Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Three P's

First we plowed...

Then Wallace land planed...

Last but not least, is getting the seed in the ground.  I first planted sesame seed.

Half of the plot will be sesame seed and half will be miniature sunflower seed (black oil).  I am to plant in strips of 1/4 and they are leaving it to me to judge that!!!  Okey, dokie...

There are three food plots for the Attwater Prairie Chickens here at the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge near Eagle Lake, Texas.  One 40 acre plot, one 60 acre plot and one 80 acre plot.

We really enjoyed the plowing, the first step getting these food plots ready for planting.  Wallace has done a good job with the land plane making it nice and fairly level.  The planting seemed to me to be a little more involved.

Ferris, our supervisor, made some adjustments on the Truax planter.

Darrell and Danny made a few more.  Darrell and Wallace set up a platform to make it easier for me to fill seed in the container.  Now I'm ready!!!

Now I will try to explain how the planter works, I hope I don't confuse you.  In this picture I'm standing on the wooden platform the guys put on the planter.  I'm filling the container with sesame seed.  There are discs in the front that break up the crust, in the middle is a blade that cuts a trench where the seed falls in and the wheels on the back cover the seed.  In other pictures you can see more of the planter to get the idea...I hope!!!

Those tubes are where the seeds fall down from the container.

When I get to the field to plant, the first thing I have to do is hammer this pin in and lock it in place on the front tire of the planter which allows the seed to fall, then lower the planter which raises the back tires (the back tires are just for getting down the road).

While planting, I have to keep an eye on this...

paddle that rotates letting me know seed are coming out.

I have to stop occasionally to level the seed, keeping each opening from going empty and add seed as needed.

Next week I will be planting the sunflower seed in the vacant strips.  The planter will need to be calibrated for a larger seed and the discs need to be moved down to make a deeper trench for the larger seed.  We helped Ferris with the calibration this afternoon.

John Magera, deputy manager, said he wanted to come out and check on "his farmers."

Day three, I get a lot of help.  John and Ferris are lifting the seed sack and filling the container for me.

All this for...

this special bird...The Attwater Prairie Chicken!!!

Until next time...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Our Fellow Volunteers

Karen and Danny, along with Darrell Peterson, maintenance man, who we have been working with here at the refuge.

They play this little game, that's why they are in the backseat.  The last one in (rotten egg) tee hee, gets to be the driver.  Danny is the jokester who keeps us laughing.

Karen is in the  loader while Danny is in the excavator.  They are removing some of the brush piles from the field we plowed last week.  I was mowing when I took this picture of the two of them at work.

Karen posing in the loader

In a telephone conversation with John Magera, prior to us coming here, he asked Wallace if I would be interested in heavy equipment operation.  Little did he know!!!  We feel anything we can learn to help refuges, we are interested in becoming certified to do.  Darrell is certified to certify.  We took and passed the USFWS Heavy Equipment Pre-Class Online Training Course.  We will also become certified to operate a skid steer, loader, and excavator.

Danny asked me one day if when I was a little girl if I dreamed of becoming a princess or a heavy equipment operator.  I thought that was really funny!!!

This is some of Danny's humor.  Wallace should have three marks as I pulled him out one other time.  They could not stand it that I had none, so they set me I have FAR!!!

One day as we loaded up to go into town for lunch and to purchase items, we happened on this.

That lady and our project leader, Terry (on the far right), was trying to load this abandoned horse into that horse trailer.  It had been dumped onto refuge property!!!  Darrell immediately jumped out and took charge as they would never have gotten that horse into the trailer by themselves.  Darrell had to literally pick it up by the back leg!!!  Why people dump animals...I will never understand.

Have I said, we are really enjoying our time at this refuge?

Until next time...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blue Bell Creamery

You can't be this close to Brenham and not visit here.

Our scenic loop to Washington-on-the-Brazos took us through the beautiful little town of Chappell Hill and back to Brenham.

The business started in 1907 making butter with excess cream from area farmers.  In 1911, they started making ice cream...two gallons a day!!!  Named after a native wildflower, this is my favorite brand of ice cream, and I was happy to find out I was in the majority as Homemade Vanilla is their number one selling flavor.  

Cookies 'n Cream was 2nd and Dutch Chocolate comes in third.

Milk is supplied by 60,000 cows a day within a 200 mile radius.  They have 850 employees at this facility.  As an employee, you get to eat ALL the ice cream you want.

Their slogan is "We eat all we can, and we sell the rest."

Blue Bell ice cream can be found in 22 states, and you can always get a helping at any Outback Steakhouse!!!

At the end of the tour, you get to enjoy a sample of any flavor you want...and I must say it was a generous portion.  I had Homemade Vanilla (I know what I like) while Wallace had Lemon Bliss.

Until next time...

Friday, March 22, 2013



Our first stop at the state park was at the very nice visitor center where a  lady volunteer told us things to do during our visit.

We walked the trail to Independence Hall where the Texans met to make a formal declaration of independence from Mexico and the government of the Republic of Texas was created.

We were a sovereign nation for 10 years!!!

A trail with interpretive panels took us down to an overlook of the Brazos River while we waited for the guide at the hall.  We sat at the table while we listened to the history of those days, a refresher course for us.

Next was the Star of the Republic Museum.  The building's architecture is in the shape of a star on the first floor.

Then off to Barrington Living History Farm, home of the last president of the republic, Dr. Anson Jones.  There were costumed guides doing things much like the people on the original farm.

The house is the original structure which was built in 1844 and has been moved to it's current location.

All three places are in walking distance with a $9.00 per person fee.

The reason the delegates met in Washington was because this building was the only building big enough for all 59 delegates to hold their meeting.  Sam Houston was at that meeting and later became our first president of the republic.

Guess where our next stop was...

Until next time...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Blogs Fix

When going back on older blogs, we discovered some of the pictures had been taken out!?!  So, we spent quite a few hours fixing them, looking up the pictures, putting them on picassa, etc.  It was a CHORE!!!

Now for some of you late joiners, you might like to go back and check out some of the earlier posts while we were in Maine.

Has anyone else had a similar problem?

Until next time...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

San Felipe de Austin

The colonial Capital of Texas and home of Stephen F. Austin, "Father of Texas."  From 1824 to 1836, this was "the place" in Texas.

The site is situated on the Brazos River.

As you enter the site, there is this obelisk with a replica of the Josey store and Austin's cabin where he lived and worked.

This statue is of Austin, sitting on a piece of granite, to the right of the above picture.  Be sure you observe the writing on the backside of the statue.

Austin's cabin.

To read these plaques, click on the photo to enlarge.

Citizens burned the town in 1836 during the "Runaway Scrape" retreating from Santa Anna's army.

This is how he is pictured here.  Quite good looking huh?

In April of 1836, 3000 Mexican troops fought against Texan troops at San Felipe, and only one Texan was killed.

In 1835, the council at San Felipe approved the beginning of  "The Texas Rangers."

The term "Old 300" was used to describe the "Seed Colony of Texas."  As the empresario, this was the number of families Austin could bring in to settle this remote frontier.

Following the fall of the Alamo, Santa Anna and his forces briefly occupied the ruins of the town prior to their defeat at the Battle of San Jacinto.

The old well is the only original entity of the town.  All buildings are replications.

We marveled at the idea of walking in the footsteps of our dedicated pioneers who fought so hard to make Texas what it is today!!!

In early 1836, the provisional government moved to Washington-on-the Brazos where the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

Join us next for our trip to Washington-on-the-Brazos.

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Drum Run

A tradition every year on the first weekend in March, the "guys" get together at the east cut for a weekend of fishing, fun, and fellowship.  This year marked their 33rd annual tournament.

March roared in like a always seems to be like this...cold and windy!!!

Our son, Mitchell, snagged a turtle and caught a hardhead.  He was the only one to catch anything.

The turtle was freed from the line and quickly released.

For Wallace, it is a family affair.

Left to right...John (nephew), Floyd (nephew, who was named to honor my father for jumping into a canal to save John from drowning), Louis (brother), Wallace, Mitchell (our son), and Sam, (John's son).

Another great year of fellowship for these fellows!!!

Until next time...