Fredericksburg, Texas

Fredericksburg has been on my radar for quite some time and with a curiosity gnawing at me, I put a trip to this quaint Hill Country town high on my must see list before bidding Texas farewell.

Sauer-Beckmann Living History FarmFredericksburg is a small town in the heart of the Texas Hill Country with a population just under 11,000 and sporting a strong German heritage. The native German language, which was brought to the Texas Hill Country in the mid 1800’s, can still be heard and seen around town to this day.

As Al and I explore Fredericksburg, we notice how unusually wide the roads are including Main Street and many side streets.  From an RVer’s point of view this is pretty awesome as there’s no such thing as too much room or a road that’s too wide.  Turns out, the streets were designed to be wide enough to accommodate oxen carts that needed to be turned around.  So looks like there’s plenty of room for oxen or F250’s to haul their carts around town.

There’s lots to see and do in Fredericksburg….. more than Al and I imagined.  We barely scratched the surface during our one day excursion.

Living History FarmIt’s mid-afternoon with lunch behind us and a morning that flew by, we decide to head in the direction of the LBJ National Historical Park.   This was a stop hubby would have been quite content passing up.  Al, a former Naval Officer during the Vietnam War era, isn’t exactly a Lyndon B. Johnson fan.  That said, I insist we stop, and guess what…. of course we stop 🙂LBJ Ranch

There’s no charge for a self-guided auto tour but stopping at the visitor center is required.  We’re given a tour route map and suggestions as to the various stops along the way.  The ranger recommends we start at the Sauer-Beckmann farm.

LBJ Ranch

Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm

Next to the LBJ Ranch is the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm; our first stop.  This farm serves as an example of day-to-day life as it was in 1918.  The Sauer’s settled this land in 1869 and eventually had 10 children, one of whom served as midwife at the birth of President Johnson.LBJ State Park

Today the Sauer-Beckmann Farm continues on as an active farm by the help of volunteers and employees.  Inside the home were 3 ladies who help work the farm.  The cows need to be milked every morning, chicken’s fed, eggs retrieved, garden grown, and hogs slaughtered.  Yep, one of these handsome hog’s days were numbered as he was on the schedule to provide everyone with some bacon.  And we were invited by the ladies to come back for the event…. no thanks!Hogs BaconBye little fellow.  Hope you had a good life…..

LBJ RanchThe ladies are dressed in similar attire to that of the early 1900’s and are cooking stew, making cheese, and knitting.  They also tend to the garden, help care for the animals, and assist in the curing of meats.

FYI…. they use workampers around here and no you won’t see me volunteering.  This gal likes her conveniences!

LBJ state park ranchchicken coopBut that didn’t stop me from hanging around a couple of turkey’s or checking the chicken coop for eggs….well, Al did the checking – something he used to do when he was a little boy growing up in Illinois farm country.

I was fascinated by the barn structure, but the tools inside the barn and shed grabbed Al’s attention.  Do I hear a Tim Allen grunt?

Al and I literally had to tear ourselves away from the Sauer-Beckmann Farm. We literally felt like we stepped back in time.  We could’ve spent another hour just wandering around, but alas, we moved on to tour the Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch.

The drive took a lot longer than Al and I anticipated but we thoroughly enjoyed it.  The variety of animals on the ranch as well as the overall size of the ranch surprised both of us.

Here’s an excerpt from the brochure;
President Johnson drew strength and solace from his ranch.  His desire to leave a legacy of his accomplishments and to demonstrate the cultural conservation practices associated with ranching prompted President and Mrs. Johnson to donate a portion of the LBJ Ranch to the National Park Service in 1972.  Johnson stipulated that the LBJ Ranch remain a working ranch.LBJ State ParkLBJ State Park Ranch

The National Park Service maintains a herd of Hereford cattle descended from the President’s registered herd and manages the ranch lands as a living demonstration of ranching the LBJ way.

We would definitely recommend a visit to the LBJ State Park and Al is glad I insisted we stop.  The ranch is huge with a lot of things to see.  With the day getting late we weren’t able to stop at the various sites such as the school house, cemetery, or  Texas White House. We know we’ll return on a future visit and plan to spend a lot more time; possibly an entire day exploring at our leisure. Our tour was rushed as we had one more stop for the day planned and we were already running late.

Our last stop of the day;  Garrison Brothers Distillery.  Al and I aren’t bourbon drinkers, but a blog reader said it’s a must see.  After checking out their website and detecting the humorous undertone, I was really looking forward to the experience.  So off we headed into the back country in search of the distillery.  We were hoping to catch their last tour of the day.Texas BourbonUnfortunately, we were a tad too late for the distillery tour, but vowed to return another day.  Such is life…..so much to see, so little time.  Our stay in Texas has come to an end….a temporary end!

UPDATE:  We are currently sitting in Phoenix AZ.  I unfortunately contracted that nasty flu virus and have been incredibly ill.  I’m finally on the mends but it’ll take me a while to regain my strength.  This thing knocked the wind out of my sails pretty darn bad.  Please note, I’m keeping up with all your blog posts even though I may not be commenting.  Once I’m feeling better, I’ll bring y’all up to date.
T
hanks for stopping by 🙂

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Lounging in a comfy T

fiber-textileIs there anything more comfy than a soft cotton T-shirt?  I live in cotton.  Cotton shirts,  cotton pants, cotton socks…..yep, I love my comfy cotton clothing.

As a gal growing up in the Midwest, I’m used to seeing crop fields.  Fields of corn, fields of beans, fields of wheat but never fields of cotton.  I saw my first cotton field last year.  I don’t find the fields particularly attractive, nor do they seem well-organized like rows of corn or pretty like a golden field of wheat.fiber-textile

Seeing those fields from a distance triggers a curiosity.  I wonder; does the raw cotton feel soft or rough?  What does this plant look like up close?  What does it take to turn this white fluffy stuff into a favorite shirt?Textile

I’ve been parked on the far west side of Phoenix, Arizona for the past couple of months; just across from a cotton field.  I know, who would have thought one could grow cotton in the desert?  I’ve always associated cotton with southern states like Georgia, Mississippi, or Louisiana but never Arizona.  It’s amazing what can grow in the desert with the help of irrigation.textile

With camera in hand, I check out these plants up close.  I touch the raw cotton.  It’s incredibly soft. The rest of the plant seems rough and unbending.  I can’t imagine hand picking the cotton.  I’m clueless about modern harvesting techniques but past practices are indelibly etched in American history.  Actually cotton is a fiber rich in world history and dates back to B.C.textile

Fellow blogger, Rebecca over at Clanmother, recently wrote a post about a cotton mill in England and the industrial revolution.  You can read about it here.   As much as I may love wearing cotton, cotton has had a tremendous impact on so many lives over the years, much of it negative.   Indeed, this plant is rich in history; providing wealth to the lucky and slavery to the unlucky.

Times have not changed, just the countries and the methods. Thoughts to ponder!textile-fiber

Yes, cotton is an interesting and unique shrub.   As I lounge around wearing one of my comfy cotton T’s, I have a new-found respect for all the work that went into the production of my favorite cotton garment; from the plant, to the yarn, to the stitching…..I love it and will treasure it even more!textile-fiber