Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

November was a busy month for us. John took two nice deer at his lease in Mason. Then Brian, his wife Debi, and Gage, Myles and Mallory joined us at the farm for the Thanksgiving holidays. Gage has taken deer the past two years, but this time it was Brian's turn to down a nice doe. After processing, their family took home some 75 pounds of venison for their freezer.

On Friday, Debi's mom, Eleene and husband Wamon arrived to spend the day, along with Debi's borther and her sister and family. With 7 kids and 6 dogs whizzing through the yard, we enjoyed a lively visit and a fine send-off to the holiday season.

In November and early December, we also spent quite a bit of time preparing for the sale of Mother's home. For you who have never visited Hamilton, here are several photos of the home where I grew up. It is set on a one-acre lot, and we were surrounded by relatives. The property was originally part of a tract owned by my paternal grandparents. In the 1930s, they divided it into lots which they gave to their children. So, my brother and I grew up surrounded by our cousins and never lonely or at a loss for something to do.

Construction on the home began shortly after my parents married in 1932, and it was enlarged over the years as my brother and I arrived and improvements were made. My parents also put in a series of rock walls, an outdoor patio and fireplace. Many of my classmates will remember all the parties held in that big back yard and all the fun we had.

It has been hard to pack up my childhood and dispose of my mother's remaining possessions that wouldn't fit in the homes of her children and grandchildren. We won't pack up our memories, though. Those remain fresh and will continue to be so as the family shares stories of those wonderful years.

As we approach the end of 2011, we think of all our friends and wish one and all a Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years. The Bagley Pack, Nickie, Kota and Colt, join us in saying, "May your stockings be filled with Wonderful Things!"

Monday, December 19, 2011

Back to Reality

We left East Texas on October 28, bound for home by way of Fort Worth. On the way, we saw some spectacular fall color. These flame sumac are just one example. Set against the dark green of the pine trees, they have a neon-like luminance.

By evening we were camped just outside Fort Worth at Lake Worth RV Ranch. The location is convenient to our relatives' homes, and the park is friendly, with its own type of unique charm. Here is the view out our rear window. We were lucky to have a few hours to experience the roar of the big crane moving scrap from one pile to another and loading it onto trucks for transport.

While in Fort Worth, we had a chance to visit with my cousin Kathy and her husband Eric.  I also had a chance to indulge in two of my "Favorite Things," the love of photography and of horses.  Kathy and I spent Saturday morning photographing Kathy's Dutch warmblood, "Radius," and Eric's quarter horse, "Cow Savvy." Here are photos of the two handsome boys. 

After Kathy put Radius through his paces in the arena, we took a short trail ride around the property.

Radius took the opportunity to snatch a mouthful of fresh, green, grass before returning to his paddock.

We left early on Sunday, intending to be back in Austin by afternoon. Unfortunately, leaving Fort Worth we experienced our only (thankfully) serious equipment-related problem of the trip. Just 100 yards before exiting to take IH 35 southbound, an air hose between the Volvo and the RV disconnected, activating the trailer brakes and blowing out a tire on the fifth wheel. Stranded in the middle of the freeway with vehicles whizzing by on both sides, we called 911 for assistance. We were soon joined by two of Fort Worth's Finest. The very helpful officers diverted traffic long enough for us to exit the freeway and move into an adjacent parking lot where the tire could be changed.

We were underway after a couple of hours. However, since we did not want to return and back into our parking spot after dark, we elected to spend the night in the Lake Waco Corps of Engineers Park. After a relaxing evening and a brisk walk on Monday morning, we returned to Austin with no further problems.