We used to live in Buchanan Dam, TX, a town of three hundred about ninety miles northwest of Austin in Llano County. About twenty miles further west of our house on Hwy 29 is a bald eagles’ nest in a large tree about fifty yards from the road. This used to be the furthest west nest (sorry about that rhyme) in the United States. The site became so popular, the county had to put in an off-road parking area.
What I learned both from that nest and reading is that eagles mate for life (although for three years three adults would show up and no one could explain that)and that they return to the same nest every year to lay eggs. The most interesting fact was that every year they add to the nest—branches, straw, anything they find. After a few years, the nest is so big that an observer can no longer see the baby eagles and it may weigh one-hundred pounds or more.
In my January historical Second Chance Bride, I really wanted to work this in. I had the hero and heroine walking in a field, noticing the trees and the birds, but I couldn’t figure out how the hero could mention casually, in this flirtatious conversation, the huge eagles’ nest that weighed one-hundred pounds. So I’m sharing that fact with you.
What I particularly like about Texas is that there are historical sites and re-enactments and restored villages all over the state. Fredericksburg is an old German community. When it was settled, the language was German which makes reading some of the early documents impossible, at least for me. My husband’s favorite place is the German restaurant; mine, the historical pioneer museum (http://www.pioneermuseum.com/) where seven early buildings from the town have been placed. Because the heroine of Second Chance Bride teaches in a one-room schoolhouse, I learned a great deal visiting the one here.
But what really fascinated me was the Sunday house. Farms and ranches in the area were a good distance from town so a trip to church in the morning and to services at night as well as an afternoon spent with friends involved a long drive. For this reason, the practical German farmers and ranchers had tiny little houses in town: one room with benches around the wall to sleep on. This meant that at very little expense and with no frills and little comfort, they could arrive in town Saturday evening and leave Monday morning without having to drive the carriage or wagon at night.
And I couldn’t figure out how to use that either.
There are so many interesting places in Texas that I’ve visited and would love to write about. Here are some links you might enjoy:
Log Cabin Village in Fort Worth: http://www.fortworth.com/01visitors/0101westernher
The National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock. http://interoz.com/lubbock/ranch.htm
Fort Concho National Historical Landmark in San Angelo http://www.fortconcho.com/
Fort Davis National Historical site in the Davis Mountains. We saw a terrific reenactment here one Fourth of July.
The Heritage Society in Sam Houston Park in Houston http://www.heritagesociety.org/index.html
Finally, a tour of the Texas Forts http://www.texasfortstrail.com/home/index.asp