Monday, June 16th, 2014 at 9:17am. 547 Views, 0 Comments.
A Spot of Home Reorganization
By Celia Hayes
The kitchen pantry in my house is a misnomer. It a small kitchen closet, 25 ¼ inches wide by 27 ½ deep, extending all the way up to the ceiling-level. The builders installed shelves roughly fifteen inches apart. When I first moved in, I attached a pair of narrow wire shelf units to the inside of the door, seven shelves, each one just deep enough to hold a single can, small box or bottle. Later, I put in three wire shelves above the existing shelves. These needed a step-ladder to access. I put the little-used items on them ... and then pretty much dropped doing anything more, except for when it was necessary to go spelunking to the back of the deep shelves looking for a box of lasagna noodles. A couple of…
Friday, June 6th, 2014 at 11:28am. 374 Views, 0 Comments.
Tomato Ketchup Chronicles
by Celia Hayes
I was inspired by an old blog and Facebook friend, Katie Barry, to have a go at making home-made ketchup this weekend. I had often intended to try it before, as this condiment is one that we (as Katie points out in her own housekeeping blog) all have in our condiment collection. I was put off some of the recipes for it in my own collection of canning books, because they called for simply awesome quantities of fresh tomatoes, and unless and until my garden starts producing tomatoes by the ton ... well, I like fresh home-grown tomatoes too much to condiment them. But Katie's recipe started with canned diced tomatoes, and I thought ... oh, that is doable. One six-pound can of diced tomatoes from Sam's Club, and…
Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 at 8:24pm. 563 Views, 0 Comments.
Jack Hays' Big Fight at Walker's Creek
In Sisterdale, on Sunday June 8th, historical enthusiasts from across Kendall County and beyond are observing the 170th anniversary of the battle of Walker's Creek – Jack Hays' Big fight at the Sisterdale Dance Hall.
Jack Hays came to Texas late in 1836, worked as a surveyor, and commanded a roving Ranger company based in San Antonio in the 1840s. The Big Fight on Walker Creek made his name; one of the many brush-fire fights between Hays' Rangers and Comanche raiders, who came down from the Southern Plains to make free with any horses, captives and portable loot they could carry away. In the summer of 1844, Captain Hays took a patrol of fourteen volunteers into the hills, looking for Indian raiding parties. One…
Monday, May 19th, 2014 at 8:41am. 398 Views, 0 Comments.
Maytime Revels in the Garden
by Celia Hayes
Having been pretty serious about watering the garden every day – and that it rained buckets for a couple of days – the back yard veggie garden is looking pretty darned good this week. The beans have pretty well covered the tipi of poles arranged for their climbing convenience, and the bush beans have so far been somewhat productive. I have several batches of them going, having started them at different times since March 1. The tomatoes go up – or hang down in fairly impenetrable thickets, and we have this very week harvested the first couple of handfuls of cherry and tiny yellow pear tomatoes. The resident rat has nibbled at one or two ... but I think that putting out the trap for him will put and end to…
Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 at 10:37pm. 571 Views, 0 Comments.
Beautiful Bulverdeby Celia Hayes
This last Saturday was spent at the Bulverde and Spring Branch Chamber of Commerce's Spring Market Day – and my daughter and I spent all of Saturday among more than sixty vendors set up among the oak trees in the Beall's parking lot, at Bulverde Crossing and Hwy 46W. Bulverde, Spring Branch, and Smithson Valley are ... well, Bulverde is not so much a well-defined township as a place like Boerne, New Braunfels or Helotes. They were once entirely separate towns or hamlets, with a defined center – perhaps even an established square – overtaken in recent years by the sprawl of San Antonio to the north and extensive developments of new houses quilt-patched here and there among the old ranch properties, cedar thickets and…
Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 at 8:29am. 485 Views, 0 Comments.
Hill Country Venture
by Celia Hayes
So, knowing that on Saturday, May 10, that we will be tied up all day in the hot-pink-and-zebra-striped booth in the Beall's parking lot at 281 and Bulverde Crossing for the Bulverde Spring market – and that we had some projects to finish before then – my daughter and I declared Friday, May 2 to be our personal holiday, and embarked on a short road trip into the Hill Country. Yes, we love the Hill Country, especially when it appears to have been blessed with slightly more rain than we have had in San Antonio. I wanted to get some snaps that I could use for the cover of my next book, but alas – the bluebonnets were at their best last month.
We went up through the back-road between Boerne and Luckenbach, which…
Friday, May 2nd, 2014 at 2:12pm. 615 Views, 0 Comments.
Of Gardens and Dog Parks and Market Days, Oh, My!
by Celia Hayes
Alas, now that it was in the high 90's on Sunday afternoon, I must yield and submit to summer. Yes, it's here. Likely I will not see a cool night, and sleep with an open window and properly under the feather comforter until somewhere the far side of September. I just hope that the Deity doesn't decide to turn the temperature all the way up to broil, now that the tomatoes are lavishly in bloom, and the biggest and sturdiest of them are adorned with tiny green tomatoes, the size of pearls and grapes. Daily temps in the three digits would pretty well bake what is coming on so very, very well. Darn it, I have too good a start on the vegetable garden to be completely detached about…
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 at 9:40am. 420 Views, 0 Comments.
I Love the Smell of Chili in the Morning ...
For much of the 19th century and into the early Twentieth, this was a popular San Antonio thing – various of the public squares, notably Military Plaza and Market Square were the domain of the Chili Queens who established the custom of setting up tables and benches along the edges of the square, in the early evening and selling chili-by-the-bowl to all comers. They would bring huge kettles of chili which they had made over their own home cook-fire during the day, and keep it warm through the evening and into the wee hours.
Very often the chili vendors would entice customers to their own particular stands by hiring musicians to entertain diners. There are some splendid descriptions of how marvelous this…
Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 at 10:02pm. 613 Views, 0 Comments.
You Gotta Have Heart!
Ah, yes – Fiesta Time is here once again; San Antonio's very own Mardi Gras but with more couth. Or at least we like to think so. Around here, when the floats with the Fiesta female nobility pass, the crowd shouts, "Show us your shoes!" and not anything more revealing than that. Of all the scheduled events during a nearly-two-week-long city-wide block party, one of the most well-attended (to judge by the crowds every evening) is NIOSA, or Night In Old San Antonio, which features every kind of food booth imaginable in the little squares and streets of La Villita. One of the long-time favorites of NIOSA is a South American version of meat-onna-stick called 'antichucios', which a long-ago volunteer discovered while on an assignment
Monday, April 7th, 2014 at 8:52pm. 661 Views, 0 Comments.
In the Shade of the Big Enchilada
By Celia Hayes
Well, that is the fond nickname given to the Central Library building in downtown San Antonio – a hulking cube with geometric cut-outs, painted in a shade of dark orange which always reminded me of paprika. This last weekend, the Central Library and the campus of the Southwest School for Art and Craft across the street from it was the site for the second annual San Antonio Book Festival. This is the kind of book bash which is a small brother of the Texas Book Festival, which is huge, as far as local writers are concerned. Alas, the Texas Book Festival is so huge, that I couldn't even begin to afford an exhibitor table there, either as a writer for my own books, or as the owner of Watercress Press and…