We could see the big telescopes scattered over the mountain when we got there as the sun was setting. Those few whispy clouds meant we didn't have a perfect view of the stars when it got dark, but it was pretty close. There was a 30-minute star tour given by an entertaining astronomer with a green laser that could point out all the constellations and stars of interest in the night sky. Then all 316 of us stood in line to see through the lenses of close to a dozen different telescopes that were aimed at Jupiter, the moon, and various stars and nebulas. It was a very interesting evening. There is also a day-time program that we will have to catch next time we are in the neighborhood. An interesting fact that I had never considered: Astronomers work at night, so the housing for them revolves around them sleeping during the day-time hours.
We also went to Fort Davis National Park. This Fort was active in the 1800's when it guarded the border against Mexican raids and provided safety for pioneers heading west. This group of buildings was actually abandoned and rented out as housing during the 1930's. It has since became a national historical site and is in the process of being refurbished.
We had a beautiful afternoon to walk the grounds and look at the buildings of the Fort complex. Since we have a son graduating from medical school in May, the fort hospital was particularly interesting to us. An interesting fact: Instead of falling in combat, more soldiers at Fort David died as a result of the doctoring practices of the time. They hadn't yet determined that medical instruments needed to be cleaned between uses.
We have to include a picture of the Jeff Davis County Court house. Just like Denisa was enamored with wildflowers, she is now developing a thing for court houses. This was even the first blue courthouse we have seen so far.
We really enjoyed a lunch at the deli downtown. After spending 24/7 together, Denisa is really rubbing off on Mark. She has always loved hot and spicy, while he has always steered clear of jalapenos. He ordered the jalapeno potato soup and LIKED it. The next thing you know, Denisa will start liking those cheap sandwich cookies that Mark adores.
We also stopped in at the Davis Mountain Nut Company. They make candy covered pecans that are delicious. We were offered free samples of the flavors they make in their shop--chocolate fudge, cinnamon toast, vanilla almond, hot-n-spicy, sassy sinamen, orange twang. We had to put down our foot about trying the mocha madness, because no matter how much time we spend together, neither of us will ever like anything coffee flavored.
The owner told us the story of how the company was started 20 years ago, and explained their path to progress to the business they are today. They recently won a "Best in Texas" contest, and got a contract to provide gift boxes of nuts to HEB grocery stores last Christmas. They have really grown lately! But they recently hit a pothole in the road to success when they were forced to change their recipe because of changes in food laws. So the owner asked us to participate in the taste test to determine the best recipe for each flavor. We were only too happy to help! It's a tough job tasting 4 different cinnamon pecans, and determining which one is best, then 4 different vanilla, then 4 different orange, then . . . It was brutal work but we made it to the end of the samples. With all those delicious samples, we determined our overall favorite was the orange twang. We bought a sample pack, and the owner bagged up some of the new experimental orange pecans to give us as well. Another fun stop for us in Fort Davis!
We love having the time to stop at random places, and getting to listen to peoples' stories! We made one other stop just outside Fort Davis. We had noticed huge greenhouses about 4 miles outside of town, and we were hoping to get a tour inside. But that story will have to wait for a blog of its own!