Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We arrived at the Nimitz Museum at 9:00 when it opened. There was still a lot to see. We spent about 4 1/2 hours in the George Bush Gallery.

The brand new George Bush Gallery tells the story of the Pacific War. The story includes media presentations, testimonials and historical artifacts. It covers all aspects and stages of the Pacific War including: Pearl Harbor, Doolittle Raid, Coral Sea and Midway, Tarawa, Texas in WWII, Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Hiroshima and Victory.

B-24 Bomber

Texas Capitol poster

Plaza of the Presidents

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

We got to the Admiral Nimitz Museum about 10:30. Luckily the pass is for 2 days. It's going to take us that long to go through it!
The Nimitz Gallery is about the life and career of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz and his famous career as a military leader who played a key role in the US victory over Japan. Admiral Nimitz was born in Fredericksburg, Texas.

15-foot, 24,744 pound solid bronze screw

Conning tower from the USS Pintado

We spent a couple of hours in the museum then took a break for lunch.

After lunch we walked to the Pacific Combat Zone which is two blocks from the main museum. The tour is included with the entrance fee to the museum or can be purchased seperately. We were the only ones on the tour.

The Pacific Combat Zone is a 3-acre indoor and outdoor living history and exhibit area. A tour guide led us through various combat locations of the Pacific War-- the hangar deck of an aircraft carrier with a TBM Avenger torpedo bomber, wings folded back; a South Pacific PT boat base with the world's only combat proven, restored, PT boat; and finally an island battlefield, modeled on the Japanese defenses at Tarawa.

TBM Avenger torpedo bomber with wings folded back

PT Boat: Patrol Torpedo Boat-309 is the only restored World War II combat veteran Higgins class PT boat on public display in the United States today.

Lots to see on the grounds

LVT - Landing Vehicle, Tracked

There is still a lot more to see. We plan to get back in the morning at 9:00 when the museum opens.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Today was “Natural Fiber: Fashionable, Functional, Fun” at the Sauer/Beckmann Living History Farm. We’ve been getting ready for it for a couple of days. It turned out to be a lot of fun. Mark has gotten his costume and has really jumped into his role as a 1915 farmer in eastern Gillespie County.

Mark P. McClelland, PE (Professional Engineer), PF (Professional Farmer)

My day was spent in the store and visitor center but I did take some time to go down to the farm and take some pictures. At the farm there were several volunteers demonstrating crochet, knitting, sewing, quilting and other activities that would have been performed during that time.

There were several very old, beautiful quilts that were on display.


I donated a few of my crocheted afghans that I happened to have in the RV to be used as exhibits.

"Tiger Butterfly"
One of my hand crocheted afghans.

Mark spent his day showing folks how to make rope.

Making rope.

Turning sisil twine into rope.

We had a great time! Volunteering is getting more fun every week!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We drove to Johnson City this morning to visit LBJ’s boyhood home. It’s a very clean and tidy national park. We watched a couple of movies, one about Lady Bird and one about LBJ before we walked around the grounds.

LBJ's boyhood home.

Well maintained trails around the park.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

We’ve survived our first two weeks as volunteers! I didn’t think we would after the first couple of days but we are starting to get an idea of what is expected of us and are settling into our volunteer positions.

We went to the Mesquite Festival in Fredericksburg today. There were a lot of pretty items to look at.

Friday, October 7, 2010

I got to tag Monarch Butterflies today!
One of the park staff caught about 75 Monarch Butterflies and set up a table outside the visitor center. I went out to watch and was handed a butterfly and a tiny little sticker to put on his wing.
After recording the date, tag number, and sex, the butterfly was released.
One of mine walked around on my hand for a while before finally flying off.
I’ll be able to track my butterflies if they are ever found by going to www.monarchwatch.com

If the butterfly has a pheromone gland it is a male.

The tag is always put in the same place on the wing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We headed out to Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park this morning. It’s in Fredericksburg on Highway 16. There is a wonderful butterfly garden, a bird blind and feeding area, and a very nice nature trail. Live Oak Creek runs through the park where we saw lots of wildflower.

Live Oak Creek



Queen Butterfly on Mist Flower

It’s back to work tomorrow for our second week of volunteering!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We woke up to a beautiful, clear, cool morning. After breakfast we hiked to the Rock. We went through a very small “cave” that didn’t seem to have a way out. We had to squeeze through a very small opening and climb a lot of rocks and finally ended up on top of the cave. It was a lot of fun getting down off those rocks!

It's a long way up the Rock

Incredible views

Cave entrance

There's got to be a way off these rocks!

We found the USGS marker at the peak and then headed on back to our campsite to pack up and hike out.

USGS marker at the peak

Compared to Enchanted Rock, this giant boulder looks like a pebble!

Monday, October 4, 2010

We spent the morning washing a couple loads of laundry in the brand new, gigantic washer and dryer provided by the park. It’s very convenient and we’re glad we don’t have to find a laundromat in town.

After lunch we packed up the tent and sleeping bags and headed to Enchanted Rock State Park. We decided to hike in and get set up then back track to an overlook, eat supper and read/watch stars. Our plan was to hike the Rock in the morning. Since there was no moon or clouds, we could see the Milky Way! It was a beautiful night sky. We even saw a few shooting stars.

Our campsite. Notice Enchanged Rock in the background. We've got the best camping site in the park!

Unusual rock formation

At the lookout you can see for miles!

Sunset view

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Today was our first day off. We drove into Fredericksburg. They were having Oktoberfest. It was pretty much a lot of food, drink, and music. We ate several things that were new to us like potato pancakes, and crepes. There were several good polka bands playing and we enjoyed sitting outside and listening to the music and eating.

Entrance to Oktoberfest, Fredericksburg, Texas

Making Crepes

Lots of food and music!

One of they many bands

Later that evening we drove to the Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area. The Old Tunnel WMA is the smallest Wildlife Management Area in Texas, only 16.1 acres. The abandoned railroad tunnel is home to 3 million Mexican Free-tailed Bats. If you look down the tunnel, you can see the bats flying around. About 7:30 p.m. they started coming out of the tunnel. It was an awesome sight!

Looking through the tunnel

It takes a long time for 3 million bats to take flight!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Friday, October 2, 2010

Today we were both scheduled to work at the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm. At the farm, costumed interpreters carry out the day-to-day activities of a Texas-German farm family from 1900-1918. Since we don’t have costumes we aren’t allowed to do any of the actual activities. Our morning started off at the barn where we watched one of the Jersey cows get milked and fed.

All the sheep have names. I believe these two are Pansy and Petunia, or maybe one of them is Rose? Who knows, they all look alike to me!

One of these things doesn’t belong here. Can you guess which one? *

There are lots of animals at the farm that have to be cared for on a daily basis including an orphaned buffalo and four Jersey cow calves, a 500 pound Spotted Poland China Hog (with 3 of her offspring that weigh about 350 each!), lots of sheep, chickens and two turkeys named Christmas and Thanksgiving.

* The calf in the middle is the buffalo. They have named the buffalo “Claudia” which happens to be Lady Bird’s real name.

Later that morning one of the maintenance men came by and said we were suppose to go with him as he made his rounds feeding the buffalo and longhorns. Apparently we are going to get to see all operations at the park!

50 pound feed bags! (I stayed in the truck and watched Mark work)

Then it was back to the farm for lunch (which is called dinner). Dinner is cooked every day on a wood burning stove in the kitchen and, as volunteers we can eat there on the days we work.

After lunch/dinner we followed the staff employees who were in costumes around and tried to learn as much as we could. There were a lot of visitors to the farm and they had a million questions! There is a lot of information to learn. Late in the afternoon we were sent out on our own to greet visitors. Mark got the barn area and I stayed in the front yard.

Mark enjoyed the farm and talking to all the visitors. I’m thinking farm life might not be for me. There is plenty to do here at the park and it looks like we will get to try a lot of different jobs.

We have the next four days off and are looking forward to seeing a lot of the area.

October 1, 2010

Work is hard!
I had planned on blogging every day but, after six months of being retired, it’s hard to work a full day! I have been worn out!
Today was our first day as volunteers. I worked some in the office, making copies of brochures and learning to use the folding machine, and spent most of the day cleaning the office, gift shop and display cases in the exhibit hall.

They latched on to Mark immediately and were thrilled to have someone tall that could reach the fabric covered walls that no one else has been able to reach.

After doing a little vacuuming, he spent the rest of the day working at the Visitor Center reception desk and running the film in the Auditorium. It is a film from a 1966 newscast in which LBJ took a reporter around the ranch and described what the ranch meant to him. It’s very interesting and a great place to start before taking the auto tour.

There is a wonderful auto tour of the State and National Park. A CD can be picked up at the Visitor Center at the State Park that takes the visitor past the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm and on to the LBJ National Historical Park where a narrator describes several attractions including the one-room school house LBJ attended, the Johnson family cemetery where President Johnson and Lady Bird are buried and other interesting sights before stopping at the Texas White House complex. The Texas White House is fascinating! We took the auto tour last month and really enjoyed it. There is now a JetStar airplane that LBJ used to fly from Washington to the ranch.

Our first day went by fast. We have already met a lot of very nice people.