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August 2009

2 EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.


Steve ssick
CUSTOM HOMES

Winning Team Takes GSABA Summit Awards for Second Year


It’s been a busy year for local Interior Custom Designer Catrina Hoelke and Custom Home
Builder Steve Essick. Their artistic designs captured the eye of judges once again taking home the
prestigious Summit Award for 2009 Best Product Custom Design $751,000 - $1,000,000 and 2009
Best Interior Custom Feature Design Treatment. Rich colors and elegant features that helped to
capture the Tuscan feel that Catrina and Steve were striving to achieve.
The home selected for this year’s top awards is on the market and available for viewing, located
at 28245 Equestrian, Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas 78006. Interested buyers or those seeking the award
wining custom home building services can contact Essick Enterprises for more information. Design
lovers can find everything from elegant ranch, authentic Tuscany to Old World all with custom
designs at Catrina’s at the Ranch. Please visit Catrina’s at the Ranch to customize your dream.

Essick Enterprises • steve@essick.net • 210-710-0988 • www.essickhomes.com


Catrina’s at the Ranch • 830-755-6355 • www.catrinasattheranch.com
august issue
E xplore what's inside this issue.
From the Publisher 6: calendar of events
Dearest EXPLORE reader,
As I often do, I’m writing this letter at 6:45am while sitting in my office chair. I
tend to be an early riser, and once I’m up, I figure I might as well get to work. The
office is quiet, the phones aren’t ringing, and no “fires” have popped up yet. It’s
8: nature
my favorite time of day.
I was sitting here reviewing many of my publisher’s letters searching for
Could Boerne be the next Tree City USA?
inspiration, and I just chuckled at myself. So many of my letters have continued to by Carolyn Chipman Evans
dwell on this “simplify life and enjoy the ride” theme, and I have been curious as to
why I tend to do that. My life isn’t overly complicated, although it can be stressful.
I don’t necessarily work 80 hours a week, although I do work quite hard. I
couldn’t figure out what exactly I’ve been trying to say.
10: music
And maybe I still don’t know what great breakthrough I’m seeking, but I think
I’m getting closer. I just want to be comfortable. I just want to be able to lay my
BRANDON'S REVUE
head down at night and be content with my life’s directions. Have you ever felt by Jeanna Goodrich
like that? I have continued to write about our desires to hug our kids, enjoy our
jobs, and love our fellow man. I have tried to write about the connection that
we all have, and how closely intertwined we all are. And it’s true, when you think
about it. But I think I was writing those things because I want to feel more 14: Where to eat
connected. I feel like I’m the person watching the world go by while I try to figure
out how to jump on board.
Controy's - Beer N' Burgers
My job tends to feed that feeling sometimes. My friends will call and say by Chris Jenkins
“Let’s go play golf today!” never mind that it’s a Tuesday. When I groan and say
“Wish I could”, I get ribbed that I’m self-employed and thus can leave work
whenever I want. This is a common misconception. I like to tell people “Being
self-employed means I work twice as hard for half the money”. But there goes 16: Art & culture
my friends, off to enjoy a day off. Additionally, my writing tends to disconnect
me. I sit in a weird chair – I write articles that tend to be quite personal, and have
Made In America
my picture plastered at the top of the column. I rant and rave about a myriad of
subjects (you should have seen last month’s rejected Publisher’s Letter – you would
by Jeanna Goodrich
have mistaken me for a psycho), and do so without any guarantee of anonymity,
and broadcast it to all corners of Kendall County. Then, a couple of people will
tell me they liked what I wrote, and a couple more will pick on me and tell me I’ve 24: history
lost my mind. I’m left to shrug and wonder if they know something I don’t.
But as I’ve reviewed almost two year’s worth of Publisher’s letters, I really think
Schoolhouse Rock
I’m seeking something that we all are trying to find – comfort with ourselves. We
all second guess ourselves, critique our performance, and stress ourselves out.
by Marjorie Hagy
Nobody is harder on YOU than YOU. So again, I doubt I’m unique in my desire to
seek vindication, thus continuing the “great theme” of these letters that no matter
how different I might think I am, or how different you might think you are, odds are 29: landscaping
that you and I probably lie awake and worry about many of the same things.
So I think picking on the hippies in Luckenbach, or philosophizing about the A Growing Perspective
checkout lines at the HEB are my way to remember I’m part of the team. Discussing
my fatigue with work, or my excitement with success is universal, and easily relatable.
by Jon Whitaker
Because if I’m not so different, I’m more comfortable. Being different is cool and
all, but sometimes, at 6:45am, I need to feel like I’m on the roller coaster ride with
the rest of ya’ll. After all, one of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody. 30: OUTDOORS
As always, I hope you love this latest issue. We’ve had so much fun hearing
the feedback on the layout, design, and articles. We certainly hope we continue Hill Country Outdoors - Kayaking/Canoeing
to raise the bar and provide you with a publication that makes you laugh, think,
and smile.
by Steve Ramirez
Enjoy your EXPLORE.
31: spiritual
My Wife Thinks I've Lost My Mind
Smiling,
by Kendall Aaron
Benjamin D. Schooley
PS – I have set up email addresses for almost all of the authors in EXPLORE. I get
loads of emails from people asking to pass along notes, and thought this might
simplify the system. I’d encourage all of you to write our authors with comments, Publisher
suggestions, and feedback. Trust me, they love to read them. Benjamin D. Schooley – ben@hillcountryexplore.com
associate Publisher
“Holiday Inn couldn’t be happier with the advertising we Jeanna Goodrich – jeanna@hillcountryexplore.com
have done in EXPLORE. The layout, readership, and
Creative Director
s
service have been top-notch. EXPLORE is read not only

o o d n e s by the locals, but also by the scores of visitors that come


Laura Kaples – laura@hillcountryexplore.com

G to our area, and it provides a wealth of information to


them. The new layout captures your attention, and we
OPERATIONS MANAGER
Natalie Meadlin – natalie@hillcountryexplore.com
have received a tremendous amount of response from the advertising sales
ads we have run in EXPLORE. We would encourage anyone 210-507-5250 or sales@hillcountryexplore.com
looking to maximize their exposure, and to do so cost-effectively, to advertise EXPLORE magazine is published by Schooley Media Ventures in Boerne, Tx. EXPLORE Magazine and
with EXPLORE!” Schooley Media Ventures are not responsible for any inaccuracies, erroneous information, or typographical errors
contained in this publication submitted by advertisers. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions
Brittany Hardy of EXPLORE and/or Schooley Media Ventures. Copyright 2009
General Manager, Holiday Inn – Boerne, TX Schooley Media Ventures, 113 S. Plant, Suite F, Boerne, TX 78006

4 EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.


Out & About in August
Fun in the great Texas Hill Country
The most comprehensive events calendar you’ll find anywhere.
send submissions to info@hillcountryexplore.com

June 2 – August 18 August 5, 12, 19, 26 August 10


GRUENE: Two Ton Tuesdays. Features the popular BOERNE: Fernbrook Estate on Cibolo Creek. SPRING BRANCH: Making of a Naturalist: Birds of the
rockabilly band Two Tons of Steel every Tuesday. Alzheimer’s Association Support Group: for caregivers/ Hill Country. Begins with a morning walk searching for
Begins at 8:30 pm. Gruene Hall. For more information family of Alzheimer’s/Dementia Victims. Meetings and identifying birds found in the park and adjacent
please call (830) 606-1281. every Wednesdays @ 6 – 7 pm, and Saturdays @ 1 – natural area. End the morning with an indoor program
2 pm. Catered meal for caregiver & patient at each taking a look at bird life histories, identification tips and
July 16 – 18, 23 – 26, 30 – August 2 meeting. Fernbrook is located at IH 10 W, Exit 538 more. 7 – 11 am. Reservations required. Guadalupe
BULVERDE: “Barbara’s Blue Kitchen”. S.T.A.G.E., before Ranger Creek Road. RSVP 48 prior required. River State Park. For more information please call
1300 Bulverde Rd. For more information please call For more information and directions or to RSVP please (830) 438-2656.
(830) 438-2339 or email stage@gvtc.com. call (210) 557-3045 or (830) 249-3730.
August 13 – 15
July 30 – August 23 August 6 – 9, 13 - 15, 20 – 22 JOHNSON CITY: Blanco County Fair & Rodeo. Includes
KERRVILLE: Hometown Crafts & Gifts – Teachers Art KERRVILLE: “Blithe Spirit” – A Playhouse 2000 food vendors, animal sales and exhibitions, rodeo
Show. Exhibits artwork of Hill Country educators. Production. The action of the play centers on socialite shows, music and all-day activities. Blanco County Fair
Kerr Arts & Cultural Center, 228 Earl Garrett. For Charles Condomine being haunted by the ghost of Grounds. For more info. please call (830) 868-7684,
more information please call (830) 895-2911, his first wife, following a séance, and the ghost’s email info@johnsoncitytexaschamber.com or visit the
email da@kacckerrville.com or visit the website at efforts to disrupt Condomine’s current marriage. website at www.johnsoncitytexaschamber.com.
www.kacckerrville.com. Cailloux Theater, 910 Main St. For more information
please call (830) 896-9393 or visit the website at August 14 – 16
July 31 – August 1, August 7 – 8, 14 – 15, www.caillouxtheater.com. BANDERA: Old Bandera Downs Trade Days. Features
21 – 22, 28 – 29 350 vendors. Grounds of the Old Bandera Downs
NEW BRAUNFELS: Canyon Trail Chuck Wagon Supper August 7, 14, 21, 28 Race Track. For more info. please call (817) 832-9936
& Cowboy Music Show. Hear the English Brothers – BANDERA: Twin Elm Ranch Rodeo. Begins at 8 pm. or visit the website at www.banderadowns.com.
Western Music Artists perform “How the West was Includes calf scramble and mutton busting for kids. FREDERICKSBURG: Trade Days. Shop more than 350
Sung” – a high energy, one hour western/cowboy Twin Elm Ranch, Hwy. 470. For more info. please call vendors. Includes live music and more. Hwy. 290 E.,
music show complete with yodeling, comedy and the (830) 796-3628, email twinelm@indian-creek.net or across from Wildseed Farms. For more information
best pickin’ around. This nostalgic show follows an visit the website at www.twinelmranch.com. please call (210) 846-4094, email fbg@moment.net or
authentic chuck wagon meal with all the fixin’s. Gates visit the website at www.fbgtradedays.com.
open at 6 pm. Call for reservations. 1201 FM 2722. August 8
For more information please call (888) 408-7245, BOERNE: Cibolo Songs and Stories. Concert under August 15
(830) 626-8200 or email greg.english@rawsonlp.com. the stars at the Cibolo Nature Center featuring BOERNE: Byrd and Street concert. 7:30 pm. Main
Brandon’s Revue. For more information please call Plaza. For more information please call (830) 249-9511
August 1 (830) 249-4616. ext. 1181, or option 5, 3, or visit the website at
BANDERA: Market Day. This is an arts & crafts BOERNE: 2nd Saturday Art & Wine: On Second www.ci.boerne.tx.us/parks.
vendor fair. Bandera Courthouse Square. For more Saturdays the galleries of Boerne host joint openings KERRVILLE: Guadalupe River Parade. Annual clean-up
information please call (830) 796-4447 or visit the from 5 – 8 pm. Come out and enjoy a glass of wine event. Includes live music, auctions, fun and family
website at www.banderabusinessassociation.com. and the latest offerings on the Boerne Art Scene. Park entertainment. Sponsored by Clear River Advocates.
FREDERICKSBURG: Historic School Open House. your car and take advantage of the free trolley service. Flat Rock Park, 3840 Riverside Drive. For more
Former students will be available to share stories of Restaurant participants offer 2nd Saturday specials information please call (830) 377-9838.
school days from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Willow at Boerne Grill, Naples Ristorante, Spinelli’s Vistro, NEW BRAUNFELS: “The Couple of the Century: Wine
City School, 2501 Ranch Road 1323. For more info. The Creek, The Limestone Grill at Ye Kendall Inn and & Food Pairing”. Learn about the two fundamentals
please email RMRwilkeranch@earthlink.net or visit the The Blue Heron at Tapatio Springs Resort and hotel in the pairing of food and wine that will provide if
website at www.historicschools.org. participants offer 2nd Saturday special weekend rates not that proverbial “zing”, then at least a pleasant
at Ye Kendall Inn and Tapatio Springs Resort. dining experience. Pre-registration is required.
August 1, 8, 15 Dry Comal Creek Vineyards. For more information
BLANCO: Texas Fish School. Children can become August 8 – 9 please call 9830) 885-4076 or visit the website at
certified Junior Anglers by learning basic fishing skills BOERNE: Market Days: Take beautiful small-town www.drycomalcreek.com.
and safety at the river through games, booths and help surroundings, dozens of vendors from all over Texas,
from fishing experts. Families can then head down to arts & crafts, antiques, collectibles, unusual items & August 15 – 16
the river to fish together. 9–11 am. Blanco State Park. great food, & you have Market Days! Main Plaza. GRUENE: Old Gruene Market Days. Nearly 100
For additional information please call (830) 833-4333. For more info. please call David at (830) 249-5530 vendors offer uniquely crafted items, collectibles and
or (210) 844-8193, or visit the website at packaged Texas foods. 10 am – 5 pm. For more
August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 www.mainstreetinboerne.com. information please call (830) 832-1721 or visit the
BANDERA: Cowboys on Main. Features a Western website at www.gruenemarketdays.com.
display in front of the Bandera Courthouse and strolling August 8 – 9, 22 – 23
entertainers on Bandera’s Main Street. 1 – 4 pm. FREDERICKSBURG: Pari-Mutuel Horse Racing. August 18
Main Street Bandera. For more information Features a full slate of quarter horse and thoroughbred BANDERA: Bandera Opry. 7 – 9 pm. Silver Sage
please call (800) 364-3833 or visit the website at races, special races and trials for the 2009 Fair Futurity. Corral. For more info. please call (830) 796-4969.
www.frontiertimesmuseum.com. Gillespie County Fairgrounds. For more information
BANDERA: BR Lightning Ranch Rodeo. Begins at 8 pm. please call (830) 997-2359. August 20 – 23
BR Lightning Ranch, Hwy. 1283. For more info. please FREDERICKSBURG: Gillespie County Fair. Features
call (830) 535-4979, email billrivers@hughes.net or August 9 agricultural, livestock and home skills displays.
visit the website at www.lightningranch.com. GRUENE: Gospel Brunch with a Texas Twist. Serves Includes horse racing, concerts, dances, carnival and
awe-inspiring gospel music coupled with a mouth- midway. Parade begins at 10 am Friday. Gillespie
August 3 watering buffet from 10:30 am to noon. Gruene County Fairgrounds, Hwy. 16 S. For more information
SPRING BRANCH: Butterflies of Guadalupe River Hall. For more info. please call (830) 629-5077 please call (830) 997-2359, email gcffa@ctesc.net or
& Honey Creek. Begins with an introduction to or (830) 606-1601, or visit the website at visit the website at www.gillespiefair.com.
butterfly identification. Then take off in search of www.gruenehall.com.
species and individuals. 8:30 am – noon. Guadalupe KERRVILLE: Second Sunday Summer Serenade. August 20 – September 13
River State Park. For more information please call Bring chairs and a picnic, and enjoy a performance by KERRVILLE: “Working Texas Cowboys”. Photographic
(830) 438-2656. Texas Tide. Begins at 7:30 pm. Louise Hays Park. For images, by artist Kristi Beabout, personify the stories
more information please call (830) 895-2265 or visit of ranchers and cowboys who enhance the Texas
the website at www.bankofthehills.com. ranching industry. Kerr Arts & Cultural Center, 228
Earl Garrett. For more information please call (830)

6 EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.


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August 2009 www.hillcountryexplore.com 7
nature
Could Boerne be a Tree City USA?
Our town is beautiful in great part because of our lush green canopy of
why not?


All it takes is You! By Carolyn Chipman Evans
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if our town could remain a quiet oasis of
trees, our cool shade, and our soft edges that buffer the glare of concrete green trees and shady streets? Let’s start today!
and steel. And yet, we are losing trees and our cherished “Mayberry” feel If you are interested in being a champion for the trees and starting a volunteer
every day. tree committee to work with our city please contact Carolyn Chipman Evans
Growth is a fact of life in Boerne, Texas. People want to live here, in part at carolyn@cibolo.org
because of the beauty of our town and the small-town atmosphere. With For More Information on Tree City, Assistance and Applications Please Contact:
growth often comes the loss of the very thing most attractive. http://www.arborday.org/programs/treeCityUSA/index.cfm.
However, I believe we can have both. With care and attention, many towns
are protecting their trees, planting new ones for the future generations, and
even winning national awards for their efforts.

THE BENEFITS OF TREES


• A large tree can provide enough oxygen for the daily requirements of
ten people.
• Trees have a positive impact on the incidence of asthma, skin cancer and
stress-related illness by filtering out polluted air, reducing smog formation, shading out solar
radiation and by providing an attractive, calming setting for recreation.
• Tree planting strengthens communities by providing people with an opportunity to work
together for the benefit of the local environment.
• Trees can save up to 10% of energy consumption through their moderation of the local climate.
• 1 acre of woodland grown to maturity and looked after forever would absorb the carbon
emissions of 100 average family cars driven for one year (Climate Care/Trees for Cities estimate).
• Property in tree-lined streets is worth 18% more than in similar streets without trees, according
to a survey in Chicago.
• Trees help to lock up the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.
• Trees play a vital role in the urban ecosystem, by helping to support a great variety of wildlife.
• Trees reduce noise in cities by acting as a sound barrier.
• Trees and green spaces significantly reduce the stress of urban living.

drought care
Watering and other tips for plant care
during drought:
• Depending on air temperatures, trees and shrubs need at least 1
inch of water applied every week to 10 days to cope with lack of rain.
Larger, established trees have a wide-spreading root system and need
not be watered as frequently, perhaps every 2 to 3 weeks. Let the top
few inches of soil dry out between watering to avoid saturation and to
allow roots and soil organisms to breathe.
• Water slowly and deeply so water percolates down into the soil,
electing one or two deep waterings as opposed to several light
ones.
• Use soaker hoses and drip irrigation, effective watering tools
because they discharge even streams of slow, trickling water directly
to the root zone beneath trees and shrubs. When combined with a 3
or 4-inch layer of organic mulch, plants can use nearly all of the water
that’s provided with little evaporation loss.
• Another effective means of watering a small tree is letting a hose
I have done a little research because I am worried about our trees. This drought run slowly at its base until the ground is moist. For large trees, let the
is killing many of our trees, from small recently planted maples, to our legacy giants. hose run at various points around the tree’s drip line—the imaginary
Combine this stress with the cutting of a tree here, and a tree there, and a parking lot line on the ground that encircles a tree’s extended branches.
here and a new building there…and suddenly before our eyes, we have lost a shady, • Water shrubs at the plant base and under the spread of branches
beautiful community that cannot be replaced in our lifetime. until soil is moistened to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.
So, what can we do? First, we can all help by learning how to save our trees in these • When using a sprinkler system, place a container nearby to
drought conditions. measure when you have distributed 1 inch of water to the soil.
Drought stress develops in plants when the available soil water becomes limited. • Plants vary in their ability to tolerate water stress. Prioritize
As this happens, young roots are killed outright, reducing the plant’s ability to absorb watering, caring for newly transplanted trees and shrubs first, then
sufficient water. The soil also becomes hard and compact as it dries, reducing oxygen those that have been in the ground from 2 to 5 years. Next, water
to the roots. If landscape plants (trees, shrubs, and ground covers, especially evergreen “specimen” trees or important trees, then all other plants.
types) do not receive adequate rainfall or supplemental watering, heavy plant loss is likely. • Water strategically. Plants absorb more water in the early morning,
Water trees and shrubs during extremely dry soil conditions. If you have to choose, before the warming sun causes evaporation.
water your trees and not the grass since grass will turn green again when water is • Avoid using fertilizer during drought conditions. Fertilizer salts can
available. For water conservation, it is best to not water your lawn at all. Trees, on the cause root injury when soil moisture is limited.
other hand, will show subtle signs of drought, wilting or dropping leaves. However, they
can be seriously injured or die without water.

8 EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.


More stuff to enjoy!
tree city continued...
Next, we can encourage our City Council to work hard to
protect our trees and natural heritage and even apply to become a 895-2911, email da@kacckerrville.com da@kacckerrville.com or visit the
TREE CITY USA . TREE CITY USA is an awards program sponsored by the or visit www.kacckerrville.com. website at www.kacckerrville.com.
National Arbor Day Foundation that provides public attention and national KERRVILLE: “Ken Malson – The Spirit
recognition for local commitment to community trees and forests. August 21 – 23, 28 – 30 & Aesthetic Objects”. Expressions in
FREDERICKSBURG: Harvest Wine Trail. ceramic sculpture, furniture, paintings

reasons to become a tree city


Enjoy special events, tastings, tours, and mixed media. Kerr Arts & Cultural
food and entertainment. Twenty-four Hill Center, 228 Earl Garrett. For more
Country wineries participate. For more information please call (830) 895-2911,
• Encourages better care of community forests. information please visit the website at email da@kacckerrville.com or visit the
• Touches the lives of people within the community who benefit daily from www.texaswinetrail.com. website at www.kacckerrville.com.
cleaner air, shadier streets, and aesthetic beauty that healthy, well-managed
urban forests provide. August 22 August 28
• Recognizes and rewards communities for annual advancements in urban KERRVILLE: Kerr Market Day. More BOERNE: Summer Scene – Movie in the
forestry practices. than 75 vendors from the Hill Country Park, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Join
• Increases public awareness of the many social, economical and environmental offer arts & crafts, woodwork items, Boerne Parks & Recreation for a free
benefits urban forestry practices. metal craft, quilts, toys, native plants movie on Main Plaza. Begins at dark!
• Provides education to improve current urban forestry practices. and produce, jams and jellies. Kerr Come out early and enjoy Story Time in
• Builds cooperation between public and private sectors to effectively manage County Courthouse Grounds, 700 Main the Gazebo with Miss Constance, jump
urban forests. St. For more information please call in the Boerne YMCA Moon Bounce &
• Encourages, supports, and strengthens effective urban forestry programs in (830) 895-7962, email kerrmarket@ play Agility Games. Bring the whole
diverse communities nationwide. aol.com or visit the website at www. family, pack the cooler and set up your
• Can make a strong contribution to a community’s pride. kerrmarketdays.org. lawn chairs for a fun time! Sponsored
• Serves as a blueprint for planting and maintaining a community’s trees. KERRVILLE: Original Team Roping. by Outdoor Movies of Texas. For more
• Puts people in touch with other communities and resources that can help Cowboys compete in this exciting event. information please contact Boerne
them improve their program. Hill Country Youth Exhibit Center, 3705 Parks & Recreation at (830) 249-9511,
• Brings solid benefits to a community such as helping to gain financial support Hwy. 27 E. For more information please option 5.
for tree projects and contributing to safer and healthier urban forests. call (806) 499-3584, email office@otrc.
• Helps present the kind of image that most citizens want to have for the place net or visit the website at www.otrc.net. August 29
they live or conduct business. FREDERICKSBURG: Roots Music
• Tells visitors, through signage, that here is a community that cares about its August 27 – September 20 Concert. Features Cajun/Zydeco.
environment. KERRVILLE: Multimedia membership 6 – 10 pm. Pioneer Museum,
• Sometimes gives preference over other communities when allocations of show portrays anything that moves. 309 W. Main St. For more info. please
grant money are made for trees or forestry programs. Kerr Arts & Cultural Center, 228 call (830) 997-2835.
• Provides a way to reach large numbers of people with information about Earl Garrett. For more information
tree care. carolyn@hillcountryexplore.com please call (830) 895-2911, email

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830.249.6800 | 35000 IH-10 West • Boerne, Texas 78006

August 2009 www.hillcountryexplore.com 9


music
Brandon’s Revue promises Boerne
In Memory
a concert like no other
By Jeanna Goodrich
With mixed emotions, both Bob and
“Music and friends: they were his life; they Linda explained the transitional journey from
were important to him,” Bob and Linda Manning homegrown to growing exponentially larger.
both said of their son Brandon, who passed away Public relations and media experts Janice and Ted
eight years ago. It seemed only natural to start Maxymof had, according to Linda, approached
an endowment to honor Brandon’s memory, and the Nature Center and offered to market one big
the Mannings began the journey to what will, on event, for free, and they had requested to plan
August 8, 2009, be the fifth-annual Brandon’s and market Brandon’s Revue. “In a way, it’s really
Revue, a concert to celebrate music, friends, and, great, because we can hand this off to someone
most importantly, Brandon Manning. else,” Linda expressed, “but in another way, this
“It’s been eight years now since we lost concert is our baby, and we don’t know whether Matt (cente
r) and Bran
Brandon,” Bob began the story. “On May 12, or not it will have the same, organic feel it has had “YEARS ag don (right)
o” a photo fro
2001, the Sherrif knocked on our door to tell us in the past.” m
that our child was dead. He’d died in a one-car “It really is a neat experience for us,” Bob
wreck on the day before mother’s day that year. explained, “because, if Janice were sitting
Our life changed, as of that moment, forever, and here, she’d say, ‘Yeah, it is going
we looked to the need to keep your child alive, to be commercialized. We’re
keep their memory alive, so that people don’t going to set up vendor booths
forget them. So we started looking at some sort and get sponsorships.’ There’s
of endowment or scholarship—something—in a wonderful push between ‘Go
his memory. Brandon was 21 years old, and he there and get the big pot of
really hadn’t figured his life out yet. He’d moved gold’ and ‘We don’t want to lose
back home, he was saving his money, and he was the community feel.’ The push- Brandon
going to move to Austin, get into the music scene, pull of that has really helped us in his
and finish his schooling. So, naturally we thought grow this year.” senior
portrait
about a music scholarship, and sat down with [the Yet some uncertainties remain:
San Antonio Area Foundation] to discuss it.” the Mannings began this concert
However, the logistics of the scholarship to remember Brandon’s passion
didn’t quite line up with the Manning’s desire to for his music and his friends, and
share Brandon’s memory. “We were talking with they don’t want to stray too far
our neighbor, and he knew about the music and from that ideal. “Brandon’s big deal
the friends,” Bob recalled. “And he said, ‘Have was friends. One of the things we
you thought about endowing something out at really wanted this to be was where
the nature center?’” a family, friends, and neighbors
Perhaps you have heard of the Cibolo Nature could come and spend a few hours
Center’s Songs and Stories concerts? Perhaps listening to music. The event has
you have heard the music, indulged in a couple always been pretty laid back, but
of glasses of wine, and enjoyed quality time with with this growth, are we trying to
a picnic basket and your best friends? “We’d be all things to all people?” Linda
been to the songs and stories concerts, but we’d asked. “We’re not used to going out
never met Brent Evans. We sat down to talk and asking for support for this event,”
with him, and after 30 minutes, we both knew: she continued. “We’d had the ‘usual
something here is the right answer. This is us, this suspects’: an immediate family that
is Brandon, and this works. It’s local; it’s organic; we’d secured working with the
it’s the answer. So, it morphed into the Brandon Nature Center, and our community
Gallagher Manning Endowment, administered by of volunteers. But with the growth
the San Antonio Area Foundation. Five percent of of the concert, the questions
the principal each year goes to the Cibolo Nature arose. How do we broaden the
Center for their Songs and Stories Program. Now, community involvement? How
we’re busy trying to grow this fund to be bigger do we stimulate the economy? Is
and bigger and bigger, so that forever they have there a way to help the city, the
funding for Songs and Stories, because it is the merchants, in a better way?”
fitting tribute to Brandon’s memory and will So, without losing the
continue to be.” natural, homegrown elements
The first concert to support Brandon’s fund of the concert, Bob and Linda
was the Irish Storytelling concert, but soon the hope that this year they can start
Mannings wanted to branch out even more. supporting the community that
“We’re on the cusp of doing a concert that has has supported them through
never been done before for Brandon’s Revue,” their most difficult times. “We
Bob said. “It’s transitioning into a whole new don’t have as much support
identity, and it’s a big deal for us. We’re celebrating from the local Boerne business
what the music side of this thing has become.” community as we’d like to have,
“When we first started talking about doing a but if it shows to be a success
concert, we slated it as an all-day type concert. for us and for the people who
We tried to give a series of different artists are sponsoring us, then part of
a venue to get exposure,” Linda chimed in. the answer would be to have
But, Bob added, “This year is unrecognizably more local business support,”
different. We’ve been so fortunate to have some Bob said. “If this year is a modest
As the Manning
wonderful event planners and media people offer success, it means we get to build on it. It might s attested, Bran
“surrounded by don was always
to promote this event for free, into something lead to a bigger venue, which would lead to a friends.”
that’s highly commercialized, highly visible, a lot bigger event: more sponsorships, more people
of sponsorships; it’s going to be so well-attended coming in, more tourism, and more benefit for
that we have moved from the CNC out to the the community.”
Fairgrounds.”

10 EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.


Who’s Who
at
In some facets, the Mannings have gained coming of the highest order.” Harlen was a friend
phenomenal support. “Ye Kendall Inn has of Brandon’s as well as a gifted musician. “In the
developed a weekend package that includes two seventh grade,” Linda noted, “Brandon met Matt,
nights of stay at the hotel, with a wine dinner on and they both got guitars and started playing
Friday night and tickets to the concert on Saturday together. Matt comes back every year; he is an
night,” Linda said. The package, about which award-winning singer-songwriter. We are focused
more information can be found on their website, on singer-songwriters; they’re whom we made the
http://www.yekendallinn.com/events.html. concert for. And this year, he’s dropping the label By Paige Losoya
“It was difficult for us to ask for money,” Linda deal and bringing his first CD. This has potential
continued, “So we asked for time and service to be the largest venue he’s ever played.”
instead, because those are things that we can She continued, “This concert provides a
give as well. We’re hoping this partnership will possible platform to become a singer-songwriter
bring people from out of town to come spend event where people want to come to Boerne to The gates open at 5:30 p.m.
the weekend in Boerne. They’ll come to the wine expand their music. We’ve always concentrated August 8th at the Kendall County
dinner on Friday night, hopefully shop around on on the artistic side of the singer-songwriter. Fairgrounds in Boerne with anticipated
Saturday, and then come to the concert Saturday Brandon was a brilliant musician, and Matt is a excitement. Whether you knew
night. The community supports us; how can we fantastic singer-songwriter. It’s always been an
Brandon or not, the foundation
then help the community in return?” underlying theme: the up-and-coming artist who
Ye Kendall Inn wasn’t the only one to come is a singer-songwriter. Will we start to build? Set of Brandon’s Revue creates an
through with support: the Mannings have a large, one-year, five-year goals, to pull people from local atmosphere that allows everyone
local sponsorship this year, Ewald Tractors. “Ewald venues and from far away, if there is a reputation the opportunity for reflection and
Tractors is our first-ever big sponsor,” Linda for it? There are a lot of long-term dream goals celebration.
said, proudly. “We’ve never had a big sponsor, that we can set for this event, and no matter what,
but because of the synergy between the event the concert will be a success. How it’s successful
planners, the media, the professionalism, and this will certainly set the tone for our after-meeting, Jimmy LaFave
being a community-based experience, all have and answer how we now take this from our will headline as
worked together to create the opportunities for original vision of homegrown music and build a prominent and
people who weren’t just our usuals to join in on it to become a regional music event that
passionate singer-
the concert.” people want to come see. I’d like to see
Randy Schmidt, a television producer, this eventually become an event that songwriter. LaFave
presented an unexpected but delightfully singer-songwriters want to come to, has received
opportune media outlet. “Randy Schmidt, from that they promote, that they put on international
channel 12, got involved because his wife was a their calendar a year in advance.” attention for his
big Cibolo Nature Center fan,” Bob said. “She With all of the hard work from
songwriting and
passed away about three months ago, so he was the Mannings, the Maxymofs, and
looking for a way to give something to the nature the support of the local community, vocal talents and
center, which aligned perfectly with our planning the Mannings’ dream goals for is a long time
of this concert. He has been such a tremendous Brandon’s Revue now don’t seem fixture in the
help to us. There will be TV commercials starting too far away. “We certainly didn’t Austin music
up, and a lot of media attention that wouldn’t have imagine it getting this large this
scene. For over
otherwise been given to us.” fast, but we definitely appreciate
“For us,” Bob continued, “this is a watershed the support Janice and Ted have a decade he has carved out
change of us doing the concert with our usual given us,” Bob said. “It’s hard his place as one of Americana music’s
suspects and with our friends at the nature center, work; there’s no doubt about exceptional artists.
to making, through Ted and Janice’s professional it;” Linda added, “but as long
efforts, this breakthrough into the larger community as this is still fun for us to do,
to get their support.” Linda added, “This might and we get enjoyment out of Matt Harlan, a
be a catalyst for bringing big music here once it, then we’ll continue to do it. childhood friend of
a year. If a business can benefit, we’re hoping And maybe it will expand into Brandon Gallagher
that this has a little creativity to overflow into the an all-day music event that Manning and
Boerne business community as well, certainly if it’s the entire Hill Country can
opening for LaFave,
a success for us and a success for them.” look forward to. I couldn’t
And what better to bring music enthusiasts imagine anything better to is an award
and family fun alike than a headliner like Jimmy remember Brandon by.” winning singer/
LaFave! “They reached into the Austin music
jeanna@hillcountryexplorer.com songwriter and
scene and came up with Jimmy LaFave as the composes scenic
headliner this year,” Bob said, smiling. “He was on
landscapes and
our ‘wish-list’ of headliners,” Linda added; “we
dream big!” pointed statements
“Artistically, we have the premier disguised as songs.
Texas singer-songwriter to headline Harlan’s works
this year,” Bob continued, “but we confront social norms
also have Matt Harlen, who is up-and-
and celebrate lives overlooked.
Whatever the inspiration, the music
is always heartfelt and genuine.

Lil’ Bit & the


Customatics is first
on stage, combining
their love of rockabilly,
country, honky-tonk and
roots music, putting
together an evening of
traditional and original
favorites.

For more information


about Brandon’s Revue
and to purchase tickets,
visit www.cibolo.org.

August 2009 www.hillcountryexplore.com 11


Sourdough Breakfast Sandwiches
Low-Carb Wraps
Migas Plate — the one you’ve heard about!
Breakfast Tacos
Quiche & Fruit Plate

Ancho Chicken Quesadillas


Jalapeno Bacon Cheese Fries
Grilled Portabella & Pecan Salad
Thai Chicken Salad
Reuben — best in town!
Bacon Cheesesteak Hoagie
The Ultimate Philly
Knockwurst Hoagie
Classic BLT
Chicken Salad & Tuna Salad

Premium Coffee & Espresso


Fruit Tea Blasts
Root Beer Floats
Blended Chai & Blended Green Tea
Smoothies & Granitas
Beers and Wines by availability

Baked goods made from scratch every day!


We make our own ice cream, from milk,
www.boernegrill.com | FREE wi-fi! | 830.249.4677 sugar, and eggs!

Welfare Café
T he Welfare Café has been delighting diners and critics since
they opened in 1998. Sit in the Bier Garten or inside the Old
General Store and Post Office, which was built in 1916. Eat some
of the best food the hill country has to offer. With a wide range
of entrees from a more modern take on traditional German fare
to a mixed grill of lamb, quail, duck and venison to weekly fresh
sustainable fish specials, buffalo ribeye and the ever popular beef
tenderloin served with onion rings and a spicy tamarind poblano
sauce that we call the “Darwin”. The Chicken Fredericksburg, our
first signature dish, is a hit with house made spätzel. Café hours are
Thursday thru Sunday from 5:00 until 9:00. On Sundays, in addition
to selected items from the Café menu, we offer Sunday Suppers: a
Historic Welfare, Texas different entrée every week served family-style for $20.00 for two and
$38.00 for four. The Welfare Fathers play on Sundays starting at 6:00.
for your Welfare and for a good time
The Goat Barn, adjacent to the café, is constructed of reclaimed
long-leaf pine and cypress. Two stages, one inside and one outside,
are available for music events, such as our Welfare Wednesdays.
223 Waring Welfare Road Starting at 6:00, we present a selected menu of specialties from the
Boerne, Texas 78006 café plus a small plate menu. Jay Bay Adams and the Roadhouse
www.welfaretexas.com Scholars with guest appearances play from 7:00 until 9:00. The Loft
in the Goat Barn is open for beer, wine, and specialty coffees.
The Goat Barn is available for special events. We can seat 100
inside and 70 outside on the porch and rock patio. The barn is ideal
for weddings, receptions, corporate functions, and any special
To make reservations or get information gathering.
on our specials or book a party The newly established, organically grown garden on the 14 acres
call 830.537.3700 surrounding the café and goat barn provides vegetables and herbs for
e-mail gaby@gvtc.com use at the café and goat barn.

12 EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.


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August 2009 www.hillcountryexplore.com 13


dining
conroy's Beer 'N Burgers By Chris Jenkins

It’s 4:30pm on a Friday.


It’s been a helluva week, your tie is crooked, and your back is aching. Sound
familiar? We all can get pretty wiped out at times, and sometimes we just want a
place where we can sit with good friends, have a cold beer, and eat a big ol’ burger.
At these times, I want you to grab a buddy or two and run up to Conroy’s Pub.
When Conroy’s first opened, I knew that it would be a success. It is, quite simply,
a great sports bar. We’ve had a lot of restaurants pop up that then try to capture
a “bar crowd” and a lot of bars that try to become high-end eateries. It has left
the customers confused. This is precisely where Conroy’s shines. You know exactly
what you’re going to get.
Located at the corners of Fair Oaks Ranch Parkway and I-10, you can’t miss it.
Capturing a lot of the “19th hole” crowd from the Fair Oaks Country Club, Conroy’s
boasts an eclectic mix of the older golfers with a younger professional crowd.
This is a rarity in this area, and it’s a welcomed change. So often we get “biker
bars” or “dives” or “uppity wine-sipping” bars…so it’s cool to have a place for the
“regular Joe”.
Entering through heavy oak doors, it takes a moment for your eyes to adjust to
the lower lighting, and you quickly see that the owner cut no corners. Boasting an
amazing custom bar, complete with flat screen TVs above the bar, a most handsome
liquor collection, and several beers on tap, you can quickly belly up to the bar.
Waitresses wear Irish-themed skirts, and are quick with your drink orders. A jukebox
pumps music throughout the bar, but not so loudly that you’re shouting at your
buddies. The interior is nicely done, and quite clean. There is smoking allowed,
but they have an enormous air filtration system, so even with the worst of allergies,
you wouldn’t know that someone is smoking inside.
The menu is rather comprehensive. I must admit I was expecting nachos,
burgers, and…that’s about it. However, it’s actually a full menu the likes of which
you would expect at more formal eatery. Several appetizers, a wide array of
entrees, and even a nice selection of desserts sets Conroy’s apart from some other
sports bars. And the food is very, very good. My burger was cooked to a perfect
medium rare, garnishes were fresh, and it was served quickly. The rest of the folks
in my party had the same comment – “This is actually really good!”
And that’s really main the draw to Conroy’s. It’s somewhere that you can enjoy
some really good food, enjoy some really cold beer, and just have a really good
time. It’s not pretentious, and makes no false assumptions. It’s a place where you
can relax, not worry about getting into a bar fight, and enjoy a night in the Hill
Country.
Live music is abundant on the weekends, as are drink specials. I
get to travel all over the Hill Country checking in on some of the finest
restaurants in the area. I eat complicated foods, drink sophisticated
wines, and rub elbows with the elite. Sometimes it’s just fun to grab a
burger and a beer, laugh at a tacky joke, and just enjoy myself. Check
out Conroy’s Irish Pub and Grill. I promise you’ll have a great time.

chris@hillcountryexplore.com

14 EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.


Good Pub Grub!
Full menu available from 11 am to 10 pm.
Popular items include :
Hot Wings • Beer Battered Mushrooms • Loaded Nachos
English Banger on a Stick • Classic Burger & Fries
...Plus a variety of salads, enchiladas and steak sandwiches
Darts & Pool

12 Beers on Tap Beer & Spirits


Live Music Monday
Heineken $2.50
- Friday & Saturday Absolute & Flavors $3.00
Nights
Tuesday
Jack Daniels $3.00
Karaoke
Fat Tire $2.50
- Wednesday Nights
Wednesday
Daily Lunch Specials Titos $3.00
Shiner Bock $2.50
Executive Chef Thursday
- Jim Barajas Bacardi $3.00
of Casbeer’s! All Mexican Beer $2.50

Friday
9091 Fair Oaks Pkwy. Happy Hour 11 am - 8 pm

Boerne, TX 78015 Saturday


Crown Royal $3.00
(210) 698-7310 Bass Ale $2.50

conroysirishpub.com Sunday
Domestic Pints $2.50
Never a cover charge here,
Happy Hour 11 am - 2 am
though patrons must be at least 21.

NOW OPEN 11 a.m. EVeRyDaY!


August 2009 www.hillcountryexplore.com 15
art&culture

By Jeanna Goodrich so it became a matter of developing something. wanted to make a living at doing this art, I would
I knew steel could turn these colors—” he said, have to establish myself better as an artist.” It is
Meet Curtis Kroesche: a metalworking artist referring to the deep blues, purples, and golds what he has been doing for the past five years:
in New Braunfels, Kroesche is truly proud to be that shone from the fins of his fish—“from when “I started this in 2000, and for the last four or five
an American. He’s proud that his art is American, I used to make parts. It’s how you could tell if years I’ve been establishing myself here in Texas,
too, and hopes to share his enthusiasm through you were going to burn your cutting tool up: if it trying to reach out at every opportunity.”
the work he creates. started turning blue, you were cutting too quickly. For his local community, Kroesche has
Kroesche’s pride in his country and his craft But could I use this to my advantage? Could I use cut signs, logos and artwork for various local
stem from his time in the United States Navy, those colors to make metal artwork?” businesses. You know the dancing bears in
where he served as a mechanic at sea. “I started To test these questions, Kroesche set up a Grueue? The ones you’ve taken a picture by,
metalworking in the Navy,” he began, relaying small metalworking studio right in his family’s own trying to pose in the same style they’re dancing
his history with metal arts. “I went to school to be backyard. “My shop is my dad’s old workshop. (or was that just me)? Yep, those bears are
a machinist, making and repairing parts for ships. He was a woodworker; he built numerous Kroesche’s, a decorative commission by the
I was on a destroyer tender, so we were like a cabinets, entertainment centers, and he used Dancing Bear. Further throughout the state,
floating machine shop.” to repair old wood screens and screen doors for Kroesche has customized work for Clear Springs
Returning to dry land—though his passion the historic homes in New Braunfels. He helped
for the sea, as he so artfully exemplifies, never me get started in the business before he passed
quite left him—Kroesche moved to Pennsylvania, away. He spent a lot of time out there with me
where he started working for metal fabrication during the course of the day. I gave him odds and
companies. “I started working on trucks for the ends to do to help him be a part of the process.
electric companies,” he recalled; “I worked with Now, it’s a good feeling to know that I can earn
dump trucks, machine trucks, railroads, and a living from something he left for me. And, it’s
gas companies. Eventually, I worked to build a not just my shop—it belongs to my family. It’s a
machine to pull underground cable. We owned great place to work, and it gives me such a good
the patent on the machine—there were only five feeling that I’m always close to my dad.”
of us—so we put the machines in service, we He attested that his family was his biggest
repaired them, we went out and demonstrated help in developing an answer to his most difficult
them.” Kroesche laughed, admitting, “It was question: “Knowing what I know about metal
probably the most interesting job I ever had.” working, how could I turn it into an art form?”
But Kroesche, a native Texan, eventually returned Which is where Kroesche’s mother chimed in. She
to his home state, where he could have resumed recalled of his first artistic experiment, “He pulled
a machinist job with a utility company. However, a picture of a little bitty fish out of the paper one
he decided he wanted to “try and do something morning, and by that afternoon he had a fish
a little different.” this—“ she held up her hands about 18 inches
“A little different” morphed into brilliantly apart—“big.”
designed, hand-cut, heat-colored works of metal Kroesche laughed, saying, “Well, I love to fish!
art. Kroesche cuts intricate, puzzle-pieced patterns My brother and I have a place in Port O’Connor,
from sheets of unfinished steel; he then grinds and we try to go fishing as much we can. I also
the steel according to shape, size and features have some friends in Florida, and the fishing
to give a reflective appearance. Then, Kroesche is great there.” Kroesche went on to describe
molds and shapes the steel, and hand-heats it to his first attempts at turning his art into his own
bring out vibrant colors, each color representing business. “I asked myself, what can I do to go
a different temperature range. Using this coloring on a paid vacation?” he chuckled, “so I started
process, no two pieces can ever be duplicated, creating metal salt-water fish, which is what I love Seafood Restaurant and for Eddie V’s Restaurant
which makes every piece an individual piece of to do. I’d load my trailer up and go to Florida for in Austin, as well as various other works of art
art. All pieces are then sealed in an automotive six weeks. I’d stay with my friends and sell a little from the beaches to the Hill Country. His vision
clear coat sealer to achieve a high luster finish of my art at fruit stands on weekends. I’d make has even brought him back—just visiting, of
and prevent rusting. enough for the week, and go fishing, and it was a course—to the Pennsylvania area to showcase
Fish of various types hung as patterns pretty easy lifestyle.” his work at the Buyers Market of American Craft
from the back room of his workshop; crosses, But after spending so much time in Florida, [BMAC]. “I’m basically just trying to reach out to
small and large, decorated the house; pelicans Kroesche came back to Texas yet again. Though the northeast corner of the United States now,
and whooping cranes were perched over the the fruit-stand fishing adventures were fun and sales that I can’t get in places like Dallas. The first
workshop. “I had all of these metal working skills, exciting, Kroesche said, “I realized that if I really time I set up in Dallas, someone came by in a suit
and said, ‘You need to start marketing in Philly. You’ll sell “I love to do it,” Kroesche ultimately stated. “It’s a very
your stuff here, but you’ll never get where you want to be.’ dirty, hot process, especially this time of year when it’s 102
It took me another three years to research and produce for degrees, I’m sitting by a fire turning steel blue; it’s probably
the market in Philly, creating new designs that I felt were 150 degrees or more next to where I’m working. I’ve had
good enough to compete with the high-dollar artists.” to learn that you can’t do it all, and that’s what’s very hard
Kroesche’s research and creation has paid off: The about it. A small guy like me, I do everything from design
BMAC isn’t your average craft show. “It’s a jurored show,” and ideas to manufacturing to sales. Everybody says that
Kroesche explained. “I have to submit photographs to it must be nice to work for yourself and have your own
ensure that I have the quality of work to fit there, and the business, but very few people have an idea what’s involved.
buys are subjected to be jurored as well. It’s not a gift shop It’s a lot of work; it’s a full time job: I’ve got taxes to pay,
atmosphere: it’s for galleries, upper-scale stores, people who I’ve got insurances, and I’ve got customers to work with.”
want to buy handcrafted American art, made by Americans. With local stores, walk-in customers can find a variety of Hill
They don’t want to buy stuff from Mexico, China, or Taiwan: Country pieces—such as stars, crosses, and other local flora
they can buy that anywhere!” and fauna—or request a consultation for a custom order. You
Passionate about his country, Kroesche boasts his art can find Kroesche’s art locally at Lone Star Country Goods
as American by placing “Made in America” stickers on the and Gruene Outfitters in Gruene, at The Gingerbread House
back of each piece of his art. “Hey,” he laughed, “we still in Bandera, at Country Home Furniture in Bulverde, and at
have the capability to do things here; we’re not just a lazy Valeskas Inc. in Fredericksburg; you can visit his website,
country. Granted, it’s a world economy, and the countries www.lonekro.com, to place orders or request custom work
of the world have to help each other. But when we give our online.
jobs to China and have poison in our dog food and lead “I want to make sure my art makes my customers
in the toys we give our children, there’s not a lot of trust completely satisfied,” Kroesche emphasized. “That mass-
in that. We need to build America, and take a little more produced, commercial-type art: I can’t compete with
pride in America and in our jobs, to make sure that we have it; I don’t want to compete with it. I like to take
our own economy working for us. That’s why I use made a challenge from a customer of something
in America stickers on the back of every piece of all of my they want, and give them exactly what
products, and have been doing so for the past 8 months they wanted on their wall. There’s a
now. A lot of times, people will look at the sticker, and even great sense of pride when you make
if they don’t like the art as much, if they see it was made in something with your own hands, and
America by an American, it gives them a sense of pride in someone pays you with their hard-
buying an American good.” earned money and hangs it on the
More than just selling his American art, Kroesche also wall in their home and brags to
donates to the CCA, to Wurstfest for college scholarships, their friends about it. There’s a lot
and “to any organization that needs my help,” he said. of gratification in that; it’s what
Kroesche believes strongly in helping others, and hopes keeps pushing me forward.”
that he can help as much as possible through his artwork.
jeanna@hillcountryexplore.com
welcom
e to Congratulations to our long-time friend and advertiser,
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It’s been a busy year for local Interior
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once again taking home the prestigious
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The Greater San Antonio Builders Association’s
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in the frid lways development. Judges from across the country
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Working together Essick and Hoekle have
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Open daily 10am-5:30pm or ‘til the last customer leaves beautifully with the elegant hill country interiors that we provide at
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The duo is no stranger to awards having previously won in
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history

B
schoolhouse rock
y the end of August, when Sears had its back-to-school sale
By Marjorie Hagy

Vogt and Wendler.  Amazing how many of those names survive in


and we were all herded down to Central Park Mall with every other Boerne today, 152 school-years later.  The old log cabin was located
kid in South Texas and where, despite our pleading to be costumed on what is now Blanco Street, but was moved at some unknown date
like the Jackson 5, we were invariably outfitted in striped shirts and to the corner of Graham and Herff Streets in the Flats, where it is
corduroy pants more befitting Bert & Ernie, no self-respecting kid now used as a house.  Yeah- it’s still there!  For his services, Herman
would admit it, but we were all secretly looking forward to going was paid $25 a month.
back to school.  By the time, the week before Labor Day, we were In the 1870s, a new 2-room rock schoolhouse was built on the big
marched to the Winn’s store to load up on school supplies, we were hill on present-day Blanco Street, right behind our Boerne City Hall. 
actually excited for the first time since that day in May when the last This was where the older kids went, and they built a wood-frame
bell rang on the last day of school and we erupted out the school building just in front of it for the lower grades.  In 1911 a new, 2-story
doors in a cacophony of shrieking and a storm of loose-leaf paper.  limestone block building was built, and that’s what became the City
After all, summer was played out by the end of August.  We’d been Hall & Utilities building.  The wood-frame schoolhouse was moved
to the Boerne Pool often enough that our ear infections were more from that location to the corner of Hosack and O’Grady, also in the
or less permanent and our hearing was in danger, and we’d slopped Flats, and from that time it became the Boerne Colored School, later
around in enough stock tanks that we ought to have been good called the Royal School.  It is also still standing, also in use now as a
and dead of Staph, if not Ebola.  We’d been dragged kicking and private home. 
screaming to Vacation Bible School and even when we were finally In 1915, Boerne High School graduated six seniors in a ceremony
old enough not to have to go anymore, mom signed us up as at the Metropolitan Opera House here in town.  In 1924, the PTA—
volunteers.  We’d been halfway across the country in the backseat of already established at that early date—first launched the Boerne
an un-air-conditioned car with our butts not three inches away from School Lunch Program, and by 1956 was serving an average of 360
the butts of our siblings, having perfected the art of mental torture meals a day.  It wasn’t until 1949 that the School Board voted to
so that we knew just exactly how far we could go before our parents purchase three school buses and thus began the district’s transporta-
snapped.  We’d ridden our bikes enough miles to get us back and tion system—of which I would later be one of many victims.  Old Bus
forth to the moon at least five times and we’d just run out of things 6, which was my own particular cross to bear, was a sort of rolling
to do.  Those August days were the dog days.  We could actually house of horrors, that sounded of unearthly shrieks and moans and
feel ourselves getting stupider with each re-run of Gilligan’s Island.  smelled like one hundred dirty feet and a couple of sack lunches that
We were ready.  It was time.  So: here’s to school, gentle reader. went bad last semester.  Ugh– I still wake up screaming. 
In the fall of 1857, public school officially started up in Boerne.  In 1929, the student population having outgrown the 2-story
Up until then, it had been a matter of private education and tutors, Blanco Street building, a new high school was constructed on Johns
or more often no education and your parents making you read Road and the newly-named School Street, what is now Boerne Middle
the Bible by candlelight (I made that last part up). But in 1857, a School North.  Up until 1937, no electives were offered at the high
guy named Herman William Toepperwein, a 20 year-old German school, but in that year Vocational Agriculture was added. In 1938
immigrant who was only six years out of the mother country, became the Board voted to offer Home Economics, and a cottage was raised
the first public school teacher in Boerne.  He was married to a gal on the campus for that program.  In my time at BMS, the Home-Ec
named Amalie Luckenbach, and he had command of a one-room cottage had been joined to the main building and served as the
log cabin schoolhouse and 19 students from nine different families: library, and in my kids’ day, it was the office.  When I went to school
Baumann, Bergmann, Hagemann, Pfeiffer, Schaefer, Stephan, Theis, there, the office was in the middle of what we called the Main building,
Up until school consolidation in the 1950s, there were also a whole
lot of rural schools scattered all over Kendall County.  In the days before
automobiles, and then before reliable roads were paved, all the little
communities dotted around the big, old county were distinct and
autonomous; what are now the names of roads or half-forgotten, vague
places were then little villages with a store and a school and a cluster of
houses, farms, and their own family names.  The Pleasant Valley School,
on what is now Hwy 46, was one such school, first located on the Joe
Nickel ranch and moved, plank by plank, in 1887 to its new location on the
hill, onto an acre of land donated by R.W. Whitworth.  It was an 18’ x 20’
wood-frame building onto which a porch was added in 1906, with two
outhouses and a pump.  When the schools were consolidated in the early
50s, the Panther Creek Schoolhouse, where many of the children of the
cedar choppers attended, out on Kendalia Road near Bergheim, was
moved to the site and joined to the Pleasant Valley School.  Kids continued
to go to school there up until the late 50s, and after that the schoolhouse
was donated by the Whitworth heirs for use as a community center.  In the
early days of the Pleasant Valley School, the term only ran from October
til May, and only went through the 8th grade.  One early student had to
across the hall from the entrance to the auditorium, and the receptionist, the pass by Indians on his way to school.  During WWII the school closed
principal, the teachers and any other adult who wanted to all smoked like down, from May 1944 until the fall of 1947, as the teachers all went to
exhaust valves in there.  When they slid open that little glass window you help with the war effort, many at Camp Bullis.  One of the teachers at the
could get a mean nicotine buzz.  The Ag Building was constructed in 1941 Pleasant Valley School, Joyce Rust, was a student there herself, like her father
under the National Defense Program, and later became the art building. before her.   
At some point the Boerne Lions Club built the lighted athletic field at the The Balcones School, built around 1876 on Scenic Loop Road over-
high school campus, that later became the Gordon D. Leesch Memorial looking Balcones Creek, also still stands and is in use today as a church
Stadium, after the Boerne native who was killed in Korea.  In 1939, the School and American Legion hall.  In fact, it doubled as a church from the very
Board purchased the land across Johns Road from the High School from beginning, and parties, dances and BBQs were held there too.  The one-
the Lohmann estate for $2000, for the purpose of building a new grammar room, one-teacher, wood-frame schoolhouse was built by Daniel Perrin,
school, and the new school was built (which is now the oldest part of maternal grandfather of the late Harry Davis, and when a second room
Fabra Elementary School). By 1951, all the schools in the
so-named Boerne County Line Independent School District
were located along Johns Road, and the 1911 schoolhouse
on Blanco was sold to the City of Boerne for $20,000. The

total school enrollment for the district in 1956 numbered


772 kids, of whom 190 were high school students, and seven
attended the Colored School.  Boerne Schools also employed a
superintendent, three principals and 31 teachers, and that year, for the first
time, a high school counselor; also, five lunch-ladies and three janitors.  was added, Harry’s mother, Minnie Perrin, taught there, from 1905-1910. 
In 1967, 50 acres of land on the Herff estate were donated to the school The Balcones School enrollment lists Perrins, Beaths, Voges and Georgs,
district by the Herff twins, Caroline Kennon and Juanita Chipman, as a descendants of whom still live in these parts.  Students from the Fincke and
site for a brand-new high school.  But it wasn’t all smooth-sailing…not in Ertel families attended here, along with pupils from the former Hastings
Boerne of course.  The newspapers in those days were full of controversy, School, located 3.5 miles west of Boerne on the Bandera Road.  Opened in
with different factions taking out ad space and letters to the editor getting April 1898, the Hastings School was in the English Colony, whose people
increasingly nasty as the bond election in the amount of 1.3 million dollars did not hold with the practice of teaching, at least half the time, in the
approached in May of 1970.  Some letters pointed out how ridiculous it German language.  This was actually a big controversy in the old days. 
was to locate the new high school “out in the middle of the woods” and The Upper Balcones School was also predominately English, and when
“so far away from town,” and others cited the necessity of building a new Hastings closed because of low attendance in 1919, its students joined
“T-shaped” road to access the site.  There were allusions to crooked school with those at Upper Balcones.  In 1953, it was absorbed into the BISD. 
board members, city councilmen and contractors advancing the cause in The Kreutzberg School was another one-room, wood-frame place, built
order to line their own pockets.  Nevertheless, the bond issue passed and on Zoeller property off 474 and Kreutzberg Road.  It had eight benches
the new school was eventually built, and dedicated in a Sunday ceremony and sat 32 students.  In 1898, subjects taught there included arithmetic,
on March 12, 1972, at which U.S. Senator John Tower held forth.  The composition, grammar, reading, writing and physiology, and the teacher,
408 administrators, teachers and students of BHS had moved to the new JP Corley, earned $33.50 a month. 
campus the previous Monday. They had begun classes on March 6, 1972, There were other one- and two-room schools all over Kendall County,
in the “eleven very attractive new buildings on North Esser Road.”  The including Cedar Grove, out near Bergheim, which also served the children
new “ultra-modern” Boerne High School was designed to resemble a of the charcoal burners, Sheppard Creek School in Kendalia, Wasp Creek
college campus, with its detached science, business, language, social and Waring and Sisterdale Schools, where generations of Langbeins,
studies, home economics buildings, etc.: 62,000 square feet connected Gourleys, Schuchardts, Edges, Herbsts, Woolschlaegers, Ammanns and
by walkways under the oak trees and paths radiating out from its central Bergmanns came of age.  Many, if not most, of the schools had their
administration building.  Eight of the buildings were air-conditioned, which corresponding “colored” schools; there were Kreutzberg, Wasp Creek,
was a switch, let me tell you, because the old schools on Johns Road Welfare and Simmons Creek Colored Schools.  The Boerne ISD was not
definitely were NOT.  There was also a gym, two vocational shops housing integrated until February 13, 1963, when federal law mandated the policy.
the auto mechanics program and Vocational Ag, a 5-hole golf course and So there’s a part of the story of school in Boerne, to get you into the
a 440-yard oblong track with plans to build a football field in the future.  mood for another school year.  If you’re getting down about having to go
An aerial shot of the new high school campus taken in April 1972 shows back, count your blessings: you don’t have to evade Indians to get there;
the buildings clustered in their splendid isolation, so far away from town teachers aren’t allowed to snatch you outside and wail you with a stick
and, indeed, in the middle of the woods.  That’s where I graduated, from anymore; and—far and away, more important than anything else—now
that ultra-modern campus, in 1982.  As I used to say: Class of 82– Totally they air-condition the place.
AWESOME!  God help me, I was a hick from the sticks, trying to talk like a marjorie@hillcountryexplore.com
valley girl.  Confession is good for the soul.
Brian McLoughlin
Agency

s s
430 W. Bandera Rd., #8

Good n e
Next to H-E-B
Boerne, TX 78006
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Come home to Boerne’s newest gated townhome community filled with tons of Boerne charm, where we pride
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Back to School
AppleTree Day School in Boerne is completing its
“Fun in the Sun” Summer Camps and preparing for
its back-to-school programs. Our schools are locally
* Sibling Disco unts
* Large, fun o utdo
owned and operated and are open year-round.
We provide before and after school care and or playgro un
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Full and P/T programs available • Government Aid Accepted • Secure web-based cameras in every classroom for parents to observe

26 EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.


Bluebonnet Realty
830-816-2288 • www.boernetexashomes.com
For Sale:
$410,000 - This beautiful
$515,000 - FANTASTIC PROPERTY in River
Mountain Ranch! Look at this! 8.85 acres on
a cul-de-sac with great views! Add to that, a
property has 4.76 acres in heated pool, beautiful ranch-style house with
Stagecoach Hills off Boerne approx. 2700 s.f., 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, office/
Stage Road. There is a home study, covered porch, extra large garage, and did
with approx. 2600 s.f. of I mention the views!? Wood floors, beadboard
living area and an attached 2 ceilings, and so so much more!
car garage, plus a large shop
(20x48) detached. The house
has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and
is fenced with an automatic
gate. Truly a showplace!

$155,000 - PRICE REDUCED! Very nice home in


town near p. o., schools, main street shops and
restaurants, very convenient. This home has 3
bedrooms, 2 baths, and approx. 2000 s.f. of
living space, with a large fenced back yard.
Owner says “SELL SELL SELL”! So,
BUY BUY BUY!!

$259,000 - 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in


Chaparral Creek. Approx. 2500 s.f. of living
area on 1/4 acre lot near downtown shops
and restaurants. Separate dining room and
$495,000 - Fair Oaks Ranch - 4 bedroom, 4 bath home with breakfast area. Master bedroom downstairs.
approx. 3600 s.f. of living area and a 3 car garage. This home has Gallery entrance. Screened porch. Large fenced
a large fenced yard and covered patio. There is also a study/office backyard. 2 car garage. Owner will consider 1 year
downstairs with an adjoining full bath. Laminated floors compliment lease at $1500.
the wood and ceramic floors throughout. Lots of extras!

For Lease:
$3950 - Cordillera Ranch, fully furnished. 3800 s.f., heated pool, 3.37
acres. 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths and 1 half bath; study/office, 2 eating
$1300 areas, 2 living areas. 2 year lease available.
- Boerne
$795 - Burning Tree Condos - 2 Heights - 3 $1375 - Boerne Heights - 3 bedrooms,
bedroom, 2 bath covered parking, bedroom, 2 2 bath, 2 car garage, approx. 1625
fireplace, approx. 1000 s.f. living bath, 2 car garage, $850 - 2 bed, 2 s.f. of living area. Clean, well-
area office/study, approx. 1520 bath duplex maintained by owner, ready to
s.f.of living area. go!

$4700 - Fair Oaks Ranch - 5 bed, 4.5


baths, approx. 4578 s.f. of living area,
3 car garage. 3 living areas, separate
dining room and breakfast room,
granite countertops in kitchen, double
ovens, gas cook top. Gameroom has
surround sound. Heated pool with
adjoining spa. Lot is .68 acres, fenced. $3000 - 4 bed, 3 bath, approx. 3200 s.f. of
Owner will pay pool maintenance, living area in Fair Oaks Ranch. Beautiful
lawn service, pest control and maid home, beautiful yard!
service 2x month! All Boerne Schools.
First class pet care
in the Hill Country
Indoor/Outdoor Runs

A/C and Heat


3‐4 hours of Playtime
per day!
Pet cots.
Meals included
Dog Boarding, Grooming,
Enchanted Springs Ranch Daycare
Chuck Wagon Dinners l Tourism And much more…..
Special Events l Film/Photo Shoots
Make your reservations NOW for Chuck Wagon Dinner
Shows! Check our website for more information: Chase Corley
Owner
www.enchantedspringsranch.com
341 Ammann Road
Boerne, TX 78015
(800) 640-5917 or 830.443.4507
(830) 249-8222, Ext. 203 sunnyoakspetresort.com

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28 EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.


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38400-A IH-10 West, Exit 538 • Boerne, Texas 78006

A Growing Perspective
landscaping By Jon Whitaker

reve r se psychology
All you need to do is drive down the street these days and it becomes
painfully obvious that we are in the throws of summer in south Texas. Crunchy,
sun-scorched lawns and vegetation as far as the eye can see. This season,
more than any, reminds us that we live on the edge of a desert, and I believe
it to be one of the most beautiful, mysterious, and wonderful regions on this
continent. A thin long oasis of Hill Country with rolling hills and live oak truly is
a blessing to be a part of. But it does come at a cost (a.k.a. extreme heat), and
demands our respect at this time of year. The question is, “Do we embrace
this, or fight it?”
I believe we embrace it and ask ourselves the appropriate questions to
learn how to adapt to this truth: “It’s hot in Texas.” By doing this, it can free
us from the traditional thought that landscaping can only look a certain way.
I’d like to share with you alternatives to watching your lawn turn into hay, or
irrigating so much that it becomes unnatural, un-regional, or unreasonable.
The truth can set us free in many cases, and this is no exception. Using these
challenges as questions, we can create opportunities to think of landscaping
our yards in new and bold ways.

taking up about 30-40% less of the yard than it originally did. And finally
picking one area to make a centralized turf grass social/ play area that could
be used for pleasure, cutting, watering, etc., and the rest of the turf grass
around the house could lead to this centralized space. Basically concentrating
the areas and defining them: turf grass area for regular use; planting areas
are for nature; a main lawn area for designing, grooming, and entertaining.
By doing this, you could drastically cut your outside water consumption, and
allow for a moisture- and bug-barrier between the plants and the home. Also,
by pushing the plants away from the house, the architecture of the home
would become more exposed and less cluttered.
Now, I know what I’m suggesting seems a bit radical, but if you consider
it for a moment, it really is quite simple and more natural. I do know I’ve
thrown a lot at you, but I believe we are ready. And, of course, this would
not be right for every application or homeowner. Maybe using 100% of these
ideas would also not be the right balance; maybe only using some aspects of
it just for fun or experimentation could be worth the effort. Just imagine how
interesting this would look if an entire street approached they’re landscaping
this way. As you passed by each home, you would notice lush native plants,
with architecture exposed, and clear definition between nature and usable
space, lush and green grass protected from the harsh Texas sun, and native
The typical landscape design goes something like this: planting beds
plants doing what they do best: being natural.
and plants pushed right up against the home, and most of the time a few
Be Well, Jon
years after planting they are growing right into the home’s exterior. Next, the
jon@hillcountryexplore.com
lawn covers about 65-70% of the yard space and is usually exposed to the
scorching rays of summer sun. Then, hopefully a few mulched planting beds
add some interest. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this approach, but I feel
that it does not embrace the challenges set in front of us by the scorching
Texas summers.
What I am proposing is at bit more daring. What if we inverted or reversed
the way we think of landscaping? Let’s start by moving the planting beds away
from the house and giving the vegetation some room to grow, exposing them
to the full wrath of the South Texas sun. This would allow for more opportunity
to use native plants and lots of them! Ornamental grasses, sages, flowering
bushes, and rock could fill these beds and add wonderful color, texture, and
depth. Also, it would soften the space between the street and the home, by
giving it a more natural, three-dimensional look.
Then, take the lawn and put it up against the house, where it could find
more shade. It would be more accessible, interesting, and usable, while

August 2009 www.hillcountryexplore.com 29


hill country outdoors

By Steve Ramirez

There is something primal about digging your Hill Country Rivers include the Guadalupe,
paddle into the water and propelling your spirit Medina, Llano, Nueces, Frio, Sabinal, Pedernales,
forward. I remember in my youth, the pirogue Blanco, Lampasas and the San Gabriel. Just to the
slicing through black African waters across the west of the Hill Country is the Devils River, which is
lagoon and past the crocodiles. It felt like wild, scenic, and eventually meets the Rio Grande
adventure. Later in life, my canoe drifted across a at Lake Amistad National Recreation Area. Each of
mountain lake. It felt like serenity. This morning, these rivers has some service available, either a
as our kayaks launched into the Guadalupe River full service kayak/canoe rental/shuttle, or one that
under the cypress trees and past the feeding will shuttle you and your vessel from point to point.
white-tailed deer, it felt like home. There is a On this trip, we chose to run the Guadalupe from
natural rhythm to the action of paddling a kayak. Spechts Crossing to the Guadalupe Canoe Livery
When you paddle a kayak down a Texas Hill docks at Hwy 281. This is a trip of about three hours
Country river, it feels right. You can almost see and was perfect for an early summer morning.
the cares of the “civilized” world as they sit on the I grew up paddling a canoe, but this was my
shoreline watching you leave them behind; you first time with a kayak. If you have ever wondered
drift with the current, and you do not look back. if paddling a kayak is rocket science: don’t; it’s
Today I shared this journey with my daughter easy. Because the water is often very shallow in
Megan. She has an adventurous spirit. She really places, “sit on top” kayaks are prevalent in the
had no choice in the matter. It was genetics, Texas Hill Country due to the fact that they have
karma, or both. The poor girl is doomed to a less draft than the “cockpit” style. A kayak feels
life of exploring, experiencing, and living. It is a like something you are wearing that floats. It is as
shame what parents do to their kids. This morning if you have inflatable pants. You get to feel the
she did not seem to mind as we paddled along river, and the motion of paddling a kayak is circular,
tree-lined riverbanks and listened to the birds’ natural, and serene. Canoes work very well on our
morning songs. When we reached a patch of mild rivers, again because they have a shallow draft.
rapids, I could see her power up through them Whenever I paddle a canoe, I feel like a pioneer.
and I knew she was having fun. I think she even It feels adventurous. And, it is a lot better use
forgave me for waking her up before sunrise. of my limited lifetime than sitting on the couch
Guiding us along the river was Ben Munoz watching reruns of shows that weren’t any good
of Guadalupe Canoe Livery (830-885-4671). the first time. This leads to another great benefit
This stretch of river was new to us and Ben had of getting off the couch and enjoying the Texas
volunteered to give us the tour, pointing out where Hill Country outdoors; you can burn a calorie or
he and GCL owner Bill Johnson had seen a flock two and have fun doing it.
of wild turkey the day before. Ben, also a former The wonderful thing about rivers is that they
Marine, was a gracious host as we paddled along connect things. Rivers connect us to moments in
the Guadalupe. Occasionally we would slow our time. As I paddle my kayak along the Guadalupe, I
progression to share our impressions of a tree, am reminded that Comanche braves, Confederate
rock formation, or the river. For the most part, we soldiers, Texas Rangers, and intrepid homesteaders
just paddled in silence. When you are out in the all watered their horses here. You have to think
subtle beauty of the Texas Hill Country, not much about that, because otherwise you would never
needs to be said. know it; they never threw a beer can in the water.
In parts of the river, we paddled rhythmically, They only left the tracks of their horses, and
in the circular fashion of the kayaker through the perhaps a memory or two. I like that about those
glassy water. Wild flowers grew along the banks. who came here before me, and I hope to do the
Cardinals sang as kingfishers fished. Mayflies same for those who will come after me. Our Texas
hatched near the shoreline. Guadalupe bass Hill Country rivers deserve to be treated kindly.
jumped into the air, perhaps to catch the mayflies, After all, they are teaching us all the time. Life
perhaps because it was fun. Map turtles slid from flows, is transient, movable, uncertain, beautiful,
their sunny places as a soft-shelled turtle sniffed at times turbulent, giving, and in the end….it
the morning air. A herd of Axis deer stood silently does not end; it just changes course.
watching as we passed them by. At every turn, A green heron watches me suspiciously, as I
the hill country showed us something new—a pass slowly by. He is still catching his breakfast
window into what goes on while people waste while I’m beginning to think about lunch. High on
time and money at the mall. a hilltop overlooking the river is a ranch house
In other places, the river narrowed. The from which emanates the sweet smoky smell
current quickened and we paddled with intensity of a brisket being born. I fight my primal urge
partially to power through the rapids, and to paddle for the shore, climb the hill and ask,
partially because it was fun. We stopped along a “What’s cooking?” In the distance I can hear
gravel bed to survey a section where the rapids the sound of “civilization” intruding, and in that
rushed under two fallen trees. After a brief survey moment I know that our journey is about to end.
of the river and the obstacles, Ben pointed out Like taking the last sip of a very good bottle of
where we would need to “do the limbo” under wine, it’s best not to lament the ending; instead
the fallen trees while keeping our kayaks pointed I feel fortunate to be truly alive and know that
downstream between the rocks and powering the memory of this adventure will belong to
through the rapids. We got back in our kayaks and Megan and me for at least this lifetime. I know
as we launched I heard Megan say, “Excellent!” that we will never forget laughing as we ran down
We each smiled and laughed our way down the the rapids or feeling blessed as we watched the
rapids, under the trees, and through the rocks. deer as they watched us. We will never forget the
Half way through one set of rapids, Megan was feeling of launching into the river or the beauty of
spun around. She has some experience at white the Texas Hill Country that surrounded us. Funny,
water canoeing and actually cut through one set I can’t remember a single thing about any of my
of fast water backwards to avoid being tipped. past trips to a shopping mall.
I have experience at laughing at myself, which steve@hillcountryexplore.com
really came in handy as I zigged when I should
have zagged and almost swamped my kayak. The
thing about the rivers in the Texas Hill Country
that makes them great is that they are both
serene and fun. Under normal conditions, there
is just enough water to give you both the calm
stretches where you can take in the scenery, and
faster, class II rapids that are just plain fun.
By Kendall Aaron
spiritual
in the creek behind our house. I rode our horse, explored, and watched the clouds. As I
grew older, I watched sports on Saturdays, but when you don’t even have cable, there were
only a few games on per season.
My kids have almost 200 channels of tv. They have about a dozen channels devoted
exclusively to them. From BAM!, to BOOM, to Nickelodeon, to the Disney Channel…
they can turn on the tv 24 hours a day and find dozens of shows playing that they love
to watch. But even the shows are different. I was telling someone in the office the other
day about my all-time favorite cartoon, Tom and Jerry. This was good ol’ fashioned silly
My wife thinks I’ve lost my mind. violence. It was hysterical. Now cartoons have “morals” and “lessons” that the kids must
learn. They’re no fun anymore, but sure enough, there’s my kiddos sitting there slack-jawed
I want to throw my TV away. I know that most watching mindless TV. And it’s driving me nuts.
guys would break out in a cold sweat at the thought As parents, we are bombarded as well. I have 7 different HBOs to choose from. 6 different news channels
of not being able to catch the football games on their that remind me of everything wrong in the world. It never stops. I know more about what’s wrong than I
51” HDTVs, but I’ve come to believe that my tv is ever wanted to know. And so as I’ve begun to look at this situation, I am beginning to see how out of control
a source of evil. Maybe “evil” is a bit dramatic, but it is. Why do we allow something so intrusive to take our precious family time from us? Most nights I can
I’ve begun to eyeball my tv when I walk past it as an look around our family room, and find one person playing a video game on a handheld system, one person
enemy of my family. Before you brand me as crazy as watching mindless tv, while yet another is arguing over changing the channel to something equally as useless.
my wife has, let me explain. Why aren’t we playing a board game? Why aren’t we going for a walk? Why aren’t we out watching the
I’m 33, which makes me a relatively young man sunset? Why aren’t we spending time as a family?
still, but when I was growing up, I had 3 tv channels. And because of all that, I want to chunk my TV. God didn’t design us for this, in my humble opinion. Our
They were on an old Zenith TV, and you had to families are our strength and our shields. They help mold us into the people we are to become, and are the
manually turn the knob on the front of it to switch ones to catch us when we fail. They are our most precious gifts from God, and ones to not be squandered by
through six channels of fuzz to get to the next station. spending hours a day staring blankly at a TV. I know it’s a lot easier to settle into our chairs, fire up a movie,
You had to hit it real hard on the side sometimes and spend two hours before bedtime unwinding, but tell me what your kids will remember – the time you
when the sound quit working. And, as a kid, rarely spent together as a family, or the latest “Ice Age” movie you rented?
was there anything worthwhile on TV. We had the Surround yourself with your families and make it a mission to shield them from all of the negativity that
Saturday morning cartoons, but outside of that, it your TV can allow into your world. Make memories together, and cherish the time you have. Just as with your
seemed like every time I turned on the tv, all I could own life, cherish the gifts from God and make every effort to use time to glorify God.
find was “soaps”, talk shows, or the news. As a kid, I don’t think I’ll win my argument for tossing the TV. Besides, there is a good game on this weekend.
this was no good. So I did the unthinkable. I turned
off the tv and went outside on our 10 acres and did kendall@hillcountryexplore.com
“stuff”. I climbed trees, shot my bb gun, and played

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32 EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.