Friday, December 29, 2017

Max's Christmas Program

Last Friday we were invited to Max's Christmas program at his day-care school.  He was all dressed up as a duckling!  Who knew there were ducks at the birth of Christ?
 JR and Ashley are watching for Max to come in.
 Here come the ducks!
 Here's everyone on the altar.  Can you spot Max?! 

There were turkeys, lots of donkeys, cows, sheep, stars, angels, the shepherds, and wise men! They sang lots of songs for us.  I was surprised how well Max sat there for the entire program...those teachers must have him well trained now!
 JR, Ashley, Max and Ashley's dad, Granddad Gene
Max with Grumpy

 After the program they had refreshments for everyone downstairs in the hall. Then Max had to go back to school, and we all went out for breakfast at LaMadeleine.  I finally felt like it was Christmas--- Max's program put me in the spirit!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

New Fruit Trees!

I've got four new trees to add to the orchard in a few years - they're about 8 inches tall right now, so it may take a while! ha! 

These are Loquat (Japanese Plum) trees.  They arrived in great condition and I've already planted them in small pots just to get them through the winter.  They are in the greenhouse. I'll pot them up to bigger pots in the spring. From all I've read, they should do fine in Zone 8b, with 8a being about as far north as they are supposed to be in. They don't fruit in severe cold.
From Gardening Know How:

You may be wondering exactly what is a loquat. Loquats (Eriobotrya japonica) are trees that produce small, round or pear-shaped fruits, rarely more than 2 inches long. Sweet or slightly acidic in flavor, the juicy flesh may be white, yellow or orange with a yellow or orange-blushed peel. Loquats are tasty when peeled and eaten fresh, or you can freeze the whole fruit for later use. They make excellent jellies, jams, preserves, cobblers or pies. Ornamental as well as practical, loquat trees make excellent lawn specimen trees, with whirls of glossy foliage and a naturally attractive shape. They grow about 25 feet tall with a canopy that spreads 15 to 20 feet—a size that is well-suited to home landscapes. Large clusters of attractive fruit stand out against the dark green, tropical-looking foliage and add to the tree’s visual appeal.

Christmas 2017

It started our cold on Christmas day, and pretty much stayed that way.  We had gone to mass on Sunday afternoon, and on Christmas morning we went to Colleen and Jeff's for breakfast with the girls (and to see what all Santa brought them!) 
Then home in time to get ready for Christmas lunch.  Once everyone arrived, the crazy tearing into presents began!  
 KT going through her stocking loot!
 I think she was happy with the Hatchimal Twins!
 Max wasn't sure what to make of all of this. He helped open a few things, then said, enough!!
Later in the day, Joss offered to help him open the rest of his gifts (cause she's 
helpful like that...hahah!)

 Joss can read the names of the name tags this year. She's growing up.

 Max got a really nice bed pillow with his name on it!

 Mighty Max!
 All the kids got some cool camping sets - a tent, sleeping bag set - they 
set up one of them to "test it out."
 Joss was studying the nativity set.
 Cousins in the tent.
 My gorgeous grandkids with Grumpy and me!
 KT tries to hold Max - but he's a wiggle worm!

Schwencke Family Christmas Party 2017

On Saturday evening we had our annual Schwencke family Christmas party down in Southtown, hosted by JR and Ashley.  

Their home there is located right in the middle of where all the action is in San Antonio now days. You can walk a block one way or the other and find all kinds of places to eat, swanky bars and the riverwalk. Such a smart investment they made buying that property.

 Here's Becca, ready to part-tay!!!

 Beautiful Ashley
 Sue and Jimmy
 This was Becca's first Christmas! Here she is with her Grandma!
 Jeff (with shark fin hat - don't ask! ha!) and Uncle Mike
 Emily, KT and Colleen (with more shark fins!)
 The view from their back yard. You just can't beat this!
 Joss watching the Schwencke boys play video games
 Andi brought the evening's entertainment - we had a gingerbread house contest. It was lots of fun!
I missed taking pictures of lots of people again. I get too busy talking, I think.  The guys spent a lot of time out back around the chimenea, so I didn't get pictures of all of them. Oh well, I'll do better next year!

Schwencke Women's Breakfast, Saturday, December 23, 2017

Last Saturday the women of the Schwencke family gathered for our annual (mostly) breakfast.  I love this event, we get to catch up with all our family, aunts, cousins and all of the little ones. It's a relaxed time with some really good food!
Me with Joss, KT and baby Russell

 This year we got to meet another new baby, Gene's son, Russell! He is one happy little guy - seems like he was smiling all the time. The Schwencke family keeps growing!
 Sue and Sarah
 Mighty Max!
 Emily and Andi
 Lindsay and Mary
 KT Bug!
 Poor Russell got passed around and around.  He took it like a trooper!

 Kathy's tree was beautiful

I missed taking pictures of everyone - I'm really getting bad at this documenting thing. Sigh...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Cranberry Wine

Starting a new batch of cranberry wine using a new recipe.  JR tried my 2017 batch and declared it "too cranberryish" whatever that means. I confess I haven't tried it yet (haven't opened my bottle yet.) but I trust JR's opinion.  It was probably too tart, so this time I'm using a recipe that includes raisins.  

Just started the first step yesterday, so this will be stirred for 5 days and then put into the carboy.

The Great Snowfall of 2017

It was so unexpected, I would be remiss if I didn't mark this monumental event by a post.  We had snow.  We had snow in South Texas.  We had snow in South Texas in December.  In DECEMBER!  
This was so unusual, we were all a-twitter, calling and texting each other for several hours with pictures and expressions of joy and giggles!  Watching it unfold on social media was so much fun.  Here's a few picture of our place, plus some pics of our family that were sent to us that evening.
 Around 5pm that evening - our front yard
 Front porch when it was just starting

 Joss's first snow!
 KT has seen snow before, but I'm sure this was exciting for her!
 Max's first snow!

 The following day we drove to San Antonio - there's still snow on our hill country hills!