Stormy Skies Over the Corn Fields

We need the rain.  And it came tonight to the Blackland Prairie.  Before the bottom dropped out, however, the skies became beautiful, the land below them taking on sweet droplets of textured light.   Okay, I’m watching a political convention so I won’t stay here long.  For what it’s worth, I watched the one last week, too.Stormy East Wilco CountyStormy East Wilco CountyStormy East Wilco County

Finding New Homes

Among the many things I photographed this past weekend was the Clear The Shelter Campaign, part of a nationwide initiative where animal shelters offered dog and cat adoptions at no cost, with everything taken care of in advance, shots, spaying and neutering, etc.    My visit was to the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter in Georgetown, Texas, where a lot of folks were looking for new family members.   Among them Elizabeth George, with her grandkids, Juliana Santiago, 9, and her brother, Joelle, 10.  They fell in love with Sadie, a two-year-old who appeared to have some dachshund and maybe chihuahua?    Then there was mom Jennifer Larsen, with her daughter Elliott, 7, and son Miles, 19 months.  They were looking to add a cat to their family.   Jennifer’s husband, also a photographer, was traveling out of state, but she wanted him on board with their adoption plans.   Knowing dad’s weakness, she texted him a photo of Elliott sporting a huge smile.   That did the trick.  “He can’t say no to her,” beamed mom.  So Trudy, a sleek ebony 2-year-old cat, became a member of the Larsen family.  I liked watching these little bits of life unfold.  When you can, adopt or rescue your next family pet.

Elizabeth George with grankids Julianna Santiago and her brother, Joelle. And new family member, Sadie.

Elizabeth George with grandkids Julianna Santiago and her brother, Joelle. And new family member, Sadie.

Jennifer Larsen and daughter Elliott, visit with Trudy, their new family member.

Jennifer Larsen and daughter Elliott, visit with Trudy, their new family member.

Kyle Fahs, 15, visits with Hector, a 10-year-old Miniature Pinscher en route to a new home.

Kyle Fahs, 15, visits with Hector, a 10-year-old Miniature Pinscher en route to a new home.

Mia gets to know her new mom, Kayla Rodrigues.

Mia gets to know her new mom, Kayla Rodrigues.

Juan Jaramillo and friend Stephanie Holder get to know their new dogs, Mary and Larry.

Juan Jaramillo and friend Stephanie Holder get to know their new dogs, Mary and Larry.

Emily Talley left the shelter with Jenna, a one-year-old chihuahua.

Emily Talley left the shelter with Jenna, a one-year-old chihuahua.

A kitten looking for a home.

A kitten looking for a home.

The shelter had an abundance of kittens needing forever homes.

The shelter had an abundance of kittens needing forever homes.

Up Before The Sun in Taylor, Texas

Sometimes, as you may have figured out by now, my restless ways, combined with the need for sweet light, results in rising early, usually before the crack of dawn.  The destination this morning was close:  Bull Branch Park , only one-half mile from home.   While it’s a nice park all the time, full of ducks and geese, the pond and its feathered inhabitants take on an added glow before sunrise.  The first of these few photos were taken a few minutes before 6a.m.   Sunrise was at 6:41.  I stayed around through sunrise, plus a few minutes beyond, moseying up the road to home around 7:15.   Once daylight savings time exits our world, I’ll be happy.  Then the sweet evening light provides its own soothing balm.   Morning Light @ Bull Branch ParkMorning Light @ Bull Branch ParkMorning Light @ Bull Branch ParkMorning Light @ Bull Branch ParkMorning Light @ Bull Branch ParkMorning Light @ Bull Branch ParkMorning Light @ Bull Branch ParkMorning Light @ Bull Branch ParkMorning Light @ Bull Branch ParkMorning Light @ Bull Branch ParkMorning Light @ Bull Branch Park

Sunset & Moonrise in Coupland

While visting Coupland this evening, with something else in mind, I found my eyes turned to the beautiful Texas skies above the little town, and its focal point, Saint Peter’s Church of Coupland, with roots back to 1890.   Then, when I finished that, the moon decided to rise behind me.   It was a pretty night in Texas.Coupland Sunset & MoonCoupland Sunset & MoonCoupland Sunset & Moon

A Continuing Presence in Georgetown

Wesley Chapel Church AnniversaryWesley Chapel Church AnniversaryWesley Chapel Church AnniversaryWesley Chapel Church AnniversaryWesley Chapel Church AnniversaryOn Sunday afternoon, I spent my time well, documenting the 147th anniversary celebration of Georgetown’s Wesley Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, located at 508 West Fourth Street.   The church was formed in 1869.   By 1881, the church had acquired the land at this site, holding services in a small frame structure.  The present church came along in 1904.   Think about it … that makes seven years older than its neighbor on the square, the Williamson County Courthouse, dedicated in 1911.   Sunday’s event spanned a full three hours, but if anyone was bored at the length, it didn’t show.   I was certainly enthralled.  Church pastor Silas Swint gave over the reins of his pulpit to a former pastor, Reverend John McCormick, founding pastor at Round Rock’s CrossWork Christian Center.   Rev. McCormick brought along his choir.   This choir, there’ s no adequate description for how wonderful they were.   It’s not often I put down the cameras, but when they sang, I stopped.  Wow.   Notables in attendance included Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross, his wife Mickie, director of the Williamson Museum, Williamson County Commissioner Valerie Covey and Dr. Ron Swain, Director of Mission Ministries at Georgetown’s First United Methodist Church.   Church member Ethel Harrison, who turns 90 in September, was here, too.  She’s been here longer than anyone.   On the other end of the spectrum there was Jayana Davis, 2, who came with her family from Austin.   The horrific events of the past couple of weeks were mentioned, too.   How could you not?  Just yesterday morning, a man in Baton Rouge murdered three law enforcement officers before also dying.   Maybe we need more institutions like Wesley Chapel A.M.E. Church.Wesley Chapel Church AnniversaryWesley Chapel Church AnniversaryWesley Chapel Church AnniversaryWesley Chapel Church AnniversaryWesley Chapel Church AnniversaryWesley Chapel Church AnniversaryWesley Chapel Church Anniversary

An Early Visit to Wuthrich Hill

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, sitting atop a sweet hill in Wuthrich Hill, Texas, is one of those places I occasionally visit for my photo therapy.   Today,  I rose about 5:45, not sure where I was going, but feeling the need to wander and (of course) find some good morning light.   Prince of Peace does not let me down.   The church, and its adjoining cemetery, are only about 9 or 10 miles from home.   By 6:10, I was recording what I saw, including a small pond overlooking a nice swath of land ripe for planting. This morning’s focus, I decided, was the cemetery, just down the hill from the church.  It’s a smallish space, but well-kept.  I’m fascinated by gravestones that include a photo of the deceased on their surface.  Most of the area’s Lutheran settlers were  German, Czech and Swedish,  European countries where this tradition was common.    I found one, a Mr. Louis Stoll, born in 1895, his death following in 1927.   One that moved me, however, was that of a young soldier, Private Willie Schroeder, born in 1897, leaving this earth on October 18, 1918, just over a month from the end of World War I, on November 18, 1918.  War took him away early, but his gravestone honors his short life.    The church building?  It was dedicated in 1896.   Services are still held here.   Continuity is good. Prince of Peace Church CemeteryPrince of Peace Church CemeteryPrince of Peace Church CemeteryPrince of Peace Church CemeteryPrince of Peace Church CemeteryPrince of Peace Church CemeteryPrince of Peace Church Cemetery

“Smokey Joe’s Cafe” at the Palace

“Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” a musical review, has come to Georgetown’s Palace Theatre, running weekends through August 14.   This production is under the direction of Lannie Hilboldt, the Palace’s Director of Music.   That’s Lannie in the final photo in this post.   These are just a few of the photos I took during Thursday night’s dress rehearsal.  In a change of pace, there are more post on Facebook!    This is a fast-moving and fun production.Smokey Joe's CafeSmokey Joe's CafeSmokey Joe's CafeSmokey Joe's CafeSmokey Joe's CafeSmokey Joe's CafeSmokey Joe's CafeSmokey Joe's CafeSmokey Joe's CafeSmokey Joe's CafeSmokey Joe's CafeSmokey Joe's CafeSmokey Joe's Cafe

A Cultural Phenomenon?

As I was leaving the Georgetown square a little after 10p.m. tonight, I noticed many folks walking around town, pointing their phones, or just staring at the things.  It seems Pokemon (accent over the e) Go is a cultural happening right now.   Go figure.Pokemon Go

A Continuation of Corn … And a Shiny Barn

It wasn’t my plan to follow a corn post with yet another corn post, but on the way to the house tonight, near the top of a hill (yes we have a few hills on the prairie) the expansive fields got my attention.  It gives you a sense, perhaps, of the area I call home.   The other photo?  A little corn, yes, and a very shiny barn catching the last of the day’s light.

160713 EAST WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TEXAS: Corn fields dominate the landscape along County Road 127, near County Road 192 on Wednesday, July 13, 2016. Photo by Andy Sharp. 002Shiny Barn & Corn

A Growing Season Winds Down

Taking another occasional drive Tuesday evening, I found myself along a  road, County Road 418, in East Williamson County, Texas.   It’s not a very long road, a little south of Granger Lake.   Most of the fields there are covered with the last bits of the season’s corn crops.   Soon, many of these fields will transition to other things, most likely cotton, easily the biggest crop on the Blackland Prairie.   But for a while, you’ll see the corn stalks, now faded to yellow husks.   Soon, the farm equipment will roll over these fields.   What remains, those errant stalks, will fly above the land, eventually spinning into non-existence.   The light was sweet last evening, as it usually is if I’m patient …. and persistent.Corn Fields on C.R. 418Corn Fields on C.R. 418Corn Fields on C.R. 418Corn Fields on C.R. 418Corn Fields on C.R. 418