Monday, March 31, 2014

Saturday Morning - Buffalo Gap Historic Village - Buffalo Gap, Texas

After the Fort Phantom Hill, we headed out to Buffalo Gap Historic Village in the small town of Buffalo Gap a few miles outside of Abilene.
 On the porch of one of the homes
 The parlor
Tub - I think this is called a foot tub - it's pretty small. ?? Need to look this up.

This settlement features the first county courthouse, jail and 17 buildings with western and Indian artifacts.  We had a great time walking through all of the buildings -- the first home reminded me so much of my grandparents home in Yoakum - the creaking floorboards, the old oven, and so many of the furnishings.
There were some beautiful ceiling lamps that had been converted from oil burning. Just beautiful!

The courthouse was very interesting, and the one jail cell was upstairs along with a big room displaying lots of Indian artifacts and tools/weapons from early settlers found in the area.
 Cannon in the courthouse
 Various inkwells in the courthouse
 Arrowhead display
This stone tool looked frightening!

There was a big barn full of early buggies and tools dating from 1853, 1904 and 1925 (I think.)  Each date was represented by various items.  Some of the machines from 1925 were a complete mystery to me...I have no idea what one of these items is.
 ????? Any ideas?

There was an old schoolhouse, a train depot, doctors house, an art display building, an old bank building, post office, and blacksmith's building.  We could have spent hours here -- and we did stay until after 1pm, but were getting hungry.  Too bad they didn't have a restaurant there, we would have stayed longer.

 The bank building
John behind the counter at the gas station
After we left we stopped at one of the local places, The Bar BQ Barn.  I thought we had stepped back to the 1950s, but the food honestly was very good.  Very tender brisket.

After lunch we were off to the next Fort.

Saturday Morning - Fort Phantom Hill - Abilene, Texas

Saturday was jammed pack - we started the morning with breakfast at the hotel, then on the road to see the first Fort that is just outside of Abilene, Fort Phantom Hill.

The guardhouse

We were both expecting a small place with just a few old rock edifices, the write up in our Texas Forts book made it seem like there was going to be not much to see.  Wrong! This was a pretty big Fort - most of the buildings are mostly gone, only two are still fairly intact, but the place is spread out over quite a large area.

The fort was built in 1851 for the Army to give settlers and miners headed to California safety from the Comanche Indians. It was only active for three years, the fort suffered from a lack of adequate water supply and building timbers were hard to find in the area.  It was abandoned in 1854.  In 1858 the fort was utilized as a way station for the Overland Mail on the Butterfield Trail, and again during the Civil war as a field operations site.
 The old hospital building fireplace is still standing
The magazine building where they stored munitions - it still smelled like gunpowder in there!

The fort was on private property for a long time, but recently has been acquired by the Fort Phantom Foundation of Abilene, and there is a nice entry sign marking the site.
 Because we always look for the cannon!

"When I say to you that we have a beautiful valley to look upon, I have said everything favorable that could be said of this place.  We are camped in a grove of blackjack two or three hundred yards of the creek which is salt.  Everybody is disgusted.  Like the Dove after the Deluge, not one green sprig can we find to indicate this was ever intended by man to inhabit.  Indeed I cannot imagine that God ever intended for white man to occupy such a barren waste." -- Lt. Clinton W. Lear

John's birthday trip!

Well, first, let me start by telling you a really funny (ha ha) story about why we didn't get to see the Dwight Eisenhower Presidential Library.  See, here's the's actually in Abilene, KANSAS.  How did I get steered so wrong?! I can only blame Google, and the fact that I'm just this side of an idiot.  Sigh....

We left Friday about 11 am after taking the dog to the kennels, stopped in Boerne for lunch, and made it to Abilene about 4pm.  After we checked in and rested for a bit, we headed downtown to try out one of the restaurants that is supposed to be one of the best in town, and where they brew a local beer, The Cypress Street Station.  I have to tell you, I was surprised how empty downtown was, just a car or two around, and as we walked to the restaurant, we noticed that every single store downtown closes at 5pm! What?! Even the touristy places were closed.  The only thing we saw open were the few places to eat, but it sure made parking easy!

 Their Rags red ale that John tried, and he liked.  He also had their Honey Nut ale which was good.
Pecan pie al la mode - we shared one!

We stayed there quite a while, then drove around the downtown area.  Funny shirt in one of the closed storefronts said "Keep Abilene Boring." ha ha!

Then, because I forgot the SD card, we made a quick stop at the local Walmart to get one for our trips to the two local forts.  Here's where we found everyone - very crowded! Yikes...but we did get our card and then back to the hotel for the night.
I'll post up Saturday's adventures next!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Jupiter Ascending trailer....uhmmmm....never heard of it.....

Channing Tatum is definitely outside of his comfort zone here, I think.  What's with the crazy ears? I'll go see it, but he looks ridiculous.  I'm not sold on him as a serious actor anyway.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Working on the future wine!

John got his new vines in last week, so we had to stop work on the two other projects and finish getting these vines in the ground.  This year he added 11 Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines and 11 Shiraz grapevines. We had the first row of 11 Cabernet grapes in from last year, so now we have three rows in our future vineyard.  They are all in now, and today John finished putting up the support for them.  Yesterday I helped (moral support and holding a few tools...ha! oh, and unwanted advice.)  Here's to some homemade wine in 2016 or 2017?? maybe??
 Cementing in the poles
 Planting the grapes
They're all in!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring 2014 Garden Diary, Post 7 -- End of March

We've had some colder weather (again, sigh....) so the garden is mostly in a holding pattern right now. I did make a start to the herb garden this year, I'm putting the old pallets back to use for this purpose, holding all my potted herbs.  These blue pallets used to be the sides of the compost pile, but since I got my nifty barrel composter, they've just been sitting idle.  I'm standing them up and using them again. This photo is just the beginning -- I have three pallets now and have almost filled them up with potted herbs.  The area that I'm putting them gets an abundance of shade during the day, really just early morning sunlight, so I'm trying to use shade friendly herbs there.  More photos to come when I'm all done.
 The cat seems to like it!
The next picture is the Southern Highbush Blueberry plant that we put in last year.  Only one of them made it, but it looks pretty healthy.  There are some blooms there so we may see a berry or two this year.
We got the new bean haus started last weekend - John is securing it to the ground here.  Back to using the hog panels, they worked so well, I'm not messing around with this formula any more.

 Now we need warm weather so I can plant!
Inside the little green house the sunflowers are up and growing.  These are going to go out behind the bean haus in the field.  I just love sunflowers.
The castor bean trees are really growing, too.  I need to decide where I'm going to put idea right now.
This is a volunteer black cherry tomato that came up this winter in the green house.  I actually have about six more of these that I dug out of here...I'll probably put them in pots around the garden because I can't stand to just let them go...they've tried so hard to live!
 The sugar snap peas are all reaching for the fencing now....they do love this cooler weather.
This is the Methley Plum tree that we put in last year.  Can you see all of those little plums on it?  I can't wait to see if they make it this year!
 The Rio Grande peach tree has several little peaches on it, too!  John says we'll probably have to fight off the squirrels once these start to ripen.
And off topic just a bit, look what the one surviving little hen gave us this week!!! Poor thing was so traumatized by the hawk attack that wiped out our flock that she hasn't layed eggs all winter.  I guess she's finally feeling safe again.

KT and Joss....

Keeping up with the grandkids!  I got to visit with KT recently --- we had some fun making mazes on her quick erase board, and she's got this skill down!  It's getting harder to challenge her with new skills, I'm going to have to start doing some research for "older" kid skills before Mimi's Summer Day Camp starts, that's for sure.
 This one was KT trying to find baby Joss!
 and this one was a mouse looking for cheese!
How do you like my weird mouse?! ha! I'm not an artist, that's for sure!

Joss is doing her thing by growing and growing.  She's totally outgrowing her "New Born" clothing -- it's hard to get those on her now.  She's spending more and more time awake and looking out at her surroundings, just soaking it all in.  She's been such an easy baby -- we're so blessed. Note the eyes...they're definitely going to be blue.

And the winner is......

John!  He actually won something at the golf tournament that he was in last weekend, a lucky raffle ticket that he won when his team came in #1.  And this is a really big something!  He won one of those Big Green Egg cookers/smokers! What a lucky guy!  I know we're going to have some fun with this thing all summer!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring 2014 Garden Diary, Post 6

All of the seeds in the green house are starting to sprout -- look at these castor bean trees! My dad used to grow these and I remember them as being very tall with a kind of furry seed pod.  Just growing them for the novelty of it -- hope they do well.

John received his new grape vines for this year, he's putting in another row of Cabernet Sauvignon and one row of Shiraz grapes.  We got the Shiraz planted, and will probably get the Cabs in on Friday.  Then John will put up the fencing for them.  He already had the holes dug using his tractor, so it's going to be a pretty quick project.  Last years Cabs are budding and doing well, we only had to replace three of those.

And hey! The pecan trees are all budding!

I got a tour of my brother's vegetable garden today, and I'm about a full month behind him with my garden...he has definitely inherited our Dad's green thumb.  He has a beautiful garden, the kind you just meander through, just to see everything.  Lots of beautiful lettuce that we had for lunch today, too. I wish wish wish I had taken some photos of it....maybe next time!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

More progress on the pump house!

John put the under-siding up on the building today and cut out the one window.  Then he started putting on the tar paper as a vapor barrier, until we ran out of staples.  More tomorrow!