A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dragon Ladies and Mutton Men

Huge Estate Sale! My heart beats faster, my mind is racing, I read the list of items again, zeroing in on the phrase "Much Much More!" at the end of the ad. I wonder what could be in that much much more; it's so tempting. I surely don't need anything else since I have to get rid of stuff I already have. Still, there is the possibility of a real treasure!

There is always some sadness involved in an estate sale. Some loved one passed away or went to a nursing home or maybe went to live with one of the kids. But one day someone will be having an estate sale for me, I imagine, and I hope someone is happy to get the things I treasured.

It was a gorgeous day for a sale. The setting was on a hill overlooking the little Texas town. The road was winding and narrow and up and down. I found a place to park among the pickups and a few cars and headed down the hill to the home. Everything was outside. The items were all clean and spread out in the yard and in the spotless tool shed. I started making the rounds. I am building a little outside toy box for Bixby and need some things to decorate it and I always keep an eye out for Texas treasures.

On the table with bottles I spotted a clear soda bottle with an embossed Dragon on it. It was from the Dragon Bottling Company in San Antonio. I had never heard of it but I have a bottle from the Hippo Bottling Company in San Antonio. It's like this one but has an embossed hippo. I like the Dragon even more! So it was the first item I picked up to purchase. When I got home and looked up info I discovered the company was owned by a Tejano woman in San Antonio. Her husband had started a carbonated water company named Rodriguez and Son Bottling Company. When he passed away during the Great Depression she became President of the company and a few years later, the sole owner. In 1934 she changed the name to Dragon Bottling Company (you go, girl - much more flair!) and began bottling 12 flavors of soda. It shut down in 1962. So I had a treasure with both Texas history and the history of women entrepreneurs!

At the end of the table of bottles I found several unused labels for the Range Canning Company out of Fort McKavett, Texas. There were two kinds of labels, one for chili and one for boiled mutton. While I would generally go for anything chili, the boiled mutton one appealed to me because it had a cowboy roping a longhorn on it, in addition to a picture of a sheep. It was red and yellow, my two favorite colors! Even though I am getting rid of stuff that goes on walls, I just had to have it and because of its size I figured I could fit it in somewhere in my bathroom, which has cowboy and Texas stuff.

The Range Canning Company was the first meat-packing operation in West Texas. It was founded in 1893 by William Black, a rancher in the Ft. McKavett area. He was considered the nation's authority on angora goats and he also help found the New York Cotton Exchange. There is a beautiful old fort at Ft. McKavett and we have visited it several times. It's on the top of a hill and a group from NASA that does star-gazing parties goes there every so often with their telescopes. The Buffalo Soldiers were stationed at Ft. McKavett and frontier reenactments are held there

I looked online when I got home and found one of these identical labels on eBay for $48.00. I paid $9.50 for mine. Wish I had picked up a couple more to sale! I love that it mentions it's handy for yachting and miners. 

(It's covered in plastic wrap in the photos I took, that's why is has the wrinkles. I'll leave that on until I get it framed.)
My other treasures included yardsticks from the Arroyo Lumber Company in Harlingen and Negley Paint Company in San Antonio. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these yet but I love old yardsticks and how can you not for 50 cents each! My mother retired from a paint company in Houston and lumber yards are my favorite places to shop, so anything related to paint and lumber is right up my alley.

For Bixby's toy box I bought a red wooden carpenter's level for $5.00; it's just like one I already have. Someone picked it up while I was looking at it and when he decided against it and put it back, I grabbed it. I am madly in love with levels. My family is full of carpenters and I am obsessive enough to want all things to be level. I also bought a little iron star for 50 cents that I may use on the toy box. 

And a beautiful old swirly brown doorknob. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. But old doorknobs are another love of mine and I figured it was $1.50 well spent! I'll think of something to use it on. It has a nice feel to it and if I can figure out how to incorporate it on the toy box I will.

There were many rustic birdhouses for sale for $2.00 each. Probably 50 or so. I was tempted but I need to clean out the birdhouses I have now for the Spring nesting season and didn't get any. Now that I'm home I wish I had picked up a few. Well, I guess I could make some if I need them. Still, I hope they all found a good home.

For a few dollars I got a history lesson in dragons and mutton and some things for projects. Next time you see an estate sale ad in your neighborhood, I hope you check it out. You never know what you'll find or learn!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Littlest Ranch Hand

Sarah, Justin, and Bixby came out to the ranch a week or so ago. Bixby proved to be a natural ranch hand! He helped with all the ranch chores and showed no fear of the 1200 pound longhorns.

Justin filled up the coffee can with cubes that we keep in the woodshed and Bix took control of it. With his dogs Wyatt and Holly at his side, he kept the cubes coming and Gus was loving it. Woodrow is standoffish and missed out, although he did accept one from Justin. 

We took to the roads on Saturday. Justin writes a food blog called Breakfast with Bixby and our first stop was Isaack's Restaurant in Junction, where we fueled up for the trip to Fredericksburg. Our favorite waitress Helen took our order. While waiting for the food Bix and I took a tour of the entry lobby and the deer and hog mounts on the wall, where he practiced his word-learning skills. You can follow Bixby and his dad on their breakfast adventures at Breakfast With Bixby.

Our first stops in Fredericksburg all had to do with food and wine. Wine tasting at the Fredericksburg Winery, chocolate at Chocolat, olive oil at The Olive Oil Shops

(Photo - Bix eating his chocolate turtle outside the Chocolat shop)

We had lunch at the Altdorf Biergarten. After that Bixby fell asleep and he and I found a shady parking space where he could nap while Sarah and Justin went to a few shops they wanted to check out.

In the country you always have to make it home in time to feed and we did. Then Justin put a couple of bags of corn in the deer feeder while Sarah took Bixby for a ride on his favorite new toy, the Mule. 

After that it was time for some relaxation. Continuing our good eats, we fried some venison backstrap for supper with some mashed potatoes and gravy. Ranching is hard work and requires lots of fuel!

After some venison patty sausage and homemade biscuits the next morning, the littlest ranch hand left with his parents, leaving the ranch foreman with no ranch hands. Gus has been moping every since he left.