A farmer friend introduced me to this stretch of road about two years ago. Since then, I enjoy a relaxing drive there. It’s in far southeastern Williamson County, thus far left alone by mass development. Being fairly close to Austin, I understand the concept of growth. Please let it be smart growth. Much of it is not.
Just some barns tonight, friends. Barns, like windmills and longhorns, are subjects that never grow old for me.
Last year, during one of my many excursions to take photos of New Sweden Evangelical Lutheran Church, a few miles north of Manor, Texas, I happened onto an intriguing structure, just east of the church. Since it appeared to be on private land, I mentally filed it away for another day. Last week, a Coupland friend who distributes an area newsletter, answered the question. This was Manda School, a two-room schoolhouse opened in 1915 in the community of Manda, Texas, a town founded by Swedish immigrants in the 1880s. The community was named after Amanda Bengston Gustafson, the sister of the town’s postmaster. The school closed in 1962 as students migrated to other school districts nearby. In recent years, it’s served as a community center, but has been dormant for a while. This week, I joined a group of volunteers from Sherwin Williams Austin district, and Funk Paint Contractors, Inc., as they put a fresh coat of paint on the structure. Several groups, large and small, have made financial contributions to the structure. The gentleman posing for a portrait inside the school is Austin resident David Erickson, 77, who was a student here from 1948-1950. He’s now leading Friends of Manda School. As some know, I am a proponent of historic preservation, particularly in areas around the Blackland Prairie. Seeing this structure return to life is a gift to us all.
Some photos taken tonight at Taylor’s Murphy Park, not necessarily at the rookery, just close by.
It’s been a very busy day, burning the candle at both ends, but I did manage to find a few rural scenes on the Blackland Prairie tonight.
A few years ago, my daughter-in-law asked if I would take a magnolia bloom photo for her. Just down the street from us, a neighbor had three magnolia trees in her front yard. After my daughter-in-law’s request, I asked the neighbor if it was okay to snap some photos. She was happy to oblige! Since then, I try to get over there each Spring for a new set of photos. Magnolia blooms are good subjects for visual exploration. I could just snap a couple photos, but it’s intriguing to vary the work. For someone just beginning to learn photography, a useful exercise is to take one subject, anything you like, and dig into it with your camera. It’s a good way to expand your visual chops. Anyway, some magnolia imagery for this year.
Clouds and Texas skies go well together. Storm clouds hovered over East Williamson County this afternoon, creating an interesting pattern above some friends’ grain elevators. And then there was a time near sunset over Granger Lake, a couple nights ago. There’s really nothing more to add.
Corn imagery taken Sunday evening in around the area of Texas farm country we call the Blackland Prairie. It’s starting to look pretty nice. A few weeks ago, I asked a farmer if the February ice storm would negatively affect his corn crop. On the contrary, it seemed to strengthen the soil, he replied. The last photo shows two crops, corn and wheat, growing side-by-side on a gentle hill. We had some interesting skies last night. Then again, we always do.
I’d actually stopped here to take a look at a field of wheat. The wheat was thriving, but not very inspiring. Near the field, however, were strands of prairie grass. The evening light seemed to make them shine. So just some grass imagery tonight, friends. Tiny landscapes.
After a rocky 2020, Granger’s Lakefest returned this year. A two-day event, it began with a street dance on Friday night, concluding Saturday with a parade and other other fun things in this Central Texas town of 1500. That number could change, depending on the latest census figures, but it remains an iconic Texas town. These are some scenes from Friday night and this morning. The girls on the school bus were the final entry in today’s parade. Members of Granger High’s varsity softball team, they were headed directly to a regional playoff game in Caldwell, Texas. If any images need explanation, it might be the last one, a camera-shy two-year-old peering through her daddy’s taxidermy work. I told her daddy we’d get a photo before the day was up. We did.