June 19-20: A Visit to My Sister's Farm in Elon, NC
May 20-23, 1993: A Visit to Disney World/Universal Studios Florida
Return to the Index for 1993

June 2-3, 1993
A Visit to Fred's House in Van Alstyne


On Wednesday, June 2nd, Fred invited me up to spend the night at his house North of here. Since invitations from Fred are few and far between, I accepted gladly.

Fred lives about fifty miles from me, up in Van Alstyne, Texas. Since he works north of McKinney, living further north still is good for him, as he has very little traffic when he commutes- it is all pretty much out in the country.

For me to get there, I just get over to Central Expressway (US 75) either by taking the Tollway up to I-635 and then around to US 75, or I just cut across town to Central Expressway; it all depends on the time of day. Then I just drive about 45 miles north out of the city, through some countryside, then through the town of McKinney, past where Fred works and then another 15 miles of country expressway to reach the exit for Van Alstyne.

Once there, I have to go east through town (Van Alstyne is very small, about 2500 people), north a bit on Texas Highway 5 and then northeast of Van Alstyne, again out into the country, to Fred's house. In the evening rush hour, it can take over an hour, but if the traffic isn't bad I can make it in 50 minutes or so.

Fred has 11 acres; in effect, a large corner lot as the road he is on forms both the west and north boundaries of his property. As you can see, most of the property is just open land- pasture. There are trees sprinkled through it, but mostly it just gets mowed continually. His property slopes down from the terrace where the house and gardens are all the way to the back of the property where Fred had a pond dug. He also built a gazebo on a little hill southwest of the house, and, some years after he built originally, he added a garage and a greenhouse that wraps around two sides of it.

For the six months or so, I've been coming up here about one weekend a month- usually the weekend that Fred has to open and close the greehouses where he works. When I do come up, I try to help out by mowing or helping him with his gardens. That's what I'm doing this weekend, but I have also brought my new cats Chip and Dale with me.

I've also brought my camera to take some pictures, and it is those pictures you will see on this page.

Fred's New Garage

I got there about when he got home from work, and he showed me around his new garage and greenhouse. I had seen the garage under construction when I had been up a few months before, but I had not seen the finished product. It has been done very nicely, and looks as if it was always an integral part of the house.

Fred Planting Shrubs Around His New Gazebo

At the same time as the garage was added on, Fred had a gazebo placed just a short distance from the house, so that it has a view of the house and most of his property. It, too, is a nice addition to the property, and he just now starting to landscape around it.

In the gazebo picture, we are looking south towards his neighbor's pasture. Fred's property line fence is just about ten feet beyond him. He is planning on putting in a row of Photinias so that when you are in the gazebo the view towards the neighbor will be blocked. Photinias are very common in this area as hedges- mostly because they are thick and grow quickly. I'm helping Fred with the planting, but paused to get this picture. Fred has so much that he wants to do around his house, but he works such long hours at Crump's that he has very little time to get it all done. As a result, he might buy a shrub one day but not plant it for months.

Fred asked me to bring Chip and Dale up with me, and I was happy to do that, since I am still not too comfortable with leaving them alone.

Chip Exploring Around the Gazebo

I liked bringing the kittens up here, because they can play outside and be safe, something they can't do at home. If they got anywhere near Inwood, they would be roadkill in a matter of minutes. Chip is developing a very cute personality, and is the more playful of the two.

Dale Relaxing on the Gazebo

Dale is just a bit more skittish and harder to get close to, but, being litter mates, he and Chip play with each other readily, and have formed a close bond already. Fred was certainly right about having two of them.

Chip and Dale are a joy to have around- and will be until they destroy something. So far, they are pretty well-behaved, even for kittens. I have started giving them all their shots; Fred and I want to make sure that if they acquired fleas or anything else at Frank and Joe's farm, that we get those things under control. So far, no problems, but these two "free" cats have cost me about $100.

Horses in the Pasture Next to Fred's House

I took this picture for the benefit of my sister, to whom I sent a copy.

Fred's New Greenhouse.

Behind the garage, and with an entrance through the garage, Fred had this L-shaped greenhouse built.

I am not sure but that Fred's greenhouse is like a busman's holiday, but he has such an abiding interest in plants that it was almost a necessity at some point. The small greenhouse is nonetheless very professional, with fans to circulate the air and keep it from getting too hot, a water air-conditioning system to put moisture into the air and also keep it cool, and heaters to keep it warm in the winter. He has had some problems getting all of the equipment going, but on the whole is pleased with it. Fred's property extends all the way down to the trees you see in the distance. There is a pond down there on his property, but you can't see it from here.

I very much enjoyed the weekend at Fred's house, and I look forward to many more.

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.

June 19-20: A Visit to My Sister's Farm in Elon, NC
May 20-23, 1993: A Visit to Disney World/Universal Studios Florida
Return to the Index for 1993