The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Harley takes his role as navigator seriously!

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Goodnight

In my last post, we didn't think Helen was going to make it back for Christmas. Her mom did well in the surgery but Helen was concerned about being there when she had to meet with the oncologist the day after Christmas. At the last minute she was able to work it out so that she would be included in a conference call during the doctor visit. With her medical background, that was important so that her Mom asked all the right questions and got all the info to make the right decisions about any other treatment. She got the last available seat before Christmas Tuesday night arriving at 12:30AM Wednesday morning. We didn't tell the kids so I went over to their house after the kids went to bed to help Steve finish wrapping the Christmas packages. Then I stayed while Steve went to the airport to pick Helen up. It was a short night on sleep for all of us. The next morning, Helen was busy making spiced nuts when I came over to help bake cookies.

I bought all the ingredients ahead of time as she really wanted to do this even though it was already Christmas Eve. She has a lot of patience with the kids.

Morgan loves to cook with her and Helen has taught her a lot already.

I got Cameron into the act by having him unwrap all the hershey kisses and make all the balls for the peanut butter kiss cookies.

He did a great job too!

Helen and Morgan were busy mixing up several other kinds of cookies.

I had to leave before all the baking was done because I had dinner cooking at our house. We decided to have our big meal on Christmas Eve so that we could relax and just have leftovers on Christmas Day.

I made a crockpot breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls after they went home. The next morning we went to their house and opened presents and had brunch. The rest of the day we relaxed at home and they came over for some more turkey that night. Hope you all had a great Christmas too!

Catching Up Before Christmas

Wow, it sure is easy to get behind on your blogging. Things have been going on in spurts. My son and daughter-in-law headed to Maryland for Thanksgiving. Son came back the following week but Helen stayed because her mother had to have surgery. She would have stayed anyway but, fortunately, she is able to telework so didn't have to take the rest of the month she was there as leave.

We had to go all the way to Brownwood so the grandkids could come for one weekend. On that Saturday we went to Gruene Tx for their Trade Days as well as to see the horse parade come through town.

This should hve been my "The End" picture but I'm not done yet. :)

Everyone was excited to see the horses.

I even found a couple of items at the Trade Days for Christmas presents.

Then we had to make another trip to Brownwood on the 19th to pick up the grandkids for Christmas. Usually we meet their Mom halfway but this was another one of those special times. At this point we didn't think Helen would be back here for Christmas.

Steve and I took the kids down to the Farmers Market at the Pearl Brewery the next day. It was a little smaller than some we have been to before. Steve's dog Angus and my Willy got to tag along as it is pet friendly there.

We also went to the Festival of Angels Parade in Schertz. It was a bit skimpy this year. The weather was warm which made it nice waiting for the parade; however, there was supposed to be a snow hill but it was melted down to a really big puddle.

 This is Willy (bossy dachshund) and Angus (big blond guy) discussing their day at the Pearl Brewery. There is nothing quite like a little dachsie prancing along next to a big guy like Angus to make people sit up and pay attention. They both got more than their share of pats and positive feedback much to their delight.  They both love to meet new people and dogs.

Here is everyone posing with Steve. Every once in a while the dachsies remind Angus that Steve belonged to them first but they are willing to share. Aren't they a handsome group?

How Time Flies

Wow, how time flies.  I can't believe that it has been so long since I wrote a blog post. The day sometimes seems to drag by slowly and then, in an instant, the week has flown away.

Since my last post, we've celebrated a birthday, no, not mine. We celebrated a few days early since the grandkids were here in San Antonio for the weekend. It was the big 11 for Cam. Steve grilled up some great steaks for dinner....Cam's favorite meal and his Dad does them up like a pro.


Then we did "presents".

And the big finale was a movie. Everyone, including Cameron, had a great time but then he is very easy to please. I couldn't ask for a better grandson.

Then we moved on to Thanksgiving. The grandkids were with their Mom this year and my son and daughter-in-law flew to Maryland to spend the holiday with Helen's mom. Have to share you know. "My Buddy Angus" stayed with us for the week....always an interesting experience. Angus is Willy's best buddy, Gretchen is willing to share a lap, and Harley is trying to be open-minded. He definitely likes Angus's toys

We shared Thanksgiving Day with our long time friends Bob and Loretta and their family. Bob and Loretta are the "family you get to choose". Those of you who have been in the military will easily understand this as you are often far away from your own family. RVers often find themselves in similar situations and those friends tend to last a lifetime.

We had turkey with all the trimmings and enough food for an army. Sorry, no pictures, but believe could have been a restaurant buffet. It was a wonderful day. Thanks again for good friends.

Somebody Turned Off the Heat.....and it's cold out!

I'm never in a hurry to come home from a GTG especially when I probably won't get back out in the RV for a while so I headed down to Potters Creek COE Park on Canyon Lake with my friend Birdie. We left Grand Prairie early on Monday morning hoping to miss some of the wind moving in. My 5th wheel barely notices the wind but Birdie's Class A feels it a lot more and driving in it is not fun for her. Gloria caught up with us on the way down. She was going to stay for the week but discovered a leak in her roof so she had to leave Tuesday morning and headed off to Louisiana to meet up with someone who could fix it for her.

Tuesday night, Birdie baked a little bread, we had a little salad, oops, forgot to get the main dish.

Plans were for several others to meet us here sometime this week but Claudia was the only one that made it. She arrived on Wednesday. Can't say that I blame anyone else for passing on another GTG as the bottom dropped out of the thermometer on Tuesday night with the huge cold front sweeping across the country. Claudia had to head east this morning.

In spite of the cold, we've had a good time visiting and fixing meals together. Birdie made pancakes with blueberries and walnuts yesterday and biscuits and gravy this morning. She's the early riser. I made chicken alfredo the other night. The RV's are warm. The dogs want to go outside to do their business but aren't interested in any walks in this cold.

This is the view out my back window.

I love being in my RV even when the weather isn't that great outside. See you later. Stay warm.

A Trek to Traders Village

Saturday we were off to Traders Village. The Grand Prairie flea market is 160 acres of shops and booths in business since 1973. They even have a full service RV park with all the conveniences. Good Sam or the Texas TACO pass will give you 10% off and the location is very convenient to everything in the Dallas-Ft Worth area. They even have a car rental place for those that don't tow.

Back to the Flea Market.....Entrance is free, parking is $3 per car.

No telling what you will find here. There are permanent shops as well as outside booths.

Lots of fairground type food even carnival rides.

Fresh vegetables in season.

Apples on the left, pomegranates in front, nopales (prickly pear cactus pads) behind the yellow peppers.

They also have events going on at Traders Village. This weekend was celebrating mountain men. There was a small fort set up with a couple booths in it.

Across the way, various activities were in progress. This mountain man was demonstrating how to start fires.

The chuck wagon crew had lots going on. The trench in front had several piles of wood burned down to coals with some dutch ovens bubbling away. The spit in the middle soon had a rabbit roasting on it.

The woman here was working with animal skins.

This man was making tomahawks and knives.

The woman here had lots of beads and various stones she was turning into jewelry.

The smithy had his forge going and was making various wrought itron tools.

Liz found a recumbent bike for her grandkids so she rode around the rest of the flea market. Carolyn bought an adult size recumbent for herself. She has a pullout rack on the back of her 5th wheel where it will ride on her travels.

This lady was busy spinning and she had lots of neat looking hats for sale.

There was even a potter working away.

Here's a better picture of the cooking trench. See the rabbit he is turning?

We enjoyed the flea market for several hours and then headed to old downtown Arlington to.....

a different Babe's Chicken House. This one is decorated inside with fronts of buildings in a town. The service was a little better at the Cedar Hill Babe's but the food was just as good here.

This neat little double decker bus was parked out front.

After lunch, we headed back to the park and the longdogs got a nice long walk.

Stampede at the Fort Worth Stockyards?

This morning we were off to the Fort Worth Stock Yards. Way back in 1876 when the railroad arrived, Fort Worth became a major shipping point for livestock. By 1887, plans were developed for construction of the Union Stockyards. Located about 2 1/2 miles north of the Tarrant County Courthouse, the stockyards went into full operation about 1889. Short of funds to buy enough cattle to attract local ranchers, the president of Union Stockyards Company invited some wealthy capitalists from the East to visit and hopefully invest in the company. Due to heavy rains and a railroad strike, the stockyards were holding an impressive number of cattle and the outside investors were sold. By 1893, one of the investors, Greenleif Simpson bought the stockyards and changed the name to the Fort Worth Stockyards. Now all that was needed to make the venture more profitable was to bring in some meat packing companies and keep the whole operation in Fort Worth rather than shipping cattle out. By 1900, both Armour & Co. and Swift & Co. were persuaded to build plants adjacent to the stockyards. Business boomed with the opening of the packing houses.

During World War I, the Fort Worth Stockyards was largest horse and mule market in the world. Buyers came from around the world. During World War II, the Stockyards process 5,277,496 head of livestock. 1944 was the peak year of the entire operation but by 1969, sales were down to 1,045,158 head. The all time low hit in 1986 with sales of only 57,181 head. There were many reasons for the downturn but one big one was the huge trucking industry with lower costs than the railroad market. By 1962 Armour closed followed by Swift in 1971.  The North Fort Worth Historical Society stepped in around 1976 and a museum was born. Efforts paid off to get the entire area declared an Historical District.

Today the Fort Worth Stock Yards are an Historical District as well as an entertainment center and are the one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state.

You can still see a cattle drive every day.

In case you wondered, this is how a cattle drive is set up. It is an orchestrated event rather than just cattle moseying along willy-nilly.

Part of the long horn herd.

Check out the horns on that lead steer.

Get along little dogies!

And then, of course, some of our group had to have a picture on a real live Texas long horn.

The big guy shook his head as Kim was hanging on to his horn.

The stock exchange building. Lots of money passed through here.

You have to wonder what some of these "Sister Cities" have in common with Fort Worth.

The Stockyards handled hogs and sheep in addition to cattle.

Now the big buildings have a whole new life housing shops and restaurants.

Gloria drove 2142 miles to get to the GTG and it was worth it.

This was reported to be a fantastic store to visit. Smelled like heaven according to Gloria.

This trough was clearly marked for cattle and horses only, no swimming allowed.

Carriage ride anyone?

We went to the Cowgirls Museum but there is one for Cowboys at the Stockyards.

I didn't get a chance to go in to the Stockyards Hotel but I was told that it is like an old fashioned saloon inside.

And the H3 Ranch is supposed to be one of the best steak houses around. We ate at Habanero's which was pretty good but really slow at getting the bill's out at the end.

We also made a stop at Billy Bob's, the world's largest honky-tonk. They charge to go in and look and there wasn't much going on during the daytime but it was interesting to look at the handprints from all the singers who have played there.

All in all, it was another really great day.