Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Weekend Trip with Dad

This past weekend was my every other weekend off from work. I've been getting together with my father these last many weekend breaks, and sometimes proposing we do something other than hang out at either his apartment or mine. My last break we went to my Aunt Lois and Uncle Calvin's home, in Hobbs, NM. I took my bird, and we did chase some bunnies there, one of which he "furred" . . . . caught but didn't catch firmly enough to hang onto it. It was also interesting because our visit attracted the attention of wild Harris Hawks, a family of them. They just came in and checked us out. I even heard Cimarron make the first noise he has made since I've had him . . . . some almost submissive sounding cheeping while on my fist and observing a wild hawk not far from us in a bush. We were not successful in "entering him" on bunnies (catching one) . . . . but he demonstrated he will chase them. He was a bit too high in his weight to be truly focused . . . . my own fault. Upon my return from that trip I discovered the target species I should focus on, and which I've already blogged. Above is rat #4 caught today, if you count the first thing he caught a small rat, which I think it was. I'm still not sure on that point. Last Thursday morning I took my bird out after I got off work and we kicked up a couple of mice, I'm sure, a "two-fer". So we have had five successful hunts. I'll say the current count is 4 rats, and 2 mice. All very good hawk food! The rats are a challenge, and I have to work hard to kick them up out of their middens. My dad got to see the aftermath of the hunt today, and took the above picture of me and my bird. Getting back to my current weekend . . . . I proposed we go see my other aunt and uncle, my dad's sister Bertha and her husband George in Fredericksburg, Texas. It's a very nice, touristy town, and my Aunt and Uncle hosted us most graciously. While making the rather quick three hour journey across the Texas backroads, we drove by the county seat of two of the counties. This gives me a good opportunity to take a couple pictures of some of the historic and unique courthouses in Texas. Many of the 254 counties of Texas still have their historic stone courthouses. Certainly a photography project would be to go and take pictures of all these locations . . . . a project I will not undertake. However, it looks like someone else has already done so. Go check out this site (Texas Courthouse Trail) . . . . you can see the courthouse of all the Texas counties. Some are modern, but many are like these old buildings. Unique and historic. If I find myself nearby some of the other historic stone buildings . . . perhaps I'll catch their image to add here. Above is the courthouse in McCullogh County in the town of Brady. There is a Texas shaped stone out front indicating the Town of Brady is designated the "Heart of Texas". The stone indicates the geographic center of the state is located 20 miles North and 14.5 miles east from this location . . . . but that is apparently in the middle of nowhere. Brady is the closest town, so wins the designation. Above is the courthouse for Mason County, in the town of Mason. For my friend Jay . . . . here is an example picture of what the "Big Country" or the "Hill Country" of Texas looks like, in winter at least. Usually cloudless blue skies. Sometimes thunderclouds in the distance which may form storms that spawn tornadoes. Dry grass. Trees covered in parasitic mistletoe. Prickly Pear Cactus. Oh, and don't forget the miles and miles and miles of fence . . . with usually "No Trespassing" signs. Go ahead. Click the picture above for a closer view. I'll look for more picturesque images. Where I'm living right now is very dry. However, spring is coming, and Texas bluebonnets bloom not far from where I live . . . so I'll have to make sure to get some pictures of them. I was also asked to include a picture of my dad and myself. So . . . . here is my dad, his sister, my Aunt Bertha, with his little dog . . . . who was not allowed to come into the house this weekend due to my Aunt's terrible allergies. It just about killed this little dog magnet who was not allowed to be attached to her daddy. And above is my Aunt Bertha and Uncle George out front of their Fredericksburg home. They also have a home down in Harlingen, Texas. I will try to get down there maybe later this summer with my dad, when I can get a couple more days tacked onto a long weekend. That is a much longer journey so requires more time. On the up side . . . . they had just returned from their Harlingen home, and had harvested the oranges, tangerines and grapefruit from the trees in their yard that grow down in South Texas. We had delicious orange juice every morning . . . and brought home bags of fruit. Yummy! It was a good weekend trip!

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