Tuesday, January 20, 2009

PEACEFUL TRANSITIONS

As today seems promising for peaceful transitions, we're moving over to the new blog server. If you typically access the blog via dsbabble.com, you don't need to do anything (if you're not already seeing thenew blog you should be shortly). The transition, hopefully, will be seamless. But, if you've bookmarked us at drippingsprings.blogspot.com, just change to dsbabble.com and you're done.

DRIPPING EVENT: MEET OUR NEW SHERIFF WEDNESDAY MORNING

Meet and greet our new Sheriff Tommy Ratliff this Wednesday morning at Pioneer Bank. Hosted by Pioneer Bank and Commissioner Karen Ford, everyone is invited to drop by from 8:00-9:30AM and say "hello and welcome". Coffee and morning treats will be served. Pioneer Bank is at the corner of Creek Road and Hwy 290 (enter from Creek Road.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

DS BABBLE: MOVIN' ON UP!

Thanks to all our dear Babble readers, we've needed to upgrade our blog server capabilities. So, we've begun the task of transition. If you typically access the blog via dsbabble.com, you don't need to do anything. The transition, hopefully, will be seamless. But, if you've bookmarked us at drippingsprings.blogspot.com, just change to dsbabble.com and you're done.

THE LOCAL IMPACT OF THE CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY IMPROVEMENT ACT

When we first heard about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), the rather confusing and surprising law Congress passed in an apparent knee-jerk reaction to the spate of lead-tainted toys from China, we wondered about its impact on stores like Dripping's own Itsy Bitsy Spider, the local children's clothing consignment store, as well as our Hill Country Senior Citizens Thrift Store.

In a nutshell, beginning February 10, 2009, the CPSIAprohibits the sale of children’s products (including clothes) if they contain more than 600 parts per million (ppm) total lead. The upshot of this law would mean resellers would be subjected to the costly testing of their inventory to prove each item did not exceeed the lead limit. The financial impact on not only the resellers, including charitable thrift store many of whom derive much of their annual income from the resale of children's clothes, but those customers whose budgets rely on consignment and thrift store items, would be devastaing. And, where would all those used unsold, unused clothes go?

While the reality of the impending law still has many scratching their understandably worried heads, it does look like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which implements the law, has backed off a bit with regard to secondhand and nonprofit thrift stores, by saying that these resellers are not required to test but are still subject to civil and/or criminal penalties if they do sell items that exceed the lead limit. Not surprisingly, this still has many resellers worried and in limbo. And, what about those who sell their kids' outgrown clothes on Craigslist and eBay?

The National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops have rallied to "Save Children's Resale" and is urging customers to call and write their Congressmen now (February 10th is just around the corner). You can learn more, and download a sample letter, on their site by clicking here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

DRIPPING SPRINGS LOCALS PARTICIPATE IN INAUGURATION

No matter what your party affiliation, witnessing the peaceful transition of power in our country is something in which we can all take pride. While most of us in Dripping will be watching on television, locals Kathy and Tom Duck, owners of Star of Texas Liquor & Wine are in our nation's capital this week to participate in many of the events surrounding the inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama. Tom is a lobbyist for rural water districts in Texas and has an office in Washington with a bird’s eye view of the United States Capitol where the swearing-in ceremony will take place on Tuesday, January 20th. With their Washington "in", Star of Texas Liquor & Wine will play host to several public and private events honoring our new President. The Ducks are excited about their involvement and the chance to bring a Dripping connection to this historic event. “It is quite an honor for a mom and pop store in Dripping Springs to be able to participate in the inaugural activities," enthused Kathy Duck.

As it turns out, inaugural events are not unfamiliar to the Ducks, as they have attended the past four presidential inaugurations. They also plan to attend and participate as a sponsor of the Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball hosted by the Texas State Society of Washington. The Ducks note that the Black Tie and Boots party is the best party in town with over 10,000 people expected to attend including President George W. Bush.

Kathy and Tom opened Star of Texas Liquor & Wine in 2005 and moved to Dripping Springs in 2006. They are very active in the community and have sponsored numerous events for local charities and nonprofit organizations.

DRIPPING FOOD: CAFE FOR SALE

Bizquest lists a small cafe for sale in Dripping. Details here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

DRIP TRIP: REAL ALE BREWERY IN BLANCO

Today marks the first of what we hope will be an ongoing series of posts featuring fun activities no more than 30 minutes from Dripping Springs, using the intersection of RR12 and Highway 290 as our starting point.

We're starting to get the sneaking suspicion there are quite a few homebrewers and serious beer fans around Dripping Springs. Whether you fall into the former or latter category, if you want to learn more about the beer brewing process or just appreciate the end result, the Real Ale Brewing Company tour on Friday afternoons is more than worth the 30 minute drive to Blanco.

Real Ale began in modest digs over a decade ago, but thanks to the quality and popularity of their beer, moved to their current, larger facility. While increased in scale and modern conveniences (they only recently replaced their 1940s bottle labeler), the attention given to the beer and its drinkers remains distinctly personal. On our last visit, head brewer Erik Ogershok led the tour and his love of beer and the brewing process was as clear as their Rio Blanco Pale Ale. Before and after the tour, free tastings are available and offer the opportunity to sample some of the Real Ale brews that are only available seasonally, or not readily available in Dripping Springs, such as the obsession-worthy Coffee Porter, a dark beer brewed with organic barley and organic fair trade coffee from Katz Coffee Roasters.

Currently, the Real Ale Brewing Company’s tasting room is open on Fridays from 2:00 – 5:00PM with the tour starting at 4:00PM. Real Ale is located just a few minutes from the Blanco town square at 231 San Saba Ct. From the intersection of RR12 and Highway 290, head west on 290. Continue on 290, then to 281. Turn left at San Saba Ct. The brewery will be on the left. Note: You can also take 165 to Blanco, which is our favored route because when you hit “the divide” the view is breathtaking.

Learn more about Real Ale Brewing Company at realalebrewing.com.

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Several of you who submitted your "Dripping Dreams" wished for a brewpub. In the spirit of a picture is worth a thousand words, one Babble reader's Drippng dream was expressed via photography and Photoshop (click photo for larger).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

DRIPPING TREES: OAK WILT SEMINAR - INITIAL RECAP

We attended the oak wilt seminar at City Hall on Tuesday and what we learned was both enligtening and concerning. Some of what we learned from Texas Forest Service Staff Forester Eric Beckers also seemed to contradict what we thought we knew about when to prune our live oaks, and how to dispose of infected trees. We're studying the matter more and hope to have a more in-depth report on the seminar, plus information received from local realtor and real estate expert Sandra Steele on the financial impact of oak wilt on Dripping Springs property, by next week. In the meantime, given the upcoming cold temperatures (this is key), we wanted to do a brief recap.

As many of us know, oak wilt is a devastating tree disease that is killing our Hill Country oak trees. It is caused by a fungus carried by beetles. When an infected beetle lands on a fresh pruning cut, it can infect the tree. Most thusly infected oak trees will die within a few months and, thanks to the massive root system of live oaks, spread the disease to other trees.

You can prevent oak wilt by painting fresh pruning wounds immediately after you cut the branch. Do not pass go, don't stop for a lemonade, spray immediately so the beetles don't go there first (these things are tiny and don't wear reflective orange vests, so you really won't see them coming). Cover the entire wound with a thin coating of paint.

Next, according to Forester Beckers, the beetles only hate to be out and about in extreme cold and extreme heat (like you do) and, therefore, those are the best times to do any pruning (but you must still paint). If the weatherfolk are right, we have some cold temperatures coming our way, so if you need to cut do so when it's cold. Beckers also advises against doing any cutting between February and June, so time is drawing nigh.

You can learn more now at texasoakwilt.org

HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE COLLECTION ON SUNDAY

Date: Sunday, January 18
Time: 8:00AM - NOON
Location: 630 E. Hopkins, San Marcos
Web: Household.pdf Note: The flyer says Saturday, but just called Hays County to confirm that it is Sunday, January 18.
Event type: Free household hazardous waste collection
Drip Tip: Hays County does this just 4 times a year, so don't miss out on a great opportunity to clean out cabinets, the garage, storage shed or barn and safely dispose of unwanted items, for free. See the PDF flyer for details on what they will and will not accept. And for any additional questions call 512-393-8036

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PEGGY!

Babbler's mother is celebrating her birthday today. Happy Birthday, Peggy!

DRIPPING EVENTS: THURSDAY NIGHT

Thirsty Thursday is back in poetic action tonight starting 7:00PM at New Life Lutheran Church (120 Frog Pond Lane). The open mic event welcomes poets, storytellers, songwriters, and musicians. Admission is free, but participants are encouraged to bring food pantry donations. This week's poetry theme is "Dreams". Plus, Hill Country author Karen Hulene Bartell will share from her latest novel, Untimely Partners, the first of a series of “Mayan Mysteries”. Bartell describes her novel, due for release in February, as a paranormal time-travel romance set in ancient Toltec, Mayan, and Aztec locations. For more information, contact Thirsty Thursday host Nancy Fierstien at 512-858-2024.

Also, reminder that Rolling in Thyme & Dough is now open on Thursday evenings from 6:00-9:00PM, with live music, open mic, tasty treats, and coffe bar. Some folks play cards and board games, while others just hang out and enjoy the music on the covered patio.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

QUICK DRIP: KOI LANTERN

Rumored opening date for Koi Lantern is February 1st.