Friends


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I recently just lost a friend
one I have known for many years
another Englishman like me
straight here from the Old Country
a funny guy with a quick dry wit
a story to tell that rolled off his tongue
the times together were never dull
and in conversations there was never a lull
a mighty athlete on the soccer field
he was paid to play the game we love
skilfull  enough to be a pro
which brought him here years ago
he retired from playing and became a coach
teaching young kids on how to play
with gift of the gab and his English wit
the kids just loved hearing him say
“bloody hell” his favorite expression when
one of them screwed up again
he had a minor heart attack
while out running on the track
and ended up with a stent
and a bypass with the intent
of making him fit and well to return
to the land of the living with no concerns
this was several years ago
and I am happy to say he lived a good life
and met a lady to spend his time
and even almost made her his wife
they lived together for a few years
sometimes even with a few tears
as they went through the usual unmarried woes
keeping each other on their toes
till finally just a few weeks ago
they had the most terrible fight
so bad that it turned off the light
of any remaining feelings they had
and left them both feeling mad
my friend called me to say
that he was flying out the next day
back to the land where he was born
and that I should not mourn
but to make the most of our friendship here
and to say goodby with good cheer
we shook hands and gave a hug
and said take care and stay in touch
but the truth of the matter as we well know
even email and smartphones all the go
we probably will never see
or even speak to each other again
I surely will miss my old friend
for his wit and humor dry as can be
as life goes on maybe we are apart
and his memories will live on in my heart.

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Reimer’s Ranch Hogge Trails 5-12-2017


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This pano is of  made up of 10 separate pictures

After changing my mind so many times on the last hike here a few days ago, I finally did hike the Hogge Trails. These are the new trails at this park and as yet, do not show up on any of the maps. This can be a bit intimidating when there is no visual of what lies ahead but the Hogge Trails are essentially a figure eight with the choice of the short trail at around 2 miles and the longer trail which is closer to 3 miles. The Park signs tend to err on the short side and both of my pedometers show longer distances than those marked on the sign posts.  In order to cover the entire set of trails, one has to hike the middle trail twice to complete the figure eight. There is also the trail that leads to the Hogge trails and it adds another 2 miles if you park in the Mountain Bike Parking Lot. By the time I arrived back in the parking lot, I had covered almost 8 miles.

The pictures below are of the Hogge Trails.

Along the way, Mother Nature is celebrating the birth of another Spring with a grand display of flowers. Everywhere you looked, it seemed that it was the habitat for some flower or another. This truly is a wonderful time of the year to be out on the trails.

Flowers at Reimers Ranch 5-12-2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Coming out of the Mountain Bike Parking Lot, I took the trail that would lead me to Johnny’s Homestead, named for a structure that once stood on this spot before it burned down. All that remains is the stone chimney and the electric power poles with the power lines still in place.  Then followed a short walk along the Multi Purpose Trail until it branches off to the Hogge Trails, the first part of which crosses the creek that may be called Pogue Creek. Not sure about that. Early in the year around Jan-Feb, this creek is flowing at a good pace but it is now completely dried up at least where the trail crosses it. We could sure use some rain…

DSC_5433From the creek, the trail is a steady uphill climb for over a mile which sure gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing. It levels off where the Hogge Trails begin on the other side of the original boundary fence on the recently donated land. The Hogge Trails are fairly level with just the occasional short hill. Like all hills, they always seem to go up. The pictures below are of the long upward climb to get to  the start of the Hogge Trails.

The last time I was here, a grey fox ran across the road in front of me. This time, a large deer broke cover and scampered off as I approached. As is usual in such circumstances, there is never time to get the camera off the belt and into shooting position. Because I like to use hiking poles to aid with balance and to help propel me along the way, I carry my camera on a Cotton Carrier single camera waist belt with a quick release. It works very well for me but I am never going to get it up in time to take those sort of shots.

I had the trails all to myself not passing or even seeing any other hikers or bikers. I really like the feeling of solitude that one gets from hiking these trails. It was not until I arrived back at the Trailhead did I see other people and most of them were mountain bikers. Another very enjoyable walk before the Texas Heat starts in earnest.

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More Thoughts on Life…


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When I was young I never thought
that time was passing by
and that at the speed of light
I never wondered why
I took for granted that every day
even though time did fly
would go on forever and would always be
there until I died.

Now on the other end of life
time has passed me by
more days are gone behind me now
than the future can supply
how much longer that I have
before the call from high
to end this life here on this earth
and I say goodbye.

 

Thinking About Life and Death…


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How strange it is that truth be told
that when we grow so very old
our concepts and our outlooks change
just like we are playing out a game
there are no sides no choice to make
there are no winners for anyone’s sake
it matters not how you were born
man or woman rich or poor
or how you lived the life you had
whether good or sometimes bad
or if you had a God on high
somewhere up there in the sky
or if you ate the proper food
and exercised when in the mood
or took long walks to try to stay fit
even when you would rather sit
making the effort to prolong your life
staying clear of trouble and strife
and yet one day you will wake up dead
with nothing more that can be said
that you tried to beat impossible odds
that no one before even your God
has been able to do though many have tried
and history has proved and has not lied
that Man’s time on this earth is limited to
a few score years we know is true
and no one likes the bottom line
even over the course of time
our lives are over in the blink of an eye
we hardly have time to say goodbye
before a new life takes our place
joining as part of the human race
to lead the life that we once just lived
and in our hearts we must forgive
as the human life is a fragile thing
before our spirits start to sing
to live out our time within the wind
blown gently by Nature as she takes us in
the bottom line the truth be told
we are no different as we behold
we are a part of what Nature provides
no different than others who preside
here on this Earth that we call home
for a short while until we are done.

My Three Sheds


The workshop

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The greenhouse is where the old bird flight used to be.

If you have been reading my blogs lately you have noticed reference to the sheds that are in my back yard and which I have spent the past couple of weeks cleaning up. After more than 20 years of accumulation and also having some surplus energy, I felt that it was time to perform this onerous task.

Basically, I have three sheds, well two sheds and a greenhouse which is not used to grow things but to store them, hence the redesignation. The yellow shed I built when I first moved in 32 years ago not as a shed but as an aviary as I was an avid parakeet and finch breeder. I brought my stock with me when we moved and for about 6 months, they lived in my garage in a hastily built flight that measured about 12 x 12 x 8 tall. This was home to the parakeets and other exotics while the finches lived in cages. As soon as I had completed the Aviary, which on the one side had outdoor flights but not on the other side yet as this is where I planned on the flight from the garage to go. There were flights on both sides indoors so I moved the birds into their new home.

When I had built the flight in the garage, I built it with a steel framework that I welded together and covered it with 1/2 inch  hardware cloth with the intent of hooking it onto the side of the new aviary for additional flights for the new bird tenants. It was pretty heavy and cumbersome so I rounded up a few neighbors and their bigger kids and between us, we all got around it and hoisted it into the air to carry it out to its new location. Someone broke into a song and before we knew it, everyone was singing as we walked. I think the song was “Heigh Ho” from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was very fitting.  What a way to meet the neighbors. The flight fitted perfectly and I completed the work to give the birds a place to stretch their wings.

I kept birds until I got divorced and then somehow, all of the fun had gone out of it. I sold off most of the stock and opened the doors to let the last few fly free before the rats who by now had colonized under the aviary, got to them.

At that point, it was time to rethink the direction my hobbies were going and that is when I built the first pond. The aviary was by now an eyesore with no bird life in it and I decided to turn the main part of the building into a bigger shed and at the same time, build a greenhouse where the old flight used to be. The truth is that I get a bigger kick out of the planning and then the construction than I do out of the finished product hence the use of the greenhouse as a storage shed for all of the plumbing parts and other things that it takes to maintain 5 ponds. To be fair, I did use the greenhouse to over winter my outdoor potted and container plants for a few years and then it kind of deteriorated into a catchall for anything needing a dry place. The potted plants have ended up in my bedroom for the past few winters. The main part of the shed was nicknamed the Yellow Shed for obvious reasons much to the disgust of my choice of colors by my neighbors. It is used to store the ladders and mechanical equipment like the mowers, blowers, weedeaters and things with gas driven engines and other such stuff.

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Inside the Yellow Shed (1)

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Inside the Yellow Shed (2)

The main shed is a 24 feet by 12 feet Morgan Building that I bought at the same time we moved in knowing that I needed a workshop and a place to store the myriad of hand and electric tools that I own. All my life, I have been a tool man spending the first 4 years as an Apprentice Bricklayer back in England. I was very observant and quickly branched out into all of the other trades learning as much as I could about how other people worked and what it took to build things knowing that all of that knowledge would serve me well further down the road. I put it all to good use in Fort Plan in New York State having had a small construction company for a few years when we first arrived and Supervising Pipeline Construction and Construction Management in my later years. Now at 81 years of age, I still love to plan and build and figure out ways to get over problems and I am still very good at it.

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Back to the sheds. Over a period of time, 20 plus years or more, all of the storage sheds filled to the brim and remembering where everything was, let alone ever getting to it, was becoming a real nightmare. A lot of it was really useful stuff to somebody and a lot was junk. Being the packrat that I am, nothing that even looked halfway useful was ever discarded or thrown away, just in case… An example is the 1/2 horsepower pump that is now churning away on the 5000 gallon pond and living a very useful life not to mention saving me several hundreds of dollars at least for a while. It had been buried both figuratively and practically and if I hadn’t decided to have this major shed clean up, well…I also located several other tools that I felt sure I had left out in the garden. I do have a pile of metal that I need to take to the junkyard and a lot of stuff has either been recycled or sent to the trash dump.

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So now, I have 3 comparatively clean storage areas which includes a workshop that I can actually perform work in with everything, well almost everything, in its place. Now all I have to do is remember what is in which place…Now where did I put that wrench?

Feeling Blue…


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The sun is shining and the air is warm
and yet somehow I feel forlorn
I woke after a good night’s sleep
with pain in my foot making me creep
from place to place as the pain grew worse
wondering why in this Universe
my foot could be hurting and feeling sore
the minute that it hit the floor.

I crawled back to bed and lay there for a while
all the time I was in denial
why is this happening what did I do
that my foot is so sore I haven’t a clue
so I got out of bed and with the aid of my stick
found my crutches I used the last time I was sick
and with the aid of these walking device
to get up and about my heart did rejoice.

Why the pain in my foot, I haven’t a clue
there is not much about it that I can do
except pop a few pills and sit back and relax
and look out of the window at the beautiful day
wishing the pain would go away
so I can do what I love to do
outside with Nature my mood to renew.

My Slow Brain…


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As my brain slowly goes bad
it makes me feel so very sad
that things I can no longer recall
even though they are very small
things like names and dates and times
involving dollars and nickels and dimes
are gone and even though I try
my very thoughts seem to deny
that the subject in hand I ever knew
as recalling my thoughts are very few.

I try to compensate for my brain
by writing things down to keep me sane
so I can use it to recall
whenever my brain is feeling small
or retracing my steps from whence I came
in order to jog my stupid brain
for when I get to where I am going
my brain has forgotten the reason for showing
appointments like doctors and dentists and such
are carefully logged as my fingers touch
the keys to my laptop being sure to record
the whose, why’s and when’s in the proper accord.

Actually things are not really that bad
its true I get a little sad
when my brain is slow and seems in decline
but give it some time and the gears start to wind
and slowly but surely the thoughts reappear
which makes me feel full of good cheer
as the brain is not dead but just being slow
the thoughts and words take longer to show
there is still life in this old brain
true its never quite the same
as when I was a younger fellow
now I am much more mellow
and everything I do takes time
walking, talking and thinking these lines.