The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Harley takes his role as navigator seriously!

The Garden Gate

The project "dujour" is to install a two door garden gate and replace the "pedestrian" gate in the front fence next to the garage.  I say garden gate because it is not wide enough for a car but will allow access for a small trailer to be stored in the back yard.  As you can see on the left, the old fence has been removed already.  The dark brown fence is belongs to the neighbor who is also half way through a project.  On the left, you can see a temporary fence set back in the yard so the dachsies can be outside, can see, but can't get in the way.

Looking out toward the cul-de-sac, Steve sets the new post in place while Dad supervises.  Isn't it absolutely great to have a son who comes to visit and helps with projects?

There was much supervision going on here as the furkids were also very interested in the project.  Harley gave some serious thought as to whether he could get through the bars but, in the end, made the wise choice not to try.  He could have probably wiggled around enough with that weinie loose skin to do it but the temporary fence is just propped up.

This is DH's version of a french drain.  Everyone in the subdivision has to be very careful not to disturb the land contours for water flow.  They did a really good job of that when the subdivision was planned.

Bricks replaced and ground cleaned in prep for beginning the gate hanging and fence replacement.

The garden gate frames are already hung.  I missed getting a picture of that part but you will see the frames later on.

The gate won't even be visible from the outside as the hardware is all hidden on the inside.  Steve takes a break to talk to his honey.

See how well hidden things are.  The garden gate is in the middle on the right side.  The pedestrian gate is partway open on the left.  That is the only hardware that shows.

Here things are all opened up.  The last step today will be to lay sod in front of the garden gate.

Inside view of the gates.  Slide bolts will also be added to the garden gate on this side.  The metal frames that are used to build the gate frame were $30 for each gate but they appear to be well worth it.  They are more than just the angle iron you can see--the metal continues between the 2x4s.  These gates will not be sagging for many years, much better than the typical z-frame usually used.

Thanks, Steve, for helping your Dad with a project he has wanted to do for a while.  Just had to wait for the temps to go below 100 degrees.  These gates were built on retiree time--three days with lots of relaxing in between!

Project Jeep

We got a really nice surprise last night.  We knew that our oldest son was coming to San Antonio because he had some business near here but we expected him about Friday.  Last night we were watching TV after dinner and he walked in the door.  The dachsies were highly embarrassed because they didn't hear him slip in which is really a rare occurrence.  Normally nothing and no one slips by them. Steve and Dave have a few projects planned while Steve is here.  First on the list was the jeep.  This nice looking little jeep has been a family member for quite a while.  We got it quite a few years ago and used it as the toad when we had a Class A.  It worked great and was fun to drive when we got to where we were going.  A few years ago, we sold the Class A and went to a trailer.  Our son already had a jeep but it wasn't as nice and he always like this one.  While he was in Turkey, he was finally able to talk his Dad into selling it to him so he sold his jeep.  This one made the trip to Tyndall AFB in Florida, his next duty station.  It stayed in Florida during his stint in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He liked taking the kids in it and they loved it.  But, he really missed having a motorcycle.  So, this summer he and his Dad made another deal and the jeep came back to Texas and the Harley Davidson went to Florida.  Although the jeep worked perfectly, there has always been one nagging little flaw.  A light went on and off indicating some sort of emission vacuum system leak which could be anywhere.  Both father and son searched and tried to find the problem but it was very elusive.  Computer codes were checked.  Various fixes were tried.  Yesterday, they resorted to removing the rear wheel and tracking lines clear through the whole jeep.    

They made it from back to front tracking the lines.

Dad had his head stuck down under the hood when all of a sudden I heard a little whooping noise.  He spotted a detached line way down under that he had never seen until they tracked the line through from the back.  They reached in and pulled it up.  The connection was completely dried out.  A quick trip to the parts store failed to provide the needed replacement but Dad had already figured out how to make his own replacement part.

Here they are putting things back together.

Now we just have to wait and see.  They thought it was fixed after some other work with the computer and adjustments down in Florida this summer.  The light stayed off for a 1000 miles and then reappeared.  But for now, this really appears to be the solving of the riddle.  The lights off and it will be a waiting game.  In the meantime, the jeep is back at home in Texas.

Gruene, TX Market Day

Sunday afternoon, I headed back up the road to Gruene, Texas (pronounced "green").  Gruene is just on the north edge of New Braunfels but it has a unique feel all of its own.  Parking of the streets is really limited but there a couple of large, free parking lots screened by bushes that provide easy access.  I pulled into the back of the main one close to the entrance to Gruene Gardens which sells native plants to begin my stroll.  Gruene is very interesting to visit even without the added incentive of the monthly market weekend.

"Arriving in Texas in the mid 1840s, German farmers became the first settlers of what is now known as Gruene, Texas. Ernst Gruene, a German immigrant, and his bride Antoinette, had reached the newly established city of New Braunfels in 1845, but acreage was scarce. Thus, Ernst and his two sons purchased land just down river, and Ernst built the first home in Gruene in early fachwerk style. His second son, Henry D. Gruene, built his home (now Gruene Mansion Inn) and planted his surrounding land with cotton. Having become the number one cash crop, the cotton business soon brought 20 to 30 families to Henry D.'s lands.

"Henry D. built houses in various styles -- a Victorian cottage (now Lone Star), a large brick home, and a frame house (now Gruene Haus) for the foreman of his farm."

These buildings are now businesses or serve as bed and breakfast accommodations.  Some may appear rough on the outside but are very nice inside and definitely give you a feel for earlier times in Texas history.

"The first mercantile store (now Gruene General Store) was built in 1878."

"A cotton gin (now Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar) powered by the Guadalupe River was added soon after." 

"Further construction during this profitable time included a dance hall and saloon (Gruene Hall), which became the center of the community's social life."  Gruene Hall continues to be very busy with music playing every weekend.  Lots of big names got their start here.  It's worth a visit just to see all the posters inside even if someone is not playing.

"As the town continued to prosper, a new mercantile building (now Gruene Antique Company) sprang up in 1904." 

"However, the death of Henry D. in 1920 marked the downfall of Gruene's development and good fortune. In 1922, the original cotton gin burned and was replaced by a modern electric model down the road (now Adobe Verde). Yet, the economic disasters of the boll weevil and the Depression were too much for the family businesses and they went under, except for Gruene Hall, which never closed.

1974 - Today
Today, Gruene is once again a thriving community, but for decades it was little more than a ghost town. This changed the day that Pat Molak, frustrated with big-city life, wandered into town and began to breathe life back into this piece of Texas history.

Molak purchased Gruene Hall in 1975. A few unavoidable repairs were made to the Hall, but little else was necessary. Left uncorrupted, the 6,000 square-foot, open-air dance hall became a virtual magnet, a starting point for many of Texas' up-and-coming performers, and once again, the heart of Gruene.

With the help of his friend Mary Jane Nalley, he worked to preserve the authentic, turn-of-the-century look and feel of Gruene by purchasing and repairing several of the town's most notable structures and transforming them into thriving businesses. These developments seemed to rekindle the spark of Gruene, and soon the town's familiar charm began to shine again.

Gruene itself has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, and many of the buildings that were rescued by Molak and Nalley have been awarded a Texas medallion from the Texas Historical Commission. It has also been recognized by the Texas travel industry as a premiere attraction for visitors, which is no surprise to its merchants and guests.

Even with the remarkable growth of this once sleepy little town, the main focus of Gruene is, and continues to be, bonafide Texas. Everything from the wares they sell to the music they play speaks to Molak and Nalley's commitment to preserving the authenticity of Gruene and providing its guests with an experience that has the signature seal of the Lone Star State."

Strolling on through town, you will find lots more to see.  This may not be Cabela's or Bass Pro but they do have a fair amount of merchandise.

You will find places serving Texas wine where you can sit inside or out under shady trees at picnic tables.

Commemorative stones provide info about early settlers.

Some antiques sit waiting to be used outside one business just to give you a feel for earlier times.

As you stroll down the hill toward the river, you'll find another winery to visit.

Gruene is also famous for other summertime activities.  Although this is near the end of September, the river still draws tubers.  Although we haven't had rain for a long time, there is still enough water here to enjoy a float.

You will find several outfitters down the hill from the main part of town that provide tubes and transportation back once you float on down the river.

Continuing around the loop, Buck's Pottery is both a place to buy as well as to see pottery being made.

The Tea Room closes well before dinner so you might want to visit here earlier in the day.

We are now in "Uptown" Gruene where the monthly Market Days are set up.  There are lots of tents with lots of goods for sale.  Entrepreneurs are busy marketing their often homemade crafts.

If you need a "pick-me-up" coffee, you'll find the Gruene Coffee Haus open for business--market days or not.  They roast their own beans and serve a wide variety of refreshments.  Another bonus is the choice of inside or outside seating.  You might also want to visit the "Pickle Haus" right next door for everything you can imagine pickle-wise.

There are other shops such as Cactus Jacks available even when it is not market weekend.

Have you ever seen wind chimes this large?  They make a wonderful deep sound when there is sufficient wind to move them.

I always enjoy visiting Gruene even when monthly market days are not in session.  It's a nice walk around the time with interesting things to look at so I hope you'll get a chance to visit too.  See for more information.

Rain-Can It Really Be Rain?

Saturday morning, I planned a trip to Gruene, Texas to the Market Days.  As I headed north up I-35 towards New Braunfels, it started to sprinkle.  Then it started to really come down hard.  This was the first rain we'd seen in quite some time.  Although slightly disappointed, I turned around and headed home as the market days are outside and it was obviously not going to work out.  The thought of a good downpour was very exciting since the landscape around here is really brown right now.  The closer back home I got, the drier it got until at last there was no rain and not really any in sight.  That happens a lot when these very scattered showers come up.  

Later that evening, however, I heard rumbles which got louder and saw streaks of lightning in the sky. Could it be?  The pictures aren't great but the sight of the rain was.

We finally got rain too.  Although it was nothing the like huge downpour near New Braunfels, every drop is appreciated around here.  I had a blog post in July or August entitled "Rain, rain, go away".  What was I thinking?  Of course that was Florida and they get way more than their share of the wet stuff.  Here, we were happy to bring our total rainfall for the year up to 9.56 inches.  Normal is about 24 inches so yes, we are still in a drought but the weatherman says maybe 20% chance next Thursday??  Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Night Visitors

All three of my dachshunds love to RV.  They are ready to go at a moments notice, however, when they are home, they do have other activities to keep them busy.  Surprisingly Gretchen, the smallest of the gang, is the "guard dog" or maybe I should say "watch dog".  She takes excellent care of her large yard and spends a great deal of time outside "watching" over it.  She patrols as necessary or sits vigilantly on the back patio constantly checking for intruders.  And there are lots of intruders.  We have a lot of squirrels that delight in tantalizing the dogs.  Gretchen watches them and chases them when necessary.  She has always been really fast and still is--so catching them is definitely a possibility at any time. But she enjoys the chase, not the catch, so you can see her "easing back on the throttle" when they are foolish enough to slow down or forget to pay attention to the game.  She chases them up one of the trees or the fence and will sit there for ages without making a sound just to ensure they know she is watching them.

Harley, on the other hand, likes the backyard too but his primary goal is to get his people to throw the ball so he can chase it or leap up and catch it and then return it to start all over.  He can keep this up forever even when on really hot days. He likes it even better when our grandson Cameron is here and he can wear out a kid and an adult.  The people have to call a halt to the game because he won't.  When there is a game of ball going on, Gretchen generally comes in the house to take a break from her self appointed duties or she sits right next to me on the patio glider.  She does not enjoy the game of ball nor does she want to watch it or be near it.  I think maybe she got in the way of the ball a couple of times so she is very leery of it.  

Willy can take the ball or leave it.  Generally he leaves it but occasionally he feels it necessary to take the ball so Harley can't have it--just to remind Harley that he is still the alpha dog.  At three, Harley is the baby although he is about the same size as Willy who is eight.  Unless I am outside too, Willy just doesn't feel it is necessary for him to be out there for long stretches of time.  His job is to guard the chair inside.

Things are different, of course, if Gretchen summons assistance while she is guarding.  One particular bark brings Harley barreling out.  A different bark will have Willy and Harley knocking each other over to get out of the doggy door.

Last night Gretchen sent out an urgent summons.  The neighbor's dog behind us was also calling for backup.  There was a small possum on the back fence.

The dachshunds were pacing the fence line.  Numerous attempts to get them back in the house failed.  Willy did finally come in when the alpha mama called him.  Harley ran back and forth between the fence and the door when I called.  I finally had to go out and carry Gretchen back in and shut the doggy door to prevent further escapes.  This was a new and unknown intruder.  After much whining at the door, the gang finally settled down but they didn't get to go back outside last night.

Things were back to normal the next morning but Gretchen did a thorough reconnoitering of the entire yard the minute she went out the next morning.  She put Willy and Harley to work too just to make sure things were resolved to her satisfaction.