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Debbie in the Desert

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Mule’s Ears Spring Trail

Big Bend National Park

The Chihuahuan Desert of Far West Texas

A Healthy Desert

Spring Water Flowing In the Desert, Lush and Green

Bull Rushes Even


A Moderate Desert Hike With Some Interesting Variety In Topography, Geology and Flora

A Healthy Desert Ecosystem

Well Stewarded By the National Park

The Color of the Land In the Color of One’s Skin

Debbie In the Desert

28 Dec 2019

Far West Texas – Winter Solstice – Terlingua’s Porch

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Winter on the road.

The chase of above freezing temperatures forces our hand, plans are changed.

Terlingua bound.

On our way to a birthday dinner at Terlingua’s Starlight Theater a ‘late in the day lit’ voice calls out from the ‘porch’, “I know you!”

This as we exit our Smart car tow car heading for the Starlight for Debbie’s 66th birthday dinner.

Turns out I knew him as well.

Mark Lewis, Terlingua fiddler extraordinaire.

He and I have a music and digital image connection going back a number of years.

Chiefly fiddle circles, local folk, local musicians in Terlingua, Texas

Mark seemed interested in continuing the connection and let me know that there would be a musical gathering on ‘the Porch’ that Sunday, the day after Winter Solstice at 3 PM.

Mark Lewis, Ted Arbogast, Charlotte Teer, and a musician from Austin whose name escapes me (let me know and I will correct my text) plus a ‘low estrogen’ (their words) women’s choir bank of lusty voices showed up.

It soon became evident that the women’s voices had been doing some practicing away from ‘the Porch’.

Image Gallery Link ~ Terlingua’s Porch ~ 12-22 2019

Far West Texas & Terlingua, Texas past travel blog entries follow, music scene and otherwise. Interesting to look back at the people and the faces of the region and area.

Some gone from Terlingua, some gone period, some just passing through, and some still around.

Old Time Music Community ~ Ghost Town Cafe & Saloon ~ Terlingua, Texas

Viva Terlingua ~ Terlingua, Texas

Terlingua, Texas ~ Community Between the Parks

The Boat House Session ~ Fiddle Circle

Hogan & Moss ~ Go Lightning

The Terlingua American Legion ~ The Last Outpost


26 Dec 2019

The People of Lockhart (TX) BBQ ~ Kreuz’ & Smitty’s

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Lockhart, Texas the Texas State Legislature’s acknowledged Barbeque Capital of Texas.

An attempt to meet and eat the Lockhart challenge, eating at all four Lockhart Barbecue establishments, failed when I was unable to get comfortable photographic access to the people working the pit at all four.

So Kreuz’ Market, correctly pronounced Krites, and Smitty’s Market it is (and was) in that order.

More of a photographic tour of the people working the barbecue pits .

Vince Castillo at the block and behind the knife.

Place your order with the counter guys and it is called out to Vince.

Frank Tello wields a skillful knife.

I chose to sample sausage and brisket in an attempt to limit myself and for some sort of subjective comparison between the barbecue pits.

Frank is a man who enjoys and takes pride in his work and craft.

The folks in the pit at Kreuz’ Market made me welcome and comfortable.

Domingo Delgodillo (‘Sunday’ in Spanish, shared with some pride) went out of his way to welcome, pave the way and open the pit to me.

Before we move on photographically to Smitty’s Market, here are my impressions of the sausage and beef brisket at Kreuz’ Market.

Moist meats both, no additional sauce, none, none needed beyond the rubs, searing and smoking. The meats were moist and flavorful.

I did have sides at Kreuz’ Market, which made for a full meal, as opposed to a sample. None beyond Kreuz’. Cole slaw and sauerkraut. A slightly sweet and slightly wet slaw with fresh vegetables that had some snap to them. The sauerkraut was good: caraway seed with a touch of meat presence. Both sides were excellent.

As a segue into the Smitty’s Market images let’s talk about their meats.

Again the sausage and the beef brisket: a dryer brisket in comparison, but not a bad thing, yet a way moister sausage, a less dense sausage almost loose with a snappier casing in comparison.

White bread, Wonder Bread to be exact, and saltines were a staple at both establishments.

Smitty’s prices were the lower of the two. No additional barbecue sauces at Smitty’s although hot sauce was at the table (beware the low chairs).

No Forks at Smitty’s. So the sign proclaimed, and none were to be seen.

Split post oak out back of Smitty’s Market waiting for the fire.

Smitty’s sausage master, Jerry Mendoza, who takes a good picture.

I think he knows that. Not a bad thing: confidence.

Pablo Garcia seemed to be the pit guy at Smitty’s.

Although everybody could and did wield the knife at the block.

A sharp knife and a controlled smile.

Excellent group of people. They worked well together and enjoyed one another’s company. This crew also made me welcome and comfortable in their presence and space

From immediately behind the knives, around and back: Canessa, Kinesa, Jared, Mateo, Jerry and Pablo.

Mateo front and center at the scale.

Jared at the block, behind the knife .

Canessa making the sale.

Link to past Lockhart Barbecue post.

Take a look back.

The crew at Smitty’s has the same kind of presence and energy, now and then.

The People of Lockhart (TX) BBQ ~ Kreuz’ & Smitty’s Image Gallery

17 Dec 2019


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Aransas NWR / Goose Island, Texas ~ 12/2019

Multiple days at a rebuilding, a still recovering Goose Island SP.

The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey still evident.

Lamar Peninsula felt scrubbed, severely pruned and brightly repainted.


Three days on the water with Jeff Parker of Explore In Focus, captained by Kevin Sims and Lori McCullough Sims of Aransas Bay Birding Charters.

All quality people offering personable and knowledgeable professional photography and guide services.

Not to be missed if you are a wildlife photographer.

The alternate lifeblood of the area, barge traffic in the Army Corps barge channel; alternate and contrasting with local fishing guides and purveyors of whooping crane access, made itself known the first day.

A sunken paired gravel barge mid-channel with another string of gravel and sand barges run aground on top of the first. A second sinking gravel barge pushed ashore mid-channel to avoid it’s complete sinking, had the Coast Guard’s, Army Corp’s and private contractor’s noisy attention and focus as they scrambled to offload and re-float commercial barges.

This, as barge traffic backed up outside of the barge channel into a connecting bay.

The birds, Whoopers and most all else, retreated well into the center of the marshes as far from mankind and his commerce as possible.

My meager combination of 400 mm telephoto and 1.4 TC would not dent that distance.

By the third day the barge back up had moved on and Coast Guard’s, Army Corp’s and private contractor’s efforts had yielded some positive results.

The Whooping Cranes returned, visually accessible.

Back ashore, a privately held Lamar Peninsula photography blind yielded huge whooping crane, sand hill crane and whistling duck activity late in the day.

Gallery Link ~ Aransas NWR / Goose Island – 12/2019

Gallery Link ~ Aransas NWR – Winter 2017

Having been away from traveling and travel photography for a good 18 months while we relocated to the New Hampshire seacoast I find myself bumping up against that old learning curve and lots of relearning.

Some things have changed digitally in my time away.

Interesting to be back traveling … 18 months at this age is a long time.

14 Dec 2019