Author Archives: Larry Gfeller

Life With Tyrannosaurus Rex

So many extinct creatures . . . yet the lines of succession for genetic descendants are remarkable. Life on prehistoric earth was tough. Most everything was bigger, badder and creepier looking than it is today.  As repulsive as modern-day cockroaches are, they pale by comparison next to some of their nocturnal praying-mantis-like predatory ancestors. A number of different animal species survived the dinosaur extinction and some of them, in true cockroach fashion, evolved primordially hideous.  Take, for example, the modern-day Opossum. Opossum-like peradectids also lived during the dinosaur… Read More →

Back Roads Nature–Choke Canyon State Park

Most state parks overwhelm you with warning signs, so they’re easy to ignore; this one isn’t: “BEWARE ALLIGATORS EXIST IN THIS PARK.” As you pick your way along the reed-filled shoreline, this sign grabs your attention—especially if you have a toddler or a dog. Turns out you are in the westernmost stomping grounds of the American Alligator. Local experience says you wouldn’t see a lot of alligators in Choke Canyon State Park but the few you might see could be relatively large.  Fact is, one Braxton Bielski, 18… Read More →

A Springtime Walk In The Woods

Rambling aimlessly down the trail, I notice the night dew still clings to the soil and makes the plants glisten. In the east, the sun breaks like a yolk on the horizon and it seems all of creation is suddenly awake.  A happy sort of clamor fills the air. Squirrels chatter and chase each other through the boughs. Birds raise their voices in promise—to fly together, to breed, nourish, sing. Trees are festooned with glossy leaves under long lance rays; each breath holds the fragrance of new flowers…. Read More →

Lone Star Cryptograms

One of the cool things about science is that it allows us to solve mysteries. Much of what we know about nature and how it works is based on science. In earlier days, however, our relationship with nature was based more on folklore and stories passed down by elders. My grandmother, for example, fervently believed crop success in her garden depended on planting during the proper phase of the moon. Thanks to science, we understand the process better today.  The character of Texas is largely chronicled in legend… Read More →

It’s Just a Local Call From Here!

Like many Americans, Texans often travel great distances in search of fun experiences, overlooking opportunities in their own backyard. Gonzales is a Texas town like no other. About 50 miles South of Bastrop on State Highway 304, it’s a truly enchanted place, a living legend, a jewel in the crown of Texas independence. Gonzales is a trove of colorful history, heroes and fascinating stories. Your first stop needs to be the Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center, located in the old Gonzales County jail. Here you will find… Read More →