Thoughts & Images from Andy Sharp

2015 Memorial Day
Memorial Day Weekend
Blue Hole in May
Fandomonium
2015 National Day of Prayer
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

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Memorial Day 2015

My part of Texas has been hammered with heavy rain, flooding and a few tornadoes the past few days.   Not to be outdone by Mother Nature, the annual Memorial Day observance in Sun City today went off without a hitch once things were moved indoors to the Sun City ballroom.   After the ceremony, a few people did wander outside to Veterans Memorial Plaza, a somewhat moving place to be anytime of the year.   After the official event, I decided to stop by Georgetown’s city cemetery, where I found a number of rain-drenched grave sites adorned with American flags.    That was nice.  These photos were taken for the Williamson County Sun.

A Varied Memorial Day Weekend

Central Texas is doing its part to minimize our drought.  Rain has been a constant presence the last few days.   As with any weather situation, there are positives and negatives to consider.   The good thing, however, is most of Saturday was perfect spending time outdoors on this unofficial summer kickoff weekend.    The waterfall at San Gabriel Park was good for a family determined to catch some crawfish, which they did!  For others, it was a place to cool off.   Lake Georgetown was a good place for a grandfather to spend quality time with his grandkids, fishing an almost-full lake.   And the wildflowers are still going strong at Berry Springs Park and Preserve.  After a night of heavy rain, we experienced some flooding.  The last three photos in this post are views of the San Gabriel River, where County Road 100 was closed to traffic, but apparently not to two guys with their floats.  Thankfully, they had on life preservers.   The last photo is an overview of that same river, at San Gabriel Park late Sunday afternoon.

A Beautiful Day at Blue Hole

We’ve had an abundant intake of rain around Texas the past few days, some areas overwhelmed by it.   So much, in fact, that weather prognosticators have done what they do so well, creating panic where none might be needed.  Saturday was a case in point.  Forecasts called for more rain, with possible flooding.   Events long planned were cancelled.   Baseball games were sent packing.  The predictions didn’t come to fruition.   Hearty folks that we are around here, many found places like Blue Hole Lagoon, in Georgetown, to enjoy a quite beautiful day.   Among those having fun were Adrian Guzman, 12, and his cousin, Marissa Guzman, 10, the duo you’ll see in several of these photos, taken for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.   I  know forecasters feel they’re doing a public service by warning us, but perhaps I’m not alone in thinking they go over the top at times.  Enjoy your life, friends.

Fandomonium!

The Georgetown Public Library gave the public a free treat on Saturday with Fandomonium, sort of a mini-comic con, where kids (and adults) were encouraged to dress up in their favorite superhero attire.  The day included games, crafts, panel discussions and plenty of colorful fun.   One young fellow who enjoyed making his own mask this Mothers Day weekend was 5-year-old Shamma McDonald,  who was also spending some quality time with his mom, Erin McDonald.  They’re quite a team!   Public libraries are wonderful resources in communities all over the country.   Take advantage of one where you live.   These photos were taken for my pals at the Williamson County Sun.

Georgetown’s National Day of Prayer

Like many other communities around the country,  those around Georgetown, Texas  gathered to commemorate the National Day of Prayer on Thursday.   Because of the possibility of rain, this year’s event was moved indoors, to the worship center at Main Street Baptist Church.    I’ll keep this brief and allow the photos to say what they will.  These photos were taken for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.

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

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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.