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Posts from the ‘Travel & Places I’ve been’ Category

Western Art in the Briscoe Museum

Saturday was bitterly cold with a wind that cut through jackets and made me wish for my motorcycle jacket. The morning was to be devoted to local gallery tours; we decided to walk the 900 feet from our hotel to the Briscoe Museum of Western Art.

We all got to claim senior status and therefore a reduced entrance fee–although if we had been service men/women our entrance would have been free.

tim20cherry20rabbit-mTwo large galleries were full of contemporary Western art —no photos were allowed–although I did get this shot of a rabbit by Tim Cherry. If I had the money or the place to showcase this piece—but I didn’t so I will content myself with this photo.

img_7938-mw20h20dunton20painting-mOf interest was a small painting by W.H. Dunton whose title for a rather small painting was quite striking—a paragraph long title for a rider on a horse galloping across the plain. Interestingly the local Stark Museum of Art in Orange Texas posesses over 200 pieces of his work. He, along with other western artists of that era, also illustrated magazine covers and books.

In the afternoon we settled down to an entertaining critique session with Judith Trager. Creative people that we are, one attendee removed her belt as a splash of color on a monochromatic piece.

An evening banquet followed with a lively auction of the small pieces contributed by the members. There was much rivalry and last minute bidding–all to fund future events.

Viewing the Alamo

alamo-mThere was a very long line waiting to get in to see the Alamo; the line looped back through a covered area and was halted by a photographer at the entrance.

Inside, people chattered and pointed–and if you stood in one place, you heard the same comments repeated but by different people and in different languages. They marveled at the number of places the defenders claimed as home—Ireland, Wales, Scotland, North Carolina, Kentucky–and more. Flags of each state and country were displayed around the periphery of the building and we all took turns peering into the rooms cordoned off.

alamo201-malamo2011-mOutside were lovely old live oak trees, a small rivulet with giant carp all hoping for a tidbit of bread, benches, and blooming prickly pear. alamo208-malamo205-m

Outside on the plaza were stands with soft drinks and ice cream. The Menger and the Crockett Hotels were nearby as well as the Wax Museum.

No matter the details of those final hours in whatever version people care to claim as factual, it is an awe=inspiring place—so lush and green–and the entire complex quite large–not the dusty single building in a vast plain with nary a tree to be seen.

 

 

Blue Bonnets and More

field20of20flower-mLast weekend was the annual conference hosted by Studio Art Quilt Associates in San Antonio Texas.

For those who have not been in San Antonio recently, the city will be celebrating a 300 year history. Not that you would even guess with all the ‘300’s  in shrub plantings, street signage, and mentioned at least twice in any conversation with a local resident.

This conference moves about the country; I’ve been to ones in Ohio, Philadelphia, and Denver with each one progressively more polished and informative.

For me, driving to San Antonio meant a lovely day driving in the Hill country outskirts and stopping for the requisite spring time photo of bluebonnets. I didn’t find the large masses but at a truck stop in Luling I managed to get a nice photo or two. And of course, there are more wildflowers than just the bluebonnets.another20field-mcloseup20of20that20bluebonnet-m

San Antonio is not my favorite city to drive around in but I timed my arrival to early afternoon on a week day. Traffic was minimal but parking spaces were at a premium. The hotel offered valet parking only and the attendant claimed he was expert in standards but I only allow a very small number of people the privilege of driving my truck.

It is easy to hear me coming with that diesel reverberating  in all that concrete but I managed to find a nice spot, hauled my belongings to the hotel lobby and checked in. I admired the lobby–a bank in earlier years—with art deco motifs on the elevator doors, the cornices, and a fabulous stained glass window featuring the Alamo.

A RiverWalk cruise was the adventure of the evening–I took a few photos but then decided I would just enjoy the view.

 

 

Galveston Oh Galveston

img_7702-mSomehow for this formerly land-locked Midwesterner there is just something about taking the ferry from Bolivar Peninsula to Galveston.

Never mind that I was on my way to a Neurology appointment and expected to answer the same questions repeatedly as I faced medical student and resident and finally attending to maybe give me some answers about my recent bout of craziness associated with hypercalcemia—as a side note–passed all those silly questions including remembering three items from the beginning–pen, table, and penny–and told I was totally normal–well maybe just oriented properly.

Once again I digress.

 

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Here are a few photos from that ferry ride. NO, I was not alone–there were several dozens of other vehicles– work trucks, school buses, ambulance–they got off first–and assorted cars and people tossing bread to the seagulls that followed us along. I spied a few dolphins racing along side us. But mostly I just listened to the waves and the shriek of the birds. Sorry I didn’t record it so you could hear it too–and on the radio was Glen Campbell singing away.

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Lets Do This

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What is it about nice large orange five gallon buckets that is so inspirational?

I have more than a few of them–but I use three of them to accomplish dyeing.

Holus Bolus decided to make Swing Coats from some Bamboo fleece fabric. Bamboo is incredibly soft—and incredibly heavy when wet. We employed my mixed dye with play sand technique. The dye particles tend to cling to the sand until it is released by the washing soda on the fabric. I have several drop sheets that have seen many episodes of dye/screen printing/shibori/painting–in general art messiness.img_7674-m

We decided to make the coats first so we could tell where the dye would go–including the hats and then dipped into washing soda, spread them out on the dropcloths and sprinkled dye. They had to set for about two hours or so–then they were rinsed, the sand shaken off, and into the washing machine.img_7673-m

The results were quite colorful–I don’t have photos of the end product but we will be wearing them at Houston Quilt festival this November.img_7672-m

and just so you know–I did spend quite a bit of time sewing while there—sewed up all these double 9 patches while I was there and that swing coat and then maybe one or two other projects as well. This was my work station.img_7671-m

 

We are the Champions

GRB is located only a block or so away from MinuteMaid Stadium–home of the Astros. Although the Astros were playing in LA while we were there, fans congregated inside MinuteMaid to watch the game on the giant screen. Traffic was incredible–but not as bad as Thursday when there was a celebratory parade through downtown Houston. There was a sea of orange and blue in the streets.

 

img_6701-m1Look at all those baseballs!

img_6765-mWe spent our day with Philippa Naylor learning about fancy seams and insertion of zippers–a fun class and we lined up next to her to have our photo taken. This day we chose to wear pink—actually I wore pink quite reluctantly. It seems a better choice for someone petite and dainty. I am on the left in this photo.

img_6698-mAlthough Houston is recovering from Harvey, there is a lot left to do. Discovery Green’s lawn is yellow–and no-one can walk on it; the sailboat pond is gone with large layers of some sort of plastic being laid down; there were only three pond lilies in the adjoining pond–which was filled with trash–the fish are also gone.

img_6748-mThe World Series was a welcome relief to the sadness of recovery and the championship even more welcome.

Picnic Point and Hammocks

img_6608-mReunions are always a fun event–even though you have to read everyone’s name tag to remember who they are—and it would have been nice if a larger font would have used for those of us with forty years under our belts.

The Medical School reunion is always scheduled around Homecoming Football game. While we lived in Madison and I went to Medical school there, we lived about three miles from the football stadium–people parked next to our house to walk in to see the game. Tickets were outside of our meager budget even though I got a reduce price and first chance at tickets due to graduate school status.

My wishes for the weekend were to see Vilas Park zoo–a favorite place during our stay there, and to walk out on Picnic Point.

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The zoo has changed considerably since we were there last. Each animal species has a special environment created for them. No longer do the bears sit on the haunches and wave at us begging for marshmallows or stale hamburger buns. The retired  Rhesus monkeys are no longer there–they used to live in a circular cage. The penguins are no longer corralled into a small cement wading pool parading around miserably in what must seem to them horribly hot weather.

img_6602-mone of the displays was this tundra with the immense tires with incredibly low tire pressure. We rode a much smaller vehicle on the marshes around Anahuac during a Christmas bird count after one of our hurricanes. Here is Glen pretending to drive.

Madison Wisconsin is a beautiful city situated around several lakes, Mendota being the largest. The campus is large and spread out with lovely little pocket gardens everywhere and lots of bicycle racks. There is almost no parking on campus so people ride the bus or bicycle or walk. img_6612-mWe walked to Picnic Point–there are Indian burial grounds now marked off from foot traffic.

img_6629-mA sailboat was out on the lake–losing a lot of wind and not managing their sails properly.

img_6627-mThe capitol was visible across the lake through the trees.

Walking about campus to the designated meeting area we noted a new trend—large hammocks slung from trees with students lounging about in them reading–reminiscent of a past trial of what I called our purple pea pod camping sleeping arrangement..

Walking back to Deljoje Hall, the location of the reunion, the marching band was practicing. I was not the only one to stop and watch the band perform.

 

Everyone seems to leave when I take their photo

img_6658-mAfter a morning of weeding and general garden cleanup and attacking weeds, we both decided a nice drive in the countryside would be nice and maybe some good photo ops.

We hopped in the car, my camera at the ready in my lap and off we went.

I didn’t get a photo of Hogback Ridge–it is immense and is a protected wildlife site. The hill sides are quite steep and the soil must be quite thin as only grass grows there–few if any trees–and those are all small shrubs. There were a few late blooming wild flowers in the meadows surrounding it. I’m not quite sure how I would have taken a photo–perhaps a panorama–not in my skill set although my camera says it can do it with ease.

Our goal was the Elk Farm. Along the way we spied two apiaries–and I had to get out and inspect one of them. Keeping bees in Wisconsin is challenging due to the lengthy and cold winters–but here were about twelve hives with bees busily flying in and out. Queen excluders were on each hive–they had two brood chambers and two medium supers for honey and a pitched roof for ventilation. The bottom doors were plugged and they had just a single hole in one of the brood chambers to exit and enter. Maybe next year we will be successful in catching a swarm.

However, our mission was that elk farm.

We spied a very high fence–and knew we were there. Parking on the side of the road, I attempted to get photos of the elk.The male–doesn’t he get a bad headache carrying that huge set of horns around–sat calmly watching us. The harem though was not so calm. One or two would look and then they all got up and walked away.

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More driving and I spotted some Canadian geese–the SandHill Cranes on the first corner were too far away for photos. We stopped and I took some photos–again–they waddled away as fast as they could go.img_6673-m

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Next was stop to photo some particularly colorful trees and sumac. The Asian beetles and box elder bugs were in abundance and took great delight in taking small nibbles of me. The leaves and sumac were pretty but not enough to compose really good photos.

We went back to the farm and put up plastic over windows for the winter–safe from the horde of biting bugs.

 

Pruning

ear20of20corn-mOne of the tasks I set myself on the farm each time I visit is dealing with the raspberry patch. Raspberries happen to be my favorite berry–although blackberries and strawberries are nice too. When my father was still living and I checked in on him after my mother’s death, he would pick raspberries for me each morning for my breakfast. Although this patch is not the same patch it still brings back good memories.

Last fall I cut back the grapevine that had invaded the berry patch and we installed one of the metal gates used in the calf pens in the barn as a support. I cut away all the raspberry shoots around it and carefully pruned only the bearing stalks on the part I wanted to preserve as raspberries.

Imagine my surprise when I found an abundant new growth of raspberries around the grape vine and only bearing stalks on the part I thought would be just raspberries. Plenty of raspberries on those stalks but only a few new stalks—they bear the second year==not the first year. And not one grape bunch!

Still I pruned away again and this time covered the ground with shovelfuls of composted oat husks from the grainary. Last fall I used corn stalks from the barn—still plenty of them to go.

more20of20plum20creek-mOnce at home I face the daunting task of pruning my photos–although I am taking fewer photos these days–it is hard to select the perfect few to upload and I tend to err on the side of too many versus only a select absolutely wonderful ones. I am sure I have repeats from previous years; my taste for imagery does not seem to change much. That may be a good thing–or limiting.

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Falling Colors

img_6472-mLike little kids at a buffet of desserts–or perhaps us older ones at Thanksgiving dinner, we always seem to overestimate the time we have in Wisconsin to do all the things we have planned. Or perhaps it is because we just move slower now that we are a bit older. Maybe that Social Security paycheck weighs us down?

Or maybe it’s because we just enjoy the sights and smells and sounds so unique to rural Wisconsin in the fall.

There is is the rustling of the leaves, the views of distant hills so obvious through trees that are dropping their leaves—and the vibrant colors of those that have not.

The woods there are primarily oak–which regrettably turn dark brown or just fall off–leaving their limbs bare. But here and there are some maples–the camera makes their colors more reddish than my eyes see–but gorgeous none the less.

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