Thursday, July 7, 2016

HODGES GARDENS, PART IV - FINAL POST

Yes, Blogging Buddies... this is the last Hodges Gardens post.

So... an immediate caution.  REPTILE ALERT!!!!  There will be a few photos I am placing at the very END of this post that may be unsettling to those who have issue with reptiles without legs.  I will caution you again but I cannot control how much of this post appears as you scroll.  It is up to you now!

On our last day at Hodges Gardens, we decided to do a little more fishing.  We had wet a line or two the day before but with no success.  It had been a VERY long time since I had been fishing (we figured out August 22, 1995!) so I was hopeful to catch at least one!  The spousal-unit has very kindly been teaching me to fly-fish and we have done a little practicing a few times but it has been more practice than fish-catching.  :)  No luck at the small pond called Blue Hole which I have posted about previously.  You can visit that post here.


We went to a couple of spots but our success was at the last one of the day (of course!).  Here is where we were:

There was no one else there so we were able to split up and put some distance between us.  I opted to fish off of a small barge-like craft tied to the shore.  The spousal unit was fishing from the little pavilion you see above.

He was the first to pull off a catch.  Very nice little perch.  It was "game-on!"



Not to be outdone, I felt a tug a few minutes later.  The spousal-unit had released his lovely fish back into the lake and made his way over toward me as I reeled in my catch!

We were now tied at one-to-one.  That was the end of my competition, sad to say.  But I didn't know it at that moment.

I removed the fish from my line and sent it on its way to tell its friends to drop by and grab my lure!  As the spousal-unit began making his way back to his spot, I called out to him to stop!  I had cast out as he headed away and immediately had another fish on!  I honestly thought it might be the same little perch again since it had just been released.  It wasn't.  As I reeled it in, I saw a lovely little bass at the end of my line.  It was small but VERY feisty and fighting hard the whole way in.  I began to lift it out of the water... and it simply slipped itself off of my hook and swam away!!!  Oh NO!  I told the spousal-unit, who was standing just behind me, to cast his lure out there.  He chuckled at me but did it anyway.  Guess what?!?  Yep.  Who would have ever believed it (except for those of us who have fished since we were little kids!)?  He immediately got a strike and reeled in this cutie... which, by the way, was IDENTICAL to the little bass that had just snuck away from me!  I am not kidding.

After we had a good laugh about all that, we continued fishing for a while.  We decided to pack it in and head to the casa.  The spousal-unit left his line hanging over the edge of the pavilion while we packed up my rod & reel.  When he picked his back up to reel it in, he discovered an itty-bitty "Stealth Perch" had taken his lure!!  That little critter was so light, it hadn't even made the rod move!!  The rod is on the shelf behind the fish.  We captured a photo before sending it back to the depths.  Too funny!!

REPTILE ALERT!!  SAY GOODBYE NOW IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SEE THEM.



So... before we made it to our productive fishing hole, we had fished from a large pavilion at the other end of the lake.  Before actually setting up to fish, I had been walking one of the paths to capture another picture when a very bright green caught my peripheral vision.  I stopped and looked down toward the ground.  Well, it had stopped and was literally "looking up" at me!!  We were in a stare-off.  LOL!  I moved very slowly while talking very quietly, asking it to please stay where it was so I could get a good photo.  It was obliging and remained in its position while I snapped a couple of shots.  It was really very lovely... and when I was done, I walked slowly away while it crawled slowly away in the opposite direction.  A very nice encounter.  Look nearly center in the photo where the clover-looking foliage is...

As we were fishing from the pavilion, which was fairly high above the water, I noticed movement between an island a good distance away from us and the shore upon which our pavilion stood.  I watched it for a moment then immediately recognized it was one of my least favorite reptiles... the Water Moccasin or Cottonmouth.  I learned to respect these snakes at a very young age.  They are venomous, stealthy, and everywhere there is water in the south!  I pointed it out to the spousal-unit and we watched it swim quietly and quickly to our side, disappear into the thick vegetation at water's edge, then crawl slowly up onto the shore right beside our pavilion among the tarot plants.  Wow.  I leaned over the pavilion wall and watched the whole dance.  I took several photos including a zoomed-in head shot (below).  It crawled around a bit but apparently decided the "grass was greener" elsewhere, slithering back into the water and heading away.  We guesstimated the length of this specimen to be at least 5'.  My photo (2nd one below) was taken wide but the critter's length obviously turned the photo 90 degrees!  Sorry it will be hard to view but I want you to try to grasp the length.


Sorry that one didn't show up the way it was taken.  I was actually leaning over, looking down the white rock wall that is now to the right of the photo, taking the shot.

At any rate... that concludes our Hodges Gardens tour!  Hope you found some portion of the tour fun, informative, educational, interesting... ???

Until next post...

Saturday, June 25, 2016

HODGES GARDENS, PART III

Heidy-Ho, Blogging Buddies!

Yes, there are even more photos from Hodges Gardens.  I have shown you a few areas of disrepair.  Sad.  But there are some areas where folks are trying to keep up.  While small, they are delightful.  So... just want to offer you a few shots of some really great places within Hodges Gardens.









We still have tomorrow to look at so don't give up yet!  There are a few fun things yet to come.  It was our last day there and the "hunt" was on.  Stay tuned for that!

One of the fun things was the telescope that pointed to Texas!  I remember it as a child and begging my parents to stop and let me look through it.  I wanted to "see" Texas!!  Unfortunately, it is no longer functional... but remains as a reminder of a time long, long ago... before satellites and Google Earth allowed everyone the ability to "see" the planet from above.




So... just a slow drive around the Gardens will reveal a whole lot of things going on.  Amazing how it seems so quiet and remote but yet is managed by concerned individuals.  I can appreciate that.

If you are tired of the Hodges Gardens revue, know that there is only one more post to finish it.  :)  I hope you can stay with me for it.

Until next post...

Monday, June 20, 2016

HODGES GARDENS, PART II

Heidy-Ho, Blogging Pals!!

So, there are just so many beautiful things about Hodges Gardens, I wanted to share some more photos with you.  I will try to select the very best to limit the number!  I hope you can enjoy the feeling of peace and serenity there.

Without further introduction (as it is not needed):





Unfortunately, among the beauty are the hidden areas where neglect has wrought havoc.  :(  Very sad.  But it's the old "good with the bad" situation.





Well, we enjoy the parts we can and hope things will improve for the park.

After the first "visitors" our first evening there, we had an even larger group arrive for the second evening!!  What?!?  Did a memo go out?!?  :)  I didn't even know these little guys could RUN!!!




So... I hope you have a little better feel for the park.  I have some more photos for you in the next update on Hodges Gardens!  Even while there is some deterioration, there are those who persevere in making the park a place to enjoy and learn.

Until next post...

Monday, June 13, 2016

HODGES GARDENS, PART I

Heidy-Ho, Blogging Pals!!  Welcome back!

So... the spousal-unit figured I needed a little break last month.  He had heard about Hodges Gardens State Park from some folks and checked it out online.  He rented a cabin for two nights.  Our adventure began with checking in and finding our cabin!




First things first.  Unload and check out the cabin.  That done, relax on the back deck with a refreshing adult beverage and enjoy the lake view.  That's when the first "guests" arrived.


So... we talked to them... they honked at us... there was a mutual unstated agreement we would remain on our deck and they would remain on the ground below.  They eventually waddled off back to the lake.

We did some driving around that afternoon.  I had visited Hodges Gardens many years ago with my family when the Gardens were privately owned.  I remember how gorgeous they were then.  Unfortunately, having been donated to the State and with funds becoming difficult to get, a lot of it has gone into a state of disrepair that is sad to see.  There were still some very nice areas that we visited on a drive around the park.

A few pictures to give you an idea of the place.  There will be more posts about this trip as I have a LOT of pictures but don't want to post all of them at once!  Overload!
Our First Wildlife meeting... along the edge of the road on the way to the cabin

We drove to the Visitor Center/Gift Shop... but they were closed as we were there during the week.  Still pretty to see.







Alrighty!  You have seen a few of many photos.  More will be coming in the next few days.

Bottom line:  We had a great time!  It was a little toasty but there was nearly always a breeze.  Going during the week meant very few other visitors there with us so we really had the run of the place!  Very enjoyable.

Stay tuned!!

Until next post...

Friday, May 27, 2016

FINALLY A RAVE!!

Heidy-Ho, Blogging Buddies!

I know.  I have been lax in posting.  The good news is I have had several things lately that I consider "blog-worthy" so there are at least 2 or 3 new posts coming soon... with pictures!!

However, I am most pleased to have a RAVE to post today.  Seems like many of my experiences are negative so you have to read my rants (The Running Store most recently)... and I hate that since I much prefer excellence in my experiences!

So... I am happy to tell you all about an online shopping experience I had recently.


My aunt was in need of some new sheets for her bed.  She has been completely bedridden for four years and it is important to have good sheets to help avoid skin breakdowns.  I am cautious to shop for a high thread count Egyptian Cotton product.  I went to Amazon to see what was out there.

After some shopping and checking, I placed an order through Amazon.  The product was fulfilled through eLuxury Supply.  I was pleased with the items and went to that firm's web site to see what other products they offer.  It was then things got a little shaky.

I found the exact same product I had ordered through Amazon at a lower price on the eLuxury Supply web site.  Hmmmmm?  That's odd.  eLuxury offers free shipping so that didn't explain a pricing difference.  You all know me pretty well so you already know I fired off an email to the Customer Service Manager (whose card with full contact information was included in my order!) to figure out why there was a difference.

Blogging Pals... I am here to tell you I received a nearly immediate reply.  There was an apology for the pricing difference along with a couple of potential reasons for it.  The key thing here... there was notice that a refund had already been issued for the price difference (I didn't ask for one) along with the invitation to check back with him if there were any problems with the product down the road.  What?!?  A real live person concerned with customer satisfaction?!?  It's like sighting a unicorn!!

What I am telling you all is to please check out eluxurysupply.com the next time you are seeking linens.  They also have other products including beds/mattresses, bath products (towels, bathrobes, etc.), furniture (indoor & outdoor) and home accessories, as well as some pet furniture.  Check them out.  Are they the "cheapest?"  No.  Do the products have value to account for the pricing?  I can only speak to the sheets but have to say "yes" to that. What is more important to me is a USA company providing excellence in Customer Service.

So... remember to check out eLuxury Supply the next time you have a need for these types of items.  I can only highly recommend them... something that is rare for me to do.  :)

Until next post...