Sad Eeyore at Eastwoods Park

 

img_3173

img_3170 img_3172

In commemoration, Eastwoods Park features a charming donkey sculpture by local artist Bob Coffee. 

 

Eeyore’s Birthday Party began in 1963 at Eastwoods Park as a spring party and picnic for Department of English students at the University of Texas at Austin.  It was named for Eeyore,  a chronically depressed donkey in A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories who, in one story, believes his friends have forgotten his birthday only to discover they have planned a surprise party for him.

When the festival moved from Eastwoods Park to Pease Park in 1974, Austin-area non-profit Friends of the Forest, an organization which distributes funds to other area charities began arranging for food and drink vendors at the festival. They continue this task today along with arranging public services (toilets, buses, security, medics) and scheduling live music and family-oriented games and contests. The event is still known to most as a festival oriented towards modern hippies. It now boasts an annual attendance in the thousands.

Eeyore’s Birthday Party is attended by people from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages, some of whom may have been attending for decades. Austin’s hippie community still puts in a major appearance at the event, which they celebrate by forming large drum circles which can sometimes contain hundreds of drummers and dancers in the large areas of the park not occupied by other events. Members of the Deaf community like the drum circles because they can feel the vibrations.

via wikipedia.

I had been attending Eeyore’s Birthday parties in the past.  The crowd is growing bigger every year.  Music, hippies, children, everywhere, even with women with painted boobs, pregnant bellies, men with thongs, dogs and cats.

img_0289 img_0238 img_0211 img_0194 img_0192 img_0189 img_0186 img_0036 img_0042 img_0052 img_0056 img_0075 img_0157 img_0174 img_0028 img_0024 img_0305 img_0300

I took those photos during the Eeyore’s birthday party at Pease Park in April 2014.  I plan to go back this year and enjoy the event again!

 

Posted in All About Austin Snapshots, Austin, Texas Attractions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sneakers Hanging on a Wire

I always thought that shoes are hanging on the wires were a cool fad until I learned something different.

In many communities, one can see a pair of shoes swinging on power lines. This practice is called shoe tossing, and it is often spotted in urban areas or college neighborhoods throughout the world. There is no universal meaning for shoes hanging on power lines, but one is able to interpret the message depending on the location of the shoes. Some youth perform shoe tossing simply because they have witnessed others do it. For others, it is a symbol of a prime drug-dealing location, gang representation or death.
When shoes are hanging from telephone wires in an intersection, it is sometimes a sign that gang members are claiming the premises for themselves. It is also a symbol used to indicate hot spots for addicts to purchase the drugs they are looking for. The sudden death of a popular youth in the community often causes friends or family members to perform shoe tossing in a loved one’s honor.

So I’m not sure what that means for when I saw the sneakers swinging on the wires at Mabel Davis District Park. I am hoping its not about drugs. There is a skate park, a playground and the swimming pool.

img_2828

Posted in All About Austin Snapshots, Austin, Texas City Parks | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Dime Wouldn’t Fit in My Front Pocket!

The Big Dime in the Box

And in those miles and miles of Texas, a treasure of unusual town names…..this time, it’s Dime Box, Texas.  I am going to tell a little about the tiny central Texas town of Dime Box. I drove off TX 21 to check the small town about 3 minutes away.  I found the box easily at Ramsey Street (Hwy 141) and Bowers Street.  I was in awe that the dime is probably 2 feet round.  I still don’t know if it is made of silver.  It is surrounded with dirty glass, looking like it hasn’t washed clean for some years.

I researched its history.  I learned that the community originated in either the late 1860s or early 1870s. The settlement was first known as Brown’s Mill, but was later changed to Dime Box.

The origin of the name “Dime Box” stemmed from a custom in which early settlers had wanted to send a letter to somebody, they would leave their letters and a dime in the box. Someone got to the nearest town to get supplies or whatever, he would just take everybody’s letters and the dime, mail it wherever the nearest town was, which was Caldwell, Texas. And then if anybody had letters coming back, he would bring the letters back to the box. It was just like a honor system more or less.

In 1913, when the Southern Pacific Railroad built a line three miles to the southeast of the community, most of the residents and businesses moved to a site near the tracks. From that point onward, the original settlement became known as Old Dime Box and the new community was referred to as Dime Box.

A Texas Historical Marker was erected in 1968 that honored Old Dime Box as the second oldest community in Lee County.

The population is about 300 today. It’s a farming community. And most everybody lives out in the surrounding area on a farm.

 

img_1808

Close up of the Big Dime

img_1807-edit

The Big Dime is surrounded with dirty, smeared glass in the box.


img_1810-edit-edit-edit

To check the Big Dime in the Box, go  Hwy 141, downtown off TX 21. The Box is cornered by Ramsey Street and Bowers Street near the flag stand.

Posted in Southeast Texas, Texas Attractions | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ding Dong, Ding Dong!

img_9725

Ding Dong! A city in Texas! Woo-hoo!

The story what happened to name the city: The town of Ding Dong was founded in the 1930s by a couple of settlers named Bert and Zulis Bell. The Bells ran a country store between Killeen and Florence. They hired a painter named C.C. Hoover to paint a sign for their store. Up the way a bit, in Florence, was a man by the name of Fred Foster. Fred had a bit of a sense of humor and when he saw Hoover walk into his hardware company, he urged Hoover to take a little creative license with the sign he was painting for the Bells. He told Hoover he should paint two bells on the sign and label them Bert and Zulis. Then, underneath the bells, Hoover should paint the words ‘Ding Dong’. Hoover took Fred’s advice and painted the sign. From then on the community was forever known as Ding Dong. Pretty funny, huh?

I drove through the seemingly invisible town during work hours to Killeen. Ding Dong is about 8 miles south of Killeen. That’s how I discovered the hilarious name.

 

*having a fit of giggles*

Posted in Southeast Texas, Texas Attractions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Hey You, Creatures!

I just subscribed AllTrails once again.  The last time I subscribed it was like 5 years ago.  I was not really active in these Austin parks then.  Now I do.  Before I start my road tripping adventures in the Fall (hopefully).  When I was in Whole Foods to get my favorite soup, New England clam chowder that I couldn’t live without.  I will miss my soup when I leave Austin.  Anyway, I snooped to see where the parks were nearby on my iPhone.  Stephenson Preserve Trail is something that I never heard of.  The curiosity got to me.  It was about 9 minutes away from where I was  at.

I didn’t have any plans that afternoon so it was perfect for me to browse what’s in this small park.  There was a parking lot in front of the playground where parents enjoy their time while their kids play.

The park was at the Cherry Creek subdivision on William Cannon Drive and Westgate Blvd.  I decided to eat my soup there.  There were some picnic tables so I could sit and enjoy the nature as well.

After I was done with my lunch, I decided what the hell to take a hike….

IMG_5125

The beginning.  Yes, the trail at the start here is paved and not particularly interesting. Where possible, head to the north onto the packed dirt paths to get to the preserve.


IMG_5124-Edit

The long pathway but I cut my hike going to the different trail that were more rough and unpaved.

IMG_5127

I noticed something from my left.

IMG_5128-Edit

The sign.  I went ahead to check it out.  I am not sure what it was about.

IMG_5139-Edit

After 20-25 minutes of hiking, I was surprised with the delight to see the wood sculpture.  It was in the middle of nowhere in the park.  I took my admiration of the thing. Someone must be in the neighborhood taking time to build this one like this.  I loved it.  I decided to see if there were any more of it.  I continued my hike..

IMG_5142

Geez, I hated that.   I just randomly chose which way to go at the many trail intersections which I should continue my hike that can either lead to great adventure or confusing frustration, depending on your attitude.

IMG_5143

Too many trails to pick out, look at this.  I bet mountain bikers are riding through them. It is extremely easy to get lost with all of the criss-crossing trails, so a GPS receiver with tracking enabled is a good idea.

IMG_5362

A little pond…no alligators, sorry.

IMG_5364

Charming, enchanting forest with magical mystical winding roads where you’ll meet some art pieces as well as a land nymph made of barbed wire. Often the colors and the terrain changes and there are many forks but beware of the forest trolls who live in the caves. Avoid the golden path into the ethereal space or you’ll be lost forever.

IMG_5365

Stones balance.

IMG_5369 IMG_5373 IMG_5378 IMG_5380-Edit IMG_5385

These art pieces led me into the street of Eganhill and Harleyhill.  I noticed a lot of art pieces following to the house.

IMG_5393IMG_5389

The bearded guy was working on his new art piece in his garage.  I was brave enough to come to him, looking at his amazing art inside the garage.  He realized that I couldn’t hear him. I had to make sure he understood that I was Deaf.  He introduced himself to me.  His name is Dale Wood.  He was very very friendly and excited to show me around what he did with his pieces.  I was totally in awe.  We talked some time.  I liked him a lot.  When I told him that I was going to write a blog about him and his art pieces, I asked him for the permission to acknowledge him and his talents.  He said YES!

IMG_5418-Edit

I asked him if we could take a picture together.  He was more than obliged to come and say cheese to my iPhone. I feel honored to meet Dale Wood.  If you are interested to see his amazing art, contact Dale at  delvis@earthlink.net. You will LIKE him!

After I left to continue my hike, I found more art pieces on the way back.

IMG_5395 IMG_5396-Edit IMG_5399 IMG_5402 IMG_5403 IMG_5405 IMG_5411-Edit-EditIMG_5419-Edit-Edit-Edit

Stephenson Preserve Nature Park is awesome because of its show of art pieces that made me a happy hiker!!

 

Posted in All About Austin Snapshots, Austin, Texas Attractions, Texas City Parks | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hill Country Science Mill | Johnson City, Texas

The Hill Country Science Mill is housed in a community landmark in the heart of Johnson City, Texas. The feed mill built in 1880 as a steam grist mill and cotton gin featured unique mechanical innovations that were used to process, sort and distribute grain to its rural community. The original steam mill was converted to a flour mill in 1901 and later was converted to electrical power and evolved into a feed mill in the 1930’s. The mill ceased operation in the 1980’s and was converted into a restaurant and entertainment complex. While a majority of the site and the mill have been dormant for the past 20 years, the mill has inspired photographers, muralists, and curious travelers who have been captivated by its romantic and iconic presence.

When I was en route to Enchanted Rock, the mill caught my eye.  I stopped by and took an inspection what was in store.  It looked promising so I would plan to come back after my camping nights at Enchanted Rock.  A couple of days later, sure enough I had to stop and get a sneak into some treasures waiting for….

What I saw….

a lot of shoes hanging on the building wall, old school houses, school bus in the shed, horse in the pool, ok, ahem, with the propeller along with,  a space cadet in the ceiling, weird, toilet seat, all right, no privacy, a kind of superman up one of the mills, a torn -down horse carousel and many more.

History of the Feed Mill: 

Johnson City truly is a step back in time, where neighbors share smiles and the warmth of a small town. A town full of dreams with the will to keep the history of Texas. you will find yourselves wanting more than a day in this setting, and on thing for sure you will never be the same. The Mill demonstrates the dynamic agricultural roots that are the heritage and the pride of Texas heartland. According to Blanco County History, the Crofts’ Mill was built as a steam grist mill and cotton gin in 1880 for James Polk Johnson.

In 1901, they used stones from a rock fence surrounding the Johnson Settlement (adjacent to the property) to build a flour mill. George Crofts, an acknowledged genius of mechanical gadgets, converted the Mill in the late 1930’s to produce agricultural feed. The Mill operated until the 1980’s and still contains the rather innovative and unique equipment designed by Crofts. Within the historic setting of the Old Crofts’ Mill a unique restaurant evolved. One that will delight the young and the old, a place full of fun, laughter, and down home hospitality. The Feed Mill Cafe was the brainchild of Tommy Thompson of Lubbock, TX and the first name was “Tommy’s Fried Green Tomatoes”.

Charles Trois, an artist, entrepreneur, inventor ad musician bought the abandoned Crofts’ Mill around 1992, with no real plans in mind for its development he just wanted to preserve the past. Trois got to work with a few friends, Tommy Thompson, Nancy Coplin, Linda Wiles and Joanie Thompson cleaning the complex, removing old equipment, salvaging what they could and rebuilding the rest. You just haven’t see anything like it before. From its “tail trompe” old tower with its faux workmanship, created by Austin artist Nathan Jenson, leaning out over traffic whizzing by on US Highway 290, to the restroom walls, painted by Joanie Thompson, that have given new meaning to the term “hand painted”. It is truly a must for memories to tell the family and friends about. In 1998 Mbandi Inc. of Branson, Missouri purchased the Feed Mill Complex.

On April 1, 2001 Jon & Sandi Seaux took over the management of the complex, and Fletcher Johnson returned to become General Manager/Chef of the Feed Mill Cafe.

(copied from http://www.hillcountryportal.com)

dsci0186 dsci0200 dsci0205 dsci0209 dsci0217 dsci0199dsci0236dsci0187dsci0271 dsci0204dsci0257 dsci0254 dsci0239 dsci0228 dsci0275dsci0272dsci0248 dsci0282

Two years passing by…I drove through the city several times but I hadn’t stopped to see how things were progressing for the restoration.

Until today, the Hill Country Science Mill recycles a historic community landmark into a gathering place for the community and a forum for science exploration. The design was conceived not as a contrast between new and old, but as the dynamic evolution of the mill from a place of industrial production to a place that can produce science leaders for the new generation. Unfortunately, it was closed when I re-visited the mill.  I was surprised how it turned out but I’m glad the new science center breathes new life into the old grist mill and cotton gin.

See how things are changin’…..

img_3869

img_3873 img_3874 img_3875 img_3872 img_3871 img_3870

There are over 35 exhibits in which the entire family can participate, enjoy and learn. All signage is in English and Spanish, encouraging Spanish speakers, as well as English speakers, to feel welcomed to visit. And, if you have little ones, there’s a toddler area designated just for them to play and explore. You could easily spend an entire day at the Science Mill, especially with the Lady Bird Lane Cafe,  a small farm-to-table restaurant, on site. It’s the perfect place to grab a healthy lunch. Or, you can bring your own lunch to enjoy a picnic in the outdoor area.

 

I will be stopping for a short visit to see the inside of the center and be a little kid for a while.  🙂

It’s located at 101 South Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City, Texas, 78636. Stop by and visit. 

Posted in Southeast Texas, Texas Attractions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brenham Ghost Town

IMG_0014-Edit-Edit-Edit-2

I stopped by before heading out to Austin. I had been passing over too many times.  I always wanted to check it out and I haven’t had an opportunity until last night.  It indeed is an abandoned building.  The sign said “no trespassing” and well, you know me, I trespassed anyway.  I was careful, not stepping on anything or rattlesnakes. I brought my headlights on.  It has never been mowed at all.  I saw the huge spider on the web hanging on the limb without disturbance from me.  I realized I was too close to try a picture.  I went out of the front yard, back on the street.  I found a perfect spot on the corner.  It’s creepy though.

I stopped at the gas station, asking the cashier if she knew anything about this ghost town. All I learned a little what it was about.

Mr. Winkelman moved the buildings on to the property from different areas around Texas. He wanted to make it a town for  bed and breakfast and little cafes. The area never took off due to family issues. It is inhabited by squatters now and the land is owned by a person in California.

When I got home, I googled to get more information and there were so little.  That’s all I know as I mentioned above.

Approximately 5 miles East of Brenham, on eastbound side of US 290. At the intersection of US 290 and Indian Paint Brush Road.

d Chapel Hill, TX.

 

Posted in Southeast Texas, Texas Attractions | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment