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.

DRIPPING SPRINGS IN FINALS FOR TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE GRANT PROGRAM

In the Babble's 8 Favorite Things in Dripping Springs in 2008, we included Harrison Ranch Park, the 64 acre property that the City of Dripping Springs purchased early last year. The City's vision to use the property as an agricultural themed park with facilities for horse riding and livestock and other activities reflecting the area’s cultural and historical significance may now be growing closer to reality. Out of 26 statewide eligible applications submitted for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Local Park Grants Program, the City of Dripping Springs has scored in the top six communities and their project recommended for possible funding of $500,000 toward park improvements at Harrison Ranch Park. The final review will be made at a public hearing scheduled for Thursday, January 22nd in Austin.

If the project is approved as recommended by the Texas Parks and Wildlife staff, more than 6 acres of the property surrounding Little Barton Creek will be set aside as a dedicated wildlife preservation and conservation area. Other planned park developments include an open air pavilion suited for equestrian and livestock events, a play ground, primitive tent campsites, a crushed granite pedestrian trail for walkers, hikers and runners, a path which will support bicycles and wheelchairs, open play area, equestrian trails, an 18-hole course for disk (Frisbee) golf, two regulation horseshoe and washer courts, and designated picnic areas. To construct these various park venues, the City plans to utilize “green” methods whenever possible such as selection of recycled and regional materials, diligent management of construction waste, and preservation of existing trees and foliage.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

REMINDER: OAK WILT SEMINAR TONIGHT!

UPDATE: Just got back from the seminar that had a very good turn out. Had some misconceptions cleared up and got some much needed answers. A related report will be coming, but in the meantime, whatever you do, if you prune a live oak, paint the wound!

What: Free seminar on managing oak wilt presented by Texas Forest Service Staff Forester, Eric Beckers
Date: Tuesday, January 13
Time: 5:30 - 6:30PM
Location: City Hall (511 Mercer Street)

DRIPPING TREES: CREEK ROAD DECLARES "VIC'TREE!"

Representing several miles of Creek Road, here in Dripping Springs, 17 property owners met with Hays County Commissioner Karen Ford last night in the home of a Creek Road resident to discuss the County’s tree clearing on Creek Road. Having witnessed the over-cutting or "skinning" of trees from other Dripping Springs roads, the property owners had quickly formed a coalition in early December to halt the cutting on their road. Since then, they have been in contact with Commissioner Ford to try and reach a reasonable solution. Their efforts culminated last night as Ford agreed that any additional tree cutting would be done by appointment only, and with the property owner present at the cutting. Residents also have the option of any necessary cutting being done by themselves or their own arborists. Further, the purpose of the cutting is limited to raising the canopy over the road, just to the maximum legal height of a truck, and to address any potential oak wilt problems not already carefully handled by the residents themselves. The previous mandated specs that required extensive cutting on both sides of the road have been abandoned.

Creek Road residents, including one whose family has owned property since the 1950s, were concerned not only by the aesthetic devastation witnessed on other roads in the area, but by the consequent safety and speeding problems created by clearing a wider swath along the roads. Supported by recent studies showing narrow streets slow traffic and reduce vehicular crashes, and the implicit correlation to rural roads framed on either side by mature trees, as well as the inherent value in protecting the charm and aesthetics of Dripping Springs roads, a principal organizer of the coalition proposed the possibility of a Scenic Roads Program for Hays County to address these very issues and, to which, Ford seemed receptive.

Ford’s outreach and attendance were appreciated by all the property owners, many of whom could remember a time when a Hays County Commissioner would never have taken the time to meet with his/her constituents in a resident’s home. Ford admitted that this was not typically how Hays County has handled things, but also indicated it was maybe time for that to change.

LCRA: INTERIM REPAIRS MADE

UPDATE: Interim repairs were made Monday night to a severed electrical line providing power to the pumps at the West Travis County Regional Water System (in western Travis County and northern Hays County). Despite the restoration of power, LCRA asks customers to curtail use of irrigation systems until permanent repairs are made. That process could take several days. The affected area includes residents in Bee Cave and other communities along Texas 71 and RR 620; and Dripping Springs, along with developments on US 290.

Monday, January 12, 2009

LCRA ASKS RESIDENTS OF WEST TRAVIS SYSTEM TO CUT BACK WATER USE IMMEDIATELY

The Lower Colorado River Authority is asking customers of the West Travis County Regional Water System (in western Travis County and northern Hays County) to immediately cut back water use this afternoon due to an equipment problem.

The affected area includes residents in Bee Cave and other communities along Texas 71and RR 620; and Dripping Springs, along with developments on US 290.

Residents and businesses should turn off their irrigation systems now and stop outdoor use. Curtail all water use to the extent possible.

Around noon today, contractors working on an expansion of the system inadvertently cut an underground electrical cable that services the raw water intake pumps. That means water cannot be delivered to the water treatment plant, which is near the intersection of Texas 71 and Bee Caves Road. There were no injuries involved when the electrical cable was cut.

Water storage tanks contain enough water to supply customers into Monday night. LCRA officials expect repairs to require more than 10 hours, therefore customers could experience water shortages starting Monday evening or early Tuesday morning if customers do not cut back on water use or if repairs require more time.

For more information, area residents may visit the Web site at www.lcra.org or call LCRA customer service at (512) 397-6766.

OAK WILT SEMINAR TOMORROW (TUESDAY)

The destructive tree disease oak wilt has left an unfortunate and indelible mark on the Dripping Springs tree population and our landscape. Many new Central Texas residents (as well as old-timers) are not aware of their ability to stop (and spread) the epidemic that has killed more than 1 million trees in 70 Central Texas counties. Tomorrow (Tuesday) evening, the City of Dripping Springs is having a "Managing Oak Wilt" seminar. If you have any questions about whether your trees are at risk for oak wilt, how oak wilt is spread, and how to prevent it, this free seminar presented by Texas Forest Service Staff Forester, Eric Beckers would be the time to get answers.

Date: Tuesday, January 13
Time: 5:30PM
Location: City Hall (511 Mercer Street)

DRIP SPOT: MOBILE CAFE

We confess to being Craigslist addicts (one Babbler has two longhorns courtesy Craigslist), because in the midst of the used Playstations, entertainment centers, and wedding dresses, we not only find things we actually need (and cheaply so), but also things that capture our imagination. Our current Craigslist obsession is a "mobile cafe" for sale in Dripping Springs. Per the description (and accompanying photos) this is a 1975 International Harvester Double Decker Bus that has been converted into a cafe on wheels. The work put into the bus (and the reason for sale) is all detailed in the listing which can be seen here. Note: Craigslist postings can be deleted at any time by the author. We don't know who is selling the bus or what the sale status is, so the link could be gone at any time.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

DRIPPING GREEN:CHRISTMAS TREE RECYCLING

The Christmas Tree Recycling Program wraps up this Saturday. Drop off your trees, free of charge, at the Triangle, located at intersection of Hwy 290 and RR 12, from 8:00AM until 5:00PM today (Saturday). Mulch made from the recycled trees will be available on a first-come-first-service basis. Individuals picking up mulch should bring their own bags and tools required to carry it away. Before depositing trees, all tree stands, lights, ornaments and other tree decorations must be removed. Please do not illegally dump any other items at the drop off location. If you have any questions, contact City Hall at (512) 858-4725 for more information.

347 days to Christmas!

Friday, January 9, 2009

FOUNDERS DAY FESTIVAL UPDATE

The all new Founders Day Festival website has just been launched. This year promises to be bigger and better than ever. And did you know we have the nation's fifth largest washer pitching tournament? Enhanced visibility is promised for sponsors this year and the sponsorship drive is on until February 7th. For more information and a glimpse at the fun ahead in April, visit foundersdayfestival.com.

DRIPPING THINGS EMAIL UPDATE

Once a week (usually Thursday or Friday), we send out an email update with information on interesting upcoming events and updates to our sister site, DrippingThings.com (new restaurants, just listed local products, etc). Make sure you're not missing out on the Dripping good times. To sign up, just click here and submit your email address.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

DRIPPING FUN: THYME & DOUGH TONIGHT

After a brief hiatus for the holidays, Rolling in Thyme & Dough is back tonight with their fun Thursday evenings. From 6:00-9:00PM, enjoy 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 7, 2009

CITY OF DRIPPING SPRINGS ENACTS NEW SIGN ORDINANCE

Dripping Springs City Council adopted a new sign ordinance at their regular council meeting on December 9, 2008 and began enforcing it as of January 1st. The ordinance affects the development and use of property within the corporate limits of the City of Dripping Springs and its extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). The ordinance was researched and considered for several years to prevent traffic hazards and reduce the clutter and aesthetic harm to the rural landscape and highway corridors. The intent was to ensure future signs are properly constructed and maintained, compatible with the historic, rustic and architectural character of Dripping Springs, as well as to meet driver and pedestrian (we wish) safety guidelines per the laws of the State of Texas.

The complete ordinance is online here as a PDF.

DRIPPING MUSIC: CENTENARY COLLEGE CHOIR @ DSUMC TONIGHT

Since 1941 the Centenary College Choir has performed throughout the world: singing for front-line troops in Korea, many American and European heads of state, NATO and American armed forces worldwide, ten international conventions of Lions International, three times for the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Council of Bishops, and two lengthy engagements at New York's "Radio City Music Hall." And tonight? They're performing right here in Dripping Springs at the Dripping Springs United Methodist Church. The choir will perform in the sanctuary starting at 7:00PM but, starting at 5:30PM, the church is hosting a fried chicken dinner (opposite end of the sanctuary, by the gym).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

DRIPPING FOOD: LOS COMPADRES

Los Compadres Restaurante y Cantina has opened in the former GiGi's location (2400 W Highway 290). They've gotten their liquor license and will start serving beer and wine this week.

Monday, January 5, 2009

QUICK DRIP: RICH MAN'S HOLE

Lance Armstrong has put his Deadman's Hole, Dripping Springs property on the market (asking price, $12 million). Get the gossipy details here or get the dignified details here.

DRIPPING MUSIC: ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO, et al CONCERT

The Babblers have been lucky enough to enjoy some relatively memorable musical experiences, from an an up-close and all-night Prince jam session in Las Vegas to standing in the middle of Reunion Arena in Dallas, next to the sound guy, surrounded by thousands of fans screaming for Melissa Etheridge, at the height of her career. As we exited last night's Alejandro Escovedo benefit concert for Parkside Hill Country School, held at the Memory Lane Event Center here in Dripping Springs, we agreed it made everyone's "top 3" list.

Escovedo, backed by David Pulkingham and Charlie Sexton on guitars and vocals, Warren Hood on violin, and Brian Standefer on cello (if last night was any indication, every rock band should have a violinist and cellist), played a jam-packed set including several songs from Escovedo's raved about latest release Real Animal which author Stephen King ranked at #5 in his "Top 10 Albums of 2008" for Entertainment Weekly. Last night's chill in the air evoked a "Canadian music festival" feel, but when the band left the stage and played their final two songs standing in a circle, in the middle of the audience, the temperature wasn't the reason we had chills.

QUICK DRIP: KOI LANTERN

We just received word that Koi Lantern, the new "contemporary Asian" restaurant looks to open sometime this month in the new Shops at the Springs (location of the McDonald's). There is no exact open date yet, but they are confident it will happen in January. In the meantime, you can get a sneak peek of their menu here.

Friday, January 2, 2009

DRIPPING EVENTS: THIS WEEKEND

The Christmas Tree Recycling Program is this Saturday (and next). Drop off your trees, free of charge, at the Triangle, located at intersection of Hwy 290 and RR 12, from 8:00AM until 5:00PM on Saturday, January 3rd (you'll have one more chance next Saturday). Mulch made from the recycled trees will be available on a first-come-first-service basis. Individuals picking up mulch should bring their own bags and tools required to carry it away. Before depositing trees, all tree stands, lights, ornaments and other tree decorations must be removed. Please do not illegally dump any other items at the drop off location. If you have any questions, contact City Hall at (512)858-4725 for more information.

On Sunday, January 4th, music superstar Alejandro Escovedo is playing a benefit concert for his daughter's school, Parkside Hill Country School of Wimberley, at Dripping's Memory Lane (from 290 & 12, go 4.3 miles headed toward Wimberley, take a right on KC Memory Lane and go about 1/4 a mile). Escovedo will be backed by guitarist Charlie Sexton, cellist Brian Standefer, and violinist Warren Hood. Hood’s combo will open the show, which also features singer-songwriter Amanda Mora. In Dripping Springs, advance tickets are available at Itsy Bitsy Spider (on Mercer) for $25 (their hours aren't standard, so call first to see if they're open @ 512-858-2688). Tickets will be $30 at the door. Concert doors open @ 4:00PM.

To see other events coming up in 2009, check out the updated "Events" section on DrippingThings.com. While you're there be sure and sign up for the weekly update to stay on top of all things Dripping Springs.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

DRIP SPOT: DRIPPING SPRINGS VODKA

The Dallas Morning News has a detailed article on the past and future of San Luis Spirits, local makers of Dripping Springs Vodka. The distillery's short, but intense, life has been one of impressive highs (winning the Vodka Purity Trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in Surrey, England) to devastating lows, the most recent of which was the massive explosion in November. Read the full story here.