This is Texas and It Is HOT…


DSC_5375Now that Summer is finally here
and temperatures are beginning to sear
and every day is hotter than most
and the sun is making everything toast
rain is just a thing of the past
I can’t remember when it rained last
and when it did it was over quick
nothing that was going to stick
just a shower, a few drops of rain
and then back to 100 degrees again.

We still lead an outside life
as used to the heat with nary a strife
start early before the heat of the day
makes it impossible to go out and play
for no one wants if they have a choice
unless of course if you have no voice
and outside work is what you do
with anything else you haven’t a clue
so you slap on the lotion and fill your jug
drink plenty of water lots more than a mug
and brave the heat a living to make
and everything is for your family’s sake.

Me, I take walks in ninety degrees
hoping like hell to be under the trees
knowing that around the next bend
could well be a field or a hill to ascend
either out in the open the sun blazing down
or climbing steeply to reach up to the crown
hoping that shade is a coming up fast
and maybe this hill will be the last
sweat pouring off me my clothes are all soaked
near the end now and I’m getting stoked
as I finish yet another hike
out on the trails with the end in site.

Why do I do this I have to ask
an answer comes forth from my distant past
when as a kid I spent my time
out in the woods with a friend of mine
and together we covered many a mile
close to Nature’s wonderful smile
and learned about how Nature does show
us the way forward in case we don’t know
we spent hours upon hours in her company
and seventy years later she is what I see
and if I could do it all again
my whole life would not be the same
instead I would be as a young kid
and work close to Nature my life to commit
in preserving everything she unfolds
working for her was one of my goals.

Alas, an old man I have grown
my dreams and my thoughts I have not shown
except in my walks and the stories I tell
and the pictures I take and wishing like hell
that I could do it over again
and work with Nature which sounds rather tame
for what we are doing to this earth
troubles me more than a dearth
as no one is more ignorant than man
who was not here when it all began
but thinks he owns the universe
and can take what he wants with no reimburse.

One day Mother Nature will see
just what in all reality
Man is inflicting in so many ways
and will take time off to reappraise
her goodness will end and she will defend
what little is left to the bitter end
to rise again at a later date
this experiment over for failures sake
as Man is not worthy to make this his home
he came, he wasted and now he is gone.

Be kind to your Mother…

A Hike and Taking Pictures.


DSC_5435I went for a hike the other day
I felt that I needed to get out and play
out in the country and breathe the fresh air
knowing that I hadn’t a care.

Life is good and I’m still alive
and you could say that I even thrive
on walking miles out in the sun
for my race is not yet run.

My pace is slow as I amble along
not in a hurry my pace long gone
just happy to be out in the sun
that Nature provides to give me fun.

It gets a little warm out there
as I walk along without a care
stopping when something catches my eye
to take pictures of the wonderful sky.

Or maybe a bird or a tree or two
whatever it is that is in my view
something that has caught my eye
and I have to know the reason why.

I really like to record the scene
whatever it is that make me serene
as I walk off the miles in my quest
to take a picture of the very best.

At the end of the trip I always feel tired
and hot with clothes soaked as I perspire
and I change before getting in the car
so I drive in comfort even though it’s not far.

When I get home and look at my shots
half of them are not so hot
as I toss them away and look at the best
knowing my computer can do the rest.

A tweak here and another there
before the picture I wish to share
is ready for others to review
in the hunt for perfection, if they only knew.

Reimers Ranch 7-19-2017


DSC_0275-PanoAs you may have read in a previous blog, I have bought new camera gear and wanted to try it out some more. The weather here in Texas is very hot with the afternoon temperatures reaching into the high 90’s and sometimes the low 100’s so any hiking needs to be done early in the day. This goes against my built in adversity to early mornings and I consider that if I am out on the trails by 10:00 am, I’m doing pretty good for me.

I reached Reimers by 10:30 am and spent 20 minutes assembling my new camera carrying system, first hooking it up this way and then that in an effort to balance the heavy new telescopic lens to make it comfortable to carry. It turns out that what I had settled on was very uncomfortable for the rest of the hike and I spent considerable time on the trail re-adjusting first this and then that to no real avail. I have to come up with a better system.

After leaving the Mountain Bike Trailhead, where I managed to find a tree that gave off some shade to park the car, I took the trail that leads to Johnny’s Homestead with the intention of following the Multi Use trail in a southerly direction back around and back to the Parking Lot. I knew from previous hikes that there is much more tree cover going in this direction. Not true of the other half of the Multi Use trail which is pretty much out in the hot sun for most of its length.

Just after setting out, I had the opportunity to use the new telescopic lens on a pair of Warblers and also a Brown Thrasher that had landed in the trees ahead of me. Normally, I can’t see these birds with the 300 zoom lens but the 600 zoom picked them out and gave me a couple of decent pictures.

The hike itself was uneventful with the exception of having to stop repeatedly to adjust the waist carry belt which kept sliding down.  As I keep repeating  to myself, I definitely will need to make some adjustments before the next hike. The top picture is a panorama of 4 pictures showing just how well Mother Nature recovers after the controlled burn in this area back in January. Other burns have been performed in other areas of the park much more recently as shown by the pictures below.

There are a very few wildflowers to be seen as the flower season is pretty much over.

As I always do, I have included pictures of the trails that I walked.

Finally, some views of the park.

All in all, it was an enjoyable hike and it felt good to be out communing with Nature. I really do feel that another part of me comes alive when I get out and about in the countryside.

More Thoughts on Life…


DSC_5301

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.

 

McKinney Roughs 4-26-2017


DSC_5195Finally after a couple of months away from the trails due to suddenly getting very ambitious around the garden even to the extent of cleaning out the three sheds which haven’t been cleaned in 20 years, my friend BJ and I were able to hit the trails at McKinney Roughs for the first time since January of this year. We chose McKinney because we knew that the flowers would be out and everything would be so green and I am very happy to say, we were not a bit disappointed.

We arranged to meet around 1:00 pm and the trip to Bastrop usually takes me 45 minutes but for some reason, the traffic was very heavy even at this time of the day and it took me 30 minutes just to get out of Austin. The 45 minute trip this time took me a good hour to complete. Very frustrating. I needed the walk just to calm my frazzled nerves down after dealing with the usual frustrated and frustrating idiots on the road.

We chose the Yaupon trail which I knew from previous walks would give us a good challenge as it has many ups and downs. The map claims that it is only 2.7 miles long but both BJ’s phone App and my Pedometer showed it to be closer to 4 miles and we still had another 4 miles on the return trip. Yaupon was designed to hook up to with Roadrunner and then Coyote Road to make a complete loop but somewhere along the way, floods have washed out a part of the trail alongside of the river and the trails do not connect so there is no alternative other than to backtrack. Even though under normal circumstances, I do not like backtracking, being the first time out for a while, I was perfectly happy just to be walking and didn’t mind covering the same trail in reverse. You do get a different perspective in the reverse direction and the uphills are now downhills. Of course the downhills also get reversed so you don’t gain anything on Yaupon. On a couple of the other trails, you can choose the direction to walk and make sure to walk downhill wherever possible.

Trails at Yaupon, McKinney Roughs 4-26-2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

As you can imagine, everything is beautifully green, the sort of bright and fresh green that has not yet weathered in. Everywhere we looked there was fresh growth as Mother Nature performed her annual miracle of Spring. The flowers were out in abundance and we spent a lot of time just clicking away with our respective cameras, BJ with her Iphone and me with the fancy Nikon D7200 that I take all of my pictures with. Her pictures were equally as good as the ones I was taking as the cameras in the Iphones are really top notch plus the Iphone is a lot lighter than my camera. BJ tells me she even has a telephoto lens to fit her phone. Amazing…

Along the way, we came across an Oak tree that had very interesting bark to it that seemed to spiral around the tree although the pictures that I took do not really show it very well.  We also saw a couple of Buzzards perched on an electric pole. Other than keeping a close eye on us, they ignored us walking directly beneath them. Other birds were full of song and we could hear them all around us but as usual, hardly any were visible.

As we hadn’t seen each other for a while, we had a lot of catching up to do and I swear, we chatted the entire 8 mile hike about this and that and everything else although neither of us mentioned Trump  once. We arrived back at the parking lot at the main office and spent some time taking pictures of the flowers that are planted in the flower gardens that surround this beautiful place. There were not very many butterflies out, not like it will be later in the season but the flowers were a sight to behold.

Flowers at McKinney Roughs Spring 4-26-2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

After comparing our respective devices both of which had different numbers on just how far we had walked and how many calories we had burned, we agreed that we had covered 8 miles, not bad for a “first time in a while” hike.

Next up, Pedernales Falls, next week.

An Easy Fish Rescue.


goldfish2 (002)This past week, I visited two different locations to rescue the fish and plants that the owners no longer wanted. That sounds a bit harsh and in both cases, they had very legitimate reasons for giving up their water hobbies. In the first case on Monday, the owner, Renee, was selling the property and she did not have the room to re-locate the fish. In the second instance, Sonja, the lady who contacted me stated that the pond was getting to be too much work for her.

I made arrangements with Renee to visit them in Georgetown on Monday. It was a bit of a problem finding her house as the GPS would not show her address. I even stopped to talk to the mailman but his directions were not that clear. I finally pulled into another guy’s driveway and he was able to point me in the right direction.

As it happens, Renee had been on the lookout for me and she was waiting at the top of her driveway. We chatted for a bit and she then redirected me around the back of her house to an 8 foot circular barn trough that had a couple of straggly looking plants growing out of it but was full of goldfish. They ranged in size from very small to about 6 inches.

It was a comparatively easy to catch them although not the cleanest of jobs as the tank had a lot of sediment in the bottom. I pumped it down as far as I could which left about 3 inches of water in the bottom and then went about netting the fish. Renee helped with her own net and between us we caught around 50-60 fish.

When that tank was emptied, she directed me to the side of the house where she had yet another small trough that held another 50 or so fish of which she had already caught 35  or so and had them in a 5 gallon bucket ready to transfer them to my tanks. Altogether, there must have been close to a 100 goldfish in my containers.

I packed up my trailer and after bidding goodbye, set off for Mayfield Park where I planned to populate a couple of the ponds. The journey to the Park was uneventful and I pulled in and began to unload the containers that held the fish. The Park was really busy and I got a lot of questions especially from the younger generation as they watched me rehome the fish into their new surroundings in two different ponds accompanied by the raucous racket of the Peacocks.

After emptying the containers, I repacked the trailer and made my way back home. The traffic was light making for all in all, a good rescue day.