While focused on something else last evening in Beyersville, Texas, this scene made its way in front of my camera. While I’d planned to post that “something else” tonight, this is okay all by itself. Beyersville, in southeast Williamson County, appears to be an are blessed with beautiful rolling hills, just the right trees and (of course) good skies. Was there ever a downtown to this community? I don’t know, but it’s somewhere I’ll return for future ramblings. You betcha.
On my way to retrieve some fast food last evening in Taylor, I came upon this dad and daughter moseying along on their horses. They’d been to a family reunion at Murphy Park and were now making their way back to the stables. These little slices of life in Texas always give me a good feeling. If you’re wondering if they were safe on that road, I’d have to say yes. In this part of the world, folks are used to seeing people on horses. And they’re respectful. I do love my home.
Those of you who follow what I do know my feelings about Daylight Saving Time. While it’s good for those among you who need that light for outdoor activities, I get that. What that means for me, however, is that the sweet light I love comes later. Thankfully, we’re beyond the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. The good news is this: there are wonderful tonalities in the pre-dawn hour, too. On this Saturday, with 14 hours 4 minutes of daylight, I crawled out of bed about 5:40 this morning. Sunrise would not come until 6:32. Get a move-on, Andy! There’s usually no set plan when I do this, pretty much like a lot of those evening ramblings. Just get in the car and go out on the prairie. This selection of photos, beginning about 18-20 minutes before sun-up, contain images of both the moon and the coming sun. The moon’s in a Waning Gibbous phase, 94.6% visible. Not too shabby. Because our prairies are adorned with corn, that’s represented pretty well. Crops, folks, and livestock, will always be a part of things where we live, but there’s one of a favorite old truss bridge passing over the San Gabriel River. That photo was about 11-15 minutes before dawn. The horse photo was 20 minutes after sunrise. By the time I saw that beauty, it was time to mosey on home to Taylor. My drive was 32 miles, taking just over an hour. I’m dragging now, but getting up early provides some pleasant visual rewards.
Our East Williamson County, Texas farmers are beginning to harvest their corn crops, but farmers remain busy throughout the year. At the Boehm family farm, the cotton crop is beginning to thrive. Although I’ve photographed cotton harvests a time or two, this was the first time I saw its beginnings, with beautiful magenta flowers, soon to be replaced by cotton bolls. Our agricultural life continues here on the Blackland Prairie.
This same windmill was posted last night during that mighty fine full moon. While waiting for the moonrise, I made use of my time simply observing light …. where it falls and how it falls, or rises. That windmill was (and still is) a good test subject. In the opening photo, for instance, the sun’s rays bathed everything in shades of red, gold, yellow and orange, all coming together nicely. Then, on the other side of the windmill, from an intersecting road, I watched the corn flutter for a few minutes. After a brief spell, the western sky morphed into yet another hue. If you pay attention, nature will lead you along a nice path. Not always, perhaps, but enough.
Tonight’s offering are a Waxing Gibbous moon taken last night, then again this evening. Honestly, I can’t the difference, but last night’s version, which shows the dome of Granger’s old city hall building, plus an abandoned house on a county road, indicated the lunar delight was 99.1% visible, while tonight’s moon, the photos with the windmill, is listed as 100% visible. Tonight’s moon is also called a Strawberry Moon, not for any apparent coloration. but because June is the month wild strawberries begin to ripen. Other names include Rose Moon, Hot Moon and Mead Moon. Whatever you want to call it, it’s beautiful.
It’s back to the rookery tonight at Taylor’s Murphy Park. The opening photo was taken last week on a cloudy evening, something moody to get things started. The other photos were taken there last evening. In the spring and early-summer the rookery is dominated by various types of egrets, plus a few cormorants. Nearby, but not on the island, are ducks and geese. There is, however, the periodic Great Blue Heron. She has the advantage of size and can pick where she wants to be, but she still had to defend her territory. It’s fun to see the young egrets getting their growth feathers. I’m never quite sure when the population lessens, but I try to enjoy them while they’re with us.
Through July 4th the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter’s Canine Corral, a temporary shelter for dogs on East Morrow Street in Georgetown, is offering completely-free adoptions. This shelter is in what was at one time the Williamson County shown barn. While not air-conditioned, it was pretty cool when I was in there Monday for the Austin American-Statesman, thanks to huge fans and plenty of misters above the cages. The adoptions are free thanks to a group called Best Friends, which raised over $250,000 to help. That money is helping out approximately 270 rescue shelters across the country. This post is mostly to put some faces of the pooches out there for you to see. Since we have a pit bull in our home, I always make sure I’m giving them display space on my site whenever possible. There may be bad dogs, but generally speaking, it’s bad owners who create chaos.
From tonight, above Taylor’s Murphy Park, a little after 8:30p.m. Central Daylight Time. This is a Waxing Gibbous moon, 95.8% visible, almost full. While I’ve said it many times before, it bears repeating: any moon, anywhere on the planet, is a wonderful sight to see.
Last night, as I have done for the years since coming home to Texas, I’ve had the honor of documenting the annual Williamson County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo, its 75th. In 2010, the first year I was there, friends told me the arena’s days were numbered. It’s been a leased property for a long time. The city of Georgetown, with expansive growth, determined that this beautiful old structure didn’t quite fit for future residents. The culture of an area, when it’s doing no harm, is something to embrace. During those many (almost 30) years in Georgia, I missed my Texas things, rodeo included. Sure, they had rodeo in Georgia, but not like here. Sorry, Georgia friends, but it’s true. If you don’t know me, you need to know that I am by no means a cowboy. In my almost 66 years, I’ve only been on a horse maybe twice. Pointy-toed cowboy boots are uncomfortable. I look silly in a cowboy hat. The thing is, I love the culture of rodeo, particularly in a setting like the one in Georgetown, Texas. The city, however, is ready to demolish the arena, replacing it with a festival area, a green space. Are city fathers hoping, by this move, to attract more upscale residents? I don’t know. But know this. Even though I don’t live in Georgetown, that arena is something to cherish. It probably won’t help, but a petition is making the rounds. I may put my John Henry on it. The opening photo is one taken last night after everything was done. That’s 86-year-old Herman (no last names here), a member of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Posse. He stayed around for quite a while. “My dad was a cowboy in west Texas,” he said. Some things deserve to remain.