Why Yes, We Can Have Fun in Cameron!

I just got home from a genuinely fun and satisfying evening out in our little town. It’s so great to have options for hanging out with your friends and neighbors in downtown!

Our beautiful new coffee shop

I don’t get into town much, but Anita invited me to join her for coffee, so I headed over to the Farmers to Market Coffee Shop for some of their delicious coffee and cozy decor (plus friendly staff and friends to chat with). I’m thrilled we have TWO coffee shops to choose from. It’s getting better here!

Lighting in the ceiling

Then we took the opportunity to see how the work Railfan is doing on downtown buildings is coming along. The Venue is getting even more beautiful. The mezzanine now has a beautiful wood wall and the floor is so shiny. What great work!

Next we wandered across the street to the old JC Penney building and its neighbors, where my son was painting walls and sealing bricks. It fascinates me to see the bones that were hiding in the former bland county offices.

Next we checked out the Penney building, which I’d seen before, but not cleaned out. Wow. I’d love to live in a loft on the third floor! Being able to look out the windows was a fun surprise. And the old elevator is something that needs to somehow be preserved. Being able to watch these renovations gives me a real sense of the hard work and creativity it takes to achieve a downtown revitalization.

Enough with the old buildings! Anita and I next went over to another building that was vacated when the county offices moved, the former tax office. Now it’s the Cameron Beer Market, with pizza, beer, pool, and so many fun people.

They’re not posing.

There were opening night glitches, like the credit card machine not working, so we had to pay cash. I never have cash. Still, we had fun conversation with so many folks we know, plus I got to enjoy Lee, Anita, and Declan talking about music. That’s always interesting.

This was before it got crowded. I like the grass on the wall.

Dang! Another fun night here, and soon we can do stuff like this all the time. And hey, some of the people were planning to go to another downtown spot, our beloved Central Avenue Bistro, after their beer, so wow, options!

Lots of pool tables, too.

Thanks to everyone who supports local businesses here, including the established ones, so I’m not forgetting Ginno’s Italian and the great Mexican restaurants here. Or further out, Bob’s! There’s stuff to do in our little town.

Plus we have a scenic old jail and cabin. Rural fun, yep.

Fun Times in Cameron, Texas

I forgot to blog about the fun I had last Saturday at the Steak Stein and Wine event in downtown Cameron. I got to hang out with so many friends. In the morning my friends Martha and Mike wandered around, having coffee from the extra cute new coffee trailer two friends of mine are opening and enjoying the vendors. The nice thing about being in a small town is you know lots of the folks.

We’re so happy for Cloud 9 Coffee!

I got a couple of Mexican outfits from a nice family who have tons of cool stuff, like lóteria shirts and Virgen de Guadalupe stuff for Anita, who came by later. We enjoyed chatting in our second languages to each other.

Our company had the cutest fishing game for kids. Kathleen is so creative in making stuff like this! She also made gorgeous wreaths for silent auctions. The caregivers and I dressed up as fish or something but I gave my tutu away to one of the husbands. They really didn’t need me cramping their style!

Friends I met at Master Naturalist stuff have opened a new hot dog stand that serves local 44 Farms all beef hot dogs. They were so busy, because it was so good. I’m happy for them and look forward to more Yoe Dawgs!

Michelle smiled through the whole hot dog thing

I must admit the highlight of the event was the Rotary Club pie throwing for charity. There were many officials there, but I zeroed in on the poor mayor. Bill was a good sport and I hammed it up to encourage others to grab a pie. I’m not a violent woman, but that was fun. And yes, I got a tie dye shirt.

I enjoyed the Art Walk in the beautifully renovated building where the last one had been. Wow has the Railfan on Main team done a great job! Anita came and enjoyed it with us. And she enjoyed trying to kill Kathleen.

The bathrooms are also lovely. I’ll share more pictures when all is done. In the meantime we drank delicious drinks and eventually had a fancy ribeye dinner. The steaks were huge! Tarrin joined us for dinner and it was so fun. Plus we got to see her in non-horsey clothes.

There was a sun dog in the sky while we waited for food.

I’ve left off half the wonderful booths and vendors. It was a great group. I was impressed by the work of Lee and the rest of the Chamber of Commerce team. Everyone worked so hard to make it fun for all.

Look, a cornhole tournament with a professional player!

Thanks for reading my ode to the fun of our little town. Things are getting better!

The Flower Fairy Goes Art Walking

What a pleasant Saturday! I started the day fairly early for me, so I could go work with the horses before it got over 100° F. I ended up hanging horse signs up in the tack room, rearranging my horse playground and round pen, working with Drew (who now wants to nip me while we trot right, so that got dealt with) and working with Apache, who rode all the way over to the edge of the woods today. He is now comfortable in most of the front pasture.

My spotted buddies

As a reward, I gave him a nice cool bath with my new horse bathing attachment. We finally have the hose available to where that works out. Apache was displeased that I made him stand around to dry while I cleaned his saddle and bridle, but they look good now.

My clean tack. Hard to see but it’s there.

Then, since Apache’s bath had cooled me off, I took pictures of how nice things are looking around here.

After all that I was too hot to do much, so I swam in the pool while it was still cool. I think that thing is my lifesaver.

After I rested a bit, Lee said he wanted to go to the first Art Walk in Cameron, which was held in the remodeled building that used to be Bea’s Kitchen. Wow, they’ve done a great job with the place. Here’s the restored signage.

Big words!

The interior is gorgeous, and they made really cool light fixtures that allow you to see the ceiling tiles. And upstairs, there are beautiful new windows. It’s gonna be so cool.

The Art Walk was so much fun. Anita, Lee and I all had a great time meeting old friends and making new ones. the artists were all very interesting people, too. One woman lives in Maysfield, down the road from us and makes interesting jewelry. The rest were painters. Each was different in focus, ranging from sweet watercolors to cleverly subtle social commentary. I got a watercolor and was happy to learn the artist gives classes!

It’s a marsh.

Lee and I both really liked the work of one of the artists, Randy Robinson. We learned he only started painting not that long ago. His work had movement and great light, because he studied Rembrandt’s style in Europe. I got to talking to his daughter and learned they live in nearby Milano and have lots in common with our family. All the stuff you usually don’t think you’ll find. What luck!

Then, when I was off with Anita, Lee secretly got the painting I loved the most, which was of a horse in the night, spooked (says the brochure) by finding a human lying in her field. It really captures the wildness and bemusement. And you just want to pet that muzzle.

I love that it’s off center, too, from the viewpoint of someone on the ground. Yeah. I wore a flower fairy dress. It has pansies with faces, and Alice in Wonderland.

We talked more later, and I kept thinking he seemed familiar. We started talking about plants, and then it all became clear. He’d joined the Master Naturalist group during my presidency and come to a few online meetings. I introduced him to Carolyn Henderson, our current president, and we hope he starts coming to meetings.

Me and Randy and Night Dreamer

Well what a coincidence! We are all friends now. I’m so happy to keep meeting like-minded folks out here. Like anywhere, diversity’s out there and it makes for a stronger community.

Happy to be here

In addition to the Art Walk, the model railroad across the street was open one last time before it moves elsewhere. All the tiny buildings were set out where you could really look at them, and there were folks explaining which modern places the models of 1930s life depicted.

Anita looks at the back of St Monica’s church

The details on the buildings are quite charming. There are prisoners at the jail, a wedding at one church, and a nun at the Catholic Church. My favorite is a woman hanging laundry.

It will be fun to see the rebuilt model of old Cameron!

As if this wasn’t enough fun, we even tried a new restaurant. Yes, it’s Mexican but it’s different Mexican! I had chicken in Mole sauce. I hope Veracruz lasts.

Fed the horses of course. Look at the moon!

Cameron Steps Up a Notch

Last night, Lee and I attended the Spring Festival in Cameron. He’s on the Chamber of Commerce Board, so he had duties. I just went to interact with other humans. This event was really a great sign for the future of the town. I was impressed!

My friend Pamela exhibited her ceramics in one of the renovated buildings downtown.

First of all, the food vendors were amazing. There was wood-fired pizza, crawfish and other southern delicacies, baked goods that were beautiful, and my favorite, charcuterie by my friend Barbara Dominguez, all from local sources.

Beautiful dinner! The pickled okra was surprisingly tasty. And look at all those crawfish!

There were beverages for everyone, too, ranging from our darned good local wineries to some mighty tasty beer from Temple to snow cones and Italian ice for kids and adults alike. The Italian ice looked fantastic, but, well, I had my B52 Bomber beer to enjoy.

Photo from Cameron Chamber of Commerce

I got some sauces for our ice cream from Windy, which made me happy. I keep driving by the Farmer’s Market on my way to horse lessons but finding it closed on my way home. She makes some interesting canned jellies and such.

Mmmmm

There were also vendors in some of the buildings the Railfan group is renovating. The buildings look unrecognizable in a good way.

The music was great, too. A good variety and not too loud or soft. We were able to talk to old and new friends just fine. We met people from Jones Prairie who we bonded with over our bad roads in our district.

Music, and my friend Spring at right.

And of course there were old friends who introduced new ones. I had to laugh when I realized how many different ways I “knew” the woman in Master Naturalists who lives down by Pamela. So many connections! And the new people from Dallas must think we are the friendliest town on earth. Well, at least my social group is darned friendly.

All in all, this was the kind of event that would bring in people from other places and leave them wanting to return. As it was, we locals had fun. Kudos to Melanie and everyone else at the Chamber of Commerce who helped put this event together.

By the way, today is Anita’s move-in day, so I’ll have someone to do fun things with, soon!

Yearly Social Event

I didn’t have much blogging time today, since most of the time I was in meetings or driving to and from Cedar Park (Austin suburb) to get my teeth cleaned. That was unpleasant, since I’d delayed it 2-3 times due to all that COVID exposure.

My feelings about delayed dentistry.

I ran to Tractor Supply in the way home, so all animals have food. But I had to hurry and feed horses so I could get ready for this year’s Chamber of Commerce banquet. I hadn’t been to one in a while due to COVID and trying to keep a low profile with the family business.

I mainly enjoyed seeing some of my friends in town that I’ve missed. It’s nice to know you have a few friends, wherever you are!

My actual friends, Liz and Courtney.

Lee and all the Chamber Board and volunteers did a great job. It makes you proud of your little town to go to these events. We heard how great the Texas economy is doing from the speaker, and really enjoyed the yearly awards, which didn’t just go to rich business owners. Awards went to regular folks who helped out their neighbors in the freeze last year, a family plumbing business and the new high school basketball coach. It was nice to see people of all races, ages, and genders recognized.

You can tell we are in Texas by all the hats, though.

We had a fine dinner and conversation, too. The wine selection was great, too, much of it local. Since the venue was the Youth Livestock Pavilion or something like that, the Texas decor looked great. I hated to help tear it down!

It was very clean.

Now you know why I’m not a fascinating blogger today. But it was nice to get out to a well ventilated place. Glad it wasn’t tomorrow. It’s getting cold again, and all that fresh air would be chilly.

More Spontaneous Saturday Stuff

I just kept rolling along today, enjoying whatever came up. I was knitting away, when Sara invited me to hang out with her while she rode Aragorn. I walked over there, and discovered a bit too late that Vlassic came along. I was worried he’d have a problem with Sara’s newest cattle dog.

I really missed this water bucket.

At first the puppy was not pleased, and her hackles were raised big time. Aragorn ignored it all. What a good boy.

Dogs don’t bother me. And how do you like my new muscles?

We needn’t have worried. Moments later I looked over to see play bows all around.

You’re okay.

Those two dogs didn’t stop running and playing the whole time I was there. I think they were thrilled to find each other.

Meanwhile, I enjoyed seeing Aragorn’s significant progress in this lessons. The most fun was watching him try to back up a hill like Drew did earlier. He was a bit tired from his lesson yesterday, but he did it!

Back he goes.

I headed home and suddenly got a text asking me to get home so we could go. Huh? Turns out the nephew and I were going to Steak Stein and Wine festival after all. Yep, I went home, put on a necklace and lipstick and acted spontaneous.

People seemed to have fun.

We were a bit confused, but ended up seeing lots of people we hadn’t seen in a long time, had good chats, and enjoyed our fine booth for our company.

Lovely staff/friends at our booth.

It turns out we were sponsors and had a cool sign in the bandstand. Ooh la la.

I see our logo!

I sampled some liquor but not too much, then we had the steak part of the deal. It was good. The twice-baked potatoes were GREAT.

Mmm

I’m glad our little town is coming back to life now that our COVID numbers are way down. It’s not the way it was, but it’s better.

So, let’s see what happens spontaneously tomorrow!

Fun Times in Downtown Cameron

Times are getting more exciting here in little Cameron, Texas, and it’s not just because Anita will move here soon. Lots of new businesses and jobs have been coming in, and the upcoming relocation of some of the County offices to the old hospital will be freeing up some cool places for investors to come in and start new businesses. We all have our favorite “dream shops” we want to see, but which buildings are right for what?

That question is what led to my fun day yesterday. A few people who are members of the Cameron Chamber of Commerce got together, and let by the fearless Melanie, trekked all over the downtown area to look through the buildings that would soon be available and “re-imagine” them. Looking through historic buildings and offices is my idea of fun, which is why I volunteered to tag along and was so grateful for the opportunity to help out in a small way.

We looked at buildings that are still being used, buildings that were full of mold, buildings in great shape, and ones that required some imagination. We all had clipboards to write down our ideas.

I was enthralled by how many county records are in the old buildings.

I liked that some old buildings have cool windows up high with views, which makes me envision loft living. Other places would make great bars, bookstores, restaurants, gaming places (one even used to be a roller rink…could it be again?).

My favorite things, I guess, were seeing how many dang old jails there are in this town. The one we looked at yesterday was really big, and I had NO idea it was there. Ooh, scary.

Old jails make excellent, secure storage.

This jail adds to the ancient hoosegow, old jail museum, jail in the old police station (where someone lives now), PLUS the actual County Jail that is in use. My big idea was to have a “Jails of Cameron” tour, with little jails painted on the sidewalk to lead you from one to another, each with something interesting to see or do. That didn’t go over terribly well.

The jail could be turned into a restaurant, where you eat in cells and people serve you through the little door…right? Sounds romantic to me.

Other people had real ideas, so it will be fun to see what comes of all this! At least I know they aren’t building a subdivision next to my house or anything, because I made Lee buy all that land. I was a visionary, I guess.

PS: It sure was fun to do something with people like this. We couldn’t have a few months ago!

Missing the Ranch and Keeping My Spirits Up

It’s really weird to have not been at the ranch the entire month of November, especially since that’s usually a great month to be there (good weather, frisky pets, lots of time for walking). It didn’t help at all that I spent a good bit of time wandering around the area on Google Maps trying to figure out where those two people drowned. I think I got it located a bit further away from our property than I’d feared, but still adjacent. It makes me so sad.

In happier news, my one orchid that didn’t succumb to some evil scale has rewarded us with many blossoms.

I listened to a news report that said the victims had fallen out of their boat and got caught up in pond weeds. That’s exactly what I had feared. Even if you can swim, that stuff can get you. One guy had a young family and one was just 22, so young. They’re having a football game to raise money for their families. Traion Smith was just an amazing athlete in high school, and a nice young man. The news report showed the former Cameron coach breaking into tears at the thought of losing him. Life sure has its twists and turns.

Anyway, I ended up looking at what great quality the Google Maps images of our property are. I really liked how you could see each cow and all the cattle paths in the bottom pasture next to our house.

All the cows are at upper right, and you can see where they walk. The image can even get closer in! That’s Walker’s Creek and one of the streams that meets up with it.

I was disappointed that I could not see Apache or Fiona, nor the chickens. I guess the photo was taken just before we got the chicken house. So, you’re spared those images.

Sunset looking out by neighbor Ruth’s house. I love how the oak leaves are shining.

While I do miss the ranch (and its occupants, including my poor lonely quarantined husband!), I’m enjoying some time in Austin. We got to take a walk with our neighbor, Ruth, who regaled us with tales of trying to buy groceries at the H-E-B (we went a bit later ’cause I had to fill my prescription, and it wasn’t so bad). She went to the Randall’s store full of “old people” and it wasn’t crowded. That store is always full of old people! And, if you don’t live in Texas, we realize H-E-B is a weird name, but since it’s named after Mr. Butts, you can understand the choice.

Roses in my flower arrangement. They help me feel better.

And since I’m in Austin, we can have my son’s little family unit to eat out on the deck, to minimize germs and all, like we keep being told to do. It will be very small, but good.

Giant mum about to explode. This arrangement had such great autumn colors.

We will get through these challenging times. Sometimes it’s easier than other times, but I feel like all this practice of empathy, compassion, and forgiveness that’s come out of the pandemic, the election, and the personal issues of those around me will benefit me the rest of my life.

I don’t know what this flower is, but I love the way only part of it is in focus.

I hope you enjoy the photos of the flowers I got at the store and our sunset. I saw no sunsets in Utah, because the mountains were to the west. That’s okay, mountains are pretty, too. Share what’s keeping you happy and in the moment, if you want to!

Black Weenie Dog Unsure about Cameron, TX

by Vlassic Bruns Kendall

Hi, I’m Vlassic, like the picke company, only with an extra s. I am a small, black dog. I travel a lot, now that Suna goes back to Austin more often. I like it in Austin, mostly. I get to hang out with Pickle the chiweenie, play with Anita, and snuggle lots and lots with Suna.

Snuggling makes me very happy.

I have some friends and enemies in Austin, but mostly friends. Last week a dog kept yapping at me until her human took her away. And for some reason, my old buddy, Percy, was mad at me much of the week. But, we sniffed butts and had a nice walk last night. I love walking in Austin. Suna and Anita pick up my poop, so I try to go as much as I can.

This morning, I got to go for a car ride (yay) and we ended up at this place in Cameron, where some of my family are, plus some nice people like Meghan and Jenecia, who give me treats and pet me. It’s a little weird here, but I have toys and a water dish, which helps a lot. Plus, I get to visit and “help” people work!

I’m having a meeting.

Suna took me for a walk today, and that convinced me I do NOT like Cameron. Everywhere I turned there were more dogs barking and running up to me. The first few were behind fences or attached to something that saved me. Whew.

I like the sidewalk, because there are no grass burs. And look, Suna picked up my poop, like she was in Austin or something!

But, a giant dog (Suna says a medium-sized old, sweet dog) came rushing out of a garage and barked LOUD. Suna screamed. She was embarrassed, she told the old human who came running out. In the end, I liked that dog fine, and we sniffed butts. Suna says she has no pictures because she was so busy protecting me. Thanks, Suna!

Parts of the walk were good, like I found a dead thing to sniff, and lots of places to pee.

MMM. Dead thing.

But, danger is everywhere! There were all sorts of grass burs on the sidewalk where the vacant lot had been mowed. I had to stop and remove them, but then, yay! I got to eat them. They are tasty snacks, actually.

Then ANOTHER dog came after me. Suna knew this one would be there, so she talked to it. He wagged his tail, barked a little, and went home. Suna saved me again!

By the time I got home I was exhausted. I tried to regain my strength by eating stuff out of the trash can, but she emptied it.

No luck with the trash can. I’ll just lay down.

Suna felt sorry for me, so she found a nice blankie for me to snuggle up in while she works.

I’m comfy and cozy now!

I’ll just take a nap now, and hope Suna takes me back to the ranch, where my other human, Jim, likes to hang out with me, and where I can run free with the other dogs, even bad ole Penney, who I actually like, now. And my chickens! And all those cute calves. I think I’ll dream of chasing them. Bye!

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