Ye Kendall Inn

Boerne – Ye Kendall Inn

by Celia Hayes

So, we were off to Boerne again last Friday, rejoicing in the rain that had fallen the night before – this time so that I could do a talk on the Civil War in the Hill Country for a local chapter of the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Quite a few of the members are transplanted Texans, courtesy of military service – so the series of events in the years 1860-65 in the Hill Country were new to them and interesting.

To me, the nice part of the meeting was that it took place at Ye Kendall Inn, in the modern-but-decorated-to- look-old Halle – the conference center, which is just one of the ramble of buildings – many of them historic and fascinating in themselves – in back of the pillared and porticoed main building. The Kendall Inn has been in the hospitality business since the earliest days of settlements in the Hill Country. It owes much to a convenient location; on a low eminence overlooking a particularly scenic bend of Cibolo Creek, right on Boerne’s pecan-tree lined central square, where a local market is held on the second Saturday of every month.

The oldest part of the Inn began as a private residence – a mansion, really – built by a family named Reed, in the 1850s. It was built of native stone, with walls twenty inches thick, and in the traditional Southern Colonial style, with a wide porch all across the front, and a long gallery on the second floor. The Reeds and other neighbors were in the habit of renting spare bedrooms to travelers and visitors, since there was no other accommodation for them. Some years after the Civil War, what became the structure was purchased by one Colonel Henry King, who served in the Texas state legislature, while his wife ran the Inn.

By then, Boerne was one of the places where local cattle ranchers assembled large herds for the long trek north to the rail-served stockyards in Kansas. After the Kings tenure, the original building was sold again, to a pair of hoteliers from Dallas, who renamed it the Boerne Hotel, and expanded the building, adding a pair of galleried wings on either side. They hoped to cater to those who came to restore their health in the mild climate of the Hill Country, and to wealthy San Antonio residents who came to escape the dreadful summer heat in those days before air conditioning. One of the biggest local boosters was a pair of doctors; William Kingsbury and Ferdinand Herff, who lauded the efficacy of the local hot springs and the clear air.

Before the San Antonio & Aransas Pass railroad line reached Boerne in 1887, those visitors arrived on the stage – which stopped at the hotel, after a seven-hour journey from San Antonio. For the remainder of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th, Boerne was a mecca for those wanting to recover their health, or just to spend a lively and fashionable summer in the Hills. For all of that time, the Kendall Inn was one of the main centers of social activity. Now, having become one of what my daughter calls ‘a bedroom slipper of San Antonio’ the Kendall Inn is still a destination, with a wine shop, a very fine restaurant and grill, a spa … and of course, it is still a hotel.

Woof Wednesdays

Woof Wednesdays at the Animal Defense League

by Celia Hayes

… At the Animal Defense League; every Wednesday until the end of this month, the adoption fees for dogs over the age of puppy are reduced … which is a very generous concession indeed, considering that the dogs available have been spayed or neutered, chipped, and up to date on things like rabies vaccinations and heartworm medication. We are not in any particular need of another dog at present, as the pair that we have are completely satisfactory, fairly young and in good health. But if we were looking for another dog, and the fates that dictate these matters didn’t present us with a suitable candidate straight off the streets of our own San Antonio neighborhood (as was the story with Connor, who was found running loose, and the charming little Pom, also found running loose) we would certainly consider adopting from the Animal Defense League. They have a sprawling compound off Nacogdoches Road, near the Wurzbach Expressway; a dozen buildings, an animal hospital facility, and a large area set up as a dog park.

So, hearing about this – and my daughter also heard that there is a thrift shop involved – we decided to stop by the place and actually go inside, and see if I could take some cute pictures of the cats and dogs and do a blog post about it. I had only been driving past the place for nearly fifteen years, so it was about time. We did explain that we weren’t interested so much in adoption, as we were encouraging other people to do so. The management in the adoption center were perfectly amenable to this, so we circled through two of the small dog buildings … but first, my daughter had to look at the kittens. There is nothing cuter than a basket of kittens, and there were some terribly appealing ones on hand in the so-called ‘Kitten Room’- including a little all-black one suitably named “Salem” who kept reaching out with his paw through the wire as I was taking pictures of the infant flame-point Siamese brother and sister in the adjacent cage. “Me!” it was as if he was commanding, “Me! Pay attention to me!”

Anyway – on to the small dogs and puppies; there were not very many puppies. The uncrowned king of the puppy area was a small poodle, who was introduced to us as “Patriot” – a special, special-needs dog. Patriot is almost nine years old, and completely blind. In spite of that, he is friendly and outgoing. He gets around all right, but absolutely hates the confinement of the cage. He is actually most content, sitting in a lap or in a basket by a chair – and appears also to be allergic to grass. He’d be a perfect pet for someone working from home in a small place; his demand for walkies would be absolutely minimal.

Then we walked around to a larger building housing a number of small to medium dogs, and the attendant suggested that if we wanted to get some good pictures, just tell her which dog took our fancy. We could go out into the dog park area, and get some good pictures. Our interest alighted on a medium-small tan-colored dog named “Piglet” mostly because of her pleading eyes, and the way her ears stuck out to the sides of her head. Piglet is half Chihuahua … and pit bull. However that worked out, the mating itself must have been comic to behold. In any case, it resulted in a sweet-tempered and appealing little dog, which came along readily on the leash. She was described as being rather shy, but we didn’t find her so. My daughter is still rather surprised that she didn’t wind up coming hope with us anyway. So – that was our Wednesday. And if you are considering adding a dog to your family, consider the Animal Defense League. On Wednesday or any other day.

Found Another Dog

Lost Dog

by Celia Hayes

Over the years that we have lived in our San Antonio home, we’ve lost track of the number of all the lost dogs we have found and managed to either returned to their owners, or found them new owners. Almost always it’s been a case of ‘return to owner’, and in one instance we kept the dog. My mother thinks we must display some kind of invisible sign which sends lost dogs scampering in our direction. She might be right about that. In any case, upon being met with a stray dog, we have worked out the most efficient series of steps for reuniting them with their person.

If the dog has a tag on the collar with a current address and telephone number of the owner – that will be about 90% of the situation sorted out right there. Secure the dog and call the number. Sometimes the owner will come right away, and sometimes they can’t come until after work. Quite often the dog will have done a runner from the back yard during the workday, and they will not even have noticed that Fido is gone.

A current rabies tag is almost as good as a name/address/telephone number tag. Call the veterinary clinic which issued the tag, and give them the rabies tag number. They can look it up in their registry and provide the dogs name, the owners’ name and telephone number. Should you find the dog on a Saturday afternoon, you will probably be keeping the dog until Monday morning.

Without a collar, or anything on the collar offering information, one can always hope for a chip. Any veterinary clinic can and will scan a lost dog for free. Even if they do not find a chip, they can always give you a good idea of the breed, age, general health and if it has been neutered or not. In the absence of a collar, rabies tag or chip, this is good information to use in the next step – registering the dog as ‘found’ on lost pet websites, and with local organizations such as Man & Beast*. If possible also take a picture of the dog, and upload it with the general description. Don’t forget about posting at the office of any nearby apartments or gated Dog Friendly Condos Communities.

But keep back one vital bit of information about the dog. Does it have a distinctive scar or marking? Ask anyone claiming to be the owner to describe it; sometimes people will try and claim a dog which doesn’t really belong to them for various reasons of their own.

We actually haven’t returned any dogs through the on-line lost pet registries, or through placing a free advertisement in the newspaper. It’s good to do this, just so that you can say you’ve covered all the bases.

Papering the neighborhood with flyers has proved to be the most effective method of restoring a stray dog to the owner; either our own flyers, or seeing that the owner of the missing animal has posted theirs. This does have limitations; a large dog can have come from a good way away. The first dog we ever found and returned had come from a home several miles up Stahl Road, and had been missing for two weeks. Another dog had come from the Feather Ridge subdivision, two miles up Nacogdoches Road from our home. (Coincidentally, both had been panicked by noise – a massive thunderstorm and 4th of July fireworks.) Even a small dog can cover a good distance; this summer, we found a tiny, fast-moving Pomeranian clear the other end of the subdivision from its home, a distance of more than a mile.

Besides papering, there is one more effective step: put the dog on a leash and walk around during the hours of the day that everyone will be out and about, asking anyone you meet if they recognize it. Very often, if it is truly lost, a neighbor will recognize a dog that lives close by … and of course, the owners will very likely be searching for their dog at that time.

* Man & Beast Inc., 3918 Naco Perrin Blvd # 109, San Antonio, TX 78217, (210) 590-7387

Big Time Texas Hunts

Big Time Texas Hunts

by Texas Parks and Wildlife

The hunting season is almost here and there’s a way hunters can win the chance of a lifetime all while helping wildlife conservation and public hunting programs. Texas Parks and Wildlife has the story of one lucky winner from San Antonio.

Big Time Texas Hunts offers seven premium hunt packages on some of the finest private ranches and prime wildlife management areas in the state.

All proceeds from Big Time Texas Hunts go to support wildlife conservation, habitat management, and hunting on both public and private lands. If you win, you will enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime hunt. If your name is not drawn, you’ll still know that your support helps the important work of wildlife conservation in Texas.

For more information on Big Time Texas Hunts, check the Texas Parks and Wildlife website at Texas Parks and Wildlife or call 1-800TX-LIC4U (1-800-895-4248/ Entries can be bought for $10 each wherever hunting licenses are sold or by phone. On-line entries are only $9. Enter by October 15, 2012 in order to be eligible to win.

Clean Your Garage

Use Self Storage To Help Clean Your Garage

by Randy Watson

Outdoor sports such as softball, baseball, football, golf and Frisbee are activities I enjoy when it is nice enough to get outside. Much of this summer was far too hot to be outside playing with the kids or having people over and thus the golf clubs and softball gear didn’t get much action. Usually there is extra space in the house to keep all of my gear but with another baby and larger home office, the sports equipment is losing ground quickly. Most of it is beginning to pile up in the garage which is forcing the cars into the driveway. Now that the weather is starting to cool off, it’s time to start golfing and dusting off the softball bats. What are options for cleaning out the garage with limited space in the house though? After some research, I found the best choice was to rent a self storage unit.

The most obvious possession which should be stored in your garage is a car. Aside from a car, most of the time the garage is used for other stuff you can’t fit in the house like paint cans, spare wood, sheet rock, ladders and lawn chairs. Sometimes, there isn’t even enough room in the house or garage to keep all of your extra stuff and something gets compromised, in my case the cars going into the driveway instead of the garage. I saw this as a potential issue and decided to clean out the garage before it got to looking like a closet where anything extra got dropped and left for later. In addition to paint cans, wood and ladders there was my sports equipment and seasonal tools – lawnmowers, shovels, snow blowers and trimmers.

You have your choice, buy a new San Antonio home or begin cleaning the garage, I made three piles of “stuff”. One pile was for things I could keep, the second was for things to be donated and the third was trash. Once I got going into cleaning mode I was surprised how quickly it went and how quickly the piles built up. Most of my sporting equipment was in the keep pile aside from some old gloves, hockey sticks and golf clubs which were all donated. The trash pile was filled with wrappers, papers, dirt and dust as a result from me sweeping it clean. I was surprised at how much room I now had in the garage but it still wasn’t enough to get both cars in.

I decided to rent a storage unit to keep most of my seasonal garage tools, sports gear and even an old couch I had in a storage room in the basement. Winter shovels, snow boots, a snow blower, hockey gear and the couch all fit comfortably in a 5 x 10 storage unit. Once the seasons shift, I will be able to store my summer gear and tools and use my winter tools and gear. The garage is now clean, both cars fit nicely and I have more time to golf. Another bonus is my wife is happy because she can find everything she needs and all of my smelly hockey gear is in a storage unit until the winter.

You can find a San Antonio self storage facility quickly by using Self Storage Finders. lists thousands of local self storage facilities around the country so you can quickly research, reserve and rent a storage unit online in minutes.