Monday, December 28, 2009


Sooo good lookin'

Our hosts

On Sunday we took one last tour. We drove to Rockport for a last visit with former Goliad hosts Bob and Ruth Bolthouse. After a wonderful 'picnic' lunch of bbq ribs, potato salad and watermelon at the dining room table, we took a driving tour of the town. It was a beautiful sunny/blue sky day, although the wind was chilly. We ended up bayside. There is a little free aquarium there and a beautiful little park space with some really nice sea themed sculptures. After our picture session, we went back to their 'house' for coffee and pie. Yum! We had a very nice visit, but eventually had to head home.
Rockport is a nice little town with a lot of rv parks and a few shops. Situated right on the bay, it looks like a nice quiet place to spend the winter. However, we were told that things get liviler after the first of the year. We will have to wait for Bob and Ruth's report on that!
Basta por hoy,
Louise and Duane

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Our Christmas Tree

Emma and Ava in Louise's sleigh


Merry Christmas Faithful Readers. We hope you enjoy our tree as much as we are enjoying it. The pic of the twins, Emma and Ava means a lot to me (Louise). They are sitting in the little sleigh I rode in before I was a year old. Son Duane Jr., wife Brandey and the girls were visiting daughter Rachel, husband Benji and Madeleine, Simon, and Judah. As you can see from the bottom picture, two of the babies (Judah is a month and a half older than the girls) needed attention. You can also see that Maddy's hair is really getting long, Simon is mimicking his dad with his hands in his pockets and one of the girls (Emma, I think) is sitting pretty.
We are celebrating the season by going to Christmas Eve services tonight and having the neighbors (other hosts) over for dinner tomorrow. We will be serving the traditional Wegley feast of ham and homemade maccaroni and cheese. The weather here has been sunny or at least partly so for the last week, a welcome change after almost 3 weeks of overcast and rain. Today the wind is blowing to beat the band. We are off the next two days, then back to work for 4 more days. The time has flown and we have enjoyed our work camp experience here at Goliad State Park. The staff and other hosts have been a joy to work with, but we are ready to get our wheels turning again.
Happy Holidays,
Louise and Duane

Monday, December 14, 2009

My first cypress knee carving

Old World Santa

Jeremy gave me a cypress knee from his place in North Texas. I decided to try my hand at carving an Old World Santa in it. I was pretty happy with the way it turned out. I hope others like it too.
The photo above represents a breakthrough for Duane. A week ago last Thurs. he came down with a bad cold that has hung on forever. The Santa above is a sign that he is on the mend. Fortunately I have been well so was able to fulfill our hours of requirement at the mission. Otherwise, we have been getting ready for Christmas here making gifts for friends and family. We have several boxes ready for the post office. On Christmas day we will celebrate with the other camp hosts by sharing dinner here. Good times!
More later. Louise and Duane

Saturday, December 05, 2009

A few days off

Ye Olde Blacksmith Shoppe
Goliad loves its live oaks!

South Padre Island

Bob's World
As you can tell by the interesting pix, we have been touring again. We had a few days off due to some scheduling irregularities, so we decided to see what else the world could offer. First was a driving tour of Goliad. Duane was particularly attracted to the blacksmith shop. To the uninitiated, this looks like a junk shop, but of course we know better. There are real treasures to be found--if you know what you're looking for. I liked the trees in the middle of the streets. Seems the founders of Goliad admired the live oaks so much that there is a city ordanance against cutting any down. They grow where they are and life goes on around them. Next day we drove down to the Rio Grande Valley just to see what we could see. We found South Padre Island and its beautiful white sand beaches were not so inviting under gray skies, chill winds and blowing sand. By the time we were back in the car after our 10 minute visit, my teeth felt as if they'd just been cleaned by the dentist (full of grit). We drove to the end of the island, then headed for the causeway. We did enjoy seeing and hearing the ocean again, and the big dunes at the far end, but had to admit that blue skies and warm breezes added much more fun to a beach outing. So we headed north again, intending to turn west toward Mission, the winter home of a lot of RVers. We wanted to see if we would be happy spending the winter there sometime. We got sidetracked by Bob's World. We had to stop and explore the parking lot. It was way cool! (I particularly liked the norman sized dolphins where everything else was giant sized.) Then we got sucked into the store. Hundreds of shells (fake and real), lots of ornaments and other personalized items, lots of touristy stuff, but none of what we call truck stop kitsch. We wantered around for a while, then headed out again. By this time we ran out of light and Duane started to come down with some kind of cold or sinus infection, so we looked for a place to eat dinner and hole up for the night. Next day we woke up to cold rain and a forcast for ice and snow for the afternoon, so we gave up any idea of further fun and headed home. We are not enjoying the weather here now. Last night the low was 31 on our themometer and the water froze. (We unhooked first, of course.) I wonder if people showed up the the lighted parade in downtown Goliad in the snow. This am is sunny and cold. I think it put the damper on Goliad's Christmas on the Square. The vendors must be frozen! We were planning on going, but to us cold is a nasty four-letter word!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Our favorite lizard
Christmas ready

Church at night

Mission at night
Hi faithful readers. We hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving day. We spent ours here at the park. I (Louise) cooked turkey, mashed taters and gravy. Our other hosts, Ruth and Bob Bolthouse and Ruth Touchstone brought side dishes. We had a good time eating good food and visiting. We had our dinner at lunchtime, so later Duane and I took a short walk around our loop. The park was full of campers. Many brought their deep fryers for their turkeys. The weather was a little damp and chilly at night, but our campers all had a good time.
The beautiful lights decorating the mission was a combined effort of park staff and volunteers. I arranged the alter rail and pulpit lights and Duane and Ruth T. helped with the tree and some of the the outside lighting. The pix show the southeast corner of the mission complex. The shadows on the walls show a part of the timeline trail set up around two sides of the church. They are the result of lights shining on wooden sillhouettes. The mission was decorated for the Christmas Concert next Saturday. I'm not sure of the events planned for the evening, but I know there will be a choir and some music in the church. The top pic is our favorite lizard. I discovered this lizard last week in the same spot. It was removed to a tree outside, but I guess it likes the anvil best.
We have been here one month already. It has flown by. We are enjoying our stay here and like the people we work with. Last Tuesday we went to (our volunteer supervisor) Tammy's house to share lasagna with the staff and volunteers. This is a fun group at work and at play. We had such a good time with our fellow hosts there and at the Thanksgiving service and Thanksgiving dinner that we all got together tonight (Sunday) for supper at the local Mexican restaurant. Then we drove 30 miles north to Cuervo to tour their big drive-thru holiday light display. After all that viewing we had to stop at the Dairy Queen in Goliad for a snack. We had a great time. Unfortunately, that was the last outing for our group. Tomorrow the others head out in other directions. Their replacements arrived today, but we haven't met them yet. Hopefully we can have as much fun with them in December as we had with Ruth, Ruth and Bob in November.
Basta por hoy!
Louise and Duane

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New carvings

Working Pliers
Small Santa

Santa ornament

Cross Ornament

Here are four of the latest carvings I have done. I have had the Santa ornaments carved for sometime now, but just got around to painting them. The small Santa and the cross were carved in the last week. I have a couple of other things carved that I have to paint before I post them. The pliers are box joint pliers thet I saw when we went to the Warther Museum in Dover, Ohio. I cut out about 10 pieces and after 8 failures I got 2 in a row to work. They are of no use at all but fun to do and show to people.
That's it for now
Duane and Louise

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Giagantic spider and web
Northern flicker

Sunbathing vultures

Good looking candles

Inspiring our youth

Well, we got through the most strenous part of our job here. The park has an annual event called Spanish Tracks and Trails. On Friday 1000 school children stepped back into time to discover what kept pioneers and settlers busy every day. Demonstrators included people carving (guess who), candle dipping (guess who else), leather working, blacksmithing, hair rope making, cord making, making home remedies, making Indian flutes, discussing what the area looked liked when people started colonizing--including the topography and animals, knitting, pottery making, geneology, and two re enactors who represented the clothing and accroutements available. Saturday was open to the general public, so our jobs weren't as demanding.
To prepare for STT, we used our day off on Thursday to take a long nature walk. In the morning the turkey vultures sunbathe as they dry the dew from their feathers and warm themselves. Most trees have have a dozen or so, but we found one that had about a hundred. Amazing! Since we weren't walking fast we took time to locate the Northern Flicker and get a good shot. The big web represents the hundreds of such spiders around here. Most of these large ones are above head level so most people don't notice them. The webs average 2 feet in diameter and the spiders could straddle a 50 cent piece. The one above was about 3 feet above our heads. We would have missed it but we were looking for birds and the sun hit it just right. After our walk we went to Victoria for a little shopping and lunch.
To help us recover from our long days, we were relieved of night duty Sat. night (good thing since the place was packed and would have taken us more than an hour) and given Sunday off (since we worked our usual Friday day off). Duane didn't need it so much since he sat all day, but I was on my feet and full of smoke (couldn't keep the logs burning). Now we are back on our regular schedule. Now we can concentrate on our Christmas projects. Duane has finished his ornaments for the grandchildren. I have finished the birth announcements for the twins (framed them on Sunday), so its on to other things.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Smart-alec at the hanging tree

Fannin memorial at the battleground

Red shouldered hawk

This was taken at the mission grounds Tuesday

We are now comfortable in our new routine. We think we have the leak fixed and that we know the routine and information about the mission. The weather has been beautiful (if a little chilly at night) and we have been able to get our exercise in every day so we feel good. This enables us to get back to our carving and sewing of Christmas gifts. All of this is going to change next week when 1000 school children converge on the mission for an annual program called Spanish Tracksand Trails. Everyone will be helping. Duane will be carving and I will be dipping candles.
This week was quiet, though, so we were able to do a little sight-seeing yesterday. We drove to the little hamlet of Fannin and missed it when we blinked. Past that is the Fannin battleground. This is a very nice well maintained monument on the actual battleground between retreating Texans and the Mexican army. The importance of Fannin is that he honorably surrendered his men to the Mexican army as prisioners of war. They were marched back to the Presidio La Bahia and imprisioned there. Then General Santa Ana decided they must be shot. So they were. All 350+. The original rallying cry was "Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!"
While we were out we did a little geocaching. We found all four on the road the memorial was on, including one at the memorial. We weren't that far from the highway, but we were in the middle of nowhere. It was very quiet. No sound but the wind, a few birds, and the buzz of grasshoppers. Very refreshing. Back on the road we let Wataburger feed us in Goliad, then found the local history museum was open so stopped by for a visit. From there we went to the local cemetery to find a cache and to read some of the old headstones. Then we drove to the west edge of town and stopped to read an historical marker. Across the road we happened to spot the remnants of Mission Rosario, the sister to our mission, four miles away. This is protected behind a high chain link fence, but has not been excavated or rebuilt. From there we took off to visit Beeville 30 miles away. This is the closest big town on the west of Goliad as Victoria is on the east. We knew nothing of the town so we decided to take a look. We didn't find much of historical interest, so we went back to Goliad. The light was still good, so we decided to stop by the courthouse square. We walked around reading all of the historical signs and happened on the one pictured above. Justice was swift at the courthouse and the tree was in regular use at one time.
That was our touring day. Today I intend to make inroads on my embroidery. Duane has decided it is housecleaning day. This means the clutter has gotten to him and he can't stand it any more. This also means I'd better get my stuff put away so he will not bug me!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Our digs

Mission church

Inside the restored church
Welcome to the Goliad State Park and adjacent Mission Espiritu Santo de Zuniga. This is our home and our job for the next two months. Our job description is Park Host, but our job is at the mission. We are to be available to greet visitors and answer any questions, and keep the place looking neat and clean. The mission is comprised of several rebuilt buildings and the original stone foundations of some buildings. The CCC restored the mission after years of decay, so the museum has information about why the mission was rebuilt the way it is, in addition to displays of typical Spanish mission life in Texas in the late 1700's and early 1800's. The park is very nice as is all the staff and the other park hosts. There is also a very nice paved hike/bike trail from the town of Goliad, through the park to the Presidio La Bahia, Fannin Memorial and Zaragosa monument. These are all involved with the early settlement of Texas.
The mission and presidio are typical of Spanish colonization plan in the New World. The idea was for the padres to convert and domesticate the local natives into model Spanish citizens. The presidio was for the protection of the mission. Once the natives were all domesticated, the area was safe for people of pure Spanish blood to move into the area. The mission was secularized and became the local native village. The soldiers moved on to the next area to be colonized along with the friars. The presidio became the center of the new Spanish town. That's the way it worked on paper anyway. This particular mission and presidio were first situated further south near the coast. This is it's third location.
We worked our first shift yesterday from noon to five. We had a few visitors, but they had no questions for us. We were with another host, Ruth, who answered our questions and showed us the ropes. We are actually here a week early, so our "real" schedule won't start until next week. On our off time we do our usual things: Duane computers, watches tv, and carves. I embroider, read, cook and keep the laundry basket empty. We both educate ourselves about the mission, work Sudokus, and take our daily 2 mile walk. We have also been tracing our ongoing leak. We think we have it isolated at last. Time will tell.
The weather has been very fickle. We arrived in pouring rain wearing shorts and quickly changed to long pants. Next day was sunny and chilly in the am, but quickly warmed up in the afternoon. Monday and Tuesday evenings we ran the furnace, Wednesday night we ran the air, Thurs night neither. Thunderstorms were predicted for yesterday afternoon, but after 2 days and nights of overcast and high winds, the afternoon cleared, the sun shone and it was beautiful for a couple of hours. Then we had a brief heavy shower. Hurray for Texas!
Basta por hoy!
Louise and Duane

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Tower view

Nineteen in all

Hogging the sidewalk

Sharing the road

Quite a rack

We arrived yesterday in Victoria, TX, just a skip down the road from Aransas Pass. We will be staying in the Lazy Longhorn RV Park for the rest of the week. We like it here. The lots are big and paved, it is quiet, it has a pool, it is nicely landscaped and will give us the Passport America price for up to 14 days. Yesterday we did a driving tour of the town. Today we visited the shore via the little village of Port O'Conner. We found a little park with a little strip of shore we could comb. There were lots of tiny shells, broken shells, and broken glass, but we found a few treasures, and enjoyed a windy lunch at one of the half a dozen picnic tables. We wanted to visit Matagordas Island, but the ferry was no longer running. The only access was by boat, so we were out of luck. From there we drove back through Seadrift, Long Mott and Bloomington, and through Austwell to the Wildlife Refuge. Our Senior Pass came in handy again. After a brief visit at the visitors' center, we drove through the park taking a couple of the little side trips. We decided to save the long walks until most of the migratory birds arrive. Good thing too. The mosquitoes were out by the hundreds. We managed to find just enough insect repellent in the car (available at the visitor's center, but we have lots at home) to get us through the day. We drove slowly to better view the wildlife, which, of course, was more visible at dawn and dusk than at 3pm. We did manage to find some, though, as you can see in the pix. Ironically, we saw the most deer--2 dozen--on the lawn along the road as we exited the Refuge!
More touring later.
Louise and Duane

Friday, October 16, 2009

Padre Palms RV Park

Padre beach


Shore Garbage Collector

Our tour
Hello from the Padre Palms Rv Park in Corpus Christie. We came here for some white sand beach action before starting our job in Goliad, but were doomed to disappointment. The dreaded red tide made its presence known as soon as we stepped out of the car. The so called red tide is an angae bloom that sometimes appears red, but can be brown or green. It depletes the oxygen in the water and results in a massive kill of fish, eels, jellies, man-o-wars, crabs, etc. These wash up on the shore, making the beach a stinking mess. In addition, the bloom releases a toxin that is irritating to the skin and mucous membranes of humans. Breath it in and your eyes start burning and you start coughing. So we gave up on the beach idea and toured inland. We ended up at the famous King Ranch. This started out as two Spanish Land Grants and has mushroomed to over a million acres in two states. It is the largest privately (family) owned entity in the U S. It just purchased a pecan orchard, has large citrus orchards in Florida, and produces massive amounts of cotton in Texas, but began primarily as a cattle ranch breeding Santa Getrudis cattle, then branched into horse breeding. King managed the acreage by dividing it into four main sections with an onsite manager in each section. The ranch is run the same way today. There are several different tours to choose from. We opted for the museum and ranch tour. This means we walked around the museum in Kingsville, then drove to the ranch and boarded a little bus. All in all it was a very interesting and informative way to spend the day. Son Jesse was in town job hunting, so he stayed with us and toured the ranch with us. Today he left to return to Temple and work. We are spending a quiet day doing our things. Tomorrow (Sat.) we are moving to Aransas Pass. Our Passport America discount isn't good here on weekends, but it is at the Ransom Road Rv Park. Monday we head inland to Victoria, getting closer to our job.

See you in Victoria. Louise and Duane
Wild turkeys on the ranch

King cattle