Monday, October 26, 2020

Taking a Break

 Settling in nicely in the new house.  The box to available floor space  ratio is overwhelmingly favoring floor space.  Not completely, mind you, but pretty near.  Cooking and cleaning are becoming easier also.  It usually takes opening no more than two storage areas (drawers, cupboards) before finding the item I'm seeking.  

So, we got that going for us.  As Mrs J's Birthday is this Tuesday, MBD and I planned a little get away down time for the four of us.  Original plan was to visit the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort between Bastrop and Austin.  Unfortunately, $450/room/night was a bit out of our price range.  

Dear Hyatt, 

If I recall my HS Economics class correctly, lower prices increases demand assuming a constant quality.  I know the Commie Flu has been hard on the bottom line.  Please don't try to make it all up at once.

Be see'in ya...Maybe


Instead, we found a two bedroom condo on Lake LBJ.  My definition of ON is "it had a boat slip with a boat". No Beans, the boat was not included in the rental fee.  But the patio was and it was quite pleasant.

Running a guest house ourselves, it was interesting to see how others do it.  They were "similar, but different".  It was obvious to us that the owners use a cleaning service.  Just little things. Like the little containers of creamer were a tad "long in the tooth".  I don't think they're supposed to be solid.  But, what the heck, dump it out, wash cup, make another, don't add creamer.  The can opener doesn't work very well.  Just take it slow and keep your fingers away from the sharp edges.

It's all good.  Especially when you're the only one awake and this is the view.

 And the second cup was pretty darn good.

Finally the clan joins me on the balcony.  SIL has a test the next day so he's studying.  MBD is working from "Home", so she's got some video meeting going on.  Yes, she did sit facing the sliding glass door so the above view was her background.  Life is good.

Finally it's lunch time so we decide to go to the Double Horn Brewery.  Pretty nice place, got to meet the brewmaster, owner, waiter and Matre'd, all at once.  Ordered "The Cowboy", as did Mrs J.  Cheeseburger with an onion ring, BBQ sauce, Lettuce and fresh Jalapenos.  I also ordered a Stout to wash it down.  First bite was great, then I hit the jalapeno at the same time Mrs J did.  They were a bit...spicier than I expected, and I've eaten an awful lot of jalapenos over the year.  But it did take a bit more of the Stout to wash it down.  Asked the brewmaster, owner, waiter and Matre'd, when he came to check on us for another.  He asked if I had liked the first, I told him I had and he asked if I wanted to try the "Nitro" Stout.  He said the one I'd just finished had used CO2 for carbonation, this one used Nitrogen.  He had just decided that morning that it was ready for sale. I said sure.  Still had a little bit of the first left, so put it aside for comparison.

Learn something new every day.  The "Nitro" was much smoother and had a finer head, similar to a Guinness.  I complemented him on his skills as we left.  

We then decided to investigate a little bit of local history.  I'd read something a while back about the early history of the Hill Country.  It spoke a bit about the chafing that occurred between the German Immigrants and the American Immigrants to Texas.  Suffice it to say, the German's were NOT pro-slavery, while the American's immigrated to Texas primarily from the South.

Discussions did not always end amicably, as I've spoken about before .  So just outside Marble Falls city limits on the south side of the river and about a mile east of US281 on a road off of a county road is a Texas Historical Marker.  One is quite unlikely to stumble upon it by accident.

The marker is for "Dead Man's Hole".  This hole is 155' deep and 50' long.   Back in the day, it was said to have a tall oak tree above it.  Seems some folks used it to resolve conflicts.  



The marker says up to 17 bodies are supposed to be inside the cave.  several attempts were made to explore the cave, but the air was too noxious very far from the entrance.  The people identified on the marker were ID'd by clothing or personal items found in the cave after it was successfully explored in 1951.  According to this source, Judge Scott was the first Judge for Burnet (pronounced Burn' it) County and was pro Union,  He and another Pro-Union supporter, James McMasters, tried to flee the area when they heard Confederate Supporters called "Bushwackers" were coming for them.  Unfortunately, they were caught.  Scott was shot and McMasters was hung.  Quite likely from the oak tree above the cave.  It was said to have had the mark of several ropes on its limbs.

The Freedmen incident mentioned on the placque is said to have happened in 1871.  A man named Ben McKeever was riding through a place where several Black families had settled.  A dog spooked his horse, so he pulled his pistol and shot at it...missing...several times.  The dog's owner came out and protested.  McKeever shot at him unsuccessfully. McKeever rode off.  On a return trip to the area, the man, Ben Shelby, gathered three others and ambushed McKeever shooting him with a shotgun, then slicing his throat.  They disposed of the body in Dead Man's Hole.  The 4 men were eventually convicted of the murder and according to Court Records (although there is disagreement) were hung for the crime.


It was a sobering place to visit, especially when one considers how many similar things are happening daily in the US.

So. with a lot of things running round my head, we returned to the casa de alquiler de juvat and went swimming.

Yes, Beans, the water was fairly cool.  Maybe 65 or so.  As they say, it wasn't so bad once you got used to it.  It's just the getting used to it part.

Then returned to the casa de alquiler de juvat, had a Margarita while we watched the sun set.


Next day, SIL had to be at the Austin testing site early, so we packed up and headed home, to find the Gutter Installers hard at work and the antenna re-installer humbly apologizing, saying he'd be happy to use a shorter rack and install it in the brick.  (They don't have a ground mount.  I'd have to buy and install a flag pole if I wanted one.  We'll see.)

A fun time was had by all.  Peace y'all!


  1. I'm still wrapping my thoughts around 65 degree swimming water.

    We didn't do spicy eating in my family, and I never acquired the taste. Some of my inadvertent experiments with (to me) overly spicy foods have made my believe that Spontaneous Human Combustion may have roots in spicy foods.

    Nitrogen in beers. Hmm. What a wonderful rabbit hole to dive into on a Monday morning. We have some experience with homemade beverages and pressure carbonating them a carbon dioxide tank into a stainless steel soda syrup container.
    The internet says that "Beer Gas" or "Guiness Gas" is a mix of 75% nitrogen and 25% carbon dioxide.
    That would mean a gas bottle and a nitrogen specific regulator.
    It might be cost prohibitive on the homebrew scale, but it sounds very interesting.

    Good to hear that the house is settling down and becoming a home.

    1. Check out a welding gas supplier, like AirGas. They may be able to mix what you want. There are some specific welding mixes like that.

    2. Thanks John, just be careful which "rabbit hole" you jump into. Some of them might be more difficult to get out of than others.

    3. Welders and Beer? Who'da thunk!

      Thanks STxAR

    4. Make sure you specify what you're using the Nitro for, as gasses and bottles can be slightly dirty in a chemical way.

      Nitro in beer... In Burnet... Full of people of German heritage... I hear the brewmeisters in actual Germany saying a resounding "hmmmmph" and muttering about crazy insane non-rules-following Amis.

    5. There are rules and there are guidelines. Example: When there is a collision between an airplane and the ground, the ground wins every time. Example: Nitrogen in beer? Pretty dang tasty!

    6. STxAR. I am trying to avoid the welding gas suppliers because I might just give in to temptation and buy the gas bottle I would need for the not yet purchased TIG welder. :)

      Beans. Good point and it reminded me that a long time ago I'd asked why the oxygen bottles in the shipboard welding shop and the oxygen bottles in sickbay had the exact same markings. The answer was that the Navy bought only medical grade oxygen for ships because of what you said. (I'd not thought about that in a long time.)

      juvat. Now I'm wondering what home made root beer would taste like with nitrogen carbonation, or indeed, even nitrogen sparkling water.

    7. The biggest difference I noticed was the foam bubbles were much smaller. Almost creamy (similar to a Guinness draught). Let us know how the root beer turns out.

      As to the TIG welder...Any excuse will do! ;-)

    8. Lincoln has a sweet 'does everything' welding rig, MIG, TIG, stick, wire, steel, aluminum whatever. Just a simple deposit of your first born child...

    9. Beans. Post retirement I took an "Introduction to Hobby Welding" course at a local tech school and spent two months of one night a week standing in the welding booth for three hours. This doesn't make me a welder though it did improve my stick and wire welding a bunch.
      I did spend several evenings using their TIG welders and their gas and eventually got to where my TIG welds weren't terrible.
      The TIG welding was just about like soldering, you can clearly see what's going on, and then you add the filler material.
      But the TIG welder needs different gases depending on what you are going to weld, and the wire feed welder needs an entirely different gas mix.
      It isn't so much spending the money on the tools, it's needing all the different bottles for gases.
      I could rationalize away the cost, but I haven't yet needed to.

  2. There is a monument in Comfort, Tx about a band of Germans that were escaping to Mexico during the Great War of Northern Aggression. Didn't turn out well. That is the only memorial to Union sympathizers in the south as I recall. I had mixed emotions when I stood there in 1983. I guess the history was just too fresh.

    If there is more water than a bathtub holds, I'm antsy. That stuff tries to kill you when you least expect it. Even a bathtub full is dangerous. I went "swimming" in Owl Creek, near McCurtain, OK in the spring once. I hit the water, my whole body cramped up, I spazzed to shore, and hobbled out. That water was closer to 40 degrees, but still...

    Glad the installer made good on his job.

    HB Mrs. juvat!

    1. Been there. I agree with the mixed emotions. When I re-read my post about that, I looked again at the list of folks murdered. There were quite a few last names on the list that I'm very familiar with. The old Germans around here are slow to take on new friends, but once they do, they're very reliable friends. I wonder why. Ok, no I don't.

  3. If you have not been, Juvat, Fredricksburg is a lovely little town settled by German Immigrants by that has (largely) maintained its charm. It is one of the few examples of a treaty signed between Settlers and the Native Americans that was not violated. Also the home of the National Museum of The Pacific War (birthplace of Admiral Nimitz). Well worth your time if you are in the neighborhood.

    1. Mr T,
      We visited Fredericksburg in '97, moved here in '98. Love the place. The Nimitz Museum is a frequent visit for me. So far, I've always found something there that I hadn't noticed before. I agree that visiting is well worth the time.

    2. We were fortunate enough to visit Fredricksburg & the Nimitz Museum in '18. Loved 'em both. Some great restaurants there, too.

    3. Well...if you ever come back. Give me a call. We think we're having a cold day today, you'd probably be outside in shorts and T-shirt. It's 48.

      Thanks, there are a lot of neat things to do and see around here.

  4. Happy Birthday Mrs J!!

    What a lovely view!!

    I am not at all surprised that there would be noxious fumes coming from a cave with 17 bodies in it!!! Bet other things had fallen in over the years as well...

    Increasing floor to box space--now that is true progress. And yes, it does take time to learn exactly WHERE everything is unpacked into...sigh...

    1. Thanks, Suz.

      Yeah, it was a nice get away for the gang and I. No real schedule or must do's, just some peace and quiet.

      I don't do well in tight dark spaces (probably a result of "The Box" during survival training at Fairchild as a LT), so going down into that wouldn't have been something I'd even consider doing. Fumes would just give me another good reason to pass.

      Last night was "Where's the Large Mixing Bowl?" night at Casa Juvat. Finally found it on the second pass through the kitchen. So, we're not quite there yet!

  5. Glad you got a break from the moving in chores!

    Dead Man's Hole sounds like a place to avoid when it's dark!

    1. It was a tad spooky at mid-day. I think I'd pass after dark.


  6. So how much hwack-ptooing did you do at Lake LBJ? The more I learn about the man, the more I understand today's politicians from the same party (and that's quite enough politics...)

    Ah, Burnet, way back when I was there (for an SCA event, 25th Anniversary event) I was mightily impressed by the steak house/biergarten that was the primary eating joint. Cowboy hats and oompah music to accompany huge steaks and even huger snitzles. Yum. And where, on a Texas 'breezy' day, I witnessed flying cow flapjacks. Where drying cow-flops would get picked up by the 'breeze,' which was running around 50mph or so, and said dried pies would go flying through the air, some to land in trees, some to smack people. (We ended up tying our tent to the van to keep it upright.)

    Glad you got to decompress, along with your spines. Heavy moving is no fun at all. My back twinges in sympathy.

    Have you ever gotten around to filling the wide-screen hole in your mantle with something larger than a desk monitor? New beer fridge? New non-beer fridge? (notice I put the important one first...)

    And, yeah, hotel prices. So they were fuming (it was safe after a few hours, supposedly) the apartment complex and I wanted to give Mrs. Andrew a night off and went and rented a hotel room for one night, off-season (no gator sports, hwack-ptooie) and in the middle of the week. Hotel was empty, even the tumble weeds were clean and polished. $175 per night! And 2/3rds the way through the night the a/c died, the moldy smell was too much, and we bailed. Scathing review, call to corporate, their attitude? Meh, we'll make up the money during foosball and graduations. Bastiges. Especially as all the hotel chains have bought out all the decent-priced HoJo type motels and hotels and torn them down and built expensive, moldy, noisy new places. Bastiges and Beyotches all. (So it's either first-born-son type of hostel or stay with the druggies and urban unwashed class of accomodations. Nothing in between, because it's Gainesville. It used to not be this way, just about 12 years ago it got worse and worse. To make matters worse, the most moneygrubbing anal round muscles are the self-avowed communist and socialist elite in this here burg.

    Glad you got some time off. And it sounds like your rent-a-casa services are far superior to normal house rentals. But, of curse, with Mrs. J watching over everything, they would be.

    (dried creamer cups, bleh...)(but then again, I always travel with either milk or fresh creamer cups for me tea.)

    1. Beans, Where to begin?
      Filling the hole. No, however there's a large box by the front closet along with a mount for the device. As the expense and the weight are such that I don't want to do it myself, I'm awaiting a call back from an expert. Someone I can call and yell at if I awaken one morning and find it on the floor.
      Lake LBJ? I refer to it by it's original name, Lake Granite Shoals. Unfortunately, his ranch (run by the National Park Service) is only about 15 miles from my place. When I'm heading east past it, I tend to rest my elbow on the edge of the sindow and brace it into place with a single finger at the top. I don't do that heading west as Mrs J might misinterpret.
      We didn't make it to Burnet this trip, but have passed through there frequently. I suspect you wouldn't recognize it nowadays. Austin is expanding westward and starting to devour places Marble Falls and Burnet. There's no open freeway between Austin and Dripping Springs any longer. Quite a few traffic lights along the way now. That situation hasn't reached Marble Falls and Burnet, but I suspect it won't be long.
      I don't usually use creamer, just seemed like a good idea at the time...It wasn't.


    2. 15 miles? That's just within range of a convenient 155mm howitzer.

      And like cancer or mold, Austin spreads... dangit.

    3. And Houston, And Dallas, And San Antonio...

  7. Glad y'all got some downtime! And happy 29th to Mrs. J! Dead Man's Hole is an interesting marker, as are many in Texas that are 'off the beaten path'... Since there are somewhere around 16,000 in Texas, that would take a while to find all of them!

    1. I bought the book that details all of them. It's in my truck for Mrs J to read as we're out sightseeing and such. Keeps the conversation going on some of those long straight flat stretches of highway.

  8. y' use helium in lieu of Nitrogen, y' can start singin' soprano to all those alte biertrinken lieder

  9. I started reading Celia Haye's books and was surprised at how rich Texas history is...Took a drive though West Texas last year, down Hwy 90, and had a bunch-a misconceptions cleared. Had to stop at Langtry (named by Judge Bean after his favorite star?) and learned that he was not a "hanging judge" but "there was one in Alabama".

    Instead he was known for his unorthodox sentences - such as tying drunks to a tree until they sobered up.

    Then stopped at the Alamo and had more misconceptions cleared. The whole battle was an hour- or less.

    And Fredericksburg! That is German town! Was surprised at the German heritage there deep in the heart of TX. German linguists have come there to study their German - caught in a time machine - but I was told it is dieing out.

    Of course Adm Nimitz is from Fredericksburg.

    1. Had a German Exchange student living with us when we first moved here. That was in '99, he was 18 and from the former East Germany. To say we had some interesting dinner "discussions" would be understating. In any case, he would go downtown and sit with the older Germans and talk with them. He said they spoke a much older version of German that he did. Well...duh. They've only been speaking with the same folks for 150 years or so, how was it going to change.
      I have a personal requirement to drive out to Big Bend once a year or so. Hwy 90 is my preferred routing. Most of the cars on the road are Border Patrol so it's pretty quiet. Now that I think about it, I'm about due for a trip. I don't think Commie Flu germs survive very well in the desert. Yeah, that's the excuse I'll use. Thanks.

    2. If you can, stop at Marga and stay at the Paisano. It’s a wonderful interesting hotel.

      In the 30s the builder had built five of these from Carlsbad to Marfa.

      Another one still stands at this little town at the junction of 10 and 90

      Forget the name of the town.

      But the owner, who owns both of them, restored them to 1930s grandeur.

      In the movie giant was being filmed in 1956, the film crew stayed at the Paisano.

      I had a nice trip there.

      And in San Antonio there’s a wonderful hotel right by the Alamo.

      Menger Hotel

      A Texan friend told me that Teddy Roosevelt recruited his Roughriders in the bar there.

      I have got to stay there next time.

    3. Marfa TX. This voice transcription is going to be the death of me

  10. Went to a friend of a friend's place in Marble Falls - retired Marine rotary pilot, later air ambulance pilot. Good kind of people. Anyway, he settled on a place of higher elevation down a caliche road off the highway. Not long after he moved there, he was driving out to the highway when he saw a log lying across the road so he slowed down. The log then slowly slithered off the road and he realized it was a BIG freaking snake! He then recalled that the raised ground his homestead occupied was labelled "Rattlesnake Ridge" on an old map he saw. He now keeps llamas and donkeys and goats - evidently donkeys hate snakes and have no problem dispatching them by stomping them to death.
    But when I visited, we drove out from Round Rock and the traffic situation was pretty dire - I remember when that part of the area was way out of Austin.
    When travelling around the state as a kid with my parents, the historical markers in Texas made for good impromptu history lessons and filled my head with all sorts of fantasies involving Spanish settlers, outlaws, soldiers, settlers from Mexico, Tennessee and other parts of the US, and, of course, Texas Rangers. Quite often there would be a roadside picnic table next to those markers where we'd have lunch - usually bologna or PB&J sandwiches, or maybe just sardines and crackers. Good times.

    1. Yeah, we used to do the same thing. My Dad's folks lived in Denver, and we were assigned in Big Spring. We'd go visit them a couple of times a year taking US 385 through Dalhart and Raton. Dad, being Dad, would drive it in a Day. Didn't want to spend money on hotel rooms for 6. Lunch was a picnic at a roadside park, and as you said, many of which had historical markers. Never had Sardines and crackers, but Balogna and PB&J were common. We knew we were on Mom's good side when she brought along Deviled Egg Sandwich's (Most people refer to them as Egg Salad, but she would add some Cayenne so...)
      As you said, Good Times!

  11. Another great post juvat. Historically enlightening. I'd like to send the image of that marker to some county officials I know, perhaps they'd take a lesson, but probably not.

    Looks like a beautiful place to spend time with family.

    Over-hot jalapenos? Yum! Sounds like a good burger!

    1. Thanks. Yeah so would I, but I don't think they'd understand.

      I wouldn't say the jalapenos were OVER hot, merely that they were spicy. Which was surprising, most of the jalapenos I've eaten lately aren't much more spicy than bell peppers and so kinda disappointing. My Wisconsin born and raised wife isn't quite as adventuresome pepper wise as I, but I'm working on her. Slowly, ever so slowly.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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