Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, the holiday that marks the beginning of sweets season (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines, and ending with Easter).  I hope you all are enjoying it in your own way.  Over the years I have enjoyed decking out the yard in grave stones and skeletons, handing out candy to the neighborhood kids, and indulging in one of my guilty pleasures and a Templeton tradition:  Chinese take-out.

It's a strange tradition, I know.  It started in 1990 when our oldest son went trick-or-treating for the first time and we have been doing it ever since.

This day also marks a 2nd anniversary for us.  This day in 2010 Breck and I closed on this house and began making it our home.  Here is what it looked like on that day after we did our final walk through before heading to the title company to sign.

Looks much different today.  I would post a picture, but it's too late and dark to take one.  Maybe I'll slip one in tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Am A Wimp

I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point I became a wimp.  Me!  Today I came home from work and turned on the heater, put on sweat pants, pulled out a quilt, and brewed a cup of tea.

Crazy.  It really isn't even that cold.  I guess I was just getting in the fall spirit (that's my story, folks, and I'm sticking to it).  The tea is something I have been waiting to try since Dani (my son's lovely girlfriend) brought it back for me from a trip she made to Colorado.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find my infuser so I improvised with a coffee filter.

Really it worked just fine.

I do think I will put a tea infuser on my Christmas list.

But, ahhhhh, hot tea.  Such great flavor.  No sugar.  No honey.  No lemon.  Yummy.

On another note, does anybody else have a clock like this in their house?

No, I don't mean battery operated and hanging on the wall.  I mean a clock that you never "sprang forward" and will therefore not need to adjust on November 4th.  I would not have noticed this if we had not lost our electricity at some point while I was at work today and I needed to know the time so I could plan dinner.  I will also admit to having flashing 12:00 on my microwave year round.  Yep.  Confessions of a lazy clock setter.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Another Day, Another Park

After packing our bags, loading the car, and turning in our key to the cutest little cabin ever, Breck and I headed to Junction, Texas to take in the views of the South Llano River State Park.  

We checked in at the Ranger's office to pick up a map and headed to the trail head.  Can you believe we had the whole place to ourselves?  And look at that blue sky!  Only in the fall can you get that color in TX.

We noticed right away that this park was very different from the Lost Maples State Park we visited the day before.

First of all, it is located on a river.  I love the reflections in the calm water.

And there was more fall color here than we had seen before.

Even the trails differed, these being more flat and foot friendly.

Breck was still Breck though, thank goodness.  He was so sweet carrying my camera bag so I could change lenses at whim.

Look at these yellows.  Pictures do not do it justice.  As I have said before, I really struggle with landscape photography.

But you get the idea.

I could not get enough of the reflections.  In the past I have focused (is that a pun?) on moving water.

And the "weird" award of the day went to this cactus growing in the trunk of a tree.  So cool.

This canopy of yellow leaves was such a treat.

The pond at the end of our hike was a great spot to take a rest in the shade.  Again more water reflections.

And how about this tree arch?  Cool, right?

And a park post would not be complete without some wild life.  These guys were so patient with me.

As we left the park, we stopped to see this old barn on the side of the road.  If you have followed me for long you know how excited I was by this find.

And last but not least, I had to get in my artsy shot.  Can you see Breck in the background?

So we are off to a great start on our goal to visit every Texas State Park.  We plan to return to this one in March when the Wild Turkeys come in to mate and to do some kayaking.  Anybody out there been to another state park that they recommend to plan to see next?

See more of our Texas State Park Adventures

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lost Maples State Park

The day began gloomy and cold with a strong wind.  Of course that did not deter us from munching down breakfast at the B & B and heading for Lost Maples State Park to do some leaf spotting and hiking.  As we made the scenic drive out of Comfort, the clouds began to break up.

It didn't take long for the sun to warm things up a little into the 50s.  Perfect for hiking.

An hour later we found ourselves at our destination.

We have plans to visit many more parks, so we opted to buy a year long pass (and a sweatshirt for me).

The trail was well marked and the vegetation still lush to spite the season.

Though if you look, you can see some color beginning to creep in.

Yes, we still have wildflowers blooming in Texas.

The hill country is prone to flash flooding with minimal rain.  The rains that fell in advance of our arrival meant that many small streams in the park had water.

Okay, give me a little leeway here to take an artsy shot.  I loved this stump and its colors against the woodsy backdrop.

Um.  One more?  These native grasses blowing in the wind just caught my eye.

Of course who could resist a sign like this that takes you off the main path?  Are you curious, George?

Yep.  There it is.

Photo op.  Not many pictures of me . . . ever . . . but now there is proof I exist.  Note I have already shed the sweatshirt I bought.  The day warmed up nicely.

While taking this shot, a Park Ranger passed by and commented on it being the only red tree in the park.  She was kidding, of course, but we are only at the beginning of the season so the color was sparse.

Funny.  Even the moss was changing color.

The hike to the top was arduous and long.  I was so tired by the top, but took many photo opportunities as an excuse to stop and catch my breath.

I don't take very good long range shots, but I wanted you to see the view.

Okay.  I figured out a way to show the view AND get a close up of interest.

After the hike down there was still a plethora of beauty to snap.

And then there was this guy.  Never saw a tarantula in the wild before.  Such a lucky find.

The last of the early color was along the edge of the trail out.

And since the sun had come out and warmed things up, the shade at the end was more than welcome.

Hikes end.  Well worth it.  Loved this park.

How about you?  Do you enjoy the great outdoors?

See more of our Texas State Park Adventures