Road Trip to Bergheim Texas

Road Trip: Bergheim

by Celia Hayes

The name ‘bergheim’ means – if I remember my several years of high school and college German correctly – ‘mountain home’. Strictly speaking, although the beating urban heart of Bergheim, Texas, is not anywhere near a mountain that I would recognize as such, (having lived at the foot of the Wasatch Range in Utah, or from living in the foothills of California’s San Gabriels) it is pleasingly situated at the top of a substantial rise in the Hill Country, and a pleasant drive north from San Antonio. Especially, if you take 46 to get there; either east from Boerne, or west from Bulverde; the road rambles through rolling country, sparsely scattered with small ranches and housing developments, groves of trees, campgrounds and resorts oriented towards the Guadalupe River.

And there, right in the middle of it is the 109-year general store and post-office, housed in a cut-limestone building with a classic 19th-century bedstead front. It is, as nearly as we could see, the only retail outlet on the road, save for a gas station quickie mart and a Subway about a block away at the intersection with FM 3351. Who lives in the area – and there are residents, and visitors who come for tubing and canoeing on the Guadalupe – who want to drive ten or fifteen miles in either direction for a quart or milk, some potatoes, a link of cured sausage, a pair of jeans, a six-pack of beer, some crawfish bait or a pair of pliers, when the sudden need for such arrives in the middle of a busy weekend. Very few people actually do, even in these days of big-box stores and instant-overnight-Fedex delivery. And when that shopping trip meant a couple of hours in a wheezing Model A Ford, or in a horse and buggy … well, this is why general stores still exist in the wide-open back-country of flyover states like Texas, and why they have come to carry an amazingly eccentric variety of items.

Someone once expressed a need for a certain item, the storekeeper stocked it, and other customers purchased it … and there you go, which is how the owner of the local hardware store explained it to me. Alas, his enterprise is now defunct, having been swamped by suburbia and then put into competition with Lowe’s/Home Depot. A pity, because it was one of the few places that you could easily find an expert to explain the finer points of refinishing a bathtub or replacing a garbage disposal. Which is not to say that there aren’t experts at Lowe’s/Home Despot; they’re just much harder to find, especially on holiday weekends.

Anyway, the Bergheim General Store is a bit like going back in time to what a general mercantile was, a hundred and more years ago: a little bit of everything, and everything in it’s place, everything densely-packed on the shelves, and the aisles narrow, the whole place erratically lit, not a shred of commercial décor save the lighted beer signs and nothing about it reflecting conventional retail wisdom about well-lit, wide aisles and the favored products at eye-level or on the endcaps. Nope: it’s where it is at the Bergheim General Store, and efficient use is made of limited space. Four generations of the same family have been in charge of it since 1903.

Aside from having electricity and air conditioning introduced sometime in the last 190 years, the inside is pretty much as it was when built: plain narrow-board floors, plain whitewashed/painted stone walls. And the front door stoop is of cut stone; over the years, it has worn into a gentle valley in the middle from all the customers coming in and out of the store. I noticed this often in Europe, mostly in places hundreds of years old, or a doorway made of soft stone. This is not something I have seen much in the US, certainly not much in Texas, where there are only a double-handful of stone-built structures older than statehood itself. It’s worth a drive into the country to see – that, and what lies inside.

Excellent Wurst Meal All Prepared in One Pan

One-Pan Wurst Supper

by Celia Hayes

One of my oldest and most favorite cookbooks – and the tattered and spotted condition of my copy certainly proves the age and status – is Barbara Swain’s Cookery for 1 or 2. I may have bought it before I moved out of the women’s barracks as a young Air Force sergeant. I was always cooking my own meals then, since the hours I worked were not compatible with the dining hall, and the barracks did have a primitive but functional kitchen. I definitely possessed this copy by the time I settled into a teeny studio apartment, as I clearly recall cooking many of the entrees and brunch dishes on the propane gas stove there. The marvelous thing about this particular cookbook is that every recipe in it was scaled for exactly one or two servings. The pound-cake recipe made a tiny 3 x 7 inch loaf of butter cake; the carrot cake recipe made exactly half a dozen cupcakes. Everything was perfectly scaled, simply prepared and made from fresh ingredients … and I am fairly sure that when I bought my now-battered copy, it was one of just a few ‘cooking for one or two’ cookbooks on the market. Now it looks as if it is out of print, although Amazon lists a number of used copies available.

Since we been getting involved in so many ethnic German activities throughout the Texas Hill Country, we have begun to have a deep appreciation for excellent sausages, like those from Granzin’s Meat Market in Gruene… and for the many delightful ways to cook cabbage. My English Granny Dodie prepared it by lightly steaming chopped cabbage until it was just barely cooked, then tossing it with melted butter, cracked pepper and bits of crumbled bacon. I don’t know from here she picked up this delicious heresy; the traditional English way of cooking cabbage is to boil it to death for many hours.

But the traditional German way is to make sauerkraut out of it; basically, salted and pickled – the way to make a green vegetable last through the dark months of a northern winter – and so I have come to explore the many faces of red and green cabbage. In Cookery for 1 of 2 there is one recipe for a one-pan wurst and sauerkraut dinner, which I adapted a little, by adding two quartered red potatoes, which essentially cooks your complete dinner in a single covered pan.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil, bacon drippings, or render one thin slice of salt-pork cut in small dice, in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot (or the salt-pork rendered) add ¼ cup minced onion and sauté until tender. Add 1 8-oz. can or 1 cup of well-drained sauerkraut, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, 1/3 cup of dry white wine, beer, water – or (my addition) homemade chicken or vegetable broth, 1/8 teaspoon salt, ¼ caraway seeds and a twist of fresh-ground black pepper. The original recipe says to cover and simmer for half an hour, then add 4 wieners or 2 knackwursts and simmer for another fifteen minutes. For my version, I add two or four smoked brats – it depends on the size of the brats and if they have been frozen – and two red potatoes, cut in quarters, cover and simmer the whole shebang for half and hour to forty minutes. The potatoes should be done, the sausages cooked through and the broth reduced and absorbed into the vegetables. Serve with a bit of whole-grain mustard on the side, and a salad of fresh garden greens. Total Teutonic bliss achieved … and only one cooking pot to wash.

Yep, it doesn’t get much better than this, in my San Antonio home. Until I start to make home-made sauerkraut…

Print and Solve Crosswords Puzzle Number 6 From SATXBlog

SATXBlog Crossword Puzzle 6-“It’s Wet Out Here”

“It’s Wet Out Here” by Myles Mellor

Across
1. Brewski
5. Orange juice factor
9. Bow
13. Certain surgeon’s “patient”
14. Celebes beast
15. Anoint
16. Romantic setting
17. Dock
18. Carpentry grooves
19. Come down hard
22. Cleaning cabinet supplies
23. Absorbed, as a cost
24. Yugoslavia, now
28. Plant fuel
32. 86 is a high one
33. Aspersion
35. Not just “a”
36. Pot of gold site?
40. Golf term
41. Quite a stretch (var.)
42. Seize forcibly (old word)
43. Indiana town
46. Finn’s friend
47. 1969 Peace Prize grp.
48. The Amish, e.g.
50. 1952 musical
58. Convex molding
59. Music genre
60. Annul
61. Locks up
62. Fashion
63. Auction cry
64. Bow
65. Increase, with “up”
66. “Trick” joint
Down
1. Ado
2. “Major” animal
3. Kosher ___
4. Caught in the act
5. Yellow fruit
6. Bind
7. Fertile soil
8. Legal prefix
9. Wreath for the head
10. Completely fix
11. Blockage
12. Pianist, Dame Myra
15. Build on
20. Precipice
21. Lagos currency < br/>24. Hex
25. “It’s a Wonderful Life” role
26. Isuzu model
27. “You stink!”
28. Make, as a CD
29. Cornered
30. Treat rudely, in a way
31. Ratty place
33. Abandon
34. “Seinfeld” uncle
37. Claw
38. About to explode
39. “What’s ___?”
44. Pooh’s pal
45. Hodgepodges
46. Drag
48. Condescending one
49. Chopin piece
50. Hit
51. “Terrible” czar
52. Canceled
53. Doctrines
54. Dry biscuit
55. Soon, to a bard
56. Doing nothing
57. Central point

Click for the Answer to Today’s Crosswords Puzzle #6. | Press Here to PRINT

San Antonio PGA Golf Event History

Short History of the Valero Texas Open

by Randy Watson

The Valero Texas Open is an official tournament on the PGA Tour and this year (2012) is the 90th anniversary. This year’s Valero Open begins with Round 1 on April 19, 2012 at the JW Marriot Golf Resort and Spa on the ATT Oaks Course, in the affluent Cibolo Canyons community. The 2012 90th Anniversary Valero Texas Open Schedule.

The Valero Open started in 1922 and was first called the Texas Open. With the exception of 2 years 1927-28, The Texas Open was played until 1940 at the Old Brack (Brackenridge Park Golf Course.) During 1927-28 and beginning in 1941 until 1949, the Texas Open was played at the Willow Springs Golf Course. When in 1950 and 1951, it was played at both the Brackenridge Park Golf Course and Ft. Sam Houston Golf Course. In 1952 thru 1959, it was again played at the Brackenridge Park Golf Club, except 1956 and 1960 when it was played at the Ft. Sam Houston Golf Course.

Oak Hills Country Club hosted the event from 1961 till 1966 and again from 1977 thru 1994. It was played at the Pecan Valley Golf Club from 1967-1970. From 1972-1976 it was played at Woodlake Golf Course. The Resort Course at La Cantera Golf Club hosted the event from 1995 to 2009. In 2010, the Valero Open began being played at TPC San Antonio. TPC San Antonio, with 36 holes of golf is located next to JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. The AT&T Canyons Course by Pete Dye and AT&T Oaks Course by Greg Norman. The Valero Texas Open is played at the Oaks Course.

The first Texas Open was won by Robert MacDonald and his winnings were $1500 in 1922. In 1931 the $1500 winnings went to Abe Espinosa, whom is best known as the first Hispanic golfer to win significant golf championships. In 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression, the winner took home $600. Many greats and golf legends have played and won, Ben Hogan in 1946 won $1500, Sam Snead in 1950 winning $2000, Arnold Palmer’s first win in 1960 won $2800, Chi-Chi Rodriguez in 1967 won $20k, Lee Trevino in 1980 won $45k, just to name a few. The winner has continued to claim higher and higher rewards with the 2011 winner, Brendan Steele taking home a whopping $1,116,000.

Over the years the name has changed as well. Beginning as the Texas Open, it has gone thru some name changes most notably to recognize major sponsorships. It has been named the Vantage Championship, Westin Texas Open, HEB Texas Open, La Cantera Texas Open and currently the Valero Texas Open.

Nine players have won this tournament more than once.

3 wins
Arnold Palmer: 1960, 1961, 1962
Justin Leonard: 2000, 2001, 2007
2 wins
Bill Mehlhorn: 1928, 1929
Sam Snead: 1948, 1950
E.J. “Dutch” Harrison: 1939, 1951
Ben Crenshaw: 1973, 1986
Jay Haas: 1982, 1993
Duffy Waldorf: 1995, 1999
Zach Johnson: 2008, 2009

2012 Valero Texas Open Schedule of Events

 The Valero Texas Open Schedule of Events

2012 Valero Texas Open

Monday, April 16
JV Industrial Companies Pro-Am

Benefiting Still Water Christian Ministries & The First Tee of San Antonio
The AT&T Oaks Course
11:00 a.m. – Shotgun Start

Tuesday, April 17
PGA TOUR Player Practice Rounds
Begin at 7:00 am

Wednesday, April 18
Oak Farms Dairy Charity Pro-Am

Benefiting Birdies for Charity®
The AT&T Oaks Course
Morning Progressive Start from 7:10 a.m. to 9:10 a.m.
Afternoon Progressive Start from 12:10 p.m. to 2:10 p.m.

Bay Ltd. Pro-Am

Benefiting Spaulding for Children & YWCA of Corpus Christi
The AT&T Canyons Course
10:00 a.m. – Shotgun Start

A Night to Honor Our Heroes
Invitation Only
JW Marriott Grand Oaks Ballroom G-P
6:00 Reception for all attendees
7:00 Banquet begins

 

Thursday, April 19
Round 1 – Valero Texas Open – Golf Channel, 2:00 pm CST – 5:00 pm CST
$15 Through Chip In for Schools online at www.valerotexasopen.org (thru March 23)
$20 online at www.valerotexasopen.org, participating Valero Corner Stores, & TPC San Antonio Golf Shop
$25 at the Gate

Friday, April 20
Round 2 – Valero Texas Open – Golf Channel, 2:00 pm CST – 5:00 pm CST
$15 Through Chip In for Schools online at www.valerotexasopen.org (thru March 23)
$20 online at www.valerotexasopen.org, participating Valero Corner Stores, & TPC San Antonio Golf Shop
$25 at the Gate

Saturday, April 21

Round 3 – Valero Texas Open – CBS, 2:00 pm CST – 5:00 pm CST
$15 Through Chip In for Schools online at www.valerotexasopen.org (thru March 23)
$20 online at www.valerotexasopen.org, participating Valero Corner Stores, & TPC San Antonio Golf Shop
$25 at the Gate

Ceremonial Sunrise “Birthday Shot”
10th Tee, The AT&T Oaks Course
7:00 a.m.

Past Champion’s Breakfast
Invitation Only
JW Marriott Grand Oaks Ballrooms G-H
7:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
Details TBD

Dynamic Industries Pro-Am
Benefiting Miles Perret Cancer Services
9:30 a.m. – Shotgun Start

Pioneer Brand Celebrity Cake Off
JW Marriott Exhibit Ballrooms A-B
Details TBD

90th Birthday Celebration Cake Unveiling & Champagne Toast
JW Marriott Lower Lobby
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Chef Duff Goldman, Charm City Cakes (Ace of Cakes) will unveil the VTO Birthday Cake
Announce winners from Pioneer Brand Celebrity Cake Off

90th Birthday Celebration Concert
Entertainer TBA
The Bud Light Backyard
Immediately following play, around 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Sunday, April 22
Round 4 – Valero Texas Open – CBS, 2:00 pm CST – 5:00 pm CST
$15 Through Chip In for Schools online at www.valerotexasopen.org (thru March 23)
$20 online at www.valerotexasopen.org, participating Valero Corner Stores, & TPC San Antonio Golf Shop
$25 at the Gate

Awards Presentation
#18 Green
Immediately Following Play

TIPS ON NEGOTIATING PIPELINE EASEMENTS

RED ZONE: TIPS ON NEGOTIATING PIPELINE EASEMENTS

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Natural gas drilling in Texas’ shale regions may be lucrative for mineral rights owners, but it can be a headache for landowners with surface rights who are unprepared to negotiate with pipeline companies.

On this week’s Real Estate Red Zone podcast, Real Estate Center attorney Judon Fambrough offers landowners tips on negotiating gas pipeline easements and walks them through the condemnation process.

Also, Bryan Pope and Edie Craig cover the latest real estate news out of Rockport, Pflugerville, Pharr, Houston, Dallas, Austin and Waco.

You can listen to the free podcast from your computer by going to recenter.tamu.edu/podcast and clicking the “play” button beneath each episode. To subscribe, click on the RSS feed found on the podcast page. You can also subscribe through iTunes and download each episode to your ipod.

Water in the Creek

Water in the Creek, Progress in the Garden

by Celia Hayes

Search online for all your San Antonio Real Estate Needs

Well, it’s been another quiet week in Spring Creek Forest, the little suburb that time forgot… I am improving my little patch of it as fast as I can and as the growing season allows. We were assisted last week by rain… lots and lots of rain. There actually was running water in Salado Creek. And since it was running over the path, we needed to wade through it – up to our shins, and with a perceptible current, too. Yes, we like to walk on the wild side, what with the mad risk-taking and all. The Weevil thoroughly enjoyed a romp through the water, and when she flushed a couple of ducks from the wetlands by the Morningstar boardwalk, her doggy heart overflowed with pure contentment. She didn’t come anywhere near actually catching a duck, though – that would have been a miracle of practically biblical dimensions.

The garden is doing very well, what with the rain, and the unseasonable warmth. The citrus in pots are blooming, and so is the wisteria – which only blooms for one week out of the year, and then sulks for the other fifty-one. The pot that my daughter thought to plant with an assortment of specially flavored mint plants has – as expected – thrived so thoroughly that there is very little of the pot itself actually visible. The artichoke, burdock and cardoons that I planted in pots some weeks ago are also thriving … There is a bare patch in the yard, where I’d love to have a patch of artichokes. I love artichokes, and to be able to pop out to the garden and pick them fresh would be fantastic. All they are is big, edible thistles, after all. We started this last weekend with some small artichoke plants, along with a blue-flowered salvia for variety, and some lambs’ ears for luck and hopefully to spread along the edge of the bed. Should they all grow and thrive, the bigger ones in pots will join them.

This week, we ventured out to the Antique Rose Emporium to see what they had for vegetable starts. It’s almost too late now for the lettuces and such, too early for beans and eggplant … but the right time for the exotic heirloom tomatoes, of which they had plenty and an amazing variety. I knew that tomatoes came in yellow, but brown, and purple? Oh my. Now to get some more topsy-turvys … we have space on the hanging frame for at least another three or four. The dozen tomato plants that we started some weeks ago are just now shyly putting out blooms. They are the ordinary sort of early tomatoes, and this time we got them in better condition than last year’s … which were priced half-off and nearly dead when we put them in the topys-turvys, but still did well.

Last week, HEB had cucumber and zucchini starts for $1.00 each – so here we go with starting six of them in the last earth-box. Zucchini plants are supposed to produce in overwhelming quantities, which has never been my personal experience, but I’m an optimist. I live in hope of bulging bags of zucchini that I will be able to leave on neighbors’ doorsteps, after ringing the doorbell and running away. And this morning … we had an idea to build a raised bed from treated timbers, and expand the vegetable-growing area. There is a place around the back of the house where the soil is so full of little chunks of rock and concrete rubble from when the house was built that a raised bed full of good soil is the only hope. Next year, maybe…

 

Springtime in Full Bloom in Texas

Springtime in Full Bloom at Texas State Parks

News Release News Images
Media Contact: Rob McCorkle, 830-866-3533, robert.mccorkle@tpwd.state.tx.us

March 8, 2012

AUSTIN – What looks to be a promising wildflower season has started early this year and Texas State Parks remain some of the best and safest places to see and photograph a dazzling array of bluebonnets, mountain laurels and other blooming flora.

This comes as good news for wildflower fans on the heels of last year’s record-setting heat wave and drought that make wildflower season a bust throughout most of a state that boasts more than 5,000 wildflower species. Most parts of Texas as of late, however, are benefiting from the late fall and winter rains and warmer-than-normal January and February temperatures.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department botanists and state park natural resources specialists concur with Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s prediction of an impressive wildflower season thanks to well-timed moisture in central, eastern and northern parts of Texas.

Even in drought-stricken West Texas, state park field reports show exceptions to the rule of a poor wildflower showing.

“The rains and snow, coupled with recent suitable temperatures have proven to be the perfect combination for a beautiful and prolific Mexican gold poppy blooming season,” reports Adrianna Weickhardt, interpretive ranger for Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso. “We’ll be celebrating with the Poppies Festival at nearby Castner Range on March 31.”

“It’s a great spring in East Texas,” says TPWD botanist Jason Singhurst, who has been seeing lots of sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnous) that are expected to reach full bloom in coming weeks.

Singhurst also looks for good crops of Texas groundsel, bluets, white trout lily, mayapples and other flowering flora in the piney woods and post oak savannah of East Texas. He recommends Lake Somerville State Park and Trailway, and Tyler and Purtis Creek state parks as good wildflower-viewing locations in East Texas.

TPWD botanist Jackie Poole concurs with her fellow botanist about a promising wildflower season and notes “some weird things happening” where spring bloomers are concerned around Austin.

“Texas mountain laurels already have bloomed ahead of agarita and Mexican buckeye that usually come first,” Poole says. “The drought may be causing some species to flower earlier or later than normal, but I’ve got a great crop of bluebonnets, as well as many other species, in my yard. Give us some sunny, warm days and things will really start to pop.”

Sandy soils typically produce some of the better wildflower displays, according to Poole, so wildflower lovers in central Texas should consider visiting Palmetto and Inks Lake state parks, as well Enchanted Rock State Natural Area north of Fredericksburg.

Just outside Bandera, park staff report “Hill Country State Natural Area has put on her spring bonnet with purple mountain laurel, hot pink redbuds and bright yellow agarita bushes all ablaze. The fragrances are fabulous and the wildflowers are just starting up and promise to be in full bloom after early spring rains and sunny days.”

A healthy crop of bluebonnet rosettes spotted in mid-February are now starting to bloom in Goliad State Park, where spring arrived early, and park ranger Tammy Zellner promises “somewhat of a bumper crop this year.” In addition, she reports pink evening primrose, winecup, blue-curls and Indian paintbrush are starting to put on blooms.

In parts of central and north Texas, Texans are already being treated to the colorful blooms of such flowering trees as redbuds, peach, pear and Mexican plum. Judging from the profusion of pink blooms on peach trees recently spied around Fredericksburg and Stonewall, barring an unpredictable late spring freeze, peach lovers are in for a mouth-watering season.

Wildflower season at Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site takes on special meaning this year during Texas’ year-long celebration of the 100th birthday of one of the state’s biggest wildflower champions, Lady Bird Johnson, who would have turned 100 years old this December. LBJ Park Superintendent Iris Neffendorf expects showy displays of bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush and other along park trails and roads.

In honor of Mrs. Johnson, the park has installed a new wildflower display inside the Visitors Center to help with wildflower identification along the park’s nature trail that Lady Bird helped get developed and frequently strolled. On May 5 and 12, park will host a guided nature walk to highlight its flora, fauna and history.

Some of the most eye-popping wildflower crops to be viewed year-in, year-out are found in rolling, verdant Washington County. Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site between Brenham and Navasota offers great wildflower diversity among 293 acres of natural riverside beauty, as well as an informative primer on early Republic of Texas history. Rewarding patches also can be seen near Houston at Brazos Bend andGalveston state parks.

For updated statewide wildflower reports, visit the Texas Department of Transportation’s Web site or call 1-800-452-9292 that details where noteworthy stands of wildflowers have been sighted along the state’s highways.

Additional field reports this week from park staff:

WEST TEXAS

San Angelo State Park – Fairly decent rainfall as well as some snow have resulted in blankets of bladderpods, small patches of plains yellow daisy, Dutchman breeches, windflower and fringed puccoon. Smaller flowering plants, such as peppergrass, cranesbill and henbit are becoming abundant as well.

GULF COAST

Mustang Island State Park – We have some beach evening primrose lighting up the dunes.

Goose Island State Park – We should have somewhat of a bumper crop this year. The field behind the Rec Hall is covered in bluebonnets and wildflowers are sprouting all over the Lamar Peninsula.

HILL COUNTRY

Colorado Bend State Natural Area – There are some serious mountain laurel displays and we’re expecting the bluebonnet crop to be great.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area – Bluebonnets are coming out and should be in full bloom within the next couple of weeks, and the Mexican redbud and mountain laurels are blooming.

Government Canyon State Natural Area – Wildflower season is in full swing. Currently, the hills and savannah are covered in a mix of golden-eye phlox and prolific displays of low bladderpod.  Bluebonnets are just beginning to open and will be in full bloom within the next week or two.

Lost Maples State Natural Area – Mountain laurels are putting on blooms.

McKinney Falls State Park – Bluebonnets starting to bloom.

South Llano River State Park – The wildflowers are just getting started, but right now, we have prairie verbena and agarita blooming. In the next few weeks, redbuds should be blooming and shortly thereafter the mountain laurels should join the verbena in an awesome show.

SOUTHEAST TEXAS

Wildflowers appear to be abundant in most parks in this region, but peaking about two weeks earlier than normal. Right now, flatwoods plums and redbuds are in full bloom at Huntsville and Stephen F. Austinstate parks.

NORTH TEXAS

Dinosaur Valley State Park – Bluebonnets will be the major flower here.

Cedar Hill State Park – We have done several prescribed burns of Blackland Prairie remnants at the sound end of the park. Typically, this results in an extra special mix of wildflowers, including wild foxglove, prairie celestials, wild hyacinth and Engelmann’s daisy, lasting through spring months.

Ray Roberts Lake State Park and Greenbelt – At this time, visitors are seeing oft-overlooked, but lovely early spring wildflowers such as small bluets, spring beauty, vetch and crow poison, as well as blooming Mexican plum trees. Soon to show their blooms will be bluebonnets, Indian blanket, fire wheels, pink evening primrose, prairie spiderwort, dotted blue-eyed grass, Drummonds wild onion, lemon bee balm, brown-eyed Susan and green wild indigo .

EAST TEXAS

Purtis Creek State Park – We should have bluebonnets in bloom this month. There’s a large patch at the office, should be blooming sporadically throughout the park, along with Indian paintbrush and other species.

———

 

For all your San Antonio real estate needs

Texas Economic Progress

Economic Outlook from Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Jobs

  • The U.S. added 227,000 nonfarm jobs in February 2012. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 8.3 percent for February 2012.  Between February 2011 and February 2012, U.S. total nonfarm employment increased 1.5 percent.
  • Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 67,200 jobs during January 2012. Between January 2011 and January 2012, Texas total nonfarm employment increased 2.5 percent.
  • The Texas unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent for January 2012, down from 7.4 percent in December 2011.
  • The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 61 consecutive months.

Consumer Confidence Index

  • The U.S. consumer confidence index increased by 15 percent from January 2012 to February 2012, rising from 61.5 to 70.8. The confidence index now stands 2 percent lower than one year ago.
  • The Texas region’s consumer confidence index decreased 4 percent from January 2012 to February 2012, falling from 89.9 to 86.7 and is now up 7 percent from its level one year ago.

Oil and Natural Gas

  • Oil and natural gas production tax collections in the first five months of fiscal 2012 were 63 percent higher than during the same period in 2011.
  • After reaching a record high closing price of $145.29 in July 2008 then falling to a low of $33.98 during February 2009, crude oil futures reached a settle price of $105.11 on March 15, 2012.
  • Natural gas futures prices have followed a similar path reaching a summer 2008 high of $13.58 then falling to a low of $2.51 in September 2009. Subsequently, the price rebounded through the end of 2009 but has trended downward since then, closing at $2.28 on March 15, 2012.

Read More

Soil Compaction Aeration and Top Dressing With Compost for Great Lawns

 Soil Aeration and Compost Top Dressing Your Lawn

by Randy Watson

Much of San Antonio has dense clay soils that begin heavy and may be further compacted from heavy use from play, sports activities and pets. Roots require oxygen to grow and absorb nutrients and water. Compacted soils reduce the amount of air and water within the soil. This results in poor top growth and lawn deterioration. Core aeration is recommended to maintain a healthy lawn and can benefit your lawn by allowing for the increasing water, nutrient and oxygen movement into the soil. From personal experience I can also say that aeration and top dressing with compost kept my lawn much healthier through last summer’s drought and a healthy lawn helps choke out the weeds, too.

Now is the time to aerate your lawn. Some lawn or landscape companies will perform the service for a fee. Core aerators may also be rented at many garden or rental centers. An average lawn only takes just about the same amount of time as it does to mow. So, you may be able to share the rental fee and usage with your neighbors. Be sure that the machine has hollow tines or spoons to bring the soil core to the surface.

Following aeration of your lawn, a good top dressing of compost is also recommended. Of course you can hire this work to be done by a local landscaping or lawn maintenance company or you can aerate and compost yourself, too.

Good compost can be purchased in bags from your local garden centers or even Walmart. (It takes 14 bags of compost to equal 1 cubic yard.) You can save a lot of money if you buy in bulk directly from the materials yard to be delivered or if you have a pickup truck you can haul 1 to 3 cubic yards at a time yourself.If you purchase bulk compost or top-dressing it will cost approximately $30 a cubic yard plus  delivery which should be between $50 and $150 depending on the amount ordered and how far you live from the materials yard you have ordered from.

The San Antonio Water System (SAWS) says that a healthy lawn needs less water. Aeration and compost top-dressing of your lawn work together for a healty lawn and to reduce the amount of water needed. SAWS recommends that you top dress your lawn with about 1/2″ of compost to your lawn

Top-Dressing Table

Lot Size (in Acres) Lot Size (in Square Feet) Minimum amount of compost or top-dressing
0.06 – 0.11 2,500 – 5,000 1cubic yard
0.12 – 0.18 5,001 – 8,000 2 cubic yards
0.19 – 0.23 8,001 – 10,000 4 cubic yards
0.24 – 0.46 10,001 – 20,000 6 cubic yards
≥0.47 ≥20,001 10 cubic yards

I recommend Jerry at citihaul.com for bulk delivery of soil, materials, rocks, compost or mulch in and around San Antonio.