The Real Thing
While billows of smoke encircle the Holmes Road dump, the City of Houston atones somewhat for its ecological sins by its production of Hou-Actinite, a remarkable 100 per cent organic fertilizer which is recycled at the Northside Waste Water Control Facility from city waste water and raw sewage. Hou-Actinite is certified pure by the Department of Agriculture for use on trees, grass, ornamentals, fruits, and vegetables. At about $2-$3 per fifty pound sack, it is an ecological answer to your down to earth problems. What was once a thorn in the city's side is now a bed of roses.
Hou-Actinite/ The Garden Mart, 5108 Bissonnet; Southwest Fertilizer and Farm Supply Company, 5828 Bissonnett; B. L. Henderson and Sons, 1200 National Street, Houston/ Dal-Green Distributing Co., 11311 Denton Road, Dallas.
Oldies But Goodies
Twelve times a year, a six acre hillside a few blocks from the Van Zandt County Courthouse in Canton becomes a huge treasure trove and an endless pile of junk and collector's paradise. The "First Monday Trade Days" (Trading actually begins on the Sunday before the first Monday in every month.) unlock many an attic in East Texas and a carnival atmosphere prevails among flatirons, ax handles, quilts, snuff-boxes, etc.
First Monday originated after the Civil War when county court sessions opened on the first Monday of every month. Farmers in the Canton area always came to town to witness the "goings on" and to swap gossip, farm philosophy, and crops.
In 1965 the city purchased the land near the courthouse to provide a permanent facility for what has now become the largest flea market in East Texas.
Take Highway I 20 East, exit at Highway 64 to Canton and look for the large field. (45 minutes from Dallas) Take a picnic or buy chili dogs and Mexican food from concessions. Don't miss the real bargain—a big, tall fresh-squeezed lemonade for 35¢.
Canton Antiques Fair/ Canton/ August 5-6.
Fiddle fans who didn't get their fill of the old-time music at Fort Worth last month should mark their calendars early for the Eleventh Annual Burnet Fiddlers' Contest. Held on the courthouse square amidst some of the most spacious scenery on the Hill Country, the Burnet shindig is an undiscovered pearl among small-town festivals. On the same weekend that folks in Austin, 60 miles to the southeast, are preoccupied with their splashy Aqua Festival, the burghers of Burnet annually put together one of the best batches of fiddle music to be heard anywhere. Fiddlers come from all over Texas. Though the audience gets bigger every year, it's not so big that it interferes with your enjoyment of the music; this is one fair you can take in while strolling around the lawn munching a first-class German sausage instead of feeling like a sausage yourself in shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. And the folks in Burnet are about the friendliest around.
Eleventh Annual Fiddlers' Contest and Festival/10 a.m.-5 p.m./ Courthouse Square/ August 4/ Burnet, Texas.
She Sees Sea Shells
Jean Andrews' Seashells of the Texas Coast is a many chambered treasure: a text book for malacologists, a lucid guide for beachcombers and neophyte collectors, and a worthy addition to any coffeetable.
This handsome 298 page volume is worth its weight in wampum.
Sea Shells of the Texas Coast by Jean Andrews/ University of Texas Press/ $17.50.
Through the Looking Glass Darkly
Not really. But according to "Alice and Wonderland," an original rock opera written by two Texans, Richard Rosen and Wink Kelso, Carroll was a 32-year-old virgin, torn between Victorian upbringing and his longings for 12-year-old Alice Liddle, the "child friend" he wanted to marry and who became, instead, the model for his fictional Alice who tripped through the looking-glass.
Since the opera opened at the San Antonio Theater Club in February it has played to more than 10,000 persons in about 100 sold out performances. Plans call for the show to run through the end of summer. Negotiations are currently being made for a national tour of "Alice."
Alice and Wonderland/ San Antonio Theater Club/ Hemisfair Plaza/ San Antonio/ 224-4464/ Thurs. at 8; Fri., Sat. at 10:30 p.m.; Sun. at 6.
Down With Ticky-tack
Tired of living in a house with walls thin enough to put a fist through and with insulation which overburdens the central heat and air? Two Austinites reverse that trend by designing and building a habitat rather than a house.
Each habitat, constructed from a series of modules, is created after the daily needs, income and land sites of each potential owner have been considered.
No matter what your income, your habitat will automatically contain unique environmental features not offered by your average builder. The vaulted roof serves to capture rainwater and transport it to a storage area near the house. Perhaps most important, the interior climate is controlled by insulation (within the walls, on the roof and under the floor), placement of glass, windows, door openings, and position of the habitat on the building site. So, a minimal use of fans and fireplaces can easily provide heating and cooling.
Patton-Stark Associates/ P.0. Box 1202, Austin, 78767/ 512-477-8629.
Know an executive who longs to be an artist? Steal a doodle from his memo pad and send it and his favorite colors to the Projective Art Institute in Dallas.
A replica of the doodle and painting interpretation are registered with the Library of Congress. Interpretations of the doodles of several famous personalities such as Mrs. Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey and Lt. Governor William P. Hobby are on display at Suite 3000, Southland Center. Fees for the complete service-psychological and historical analysis, tracing the doodle's origins in art history and relating it to known works of art—are under $500 including frames and custom plates.
Projective Art Institute/ 3000 Southland Center, Dallas 75201/ 214-651-9710.