Daily Work

Looking Back – The Painted Churches

So, it began with a dress for my wife. She wanted something special as the mother of the bride. The problem is that after her double-mastectomy, she doesn’t have the normal feminine figure. After looking around, she got discouraged because there isn’t a big market for dresses for her figure. I suggested that we work with a friend, Lindsay, who owns a company called “Frippery: Custom Costumes and Whimsical Designs.” (Facebook link) She is the wife of the man who used to be our youth minister. The key phrase here is “used to be.” He’s now the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Halletsville, about a two hour drive from us. (Spoiler alert here: it was worth it.)

Because we knew her work and we trusted her, we made the drive about three times: first for measurements, second for a preliminary fitting, and third for the final fitting and touchups. If you read any of my posts on Facebook about our travels to Houston during Lucy’s cancer treatments, you’ll know that we enjoy the time driving and talking together, so it was a great time together. On the second trip, Lindsay told us about the painted churches in Schulenberg. She suggested that we find a way to check them out. On the third trip, Lucy had her final fitting and Lindsay needed a couple of hours to put the finishing touches on her work. The painted churches were about half an hour away, so we drove up to Schulenbert and looked at as many as we could. The article I linked explains the origins of these churches better than I could, so let me refer you to the article for an explanation. The TL/DR version is that German and Czech immigrants built these churches in the styles they were accustomed to.

While we didn’t get to all seven in the area, we saw enough to know that we’d love to go back sometime to get a full tour. My pictures weren’t all good, but you can get idea of the beauty of the churches from a few of the pictures. The second picture is an extension of the first if you look to the right. The fourth picture is an extension of the third if you look to the right.











The pictures of the stained glass suffered from my eternal problem with the camera: tilt. I don’t know why, but I seem to make my shots tilt, even when I think I’m getting them straight. Here’s an example. When I try to account for that, my impression is that I’m pushing down too far the other way. I need to find a way to put a level in my viewfinder. I try to line things up with the dots, but I’m not very good, I guess. If you have any suggestions on how I can stop doing that, please let me know!










While we still don’t have the official pictures from the wedding, I do have this picture of the dress as Lucy tried it on. That was in Lindsay’s work area. We were happy with the work. Our only concern was that she didn’t charge us enough. We were going to be sneaky and add a tip to our bill, but PayPal didn’t have that option for this.










So, that’s a short look at one of the things we did while I was avoiding blogging at all. When I downloaded these pics, they were 2.5 months old. I only had one other set in between this set and the woodpecker pics from yesterday. It’s time to get back into my photography!

Bird Brain Chronicles, Bird pics and story

January 5 – On The Road to Hallettsville

What a day today! I volunteer at a food pantry and finished my work there. Then, I picked up Lucy and we drove to Hallettsville so that she could get measured for a dress for our daughter’s upcoming wedding. We have a friend who makes dresses and costumes, and Lucy, since her double mastectomy, doesn’t have normal female contours which makes it difficult for her to buy an off the rack dress and feel good about it. So, we took a day trip to Hallettsville to work with Lindsay Ferguson and see Nick, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Hallettsville and our former youth pastor. It was good to catch up with them. As we arrived, there was a turkey vulture high in the sky. I took a quick shot. The focus isn’t very good, but it was the first bird we saw there.


Turkey vultures are majestic birds in flight and you can see them soaring in the skies over South Texas. If you see them from afar, they look gorgeous as they ride the thermals. They have a cut little red spot in the front. Then when you see them up close, you realize that the red spot is his head and they are the ugliest birds in the world. They often cooperate with Cara Cara as they scavenge the road kill, and Cara Cara (we saw a couple while driving) are the most beautiful birds around.  Then we visited with the Fergusons. When we left, they gave us directions to the park so that we could search for birds.



When we arrived at the park we were immediately struck by the lack of birds. There were no sounds. There was no movement. After a few minutes of looking around I heard a bird singing in the distance and looked in that direction. What I saw instead was this fuzzy-tailed seed stealer. (So named when we were feeding birds in our backyard and his relatives would barge into the chow line and chase the invited guests away and eat their food.) They are cute, though, so I take their picture whenever I can.


Often, when looking for birds, knots in the wood, seed pods, and items like this pic fool us into thinking they’re birds. Sadly, plastic bags arranged the right way on branches do the same thing. It is a nice example of a wasp’s nest. Seriously, in the park, while we heard distant singing, the only indication of birds in the park that I saw was one nest in the trees. I was disappointed, but we left by a road that Lucy thought she saw on the map that ran by the river, so we decided to try that route. It’s so nice to have a wife that puts up with my follies!





There weren’t many birds to see on this route and then I spied this cardinal. I thought I had seen one earlier in the year at the Oso Bay wetlands, but he snuck into the trees and I didn’t get a picture. Lucy stopped the car and I rolled down my window to take the shot. My first attempt happened when I snapped just as the cardinal jumped up. I have a few of the tail feathers in the shot. Then, we moved a bit and I got this shot. I love cardinals, unless they’re playing baseball, and I was thrilled to get the shot.






Then, we took the paved road instead of the dirt road because that seemed like the logical choice. We meandered down the road until we saw this little beauty. It’s an American Kestrel. The angle was bad in the car. The first picture was right into the sun and was a complete washout. We moved the car a little, but it was still an awkward angle and it was a bit blurry. But, it was an American Kestrel!  We made one more stop by the Victoria County Courthouse and on our way back to the car after seeing nothing. Then we saw what I think were sparrows, but didn’t get a shot. The featured image for this post is the Courthouse. While we didn’t have a good day birding, it was great to see the Fergusons and spend time with my wife.