Farewell Brown Cat


Brown CatAs you can tell from the title, Brown Cat, my Siamese cat has left our little clan for that big cat heaven up in the sky. He was very much a fixture in this house for the past 15 plus years maybe more having joined us from a friend who was going through a marriage breakup.

Other cats have come and gone, a couple to the busy road outside of the yard, a couple to coyotes and one to the attentions of Richie, one of my Dachshunds. One cat hung in there and is still with us and again, a rescue from another friend who moved to Ireland. Her name is Ellie and she is at least 17 years old.  She too had to put up with Richie’s attentions and  eventually lost her tail after having gone missing for a week only to make her way back home. Not sure how she will handle being the only cat in the house but she and Brown Cat never really got along. They just tolerated each other but even so, were company.

Brown Cat came running out of the house one day and crashed into one of the potted plants that was standing on the deck. Turns out that he was having a diabetic seizure and the Vet confirmed that he was now a diabetic cat. That started him on a two shot a day treatment of insulin which we faithfully kept up for at least 4 years, maybe longer. I know it felt like a lifetime as I was pretty much chained to his timetable, a shot in the morning around 7:00 am and another in the evening, 12 hours later. It also meant having to keep an eye on his food input and convincing him that he needed to eat. Towards the end, he lost a lot of weight.

This morning after protesting loudly in his extremely loud voice until I fed him…again, he suddenly fell over. I put him back on his feet but he could no longer stand and we both knew that it was time to make that last trip to the Vets. I packed him into his carry case and along with all of his diabetic equipment, we trundled off to the Vets which is only a couple of miles from my house. As I have been using them to take care of my animals for over these past 30 years, I felt comfortable in leaving Brown Cat with them as by now, he was barely breathing as he lay in the box. I made my way back home to dig yet another grave for yet another pet. I went back later to pick up the box that was to be his new forever home and brought him home to rest.

He is buried in an area alongside one of the big ponds that has several dogs and a couple of cats and is piled high with rocks as a sort of cairn. It has some statues of dogs to make everyone aware that the area is off limits for any sort of digging.

On the bright side, I no longer have to give Brown Cat insulin shots twice a day or put him through the discomfort of taking a reading of his blood count. Neither do I have to buy anymore insulin  or diabetic supplies which are not cheap. In his later years, Brown Cat was not the most fastidious of cats when it came to using the litter box and as for covering anything up, forget it which means that I will no longer have to clean up behind him or change out the newspapers that he used in lieu of a litter box even though they were set up side by side. So, there are both good and bad to him passing.

Ellie on the printer

Now, Ellie is the only cat that we have left in our little family. She will also be the last one as I do not intend to get anymore. The two Dachshunds and the fat little Chihuahua are the only dogs left and the big gamble now is who will outlive who and that includes me.

Rest in Peace, Brown Cat.

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Feeling Blue


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Sitting here and feeling blue
wondering what I should do
the weather outside is dull and grey
wishing the clouds would go away
patches of fog and everything damp
no sun in the sky, no warming lamp
everything hidden behind the clouds
not even the birds are making sounds
it’s one of those days to stay inside
and read a good book and let others decide
the fate of the world or my part of this land
or maybe the two go hand in hand
as others far more wiser than I
decides on the fate of who lives and who dies
for every decision these wise men make
touches all of us and in their wake
we hope better things for all of our sake
enough gloomy thoughts, what brought that on
must be the weather with its dull song
what can I do to be of good cheer
make a fuss of my pets whom I hold so dear
which always brings a smile to my face
as they dash around from place to place
excited that I should find the time
to pet and to play and then are resigned
that playtime is over and for them back to sleep
and for me back to writing my blog I must keep
the weather has not changed as it is still grey
but my mood has changed with the dogs as we played
much more cheerful now and not feeling blue
as I focus on writing this poem, just for you…

A Walk at Pedernales Falls 12-17-2016


dsc_4740My walks now are governed by the temperature/sun forecast although yesterday was a bit of an exception for this time of the year. The forecast was for temperatures to be in the middle 70’s with a sunny day with a cold front moving in directly behind it very late in the evening.

Those sort of days are not to be turned down and I made plans to drive to Pedernales Falls and take a short and easy walk. First I called my friend who unfortunately had a prior engagement so I made plans to walk on my own. Nothing unusual about that as most of my walks are alone.

Ever since spotting the Bald Eagle a while back and rescuing a little dog on another occasion, every time that I drive to Pedernales Falls I am very wary of what is going on around me just in case I might get another glance at that eagle. No such luck this time but here’s hoping.

I arrived at Pedernales and this time, there were only a couple of cars in front of me. Not like the last time when there were at least 30 of them. I paid my $3.00 and told them I was taking a short walk. I planned to park in the Horse Corral and then take a walk to the dsc_4733Duck Pond and from there to head to the Fenceline trail, back onto the South Loop and then back to the starting point. I passed one other couple who were on their way back as I walked around the pond. There was very little in the way of wildlife on the pond or anywhere else with the exception of what appeared to be a Greater Yellowlegs that was hunting in the low water, which incidentally has created two separate ponds. As I continued walking around the ponds, a guy on a trail bike caught up with me and inquired if I was lost. I told him my plans to continue to the Fenceline trail which over its full length is almost 4 miles although I was only going to walk a part of that. He took off following the North Trail.

The walk was uneventful as I strode the Fenceline trail which is very easy walking. I turned off onto a very wide trail that was not signposted but I was hoping that it would bring me back to the South Trail which eventually it did. From there, it was a straight shot back to the Horse Corral where I met two ladies who were grooming their horses having completed their ride and they let me take their picture.dsc_4752lp1

I was parked on the opposite side of the Corral from them so I wandered over to my car and changed out of my wet clothes as the temperature had been hot enough for me to sweat. Altogether I covered 4 miles of very easy walking and was extremely glad that I made the effort to get out. The drive home was uneventful as I listened to a Stephen King story on Audiophone. No Bald Eagles and no little lost dogs.

Enjoy the video.

Pedernales Falls Duckpond Walk 12-17-2016 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Walking at McKinney Roughs with friends 11-16-2016


dsc_4459-panoMy friend Gloria called me in the morning to see if I wanted to go with them on another walk at our most favorite spot, McKinney Roughs Nature Center in Bastrop. I was ready to hit the trails again and it was a toss up between hiking with friends or chopping down overgrown stuff in my yard. It was really a no brainer making that decision.

We planned to meet at the main entrance and this time, I managed to beat them there. Usually, they are waiting for me. The Center had a lot going on one of which was a training session for First Responders. There was also a large group of kids who were learning about Nature. They were from a Private School.

Bobby, one of their dogs managed to get away from them as they got out of the car and came tearing across the blacktop to greet me. A really nice welcome, I thought as Gloria and George along with Nina, their other dog caught up.

I planned to take them on the inside loop of trails comprising of Woodland, Bluff Trail Loop and then back onto Ridge to complete the loop. These trails are very pleasant and easy walking with many park benches along the way. We passed a couple of other walkers going in the opposite direction but otherwise, we had the trail to ourselves.

Altogether, we covered a little over 3 miles and  we said our goodbyes in the Parking Lot. I decided that I would drive to the Hwy 71 Trailhead and take a look at the Zipline which was now open. There were several cars at the building but no one on the ziplines that started the sequence. Guess I need to come back on the weekend to see some action. It is not that I wanted to try it out but rather to take pictures of the other heartier and braver souls than me.

I drove straight home ignoring the danger signals from my body that were insisting that I drive into Bastrop to satisfy my Starbucks cravings. I kept telling myself that it could wait until I hit Austin which is what I eventually did. The last time I went to the Bastrop Starbucks just a couple of days ago, I waited in the drive up line for 25 minutes and that was after them not checking in when my car was at the ordering station. I had to order at the window but to be fair, they did not charge me for my drink. I have no idea why they took so long unless the whole staff were just having a bad day.

Below is a slide show of the hike.

McKinney Roughs with Gloria and George 11-16-2016 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

A walk with Friends, McKinney Roughs 10-9-2016


dsc_4115My good friends, Gloria  and George called me that they had finally returned after having spent 2 months away in Colorado  and New Mexico. The first thing they wanted to do when they got back was to take a hike at McKinney Roughs. I was all for it so we made arrangements to meet up at the Pope Bend Trailhead.

Bobby and Nina, their two dogs were just as excited to see me as I was to greet my friends. Bobby would not leave me alone until I made a big fuss of him. Our plan was to follow the trails that I had covered the last time I was there a couple of days before. That was, to take Roadrunner to Buckeye, then Pecan Bottom, Deep Sandy, Coyote Road and finally back on Roadrunner. We passed the Giant Pecan Tree and try as I might, I could not find a good location that would allow me to take a picture of the whole tree.

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We met up with one family of four adults and two kids. One of the little girls was ahead of the rest of her family and was obviously playing a game with them as when I stood there talking to them, she whooped at them to let them know where she was.

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Even though there were several horse trailers at the Trailhead, we only got to meet up with one horse and rider and that was as we were almost back to the Trailhead. Both very willingly posed for the camera.

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I am still surprised that there are still flowers out in abundance especially the yellow daises. The trails are lined with them.

As usual, I took pictures of the trails which seems to be one of my favorite subjects. At McKinney, the trails are always in good shape as LCRA take care of their Parks. The little dogs always manage to get into the picture one way or the other.

Altogether we covered about 5.5 miles. The weather is beginning to cool down and the hiking is very enjoyable because of it. My friends left and I sat there for a while just enjoying the peacefulness of the great outdoors and Mother Nature at her very best.

An Addition to the Family


Today was a big day in the Allcorn Residence as we added a new member to our little tribe. The house has been very quiet with both Abigail and then BeBe passing on. I’m so used to seeing a dog anywhere I look and the two remaining ones tend to pretty much do their own thing.

Richie, the male, tends to spend most of his time outside either trucking around to see what trouble he can get into or sleeping on the outdoor patio couch. Actually, he also keeps me active for if he is away for any length of time, I have to go out and check that he is not digging a hole to get under the fence. So far, he hasn’t but that doesn’t stop me from worrying. Ginnie spends most of her time under the covers on my bed. In between, she will go out and bark at the make belief rats under the deck. Actually, they are not make belief as they do come out in the evening to eat the bird seed that has fallen. Maybe, Pete will get her moving a bit more.

So I figured that maybe, the introduction of Pete, a three year old rescue Chihuahua, might add a little spice to the other two’s lives and give them an additional interest and another buddy to play with. I belong to a Neighborhood Newsletter and Pete’s picture appeared looking for a new home. His owner is going into a nursing home and she could no longer take care of him. She has already fostered him out to a couple of her friends and they were the ones looking for a forever home for the little dog.

I contacted them and we arranged to meet at PetsMart so that I could meet Pete and then bring him home for a sleepover just to see how well he gets along with the other two and also the two cats that I have.

So far, after the initial growling  and smelling of each other’s butts and the two males trying to outdo each other marking the territory, things are beginning to settle down. Pete is the jumpy one ready to show his teeth at either of the other two who seem ready to accept him into the pack. I guess two dogs is a pack or at least the beginning of one.

I hope things work out as he is a nice little dog. I do have a take back arrangement just in case he doesn’t fit in but we will have to wait and see.

More to come on this story.

Meanderings of an old man


Ginny the new girlSitting here and feeling blue
not sure what I want to do
outside it’s cold, too cold for me
to work outside, or drive a nail
or take a walk on a nice long trail
even the two remaining dogs
are stretched out on the bed like logs
as they sleep the sleep only dogs can do
with one eye open just in case
I should make a move to leave this place
and step outside where it is cold
which they will brave just for a while
until they lose interest and it gets old
to be outside, out in the cold.
I got up early on this morn
unable to sleep as I usually do
haunted by the the memories of
the death of yet another dog
the second in these last six months
leaving me with two to love
and lavish attention upon them both
as they help my grief to transcend
at losing  two of my furry friends.
we will survive, we always do
we will move on and it won’t be long
before just memories those dogs will beDSC_5468-2as we go about our daily tasks
living the life we have always led
gardening and hiking and taking walks
this time with the dogs by my side
as two I can handle and it will be grand
taking walks together, paw in hand.