We woke up this morning to thunder and lightning and even had a strike so close the intruder alarms went off. There are a lot of cedar trees on the mountain that are being torn apart because of the ice, so much so that when standing outside you can hear the limps break off which creates a sound similar to the sound of gun fire. Looking around this morning we found a dozen or so trees with major damage and may have to be cut down or way back. The sad part is that since the mountain is made up of limestone, there is very little soil on top of the rock and trees, any plans actually, have a hard time getting solid roots down into the rocky crevasas so when you loose a tree up here, it takes years for a new one to regenerate. The scenery today is shear beauty but sometimes beauty has consequences.
In north Texas, we have been inundated with rain over the last few days and last night a cold front came through which dropped to temperatures in to the 30’s. At my house, we had 5″ of rain over the last two days but the ground was so warm nothing froze. But to the west at the Lookout Ranch on Chalk Mountain (which is about 600′ higher in elevation than my place) everything above the ground formed with ice. Although quite beautiful, the icing caused a lot of tree limb loss and frozen gate openings. The forecast is for off an on rain through Saturday but no more icing. The scene above is at the ranch looking to the north toward Bluff Dale and Tolar. Cold and dreary!
This morning as we were driving in the hill country, we passed a small herd of nice looking longhorns which reminded me of a photo I took in 2005 in down town Dallas. On the banks of the Trinity River in the southern part of downtown Dallas on Riverfront Drive, there is large gas station named Fuel City. Before they expanded, they had several acres fenced off on the north side of the river that held a small group of longhorns. This guy was the best looking of the group and the day I was there and was standing under a shade tree and not willing to move. I was trying to get a different angle but yelling at him was no help so after some time, I ended up with this pose. The spot where he is standing is now a car wash!
While walking on the square in downtown Glen Rose tonight, I spotted our friend and local artist, Trent Summers, painting the Somervell County (Texas) Court House. The evening light was lovely tonight and was able to catch him as the sun was going down.
Navigating through the mill this morning, I heard one of the workers asking if anyone had seen his clipboard! I found it!
Searching for some unique wood or reclaimed timber to build a farm table with, I came across a source of Longleaf Pine. You may have never heard of Longleaf Pine but it is an endangered species of pine. Reason? In the mid-1800″s there were 80,000,000 acres of this pine in the Southeast US and by 1910, it was pretty much gone. The primary reason being that the nature of the Longleaf Pine made it clear, straight and with few defects, it was ideal for shipbuilding. It was also the primary source for long straight timbers used to build the textile mills in the Southeast. I found someone who dissasymbles these old mills and brings them to Texas (2X2 beams pictured above in the warehouse) then runs them though a mill to create boards for floors, cabinets, home building, etc. I was lucky enough to find this material which will give a nice provenance to the table and am now experimenting with which color stain best compliments this beautiful old timber.
It’s that time again in North Texas. Grackles, or better known here as “rats with wings”!. These birds collect into flocks of thousands of birds and last night, I was in Burleson at sundown and came across the intersection where they seem to gather every year at this time. There must have been millions of them flying around, perched on wires, in trees and on the ground of the shopping center looking for food. They are a real nuisance because, as one can imagine, they tend to leave a lot of droppings, especially on cars. Wether you knew this or not, bird droppings contain acid which could do serious damage to your car, so try to park in an area that these rats do no congregate!
How many time do you see something, such as a sign that triggers a memory of something else? When I first saw this storefront, the Doors sign cause me to reflect on the music group of the same name but yet, this was a store selling old doors. This is the Old House Supply in south Fort Worth and a treasure trove of old furnishing from houses being torn down in the area. Looking at the prices on theses old windows and doors made me wish I had kept the 20+ windows I had changed out over the years. Our old house (most lily built in the 20’s) was moved to the current location in 1962 and came from the area of southeast Fort Worth where Hwy 287 now runs between downtown and Loop 820.
Spending the day with my friends Jean, Thomas and Connie Mullins at the White Buffalo Gallery in Glen Rose, I was standing next to a table with a candle display the was made up of candles on mercury glass holders. As the late afternoon light came in, I was caught by the simple beauty the light reflected, and thus, with the camera in hand, I tried to capture the light!
So we set the alarm for the crack of dawn only to find that the peak was almost an hour away. On top of Chalk Mountain the cold wind was howling and luckily I had a wind break to set up the tripod in but the lower the moon got, I had to move more into the open to get away from the trees that were ruining the shot. Now that I have the feeling back in my fingers, I was able to post this shot low on the horizon. The lights of Tolar and Bluff Dale can be seen off on the horizon. Just after this photo, the moon blended into the morning mist as the sun came up.