Better Lights for Starry Nights: Hill Country Alliance Dark Sky Program

Learn how to save money, preserve our night skies and enjoy some star gazing!

Thursday – November 15, 2012 – 6:30 – 10pm

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area – Fredericksburg, TX

Fun, Free, Open to the Public, Kids Welcome!

A dark night sky full of big bright stars is important here in the Hill Country, just like clean rivers, scenic vistas and natural landscapes. Little by little, light-by-light, the magical mystery of the big Texas night sky is diminishing.

But it’s not too late to reverse this trend. You can help!

Bill Wren of the McDonald Observatory will share his expertise on the value and simple strategies to protect starry skies.

Learn Money Saving Tips – what you can do to “fix” wasteful outdoor lights at your home, ranch, neighborhood and community

Sports fields, commercial buildings, schools can all be safely and effectively lit in ways that reduce light pollution – find out how

Star gazing after the program with the San Antonio League of Sidewalk Astronomers – weather permitting

Group pavilion is open air. Bring your blankets and thermoses. Rain location: AgriLife Extension Office, 95 Frederick Road just off Hwy 16 North in Fredericksburg

Meusebach’s 200th Birthday Celebration – May 26

Community celebration of our founding father, John O. Meusebach’s, 200th birthday.

Old fashioned German party to be held at the Pioneer Pavilion at Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park.

Bring a picnic supper if you like. 6 to 10 PM. Free. 3.5 miles south on Hwy 16. (830) 997-7356.

Meusebach was born Baron Otfried Hans Freiherr von Meusebach, on May 26, 1812, at Dillenburg, Germany. As he grew, Meusebach attended the finest schools and could read five languages, and he spoke English fluently.

In 1845 the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas, the Adelsverein, appointed Meusebach to succeed Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels as its commissioner general in Texas. Meusebach, who had dropped his noble title and assumed the name John O., arrived in New Braunfels, Texas in May of 1845, and took up his duties, only to learn that the Adelsverein was in serious financial trouble.

Besides general indebtedness, the Adelsverein had too many colonist to settle. The United States was fighting the Mexican War, and there was a shortage of carts and wagons to take the colonists to the interior. Nevertheless, Meusebach managed to found Fredericksburg, Castell, and Leiningen.

In 1846, Meusebach realized that in order to settle the Fisher-Miller Grant, he had to reach an agreement with the Comanche Indians. In May of 1847, Indian leaders signed a treaty, which is the only unbroken treaty between white settlers and Native Americans. Satisfied with his achievement, Meusebach resigned as administrator. In 1851, Meusebach was elected a Texas Senator, and was instrumental in establishing Texas’ public school system.

Meusebach retired to his farm in Loyal Valley in 1869 where he and his wife raised seven children to adulthood. He died at Loyal Valley on May 27, 1897, and is buried at Cherry Spring, near Fredericksburg

ST. JOSEPH SOCIETY ANNUAL FEAST DAY BARBEQUE

Don’t cook lunch on Sunday! The St. Joseph Society annual Feast Day BBQ starts at 10:30 am at St. Joseph’s Halle, 212 West San Antonio. The meal includes pork barbecue and all the trimmings. You can drive through or eat in. There will be a raffle and silent auction. Scott Eilers will perform until 12:30 when The German Mixed Choir performs.  call 830-997-9505 for more information.

Kite Day at LBJ State Park & Historic Site – March 22

Bring the family to the LBJ State Park & Historic Site from 1 pm to 3 pm and spend Saturday making and flying kites. Learn the basics of kite construction and flying a homemade kite. The park will supply recycled materials and help kids make their own kites; you are also encouraged to bring your own kites to enjoy flying in the park.

LBJ State Park & Historic Site is located 2 miles east of Stonewall, 14 miles west of Johnson City on US Highway 290 toward Fredericksburg. Adjacent to both Ranch Road 1 and US Highway 290; enter on Park Road 52. Call (830) 644-2252 for details.

Solar Workshop

Fredericksburg area residents and small business owners are invited to a solar workshop to learn about the nuts and bolts of solar water heating and electricity generation.

There is no fee to attend the event which is scheduledSaturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to noon at Hill Country University Center, 2818 East U.S. Hwy. 290 in Fredericksburg.The event is an initiative of the clean energy subcommittee of Fredericksburg SHINES, a nonprofit organization showcasing Fredericksburg as the center of sustainability in Texas.

Michael Hurst, green builder and president of the Fredericksburg SHINES board of directors, said this workshop is the place to find answers. “Essentially, this event will cover questions and issues surrounding solar installation such as costs, placement and viable financing,” he said. “We really encourage anyone who has ever thought about solar energy—but dismissed it as too costly or too technical—to attend this workshop and learn how this exciting new energy source is overcoming those early challenges and is really now in reach of regular people and small businesses looking for sustainable, more environmentally friendly ways to live and operate from day to day.”

Introductory presenter for the workshop will be John Watson, a Corpus Christi native now living in Fredericksburg, who will recap his personal, multi-year journey from solar interest to actual installation of his solar energy system and, more recently, a solar water heating unit. Watson’s presentation will include a brief segment on an easy, money-saving way for almost anyone to harness the sun’s power for their benefit.

Thomas Isaac, chief executive officer of Techsun Solar, a solar water heater manufacturer, distributor and installation company headquartered in Martindale, TX, will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various residential and commercial solar thermal system designs.

Isaac, whose company has installed systems for NASA, the U.S. military, HUD and many commercial and residential entities, including the solar water heating system at the Watson home in Fredericksburg, will review common installation or design errors and the effects of hard water.

He will also discuss a solar water heating system’s financial return, its significant environmental impact and reasons it has not yet been more readily adopted in Texas.

John LaFleur, sales consultant with Native, Inc., of Austin, a green builder and a licensed installer of solar, rainwater collection and geothermal air-conditioning and heating systems, also will make a presentation at the workshop. The company installed Watson’s solar electric system in Fredericksburg.

David Peterson, P.E., director of engineering and operations at Central Texas Electric Co-op (CTEC), will be on hand to answer questions about CTEC members installing solar systems and connecting to the CTEC distribution system. CTEC does have a policyfor what is called “distributed generation” that addresses how a member may generate power while continuing to connect to the distribution system.

After the workshop concludes, local residents with solar installations will be available to talk about their personal experiences with solar technology.

Light refreshments will be available. While there is no charge to attend the workshop, reservations are encouraged for planning purposes. For more information or to reserve seats, call Watson at 830-997-3543, ext. 27, or email him at jwatsongreenliving@gmail.com.

URBANherbal Cooking & Gardening Classes: “A Fondue Party” – March 21

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“A Fondue Party”. 11 am. $65 per person. Have fun with a friend or your sweetheart and learn all about Fondue! We will enjoy a mélange of fondues: Champagne Velvet, Benedictine & Texas Beer, Texas Country Road with assorted cheeses handmade in Texas, and Spring Forward with Texas cheeses and locally raised produce. You will enjoy two complimentary glasses of Texas wine with the class.

Contact URBANherbal to custom design your private class/party for a couple’s retreat, for your group or organization, bridal or baby shower. Our preset classes are small and intimate maximum of 10 participants. Cancellations must be made 72 hours before class date in order to obtain a refund. See our website for more details.

Reserve you seat now!! wvarney@urbanherbal.com or 830-456-9667

Gillespie County Historic Schools Annual Open House (5 Schools)

Former students will be available to share stories of school days from the late 1800′s to mid 1900′s. Come see the classrooms like the one your ancestors might have attended. ”Preserving the past to enrich the future.” Schools open for this event include the Willow City School, Rheingold School, Cave Creek School, Nebgen School and Junction School. Please come by the Fredericksburg Visitor Information Center for a driving map or visit the website to download a map.

10 am to 4 pm. Free admission, but donations gladly accepted.

Turner Hall BBQ – March 2

Fredericksburg Social Turn Verein established in 1871Turner Hall is having its annual Pork B-B-Q Dinner on Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 103 W Travis Street. Serving starts at 11:00 am. $10.00 donation per plate. To go plates only.

Turn Verein (that’s the Texas spelling of Turnverein) was orginally a gymnastic and social club begun in 1811 in Germany by Friedrich Ludwig Jahn.  Turn Veriens were established all over the country promoting gymnastics and calisthenics, and Turners contributed to the standardization and popularization of bowling nationwide.

Since 1854 there have been twenty-eight turnvereins in twenty-one Texas communities, some with over 600 members. As soon as possible after formation, all acquired halls spacious enough to accommodate gymnastics. Whether simple frame structures or elaborate masonry complexes housing bowling alleys, ballrooms, theatres, and saloons, nineteenth-century Texas Turner halls were often centers of community life. Financing came primarily from dues and rental and sale of property, although tax incentives and rent-free buildings for community service projects were sometimes provided. In 1984 six Texas turnvereins remained active: Boerne, Comfort, Fredericksburg, Houston, La Bahía, and San Antonio. Turners, however, have contributed much more than buildings. Though begun as gymnastic societies, most vereins also had social, intellectual, and benevolent goals. Houston’s Turners cared for the sick and needy, established schools, and provided dramatic and musical entertainment for the public. Turners organized elaborate Fourth of July celebrations for their towns or counties and made turnverein parks, gymnasiums, and bowling alleys available for general use. Most significant, Turners founded several of the first volunteer fire departments and provided fire protection for years. The Houston and Fredericksburg clubs received citations for this work. The 1870s were the heyday of turnvereins in Texas, with fifteen new clubs organized, both by second-generation German Texans and by Turners from other states. –

Mary Lou LeCompte, “TURNVEREIN MOVEMENT,” Handbook of Texas Online(http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/vnt02), accessed February 15, 2011.

126th Gillespie County Fair Livestock Shows

IMG_5995Chicken, Rabbit and Dorper Breeding Sheep on Friday. Jackpot Swine Show, Breeding Sheep Show, Breeding Angora Goat Show and Breeding Cattle on Saturday. Steer Jackpot Show and Texas Wether Buck and Doe Sale on Sunday. At the Gillespie County Fairgrounds, 530 Fair Drive on S. Hwy 16. For a detailed schedule, please call  (830) 997-2359 or visit the website.

Starts at 9 am daily.