Sunday, December 10, 2017

What??? SNOW in Texas!

Yep, it happened again!  This is how it happened. Monday and Tuesday of this week we were sweating up a storm, wearing shorts and wishing for some cooler weather.  Well Tuesday afternoon, we went to Sugar Land for Ron's follow-up appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. Well a cold front moved in that afternoon and we started doing a happy dance. Believe it or not, the surgeon was able to fit Ron into his schedule for the next day to finally get his rotator cuff repaired. Not something we had planned, but knew one day this would happen. The day of surgery is overcast, cold and dreary, really sloppy winter weather. That good old nasty stuff that makes everyone around here start making soups and chowders and chili.  Take a look at how happy Ron is about the weather!
I told you he was happy with our winter weather!

The sloppy winter weather continues through the day. I get Ron home safe and sound and get him settled into the recliner where he will be spending the next several days. I cook us a pot of soup.

Well, the weathermen start talking about the possibility that the stars could align right and by golly there just might be some snow Thursday evening through Friday morning.  The last time we had enough snow fall was on Christmas Eve in 2004 (I think).  Now that was a treat for sure!  So, we didn't know whether to get excited or not about it. I am thankful for the sloppy weather as it is keeping Ron inside and resting, by the way.  Well, way early Friday morning my sweet hubs wakes me and says something like - "If you want to see it snow, you better get up!"  I did!  Yep it was dark but you could see the flurries.  I took a nice walk when the snow was coming up. I have to say that Brazos Bend State Park, with some snow on the trails, was just beautiful.  Here are some shots I thought I'd share.

Our campsite looked so pretty!

The oak trees with the fern and snow was magical.

The prairie


40 acre lake shoreline

The woods were so quiet!

Hoots Hollow trail was so serene.

I think the buzzards were really confused!
But alas, the snow was all melted by late morning. It was fun and beautiful while it lasted. No school was cancelled so I am 100% sure there were lots of sleepy kiddos!

For those of you who are wondering how does it work to have a major surgery and live full time in a motorhome?  Not to worry. Ron is comfortable. It's just like being at a sticks and brick house, maybe even better because when he rings that little bell, I don't have far to walk to see what he needs!  LOL!

Here's to hoping everyone is enjoying this wonderful holiday season!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Opening a Texas State Park After a Hurricane

We arrived at BrazosBend State Park October 9.  This will be our “home” until the end of January.  The park is a 30 minute drive from Houston and is comprised of around 5,000 acres.  It is home to the American alligator. This nature habitat provides homes to many other animals, birds, insects and even fish.  We have been here many times with our family as it is close to Sweeny and all of our memories from here are great.  It’s a busy park!  So it is pretty strange to drive in to a park that has been closed to the public for a month and probably won’t open for another month.  You see, the park experienced about 16 feet of water during Hurricane Harvey. So as you can imagine, there is a lot of work to do.

We are impressed first of all by the number of park hosts that are here.  There are about 10 families here.  We, along with 2 other families, are located in the “overflow” area. There are 2 camping loops and each loop has 2 families. The maintenance yard has 2 families. And then the Hale Lake day use has 1 family.  Plus on Tuesday and Thursday, the Brazos Bend Volunteers show up to work.  So they are fortunate here to have a lot of varied talent to help them with all the tasks ahead of them.

They take safety seriously here. We were given a thorough orientation and before you can get on a lawnmower, for example, you have to go through a proficiency process.  So needless to say, Ron has been getting proficient on things like mowers, tractor and chain saws.  I am just happy to help in the office when needed but really do enjoy getting out and picking up sticks and storm debris, putting out ant killer, painting or blowing the autumn leaves. These outside chores give me great opportunities for bird watching and alligator watching.  It’s sad the park is closed to the public, but wow…… is a really great opportunity to get out here, get on trails that we have never been on before, hear just how noisy nature is without all the people noise, and see the park through the eyes of our future visitors who are chomping at the bit to get back in the park – but what will their expectations be and will we meet them with all the repairs that have been needed?

The largest task has been power washing.  The Brazos River for those of you that don’t know, is a red muddy river after the rain.  Look at this picture of the water line in the trees. You can still tell there is red mud on the tree trunks.

Are you able to see where the flood water line on the trees is?
So all the picnic tables, once they were retrieved, had to be power washed. The cement. The shelters. The playgrounds. There are many foot bridges and fishing piers and observation towers and decks. Posts. Signs.

The dining hall and their one cabin and all their shelters had to have sheet rock removed, wood, appliances, etc. All of the electric pedestals in the camping loops had to be cleaned and restored. Signs had to be replaced or repaired. Trees, sticks, limbs, lily pads made a mess everywhere. It has to be cleaned up.
Can you even see the John Deere gator under all this debris?
You get a feel now for what it takes to recover a park after a natural disaster like this. As a volunteer in the state park systems, to get your full hook up site, you have to volunteer a minimum of 25 hours per week per household.  Most of these folks donate much more than that and because of that, the park will be reopening Tuesday, November 7!  Yippee! 

Here are a few pictures of what you will experience if you come visit this great state park!

Beautiful oak trees in front of 40 acre lake.

Absolutely a best place to go bird watching. I think they are ready for the park to reopen too

Check out the sunset reflection on Elm Lake.

You may not see Lucy with her Astros colored hair, but we were blessed by her visit!

Lucy took this picture of the trail we hiked.

Our daughter Liz and her daughter Lucy at 40 acre lake.

Our "tree huggers"!

Check out that laughter!

Happy times!

In case you don't see it, it's an alligator!

American Alligator

Check out the size of this alligator!


Birds everywhere!

See the debris from the flood on the bench?

In between getting settled in here at the park, we had 2 fun weekends!  One was a Halloween weekend at Splashway in Sheridan. It was a great family and friend weekend.
Riley, Lucy and Aiden planting pumpkins with the magic potion!

Check out that magic potion you water the seeds in with.

Making ghosts during arts and crafts.

Riley, our step great granddaughter!

Liz and Lucy, the Riveters!!!

Our very special family - Riley, Liz and Lucy, Amy and Aiden

Aiden and Riley in their costumes.

Liz and Lucy, the Queen of Hearts

Well, I'll be.  Would you check out how fast those pumpkin seeds grew over night????

Aiden has to flex his muscles with his pumpkin.
Another weekend was a work weekend at our daughter Amy and husband James’ deer lease near Inks Lake in the hill country. They bought a small building to use as their deer camp cabin. Ron was needed to get the electricity in it.  Then we insulated it and put up paneling and Amy did a little nesting in it.  Looks great!  We parked the motorhome at RockawayRV Park – which is a really great RV park on the Colorado river at the northern tip of Inks Lake. We will be back to this park. Fun!
Really nice park, right on the water.

Sunset on the deer lease.

Dinner out! Love James and Amy, our youngest daughter.

Had a large time beating the guys in shuffle board.

Amazing what some cool looking paneling can make a metal building look like.

Even built bed frames.

We have also enjoyed at separate times Aiden and Lucy for overnight guests. That’s the good thing about being here. It’s in a good location, half-way between each of them.

Until next time, happy trails!