Retired from the University of Texas and too old to play soccer anymore. Now, in the twilight of his years, time is spent writing in this blog, hiking and exploring Texas Parks, photography, working out, gardening and tending to the five ponds he built .
Thanksgiving has come and gone and all that is left to carry on with Christmas next on the list when everyone is supposed to wish Good Health and Happiness to one and all and to the religious to heed the call be nice to your neighbor and wish them well and keep to yourself no secrets to tell it matters not who sings the song all that is left is to carry on. go to the store and spoil the kids and get them whatever they wish for kids they will not be for long and before you know it big and strong as people with their own family inviting you to their Christmas Tree and you will sit at their table of food before long with grand kids to add to the brood and then you will say “What a wonderful day” as your life if finally slipping away and old you will be as you look at the tree and remember back at what you see all those many years ago when the kids were young and you put on a show exactly like the one today only fifty years later as you say “Where did the time go I’m too old to play” as you sit in the chair with your Grand Kids today and remember those Christmases of years gone by the time that has passed you understand why it has nothing to do with the time of year the Family together bringing good cheer its the warmth and love that a family brings to an old man and his wife the Mother of all things.
I decided it was time for a change from my regular haunts at McKinney Roughs in Bastrop and Reamers Ranch in Dripping Springs so I chose to go back to Pedernales Falls State Park that actually has a Johnson City address. I haven’t been there for a while and wanted a change of scenery.
The Park is located about 35 miles from my house and is at the beginning of the Texas Hill Country as that area is known. This is a State Park so it cost me $6:00 to get in, always well worth it from my perspective. The line at the counter was short but the guy in the front would not stop talking and asking what I considered to be dumb questions of the lone Park Officer that was manning the desk. She was very patient with him, much more than I would have been. Guess it takes all kinds to make up this world that we live in.
I finally got to pay my $6:00 and hopped back into my truck and drove to the Parking Area for the Duckpond Loop. I have made this walk before and the last time, managed to take pictures of an Egret and a couple of wild boars so I was hopeful that I would get something today. I went through my usual routine but as the weather is now a lot cooler at around 65 degrees, only needed to change into my boots. I elected to carry two cameras, one with the 150-600 long lens and the other has the 18-400 lens on it. Both are telescopic. The 150-600 is very heavy at around 5 pounds and really needs a tripod but I can generally get some decent long distance pictures without one.
The Duckpond is about a half mile from where I parked the truck and I took a couple of pictures of the trail in this part of the Park. The Duckpond is really two separate ponds, one of which dries up in the long hot Texas summers. It was the first one I came to walking from my direction and I approached very slowly and as quietly as I could possibly be. I managed get a couple of pictures of the ducks on this pond before they took off and flew around in circles before heading off. Walking to the second pond was much easier as the pond was hidden from view by the trees. Along the way is a Duck blind only this one is for taking pictures and not for shooting the ducks. I hung around inside for 15 minutes but the main body of ducks did not re-appear but I got some pictures of the few that were left on this pond.
I moved on along the trail and opted to follow the Duckpond Loop which I knew would bring me back out onto the opposite side of the field from where I had parked the truck. The trail follows the West side border of the Park and the boundary is a marked by a six strand barbed wire fence. This fence line is remarkably straight and this border stretches for a little over 3 miles.
On the neighbors property, there were two deer feeders set up about a half mile apart with the deer blind set equidistant between them, obviously getting ready for the deer season which is only a few days away. Seems a little unfair to me to treat the deer so nicely by enticing them with food and then only to shoot them. Barbaric is probably a better word and personally, I can’t see the sport in that. When I lived up North in New York State many years ago, I and my friends would hunt deer in the Adirondacks. The difference was that we would follow them to hunt them and might end up walking several miles through rocky terrain, sometimes through the snow in the hope of spotting one. Then, if you were lucky, you had to drag it back out of the woods to wherever you were parked. At least, there was effort put into the hunt. I only ever had one deer in my sights and when it turned and looked at me, deliberately shot wide to frighten it off. I didn’t have the heart to kill such beautiful animal. I think I enjoyed the camaraderie of the guys more than the killing although most of them would shoot at a deer and anything else that moved.
Continuing on the walk, I managed to take some nice pictures of that part of the Park and eventually came out into the field where the truck was parked. The grass in the field was very long as it had not been mowed until I got closer to where all of the buildings are situated and that had been taken care of.
On the way back out, I stopped at the Bird Blind that is located there. It has an interesting warning notice stating to be very careful to check that there are no snakes in the buildings, under the seats or in any of the storage containers. Such is Nature.
I wanted to get more pictures of the river so I drove off towards that parking lot. I parked the truck and walked down towards the river and met a lot of people along the way, most greeting me as we passed, some with comments. I arrived at the overlook that also has steps leading all the way down to the river itself but I didn’t want to make that trip. Instead, I opted to stay at the Overlook and take more pictures. It sure is a beautiful Park and the Pedernales when it is not in flood, is pretty to look at especially at the Falls. The rocks are very impressive. The pictures in the video are all panoramas and are made up of three or more pictures joined together.
This Park does not have a large variety of trees, mostly it is all Cedar but occasionally you come across something different as with the pictures below. These trees are showing off their Fall colors.
I made a slow drive back and detoured into Dripping Springs for a Starbucks stop before making my way home. Another great hike of a little over 4 miles and it was good to have a change of scenery.
This is December and Christmas is coming just as it does every year For some, it is a time of rejoicing and to celebrate the Birth of Christ. For others it is family reunions and turkey and Christmas trees and presents, lots of presents. It is that time when entire families will go into debt and then spend the rest of the year paying it off only to begin again with the following Christmas. Presents are opened and in many cases, the contents are often put to one side and never used or are exchanged for something more “useful”. There is no thought behind the giving and none on the receiving. These are not presents of love but of necessity. Shops are decorated to promote the Christmas festivities and Christmas music is everywhere. Somewhere another Christmas tree dies as it is cut from its roots. There is way too much Christmas music and the ultimate goal of promoting the Christmas Spirit is to get the unwary to spend their money. Did I mention there is way too much Christmas music Christmas is Big Business and can make or break any one of them. Some people will respect the religious significance but those people go to Church every Sunday. Others will get religion for a day. Much food and drink will be consumed and wasted and the the homeless will go hungry. To them, it is just another day in the fight to stay alive. Old people with few resources will rely on others for a meal and others will oblige because it is Christmas. Christmas can bring out the best and the worst of human nature. Many will give while others will steal. And so it goes year in and year out. Such is Human Nature.
It is almost that time of the year again when man can be good to his fellow men friendships renewed old grudges are gone with everyone ready to carry on I’m not talking Christmas that time of good cheer but rather to welcome a brand New Year with fresh ideas and a new lease of life a time to forget any previous strife to make new friends or old friendships renew and help your neighbor and some of the few who are down on their luck and need a hand with money or food to get out of the jamb that luck and life has dealt to them and looking for help from their fellow men life itself can be very hard especially if you draw the wrong card but with help from others in better shape a whole new life it’s possible to make all it needs is that helping hand before the timer runs out of sand.
I was perusing the blogs that end up in my inbox on a daily basis to see if there was anything super interesting or that needed my attention. Out of the one hundred or so that make up the mornings supply, there are always some that are interesting or are from the bloggers that I choose to follow on a regular basis. These I pay special attention to while the rest are quickly sent to that hole in the sky where the uninteresting or unwanted blogs end up. Many are advertisements and they too are quickly eliminated.
I had one this morning from Amy Rose of Petals Unfolding commenting on exactly the same thing, “Where has the year gone?” She also attached some photos of a real Fall with beautifully colored leaves, not like what I get in my part of Texas. Here, there is the occasional tree with its Fall window dressing but we have a lot of evergreens that just drop the leaves without them coloring up and many keep them and are green nearly all year round. They drop their leaves in the Spring when the new growth arrives. This also means we have a double batch to clean up.
Back to the subject of this blog, “Where has the year gone?” I know that old wives tale or not, time is supposed to pass quicker as we get older. That is probably because we are each approaching our individual end and instead counting forward as we did when we were young, we are now counting downwards to that inevitable ending. Why that particular time has to go by so fast, I don’t know. Being older and retired with no clocks to punch anywhere, one would think that time would slow down. I even stopped wearing a watch as I really had no reason to keep track of time.
Of course, all of this is a fallacy as we all know there are 60 minutes to an hour, 24 hours to a day, 7 days to a week and any number of days in the various months. Whether we are young and can’t wait to grow up or old and can’t wait to act young again, time is always the same, never varying. The only thing constant is the count down to the end and that is an individual thing over which we have no control.
So, even though time flies by as we grow older it is just a misconception and just maybe a sign that we are really having way too much fun. Roll on 2019. Lets get into yet another year and see if this one goes by any slower…
The Austin Pond Society held their last meeting of the year in the form of a Christmas Party. The theme this year was Mexican and the food and decorations reflected that. Members came dressed in gay colors, some wearing hats and the main dish for the food was Tamales along with all of the fixins’. Members provided more Mexican dishes plus a myriad of deserts.
For the second meeting in a row, attendance was down. The weather had taken a turn for the worse with a cold front so maybe that kept some people away. Altogether, I counted twenty seven members present. Blue Santa and Mrs Klaus had to drop out at the very last minute due to being stuck in Chicago so a couple of other gentlemen, David and Scott filled in, making speeches and receiving all of the donated toys of which there were two very large sacks.
There was no business to conduct so the entire evening was focused on food and good company. This was Jeannie’s last meeting as El Presidente and I and the Membership would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her past five years of serving the Members of the Austin Pond Society.
So the curtain drops on another fun year. I wonder what is in store for 2019?
Stories about family, faith, friends and funnies. Pull up a chair. Grab a cup of coffee and laugh, cry, ponder and inspire about ordinary events of this wonderful, ever changing, bubbling pot that we call "every day life".