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Posts tagged ‘McFadden Beach’

Dipping my toes

Winter is our favorite time to visit the beach. Sometimes, like yesterday, the weather is perfect, sunny and warm. Other times it may be chilly and blustery but there are few people there. It is peaceful and serene. I like to wade in the water and although I roll my pant legs up, they get soaked. I thought I might avoid that problem by wearing a pair of German Army shorts (no photo!).

I regretted that apparel choice as there was a breeze. And the water was cold!

We did have the beach to ourselves, though. Two trucks drove by, waved and kept going. No fishermen/persons. No radios. Just birds and the waves and rustling of the marsh grasses.

Toby and Dora raced up and down the beach, occasionally dashing into the waves. Dora took care to roll in the sand several times. The back seat of Tessie looks like we brought the beach home with us.

There weren’t many shells but there was a rotting catfish Toby really wanted but wasn’t sure she could eat it all before being called away===and of course there were birds to chase—never successfully.

The Great Blue we had seen before was wading along the shoreline once again. Gulls and sanderlings and other shore birds were there too.

We had a lunch of cheese and crackers; decided to visit what used to be the Dick Dowling park but is now the Sabine Pass Battleground park. For the first time since we have lived here, there was an entry fee. The park is nicely laid out with lots of places for fishing, a boat ramp, and interpretative signage of the Civil War battle and World War II munitions storage.

We walked along the fishing piers, Toby thought Glen should open the ‘gate’ at the end of the pier for her; and tried sampling the salt water at the edge of the boat ramp–didn’t like the first ramp water, thought the second might be better.

Everyone was tired when we got home. This morning Dora reluctantly went out to fetch the newspaper–if there had been a thought bubble over her head it would have read–‘grumble, grumble, grumble, okay…but don’t ask me to do anything else today”

Dora rolled in the sand several times while Toby was too eager to run to take the time to roll in the sand

A day at McFadden Ward beach with two dogs

Toby and Dora playing in the surf on an overcast day

The beach in the wintertime is always delightful. There are rarely many people there and last week was no exception. We wanted to compare it to the one we had just left in Florida. The shells are different–still mostly broken up pieces. The dogs loved it, racing up and down and then exploring the dune area. The dunes are much shorter than before Hurricane Rita and it looks odd to drive along the beach road and see the ocean. A few shorebirds danced along the water’s edge collecting something for their midmorning snack. The dogs were sopping wet by the time we left and Dora slept most of the way back. Toby is like an energizer bunny and never seems to run out of energy.

 

We spell Fun as DAY at the Beach

Both of us were up early on Friday morning and we decided to take the dogs for some time at the beach. Late September-early October is our favorite time–although actually any time during the winter months is fabulous. The beach is usually deserted and the tide can vary from rough to smooth with lots of little shorebirds. We didn’t see many birds but Toby and Dora entertained themselves by racing madly up and down the beach through the waves and water. It took both of us to keep an eye on them and try to call them back–like little boys they were having too much fun to pay any attention to us. When we noticed they were gulping down salt water–too busy to come back to the water dish we had brought for them, we corralled them, put them in the crate and came home.

We ended our day with two Cuba Gooding movies, a plateful of mussels and chicken wings–soy ones for me, and  home-made blue-cheese dipping sauce.

Smelly fish and a fight with the ocean

This time of year is my favorite time to visit the beach. The sun is still bright and the air a bit crisp but there are very few other people there. It is a great place to seek solitude, something which I require as a regular fix. It was also the first time we took Toby.

 

A drive with Toby is an upper arm exercise as I struggled to keep her in the back seat; she persisted in wanting to lick my hands and my face–not so bad now that her dog food doesn’t smell like excrement. Finally arriving at the beach, she lept out of the car with great abandoment and found to her great delight, a lovely rotting fish carcass. She carried it proudly around and made sure that neither of us got close enough to snatch away her prize.

Her next project–after finding several more equally smelly fish, was to chase some birds–who wisely flew off over the ocean much to her great dismay. But then, there was the ocean and those waves making tiny ripply noises and then crashing ones–and she dashed about trying to catch the waves, getting thoroughly sandy and wet in the process.

 

Our trip home, with the totally ignored frisbees, required not so much energy on my part, and she finally napped on the back seat–now resembling a small beach. The next trip will be with a pet carrier as now I must take a nap.

 

Photos of our morning are on smugmug here  http://sylviaweirphotos.smugmug.com/Texas/Beach-Fall-2012/26391342_hjszQR#!i=2201091631&k=XQvWX5c

and if you peruse the galleries you will find another group of beach photos from previous years.

A Day at the Beach in Texas

Dune Fence

Strolling on the beach in January here in coastal Texas is a pleasure we reserve for the winter months. We usually have the beach to ourselves along with the shorebirds and the occasional fisherman. If the weather is exceptionally cold and the wind is high, even the fishermen stay home. Saturday was overcast with a light wind; the waves were a steel gray but the shorebirds wandered up and down unconcerned with our presence.

The dunes have begun to recover after Hurricane Ike; the storm surge debris in the trees and fences is mostly gone and a few houses have been rebuilt in Sabine Pass. Some houses are boarded up, others features glassless windows, and there are many vacant lots with the occasional travel trailer. The school is freshly repaired and raised many feet above sea level with a huge parking lot as the ground floor with large grills serving as windows.

Sea Rim Park is open once again but it is little more than a few boardwalks over the dunes, some Porta-potties for the RV’ers and a Ranger truck parked at the entrance to take entrance fees. Before Rita and Ike there was a very nice little museum, picnic tables, facilities for fresh water showering, and a small entrance cabin. We prefer McFadden Beach which is open to the public through an access road through the dunes and features miles of beach.

Photo taking was a bit difficult today and I almost wish for the days of black and white film. I would have had a lot of wasted shots of seed pods twirling in the wind and shorebirds with half a head. There were a few tar balls on the beach but most of them were quite small. I found some lovely sea glass but also found lots of broken glass bits—good thing I was wearing shoes. A cow cookie cutter lay on the sand; a couple appeared with their two dogs that obligingly played fetch the stick and brought the stick back to Glen.

More people seemed to be arriving—all with our fondness for winter beach wandering—and so we headed home. An evening with an Irish balladeer was on our agenda and we didn’t want to miss a minute.

photos will be on smugmug as usual

Shangri-La

 

 

April 26, 2008

 

Shangri-La

 

On Friday, my husband and I decided to spend a day just looking and enjoying. We both love to go to the beach, especially during the winter months and even more so in the early morning when we are the only ones there. We didn’t wake up quite as early as we had hoped, but we stopped at the Dunkin Donuts at the end of our street, picked up coffee and two donuts each and headed for the beach.

 

The wind was from the south and there was very little beach showing. The sanderlings were running this way and that hunting up tasty morsels for breakfast. I watched a pair execute some sort of mating ritual, with one bird huddling into the sand as the waves crashed around it—perhaps indicating it was ready to nest. Both of us wandered about taking photos with the sun peeping out behind some rather thick clouds and gleaming across the waves and sand.

 

Our next stop was the bird sanctuary on the way back from McFadden Beach to Sabine Pass. I had noted the gate on our way down and it seemed like a good time to check it out. Glen preceded me down the path while I stopped to take photos of a very large rabbit and some lantana. It wasn’t long before I could see him running back towards me, waving his arms furiously. He was being swarmed by deer flies. I decided he was rather wimpy and headed down another path—and soon was swarmed too. I ran back waving my arms as well. I’m sure the birds thought we were quite strange. We both hustled back to the truck, and sprayed each other generously with repellant and wandered back through the area in a small haze but at least no bites. The only bird we saw was a crane but several other birders were there with large cameras and binoculars.

 

Shangri-La, a garden that has recently opened in Orange was our next destination. We arrived a little after ten, just in time for the boat ride. Lutcher Stark, a timber magnate and conservation pioneer owned nearly 300 acres of swamp and timberland in the middle of the city of Orange Texas. During his lifetime, he planted hundreds of azaleas and camellias, built paths, and invited the public to see his gardens. People would dress in their Sunday best –around Easter time—to tour the gardens. One year over 20,000 visited in just three Sundays.

 

In 1958 there was a killing freeze, and most of his azaleas died. The land then naturalized to a large extent and was no longer open. There was a huge estate and heir fight over what would happen to that land; the heirs wishing it to remain natural; the foundation wishing it to be revamped into Stark’s original vision. The last direct heir died several years ago, and work was begun. Hurricane Rita destroyed much of the refurbishing and took out many trees. The garden was opened just this past month. Some of it is formal gardens with sculptures and large rocks with quotes on them; large parts of it is natural vegetation.

 

There is a large rookery with a blind built for photography. It is a wonderful place and will be beautiful after all the initial plantings have established themselves.

 

Our final stop was Esther’s. It is prime crawfish time here. Glen had the boiled crawfish—five pounds!—and I had the crawfish platter.

 

It was a good day.

 

Photos of McFadden Beach are here:

http://ysr612.smugmug.com/gallery/4798628_FYdYA#285026653_sMddJ

 

Photos of Shangri-La in Orange Texas are here:

http://ysr612.smugmug.com/gallery/4798624_4MqVj#285035824_LJ4Vh