May 17, 2015 – River House

getImageWe’ve missed a lot between our sparse appearances at the River House this spring.  The bluebonnets have come and gone.  The gaillardias have made their mark on the landscape, as have the verbenas and Indian Paint Brushes.  They’ll all be gone soon.

It’s fawning season at Pecan Plantation.  Watching the little ones grow up is a lot of fun as we drive around the community.  I saw a newborn the other morning that wasn’t much bigger than a housecat.  If getImage75Y7EA7Dnot for it’s markings, I’d have thought it was a large Chihuahua.  It took a couple of steps after its mother and disappeared in the grass.

The big news has been the rain.  Lake Granbury is full.  The shallow ripples behind our house are gone.  The Brazos is flowing at full strength.  The lake and river are both pretty muddy right now.  We’re not inclined to go kayaking anytime soon.  Floating downstream would be fine, but paddling back would be a challenge.

Ann and I took Jonesy down to walk the Pecan Nature Trail the other day.  It was a nice,  cool, overcast morning.  The trail is a 1.2 mile loop along the Brazos.  Half of the walk follows the getImageGIXMPP61banks of the river before it turns back to the parking area, passing a bird watching station surrounded by bird houses and feeders.  What they’ve done is pretty neat.

There’s something serene about a river ecosystem.  The sound of the water.  The smells.  The birds.  The mushrooms and toadstools.  Varmint tracks.  The earth is rich.  You can go up and down any riverbed for two hundred miles and not much changes.  Not the flora.  Not the fauna.  But you can go two hundred yards outside of its banks and the environment is completely different.  I think that’s part of what draws us to these waters.

Across the river from our little hike (which Ann insisted we do twice), is an interesting geological feature known as Barnards Knob.  No one seems to be sure, but it was probably named for an Indian trader located here in the mid-1800’s named George Barnard.Barnards Knob  George and his brother, Charles, set up a trading post in the area near Comanche Peak.  They had been trading around Waco with the Torrey brothers at Sam Houston’s urging to keep the Indians happy.  According to the Texas State Historical Association they sent 59,000 pounds of undressed deer skins up north between 1851 and 1855.  That’s a lot of trading.  There was apparently a bit of whiskey and firearms involved.  George was married to Mary Rebecca Ross, the sister of Lawrence Sullivan Ross.  Sul Ross was Governor of Texas and the first president of Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College.  Whoop! They had 12 children.  George Barnard died in Waco in 1883.  I’ll try to think of George every time I look out on his namesake knob.

Hood County has a lot of history.  I hope to learn and share more.