Monday, April 22, 2013

The Wildfire, the Buffalo, and Other Things

Our daughter Courtney, her husband Michael, and our grandson Alexander (we call him "Xander" for short, among other things) came down for the weekend. They live in a small town about 2 hours north of here, and they always enjoyed visiting us in San Angelo. It's a big city for them, and they enjoy the opportunity to eat out and shop. If you've ever lived in a small town, you'll know what I mean.

We grilled burgers when they arrived Friday evening, and we grilled steaks before they left on Sunday. On Saturday, we wanted to get out. The kids needed to pick up some things at Walmart and Sam's Wholesale Club, so those were our first stops. We then enjoyed lunch at CiCi's Pizza Buffet. Donna and I really enjoy CiCi's; it is probably our favorite pizza buffet. From time to time, they run a $5 buffet for an entire month, and that is really a good deal, especially when you can put away as much pizza as Donna can. A local magician was at CiCi's making balloon animals and other things for the kids, and Xander took home a balloon creation.

After lunch, we drove out to San Angelo State Park. Courtney had hiked the park with Donna and I when she was a youngster 20 or so years ago, but I don't think she has been to the park since then; I don't think Michael and Xander had ever been there. Xander is active in Boy Scouts, and Michael is an adult leader in that group, so they are always looking for camping and hiking opportunities, and I thought they would enjoy seeing what the park has to offer.

We've been going to the park for more than 20 years, but Donna and I had never seen the buffalo herd. When we entered the park on Saturday, though, the herd was next to the road and we got several pictures. The mesquites are thick in that area of the park, and unless the buffalo are next to the fence, they just aren't visible. After seeing the buffalo, we rode through the park and I pointed out the hiking trails to Michael.

Some of the elusive buffalo at San Angelo State Park

The buffalo are kept in the pasture on the right as you enter the park
As we were leaving the park, we notice a dark column of smoke to the southwest. Upon reaching the highway, a fire truck cruised by on its way to the fire. The fire was reportedly caused by sparks from a train; actually, there were six small fires located in proximity to one another. The fires were close to a fence company, and several piles of fence posts and poles were also inflamed. Many of the posts and poles were treated with creosote, thereby causing the black smoke. (see story here in the San Angelo Standard Times; I do not know how long the story will be archived).

The country is dry, and I'm afraid this is just the first of many wildfires the area will see this year.I surely wish there was some way we could get some of the water those folks along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers are getting.

Later that evening, Court and Michael went out for a meal alone and left Xander with Donna and me. The kids always enjoy the opportunity to eat a nice meal sans Xander when they are in town, and we enjoy the chance to spend some time alone with the little monster.

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