Thursday, July 10, 2014

Lake Brownwood State Park

The week of July 4th, but before the crazy weekend rush, we spent a few days camping at Lake Brownwood State Park.  Neither of us had been there before, so it was fun to explore a new lake.

If it hadn't been for a large family, we would have nearly had the whole campground to ourselves.  These neighbors were quite interesting and I was fascinated by their "camping" gear.  There were about 16 people in 6 tents with 5 dogs.  Their gear consisted of 2 full-size refrigerators, a small chest freezer, a dorm refrigerator, several coolers, 2 kiddie pools- one with a slide, a play pin for their kid, a play pin area for the dogs, a large gazebo with 3 tables inside, a motorized wheelchair, plus several chairs, umbrellas, and other shade tents.  It was the craziest set up I've ever seen at a campground.  I think they could have stayed for months!   

Anyway, our first day was crazy windy so we just hung out at the campsite and played in the water.  The 2nd day we did some hiking and got the canoe out in the morning.  We explored the Brownwood area in the afternoon and even got in a little nap before dinner.  The 3rd day we hiked some more trails while trying to avoid poison ivy and then packed up camp.

We brought along Titus' tent so he could escape from the ants and flies.  He did not like to be zipped up inside, so he made sure to lie down in a way that would prevent the door from being closed :)  Of course he slept in our tent at night.
At the bottom of the grand staircase.  This one botanizes...
... while this one swims.  If he sees water, he must take a dip.
Me and Titus on the grand staircase.  There were stairs all the way down this hillside, but the pictures don't show it well.
As soon as we launched the canoe, we found ourselves around a bunch of jumping fish.  Josh caught one with nearly every cast.  They were hybrid striped bass.
Titus checking out the bass.
Titus has such a rough life.
Titus enjoying the ride.  This is his favorite spot.
The grand staircase from the water.
We stopped at McCartney Island for a little canoe break.  Again, Josh looked at plants while Titus swam.
Titus is not always so graceful.  Here's one of his worst entries :)
Campsite 65 was nice- just a quick walk to the water.
Josh and I would like to visit all of the Texas State Parks.  We have a long way to go, but we can check one more off our list now.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

2014 Garden- Problems, Changes, Updates and Progress Pics

I mostly do garden posts so that Josh and I can go back year after year and remember what we've done.  These posts may not interest anyone else :) 

Problems- squash bugs are bad this year, but they haven't done too much damage yet.  We sprayed a couple of times before fruit came out.  Rabbits may eventually be a problem, but they've got plenty of other green stuff to eat right now thanks to all the rain we've had lately.  Grasshoppers are not as bad as last year- yay!

Changes-  This year we cut back quite a bit on our variety in the garden.  No okra, corn, green beans or peppers.  We get tired of okra and we just weren't eating much corn or green beans.  No peppers because we couldn't find any plants cheap enough to buy and it would have been too late to start seeds.  We're going to regret not having peppers since they are one of the fruits we eat year round.  We are almost out of peppers from last year, so if anyone has an abundance they want to share, we would love to trade some goodies! 

New this year- butternut squash and different varieties of sweet melons and tomatoes.  We're also replacing yellow squash with golden zucchini.  The yellow squash have more seeds and seem to fall apart more when cooked.  The zucchini hold up better and don't get as mushy.

Growing this year- zucchini (golden and green), cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, pumpkins, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes

Updates on technique- we are still using the drip tape from last year, filling our rain barrels from the well and letting them drain into the garden during the day.  We have had to poke some new holes in the tape since the old ones clogged up from well water salts, but the hoses are still in good shape. 
We are also happy that our ground cover is still in good shape.  We left it out all winter to keep the weeds down and then took it up to plow this spring.  This stuff is supposed to last 25 years, so we'll see.  Either way, not having to weed is amazing and totally worth the price!
We will continue to fertilize like last year- by placing granules in pantyhose and dropping into our rain barrels to dissolve.
T-posts with fencing material have worked well for tomato cages, so those are back up again this year.

Progress pics- it's amazing how much difference 6 weeks makes!
May 15, 2014
June 3, 2014
June 26, 2014
Our rabbit control specialist

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Underwater Titus

We recently bought a waterproof camera.  We mostly bought it so we don't have to worry about ruining a camera while we're canoeing or fishing.  I have also always wanted some underwater pictures of Titus since the water is his favorite place to be.  Hopefully someday we'll get back into diving and use it even more. 
Here are some pictures from our trial run in a friend's pool.  I'd like to try some different settings, but this was a fun place to start.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Possum Kingdom

The week before Memorial Day, we decided to try to beat the crowds and head to Possum Kingdom Lake.  We were hoping that the combination of non-potable water, weekday camping and a closed boat ramp would mean fewer people, and we were right.  We camped at the state park, but spent a good deal of our time on the lake in the canoe.  The first night we had our camping loop all to ourselves, and the 2nd night we only had 1 neighbor- perfect!
This was Titus' first camping trip since being sick and only his 2nd time swimming since being cleared by the vet.  He doesn't have the stamina or strength he used to, but he still enjoys being with us on these adventures.  
Next time we need to remember that there are free camping sites on the east side of the lake on weekdays, and those camping areas have really nice beach access.  There aren't hookups for water or electricity at those public use areas, but they would be perfect for springtime camping.
Canoeing was a challenge for sure.  The wind direction kept on changing, so we paddled against it most of the time even though that wasn't our plan.  We got a really great workout and a little wet at times.  I wanted to give up a time or two and turn around, but Josh was convinced we could make it to a spot we had our eyes on.  We eventually made it to the inlet and spent some time playing and fishing.  This area suffered a major wildfire a few years back, but vegetation is returning and houses are being rebuilt.  Other than a couple of boats, we had the whole lake to ourselves!

Titus completely wore himself out swimming.
Can you spot Josh in this picture?
There he is!
This eastern collared lizard let Josh get quite close for pictures.  He had a lady friend with him at one point, but she didn't stick around for pictures :)
Giving Josh the stink-eye.
Awesome colors, dude!
Enjoying the view with my pup.
I finally got Titus to stop swimming and rest for a few minutes.  He's watching Josh fish here.
Titus reminding me that there are snacks in the canoe.
It's hard to get Titus to stop long enough for pictures when we're playing.
We also stopped to enjoy the Brazos River a little bit.  We discovered there are put-in and take-out spots along this area of the Brazos- definitely something we need to explore in the future.
Campsite 49- shady with water access if you don't mind climbing rocks

Friday, March 21, 2014

Shed, Basketball, and Water

This post is just another random mix of things we've been up to the last month...

After taking out the dead pecan tree, this shed was next to go.  It has been falling apart for the last couple years and we never use it.  Someday we hope to put a small greenhouse on the remaining slab.
We were hoping the shed would just fall over with a little push from the tractor.
Yay, it worked!

ACU has a program where student athletes can nominate their professors to be honorary coaches for a game.  Josh was nominated by a student on the basketball team.  He got to join them in the locker room before the game and at half time as well as sit with them during the game.  He also got to pretend to be part of the huddles :)  ACU set a record for most 3 pointers in a game that night- fun!
Final score!

After 6 months of sickness and treatments, Titus was finally given a clean bill of health that included permission to swim in open water again.  He was so excited!
Titus couldn't wait to get to the lake!  He rode like this the entire way there and starting crying with excitement as soon as we parked :)
He hadn't seen his big blue swim ball since August, so he was very excited to play.
Prancing around with his ball
He was so happy to be back in the water.