http://www.blogger.com/html?blogID=4316350785635987648 Cave Dwellings: March 2009

March 2, 2012

March 2, 2012
Georgetown, TX

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Historic Georgetown

OK kids....It' history lesson time again...
Georgetown Texas, now the county seat of Williamson County Texas, was founded in 1848. It is on the fork of the San Gabriel River and is smack dab a part of The Chisholm Trail. It was named after George Washington Glasscock who donated the land. (I am relieved they used his first name and not his last..) For those of you who found 5th grade history a bore, The Chisholm Trail was one of 3 major routes from Texas through Oklahoma and Kansas that was used to drive Longhorn cattle to railways there. In fact, every September they commemorate this trail drive with a big parade and party. At this time, they recreate the cattle drive by herding many Longhorn steer right through downtown mainstreet...YEEEEEE HAW!!! I tried to talk Den into another trip here, but he just gave me "the look"..
Yesterday we went downtown to the Georgetown Square. They have a renovated courthouse in the middle of the square. Renovation was finished in 2007. Here are a couple photos of the courthouse.. Here is a close up of "Blind Justice" at the top of the courthouse dome...
Georgetown was mainly an agricultural town, whose main crop was cotton. Before it was settled it was home to the Tonkawa indians. In 1921 the town flooded as the river went out of it's banks and they decided to build a dam...and created Lake Georgetown where we are camped.
Georgetown is known for having the best preserved Victorian and pre WWI buildings in the downtown district. Here is another example of the neat architecture...
This next building is called the Dimmit Building ..This building has housed many businesses, including an auto dealership, but the architecture has been preserved and it is on the National Historic Register...
The Texas state flower is the Bluebonnet...and they are in full bloom here..As you can see...
I should mention that Georgetown is one of the top places to retire ...especially due to the climate and afforable housing..The housing is because Del Web has built one of his famous "Sun City" 55 and over communities here. It is just down the road from Lake Georgetown. Speaking of Sr. citizens, here is one of MY favorites....
As you may know, I have a passion for my bird photos..and I have tried a thousand times to get one of the cute little Black Chin Hummingbirds that are frequenting my Hummingbird feeder...I am failing miserably..Here is the only one that is even close to being decent...
Oh well, I will try to do better...Today our weather is cool and sunny..It was terribly windy yesterday and downright cold! Today is suppose to be 70 degrees, and there is not a cloud in the sky, so I may have to sit outside in the sun and read..It's been 1 week since I have done that!!I will blog more later....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lake Georgetown...and a weather scare..

Hi from Lake Georgetown, Texas. We are here at the Cedar Breaks Army Corps campground in the exact same campsite we were in when we were here last spring. Our weather was rainy all the way over, a distance of about 125 miles. Just about the time we pulled into the park it became a very steady rain...We almost never have to set up our rig in rain, but our luck ran out this trip.
After Dennis backed the RV into our spot, with me giving him handsigns that weren't always pleasant, we unhooked from the truck and went inside to dry off. Realizing that the rain was not going to let up anytime soon, Den put on the rain poncho and proceeded to go out and set up our TV dish and our internet satellite. Just about the time he was through, it quit raining...of course!
Here is a photo of the view of Lake Georgetown we are enjoying...lots of limestone cliffs around here and the ground is all rock under the little grass....
This area if VERY rocky and I spent about an hour yesterday being a rock "hound"..there are so many. There are even a ton of them back into the woods. The woods here are made up mostly of Mountain Cedar. Here is a look into the woods...
The tree roots on this cliff we are parked on have almost nowhere to go, so they grow on top of the ground..as in this photo I took just behind our camper....
This is a unique looking Cedar tree..I loved the bark on it...and boy, does it smell good when you burn it...if we could burn...We are again under a burning ban.... This next picture is a big rock just behind our campsite. I would like to know all of the things it has seen and been a part of... I like to put my hands on it and try to "channel" history..OK, I know...I am a tad weird, but hey, if only we COULD do that!!
The wild flowers are all in bloom here now, too. Here is a little patch up on the cliff behind us...
You know how I love taking picture of birds and flowers...well, when we went for a our morning walk Wednesday, I noticed little tiny dragonfly-like critters buzzing past us ....Well, what I thought were dragonflies turned out to be Hummingbirds (to my glee). I hung out my hummingbird feeder right away when we got back and within an hour I had my first hummingbird..I tried to get a picture, but our weather was really cloudy and they didn't turn out, so I promise to get one soon and post it. I did get a neat shot of one of the pretty pink wildflowers here in the park....
I have to mention our little weather scare on Wednesday evening. We keep a check on the weather and have a weather radio. We also bring up the local radar on our computer and local TV (if we can get it, which we can here). They were calling for possible severe storms Wed. evening and Den was watching the radar screen going from green to red to purple just West of us about 1 hour. We also were watching Austin local weather, which they keep on continually when there is severe weather heading their way...(We are about 25 miles North of Austin). I was just fine until they notice rotation in the storm..and 2 inch hail. Now, I know when I am home to just go to the basement...but here....you go to the shower house..You DO NOT ride out a tornaado in your RV. It got really still..no air moving ....and this is the shot I took out of our back door just before we got in our truck and drove up to the shower house....
We sat outside the shower house in our truck,waiting for a reason to get out and go in..but the wind settled down...and it started raining...We looked at each other and decided it wasn't bad enough to sit on inside shower house, so we drove back to our camper..We watched the radar for the next hour and there was a funnel cloud sighted South of us..We got some hail, but not as big as Austin..It looked like snow when we saw it on TV...But, we were lucky and didn't get much but some wind, rain and a little hail here. I must say though, that is the only drawback of doing Texas in the spring...especially Central Texas!
We are going to go into Georgetown Square on Saturday for a town garage sale/flea market. Georgetown is like most small Texas towns...an old historic courthouse and a town square. I will take my camera...the architecture here is really neat!!! Later...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

YEEEEEE HAW!! COWBOYS, PARADES, AND A LOT OF BULL!!

We walked the pathway into the Goliad Square yesterday for the Goliad Fair Parade. It was similar to our Yankee parades, but had more horses, cowboy hats, Queens and courts....and only ONE band..Den and I parked our butts on the curb with mostly locals and a few winter Texans..You can tell the difference..no cowboy hats on transplants. Here are a couple photos I took of the square. Across from us was the courthouse and down the street some neat old buildings... I said there were a lot of Queens and courts...Here is the float from Flatonia, said to be the oldest Polish settlement in the United States...right here in Texas.....Here is another from an organization celebrating General Zaragosa.....And here is the neat float from Lockhardt Texas, where Barbeque is KING!!!..
I mentioned one lonely band...Here is a lesson for all the high school bands that think they don't have fancy enough uniforms...This Goliad High School band had one of the best uniforms ever..matching T-shirts with the band name on the back..and jeans..Talk about frugal!! But that didn't affect their great sound!! Here they are.....and they were great!
After the parade we walked back to the state park and had some lunch..It was a beautiful day and about 12:30 we walked across the road to the Goliad County Fair...Like I said, everything here is "easy access". There was, of course, a carnival, where you had to buy a wristband to get unlimited rides..like our DeKalb county fair in Sandwich,IL. The difference was that there was no admission to get into the fair!! VERY different than our fair back home.
We walked around and I took some photos..Here are the bulls that were used for the rodeo bull riding event...
..and another...
..note that their horns are cut off..for the safety of the bull rider!!
We went into the place where they were auctioning off the Grand Champion Bull..which coincidentally happened to be the beer tent...Anyway, here is a photo of the Grand Champion bull,owned by a 16 year of FFA'er......look closely and see his "ribbon" on his neck was made of dollar bills, and he brought the sum of $14,000 to that 16 year old kid!! And here is the Grand Champion with all of the people who chipped in to buy him...
After a couple $2.00 Bud Lites (cheaper than any bar), we walked over to the rodeo arena where they were having calf roping events..This was really cool. I have never been to any "real" rodeo event and I LOVED this!! Here are a few pictures I took.....I do have a problem with a calf roper who wears a baseball cap. I think they should make it a rule that you have to LOOK like a cowboy to participate!! Now HERE is what a REAL cowboy looks like, (in my humble opinion)...
After a big day at the parade, fair and rodeo, we walked back across the road and collapsed in our camper..another super fun day in Goliad!!
I am now going to change from cowboys back to the mission Espiritu Santo, which is in our state park..A couple days ago we walked back up to the mission to get a few more pictures. We happened to be the only people there at the time and got the full attention of the park ranger who gives tours. We found out a little more about the old mission that I want to share. According to our guide, there were three entrances to the mission chapel. If you were baptized, you went in via the front entrance, pictured here.....If you weren't baptized you went in one of the side doors, which was called the "door of Life"..note the cross above the door...And if you were attending a funeral service, you entered the mission chapel by a door directly across the sanctuary from the door of Life, called the door of "Death"..and here is a photo of that door...note the skull and crossbones above the door..
This next photo is the where the priest stood to speak to the people..it is in the chapel also...
..Here is the choir loft, which you got to by steps in one of the side rooms...
The front double carved wood doors are always wide open during the day...Here is a picture of one of them....They are really beautiful!! This next one is one of a sculpture found in one of the alcoves of the sanctuary... This last photo of the mission grounds is all that remains of the stone quarters where the Indians lived..if these stones could talk!!...
Well, I have created a mixture of cowboys, parades, and church pictures this time! I can't help myself..as I said, I just love this place. I will close with one last photo..I probably neglected to say that the couple from Falcon Lake (the park we stayed at by the Rio Grande) were also here at the Goliad State Park when we got here...I finally got them to pose for a picture so I could formally introduce you to them..Here are Harald and Judy Paetrow, from Minnesota....If you recall from the blogs I did from Falcon Lake, Harald is from Germany and is a very talented photographer of birds and butterflies..(so you see by the camera which is permanently hanging around his neck.) We really enjoyed seeing them again. They left here a few days ago to start home toward Minnesota..
OK, I have officially created one of my most confusing and longest blogs..I just had to share with you more of this wonderful part of Texas...I will not blog again until next week. We are leaving Tuesday for Georgetown Lake, North of Austin..Later...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Another Goliad History Lesson.....(sorry, but I love it!)

Well, I fully intended to blog about our great trip into Goliad for the monthly Marketplace/flea market...However, the weather did not cooperate and it rained all damn day Saturday, so we didn't even bother..It was all outside around the courthouse square..Speaking of the courthouse, here is a photo of it.....And now for a little history lesson...The area of Goliad town was originally inhabited by Indians until 1749, when the presidio and mission were built. It was set up as a Mexican municipality in 1829. The courthouse was built in 1894. You may notice it has beautiful turrets and a clock tower..These are rebuilt from the original. In 1942 a hurricane caused the destruction of the original turrets and clocktower...they were rebuilt and finished 2003. Also of note...In 1902 a very bad tornado came through town and killed alot of people. This courthouse you see was used as a morgue and hospital..Here is a commemorative stone which stands in front of the courthouse.. you may have to double click on it , making it larger and easier to read..
Den and I walked into the town square this morning on the walkway that goes all of the way from the state park into town..about a 2 1/2 mile round trip, if you walk the "courthouse square", which we did. This walkway is really neat. You follow a paved path around and through the trees..it turns into a wooden bridge path over some of the path..and ends up on a side street one block from the Courthouse. Here is a shot of the path...
In front of the courthouse is "The Hanging Tree"..Under this tree a lot of "vigilante justice" was applied, if you get my drift. Time for another history lesson...When immigrants arrived at the gulf ports, most arrived without wagons to haul their stuff, so they hired wagons to haul it inland. Many Anglo teamsters objected to their Mexican "cheaper" competition, and the massacre of Fannin and his men was still very fresh in their minds. Goliad was a town the Mexican cartmen passed through and it was in this vicinity that many were attacked, robbed and murdered by men called "cartcutters". This was called the "Cart Wars"..The authorities of Goliad did nothing until a brutal period of bloodletting for 6 months. Complaints were even received by the Mexican Consulate in Washington and were afraid of an international incident. Finally the Texas Governor Pease sent state militia as escorts for the Mexican teamsters, but only after the citizens of Goliad had "removed" much of the bad element...tried and sentenced under this tree...and sentence commuted here too..Now for the photo of the "Hanging Tree".. We walked the trail up to the Presidio La Bahia today..This old fort is really neat..Here I am by one of the canons which defended the soldiers here..
There is another statue here..one of Ignacio Seguin Zaragoza, who is the reason for the Cinco de Mayo celebration May 5th. He was born here by the fort, son of a military family, in 1829. Thirty three years later Mexico was fighting for it's indepence from France. On May 5th, 1862, outside the city of Puebla, Mexico, Zaragoza led an outnumbered, outgunned volunteer of militia farmers and merchants against a superior french army. His army was victorious and to this day in Mexico and the American Southwest the 5th of May is known as Cinco de Mayo...and we celebrate it nationwide now since it was made a national holiday. And in 1992, the Texas legislature proclaimed Goliad the official site for Cinco de Mayo. I'll just bet this little town goes crazy that day! Here is the house Zaragoza was born in....and here is a plaque telling it better than I could..
..and here is the statue of Zargoza, which stands just outside the Presidio La Bahia..
There is another statue here on the grounds of Presido La Bahia..The Angel of Goliad. Let me explain...I told you about General Fannin and the battle of Coleto Creek, followed by the massacre on March 27th, Palm Sunday, of him and his soldiers..There are stories of a beautiful Mexican woman, the wife (some say mistress) of a Mexican army captain..She was instrumental in helping some of Fannin's soldiers escape the night before..It is told that she snuck into the fort and helped some out and she hid them. She was also upset at the terrible treatment of the Texas soldiers at the Copano Bay fort and helped get better treatment for the prisoners..She risked her life to save some of the Texas soldiers..if she would have been caught she would have been executed..Her name was said to be Francita Alavez,but her first name varies somewhat...Meet the "Angel of Goliad"...
It is said that after the defeat of Santa Anna, she and her "husband" moved to Matamoros, MX, where she helped get better treatment for Texas prisoners still held there..After that her husband took her to Mexico City and left her, penniless and homeless. It is also said that many Texans living there remembered her kindness and gave her food and shelter. No one knows when she died or anymore about her....I find it fascinating!!
OK, I have given you another bit of Goliad history. Now you know just why I love this town. I'm sure I have bored most of you, but I can't help myself..This weekend is the Goliad County Fair, and the fairgrounds is across the road, within walking distance. They also have a parade in town on Saturday morning, so you may get more blogging on the parade and fair.
I will close with one more picture of history..another shot of the Hanging Tree....
More later.....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

GOLIAD TEXAS...SOOOO RICH IN HISTORY!!

Here we are in Goliad Texas State Park, one of my very favorite spots. It was only about 60 miles from Goose Island and we arrived about 11:30AM. This state park is unique in that there is an old Mission, the Mission Espiritu Santo, right on the premesis. In fact it is a 3 minute walk from our campsite. Here are a couple photos of our new campsite here...

The mission was moved here from Matagorda Island in 1749 to protect the Camino La Bahia (the major Spanish trade route to the North and East.) The chapel and grounds were maintained by the native american indians of this area and they also lived here. The idea of the Roman Catholic church at that time was to bring the indians to Christianity. The mission was run by the Franciscan fathers, and the indians branded cattle, tilled the soil, made pottery, spun wool for clothing and harvested crops. Unfortunately, mission life proved destructive to the native's traditional way of life and the result over time was the gradual erosion and eventual destruction of their traditional tribal culture...In other words, converting them into Christians destroyed them...go figure. Here is a photo of the mission as it stands today..
Here is a picture of the inside of the mission..
It is really cool, because we can visit it any time we want for free and it costs people who are NOT camping here $3.00 each.
There is another really great historic spot, the Presidio La Bahia, an old fort which stand just outside of town. Another plus for us here is that we can walk there without going on the busy road it happens to be on. This state park road extends UNDER the highway, with a walkway going up on the other side and coming out right at the presidio..about a 1 mile walk for us.
The Presidio La Bahia,(bahia meaning "bay" in Spanish). This is a fort , not a mission and was moved here also in 1749. It's former location being near present day Lavaca Bay. The soldiers from this fort assisted the Spanish army fighting the British along the Gulf Coast during the American Revolution. Here is a picture of it.. There is a chapel which was erected in the quadrangle of this fort, call Our Lady of Loretto, and is the oldest building in the compound in continuous use since the 1700's. They still hold church services there on Sundays. Here is the chapel...

Here is a photo of the altar and the fresco behind it... This presidio is really famous for one of the most disastrous defeats of the Texas struggle for independence, the Battle of Coleto Creek. The men of Col. James W. Fannin's command , troops numbering 400, occupied Presidio La Bahia in March of 1836. Col. Fannin renamed the presidio Fort Defiance. When the Alamo fell, he was ordered by Gen. Sam Houston to retreat and join him. Col. Fannin's slow moving column of men fought off attacks by Mexican cavalry and artillary day and night..they could not hold out. Expecting to be "prisoners of war" they surrendered the next morning on March 20th. Ten Texans and all horses and oxen were killed, and 50 including Fannin, were wounded. The survivors were marched back to Fort Defiance,(Presidio La Bahia), and imprisoned. A week later, Palm Sunday, they were marched out of the fort and executed as pirates who had borne arms against the Mexican government. There was TWICE as much loss at Goliad as there was at the Battle of the Alamo, which not many (except Texans) know. Down here the motto is "Remember Goliad!".
We toured the Presidio La Bahia (Fort Defiance) and it makes you feel really sad at what happened there. We also went out to the Fannin Battleground, about 9 miles East of Goliad, where they surrendered after the Coleto Creek battle. There is a monument there, too.

So now you have had you Texas history lesson for the day. Can you tell what a history "nut" I am??? For fear of boring you further, I will save the historical town square, Courthouse and "Hanging Tree" for another blog. Actually there they have a Goliad Market Days the 2nd Saturday of each month it happens to be this Saturday, so guess where we are going?? I failed to mention that this state park has a walkway through the trees, down along the river and right into town..a 2 mile walkway...I will blog about it, trust me...Later...