Thoughts & Images from Andy Sharp

Wild Mustangs
Charlie Hill & his donkey
150425 GEORGETOWN, TEXAS:  Gibson, a 1-year-old Vietnamese Minature Pot-bellied pig,  was joined by his owner, Jennifer Taylor,  and Jennifer's daughter, Hazel, 4, for a day of fun at Red Poppy Festival on Saturday.  Gibson is completely house-trained and behaves nicely on his leash.    Photo by Andy Sharp.
2015 Earth Day
Advancing Earth Day
2015 Birds @ Murphy Park
2015 SU Powwow
2015 Autism Bike Ride
East Wilco Ramblings


Forging a Quiet Harmony

One of the most enthralling things I’ve witnessed in a while occurred last Saturday at the Williamson County Sheriffs Posse arena, in Georgetown, Texas.   It was where five wild mustangs, only recently displaced from Bureau of Land Management land in the far western states of Wyoming, Nevada and California, spent their first morning getting to know their new trainers, all Williamson County Sheriffs Posse members.  These lovely creatures will work with their new trainers one-on-one  for one hundred days, as part of the Mustang Challenge and Extreme Mustang Makeover.   The fruits of this  human/horse relationship comes to fruition   September 10-12  in Fort Worth, Texas, where the trainers demonstrate what they’ve been able to accomplish.   Remember, these horses have had little or no human interaction.   They aren’t always trusting, as Roddy Clyde, shown in many of these photos,  will tell you.  Perhaps it’s a cliche to refer to Mr. Clyde as a horse whisperer, but the shoe fits.   During an hour in the arena ring, Clyde made amazing progress.   The touching you see here is no small feat.  An interesting fact:  the Mustang Heritage Foundation, a national group, is based just east of Georgetown, in Weir, Texas.    These photos accompany a Williamson County Sun story by Will Anderson.

Charlie And Astro

While I refer to this blog as Andy’s Ramblings, last evening I met honest-to-goodness ramblers,  Charlie Hill and his sidekick, an 8-year-old donkey called Astro.   For the last several years, Charlie tells me, he and Astro have been putting the miles on their little rig as they make their way on the pathways of Texas.   So far, Astro and Charlie have about 4,000 miles logged.   When I caught up with them Tuesday, it was late in the day.  Storm clouds were forming.   It was an easy choice to land somewhere for the night.   Fortunately, the pair found a field at the end of an abandoned road just north of Taylor.   Thankfully, the rain didn’t materialize, but they were prepared!   Mr. Hill is now 60.   Until a few years ago, he was a mariner, spending a lot of time at sea.   Since he was born and raised near Galveston, that makes sense, doesn’t it?   But now, they wander (or ramble) along our Texas highways.   Charlie’s not sure where they’re headed, but a possible destination is Wichita Falls.   I asked Charlie and Astro to say howdy to Larry McMurtry if they get close to Archer City.   Assuming, of course, Mr. McMurtry hasn’t left the state again.

Georgetown’s Red Poppy Festival

The Red Poppy Festival, in Georgetown, Texas, celebrated its 16th year with this year’s event, which concluded Sunday after a successful 3-day run.   Stormy skies occasionally lurked nearby, but thankfully for festival organizers and visitors to historic downtown Georgetown, the weather cooperated.   There was a cool parade, great antique autos, plenty of food, vendors and entertainment aplenty.   I spent a long Saturday taking photos for the Williamson County Sun.   Among my favorite finds at the festival was Gibson.  Gibson is a 1-year-old Vietnamese Miniature Pot-bellied pig, completely house-broken and friendly as can be.   He didn’t however, care a lot for the loud music.   Pig ears, I suppose, are sensitive.

A Stroll Through Earth Day

My previous post advanced Earth Day 2015.   This offering of images were taken this afternoon, in Taylor and Georgetown.   The ducks included are Taylor ducks, of course.   Taylor is home to many of these lovely creatures.   And turtles, too.    The Taylor photos were at Bull Branch Park.   The remainder of these are from Georgetown’s lovely San Gabriel Park.    They were taken for the Williamson County Sun


Celebrating the Earth

Earth Day falls each year on April 22, a Wednesday this year.   To call attention  the day this past Saturday, the Interfaith Eco-Network took groups on a guided tour of the nature trail at Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery and Prayer Garden, concluding with a visit to Getsemani Community Gardens.   The Interfaith Eco-Network is a coalition of 9 area churches made up of different denominations.   Volunteers involved in taking care of both spaces include the  Williamson County Master Naturalists, as well as members of Williamson County Chapter of  the Native Plant Society of Texas.   The little guy that pops up in a few photos is 6-year-old Gavin Edwards-Lemon, who is quite a rock collector.    And the hands covered in mud belong to Davin Hoyt, who was building a spiral herb garden at Getsemani, using soil and limestone plucked from the land right there.   By the way, the opening photo are inland sea oats at Our Lady of the Rosary, relishing in drops of recent rain.   And the final photo?  That’s a Williamson County Winecup, the little flower used as the official logo of the Williamson County Native Plant Society group.   Apparently, it only grows around here.   That’s cool.    As a photographer who enjoys landscape and wildlife photography, I have the utmost respect for the planet’s survival.   Appreciate the Earth, not just on Earth Day.

A Laugh Out Loud Show!

Georgetown’s venerable Palace Theatre is bringing Monty Python’s “Spamalot” to their Springer Memorial Stage weekends through May 17.   I’m advised this is the first time this hilarious offering has graced the Palace stage.    The production, directed by Ron Watson, was lively and entertaining.   My only negative is I wish the stage lighting were a bit more substantial, but maybe they were going for a moody set.   As a photographer, of course, I may barking up the wrong tree.    This one’s very funny, friends.   Gallop on over and take it in.  These photos were taken for my pals at the Williamson County Sun.

A Return to Taylor’s Rookery

Since we’ve lived in Taylor, not quite six years,  one of the relaxing things I’ve been able to do, with cameras in hand, of course, is visit the lake at Murphy Park, just up the road from our house.   In the center of that little lake is a habitat for avian wildlife.   Each Spring, their population grows as the birds, including egrets, herons,  ducks, and geese, come here to nest and begin new families.  Not being the smartest fellow in the world, I didn’t know this spot had a name:  a rookery.   It’s interesting to note that many of the locals are not big fans of these birds.  As they fly around town, it seems they sometimes bombard  yards with an over-abundance of poop.   We only live a mile from here, but I haven’t noticed any leavings around my house.   Each to his/her own, I suppose.   All I know is that  it’s a pleasure to observe these new families each year.  Their winged grace is something to be admired.

An Annual Southwestern Gathering

Southwestern University, in Georgetown, Texas, held their 11th Annual Native Spring Powwow last weekend.   Again this year, the Williamson County Sun assigned me to photograph this colorful and inspiring gathering.   With something like this, I don’t have many words to add, preferring to allow the photos room to speak for themselves.

A Ride to Support Autism Causes

The weather forecast leading up to Saturday morning’s 2015 Autism Bike Ride wasn’t looking promising.   On their site, the organizers at The Autism Society of Central Texas placed a note to advise participants of possible cancellation if things went south.   When Saturday morning arrived, however, it was cloudy, but winds were calm and the rain was only a drizzle, but not even much of that.   In other words, great weather for everyone.   For cyclists, the distance choices included 68, 42, 24 and 9 mile rides, plus a fun run.   One of the fun runners was Emily Hawkins, there with her son, Jackson, 3, who has autism.  They’re shown in two photos here, their bright red hair sparkling in the morning light.

There were plenty of people there riding  for “Team Jackson” though, including Cheryl Gregg, in the opening photo,  cycling past some bright yellow wildflowers on County Road 140.   Other “Team Jackson” members cycling through picturesque Williamson County were friends Linda Brown and Marlys Gardner, zipping past a field of bluebonnets in the final photo.   And three friends found a field of Texas Longhorns a good place for a rest stop to visit with the state’s iconic cows, who seemed to relish the attention.   All in all, it was a good day to raise funds, and awareness, for a very good cause.  These photos were taken for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.

A Few Rambling Images

From time to time, you’ll see something here that doesn’t concentrate on any single subject.   As the name of this blog clearly states, my cameras and I wander, or “ramble” if you prefer.   Since it’s April in Central Texas, this post includes wildflowers, of course, but also:  a nice little sunset on a sweet county road north of Coupland, the simplicity of an unpaved country road,  a farmer’s newly-planted crops on a peaceful stretch of County Road 418,  the day’s final rays falling on Zion Lutheran Church, in Sandoval, cattle at their “tank” along Farm Road 112, east of Taylor, and finally, young foals at sunrise on a gray morning  just outside Georgetown.   Hopefully, I have a few rambling years left in me to record the majesty of Texas.