Sorting out the Spring Garden in San Antonio

Spring in the Garden

by Celia Hayes

Yes, we know very well that the official date for ‘last frost o’ the season’ for San Antonio is March 15th – but the trees are tentatively beginning to put on new leaves, the new grass – or what passes for the grass in weedy fields and verges – is already thick and green, and so it is time to get back to the garden. The suppliers have gotten the early spring vegetables starts in already. So – we went out this last weekend to get started in a bigger way, especially since the early lettuce and greens that we put in pots a couple of weeks ago did very nicely.

The topsy-turvy planters had been emptied of last year’s plants and the soil; we were so encouraged by the success of growing peppers and tomatoes last year that visions of beans, eggplant, zucchini and more tomatoes are dancing in our heads. It’s time to start with the seasonal herbs again, things like basil, which never, ever last through the winter. Sorry – the first time the temperature drops below 40 degrees, the basil is gonna croak, and hauling the pot indoors will not help. After (gulp) thirty years of growing herbs on balcony, back garden, or patio, this is akin to accepting that the sun will come up in the morning and go down in the evening.

Last fall, we found three earth box planters put out on the curb for bulk trash pick-up. I guess someone was going to move, or had just said the heck with growing mass quantities on the back porch, so we took them to our San Antonio home, and I looked up the website to find the manual. Hmm … as Mr. Spock so often observed, ‘Fascinating.’ So – first on the list: several massive bags of potting soil, granular fertilizer, plastic to cover the tops with; hey, just the regular garden stuff and kitchen string will do.

We did over-spend on plants. Lettuce and greens; eight tomato plants, some cardoons and an artichoke; I so love artichokes, very likely I will go back and buy some more. Herbs; oregano, parsley – two kinds of each, and my daughter discovered all the different kinds of mint that there are at the Antique Rose Emporium. Mint is an invasive plants – as persistent and unkillable as kudzu or crab-grass once established, although the various disasters that my back yard has been heir to for the last five years has eradicated the mint that I once had growing wild in the ground. Among the army of empty pots is a strawberry urn, with the eight little side pockets … which we have tried to plant twice times: first time with strawberries, of course.

Second time my daughter had a go with mixed herbs – with disastrous results. Oh, the plants did very well at first, but the trouble is that the water runs into the top of the pot and carries out the soil through all the little pockets. You have to water the darned thing pretty often, because of all the plants in it – but this time, my daughter had an ‘ah-hah!’ moment, considering the sheer, persistent toughness and durability of mint, and I suggested cutting circles of coir matting, with a slit in it and a small opening for the plant stem. So, my daughter spent her money on different flavors of mint plants – and some coir inserts – and we’ll see if the third time is the charm.

But … in all the excitement, I forgot to get basil. Darn.

Printable Crosswords Puzzle Number 4 From SATXBlog

SATXBlog Crossword Puzzle 4-“Tricolored”

Tricolor by Myles Mellor

1. Driven transport
5. Jewish teacher
10. Kind of instrument
14. “By yesterday!”
15. Betelgeuse’s constellation
16. “Cogito, ___ sum”
17. Rarely
20. Back
21. Outdo
22. Annexes
25. Dates
26. Chop (off)
29. Piques
31. Can’t stand
35. “The ___ Daba Honeymoon”
36. Andrea Doria’s domain
38. Arabic for “commander”
39. Fab Four film
43. Otherwise
44. Character
45. Poetic meadow
46. Mideast capital
49. Goose speech
50. Time zone
51. Froth
53. Big laugh
55. Astronomer
58. Choker
62. Destination of the disgruntled?
65. Dirty coat
66. Sea gear
67. Ball field covering
68. Barley beards
69. 1980’s-90’s ring c

1. Golden Triangle country
2. “___ She Lovely?”
3. Disabling spray
4. “La Bohème,” e.g.
5. Howard of “Happy Days”
6. Victorian, for one
7. Food collectors?
8. Dense mass
9. Accustomed
10. Learn again
11. “Aeneid” figure
12. These may be inflated
13. Family head
18. Deep blue
19. Old weapon
23. Attracted
24. Taste, e.g.
26. Cake part
27. Ancient editorial marks
28. Buddy-buddy
30. Pole position?
32. “South Pacific” hero
33. Trig functions
34. Foot the bill
37. Dislike intensely
40. Flyers
41. Like old recordings
42. Obliquely
47. Slay
48. Most healthy
52. Compassion
54. Licks
55. Cultivate
56. Long, long time (var.)
57. Sonata, e.g.
59. Daunting exam
60. “Buona ___” (Italian greeting)
61. Glimpse
62. Fed. construction overseer
63. Blood group system
64. Gabriel, for one

Click for the Answer to Today’s Crosswords Puzzle #4. | Press Here to PRINT


San Antonio Shows the Signs of a Healthy Market in 2012

San Antonio Board of REALTORS  January 2012 Sales Statistics

A five percent increase in sales shows the steadiness of the San Antonio market,” said Angela Shields, President and Chief Executive Officer of SABOR.

January 2012’s average sales price for single-family residential homes registered at $174,789 while the month’s median price was $141,200.

“This month, we saw a slight decrease in both the average and median sales price, but nothing to be alarmed about,” said Liza Reyes, SABOR’s 2012 Chairman of the Board. “Slight fluctuations are very common to the San Antonio market. San Antonio is known for being a healthy market and any healthy market will reflect little ups and downs, it is very natural.”

According to recent Newsweek comparison of the 200 largest U.S. cities, San Antonio was ranked third for its strong scores in business development; transportation and infrastructure; sustainability; and livability. This ranking comes just on the heels of the Boeing and Eagle Ford Shale’s announcements for plans to create more jobs in San Antonio within the next three years. The economic impact from Boeing alone to San Antonio is over $500 million dollars annually. Shields is optimistic. “It is easy to see why San Antonio is such a great place to live. With the expected job growth coming in from Boeing and Eagle Ford Shale in 2012 and San Antonio’s affordable home prices, SABOR is anxious to see the many benefits the housing market will most likely yield in the upcoming spring season.”

Market data is compiled from the San Antonio Board of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service report. The San Antonio Board of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade organization in San Antonio and represents over 7,000 REALTOR® members. SABOR is one of over 1,600 local boards and 54 state and territory organizations of REALTORS® nationwide that make up the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
Please visit for more information

Master Wellness volunteer training for Bexar County

Texas AgriLife Extension Service offers Wellness Training

The Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County will present its 2012 Master Wellness program volunteer training March 8-April 19 in Suite 208 of its San Antonio offices in the Conroy Square business complex, 3355 Cherry Ridge Dr.

Training will be 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. on March 8, March 15, April 5 and April 19. The deadline for registration is March 2.

“Participants in Master Wellness program training receive 40 hours of health and wellness education,” said Dr. Connie Sheppard, AgriLife Extension agent for family and consumer sciences and Bexar County training coordinator. “Once they graduate, they’re required to give at least 40 hours of volunteer service back to the community.”

Sheppard said the training focuses on basic nutrition and dietary guidelines, food safety, health education, weight management, health and nutrition trends, food preparation, healthy lifestyle choices and children’s health. Instruction is provided by experts from AgriLife Extension, an educational outreach agency of the Texas A&M University System.

“This program provides training for volunteers who will go out in the community to give Bexar County residents objective, science-based information needed to make healthy lifestyle choices,” Sheppard said. “Volunteers are critical to helping us deliver our wellness programming to the community.”

She said some of the reasons people become Master Wellness volunteers include a desire to give back to the community, learn more about nutrition and wellness, and live a healthier lifestyle.

Sheppard noted that while health and wellness professionals are among the county’s current Master Wellness volunteers, the training is open to adults of all professional and non-professional backgrounds.

“Our volunteers also include social workers, homemakers, civic leaders, human resource managers, students and retired people,” Sheppard said. “All volunteers need is the desire to learn about health and wellness, and the ability to share with others in the community what they have learned.”

Master Wellness volunteers provide instruction to adults and youth in small group settings, such as community centers, service or volunteer organization locations, schools, churches and businesses.

The cost is $50, and participants receive a binder with copies of all training presentations, as well as healthy recipes to share with their community.

For more information, go to or contact Sheppard at 210-467-6575 or


Saturday in Fredericksburg Texas

Chocolate Covered Bacon

by Celia Hayes

It’s one of those odd side-effects of having knocked around the world for three decades that there are places that feel more like a home-town to me than the town where I actually grew up. This is compounded by having had to research certain places down to almost the sub-atomic level, with the unsettling result that I finish up knowing the history of certain places in the Hill Country almost as well as a long-time native does.

Last Saturday, my daughter and I had to be in Fredericksburg for the German Heritage Foundation; a breakfast meeting at the Kuckucks’ Nest shop to talk about certain historical things, and what was going on with the planning for this year’s Pow-wow? Was it still going to be held at Fort Martin Scott, as per usual? Looks like it: the Pow-wow commemorates the signing of a peace treaty between the new residents of Fredericksburg and the Penateka Comanche, when the town was first founded in the 1840s. The Kuckuck’s Nest sells German clothing and accessories, and there was a generous space behind the sales floor for the breakfast buffet.

When the meeting was done, my daughter – the queen of all thrift-shopping – wanted to check out the Hospice Thrift Shop on Granite Avenue, just by 87 as you come into town from Comfort. Alas, the various antique stores on Main Street have all gone so very up-scale that the only way that we can afford antiques from Fredericksburg is to shop at the Hospice Thrift Shop. She was not disappointed: a nice little green Indiana Glass candy dish, a blue iridescent tumbler, and a tiny green perfume bottle made up for having to get up at 6 and drive for an hour and a half without any breakfast.

Then a promenade along two or three blocks of Main Street to check out our favorite stores; Der Kuchen Laden, and Dogologie. The Kuchen-Laden is hands-down the finest cooking gear store in this part of the world. If they don’t stock it, you probably don’t need it. When we first discovered the store, they were at the far end of Main, but soon they moved to the old Keidel Memorial Hospital – just the one wing, at first. Every time we returned, they had converted another tiny room on the ground floor into yet another specialty department, and now the entire ground is crammed full of every kind of kitchen accessory and gadget. So many things! So little money!

Further on down Main Street, there is a candy store with a giant cowboy M&M outside, offering every sort of delicacy covered in chocolate. But chocolate-covered pickles? Just because something can be done, doesn’t mean that it should be done.

Dogologie – we love this store, since you can actually bring your dog inside! Everything for the discriminating dog-owner, wanting to spoil their pooch with every accessory and treatsie known to man; last Saturday, the cashier actually had her own dog with her: a long-hair Chihuahua puppy with enormous ears. They usually say that a dog will grow to the size of his feet: this pup will grow to the size of his ears. Dogologie is undergoing renovations, and the storefront next to it is empty: could it be that the store is expanding? We’ll know for sure later this spring, I guess.

We dropped into a couple of other stores, including the Double R Drygoods – which was unique in that there wasn’t a single thing there that I admired that I could afford. Nope, not even the scented candles … which is sad. But there was one nice thing at the Double R; the manager was giving out a single red rose to every woman who came in to shop, or just look around. Valentine’s Day, y’know. That was an incredibly sweet gesture and marketing strategy. Should I ever become the Margret Mitchell and buy my dream Hill Country home, I will definitely come back and buy something … but not the stuffed squirrel with a holster belt and a drawn toy pistol. Some nice accessory for myself, I think – like a pair of boots or an embroidered sheepskin vest.

Best of US Cities Are In Texas

 Best of Texas – Newsweek Says Texas Cities Can-Do

Five Texas cities “have it going on” even in the face of economic worries, according to a 2011 Newsweek comparison of the 200 largest U.S. cities.

El Paso leads the pack with strong scores for business development; transportation and infrastructure; sustainability; and livability. Assigning each of those categories a point value, Newsweek ranked its list of “Can-Do Capitals” while considering emissions, education levels and unemployment.

Texas Best Can-Do US Cities

City Ranking
El Paso, TX 1
San Antonio, TX 3
Austin, TX 10
Dallas, TX 13
Fort Worth, TX 14

Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Crosswords Puzzle Number 3

SATXBlog Crossword Puzzle 3-“It’s a Numbers Game”

“It’s a Numbers Game” by Myles Mellor and Sally York

1. More than some
5. “___ Smile” (1976 hit)
9. Spray setting
13. Lou Gehrig, on the diamond
14. Donnybrook
15. Knowing about
16. Artist Bonheur
17. Be part of the cast
18. Brought into play
19. Simple addition
22. Elton John, e.g.
23. ___ souci
24. Mozart’s “L’___ del Cairo”
27. Like a bunch
29. Debonair
32. Undergrad degs.
33. Catches
36. Whole alternative
37. Ecstatic
42. Old German duchy name
43. Ready for anything
44. Wrath
45. Layers
47. It’s found in banks
49. Blonde’s secret, maybe
50. Vex, with “at”
52. Word from the decks
54. Literary homeowners
62. Shades
63. Roundish
64. Christiania, now
65. Tropical fruit
66. Rewards
67. Simpleton
68. Some beans
69. “___ quam videri”(North Carolina’s motto)
70. Chops
1. Big do
2. “Crazy” bird
3. Yorkshire river
4. Snares
5. Jiffs
6. Karen Carpenter, for one
7. Checks, with in
8. Trojan hero
9. Greek dish
10. Acad.
11. Potpourri
12. Big deal
14. Gibb brother
20. Ceiling
21. Occupied, as a lavatory
24. ___-Wan Kenobi
25. Art able to
26. Very, in music
28. Australian rock band
30. Clear
31. File material
34. “Harper Valley ___”
35. Jerk
38. Textual interpretation
39. “From the Earth to the Moon” writer
40. Signals
41. Society page word
46. Strauss opera
48. Storm part
51. Other halves
53. Age
54. As a result
55. “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” writer
56. Bank
57. “Little piggies”
58. All alternative
59. “Cast Away” setting
60. Worm or lamp
61. Creates a lawn


Click for the Answer to Today’s Crosswords Puzzle #3. | Press Here to PRINT

Store Away Things to Unclutter Your Home

 San Antonio Home Uncluttering

One of my favorite moments from childhood was going to my aunt’s house to hang out with my cousins. Aside from getting to play video games with my cousins, my aunt’s San Antonio home was an adventure in itself. It was a quaint little house only five minutes away from my own house. It wasn’t big at all, but what lacked in size made up for mini-adventures. Bookshelves stacked with large books about different wars, model airplanes, and chain mail and armor from the medieval times. My seven-year-old self would always look up at these things with awe. My uncle would continue to buy model airplanes, assemble them, and display them proudly up on his bookshelves. From an early age I knew that it was very “Look, but don’t touch.”

Of course, as my uncle’s collection accumulated, the space to store his goods became smaller and smaller. Their garage became cramped as well. The books slowly became an overwhelming sight to see and my aunt and uncle finally decided to place (a lot of) his things in a storage unit. I remember helping them pack and store his books and other trinkets in a storage facility. The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy is a book that instantly comes to mind when I think of the storage unit. Watching their house uncluttered definitely made the house more open. All of the books were not removed, so the magic was still there. The scary suit of armor still lurks around the house.

Decluttering your living space does not mean you have to take the personality out. You may have items that you don’t want to throw away. Don’t go through the woes and troubles of deciding what to let go. Instead, use a storage unit to help declutter your living space while not having to let go of anything of importance. Storing your items in your garage is a waste of space. You could easily have your very own workroom in your garage, an extra refrigerator, or even be able to park your cars in your garage! Or better yet, you could convert it into a little den if you have the space. My great-uncle converted his California home‘s garage into a bar/den, so whenever they would have parties, an open bar would be set up with a karaoke machine running and the drinks pouring.

Getting rid of things and actually throwing them away is a difficult task. The memorabilia that you may be contemplating on throwing away may possibly be worth something in the future. It also doesn’t need to clutter up your living area. Think about using a storage facility to help store your things and potentially organize your house.

Joseph Ver is an intern at SpareFoot. He is a double major in Digital Media Management and Marketing at Saint Edward’s University. His hobbies include cooking, exploring the city of Austin, and finding good places to eat. Searching for a storage unit near you is very easy SpareFoot. With SpareFoot, you can compare prices and locations to help you with your decluttering project. You may contact Joseph or Sparefoot Storage at 1-877-687-9771.