One of our favorite places here to visit wildlife is Brazos Bend State Park. We tried to go back in November, but were turned away as they were still closed due to damage from August 26th’s Hurricane Harvey that had the park under 6 feet of water and did major damage to the park. To date they are still not sure how many alligators just floated away during the storm.

Tuesday was sunny, but on the cool side so the alligators were only visible when sunbathing along the lake edges, but the birds were everywhere.  Unfortunately, we only got about half the park in as I just plain ran out of energy.  We’ll go back in a few weeks.

After several visits I was curious about what alligators actually eat. My research shows that what they eat is dependent on their age and size, but they are primarily carnivores no matter what. Researchers have found fruits and berries in dead alligators also. As they grow they will progressively hunt for larger and larger prey including turtles, raccoons, muskrat, large fish and some birds that live near the water. There have been reports of dogs, panthers and even black bears being eaten by alligators. Once an adult they will feed on any pretty much any animal that comes near the water. Alligators tend to NOT prey on anything larger than they are. I’m sure given the right scenario, they might prey on just about anything if they are hungry enough. Alligators tend to avoid humans, but when provoked they may attack. As you can see from my pictures there are plenty of turtles and birds that live in and around these alligators.

Even the turtles were sunbathing trying to stay warm.

Like I said, the birds were EVERYWHERE including this guy who I thought would turn and fly the other way as we got closer, but did the complete opposite landing right next to us and then taking his time crossing in front of us.

After reading this I have to wonder who and why they created a park where there is NOTHING separating you from the alligators except your common sense to keep your distance. ALL of the alligators I saw today were larger than I am!

Back in 2011 when we were here taking care of my aunt we made our first trip to the park and on the way home we saw an “ALIEN” cow.  We have looked evey time for the cow or an offspring, but still NO luck.


Life has been so topsy turvy lately and we both just needed a break.  We decided to take a day and visit a favorite park of ours, Brazos Bend State Park.

There is a don’t touch or pester the alligators rule and as long as everyone behaves there are no issues seeing the alligators via their natural habitat.  They are not caged or fenced and people just know to leave them alone and enjoy the park.  There are also several wonderful birds, turtles and old mossy trees to enjoy making this a truly unique experience.  Boots and Alien Cows is a post from a few years back if you are interested.

On our way to the park I kept a look out for Alien Cow. It had been several years since we’d seen him, but we ALWAYS look just for fun.

But, the universe had another idea on how we were going to spend our day. The park closure changed our day big time. Alligators wander off from the park during the best of times, but the flood waters were 4 1/2 feet in the park and the estimate is that 300-350 alligators just floated out of the park in floodwaters along with several venomous snakes. There was a pretty informative article here if you’re interested. Here are some images from GOOGLE to give you an idea of what a trip to Brazos Bend is like.

Personally I fear the cotton mouth snakes more than the alligators.  The park itself has been flooded during the last 3 BIG floods – Memorial Day 2015, April 2016 and Hurricane Harvey 2017 which was the worst and forced the park closure so pathways, ponds and signs could be re-created.  This time they lost several buildings too.  The wonderfully informative Ranger at the front gate told us they were slated to re-open November 7th so we will try again after that time. I’m anxious to see how it’s changed.

So we decided to head for the coast, Freeport in particular just because we had never been there, but once again the universe had another idea as a HUGE fire detoured us. Fortunately it was a very nice day and we went with the flow to Surfside Beach.

The beach was absolutely perfect and many people were out enjoying it just like us, including the pelicans and surf birds.

This is an area that builds its house on HUGE pillars because of strong storm surges during storms and hurricanes.  While most places appear to have gone unscathed here, there were several still in need of repair and many already undergoing a rebuilding.

And no road trip for us would be complete without major roadwork in our path.




Kimberly at Proud American Moving specifically told us that they did not use contractors. She also guaranteed us a specific time window for moving.

When they showed up LATE (by 2 days) the head guy was a fast talking salesman that left us with no alternatives. After our belongings were loaded he began the fast talking again specifically telling us our things could now NOT be unloaded without a cost. He then went on to call the head office liars because he was a contractor and asked for a “cash up front” tip so that he could lower our total cost. Our final cost was double the original quote even with his deal! We felt we had no choice – he had all our belongings and we were 2 days behind schedule, so we paid. 

When our belongings finally arrived (3 weeks later than promised) the brand new boxes we had purchased for the move were all beat up and many broken open, many things broken, 2 tables and a box missing. The delivery driver said we would be contacted about our missing belongings in a few days. NO ONE HAS EVER CONTACTED US! We have tried REPEATEDLY FOR 4 MONTHS to contact them about the insurance and NO ONE EVER CALLS US BACKI’m still waiting for an answer to one of the hundred messages I have left.

We filed a Better Business Bureau complaint that they didn’t respond to either. Since they are NOT BBB accredited, we are now at a complete loss as to what to do next to get our belongings back!  ANY SUGGESTIONS?

We had contacted the Better Business Bureau in October 2011 (in person) and were told both then, and in a follow up phone call that there were no complaints on file.  Yet, I ran across this article today that says just the opposite!


Being a So Cal girl at heart, surfing was always a saltwater sport and usually done in warm weather.  The thing that surprised me the most when we came east was that the great lakes have waves too.  The lakes are soooooooo large that they look like an ocean at first glance.  I caught this surfer in a rainstorm on Lake Michigan today and he was looked so at peace even though I never actually saw him catch a wave!
On another note, the plant below was sent to me by my SIL when we first moved into our investment house 5 years ago.  It grew huge in my kitchen and had to be cut back monthly.  When we went west to help my in-laws, the poor plant froze the first night out.  I kept it and babied it while at my in-laws and it began to come back.  That was 2 years ago.  I keep babying it and it keeps hanging in there.  I can’t wait to put it back on my kitchen counter and see where it grows.  I call it my Bobbie plant!
I should be home tomorrow and then begins the arduous task of reversing the winterizing from 2 years ago and getting the utilities on.  I’ll fill you in on the rest of the Chronicles of a Major Move at that time.


Remember GLITCH #1, #2 and #3?  Well, not much has changed.  I did speak with a supervisor today and while he was a good listener, not much was resolved.  After listening to me, he said, “…we can’t guarantee a time only a date.”  At which point I asked why they weren’t coming today.  He seemed taken aback, but still insisted it would be late in the day on the 8th instead of the originally scheduled early in the day on the 7th.  He did promise to see what he could do and call me back.  Surprise though, he didn’t call me back, but had the original clerk who failed to call me back on Sunday be the one to deliver the news.
It will still cost us an additional 4 days in hotels with pets and did I mention we had scheduled this based on weather too?  We’d been keeping a close eye on the weather and today was the perfect moving day or at least loading day!!  Not too hot, definitely not too cold and dry.  Enter GLITCH #4 ~ Tomorrow is supposed to bring us SEVERE thunderstorms.  Not fun for loading and definitely not my idea of, well, of ideal.  The boxes that I so painstakingly packed with care will now get wet and then spend 5-7 days locked in a truck – gee what fun on the other end!
So we’re still here, waiting…

GLITCH #1, #2 & #3

We had an all systems go with our move.  We moved all the things upstairs down in an effort to speed the loading process when they get here tomorrow as we will be on the road right behind them and don’t want to be driving in the dark.  We worked hard too!!
Enter Glitch #1.  What was to be a confirmation call for tomorrow’s arrival time became a clerk asking me if pick up on Tuesday was okay.  When I told her no, she said she’d try someone else and get back to me.  Several hours later she called me back.  Asking me is no longer an option as she is now TELLING me it will be Tuesday.  Enter Glitch #2 It will be Tuesday AFTERNOON! Enter Glitch #3 as I’m running the route in my mind and realizing that I will now need to pay for 4, count them 1,2,3,4 additional nights in a hotel with 4 animals since we will now arrive on a Friday afternoon and won’t be able to get any utilities until Monday.  So with the late load on Tuesday we’ll need a room for Tuesday as well as Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I told her this was a real problem for me and she was going to speak with a supervisor and call me back again.  No call came and when I tried her I got a customer service voice mail recording.  Trust me I left a nice, BUT firm message.  There is no excuse for not at least calling me back and letting me know what the supervisor said!!!
When we booked this move, there was an opening for the 1st, but it came with a 2 day window for pick up.  Hubby didn’t want to be driving over the weekend if the window was on the end so we booked for the 7th, a Monday so we’d have a guaranteed pick up date and be able to schedule utilities and such during the week.
:Sigh:  we’ll see what tomorrow brings.  I’m trying to stay positive and believe all things happen for a reason despite our personal disappointments.

Finally on my way… home and cancer free…

So as we begin the trek home after being here for a year and a half (thanks mom), we realized that we acquired a few things while here. For Martha’s sake I’d like to be able to say that we could pitch it all, but alas these are real treasures for our house and unpitchable and unreplaceable. Since I have yet to have all my strength return, moving has become a major endeavor for us.
We decided to hire a mover, you know, an end of the load kind of deal. We don’t have many pieces of furniture (just a few BIG bargains ~ 2 tables, an antique file cabinet, an antique bar stool and a bed frame), but it’s primarily boxes so we started contacting companies and decided on a home grown American based mover that uses up and coming mom and pops, Proud American Moving Network. The day we signed the contract, the local news station did an expose’ on moving scams. So off to the Better Business Bureau to check out our new found mover we went. We are pleased to say they are not part of the scam and had no local open complaints. That was when it hit me – do a blog post, take some pictures and chronicle the move.
Think about it – one of the biggest complaints you hear from people is about moving companies – how they damage your stuff, don’t settle the insurance claims, etc…
The very first piece of advice I have is PACK YOURSELF!!!!!!!! My mom has moved a few times and used the same company each time. The last time I was in college and needed a few extra bucks so offered to do their packing for them at a reduced rate. If I remember correctly even with paying me a nice sum, she still saved A LOT on their packing fees, used less space and nothing I packed got broken in the move. It’s all about space, organization and weight distribution.
For this move I have created an inventory, numbered and weighed the boxes myself. One of the points on the expose was that some of these companies overcharge based on weight. Now how are you going to know the total weight of the load unless you weigh it yourself – one box at a time. That also ensured poor me who has so little strength right now that the boxes would not be too heavy. After all, if I can carry them, some guy with a dolly certainly can!

 Even the kitties are getting used to their temporary house for the move!


Many of you know that we came here to Texas to help family in an elder care situation.  We are still embroiled in major red tape with the VA also.  We hit the ground running when we arrived here and there has been very little relaxation time since considering, but we managed to steal a few hours last weekend to check out Brazos Bend State Park.
I wasn’t feeling too well, but we managed to get a few hours of exploration in before I had to give up for the day.  I did pretty well considering when I was finally dragged to the doctor on Friday I was told I had bronchitis, pharyngitis, strep throat and the beginnings of pneumonia.  Hey, I’m a tough old bird!  Kinda like this turkey that I literally almost walked right into at the nature center.  I was then pleasantly surprised to see that the turkey was shot by a turkey I know – LOL my uncle donated him to the park after a turkey shoot several years ago.

We took a short walk around a small lake and were rewarded with these sunbathing turtles.

There were tons of what I call Harry Potter trees throughout the park.  You know the kind of trees whose branches look like spidery arms that could scoop up a human being at the drop of a hat?
The creme de la creme though is the alligators!  They are such magnificent creatures. At least as long as you leave them alone!  We spent several hours searching for them to have them all be in the same place – sunbathing in a low lake.
How they can cover themselves in all that slime is beyond me, but it really camouflages them well.  My pictures are pretty clear, but it took some searching to distinguish them from rocks and other growth.

On the way out the park we were rewarded with this unlikely trio – all at peace with one another.

As for this guy, we were positive someone painted this guy up for the impending Halloween holiday, but when we blew up the picture, we don’t really think so.  It appears to be natural occurring.  

I do intend to go back one weekend soon and see if his “birthmark” is still there or if it has washed away.