It may seem by my posts (or lack of) that I haven’t done much lately in the area of PhotoFrenzies, but just the opposite is true. I wasn’t 100% myself for about three weeks after being hit with something that appeared to be the flu. Even with not feeling my best, there were days that I just had to get out, and in doing so would drive not far from my home looking for anything to shoot. In between then and now, I’ve had the opportunity to discover a few local places that I had not been aware of. I will warn you…this post is probably going to be a long one!
There are two things that I have just recently come to realize, that puts a smile on my face even this moment as I type this: The first is, I have a hobby! I know that may sound silly but for YEARS I was so consumed with my business that I never had time for a hobby. I remember attending a Leader Workshop once and having the Leader who was conducting the meeting ask us to go around the room and share our name, some other personal information and what our hobbies are. When it got to me, I drew a blank. I realized I did not have a hobby. No, my business was my hobby! It consumed me! That was many years ago and even after that business came to a close, I honestly could not say that I’ve ever had a hobby. But I do now! And I am so enjoying it!
The second realization is this, there are many interesting, beautiful, wondrous places to be discovered in my own backyard. No, I do not mean literally in my backyard but in my surroundings not too far away. I’ve discovered remains of a German Prisoner of War Camp just 45 miles north of me that I never even knew existed. A National Grasslands area 30 miles from me in another direction, that I had never known of. My most recent discovery is of a beautiful grotto area just a few short hours south of my home in what is known as The Texas Hill Country. Although I’ve visited the area many times in my lifetime, I had never heard of this natural wonder until just the past week, thanks to a post by Michael Tuuk. There are others and I will share those with you as I get into this week’s PhotoFrenzy Catch-up. If it wasn’t for taking up the hobby of photography, I may have not ever known of these places and missed out on some interesting and beautiful experiences.
Let’s begin back in March, around the 5th (Wow, ok, so it was a month ago!! My, my how time has flown!) It was the day after my PhotoFrenzy with my dear FrenzyFriends that I posted about in What a Grand View. (That post wasn’t published until the 13th of the month even though it actually took place on March 4th, due to the above mentioned physical attack on my body.) I had to run a few errands and after doing so, looked over to see my camera sitting next to me in it’s normal place. I have pretty much developed the habit of carrying it with me everywhere.
I had read about an area just a short distance away that held some history. And according to my recent discovery of a website for historic places in Texas, there was a mention having historic markers located in the area. I set out to find those markers. After missing the turn onto County Rd 4227, not once, but twice, I found myself driving down a lonely road with fields all around, and occasionally crossing a small creek that would wind it’s way back and forth, under and beside my drive. The area is called, Deep Creek. According to the website I had found, the very first settler in Wise County, Sam Woody, had built a cabin in the area. The Deep Creek Cemetery, located just a short drive off the main road, is where the grave of Miss Sally Bowman lies. Her tragic end came as a young lady when she was shot after being chased by Indians while attending to her father’s fine horses. The cemetery was established in 1860, however the first burial did not take place until two years later. Due to vandals, the cemetery remains locked and I did not have time to run to the history museum to pick up the keys. So no pictures of the cemetery today.
According to the history on the site, there was a church/schoolhouse built in the community and I have heard that it’s ruins are still in the area, although I have yet to find it. There are several ranches that reside in the area now, and as in so many other areas of north Texas, so do the gas wells. I find myself drawn to this area and have been back a couple more times since early March just to take photographs such as the ones shown here.
During the past four weeks, I’ve taken a number of small drives on the days that I felt better and needed to get outdoors. My camera felt fine and was calling for me to take it out :). I am so amazingly blessed by my Lord for my good health and although those few weeks I just felt yuk, it made me appreciate so much more how truly blessed I am. During those short drives I took a few pictures such as the one below, but one you have already seen is in my FotoFriday52 post, when I was on the hunt for some signs of spring.
Another time when once again, “just needing to get out of the house”, I decided to drive up just past Decatur where I had noticed a large green area on my map. The green area is the marking of the LBJ-Caddo National Grasslands. (I just have to mention again, how thankful I am for my newfound interest in photography as it leads me to places I may never have visited otherwise.) This large area is just as it sounds…grass lands. There are private properties in the area where ranches, homes and yes, gas wells reside, however a large majority of it is a part of the park system and is available for all types of recreation. There are quite a number of small ponds dotted around the area and even a few that are termed as lakes, although I would consider them large ponds. It was still rather brown on this outing, meaning that the green of spring had not quite arrived. But it was a beautiful place, just the same.
One day we had a few storms roll through and this is a shot I took out my back patio:
The last outing for March was when David and I went out the last Saturday of the month. I was feeling much better and felt I was up for a several hour drive, and so that is what we did. We headed southwest and drove out towards Ranger, Texas just off Interstate 20. We took a little detour off the interstate and headed up towards Mineral Wells where we stopped for a few more shots of one of my favorite old places to photograph, The Baker Hotel. The old hotel has been lying abandoned for more than 30 years and is in a state of ruins. There is so much history in this old building and I’ve heard rumors that someone is investing in it to restore it. I sure hope so and when that happens, I will be one of the first guests!
Continuing along Highway 180, there were quite a few interesting things to shoot, such as this old bridge. We took some offshoot roads just to see what we would find. Of course, we are in Texas and there is always cattle!
It was quite a good day – just getting out and driving in the fresh, spring air and sunshine. And in addition, got quite a number of good shots along the way.
Although I’m thankful that the month is over due to illness, I’m grateful for the ability to get out and make some new discoveries. Oh, speaking of new discoveries, I haven’t mentioned any more about the Texas Hill Country Adventure and the discovery of that beautiful grotto. Well, since that actually occurred in the current month of April PLUS the fact that this post is extremely long, I think I’ll start a new post for that PhotoFrenzy in a bit. It will be a long one too as it was such a perfect day and many photo opportunities. So stay tuned! I’ll be back a little later.
Let Your Light Shine,