Friday, September 30, 2011

Solo Tandy Hills Hiking Observing The Tandy Hills Roadrunner Bonding With The Tandy Hills Trojan Horse & Other Mysteries

I am having one of those rare days where I feel as if someone has sucker punched me in the gut.

Which is a tad disturbing, because no one has sucker punched me in the gut.

It has been over 3 years since I've been metaphorically sucker punched in the gut.

Hiking the trails of the Tandy Hills Natural Sanatorium, today, put me in a less sucker punched frame of mind.

Speaking of sucker punches, this week's Fort Worth Weekly Best of 2011 issue made no mention of the Tandy Hills this year. Or the Prairie Fest. In years previous the Tandy Hills has been mentioned as the Best Place to Stand. And the Prairie Fest as Best Outdoor Festival, or something like that.

Today whilst I was hiking the Tandy trails I pondered why so few people avail themselves of the pleasure of Tandy Hills hiking. Fort Worth has a population of over 700,000. While it is true that over half of the population is over weight and thus not really drawn to hiking up a hill, that still leaves around 350,000 people able to do so.

I know of no other big city in America with a big, wild, natural zone so close to its downtown.

If something like the Tandy Hills existed a couple miles east of Seattle's downtown I can guarantee the hills would be alive with the sounds of people enjoying the natural world. During the hiking season in Washington's Cascades you can go to any of the dozens upon dozens of mountain hiking trails and find a lot of people hiking. And that's after driving a long distance to get to a trail head.

Even as I type, Washington's Maxine W. A. Milling is hiking with a group, over Cascade Pass, to Stehekin, to spend a few days at Courtney Ranch.

With there being so very few hiking type options in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex zone one would think the Tandy Hills would get a lot of visitors.

Before the novelty wore off, I'd drive to places like Turner Falls Park in Oklahoma and Dinosaur Valley State Park. And twice to Enchanted Rock State Park, just to have a semi-good place to go hiking.

And on another Tandy Hills note, I had myself a real cute encounter with the Tandy Hills Roadrunner today. As I was ascending Mount Tandy the Tandy Trojan Horse that I mentioned a couple days ago came into view. I then saw that the Tandy Hills Roadrunner was looking curiously at the Tandy Trojan Horse.

When the Tandy Hills Roadrunner saw me the speedy bird took off running over the hill.

There was no sign that any of last night's thunderstorm deluge dropped any water on the Tandy Hills. I wonder if the Tandy Hills Roadrunner is still drinking at Don Young's birdbath. I have never found the mysterious water barrel that Don Young and his cohorts installed in some hidden location on the Tandy Hills.

Don Young used to be Fort Worth's Best Watchdog. This year Don Young has been in the news a lot, doing a lot of Watchdogging. But, somehow Don Young was supplanted as the Best Watchdog in Fort Worth Weekly's Best of 2011 compilation, supplanted by Kevin Buchanan and the North Central Texas Communities Alliance.

Very perplexing.

Meth Whores Can Live In Peace At Fort Worth's Ozzie Rabbit Lodge

If I remember right I have previously mentioned that I'm a fan of the goofy ads I find in Fort Worth Weekly.

Fort Worth Weekly is a free tabloid that serves pretty much as Fort Worth's only legitimate newspaper.

Legitimate in the sense that Fort Worth Weekly actually does investigative journalism, acting as a much needed Fourth Estate in this ill-served, hard-hitting journalism-wise, parched part of the planet.

If I remember right, in addition to having previously mentioned being a fan of FW Weekly's goofy ads, I've also previously mentioned the Ozzie Rabbit Lodge.

This week's Ozzie Rabbit Lodge ad in the Best of 2011 Fort Worth Weekly edition lets us know that the Ozzie Rabbit Lodge is the only place Punks, Bikers, Hipsters, your Grandpa, Cowboys & Meth Whores can live in peace.

Meth Whores?

Elsie Hotpepper is definitely not a Meth Whore, but the Ozzie Rabbit Lodge is often the Elsie Hotpepper starting off location for a night of saloon hopping.

For those of you who don't know Fort Worth history, Ozzie Rabbit was the nickname of Lee Harvey Oswald, a nickname given to Lee Harvey by his fellow marines, before Lee Harvey left the marines to go be a communist in the Soviet Union.

For those of you who don't know American history, Lee Harvey Oswald is Fort Worth's most famous alleged assassin. He is alleged to have assassinated President John F. Kennedy, in Dallas, as the JFK motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza, way back on November 22, 1963.

Lee Harvey was then assassinated himself a couple days later by a guy named Jack Ruby.

About the same time John F. Kennedy was laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery (in Washington, D.C., not the Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Texas) Lee Harvey Oswald was laid to rest in the Rose Hill Memorial Burial Park, a short distance from The Ozzie Rabbit Lodge.

Way back when Lee Harvey Oswald was allegedly aiming that rifle out of a 6th Floor Book Depository window I doubt it crossed his mind that almost a half century later he would be buried walking distance from a bar named after his nickname.

A Cold Front Arrives For The Last Day Of September & The First Day Of The State Fair Of Texas

As you can see in the picture the sun has begun its pre-dawn sky glowing process on this last day of September.

With today being Friday, September 30, over at Fair Park, in Dallas, the State Fair of Texas begins. That means I have til October 23 to make it over to Dallas for the state fair.

Had the State Fair of Texas opened yesterday it would have been one HOT first day of the state fair.

Yesterday we hit 100 for the 71st time in 2011, breaking the temperature record for September 29, which had been 99 degrees, set over a half century ago, in 1953. Yesterday was also the 4th latest 100 degree day. The latest it has ever reached 100 in this parched part of the planet was on October 3 of 1951.

Last night this parched part of the planet also had a thunderstorm. I saw a lot of lightning strikes and heard a lot of thunder rolling, but not much rain fell. Maybe more rain fell in other locations.

Last night's thunderstorm brought in a cold front, dropping the temperature last night. The lows for the next few days are scheduled to be in the 50s.

The sun is now providing sufficient illumination to allow me to find my way to the pool without needing a flashlight. So, I'm going swimming now.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fort Worth Weekly's 2011 Best Free Spirit, Watchdog & Old Guy Was Not Me

Fort Worth Weekly Best Of 2011 Edition
While Elsie Hotpepper and I were foraging for Horse Apples today I got a call telling me I needed to get this week's Fort Worth Weekly, with it being the annual "Best Of" issue, as in "Best Of 2011."

I usually find this type thing a bloated ad magnet. That and I rarely know the person, place or thing the Reader's or Critic's choices choose.

So, I got this year's Best Of 2011 and thumbed through it, and just like I thought would be the case, most of the choices were unknown to me.

However, there were a few I recognized, particularly on a couple pages in the "People & Politics" section.

For instance, I have met the Critic's Choice for Free Spirit, Layla Caraway. Personally, I think Ms. Caraway is more of a Watchdog than a Free Spirit. I think Elsie Hotpepper should have gotten the Best Free Spirit of 2011 accolade.

Kevin Buchanan was the Reader's Choice for Watchdog. I may be remembering wrong, but wasn't Kevin Buchanan a big proponent of Fort Worth's failed Streetcar to Nowhere Plan? That doesn't seem very Watchdoggy to me. The Critic's Choice for Watchdog was North Central Texas Communities Alliance.

My view of NCTCA is the group has very good intentions. I don't know how successful the group's Watchdogging is. However, there is this other group I would have picked as the Best Watchdog of 2011 had I been the critic making a choice. I would have picked the Trinity River Improvement Partnership (TRIP).

TRIP was sort of recognized in the "Culture" section in the Locally Made Film category, where the Reader's Choice was the award winning TRIP documentary, Up a Creek. The Critic's Choice was a locally made film I've not heard of called Pioneer. Apparently Pioneer has also won awards.

Another of the few names I recognized was Clyde Picht. The Critic's Choice for "Old Guy." I manned a booth for awhile with Clyde Picht at this year's Prairie Fest. I liked him. But, I did not think of him as an Old Guy.

In the "People & Politics" section and the "Culture" section Durango Jones and the Durango Texas blog were picked as the Reader's & Critic's Choice by no one in any category. What a shocking omission.

Granny Grassroots' Harping Harp
Also left out of being the Best of Anything in 2011 was another person I met at this year's Prairie Fest, who co-manned a booth with me for much longer than Clyde Picht, that being the entity known as the Granny Grassroots.

Granny Grassroots, while not the Best of Anything in 2011, according to Fort Worth Weekly's Readers and Critics, did place a large ad in the FW Weekly Best of 2011 edition.

Methinks Granny Grassroots would also have been a good choice as Best Free Spirit of 2011.

Watch Granny Grassroots' video below and you'll see what I mean by free spirit. Who but a free spirit would haul her harp to the Trinity River to sing a song to the litter as it floats by?

Harvesting Horse Apples Today With Elsie Hotpepper At The Village Creek Osage Orange Tree Orchards

Getting Ready To Take A Bite Of A Horse Apple
A couple days ago I mentioned that the big green ball you see in the picture has perplexed me ever since I moved to Texas. I long ago had been told it was a "Horse Apple" but that was all I knew about it.

So, I asked if anyone could kindly alleviate me of my "Horse Apple" ignorance.

Alien Engineer and CatsPaw kindly did some ignorance alleviating by informing me that the Horse Apple comes from the Osage Orange tree, also known as Bois D'Arc. And that the wood of the tree was used by Plains Indians to make bows. And that cockroaches hate Horse Apples.

So, due to now knowing more details I was able to look up Osage Orange tree to have even more of my ignorance about this subject alleviated.

The fruit of the Osage Orange tree is filled with sticky white latex goo which smells slightly like oranges. Hence the name. However, the tree is not at all closely related to citrus trees. The fruit smells sort of edible, but, even though it is not poisonous in the kill you type of poisonous, eating it will most likely cause you to vomit.

Most trees bear fruit which is eaten, with the seeds being dispersed by whatever ate the fruit, thus expanding the orchard of any particular tree. However, no known animal is known to eat Horse Apples.

Gray Area Shows Historical Location Of Osage Orange
It is theorized that the Osage Orange tree may be a relic from the days of dinosaurs, with dinosaurs like giant ground sloths, mammoths and mastodons

A lot of dinosaurs roamed over Texas when those big reptiles ruled the earth. The dark gray area of the map shows the historic location of the Osage Orange tree in the Red River drainage zone of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

In modern day America, and parts of Canada, the Osage Orange has widely naturalized.

In the American prairie states Osage Orange trees were often used as windbreaks, hence one of the other names the tree is known by, "Hedge Apple."

This is thanks in part to one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Great Depression New Deal fight the Dust Bowl plans. The WPA (Works Progress Administration) project called the "Great Plains Shelterbelt", starting in 1934, by 1943 had planted 30,233 Shelterbelts with over 220 million trees.

The wood of the Osage Orange tree is very dense, heavy, close-grained, and appropriate to its name, colored yellow-orangish. The wood is highly valued for uses valuing strength that resists rotting. Like the aforementioned bows. Other uses are fence posts, tool handles and insulators.

Used as fuel, the Osage Orange wood has the highest BTU content of any wood, making it burn very hot for a very long time.

And just like CatsPaw so kindly informed me, Horse Apples are sometimes used to shoo away cockroaches. Other arthropods also have an apparent aversion to Horse Apples.

Today Elsie Hotpepper went walking with me on a Horse Apple hunting expedition through the Village Creek Natural Historical Area's Osage Orange tree orchards. I got myself a half dozen Horse Apples, like the beauty I took a picture of which you see above.

The Horse Apples are now strategically placed in my kitchen to make life a living hell for any cockroaches plotting a home invasion.

After A Good Night's Sleep The Next To Last Day Of September Dawns Early

In the picture we are looking through the bars of my patio prison cell at the ground 30 feet below on day 29 of September, the last Thursday of the 9th month of 2011.

Dawn has cracked with the sky heater currently heating the outer world in my location to 72 degrees, heading to a high of 95 today.

I don't think Mother Nature got the memo that Summer is over in this parched part of the planet.

Which means the water in my pool should be at a pleasant swimming temperature this morning. I will find out if that is true in about 5 minutes.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Chesapeake Energy Neighborhood Tower Has Vanished For No Fracking Reason That I Know of

Chesapeake Flatbeds Clogging Boca Raton Boulevard
When I left my abode this morning I was surprised to see a lot of trucks pulling flatbed trailers, lined up along Boca Raton Boulevard, waiting to do something at my neighborhood Chesapeake Energy Barnett Shale Natural Gas Drilling Site.

When I returned, a couple hours later, I was surprised, when I drove up Bridgewood Street, to see that the Chesapeake drilling tower no longer towered over my neighborhood.

What is going on, I thought to myself?

Unlike my previous experience with a Chesapeake Energy drilling operation, this one has been quiet and has not generated a lot of dust. I've heard no squealing noises from drills doing their drilling.

I'd assumed the actual drilling had not yet started, even though I saw mechanical movement on the tower.

I wish I'd walked to the Loop 820 Frontage Road, open view, to take pictures of the HUMONGOUS operation when all the equipment and the tower were in place. Because it is all gone now. As you will see in the following two photos I took a few minutes ago.

In the picture above I am standing with Loop 820 behind me, on a rare Fort Worth sidewalk, looking west at the now almost empty Chesapeake Energy drilling site. Yesterday you would have seen an enormous structure where you now see empty space.

If the earth did get poked by Chesapeake Energy in this location, above, I believe we are looking at the point of earth entry. I've no idea what the blackish, oily looking fluid might be. I suspect petroleum related.

If Chesapeake Energy has finished poking its hole in this location, and I've no clue whether or not that has happened, I do know for certain that no fracking has taken place. No water trucks or water pipelines have been seen.

All the flatbed trailers created traffic problems, blocking lanes and forcing drivers, like me, to drive on the incoming lane to get past the flatbeds. A couple hard hats with "Slow" and "Stop" signs helped with the traffic flow. And a big street sweeper swept up some of the dirt. I probably would have not noticed that, if it weren't for the sign informing me to beware of the street being swept.

Another interesting thing. A few weeks ago I was appalled to see that the chain link fence that Chesapeake Energy had installed along its border with Boca Raton, had fallen over onto the sidewalk. This remained unfixed ever since. Until today. The chainlink fence is back up and sidewalk access to one of Fort Worth's few sidewalks has been restored.

I don't know why, but I've got a feeling there is something going on in my neighborhood that is not quite meeting my eye. I think I just mangled a cliche.

On Top Of Mount Tandy With A Blimp Aiming At Downtown Fort Worth & The Tandy Trojan Horse

I am operating on very little sleep. Thus my perceptions may be a bit tired.

I'd not been to the Tandy Hills in several days. I thought maybe some hill hiking would make me feel better.

As I drove to the top of Mount Tandy I saw what looked like a bloated slow motion missile taking aim at the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth.

By the time I found a place to park on the Mount Tandy parking lot I realized the slow motion missile was a blimp.

I vaguely recollect reading somewhere that a blimp would be in the air in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex zone, offering very expensive rides to those willing to pay for such a thing.

As I walked down Mount Tandy I saw the blimp take a turn north before it ran in to the Fort Worth skyline. After awhile the blimp was a very distant white spot, heading, maybe, to Alliance Airport.

When I came to the trail junction, half way down Mount Tandy, I came upon the latest Tandy Hills Mystery. Or the latest Guerrilla Art installation.

Near the sign that says "FOOT TRAFFIC ONLY NO BIKES HORSES OR MOTORIZED VEHICLES" sat an object which potentially seemed to violate all three of those prohibitions.

The Tandy Hills Trojan Horse. On wheels.

Up Early The Last Wednesday Of September After A Night Of Extreme Insomnia

I'm looking through the bars of my patio prison cell at some extreme darkness on this last Wednesday morning of September of 2011.

It seems like the month of September started yesterday, yet, after today, there are only 2 more days left in the month.

Already I am hearing mention made on the radio of the "Upcoming Holidays."

My least favorite time of the year.

I saw yesterday that Wal-Mart is already purveying Halloween paraphernalia.

The early morning darkness perfectly matches my early morning dark mood.

I had my worst bout of insomnia in a long, long time, last night. I read in bed til past midnight, waiting for the sleep impulse to strike. I gave up on the wait and turned off the light. Sometime after 2 in the morning I fell asleep, apparently quickly going into nightmare mode, where I had a confrontation with a vicious house cat. In the nightmare I kicked a rock at the vicious house cat, but in reality I kicked the wall next to my bed.

Kicking the wall next to my bed had me back awake and tossing and turning for I don't know how long.

Eventually I did fall asleep, again, and then woke up and gave up and got up, before 6.

I think today is going to be a long long day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Am Not Going To Make Pie With Village Creek Natural Historic Area Horse Apples

I was not long into my Texas exile when I first came across lime green balls like you see in the picture.

I was long ago told these are called Horse Apples. They grow in a tree, like an apple. And then fall to the ground.

I saw this collection of ground bound Horse Apples today whilst walking in the Village Creek Historical Natural Area in Arlington.

If someone could properly identify the Horse Apples I would be appreciative of having my ignorance about this subject alleviated. 

Trying Hard Not To Drown On The Last Tuesday Of September In Texas

I am looking out my primary viewing portal on the world this morning well after the arrival of the daily illumination device in the sky.

This is the final Tuesday of September of 2011.

I start the day with a feeling of despondency, despair, disarray, disgust, disappointment, distaste and desire to take a break from way too much alliteration.

Every morning I check the obits in my old hometown online newspaper. This was one of the mornings when a name I know is listed in the obits.

Which may be part of why I am in a mood full of alliterative d's. Life is short and in the end, if we are lucky, we end up with a nice obituary notice in a newspaper.

Now that I am thoroughly depressed I think I will go swimming. And hopefully not drown.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fort Worth's Shrinking Fosdic Lake Is Sprouting Shoreline Wildflowers

A Fosdic Flower Blooming On The Fosdic Lake Shore
I am currently at the extremely low ebb of my energy cycle pendulum. I may be worn out from an extremely tiring weekend. Or it may be what I mentioned earlier today, that being that I may be in the early throes of manopause.

Today I did not have the energy, or inclination, to entertain the notion of doing anything as strenuous as hiking up and down the hills of the Tandy Hills Natural Sanatorium Area, even though that usually totally revives me from a case of the doldrums.

In the noon time frame I did force my worn out carcass to Oakland Lake Park to walk around the ever shrinking Fosdic Lake.

Foliage is starting to sprout up on the newly exposed beaches of Fosdic Lake. That and things like tires, barrels, shopping carts and a varied collection of cans and bottles.

As you can see in the picture, some of the Fosdic Lake beach foliage is sprouting flowers.

Due to the ongoing Great North Texas Drought you don't see an awful lot of color in the outer world on this parched part of the planet. So, the Fosdic flowers were a nice colorful change from the usual, current, brown motif.

That has been my exciting last Monday of September, so far, with the highlight being seeing a flower.

The Last Monday Of September Of 2011 Dawns Sunny In Texas

Looking out my primary viewing portal on the outer world on the final Monday of September I can see it is yet one more sunny morning in Texas.

Currently chilled to 62 degrees, heading to a high of 88.

I am currently experiencing a really bad case of being in the doldrums. I suspect I may be in the early stages of manopause.

I do not know if going swimming will lift my spirits this morning. But I am going to give that a try.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Going To Birch Bay In Washington With My Nephew Spencer Jack

Spencer Jack's Sand Castle At Birch Bay
Today I have seen a thing or two that has me a bit homesick for Washington.

One homesickness inducer was reading a Facebook tale, with photos, of hiking last week from Lake Ozette to the Pacific Ocean on the Washington Coast.

I have only done this hike once. Much of it takes place on cedar planks through a cedar forest. It reminded me of where the Ewoks lived in the Empire Strikes Back. I think that is the correct Star Wars movie.

Lake Ozette is near the town of Forks. Forks has become a bigger tourist attraction, in addition to its pre-existing tourist attraction attributes, due to the town now being known as the town where the Twilight movies take place. You know, those vampire/werewolf movies that are inexplicably, to me, popular, with people way younger than me.

The other Washington thing I saw today, that made me homesick for Washington, was my Grand Nephew, Spencer Jack, with a sand castle at Birch Bay.

Birch Bay is a very shallow bay up near the Canadian border, in Whatcom County. In summer the tide goes out, the sun heats up the sand, and then, when the tide comes in, the water gets heated by the HOT sand. Resulting in an awful lot of people having fun in the water.

Birch Bay is a humongous tourist attraction, the likes of which I've not seen since I've been in Texas. I suspect, maybe, the beaches of Galveston may come close on a nice summer day. And maybe South Padre Island.

With Birch Bay you get a lot of Canadians. I don't think you get a lot of Canadians in Galveston. Or South Padre Island.

I like Canadians. They can be a tad annoying, but, for the most part, not. If only they could learn to not end every sentence with "eh". Like they doubt every single thing that comes out of their mouths.

Going to Birch Bay goes back as far as my memory goes. As a kid, more summer weekends were spent at Birch Bay than anywhere else. In my very early years my Grandma Vera had a cabin at Birch Bay. I can vaguely remember one very young birthday at that cabin.

Seeing pictures of Spencer Jack playing in the sand at Birch Bay induced instant melancholy in me.

I actually can not remember the last time I was at Birch Bay. I know I currently have relatives who have moved there since I moved to Texas. I vaguely remember driving up to Birch Bay to meet up with someone a year or two before I moved to Texas.

Birch Bay Driftwood
In all my decades of memory of Birch Bay there is a big piece of driftwood on the beach by Birch Bay State Park that haunts me in dreams. I used to have so much fun climbing on that big chunk of wood.

I must see if I can Google for an image of Birch Bay driftwood.

I think I may have found it. This picture is definitely from the state park part of the south end of Birch Bay.

Right now, at this current point in time, I really am in the mood to move back to Washington. I miss the diversity. And the scenery. And the saltwater.

The weather? Not so much.

The Mysterious Re-Appearance Of Water In Village Creek & The Village Creek Bayou

Village Creek Barnett Shale Water Pipes
Turning on to Dottie Lynn Parkway, heading south to the Village Creek Natural Historical Area I was surprised to see 3 water pipes running along side the southbound lanes.

You can see the pipelines in the picture, the pipelines being that line of gray you see on the other side of the road.

Why would I be surprised to see 3 gas driller water pipelines?

Well. Where are the 3 pipelines getting water? Village Creek has not been running water for a long time now. Even after the rains of Friday, September 16, Village Creek was still not moving any water.

So, imagine my surprise today to see water trickling under the dam/bridge across Village Creek. And then, when I got to the previously dry Village Creek Bayou, I was even more surprised to find it fully charged with water.

Village Creek Bayou Now Drought Free
From whence did this water come?

The nearest large body of water is Lake Arlington. I believe it is from Lake Arlington that Village Creek flows. But, I am not certain about that.

I highly doubt that the 3 pipelines running along Dottie Lynn Parkway were running all the way to Lake Arlington to get some fracking water.

So, I can not help but wonder, was water released from Lake Arlington to re-charge Village Creek so Chesapeake Energy could pump some water?

Other than the perplexing water mystery walking among the Indian ghosts of Village Creek was perfect today.

Up Early The Last Sunday Of September Taking An Anti-Histamine So I Can See Texas Clearly

I am up before the sun on the last sunny Sunday of September of 2011. Next Sunday it will be October.

I remember when it seemed surprising to still be able to go swimming in October. Now it seems perfectly normal.

As you can see, the pool is looking particularly inviting this morning, a clear blue oasis beckoning me.

I'd been off anti-histamines for several days, til this morning. Whatever is in the air that irritates my eyes is back being irritating. The anti-histamine pill that I take is called Loratadine. It is the smallest pill I've ever seen. It must be a very potent small pill because the instructions make real clear that one is not to take more than one pill in a 24 hour period.

Relief comes quite quickly after swallowing a little Loratadine pill. As in my eyes are no longer precipitating.

With my eyes dry and my mood improved and the sun having arrived to begin its daily illumination duties, it is time to go visit that clear blue oasis I mentioned a couple paragraphs ago.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Shadow Of The Tandy Hills Bald Thin Man On The Phone With Elsie Hotpepper Not In Oklahoma

I was peacefully enjoying my return to the Tandy Hills Natural Sanatorium, hiking the hills and enjoying the return to my circulatory system of mood enhancing endorphins, when the phone rang just as I was trying to take a picture of the Shadow of the Tandy Hills Bald Thin Man.

It was Elsie Hotpepper interrupting my natural reverie.

The Hotpepper wanted me to hop up to Oklahoma with her to have lunch at the WinStar World Casino.

I politely declined the invitation. The last time I went to the WinStar with Elsie Hotpepper it turned into a Lost Weekend in Oklahoma City with dozens of quarters in my pockets.

What happens in Oklahoma City stays in Oklahoma City, so there's nothing more I can say about that particular Elsie Hotpepper misadventure.

Switching the subject from Elsie Hotpepper in Oklahoma back to the Tandy Hills.

Today as I was heading down a hill a wily coyote suddenly ran across the path, ahead of me, running at a very high speed. I whipped out my camera, even though I knew there was no chance I'd get a picture of the coyote.

I do not know if the wily coyote was chasing the Tandy Hills roadrunner.

Singing The Billion Dollar Boondoggle Blues With J.D. Granger At TRIP's Botanic Gardens Trinity River Vision Forum

I got an invitation in the mail this morning from the Trinity River Improvement Partnership, also known as TRIP, inviting me to a Trinity River Vision Forum on Wednesday, October 12 at the Lecture Hall in the Fort Worth Botanic Garden's Conservatory.

I have attended two or three TRIP events. The two or three TRIP events I have attended have been very well done events.

I will be attending the upcoming Trinity River Vision Forum, for certain. You couldn't keep me away if you wanted to.

Because, among those on the panel for the Trinity River Vision Forum is my favorite bar hopping, billion dollar boondoggler, J.D. Granger.

I do not know if J.D.'s mom, my favorite Congresswoman, Kay Granger, will be on the Trinity River Vision Forum panel.

But, my favorite ex-Fort Worth mayoral candidate and Tarrant Regional Water District Board member, Jim Lane, will be sharing his visions.

In addition to J.D. and Jim on the panel, there will also be a City of Fort Worth Representative, who's identity is a tightly guarded secret. Along with several TRIP Board Members and other guests.

My rock and roll band, Durango & the Harplets, have not agreed to perform our hit song, "The Billion Dollar Boondoggle Blues" yet. We're a difficult act to book.

Up Early The Last Saturday Of September Not Worrying About Falling Satellites & Wondering About Floating Bridges & Billion Dollar Boondoggles

I am up early looking through the bars of my patio prison cell on this last Saturday of September, the 2nd day of Fall.

The outer world in my location is currently chilled to 61 degrees, heading to a supposed high of 91 today.

After enduring a lecture from my therapist, Dr. L.C., I've decided to make another 180 degree lifestyle change, ceasing with being a lazy layabout and returning to my excessive exercise lifestyle mode.

In other words I'm going swimming this morning.

I had a fitful night of worrying about being hit by the incoming Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite. Apparently I did not need to be worrying. NASA claims that any one person on the planet had a 1 in 22 trillion chance of having a satellite piece land on them.

UARS has crashed and burned and so far there are no reports that it hit anyone.

Meanwhile, over in the Seattle P-I this morning I found it interesting to read that pontoons as long as a football field and three stories tall are being built in Aberdeen. Aberdeen is a town on Grays Harbor on the Washington Pacific coast. When finished the pontoons will be floated to Seattle to build the new six-lane floating bridge across Lake Washington, connecting Seattle and Bellevue.

This is a $4.6 billion project. Seattle has more than one project underway in the multi-billion dollar range. In addition to the new floating bridge there is the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project that includes a massive vehicular tunnel running under Seattle. Then there's the light rail extensions to the University of Washington and to Bellevue.

Billions of dollars worth of construction projects underway in the Seattle zone.

I believe the population of the entire state of Washington is less than the population of the entire Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

In the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex the only big public works projects underway that I am aware of are the fix to the Grapevine funnel problem and the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

I can think of one really good possible public works project in this troubled part of the planet, besides a massive effort to clean up the polluted Trinity River. That is, extending the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) train to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. And to Arlington's Entertainment District that includes Six Flags Over Texas, the Ballpark in Arlington and the Dallas Cowboy Stadium. And then when that is done, run a line to downtown Fort Worth.

The sun has turned on the lights now, so it is time to go swimming.

Friday, September 23, 2011

October 23 I Will Be At OPEN STREETS In Fort Worth Listening To Trigger Fish

At this current point in time I have, for now, decided to do a total 180 degree lifestyle change and cease with the excessive exercising.

No swimming, no yoga, no Nautilus machine, no hiking, no stair climbing, no nothing.

Instead I'm going to start doing things like go to all the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex fairs and festivals, like the State Fair of Texas that starts up a week from today.

And OPEN STREETS, which has its first Fort Worth occurrence on October 23 and then again on October 30.

My favorite Fort Worth band, Trigger Fish, will be playing at OPEN STREETS from 2 til 4 pm.

OPEN STREETS have been happening in towns across America. Streets are closed off to vehicular traffic, with a festival breaking out.

OPEN STREETS is based on popular South American events called Ciclovia.

The first Fort Worth OPEN STREETS Ciclovia event will take place Sunday, October 23 in the Magnolia/5th Avenue zone of Fort Worth's Southside.

The second Fort Worth OPEN STREETS Ciclovia event takes place a week later, on October 30 in the South Main/Broadway/Jennings zone of Fort Worth's Southside.

I don't know if I will be attending OPEN STREETS solo, or with my posse of fellow non-exercising malcontents.

Wal-Mart Replaced My Missing Vancouver PNE Slicer/Dicer After 2 Decades

Multi-Slicer Kitchen Helper
There was an August day back in the late 1980s, or early 1990s when I made my last visit to the PNE in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

PNE is what people who live in the Pacific Northwest call the annual Pacific National Exhibition.

The PNE is like a state fair on steroids. Or a small World's Fair. It is the location where I first rode a giant wooden roller coaster and saw my first strip show.

Several people went with me the last time I went to the PNE. One of them was this nurse who's nickname was the Fat Lady.  I drove us to the PNE in the Fat Lady's car. The Fat Lady's car was a humongous antique Cadillac. It was fun to drive.

Like all fairs, the PNE has a big exhibit hall with vendors hawking their wares. I bought one of those wares, it being the best kitchen gadget I ever bought. A slicer, dicer piece of equipment that made quick work of making french fries, slicing onions and tomatoes and all sorts of other things.

When I moved to Texas, among the many moments of idiocy that later became obvious moments of idiocy, was I boxed all my kitchen stuff and, rather than move it to Texas, I gave it all to my oldest nephew. The only thing from my kitchen that I took to Texas was my Vita-Mix.

When I moved to Texas it did not dawn on my limited imagination that the domestic situation I was moving to might not be long lasting.

In less than 3 years after moving to Texas I found myself having to buy all new kitchen stuff.

But, I could not find a version of my PNE slicer/dicer.

Until last week. At Wal-Mart.

If I remember right my PNE slicer/dicer cost $29.99. That would be Canadian dollars. The actual amount, at that time, would have been less than $29.99 in American dollars. When you visit Canada you can buy stuff with your American money, but it can be confusing. It's much simpler to convert American money to Canadian before crossing the border.

The slicer/dicer I got at Wal-Mart is called a Multi-Slicer. It only cost $9.97. That is in American currency, not Canadian. The 2011 version of a slicer/dicer seems to be better built than the PNE version from a couple decades ago.

The First Day Of Fall In Texas Starts Cold With No Swimming & Sore Arms

I was up late the last night of Summer, which has me up late the first morning of Fall.

You can tell I am up after the sun's vernal equinox arrival via the view from my secondary viewing portal on the outer world.

I had to close my openings to the outer world during the middle of the night due to too much chilliness.

We chilled to a low of 53, according to my temperature measuring device, before the re-heating process began.

I was operating under the erroneous assumption that the State Fair of Texas started today, thinking erroneously that it opened on September 23. I had the Fair's opening and closing dates reversed. The State Fair closes on October 23, it opens next Friday, on September 30.

I am not going swimming this morning. This decision has nothing to do with the iceberg temperatures. It has to do with trying to figure out why both my arms are perpetually sore. I've eliminated every other potential cause. Now I am testing if I overdo it in the pool.

My arms are so sore I have trouble opening my medication containers to get the pain abating and anti-inflammatory medications I'm taking to try and abate the pain.

A lunch appointment today will be keeping me from my regular noon hiking activity.

So far, the first day of Fall really is not going all that well. I'm sure my outlook will improve soon.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Nephew David Is Giving I-Phone, Baseball & Banjo Lessons To Me & My Favorite Brother-In-Law

My Nephew David Showing My Brother-In-Law Jack
How To Use His I-Phone
My nephew David turned 3 on 9/11. He had a big birthday party in his backyard in Tacoma.

His Aunt Jackie was up from Phoenix for David's birthday party.

I was not invited.

At some point in time, after 9/11, my favorite brother-in-law, Jack, a Phoenix area McDonald's Magnate, married to my sister Jackie, flew up to Washington for a short visit.

David quickly adopted his Uncle Jack as his latest project, teaching Jack how to play the banjo, how to play baseball and reading to him.

But, the best thing David did for his Uncle Jack was to teach him how to use his i-Phone, which is what David is doing in the picture.

I am looking forward to having David teach me how to use my i-Phone. Along with teaching me how to play a banjo and baseball.

Playing baseball is a skill that has long evaded me.

I am hoping David's coaching skills will be able to teach me how to hit a ball with a stick and catch a ball hit by a stick and throw a ball caught after being hit by a stick, after all these years of not being able to do so.....

Looking At A Cloudy Downtown Fort Worth With A River Running Through It With Too Much E. Coli According To WFAA

It looks like Summer may be going out with a bang in this parched part of the planet. I have seen a drop or two of falling water splatted to earth. I think I may have heard thunder rumbling far in the distance.

Summer must not have gotten the memo that Fall, also known as Autumn, starts tomorrow, and has accidentally jumped the gun by giving us weather from another season, today, on the last day of Summer.

The Weather Underground is currently saying it is only 74 degrees at the current moment, at about 3 in the afternoon, at my location in North Texas. The Weather Underground is also claiming that a light rain is falling.

Continuing with our constant weather theme, in the picture above you are looking at the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth, today, in the noon time frame. As you can see, there is some cloud action hovering over downtown Fort Worth.

Downtown Fort Worth seems to always have a cloud hanging over it, but the majority of the time it is a metaphoric cloud, not an actual cloud.

Like currently downtown Fort Worth is having to deal with the fact that entities in downtown Fort Worth have been encouraging people to participate in Happy Hours floating on inner tubes in the Trinity River. This happened every other Thursday during most of the summer months.

Entities in downtown Fort Worth indicated that the Trinity River was perfectly non-polluted and safe for human floating activity.

However, this morning I learned, via my primary new news source, that being the Lone Star-Telegraph, that WFAA, Channel 8, the ABC affiliate serving the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, in an on-air and on-line news piece titled "Questions about Trinity River water quality" that there are testing indications that indicate one might want to take a moment to consider the relative wisdom of having yourself a real fine time floating in the Trinity River.

Here's a blurb from the WFAA news....

WFAA hired Ana-Lab to test for E. coli, which indicates excrement from humans or warm-blooded animals in the water. It can indicate harmful bacteria. Two samples at the wakeboard park found virtually no E. coli. One of two samples at the tubing area, however, was enough to make you sick.

Well, that seals the deal for me.

Come next summer, unless the Trinity River is somehow magically cleaned up, perhaps with the help of J.D. Granger's Magic Trees, I will likely be doing no Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floating in downtown Fort Worth.

Will Lightning Be Striking These Parched Parts Of Texas This Next To Last Thursday Of September?

In the picture I am looking out my primary viewing portal on the world, as the dawn of the next to last Thursday of September of 2011 arrives.

The outer world in my location is currently chilled to slightly below 70 degrees. The predicted high for today is only 79 degrees, with a 30% chance of thunderstorms.

A 30% chance usually means no chance in my experience.

This is how the Weather Underground describes our thunderstorm chances to today...

A few thunderstorms may affect areas south of Comanche to Killeen line through 8 am. Otherwise...only isolated showers are expected across North Texas. Rainfall will average less than 1/10th of an inch as this activity moves southeast at around 20 mph. Otherwise...a cold front that extended south of a Paris...Fort Worth...Breckenridge line at 6 am...will continue to move south at 15 mph. Light south winds will shift to the north at 5 to 15 mph as the front passes...and a few gusts over 20 mph are likely.

Changing the subject from the weather to killing people. I was still living in Washington on Sunday, June 7, 1998 when Lawrence Russell Brewer and another moron brutally murdered James Byrd Jr. out in East Texas in the town of Jasper. Last night Lawrence Russell Brewer got the well-deserved lethal needle down in Huntsville.

Due to incidents like the murder in Jasper, when I moved to Texas I feared I would be experiencing racism for the first time in my life. That fear turned out to not be grounded in reality. I don't think I've experienced, personally, anything remotely racist since I have been in Texas.

Well, it is time to go for my morning swim before it gets any windier and before those lightning strikes start striking.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thinking About Climbing The Mount Tandy Tower Fort Worth Space Needle Today

Fort Worth Space Needle
That is the Mount Tandy Tower, also known as the Fort Worth Space Needle, you are looking at in the picture. You are viewing the Mount Tandy Tower from one of the Tandy Hills, looking east.

Today there were 3 guys climbing the FW Space Needle. One was near the bottom of the tower, another was maybe a quarter of the way to the top, with the top guy about at the halfway mark up the tower.

I've no clue what the guys were climbing the tower for. Watching them sort of activated my wobbly knee acrophobia. The guy who was about a quarter of the way to the top was not climbing on the ladder, instead he was climbing on the metal framework. I could see he was tethered to the framework.

Just before I took the picture there was some hollering and I saw a round object drop from the guy who was half way to the top. That was a bit unsettling. I think the object dropping was purposefully done.

It was not very windy on the Tandy Hills today. I don't think there would be any tower climbers if it were windy.

I can't help but wonder how much one gets paid, per hour, to be a tall tower climber. I don't know if there is any amount, per hour, that could cause me to climb half way up the Fort Worth Space Needle.

It Is The Dawn Of Yet One More September Wednesday Morning In Texas

Stepping outside into the outer world and looking skyward it appears the stars are not too bright this early morning, semi-deep in the heart of Texas, on the 21st day of September, the next to last Wednesday of the 9th month of 2011.

The outer world in my location is currently cooled to a relatively chilly 69 degrees. Heading to a scheduled high of 90 today, with a 20% chance of thunderstorms.

I'm in the mood for some good weather drama.

The negative ions sent earthward by lightning strikes might help my aching rheumatism. It's a living hell getting elderly and starting to experience system failures of various body parts.

Or so I've been told.

Yes, I got gas yesterday and called my mom to tell her I got gas, how much it cost and what the temperature was.

Before it gets any hotter and the sun gets any brighter I think I will go swimming.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Playing Golf With The Fosdic Lake Turtles & White Wildflowers Sprouting In Oakland Lake Park

White Fosdic Wildflower
I was blocked today from walking in Quanah Parker Park because of City Gas Lease Revenue in Action.

I blogged about this blockage a couple minutes ago.

With access to Quanah Parker Park blocked my next closest park, to take my aching feet to, was Oakland Lake Park, to walk around Fosdic Lake.

I walked around Fosdic Lake on Sunday. On Sunday there were no flowers blooming. Today white wildflowers were blooming in multiple locations throughout the grasslands of Oakland Lake Park.

I suspect last Friday's rain unleashed these white wildflowers.

I found several white golf balls today, in addition to the white wildflowers. I won't detail what I did with the golf balls. Suffice to say, turtles were involved and I do not have a good throwing arm.

I think I am continuing to have an allergic reaction to something I am breathing. This leaves me a bit dizzy every once in awhile.

Fort Worth's Quanah Parker Park Is Closed Thanks to City Gas Lease Revenue In Action

Quanah Parker Park Is Closed For Construction
I somehow managed to sustain a minor injury to both my walking devices, also known as feet. I think the minor injuries may be walking barefoot to the pool related.

Due to my minor injuries when the time of the day came for my daily walking constitutional I did not want to subject my bi-peds to the stresses of the Tandy Hills.

So, I decided to go to my nearest walking zone, that being Quanah Parker Park.

Imagine my disdain when I arrived at Quanah Parker Park to find the entry gate blocking entry and a sign informing me that Quanah Parker Park Road is closed for construction. Construction being constructed by RAYDON INC., with funding by "City Gas Lease Revenue in Action."

Molly The Longhorn Underground
My first reaction, when I saw this sign, conditioned as I am to expect the worst, was that a driller named Raydon was poking a hole into the Barnett Shale from inside Quanah Parker Park.

My initial reaction was also reinforced by the logo you see on the sign above and to the left, with a gas drilling rig above ground, with the Fort Worth Molly the Longhorn symbol stuck far underground, in the Barnett Shale.

Or is that the Fort Worth Molly the Longhorn symbol stuck above an aquifer?

Blocked from being able to walk in Quanah Parker Park I drove to Oakland Lake Park to walk around Fosdic Lake.

Up Early The Next To Last Tuesday Of September In Texas With A Crescent Moon & Twinkling Stars

I am up well before the sun, looking through the bars of my patio prison cell on Day 20 of September.

The next to last Monday of the month has already arrived.

Time is flying and I don't like the speed of the flight.

The night sky was remarkably clear this morning, with a Crescent Moon and the Gemini Constellation sparkling bright, along with hundreds of other celestial sparklers.

Usually pollution makes viewing the stars at night a bit murky from my location.

The best star viewing I have ever experienced was on Lake Powell, in Utah. The Milky Way was a solid band of white, making obvious how it got its name. I do not remember the last time I've seen the Milky Way.

I suspect there are people living in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex who have never seen the Milky Way.

It is only 63 degrees in the outer world in my location, right now. I had no windows open, no ceiling fan spinning and no A/C running last night. And was totally comfortable.

If the sun ever arrives to do its daily lighting and heating duties, I will be seeing how cold the pool has gotten overnight.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Water Flowing Tandy Hills Mystery With A Lingering Bamboo Teepee & Cascade Fresh Yogurt Potato Salad

I had myself the best hiking time in many a month today on the very breezy Tandy Hills.

Saturday when I blogged about the Mysteries of the Tandy Hills I forgot the biggest mystery, that being the Bamboo Teepee you see in the picture, still standing after many a moon.

Speaking of teepee, my spell checker is flagging teepee as being misspelled. However, the first time I had this happen I looked up teepee to learn there are 3 accepted spellings for this particular Native American dwelling.

Teepee, tepee and tipi. The version with 4 e's seems to be reflect how the word is pronounced, so that's the version I use.

Today, water was flowing through the pipe culvert that carries Tandy Creek under the Tandy Highway, except when it rains hard and overwhelms the pipe culverts's water carrying capacity.

Now, what is very strange and may be yet one more Tandy Hills Mystery is this. On Saturday, less than 24 hours after Friday's rain, no water was flowing through the Tandy Creek pipe culvert across the Tandy Highway. And now today, Monday, 3 days after last Friday's rain, water is flowing through the pipe culvert that was dry on Saturday.

Very perplexing.

Changing the subject from water leaks and teepees to yogurt.

On Saturday, at Town Talk, I got a humongous 4 pound container of fat free yogurt for only 99 cents. Usually, with fat free yogurt or sour cream, stuff you really don't want to be eating is added to take the place of butterfat. 

This yogurt comes from Seattle. From a company called Cascade Fresh. The only ingredients in Cascade Fresh Fat Free Yogurt are nonfat milk, pectin and active cultures, as in 8 active probiotic cultures, L. Acidophilus, B. Thermophilus, L. Rhamnosus, B. Bifidum, L. Casei, B. Longum, L. Bulgaricus and B. Ifantis.

I made potato salad this morning, using yogurt instead of mayonnaise. Add some garlic wine vinegar and dill pickle juice and you really don't miss the mayo. Unless you want those extra fat calories for your hip widening, gut growing project.

I'm off to the library now. I need a book.

Up Late Full Of Dread Despair & Direness On The Chilly Next To Last Monday Of September

As you can possibly intuit via looking out my primary viewing portal on the world I am up after the sun this next to last Monday of September.

I think I had myself a rough night of troubling nightmares because I woke up with an overarching sense of dread, despair and direness with no conscious reason for feeling this way.

I tried to watch the Emmy Awards show last night, but, even though I had it DVRed and fast forwardable, boredom quickly set in.

I don't think the Emmy Awards show was the source of my nightmares.

I can not remember the last time I did not find an awards show boring. I don't think I've made it longer than an hour watching an Academy Awards show this century. In the previous century I used to have Academy Awards show parties. Such a thing seems alien to me now.

Changing the subject from TV to my favorite subject, that being the temperature, it is currently a relatively chilly 68 degrees. The sun has been doing its heating duty for about 45 minutes. The sun has been programmed today to heat the outer world, in my vicinity, to 85 degrees.

85 degrees is a very pleasant temperature.

I think I will go swimming not before it gets any hotter.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Enjoying Swimming In My Pool With My New Chesapeake Energy Neighbor

Chesapeake Energy Overlooking My Pool
In More Ways Than One
If you look closely at the patch of blue sky above the 4 lounge chairs you can see my new Chesapeake Energy neighbor. Really a wonderful addition to my view from the pool whilst I am swimming.

So far, near as I can tell, the actually drilling in to the Barnett Shale by my Chesapeake Energy neighbor has yet to begin. I have heard no screeching drilling noises like I did the first time Chesapeake Energy moved into my neighborhood.

The new Chesapeake Energy operation is closer to me than the original. And it is wrapped by a protective wall, unlike my first Chesapeake Energy neighborhood invader.

Despite what some of my neighbors think, the protective wall does not block the annoying noise. I know this because the drilling operation near Veterans Park was surrounded by a protective wall, yet you could hear that noisy operation no matter where you were in Veterans Park.

One thing I do know for absolute 100% certainty. Unlike me, no one I know in Washington can go swimming in their pool and enjoy looking at a massive gas drilling industrial operation underway.

I am such a lucky guy.

It is now time to take my daily 24 hour anti-histamine to counteract that which is infused into the air I breathe in this polluted part of the planet.

Like I said, I am such a lucky guy. With a pool and a view.

Having A Nice Multi-Cultural Walk Around Fosdic Lake On A Sunny September Sunday

Kids Feeding The Fosdic Ducks
It was in the mid 80s when I left air-conditioned comfort this Sunday at noon to go to Oakland Lake Park to walk with the Fosdic Lake Ducks & Turtles.

As you can see, via the picture, I was not the only one having fun with the Fosdic Ducks today.

I have seldom heard the Fosdic Ducks quacking as happily as they were today, getting fed duck food by a group of giggling kids.

Despite its Friday infusion of water, Fosdic Lake continues to shrink. I would think with no incoming creek water it would be shrinking faster. Does an underground spring feed into Fosdic Lake, I can't help but wonder?

Taking a Fosdic Walk in Native Garb
There are never as many people in any given Fort Worth park as I think there would, or should, be, on a nicely temperatured sunny Sunday.

But, there were more than the norm walking around Fosdic Lake in various stages of dress.

I think my topless condition may have been offensive to the nice ladies I met today who were covered head to toe, except for their bright eyes shining from their head covering.

Fort Worth is such a melting pot. People of all cultures and states and countries meet up in Fort Worth to assimilate into being good Texans.

Up Early On The Next To Last Sunday Of September In Allergic Reaction Mode

It is the dawn of the next to last Sunday of September, looking through the bars of my patio prison cell at a serene turquoise pool.

The allergic aggravation that started aggravating me early Saturday evening has abated, slightly, thanks to the intervention of anti-histamines.

Due to Friday's rain we have had a humidity spike. I do not like it when there is a humidity spike.

Today the humidity may do some more spiking, if the predicted 40% chance of precipitation precipitates in some more rain. A chance of Thunderstorms is also in the forecast for today. And following days.

Monday's predicted precipitation is more precipitous than today's, with a 50% chance of rain.

I have no idea what I am doing this particular Sunday. Apparently rain and lightning may impact my possibilities. But, before that can happen, while it is still dry and free of electrical sky action, I think I will go swimming in that serene turquoise body of water that is a short walking distance away.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saturday Night Is All Right For Fighting A Bad Allergy Attack

A Saturday Sun Sets In Texas
In the picture I am sitting at the front of the line at the stop light on John T. White Road, heading west, waiting to cross Loop 820.

I was returning from Wal-Mart.

Why did I go to Wal-Mart, you ask?

Well, sometime after 5 I started to have a really bad allergy attack. Burning, stinging, watery eyes, sneezing, all sorts of misery.

I have had allergy attacks before, rarely, but even though they are rare, when one happens, I know what it is and what I need to do. As in get an anti-histamine. I thought I had an anti-histamine supply stored for just this type emergency, but I was not able to locate it.

So, it was off to Wal-Mart I went, blurry eyed and miserable.

I am now medicated and feeling a lot better. Wonders of modern medicine.

Now, what caused this allergy outbreak I can not help but wonder? I suspect it has something to do with the rain yesterday, after such a long time with no rain, unleashing who knows what bad stuff into the air.

Excuse me, I must take a time out to deal with an incoming sneeze.

Okay, that's over. I thought the little pill had put a stop to this.

I suspect I am in for a long long night.

Is anyone else in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex zone experiencing a sudden onslaught of allergy symptoms?

Stomping Over Mud & Litter Today On The Tandy Hills With Twisted Rusted Cable

A Keep Fort Worth Beautiful Litter Bag Littering
Currently Dry Tandy Falls
You don't mess with Mother Nature. She can be an arbitrary, overbearing Old Lady.

Some humans had the hubris to think they needed to clean the litter out of the Tandy Hill's Creek's creek beds.

That is Mother Nature's job.

Every once in awhile she brings upon the Earth a deluge which washes the Tandy Hill's Creek's creek beds clear of litter.

Mother Earth did not quite bring a creek cleaning level of deluge Friday evening, but she did bring enough of a deluge to keep people from picking litter out of Her Tandy Hill's Creek's creek beds.

Instead the Tandy Litter Stompers picked up litter before it entered the Tandy Hill's Creek's creek beds. This seems a much more pro-active way to deal with the Tandy Creek litter. Mother Nature, in Her infinite wisdom caused that to happen, with Friday's rain canceling the Tandy Hill's Creek's creek bed's Litter Stomping.

Washed Out Tandy Creek Crossing
With Moved Giant Tire
I was surprised to walk on as much mud as I did today, particularly on the Tandy Highway. The main Tandy Creek crossing, across Tandy Highway, was pretty much washed out, again, by yesterday's rain.

I don't know if was moved by Mother Nature or human intervention, but since I last visited it, the Giant Tandy Tire has moved to the other side of the creek and a distance to the south.

We must talk about the picture at the top. The picture with the big plastic yellow thing. The yellow thing is a garbage bag. I believe it is one of the garbage bags supplied by the City of Fort Worth for the Tandy Litter Stomp.

So, how did this Tandy Litter Stomp bag end up on the precipice of Tandy Falls? At one of the most remote locations on the Tandy Hills? The bag says "Keep Fort Worth Beautiful" and "Schedule a Clean-Up." Among other things.

Is this bag showing up in this location on the day of the aborted Tandy Hills Litter Stomp what is known as irony? Is this the work of the Tandy Hills Guerrilla Artist?

Tandy Hills Guerrilla Art Installation
This was not the only suspected Tandy Hills Guerrilla Artwork I came upon today.

Today I entered the hills from the top of Mount Tandy.

Taking the left turn on the new road built courtesy of the Fort Worth Water Department I found the new road blocked by the twisted cable you see in the picture, rising mysteriously out of the ground and twisting its way to pieces of abandoned metalwork.

Where did this twisted, rusty cable come from?

I am currently juggling three Tandy Hills mysteries.

Number 1 is where did the Giant Tandy Tire come from? Number 2 is how did the Fort Worth Litter Bag make it to the edge of Tandy Falls? Number 3 is how did the twisted cable get to be in this location? And why?

It is all very perplexing. I don't know if the Tandy Hill's Creek's creek beds will ever dry out again, allowing a successful Tandy Hills Litter Stomp. I suspect Mother Nature may cooperate at some future date. Maybe.

Rain Drenches North Texas, Elsie Hotpepper Is Found, The Tandy Hills Litter Stomp Is Still Stomping

I am up late this 3rd Saturday of September, due to being up late Friday night with the Elsie Hotpepper Search Party.

I am pleased to report the missing Elsie Hotpepper has been re-located.

All I will say about Elsie's latest disappearance is it was not rain-related.

Yes. We had rain last night in these parched parts of the planet. Up to half an inch in some locations.

While the majority of us North Texans were happy to feel some wet stuff falling from the sky, it has caused some complications. Such as the complication to this morning's Tandy Hills Litter Stomp.

Don Young's rain-related message about another change to the Tandy Hills Litter Stomp...

Howdy all,

It appears we have rain! And while that's good, that's not always ideal for clean-up hikes in yesterday-dry creek-beds. The event Saturday will be more of a low-key affair now. There is plenty of trash along View Street. 

UNLESS it's raining, we will be out tidying up. Come enjoy the hills. Grab some coffee and homemade sourdough and catch yourself a mess of empty beer cans.

So, 9 AM Saturday. 
Say hello to the Hills

Today, supposedly, we have a lesser chance of rain, than we did yesterday.

Before yesterday's semi-deluge we have had a whopping 16.89 inches of rain fall on the official rain measuring station for D/FW in 2011. The non-drought average, by this time of any given year, is 25.89.

Yesterday I saw the majestic Trinity River with what looked like a fair amount of water in it, gently flowing to the Gulf of Mexico.

Today I saw a headline in the Seattle P-I which said, "Snow Expected In Mountains This Weekend; Rain Here."

Which had me wondering, during a drought, when we have had, til yesterday, months with no rain, where does the water in the Trinity River come from? There are no snow covered mountains on this part of the planet. Washington rivers flow all summer long due to the melting snowpack in the Cascade Mountains. Where does the Trinity River water come from?

It's very perplexing. I think I will go swimming in the rain-charged pool and think about the Trinity River.......