Jacob’s Well. 

I joined Doray for a trip to the Wimberly area.  We stopped by their new home site to check out progress.  Then we visited Jacob’s Well Natural Area.   Jacob’s Well is a narrow (10-20′ in diameter), but deep (up to 100′) hole in the limestone of the springfed Trinity Aquifer.  Young and old jump from the rocks into the waters of the well to cool off.   We were only hiking but I enjoyed watching the divers.  


Watch your step!   That first one can be a doozy.  

(Image manipulated using iPhone app brushstroke)

Sunday brewery touring, resumed.  

We took a break there for a while from our taproom exploration.  But we’re back.  First stop, 4th Tap Brewery Cooperative;  have a nice flight!


Next:  Oskar Blues Brewery; good tunes, too.  I learned a new word here:  zymurgy.  See, it’s an educational tour. 

We stopped for dinner along the way, but finished at Austin Beerworks:


We are in training for Fran’s visit…. 🙂

Artcycles.

Today Monte and I took a trip downtown to see the recently installed visiting art exhibit Forever Bicycles, by Ai Weiwei.   It is sponsored by The Contemporary Austin and the Waller Creek Conservancy.   Their material doesn’t cite an end date for the exhibit – it just says “ongoing.”  But get yourself down there to see it.   It is located at the “Waller Creek Delta,” which happens to be about where Trinity St runs into Lady Bird Lake.  The Waller Creek Boathouse and its cafe are nearby, so you can catch a bite as well.  And it is located right along the hike and bike trail.

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I found the exhibit of hundreds of stainless steel bicycles to be teeming with motion, from every angle.  Very cool indeed.

An overdue visit.

I made it to Laguna Gloria today.  It’s remarkable that it is only my first visit, after living here over 20 years.   It is the home of The Contemporary Austin, an art consortium.    The grounds are beautiful, full of trees, and trails that will take you down by the (glorious) lagoon, as well as Lake Austin.  A sculpture garden is spread throughout the grounds and trails.  It made for a lovely afternoon of hiking, birding and art appreciation.

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Texas Historical Marker for Laguna Gloria Villa

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The lovely Villa

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Looking towards Lake Austin from the Villa

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Miffy Fountain – Tom Sachs

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Looking Up – Tom Friedman

 

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Canopy Tower – John Grade

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Iron Tree Trunk – Ai Weiwei

Class of 2017.

I attended one of the many University of Texas at Austin convocation ceremonies today.   The daughter of a college roommate of mine graduated.   Being on a university campus always feels a bit like home to me, no matter how brief my visit might be.

Seeing these young people graduate college and turn to take the next significant step in their lives makes me nostalgic.   I can recall the excitement of the prospect of having your entire future before you.   For me, that day was 30 years ago.   I feel older; but not old.  A little part of me wishes I could do it all again.  The rest of me is content to look back on a life that’s more than half way lived, enjoy the memories, and cherish the remainder.

Congratulations to the all the graduates of 2017!!!

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This little piggy went to market…

I can’t believe it has taken me so long, but today I visited Texas Farmers’ Market at Lakeline Mall this morning – open 9am to 1pm every Saturday.  They set up right in front of Dillard’s in the parking lot.  I really enjoyed it, and the beautiful day that came with it.  They have all sorts of fare:  veggies, cheese, meat, eggs, bread, sweets, olive oil, pasta, flowers, doggie treats, live music, sweet smelling pamper products, a little place to sit down and rest, and more.  I’ll be back.

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Oh, Austin…

Austin dubs itself the “Live Music Capital of the World.”  A well-deserved title.  An equally well-deserved moniker would be “Rubbernecking Capital of the World.”

Seriously.   Austin traffic is dismal.  Bad.  Horrible.   We suffer through long and much-delayed construction projects, restricted lanes, new tolls on well traveled routes, terrible rush hours, and endless debates on funding affordable, responsible mass transit.

In my humble opinion, we can help ourselves out for free by just NOT RUBBERNECKING.  Come on, Austin!   I’ve lived in and traveled through many different cities, but nowhere have I seen this level of self-induced misery.

Case in point:  today we attended a beautiful Bat Mitzvah of the daughter of our friends.  On the way home (1:30PM on a Saturday ), we popped onto Mopac North.   Traffic was moving very slowly.

So, I looked at google maps to see what was going on.   Yuck.  Mopac was red for miles in both directions.  Luckily for us, we were almost through the worst of it.

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Hmm, was it a terrible accident up ahead?  Overturned car?  Lane closure? Jack-knifed trailer tractor?  Police pulled someone over on the shoulder?  A backup on the exit?  Ambulance blocking lanes?

Ummmm.  No.   It was simply an open house and Muster Day at Camp Mabry – lots of brightly colored tents, military equipment and helicopters on display on the parade grounds of Camp Mabry, WAAAY off to the west of Mopac.  But, sadly, it *is* visible from Mopac, if you just turn your head and hit the breaks to take it all in.  And that’s what people were doing, in both directions.   No amount of infrastructure funding is going to help that.  Sigh.

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Dinner in the rear view mirror. 

We had a fun day! Julie collected 7 souls to go sailing with us on an amazing sunny & breezy day on Lake Travis.   We sailed to Volente and then anchored in arky north, on the way back, for several hours.  Back to the dock by sunset.  We grabbed dinner at P. Terry’s on the way home.   Overall:  awesome!

Beer me.

After a very rainy weekend the sun finally came out Sunday afternoon.   We decided to check out a couple breweries nearby.   Austin Beerworks has a new and expanded tasting room and patio area that opened recently — kid and dog friendly.  My Pearl Snap was great!


Just down the road, Circle Brewing Co. was serving up some good brews.   I had the Alibi blond ale.  Monte tried a flight. 


We’re lucky to have so many local breweries nearby.  We’ll hit a few more next time. 

Hiking Bull Creek.

Last weekend, I went for a 3-hour group hike with one of the biologists that does research for the City-of-Austin-managed Balcones Canyonlands Preserve.  It was really interesting.   We hiked a short loop along the preserve at Bull Creek.  Along the way, I learned much about the native Ashe junipers throughout the hill country that I had previously come to detest, due to my annual cedar fever allergy symptoms.   But I came away with a new appreciation for the tree and the role it plays in the ecosystem of the Balcones Canyonlands.   I also learned about the other native grasses and shrubs that make up the understory of the woodland.  And about the endangered golden-cheeked warbler that will soon make its annual trek from Central America in early March to nest in the woodlands of the preserve until returning south in July.   I’m looking forward to more hikes out there.  Stay tuned.

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Bull Creek  is flowing nicely since the drought has broken.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And, I caught a tiger swallowtail butterfly taking a break along the creek.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Very nice!

Towering.

I booked a couple of tickets to tour the University of Texas Tower tonight.  It has been, thankfully, a rainy weekend, so I didn’t get the pre-sunset view that I was hoping for, but I enjoyed the tour and the 360 degree views of the city.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A panoramic view from the observation deck, located below the clockface, looking south.IMG_0975

Out on the town.

Last night we celebrated Laura’s birthday by going on a wine bar crawl downtown.  We had picked out 6 or so places ahead of time to stop in at for appies and drinks during the night.  We made it to 5 of them!  In crawl-order:  Prelog’s, Irene’s, True Food Kitchen, La Condesa & The Secret Bar at the W Hotel.  A good time was had by all.

I especially liked this overhead light fixture at La Condesa:

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Seen on a building along one leg of the crawl…. i agree 🙂IMG_0559 (1)