These two photos are part of what I refer to as one of my drive-abouts. On a drive-about, my day begins early, well before dawn. I just wander, taking in what I see. These images were taken this morning as I left Taylor, headed for Georgetown. The first photo was taken a little less than an hour before sunrise, a pond just outside Taylor. It has no name that I know of, but I like seeing it. The other photo, taken about a half-hour before sunrise, is the beautiful San Gabriel River, morning mist adding to its sweet persona. If I could get from point a to point b quickly enough with cameras, I’d do a walk-about, but this is what works. We do what we do.
Just one image for this evening, along one of the Blackland Prairie’s peaceful country roads, just west of Taylor. The skies were clear, the temperatures were dropping. And hay was ready for its next customer. Autumn comes late where I live, but it’s here, at least for a while.
The night air felt more autumn-like Thursday. I stayed out a while after a visiting to the library, thinking I might take a drive into the country (again). Light on the facade of the McCrory Timmerman Building, however, got my attention. The sun was going down in the night sky, but also in the beautiful old structure’s windows. The town was lively, it being a Third Thursday, when businesses stayed open late. The building, once a mercantile, later a department store, was vacant for many years. Moving back to Texas, in 2009, my wife occasionally mentioned what a pretty structure it was, but going to waste. Then along came Judy Blundell, who felt it had potential. As she once said, it has good bones. Now it’s coming to life again, with retail shopping, a coffee shop, art gallery and loft apartments. I’m glad to see it saved for future generations. Also included here are some other scenes nearby, also on Second Street, including Taylor Station, just down the street. The silhouette with the blazing sky behind it, on the southwest corner of Second and Main, was built in 1883. It’s vacant now. I’d like to see it refurbished, but it needs much work.
For many reasons I’ve scaled down my photo coverage of football games. I don’t like toting (and running with) heavy gear up and down the sidelines. Nor do I enjoy getting mowed down by overzealous players who don’t get it when a play is blown dead. Just as important, however, are the elements. Rainy weather on a football field is no fun. In either 1976, or maybe 1977, I attended a game pitting Texas A&M against Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, Texas. This was back when the Southwest Conference was still going strong. It was an extremely-wet afternoon. The Aggie yell leaders, along with their dog, were braving the elements. In the fans, Aggie fans tried to stay dry as they cheered on their team. Well into the second quarter, the Mustangs were ahead. Included here is a photo of two friends, Dallas Times-Herald photographers Kurt Wallace and Skeeter Hagler. My sense is they wanted to be elsewhere. Fast-forward to November 2002, in Kennesaw, Georgia, when I covered the high school game at Harrison High School, where they played cross-county rival, Walton High. The photo shows the Harrison team members cheering as the game neared its end, with Harrison prevaling 16-10. This remains the wettest game I have ever covered. More power to those who still enjoy the sidelines, bless your hearts.
Last evening, once again with no destination in mind, I left the house about thirty minutes ahead of sunset, listening to NPR’s “Marketplace.” Ambling along County Road 366, I passed the home of Mike and Deby Lannen. On impulse, I turned left on County Road 368. When it came to an end, about two miles on, left seemed like a good way to go, on County Road 369. The sky was evolving nicely, a farmhouse looking grand on its hill. With no cars in back, I stopped the car, stood on the road, and snapped a few frames before moseying along. Just ahead, where the road ended at County Road 101, there were some cows, making their way to a weathered barn. Some would say all barns are weathered, but they aren’t. With traffic still non-existent, I left the car again and made a few frames, then turned right on 101. Now I was coming up on one of our busier highways, Chandler Road, used by morning commuters to get from Taylor to Round Rock, Interstate 35, or maybe even Cedar Park. But it’s also the night’s road home, too. I suspect it was a good drive for them. Not caring to enter that little spot of traffic, I turned around, retracing the road just traveled. The cows were still smelling their barn. Then, with skies almost on fire with red, there was a windmill in the far distance. Luck was with me, still no traffic. I got out, made some photos, savoring the light. Once again, I turned around just up the hill, taking another right on County Road 369. That farm seen in this post has a fine barn, too. For reasons I don’t know, the owners leave a light on inside. A Motel 6 for livestock? I’ve photographed this scene before, but it still merits attention. Snap. Done for the night, I enjoyed the rest of my ride home on the prairie. It never gets old.
Occasionally I’ll break from the routine of pictorials and community journalism to simply admire some nearby beauty. Yesterday my wife mentioned her flower garden of zinnias was attracting interest from Monarch butterflies. So I stepped into the back yard for a few minutes. The last photo is sans butterfly, but it’s serene.
It’s the middle of October and it’s still dang hot in my part of Texas. After several hours on the streets of downtown Hutto yesterday, I was feeling it as the temperature climbed into the low 90s by early afternoon. Weather aside, I had a good time in this fast-growing Williamson County city covering their 31st Annual Olde Tyme Days for my friends at the Austin American-Statesman. You’ll notice some hippo imagery here. The hippo, you see, is the town’s longtime mascot, also serving in that capacity for Hutto High School. Hippos, mostly concrete ones, can be found all over town. Among the happenings documented during my stay were their parade, a pie-eating contest sponsored by the Texan Cafe, a visit with a longhorn named Route 66, who, for a small fee to raise money for Hutto High’s FFA program, allowed folks to sit atop his massive back. There was also a car show. I concluded my coverage with a few photos taken before the afternoon’s beauty pageant, where little ladies of all ages and sizes, all looking marvelous in their dresses, were vying for various Miss Hutto Olde Tyme Days crowns. While all the contestants were adorable, the neatest was 2-year-old Aniyah McGinnis, keeping a tight grip on her stuffed kitty. Aniyah, like the other entrants, was getting warm at this outdoor venue, and it was two hours past her nap time, too. Mom said she’s had her kitty cat since birth. I do believe she let mom and dad hold her furry friend before she went onstage! These are just a few slices of life in Central Texas.
When they say the moonrise is at a certain time, you can generally add a bit of time to that. It’s up, but it takes a while to really get a good look. At any rate, these photos are from the town square in Georgetown, Texas. The first photo in this post is my favorite. It was one of the last ones taken, around 8:30. Note that moonrise was at 7:01. It wasn’t that far along at that time. It’s all good though.
The week has had an edge to it. To relax tonight, once again I trolled through the Blackland Prairie in East Williamson County, Texas. One stop, along County Road 419, was a stock pond, nicely reflecting the moon on its surface. With that image complete, I wandered around a bit more, stopping at another stock pond (sometimes called a tank in Texas) along County Road 424. Around the corner, almost in Milam County, was Zion Lutheran Church, its twin spires standing tall under that nice moon. It’s good therapy.
This has been a good week to get outside late in the day. The light, at least for yours truly, is improving in quality. Oh, I know some of you cherish those extra snippets of sunlight. You have more time to get outside with your kids, or your grandchildren. Or perhaps take a horseback ride after work. I get that. But to arbitrarily govern sunrises and sunsets, via Daylight Saving Time, is unnatural. Leave nature alone. Here’s a few photos taken this evening: windmills, landscapes, one with a spider, and yes, another farm house, adding some warmth to the evening with a swell front porch light. A good day ends on our Blackland Prairie.