Since this evening is the actual full moon, I stayed out a little later for its appearance, which didn’t show up in my East Williamson County, Texas sky until just before 9pm. Once again, a tip of the hat to those Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the first humans to walk on the surface of the moon fifty years ago this week.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that this week marks the 50th anniversary of the first steps on the moon by Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. It’s only fitting that the moon is full. These photos were taken along a beautiful bit of Blackland Prairie road not far from Bartlett, Texas. The image with the sunflowers also pays tribute to long-abandoned homes. The space program is a reason to stay positive while the earth spins on a precarious axis.
Recently, a friend mentioned a camel sighting not far from our home in Taylor, Texas. As I wandered the area she mentioned quite often, a camel wasn’t something I expected to see. Until last week. Low and behold, while chasing down another idea not far from Coupland, there she (he) was, sharing a field with some friends. One friend, however, wasn’t enamored with the camel’s curiosity. The humped-back addition to Texas did give those horses a wide berth. Just one of the oddities seen on the Blackland Prairie, friends.
Because it sounded like a whole lot of fun, I drove south from Taylor this morning to attend the 71st Annual Watermelon Festival in McDade, Texas. Located about 34 miles east of Austin, in Bastrop County, the latest figures I could find say the community is around 700 folks. Never let it be said that Texas towns, no matter their size, can put on a good show. There were a number of activities throughout a mighty warm day, including a parade, a largest melon winner, a car show, vendors (plenty of food and drink, not just watermelon) and live music. Among the competitions: horseshoe pitching, watermelon eating, seed spitting, washer pitching, a riding lawnmower rodeo and an auction for the prize melon. For history buffs, you could pay a visit to the McDade Historical Museum, a part of downtown McDade since the early 1870s. Though warm, I had a fine time there. If I hadn’t wanted to get this post done, I’d have stayed for more. That little guy in the last photo is one of my favorites. His parents were helping oversee the watermelon eating contest. He was quite comfortable and cool sitting in the midst of a trailer’s load of ice-filled melons. He had the best seat in the house!
From earlier tonight, at the entrance to the Old Settlers Association in Round Rock, a Texas-themed windmill made better by a Waxing Gibbous moon, 85.7% visible.
Kids had a great time visiting with furry, feathery and scaly little critters during a Georgetown Public Library visit by folks from Tiny Tails to You, a mobile petting zoo based in Austin. Among the animals on hand: bantam chickens, rabbits, a chinchilla, a tortoise, a Bearded Dragon, hedgehogs and a blue-tongued skink, shown in the opening photo. I spent over an hour there and had a grand time myself. The petting zoo is one of the library summer reading program happenings. These photos were for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.
This summer I’m paying attention to places and things I’ve seen in the ten years since we came home to Texas. In 2009, while riding my bike along the wonderful country roads east of Taylor, a small farmhouse, with a sturdy tin roof commanded presence in the middle of a field. A few times over the years since, I’ve taken numerous photos there. About two-three years ago I started noticing a large travel trailer parked in front. Since that didn’t add to its charm, I drove on by. When driving past there this week, the trailer was gone. The cotton was growing nicely and the sky looked wonderful. I made about six frames before moving on. I occasionally speak out about overdevelopment where we live, but fully understand if a family decides to sell the land around the house. We do what we must. The scene will go away, but for now, it’s there. And that makes me happy.
In the far reaches of East Williamson County, Texas last evening, close to sunset, I happened on a sweet-looking white horse adorned with some nice spots. The clouds were good since a storm looked like a possibility earlier that day. The storm didn’t materialize, but I did stop for photos of that horse. Not ones to be left out, the horse was soon joined by some bovine friends who share the pasture. The calf at left was a tad shy, but that white one at right? Her curiosity led her right up to the fence line. The horse pretty much stayed put and grazed. It was a good night’s end on the Blackland Prairie.
That headline is a little misleading. The photos offered tonight were made on not one, but three visits to a barn just north of Bartlett, Texas. When mentioning to a friend my affection for barns, he replied, “you need to take a look at the big one just up the road.” So I did just that. The barn is overseen by Jordan Cato and his family. Although a really large space, you don’t see that from the highway. Among the things I saw there: a carefully-covered sailboat, brought over to this country from England in 1921; two barn cats, Fluffy and Brawley, plus Woody, a mighty nice German Shepherd. And there are horses, of course. A view from the back pasture introduces us to a dormant 1997 Volvo, a project car for Jordan’s son. And one more sailboat, a small one that rests out back. Just one of the bits of life to see on the prairie, friends.
This unpaved road on the Blackland Prairie is among my favorites. In the ten years we’ve been back home in Texas, not much has changed. The road is still unpaved. The old farmhouse is still there. And the traffic is minimal. When we moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1980 I was able to find a dirt road or two. By 2009, when we left, they were rare finds. I love these Texas back roads, even when big trucks are stirring up a storm of dust.