Thoughts & Images from Andy Sharp

Birds & Sky
Shrek
Kolache Bake Sale
Open Carry Walk
2014 Veterans Day
2014 Airfest
2014 Wurstbraten
Berry Springs Pecans
2014 Halloween Carnvial
Texas Bulldogge Derby

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A Pleasant Night for Birds (And Humans)

This is one of my “therapy” wanderings.   On the way home from the library tonight, the skies did their usual nice thing for my psyche.    I pulled over near Murphy Park to watch the skies and avian creatures coincide.

A Loveable Green Ogre at the Palace

This post will be short on words so that I can let you concentrate on the photos!   Georgetown’s beautiful Art Deco theater, the Palace, has a wonderful treat for the holiday season, “Shrek, The Musical.”  I attended the play’s dress rehearsal.  Among those in the audience that night was 22-month-old Crosby Landreth, whose big sister, Berkley, plays a part.   Crosby came properly attired with his crocheted Shrek cap!   The cast is a big one, but standouts for me were Shrek, played by Scott Shipman, Fiona, with Mary Katherine Kinney in that role, and Donkey, hilariously and joyfully portrayed by Kirk Kelso.   This one is quite family-friendly.   Seats will quickly book up for this production, which continues every weekend through December 29.   These photos were taken for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.

A Celebration of Texas’ Czech Culture

The little town of Granger, Texas, population approximately 1200, is a community dominated by families with a deep Czech heritage.   A gathering spot for many folks here is Saint Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church.   Among the more interesting fundraisers church members undertake every November is their Kolache Bake Sale.   For their big event, members, including men, women and kids, were on the scene beginning at 4:30 in the morning.  That was far too early for me, but I did show up last Saturday around 9:30, when things were well underway.   513 dozen (that’s right, dozen) kolaches were made, selling for $10 a dozen.   Among the flavors baked on this day were poppy seed, pineapple, prune, cherry and cream cheese.   One of the church’s fundraising goals is the painting of their sanctuary.   In Czech (and also German) culture, elaborate painting is one of the traditions brought here from Europe in the 1800s.   These photos were taken for the Williamson County Sun.

An Open Carry Walk Through Taylor

Approximately 30 members of Come And Take It  held their Open Carry Freedom Walk this past weekend on a misty Saturday afternoon in Taylor, Texas.    In the upcoming 84th Texas legislature, members are pushing for passage of House bill 195, which can be read here.  Rather than present a personal thought on the matter, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.    My task was to document Saturday’s happenings.    I will say, however, they were polite and used good judgement when, at the end of their 2-hour walk, they retired to a local restaurant, but without their guns.

Honoring Our Veterans

On this 2014 Veterans Day, the weather decided to do an about-face, with temperatures plummeting throughout the morning.  That didn’t deter a hearty Central Texas crowd from showing up for the annual observance at Georgetown-Williamson County Veterans Memorial Plaza,  in Sun City.   The seats were filled as veterans, past and present, were given the respect they’ve earned.   One veteran, 39-year-old Chris Powell, an Army Ranger who lost both legs during his time in Afghanistan in 2011, was there, too.  What he didn’t know was that a local home builder, Pulte Homes, was there to present him with a new home, free of charge. It was a good day, even a time for lightheartedness, when, at the end of the ceremonies, two Korean War veterans were slowly making their way along, with their cane and walker at the ready.  As they continued, 84-year-old Gerald Allen Wilcomb (on the right), turned to 81-year-old Robert Dickey, and said, with more than a hint of whimsey, “I’ll race you, old fellow!”   Yes, it was a good day.  These photos were taken for the Williamson County Sun.

Enjoying the World of Flight

The City of Georgetown’s Municipal Airport was the scene again for this year’s Airfest.   This year, the day began very early, before dawn, the time when hot air balloonists find the skies to their liking.   If the winds are over 10 miles per hour, they usually don’t launch.  Thankfully, as dawn approached, we were a sedate 5 miles per hour.   Three young ladies and their family were on the scene to watch the liftoff, but still in their pajamas.   Smart girls they were!   Once the balloons made their ascent, I took in more of the Airfest  fun as youngsters, like 16-year-old Angie Cox, had the chance to take free flights, courtesy of Chapter 187 of the Experimental Aircraft Association.  Angie had a great experience with pilot Chip Cotton, who took her up in his beautiful biplane.  Then, of course, there were the static aircraft displays for everyone to enjoy.   For auto enthusiasts, vintage cars were there to see, too.   Saturday was quite a long day, but a rewarding one.   These photos were taken for the Williamson County Sun.

Time to Smoke the Sausage!

For an authentic slice of Texas culture, few things can top the annual Wurstbraten fundraiser, conducted by Walburg’s Zion Lutheran Church and School.  The event, held the first week in November each year, is steeped in the German tradition of the area.  The gymnasium is always full of diners, enjoying their good vegetables, of course, but the big ticket item is the homeade sausage, painstakingly prepared in the smoky pits behind the church.   Those pits are where I tend to gravitate each time I visit.   As mentioned before, I wish there was a method in the electronic world to relate the intense aroma wafting from those old pits.   This year’s Wurstbraten prepared and served 12,500 pounds of sausage.  The Farm to Market road leading to the church is always packed with hungry patrons.   For those not wishing to dine inside, to-go plates were readily available.   Two of those went home in my car this year.   We don’t eat a lot of read meat, but when we do, it has to be top-notch.   That’s never a problem at Wurstbraten!   These photos were taken for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.

Nature’s Pecan Bounty

When I was growing up in Texarkana, we were fortunate to have three large pecan trees gracing our front yard.   Year after year, the trees served us well.   One year, the trees developed some sort of tree ailment and daddy hired a “tree doctor” for them.   The treatment was successful, giving us more good yields in the years that followed.   In present-day Central Texas, we don’t have these great trees at our home, but not far away, Berry Springs Park & Preserve, just east of Georgetown, is covered with these wonderful trees.   Throughout the year, the grove is of course resplendent to see, but when Autumn rolls in, it’s time for pecans!   It’s a good season this time around.   As long as they don’t climb them, park visitors are welcome to collect these nutty delights.   I was there a few days ago to take in the action.   The collection techniques were interesting.   Some use a stick of sorts, used specifically to grab the nuts.  If limbs are low-hanging, others jump or get on their tip toes for their treats.    And one young 11-year-old, who pitches in little league, was pretty good at aiming his pitches in just the right places.   It’s making me wish for  a nice pecan pie!

Halloween in Georgetown, Texas

The photos with this post are from a Halloween Carnival held by  Georgetown Parks & Recreation (the first four you see), the rest  from Halloween night in the historic section of Main Street, also known as Old Town to the locals.  The Main Street residents go all out, attracting families from not only this neighborhood, but all over.   And, to my surprise a couple of years back, they seem to love have us news folks around with our cameras.   It’s a welcoming feeling.   Rather than ramble on here, I’ll let the photos do the work.   These were taken for my buddies at the Williamson County Sun.

Bulldog Love

The Williamson County Show Barn was home last weekend to the Texas Bulldogge Derby, a competition specifically for the various types of bulldogs out there.  Note that the spelling for the event is correct, in that it refers to a specific breed, written as Olde English Bulldogge.  There were those, but also American bulldogs and a Mammoth bulldog, a type that has a longer, fluffier coat, like the little copper-colored  guy shown in this post, 3-month-old Ewok, being held by his owner, Kim Evans.    At home, we have Star, a Staffordshire terrier, a type of Pit bulldog.   Despite a sometimes unsavory reputation in the canine family, these dogs were loved and well treated.   Much like Penelope, the last pooch in this post, being encouraged and petted by her owner, David Ortega, from Victorville, California.   Penelope is a 2-year-old American bulldog.   Dogs may or may not have certain characteristics, but most often it’s the way they are treated that forms their personalities.   These photos were taken for the Williamson County Sun.