There’s not much to say about these photos taken Friday evening as I watched light evolve over the San Gabriel River in Georgetown. Cloud reflections in the water are pleasing to my eye. If you look closely at the last image, you’ll see a Waxing Crescent moon, 9.5% visibility. And the little dot at upper left is Venus.
Most seasons, after documenting a cotton harvest, I follow up with a visit to a gin, where cotton goes when it leaves the field. Once again, I prevailed on the kind and welcoming co-owners of Waterloo Gin, just east of Taylor. Clement and David couldn’t be more helpful. And I enjoy seeing Red, the resident dog. This set of photos includes three outings. The first one was on a very stormy night, creating some super duper skies above those huge modules of cotton. I didn’t do much that night. The other images came later. By nature, gins are very dusty places. Long before the pandemic took hold, staff working inside the gin wore face coverings. it’s pretty much a necessity. The final photo in this post is a portrait of Pete, 89 when I took this photo last year. Pete had been here for decades. When I first got there this year, I asked about him. “Pete died,” exclaimed Clement, his head lowered. The February storms took him away from us. Rest in peace, Pete. I’ll miss seeing you.
Tonight’s moon on the Blackland Prairie. In its Waxing Crescent phase, it’s just 3.8% visible, but that tiny brightness caught my eye for a while.
Simple subject matter tonight, adorned with golden evening light. These are two scenes taken not far from Thrall, Texas, at the eastern edge of Williamson County. Good prairie land, friends.
As daylight hours grow shorter, I’m starting to see things not usually seen. For years, I’ve driven past Granger City Hall, but just recently I began to notice light emanating from its interior at night. The warm light enhances the American flag resting by a front window. It’s not something noticed during the day. It’s a neat old structure anyway. The opening photo gives a sense of place. The final image contains no flag, just another spot of light. It was erected in 1908-09 as the Farmers State Bank, closing in 1926. In 1929 it was recast as Granger City Hall. I’ve always admired the structure. I hope the city continues to keep the light on at night.
One of the concluding events of the weekend’s Popptoberfest, held in Georgetown as a replacement for last spring’s Red Poppy Festival was a Pet Parade around the town square. Keeping up with Ollie and his mom (opening photo) was tricky, but he was happy to wear his reindeer antlers and be there. At the end of the parade, an English Bulldog named Tyson got a welcome drink from his mom. Tyson’s siblings, Foxy and Fergie, were also participants. And there was Koda, the Georgetown Fire Department’s favorite dog, wearing her poppy finery without complaint. The event honored and paid homage to the 75 dogs who recently lost their lives in a fire.
Celebrating its 28th year, the Clayman Rodeo was held Saturday evening at Windsong Farm in Georgetown. Rodeo participants are either current or former students of Kelly and Jim Bob Clayman, former rodeo stars who years ago settled into the area, instructing in rodeo skills, but other equestrian things, too. The rodeo is the culmination of another year’s hard work. A little extra rain this week made the outdoor arena a little unstable for the event, but the Claymans have a good covered area, too. For my purposes, it was pretty dark, but the competitors weren’t fazed a bit. At this rodeo you won’t see steer wrestling or bareback riding. They stick to safer pursuits here: roping, pole bending, barrel racing. The three kids on their stomachs are all under 5, taking part in the Nickel Scramble, where nickels are hidden in the arena dirt while the kids get as many as they can. It’s all fun.
Fun fact: according to the United States Department of Agriculture, Texas continues to be the top cotton-producing state in the country. 40% of cotton grown comes from here. It’s natural that I would want to document a cotton harvest. A friend who runs a cotton gin near Taylor suggested farmer Larry Safarik’s crop. A good idea! I’d profiled Safarik in September 2014. Another visit was in the works. Larry’s planted 250 acres of cotton this season. Since then, , the vibrant 76-year-old has undergone hip replacement surgery. He’s still active, continuing his day job, teaching at Taylor Middle School. For now, he relies on a walker and cane until the healing is complete. He’s in his 55th year as a teacher and coach. Like most farmers in the area, Safarik turns to others for the actual cotton harvest. For this year’s work, he’s hired Granger farmer David Hajda and his sons to help. They have strippers, which I mistakingly called combines. Strippers are specific too cotton. Throughout last week, when these photos were taken, rain was forecast almost every day. Unharvested cotton sitting in a field needs to get to the gin before it gets soaked. I’m pretty sure Larry’s crop made it there on time. I’m glad to reconnect with Mr. Safarik and the Hajda family.
Georgetown’s Red Poppy Festival was canceled last Spring because of the pandemic, but replaced this weekend with Popptoberfest, a three-day event beginning tonight on the town square. Visitors gathered to enjoy the music of Dysfunkshun Junkshun, very danceable stuff. These photos were taken there tonight. The festival continues through Sunday. Saturday night musical guests include Brave Combo and Dale Watson.
A busy night ahead, just two simple photos taken recently in the North Williamson County area around Walburg. The barn, of course, isn’t new, but it’s a new one for my cameras.