When pigs fly

One of several whimsical sculptures in Seattle’s Neototem Garden

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.

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?

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.

Rose Hill Cemetery in Bloomington, Indiana

Bloomington is a vibrant college town in south central Indiana. Originally platted in 1818, the city father’s realized that a cemetery was a need, thus in 1819 a small piece of ground west of the village was laid out. To identify the grave yard the initials “G” and “Y” were carved into a large oak tree at the entrance.

Entrance marker to Rose Hill

A unique brick and stone monument. Note the entrance gate in the background

 

 

 

 

 

Note the Hand pointing up: symbol for deceased going to heaven

Monument to Civil War Vets

There were no burial records until 1897 after the eight woman Ladies Cemetery Association took over the running of the property in 1892. This civic minded group renamed the cemetery Rose Hill after the wild rose bushes scattered around the property.

 

Infantryman on CW monument. Note that vandals have knocked off the musket

Ornate multi-level family monument, has Greek and Latin lettering for Jesus

Other improvements and additions have taken place through the years. A nice fountain was moved to another park in Bloomington in 1991 after vandalism in the cemetery. A storm destroyed some planted trees in 2000. But the main reason we find this and other cemeteries interesting is the headstones. There are marvelous examples of symbolism on many of the stones in Rose Hill. Also named iconography, there are a host of symbols carved into many stones, mostly older limestone ones.

Sentimental inscription on a mother’s stone

Bloomington is about an hour south of Indianapolis. The cemetery is east of the I-69 interstate, take the 3rd Street exit. This is a 28 acre historic cemetery with origins in the early 1800’s. History buffs, take notice. This is a great old grave yard.

Painting with a Twist, North Austin version

We decided to look for another opportunity to do a “sip and paint” type studio event. A quick google search revealed four different Panting with a Twist stores in Austin. With this franchise, you have to check to see what painting was on the agenda on what day. Sher and I both liked a Valentine’s Day themed picture that was actually designed for “his and hers” to be combined to make one piece of art.

Front desk with the instructor and assistant

Thus we were off to Painting with a Twist of North Austin. Fortunately there was very adequate parking for the RV and it was a fairly easy drive to the studio. We got there plenty early, met the staff and got our aprons on.

Our work station

Work in progress

 

 

 

 

 

There was one instructor and an assistant. The set up was pretty neat: The instructor stood by the double canvas on a small stage. There she could give step by step instructions on how to create our masterpieces. In addition to seeing the instructor on the stage, there were also two large screen TV’s that you could also see her and the canvas as she painted it. Great idea!

Grinning and painting

Our finished two canvas painting in our RV

 

 

 

 

 

There were about 20 couples who were in our session. The instructor kept a running patter going as she gave us specific instructions on what to paint, how and when. She was good at her job, and was able to add humor and levity to her discourse. There was more than one reference to Bob Ross and his painting techniques during the session which was very interesting. Try one of these fun projects sometime. It is a great way to spend an evening. Here is the corporate website so you can find one of the studios near you.

Best doughnuts on the west coast

If you ask the folks that are patrons of Frost in Mill Creek outside of Seattle they will agree with the boastful title of this post. Seattle agrees that they are the best in Washington State. Sher and I were treated to a trip to Frost by our Seattle family.

The doughnut case

Delicate French style macarons

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Frost store is found in the Mill Creek Town Center, an upscale shopping and entertainment complex in this nice Seattle suburb. The store offers doughnuts, cupcakes and French macarons. The macarons are not to be confused with macaroons, a totally different treat.

That is a chocolate filled masterpiece

This perfect apple fritter defines the craft

 

 

 

 

 

 

We enjoyed a variety of different doughnuts during our visit. Though they were typical in type, all were extraordinary in taste. In addition the gourmet coffees were a special addition to our mid-morning sweet tooth break.

Artistic gourmet coffees compliment the pastries

The next time we are in the Seattle area, we’ll for sure want to  go with our family to the Frost store. Perhaps we will try a cupcake or a macaron on our next visit. But I don’t know, those doughnuts are pretty darned good! Check out the Frost website and be prepared to get hit with a sweet treat craving.