Entry for March 2007

Winter 2006/2007

Volunteering for the Army Corps of Engineers

Lake Somerville, Texas

We had a great time at Lake Somerville. There was a great group of volunteers and a wonderful Volunteer Coordinator, Bill Keienburg.� His philosophy is that if you are having fun and feel like you are making a difference, then you are enjoying your job.

We lived in Yegua Creek Park and were primarily responsible for maintaining the Nature Trail in that park. It is a beautiful, 1 mile, trail through the woods. Trees are labeled and the trail has a crushed granite base, lined with white limestone rocks.� The farrell hogs like to look for grubs underneath the rocks, scattering them out from the trail.� We found that, generally, the hogs did not like rooting in the sharp crushed granite. So if we placed the liner rocks on top of the granite, they’d leave it alone. The hogs were pretty alert. We couldn’t get a good picture of them.

We also volunteered to break a couple new trails – rather, old trails that had become overgrown. There is the Visitor’s Overlook Trail. This trail goes from the Visitor’s Overlook, that overlooks the dam, traveling about 1.5 miles to the William’s Cemetery. We cut a new entry to the existing trail that was easier to see from the parking area, and it is easier to walk.� We installed entry fences with split cedar rails, painted signs with trail maps and mounted them at the entries.

Williams Cemetery is an old, unused, cemetery that had been lost until a few years ago when the volunteers were looking for the USACE boundary in that area.� The cemetery was primarily used for the Williams family, although there are quite a few other family names there. It is an African American cemetery, or in local terms an “old black cemetery”.� It was abandoned in the 1950’s when the American Legion volunteered to maintain the Somerville city cemetery. Their conditions were that, because they were not a segregated organization, the city cemetery will no longer be segregated and would be available to anyone living in the city limits regardless of race, creed or color. We also helped maintain this little cemetery. We designed and painted a sign for it and all the volunteers installed it. Cub Packs and Scout (Boy and Girl) Troops volunteer, every year, to help with the maintenance.

We enjoyed watching the wildlife at Yegua Creek Park. We monitored the Bluebird nesting boxes and regretted having to leave before the eggs were hatched. The cardinals were plentiful and we had to move a nest, with eggs, out of our bumper when we left. The deer were also plentiful. We made friends with a little buck we called “spats” because he had markings on his feet that looked like he was wearing spats. We also made friends with an injured deer that a Gate Attendant nicknamed “scarface”. He looked like he had a tangle with a bobcat. He had his ears chewed up and looked like a broken jaw. I’d hate to see the bobcat, because this little deer came out the winner!� The Texas Bluebonnets gave us a great send-off in March.

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