Driving in our motor home from Minnesota to south central Texas, we stopped a few times along the way. I watched the landscape slowly go from tan colored dried corn and brown soy beans to still green corn and soy beans as we went south thru Iowa, Missouri and Kansas and the very flat country to the rolling midlands of Oklahoma and cattle grazing land into Texas and then quite hilly area south of Austin to Kerrville, the heart of the hill country. Grassland turned into earth-green live oaks and cedar, tall river grasses and rocky outcroppings. Pale buff sandstone telling of the ancient inland sea. Homes and buildings made of that pastel color blends softly into the landscape with an almost ethereal atmosphere. From my palette I would choose Naples and yellow ochre and raw sienna with titanium white.
One stop that was particularly interesting to me was the museum in Kansas City that houses the remains of the White Arabia, the steam boat paddle wheeler that went down in the Missouri River in the 1850s. The river changed course and the remains were covered up by silt. It was found in a farmers field. The story of the reclamation is worth a read and the items recovered and preserved deserves a look see. After a short film at the museum we were delighted to have a talk by one of the treasure hunters who added personal notes. The thing or things that amazed me was 1. the treasure was in beautiful shape due to it’s newness at the time of burial and the pristine job of preservation which was tricky. Everything had been under water for 100 years and had to be kept wet while it was permeated with a preservative and then dried which took months. 2. I was curious to see what was needed by frontier people to eke out a living such as shovels, axes,carpentry equipment, brass pins,leather and rubber boots and also some small joys such as Wedgwood china, fabric, jewelry, pretty calico buttons and perfume! They also dug up over 2 million tiny beads for trading with the native Americans which had spilled out when their string holders rotted away into the mud and had to be individually picked out and washed off. No government money was involved in the reclamation or the museum.
Now we are settled here in Kerrville,TX next to the lovely Guadalupe River. A walking tour of the immediate area proves to be an interesting source of wildflowers and there is a large list of bird sightings in the office. Bird feeders abound with instructions to fill them daily. The park owners are birders. Looking forward to the next three months here.

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