurt.  If I happen to stumble on something better…  Well, I’m never one to hold back change for the sake of change.  I will certainly share any developments in that regard as they occur.  However, as has always been the case, don’t be surprised if an abrupt metamorphosis takes place.  That’s just how I roll.

Aside from the business of blogging, this entry is a scheduled item as I am out of town today visiting the family farm in East Texas.  Whether or not I arose early enough to stop off at the bayou for a morning photo session depends heavily on how tired I was when I went to bad last night (or tonight, rather, based on when I’m writing this).  Work has been dogging me for some time, and this past week was no different with a hectic on-call session and various demands pushing me further under the surface.  Nevertheless, I hope I can bring home some good photos to share even if they’re only from the farm and not also from the bayou.

The weekend of October 25, weather permitting, I intend to go on a canoeing trip at Caddo Lake.  The impetus is twofold:

(a) What an opportunity!  It’s the only natural lake in the whole state of Texas.  The flora and fauna make White Rock Lake look like a puddle in someone’s back yard, and the overall experience would be nothing short of magical.  I’ve wanted to do this for some time; this will be my first opportunity.

(b) Going now allows me to see the pre-winter environment.  The area changes dramatically in the cold season, as do the inhabitants, so I want to make a warm-weather trip followed by a cold-weather trip.  If I don’t go soon, I will miss this opportunity and will have to wait until next year before I can visit outside of the confines of cooler weather.  I fully intend to make a similar trip in winter as the bald eagles and other migrants show up then, but I don’t want to miss this opportunity to see the usual suspects.

For xocobra and LD, Mom and Dad, Jenny, nathalie, and anyone else in the area from DFW to the Piney Woods who would like to tag along, don’t hesitate to contact me.  A trip alone is doable and welcome; a trip with others carries additional rewards.  I’m going Saturday, October 25, and I intend to be at the Caddo Lake WMA as early as possible (7:00 AM if possible; slightly later if canoe rental hours are different by then).  I can tell you what supplies you need if you’re interested.

And in case you want to know why this is so important to me, check this out:

Experience pristine cypress swamps of the 8,005-acre Caddo Lake Wildlife Management area as you explore the backwater areas of this part of Caddo Lake. Caddo Lake has been designated by the Ramsar Convention as “a wetland of international importance, especially as waterfowl habitat”. The WMA contains permanently flooded bald cypress swamp and seasonally flooded bottomland hardwoods. Islands in the lake make up most of the land mass. The area offers two primitive camping areas and many miles of canoe trails. An on-the-water trip is highly recommended to fully appreciate everything the WMA has to offer.

Several heron rookeries are located in the backwater of Goat Island and Clinton Lake. In summer look for Green, Great Blue, and Little Blue Herons. Common Loon, Horned and Eared Grebes, Bald Eagle, Double-crested Cormorant and Osprey prefer the area during the cooler winter months. Ducks wintering here include Mallard, Wood Duck, Gadwall, American Widgeon, Pintail, Green and Blue-winged Teal, Scaup, Northern Shoveler, Hooded Merganser, Common Goldeneye, Redhead, and Bufflehead. Other aquatic species observed include Virginia Rail, Common Snipe, Bonaparte’s Gull, Ring-billed Gull, and Forster’s Tern.

Other wildlife species such as Beaver, River Otter, and American Alligators also enjoy Caddo Lake. Load up the canoe (or rent one) and spend some time enjoying the primordial beauty of nature as you course your way through the cypress trees of Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area. A map is available at the Caddo Lake State Park headquarters, adjacent to the WMA. Checklists for birds, amphibians and reptiles, mammals and vegetation are also available. Caddo Lake has boat lanes marked by numbered posts which guide boating visitors through the many coves and backwaters on the lake.

I can barely stand the wait.  And I won’t stand it any longer than the 25th, come hell or high water.  Period.

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