Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

on watching people, birds and tractors

We breakfasted at the Market Street supermarket on Bethany Drive in Allen, where my wife could get a cup of gourmet coffee at a Peet's coffee shop and we each could have real and tasty steel cut oatmeal. Then we headed about 67 miles east to Wills Point, Texas, population about 3,500. On the drive there we saw lots of wildflowers, particuarly bluebonnets, primrose and Indian paintbrush. I somehow got us onto I-20, but we used my seldom-used Garman to find our way into Wills Point.

Wills Point is a nice little Texas town with an old-fashioned downtown. We found the festival
located on a couple of streets. The things we saw included but are not limited to:

a. east Texas clover honey and bee balm;
b. home-made cedar rocking chairs and love seats;
c. regional peanut brittle;
d. a cupcake vendor;
e. a horse blanket vendor who held her blankets down using shorthorn cattle skulls;
f. a vendor of turkey legs;
g. a salsa vendor whose "dried salsa" mixed with canned tomatoes to make an incredible
h. a semi-professional wrestling ring, complete with wrestler in a lucha mask;
i. two animal rescue groups, each with the cutest dogs. I particularly liked one dog named Scooter;
j. boy scouts handling out a flyer for a May "retire the flags" ceremony;
k. a woman who made little squares of plastic filled individually with cool kitschy materials;
l. a wooden belt buckle vendor;
m. a bluebird information booth at each end of the midway;
n. a tiny merry-go-round, swing ride, and a teeny-tiny roller coaster for small children.
o. a local ladies' club's incredible looking baked goods;
p. a stylish line-up of antique tractors;
r. a stand for Tex-Mex food;
s. a booth with photos of nature scenes such as bluebonnets. Each photo was 150 dollars to 300 dollars,
which causes me to wonder, a bit, in my philistine way, why it is not much cheaper to donate 50 dollars
to the dog adoption folks and take a short drive through the fields of flowers instead.
t. people in cowboy boots, and a shoe store with waders, hiking boots and hush puppies;
u. super-polite people; and
v. a freight train rushing by an old town depot (now a history museum).

We managed to look, to donate modestly to various good causes, but to limit our purchases to a bit of bee balm for my wife.

At 11:00 a.m., We climbed aboard a free bus for a "bluebird tour". This proved to be a drive to Lake Tawakoni about 10 miles away, which is known to me as a lovely lake for hiking and fishing. A park ranger joined us there. A guide gave a great presentation to the dozen or so intrepid bluebird voyagers. The ranger gave a great presentation about the small but popular park. An older man, a bee-keeper of some sort, interrupted the presentation regularly with comments about unrelated meetings he wished to have a park ranger speak at, his view of bee repulsion, and sundry other topics. He came off as less rude than perhaps incapable of doing aught but what he did. He was the first, of course, to upbraid the people at the back of the bus for having a personal conversation while the speaker spoke, after having spoken over the presentations all day. The local guide maintains 21 bird boxes at the park. We learned from the state-wide fellow how bluebirds lay five blue eggs.

The eastern bluebird faces challenges, It nests in cavities of trees, but suburban sprawl
and land use has reduced the number of cavities available. Fortunately, eastern bluebirds love
bird boxes which mimic cavities. The Wills Point Wilderness Society worked with the national bluebird preservation society to learn how to help. Over the long run, they put up bluebird boxes and convinced area farmers to do the same. The bluebird now is abundant in this part of northeat Texas, thanks to this heroic effort done at the grass roots level. The result is that Wills Point was named the "Bluebird Capital of Texas.

The statewide bluebird society, the local bluebird folks, and the local state park teamed up
on this bluebird tour. It was interesting--in less than an hour, we saw not only
adult bluebirds near bird boxes and on trees, but we also got to see baby bluebirds
in the nest. We also passed fields of cows, horses, goats and burros, as well as flowers.

We drove back to the city past even more wildflowers, stopping at Terrell for a Subway Sandwich.
On our way home, we stopped at Richardson's Plants and Planters to some plants my wife wished to plant in our yard. After we arrived home, we stopped for a bit. Then we headed to the annual Heard Native Plant Sale, where we got a fragrant native geranium, some yellow flowers, and another small plant. The selection was rather small at the plant sale, which may indicate a great year, or a low inventory.
I saw the president of the Audubon Society there, but it was hard to introduce him to my wife, as i went blank on his exact name. Was it Merrick? Merrill? Mer-man?

We dined on pho ga' and chicken spring rolls at a new outlet of Pho Que Huong at 121 and Preston Road.
Then we stopped by Home Depot for a bougainvillea, before heading home.

i fell asleep at 7 p.m. or so and then slept until 10.30 p.m. Today was a very good day.


a 1952 Nash Rambler, complete with paper identfication saying "1952 Nash Rambler":

1952 Nash Rambler

a member of the local Antique Tractor Society drives a 1928 tractor on a downtown street:

1928 tractor being operated in 2011

a freight train as it passes the Wills Point Depot:

Train at the Wills Point Station

horse blankets on sale at the Bluebird Festival:

blanket sales

turkey legs on an open grill at the Bluebird Festival:

Turkey legs on the grill

eastern bluebird on a picnic table:

Lake Tawakoni Bluebird

mockingbird on a wire:

Mockingbird on a wire

Shasta daisies in our front yard:

Shasta Daisies

more vintage tractors;

Red Tractor

a huge old mill whistle:

Old Mill Whistle

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