Wildlife

Reflections in Water

Luke is in California for his final court-ordered summer visit. He’s a little too close to the wildfires for my comfort, but it looks like Anza is in no real danger.

A few days ago Elizabeth and I decided to cool off after a hike with a swim in our apartment pool. The water was perfect, just cool enough to be refreshing.

After maybe five minutes, Elizabeth said, “Now I’m cold.”

Me: “How can you be cold? The water’s barely lukewarm!”

Elizabeth: “You’re fat.”

Me: “….”

Elizabeth: “You have a protective layer of blubber protecting you from the cold.”

I burst into laughter so hard I might have sunk if the pool were deeper. Partly at the absurdity of her statement (I could probably stand to lose five or ten pounds, but I’m hardly into manatee territory), but mostly because she sparked a flashback to the years of my life when no one – and this is literal fact, not hyperbole – no one was allowed to utter the words “old” or “fat” in any context within earshot of my mother. The farther I get from that madness, the more bizarre it all seems in retrospect. Most of my response to Elizabeth’s comment was just relief at how far we’ve come.

While I’m here, I guess I’ll share some pics that don’t really need whole posts of their own. Here are some from the Fourth of July, when a storm almost rained out the fireworks…

…some local flora and fauna…

…and Elizabeth crossing creeks on logs. No log is too low or high or long or narrow or wobbly for her, she’s drawn to them like a cat to cardboard boxes.

I think that’s everything in my random-pic pile. I’ll get back to writing real posts eventually.

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Categories: A Plethora of Parks, Animals, environment, Family, kids, Life, Weather, Wildlife | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas!

The secret to getting hand-drawn Christmas cards designed, assembled and mailed out on time when you work in retail is to start them around June and have them finished and ready to mail by Thanksgiving. I think I need to start doing my gift shopping/making that way too.

Merry Christmas!

Categories: Animals, Artwork, Celebrations, Christmas, Holidays, Life, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Winter | Leave a comment

Sunday in the City

Luke spent his six weeks of summer in Anza. While he was gone, Elizabeth and I checked out a miniature railroad in Forth Worth that offers rides along the Trinity River from Forest Park to Trinity Park and back. The trains weren’t running the day we went, so we walked the track on foot. I included a few pics from that walk in my last post.

Luke’s return flight was delayed two hours by Texas thunderstorms. Elizabeth and I passed part of the time by walking to the top of the airport terminal parking garage, where I climbed a wall and got a nice shot of several layers of airport roadways/tramways/parking.

Luke returned on a Saturday night, and by remarkable good luck I had Sunday and Monday off. For Sunday we planned an excursion to Fort Worth. Our first stop was the miniature railroad.

The views are nice along the route and there was a cool breeze blowing off the Trinity.

We had planned to have lunch at Carshon’s Deli (best pastrami on rye in the Metroplex, hands down), but it turns out that they’re closed on Sundays. (!) Our next stop took us back past the Botanic Gardens, so we decided to have lunch at The Gardens. That’s the actual name of a little restaurant there that has its own little kitchen garden out back and specializes in fresh ingredients. Apparently it also has an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet on Sundays, so that was a pleasant surprise.

After we ate, I saw this majestic little fellow harvesting acorns in a low branch just above my head.

We hadn’t been to any of the art museums in Fort Worth yet, so we decided that Sunday was the day for the Kimball, which I enjoyed…

and the Modern, which mostly made me feel like I don’t understand modern art.

It’s good to have Luke home. Real talk though, I was amazed at how much less we spent on food while he was away. That boy can eat.

Categories: A Plethora of Parks, Animals, Artwork, environment, Family, food, kids, Life, Wildlife | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Little Bear Creek Trails, Part II

Eight months after we first discovered the string of parks along Little Bear Creek, we finally made it back to explore the next stretch of trails.

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Parts of McCormick Park are flooded from all the recent rains. Picnic, anyone?

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Most of the parks and trails are clear and dry, though. I’m always freshly impressed by these little pockets of natural beauty tucked in amongst the freeways and housing tracts of the Metroplex.

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Didn’t see any official park signs today. Here’s a sorta-sign to make it a sorta-official addition to the collection:

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I like that this trail system uses underpasses for major road crossings.

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We found a fun jointed balance beam on one of the many playgrounds.

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And I got my very first semi-successful photo of a Texas Cardinal! It’s blurry but squarely in frame, which is the best I’ve managed to accomplish so far with this elusive bird.

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The squirrels weren’t shy at all today.

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This is my favorite trail system in the HEB area so far. Absolutely gorgeous.

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We’ll be back to explore more of it!

Categories: A Plethora of Parks, Animals, environment, Family, kids, Life, trees, Weather, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Bison, Deer and Wildflowers Along the Trinity

Earlier this week, President Obama signed a law making the American bison our national mammal. We commemorated the occasion by visiting our own little local herd at the Fort Worth Nature Center. I’ve been meaning to check this place out for a while now, and I’m so glad we finally did – it is wonderful. We had some concerns at first that we wouldn’t be able to find the bison in their large enclosure, but eventually we tracked them down.

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It’s wildflower season in Texas, and the vibrant colors are everywhere.

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There are all different kinds of scenery at the park, but I love the forest trails best. I’m a woodland creature at heart.

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I’m always amazed by Luke’s energy on these outings. It’s like taking a greyhound pup to the park and letting him off the leash.

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He always ends up putting in three or four times the mileage that Elizabeth and I do, just from scampering up and down the trails while we catch up.

We got a nice surprise in one of the woodsy areas.

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Pretty!

The Trinity is running high from all the rain we’ve had. Some of the lower trails are underwater.

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We were done exploring and ready to head home when I remembered that it wouldn’t be an official addition to the park collection unless I got a photo of a sign. We were all the way down near Greer Island (is it really an island if you can walk out to it on land?) by then, far from the park entrance, so these will have to do:

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This is easily one of my favorite parks so far, although I should mention that there is an admission fee of $5 per adult. Worth every penny; we will be coming back!

 

Categories: A Plethora of Parks, Animals, environment, Family, kids, Life, trees, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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