Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Number 55: Purtis Creek State Park

It has been a rainy, stormy spring so far around here, but you just can't let a little bad weather keep you from enjoying the beautiful Texas State Parks.  This last weekend we headed up to Dallas to celebrate a friend's 50th birthday, but stopped at Purtis Creek State Park on our way home.


The park was swarming with police from all over the area including many State Troopers.  Not sure what they were doing there (not surpirsed if they numbered 250 or more),


We had noticed on the ride to the park that the area had been hit hard the night before by severe storms.  Many trees were down and hail damage was evident all over the place.  Leaves shredded by hail littered the trails.




Not sure how much rain they received, but it was running down the trail making for a muddy trek.


There is a lake stocked with fish, but we were scouting for bald eagles.  Yes, I am still on my quest to see one in the wild.  Unfortunately, we had no luck this day.


I mentioned the storm damage, right?  It must have been a tense night for those in tents at the remote campsites.


Funny thing I didn't realize while we were there, but we usually see a lot of wildflowers this time of year, but this park had very few.


This is the last wet trail photo I promise.  But seriously, the whole hike was like this.


The lake's water level was up significantly.  The little fish were swimming in the grass which a few hours earlier was on dry land.


I think the creek must have run right over this bridge at some point over night.


The wildlife must have been shell shocked.  We heard and saw very few birds and only a few critters of any kind.  This hornet was drying out its wings when I spotted it.


This trumpet vine was my favorite shot of the day.  My vine at home is in bloom waiting for the hummingbirds.


When the sun came out in the last half of our hike so did the turtles.  Not cuddly and soft, but cute nonetheless.


Nice little park if you fish or boat, but I prefer longer hiking trails.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Stephen F. Austin State Park Redo

Years ago Breck and I hiked in Stephen F. Austin State Park.  However, it was long before we began our journey to visit all 93 parks, I took no pictures, and could not tell you an exact date of our visit. This past weekend we revisited SFASP and this time I have proof.


We hiked a different trail than the ones we had taken in the past.


Everything was ridiculously green from the spring rains and new growth.



The spring rains probably had something to do with the mushrooms we saw popping up along the trails.


And the bees were having a field day with all the wildflower blossoms.



I regretted not bringing my telephoto lens when we spotted this woodpecker and heard several others in the trees.



Never forgetting to look down as well as up I found many snails making a snack of the decaying forest leaves.



Lovely park.  Lovely trees.


And lovely wildflowers at this time of year.


We also stopped by the historic site just outside the park where Stephen F. Austin started his original Texas colony.


The colony was burned in The Runaway Scrap which you will remember from 4th grade history if you were raised in Texas.  This replica of Stephen F. Austin's house sits on the site.


And more wildflowers, of course.  Bluebonnets.


Poppies.


And Wine Cups.

Monday, April 6, 2015

One Project and One Park

After working on projects around the house Easter weekend, Breck and I took a break and went for a walk in a local park near our house (Lick Creek Park).


We were not disappointed.  Not only did we see pine warblers, blue-gray gnatcatchers, and chipping sparrows, but we were treated to a daytime view of a nocturnal beauty.  This is a Barred Owl.  We hear them calling most nights at the house, but this is the first time I have been able to get a picture.  Lovely creature.


Not as focused, but I also got a shot of a Downy Woodpecker.  He was way up there.


Now all this nature was preceded by chores, don't forget.  This one seems pretty obvious.


Fell clean off a couple weeks ago, but needed to do some research before making the fix.


I ended up going with a marine grade epoxy to bond the two fiberglass pieces.


Since it needed to set for a few hours, I popped the hinge pins out and remove the door with a little help from the honey.



Even though it was a chilly day, after spotting a few red wasps flying around I thought it best to tape up a sheet to keep them on the outside.


The prep took longer than job itself.  The epoxy mixed up quickly and spreading it on hardly anytime at all.


After a few hours I stood the door back up with some National Geographic Magazines to raise it up enough for me to align the hinges.  It was killing Kracken to see and smell all the goings ons in the front yard, but not being able to squeeze through the crack.


Once the pins were back in place everything looked as good as new.


Except for this problem.  It's on my list to fix as well with a little backer rod and caulk; already purchased and waiting to be used.


Gapping holes between my stone and siding are bad for so many reasons.  Like this one.


And do you remember this rat snake climbing the wall by my front door last November (They Can Do That?)?


Not to mention wasps, bees, spiders, scorpions . . .  You get the idea.  Probably should tackle this job sooner than later.