Monday, December 26, 2011

Texas in December

December in Texas has been different than either one of us expected.  It has been grey and rainy, with temperatures ranging from mid 50s to all of a sudden a day in the high 60s-70 degrees. This week is just one of those weeks, with 70 during the day and 35-40 at night.
Poinsettias are gone and primroses are now out for sale!!!  The trees have just lost their leaves, mainly due to rain and winds that have been coming through this month.  At the same time, because it has been rainy, the fields are GREEN, really very green and lawnmowers are now going.  It is so weird to understand that this is December even though I am sometimes in short sleeves and hot in the sun.

Our activities this month have been pretty minimalist.  I think we have both been feeling the need to just stay close to home, the Roulotte, and have quiet times.  We both had a tough time dealing with the sudden death of Claudelle's husband earlier this month.  Fred and I had both known him for 30+years.  His death was so unexpected and sudden, that it brought back too many thoughts of what we had just endured in France.  Thankfully, Claudelle and the girls are holding their own during this time.  We all just need time to heal now.

We did take 4 days to go see South Padre Island, along the Gulf coast, southwest corner of Texas.  This is right next to the Mexican border.  A tropical paradise, with temperatures running about 8-10 degrees warmer than here!  We both loved it there and enjoyed some really good food on the island.  We are just beginning to  think about next Christmas and talk about possibly spending December there next year.  Yes, we need to think about that since we need to plan when and where we will be when we return from France next fall.

We took a day trip back to Fredricksburg in the hill country.  Was quite wonderful since everything was decorated for Christmas.  The town was started by German settlers, so there was an option for some good German food for lunch also!  By now you know that we are all about the good food as part of this adventure.

never know what you might see out here.....

Christmas tree and armadillo

stuck going down chimney on top of RV

Christmas day we took another long walk along the banks of the San Antonio river.  There is just a small portion of this walk that is the tourist area, the rest is just homes and quiet spaces.  It is our favorite area in San Antonio.  If I were to live here, it would have to be some where along the river.  It is, however, prime real estate, so just a fantasy.  There were lots of Great White Herons and Cormorants along the banks of the river as we walked along.  It was a cold and windy day, but there were some other folks out there with us enjoying the walk.  Our favorite way to start our walk is to park in the King William district and walk a block to the river.  This is an area of large old houses that the original German settler built in the 1800s.  Beautiful houses on streets with large old cypress and pecan trees.  just beautiful!

notice the Tower of the Americas (Space Needle) in the center back

house in King William district, along the river

Dec 29  8pm
We are just back from a visit to the LBJ ranch, which is located in Stonewall, Tx, northwest of San Antonio.  We had been there early this summer and really enjoyed driving on the ranch and seeing where LBJ worked while at the ranch.  He was the first president to have an active working White House in a location other than DC.  Today it was still beautifully decorated for Christmas and really had a feeling of waiting for the family to return home.  When we had been there in June, work was being done in the kitchen and neither LBJ nor Lady Birds bedrooms were open to visit.  All three areas have now been restored to their look in 1968.  After the tour of the house we started talking with one of the guides.  He gave us a bit more of a tour and information about a little guest house that is next door to the main house.  Seems that daughter Luci still comes often to the ranch.  She says in the guest house when she is there, but also lets it get rented out to guests.  You just need to not disturb her clothes which are in the closet, but you can use her spices in the kitchen.  There was a family there today, so we did not get to go inside, but it is something we will keep in mind.  The guest house was where LBJ and family lived while the main house was being renovated.
It was also used as a guest house when visitors came to the Texas White House to see LBJ.
house on the ranch where LBJ was born; a "dog-trot" style house

the official Texas White House

along walkway going up to the house; supposedly written by LBJ

And that will take care of this month and this year.  New years eve we are going to a small, 8 tables, "kind of" french restaurant which we found in Castroville.  We had a great dinner there mid-December and decided that was our evening spurgle for the end of 2011.

Happy New Year to all our friends reading this blog!
Michelle and Fred
Traveling the country so you don't have to!