Texas distillery now at 100% hand sanitizer production

Treaty Oak Distilling in Dripping Springs, Texas is one of the best whiskey distilleries in the Hill Country west of Austin. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has shut down their restaurant and their distillery. To at least keep some income coming in, Treaty Oak is now only producing hand sanitizer.

According to KXAN TV, the NBC affiliate in Austin,  on March 26th reported that the FDA is allowing distilleries to produce hand sanitizer. It must be at least 80% alcohol, have no other ingredients and be in a bottle with appropriate labeling. Starting next week Treaty oak will only produce the sanitizer, thus allowing some employees to remain working.

Last November we visited Treaty Oaks Distilling. Little could we guess back then that this distillery would be in the fight against a killer virus. You can read about our 2019 visit here. 

Remembering a distillery visit in Texas

I thought it was time for something different than a post about the COVID-19 pandemic. Allow us to share a few photos and text about a nice local distillery we visited during our winter residence in Texas a few short weeks ago.

Fast Eddy logo in neon

The Hill Country near Austin is home to several breweries, wineries and distilleries. Near Dripping Springs one will find the Fast Eddy Vodka distillery. We stopped there one day near the closing time. The place was absolutely packed as there were the normal amount of cars and two huge tour buses that had filled the place with folks.

 

 

 

The bar of course had samples of the many varieties of flavored vodkas bottled at the facility. There was a very large distillery room with lots of tables. We looked at the merchandise, but did not really find any shirts we liked. Our purchases were limited to a couple of glasses with the Deep Eddy logo.  We passed on samples as we had been out all day visiting breweries. I was not really in the mood for even a sample of vodka.

Here is the Deep Eddy website. Notice that now the place is closed due to, you guessed it, COVID-19 restrictions. When we go to Texas in the future, we do plan on visiting Deed Eddy again.

Coronavirus has turned Caesar’s Indiana Grand Casino silent and empty

The Indiana Grand Casino, located between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, has been closed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Thirteen Indiana casinos were ordered closed on March 16th for a minimum of two weeks. The Grand is our favorite casino when we are in Indiana. The other day we took a drive to “get out of the house” for awhile. Our son drove us by the casino. What a difference from the norm!

Main entrance canopy

The main entrance of the casino is without the usual swarm of valet using vehicles. The huge square under the “GRAND” sign is normally lit up with signage. The pond in the foreground of the picture normally has three big fountains going.

 

 

 

The parking garage, five levels of it, is now completely empty of vehicles. A casino pickup truck blocks the entrance. The west side of the facility, home of the second entrance and the main valet parking lot is also empty. A pair of the casino’s many shuttle buses are blocking that entrance.

The huge parking lots are obviously closed. The normally busy multi-lane road in front of the casino and parking lot is nearly deserted. Only an occasional local resident drives by now. The whole site looks like a scene out of an apocalyptic movie. As more and more states (and countries, for that matter) are ordering lock downs and stay at home rules we’ll see more and more views of empty businesses, streets, subway stations and highways.

President Trump said yesterday that he “sees light at the end of the tunnel” and that he wants “everything raring to go for Easter”.  What do you think?

Indiana State Police Superintendent issues warning

During a coronavirus press conference held at the Indiana State Capital building, Indiana Governor Holcomb asked State Police Superintendent Doug Carter to take the microphone. He quoted a Facebook social media post that erroneously claimed that Indiana hospitals would not have respirators for any patient over the age of sixty. Carter said he was “disgusted” by this posting that would cause fear and panic.

Superintendent Carter stated that you need to make sure that your sources of information about the COVID-19 pandemic can be trusted. Don’t rely on, pass on or talk about information that is incorrect. How do you determine what is real and what is not true? That, my friends, is the sixty four dollar question. Where do you get your coronavirus pandemic information? How many different sources do you rely on?

Click here for the Indiana State Police website.

Click here for the Indiana Department of Health COVID-19 website.

Indiana will be shut down thanks to COVID-19

Indiana’s Governor Holcomb went on the air at noon today to announce that even more measures are needed to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Indiana has seen a dramatic increase in the number of confirmed cases, and, tragically, an increase in the number of Hoosiers that have perished due to COVID-19.

Today Sher and I decided to take a drive to get us out of the house for a while. Our son (who does our shopping for us) drove. It was nice to get out. We saw a definite decrease in traffic at the grocery stores and big box stores. The eateries had their  quickly made signs up offering take out food service only.

Nearly empty lot at Cracker Barrel: carry out only

Like many other regions in the country there have been recommendations to restrict the gathering of people in order to keep the spread of the virus down. Here the number went from 250 to 50 rather quickly. Within days restaurants, bowling alleys, arcades and theaters were closed. Soon after Indiana’s casinos also were closed. Now with the new Executive order from the Governor, Indiana will lock down this Wednesday at midnight. Folks are to stay home, work from home if possible. Stores are closing, well, you know how it works.

` Indiana Grand Casino closed. Even the pond fountains are turned off.

Where is this pandemic going? How bad is it going to get? Looking at New York, California and Washington State it is already pretty grim. Gov. Holcomb said more is needed to be done here to stop the spread. Trump says one thing, Dr. Fauci says something else. FEMA says they are getting the masks out. ER doctors across the nation say they don’t have enough masks. Testing? Who has a clue as to what is really going on there.

Wishing all our friends the best as we get through this trying time. Stay in, stay safe and remember to wash those hands. We are really looking forward to when we can get back on the road again.

Coronavirus is causing us to change our April

April is usually the month we start getting ready for spring festivals to sell our glass pendants.  The pendants all need to be shined and all tablecloths washed.  Usually we are getting ready for antique shows, where we sell antiques that we collect all year.  In fact our first show of the year is usually in April. This year we’re not even sure if there will be any festivals or shows for us to go to.

Selling our pendants at an Austin show

We have gotten everything for the spring, but doesn’t look like we will able to do any.  Not even sure that we can do any at all this summer. We are hoping that by fall things will back to normal, but we can’t count on it.

We’ve been in Texas for most of the winter and came back at the end of Feb. because of Coronavirus.  Then when it was suggested that older people and people with other diseases were high risk, it caused us to “shelter in place” at our home.  We still have family, kids and grand-kids that live in Indiana and Ohio and we’ve postponed seeing them for the time being.

We use facetime a lot and it has helped keep our sanity.  Very thankful for all we do have.  We have a warm home, food, and don’t have the virus.  We have books to read, movies to watch and facetime with family.  We have time to get caught up reading blogs we haven’t had a chance to read.  And, we are so grateful for all our online friends that keep us on our toes.

Keep safe!!!

 

LEGO long distance babysitting

Our 5 year old grandson lives in Seattle with his parents. Both our daughter and son-in-law are currently working from home because of the coronavirus, work that requires both phone calls and meetings via video-conferencing, as well as other tasks that require their giving full attention. Our grandson is also staying home from his pre-school.

Sher and I have the absolute pleasure of distant babysitting our grandson via video conferencing technology. He loves building things with his extensive LEGO collection.  When we connect, we are treated to a little show complete with his latest Lego creation and its associated story line. We get to see a new play each time complete with a song! We absolutely love talking with him and seeing all those LEGO creations he is working on daily. Being home is hard for him as he is used to being in preschool with his little friends. Lots of pent up energy there!

Not only do we get to “babysit” our grandson which is a treat for us, but we can give his parents some time while they are working from home that they can have to themselves. Plus it gives us something else to do. This isolation thing does get rather boring at times.

What are you doing to pass the time during these tense and uncertain times?

Coronavirus has us isolated

It’s been a couple of days since we last posted anything about our situation as it is affected by the whole COVID-19 issues facing the world. What have we been doing?

Self imposed isolation

You have heard about officials and even celebrities that  have put themselves in “isolation” when they find out they are positive for the corona virus. Well, we have on our own gone into isolation, and have been since we got back to our home from Texas. With my underlying health issues as well as age (69) I am very aware of how vulnerable I am if I become infected with this killer virus. The pandemic situation is very, very scary.

What we are doing to pass the time

Keeping up on the news is a constant thing we do. CNN.com has good live updates that cover news from around the world. Now keep in mind that the reports are frightening as they describe how the virus is effecting the world. We also catch the press conferences coming from the White House, even though Trump’s policies seem to be too little too late, and you have to take a lot of what he says with a grain of salt. (Remember his claims about Google working with the government for that web site?) We also watch the local and Network news daily.

We stay in touch with our kids and their families with messages, texts and video calls. Our kids have spread out all over the country. All but one is working from home now, and they are doing as good as can be expected. The communication is a god send: at least we can know that everybody is doing ok, and those conversations are one of the highlights of our days.

A lot of our time is spent on computers. It is our main source of ongoing updates about the COVID-19 pandemic around the world. Of course we also catch up on the blogs we follow, and do social media as well. Sher and I also have some online revenue sources we are continuing to utilize.

Streaming movies and shows

Another source of entertainment is of course streaming movies and tv shows. We are fortunate to have a Roku with which we get Netflix and Amazon Prime. We have found some good movies to watch, including some of the old classics. “Outbreak” with Dustin Hoffman (1996?) was pretty interesting given today’s news. Another classic is “Andromeda Strain” (1971). And then there is the TV series “Containment” that came out in 2016. This shows a serious and fatal virus hitting Atlanta, culminating in a partial lock down of the city. Worth a  binge viewing. A different genre, but still binge worthy is the two seasons of “Chosen One”. There is a religious cult hidden in the jungle, WHO workers are sent in to vaccinate, and thus begins the complex and contorted plot lines.

Took a drive today

Sher and I decided to get out of the house today for a little drive. We were curious to see if our town was feeling the effects of the pandemic. Indiana has 12 confirmed cases mostly in central and northern parts of the state. Our county has none, but we adjoin two counties with confirmed cases.  Anyway,  we drove around our small town and we observed that everything looked normal.  Walmart, Kroger and all the restaurants had full to semi full parking lots. Traffic was normal for a Sunday afternoon. Guess most do not have underlying health issues and are going on as usual…

We are still planning on staying in and safe. To all our dear fellow bloggers and readers: Please stay safe. If you are still on the road or in an RV resort or campground you still need to pay attention to “social distancing” and hygiene. Remember to wash those hands!

What are you all doing to get through the pandemic?

 

 

 

 

Corona virus, Indiana, and our take

Sher and I returned from Texas to our home in central Indiana the last week of February. The corona virus issue was heating up.  We wanted to ride it out in an area we know. The news kept getting worse and worse. Indiana finally got its first confirmed case, and as of this writing there are now twelve confirmed in the Hoosier state.

Our situation

Yes, we’re both a little scared and a lot upset. I am the poster child for the high risk individual with underlying health issues. I have a Trifecta: 69 years old with COPD and heart issues. I can’t take any chances so we are staying in, hunkered down with our TV, internet and talking with our kids and grand kids via texting and video calling. Are you avoiding crowds? Paying attention to “social distancing”?  (That’s a new term, huh? My how the world has changed in a few short months.)

Stocking up

Some experts say two weeks worth of food and supplies. I think a month is a safer bet, and we pretty much have that covered. What is your take on stocking up? Can you make it for two, three or more weeks without a trip to the grocery? Got enough medicines? A couple of our sons ran into  shelves empty of toilet paper yesterday.

A Meijer in Ohio

A Walmart in Indiana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A massive shutdown

Things are going from bad to worse. Schools and universities are closing everywhere. No gatherings of any large size are being allowed. Sports events? Well, forget them for at least a month or two. Concerts, plays, festivals? Nope. (Here in Indiana the Governor has designated 250 as the magic number for the size of gatherings that will be allowed)

What’s your feeling? 

We can’t understand why testing numbers are so low here in the U.S. The President says one thing, his top adviser Dr. Fauci says the opposite. Seriously? Hard to be optimistic about our government’s ability to handle the corona virus pandemic. What do you think?

To our blogging friends

Please please be safe! It’s bad, and we’re afraid it is going to get worse. We can communicate through our blogs and other e-methods which is helpful if, like us, you are wary of any public interaction. Let’s keep in touch.

Oh, wash your hands, wash your hands and wash your hands.

 

Solstice Outdoors is a fun Texas art gallery

Out side of Dripping Springs, Texas in the Hill Country near Austin is a thriving landscape design business that also doubles as a place to view and purchase unique outdoor artwork. Solstice Outdoors Ltd. is based in a former ranch home surrounded by 2 acres of what is now a whimsical display of outdoor works of art and decoration.

Solstice homestead

Outdoor fire pit complete with pyramid and butterfly seating!

 

 

 

 

 

Through an online mobile search Sher found this place while we were prowling about the Dripping Springs area. Thanks to google maps we soon found this surprising gallery of both indoor and outdoor craftsmanship. Each of the rooms in the house were used to display local artist’ works, including jewelry, tapestries and pictures.

Bull/man iron soldier

Another metal man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By far the most unique part of Solstice is the “backyard”. As soon as you go out into the yard you are greeted with a variety of ‘creatures” in all sizes and materials. The company offers landscaping design and construction. Walking through the grounds was like walking through an outdoor arts garden.

This face is kind of creepy, IMHO

A different medium for a longhorn!

 

 

 

 

 

Often we don’t have a set itinerary some days when we explore an area. It is always an adventure to find things by just driving around looking for signs, or hitting up the mobile search for “things near you”. The day we found Solstice Outdoor, Ltd. was one of those days.