Great Horned Owl

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Great Horned Owl leaving the nest.

With its long, earlike tufts, intimidating yellow-eyed stare, and deep hooting voice, the Great Horned Owl is the quintessential owl of storybooks. This dominant predator can take down birds and mammals even larger than itself, but it also dines on smaller animals such as tiny scorpions, mice, and frogs. It’s one of the most common owls in North America, equally at home in deserts, wetlands, forests, grasslands, backyards, cities, and almost any other semi-open habitat between the Arctic and the tropics.

Great Horned Owls are large, thick-bodied with two prominent feathered tufts on the head. The wings are broad and rounded. In flight, the rounded head and short bill combine to create a blunt-headed silhouette. The colors of Great Horned Owls are mottled gray-brown, with reddish brown faces and a neat white patch on the throat. Their overall color tone varies regionally from sooty to pale. Great Horned Owls are nocturnal. You may see them at dusk sitting on fence posts or tree limbs at the edges of open areas, or flying across roads or fields with stiff, deep beats of their rounded wings. Their call is a deep, stuttering series of four to five hoots.

Want to learn more about Great Horned Owls or other native South Texas animals? Call to schedule a private one-of-a-kind outdoor Sculpture Trail Tour and develop an appreciation for the vast variety of creatures that call our region home. Each sculpture provides insight into the natural history of the Rio Grande Valley. At each turn of a trail, there’s a new creature to discover.

Call us at 956-681-3370 for more information.

Summer Sleuth: Paw Prints!

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This animal walked lightly on the tiles.

Good luck is another word for tenacity and purpose. Quinta Mazatlán’s tenacity and purpose can be witnessed in the Saltillo tile used throughout the home. The tiles durability and coolness was the ideal flooring choice for this 10,000 sq. ft. mansion. Saltillo tile is a soft hand-made tile from Saltillo Coahuila Mexico. It is made from native clays and formed into tile. The tiles have rustic imperfections, color variations, and size variations. It is during the sun drying stage of the process that birds, coyotes and other desert dwellers will leave their foot prints in the drying tiles. There is a tradition in the Southwest United States and Northern Mexico, near superstitious significance, that every floor laid with Saltillo tile must have a “protector” tile set within its boundaries for good luck.

Jason and Marcia Matthews installed Saltillo tile throughout the mansion. The tile is of a deep cinnamon-orange color with a two inch cement grout line to secure them. This flooring decision was ideal for the warm South Texas climate and a great accessory to the Spanish style of Quinta Mazatlan. The tile has been resilient and has withstood the test of time.

The second owners of Quinta Mazatlan, Frank and Marilyn Schultz, kept the same Saltillo tile flooring style during their renovation of the home. The newer tile color variations are shades of orange, yellow to peach colors. The sleek, natural beauty, non-toxic and cleanliness of the tiles made it an easy choice to continue using Saltillo tile.

“Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Elmer Leterman.

Like Saltillo Tile, Quinta Mazatlan has been particularly well regarded over the course of time. Is it cause of the “Paw Prints”? Time will tell. Visit Quinta Mazatlán and observe this Spanish Colonial Revival homes paw prints. Capture a picture of any of the “Paw Prints”. Post it on any of our Social Media and tag Quinta Mazatlán. Most creative photos will be highlighted by Quinta Mazatlán next week. Get to sleuthing….

Stop by Quinta Mazatlan and witness how this Spanish Colonial Revival home fits into our environment. With plenty of alfresco gathering spaces Quinta Mazatlan expresses a sense of relaxation and fosters a connection to nature and the surrounding environment.

Want to hear tales about the families that built and lived at Quinta Mazatlán for a total of 60 years before the City of McAllen purchased the estate and opened it in 2006 as a mansion with a mission? Call to schedule a private one-of-a-kind History Tour and discover how this massive structure was built from adobe and the secrets to its longevity.

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Can you guess the animal that could have left their mark behind?

Buff-bellied Hummingbird

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Buff-bellied Hummingbird searching for nectar!

The Buff-bellied Hummingbird breeds near the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, from south Texas to Mexico. It is probably the least-studied hummingbird that regularly occurs in the United States. The wings of a Buff-bellied hummingbird allow it to do something no other bird can do. They can rotate their wings in a circle, allowing them to fly forward, backward, up, down, sideways, hover in one spot, or even fly upside down. They use their long, extendible, straw-like tongues to retrieve the nectar while hovering with their tails cocked upward as they are licking at the nectar up to 13 times per second. Humming birds eat nectar, pollen and insects.

The female alone protects and feeds the chicks with regurgitated food. The female pushes the food down the chicks’ throats with her long bill directly into their stomachs.

To conserve energy at night when they are not feeding, their bodies go into a state of torpor (temporary or semi-hibernation). These birds may even stop breathing for periods of time. This allows them to use up to 50 times less energy than they would need during their daytime activities. Their feet are weak and are only used for perching.

Want to learn more about Buff-bellied Hummingbirds or other native South Texas animals? Call to schedule a private one-of-a-kind outdoor Sculpture Trail Tour and develop an appreciation for the vast variety of creatures that call our region home. Each sculpture provides insight into the natural history of the Rio Grande Valley. At each turn of a trail, there’s a new creature to discover.

Call us at 956-681-3370 for more information.

Summer Sleuth: Bolts and Locks!

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Antique French Slide Bolt Door Latch

Peace of mind is a matter of choice. In the late 1930’s, when Quinta Mazatlan was built on the out skirts of the McAllen city limits, security was of the upmost importance. It has been reported that Jason and Marcia Matthews secured the estate with crude items. Tripwires, empty cans and bells were placed around the thorn forest of Quinta Mazatlán to notify the Matthews if an intruder had entered the estate. The home itself was a fortress to be reckoned with. The mansion originally had 5 entrance doors, one front door and the other four lead out to the courtyard. Each door had a sliding bolt to secure the door closed. The

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Antique Shutter Slide Bolt

bedroom doors had the same securing system with an added safeguard. The added safeguard was a prison iron gate. The nightly routine was to close and bolt the doors leading out of the home and close the iron gates behind them. There was an iron gate within the master bedroom also. The Matthews would close and bolt the master bedroom door and close an iron gate behind it to secure themselves within the master bedroom. The Matthews safeguarded their home with rudimentary items to gain a sense of security.

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Antique French Slide Bolt Door Latch

If you can’t find the key to success, pick the lock. Visit Quinta Mazatlan and observe this Spanish Colonial Revival homes bolts and locks. Capture a picture of any of the “Quinta Bolts and Locks”. Post it on any of our Social Media and tag Quinta Mazatlán. Most creative photos will be highlighted by Quinta Mazatlán Facebook and Instagram! Get to sleuthing….

Stop by and witness how this Spanish Colonial Revival home fits into our environment. With plenty of alfresco gathering spaces Quinta Mazatlan expresses a sense of relaxation and fosters a connection to nature and the surrounding environment.

Want to hear tales about the families that built and lived at Quinta Mazatlán for a total of 60 years before the City of McAllen purchased the estate and opened it in 2006 as a mansion with a mission? Call to schedule a private one-of-a-kind History Tour and discover how this massive structure was built from adobe and the secrets to its longevity.

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Antique door with antique lock at Quinta Mazatlan

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Antique French Slide Bolt Door Latch

TBT: Comfort Zone

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Sample bottles of Quinta Mazatlan 1970 Grand Classe, French Beaujolais Red, 1979 Partridge Eye, Pinot Chardoney Schultz Estate.

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein – is a quote that the Quinta Mazatlan families lived by. A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows or gets accomplished there. The many successes that the families of Quinta Mazatlan accomplished were because they got out of their comfort zone.

Marilyn Schultz had her prosperous business of creating commemorative plates, while Frank had his thriving and well established citrus company, but he strived for more. On

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Cases of the wine grapes are inspected for quality.

the citrus off season Frank would enlisted the help of friends and family to assist him with his venture vinification (winemaking). Frank who was an aspiring chemist was the oenologist/vintner. Max Burkhart of Val Con construction, did the assembly of a wine cellars used at the packing shed. Ike Griffin who owned a packing shed would get truckloads of wine grapes from a California connection. Family members would assist by washing, filling and labeling the wine bottles. Schultz Estates wine created Quinta Mazatlán 1970 Grand Classe French Beaujolais Red, 1972 Zinfandel Schultz Estates and 1979 Partridge Eye Pinot Chardoney Schultz Estates.

Get out of your comfort zone and try something new in your life. Venture out to Quinta Mazatlan for a mile long nature/sculpture walk. Stroll through the largest adobe structure in South Texas. Volunteer on Wednesdays or Saturdays, anything from office work to garden work is always needed. Attend our Thursday Family Nights or bring your kids out to Saturday Discovery Days.

Want to hear tales about the families that built and lived at Quinta Mazatlán for a total of 60 years before the City of McAllen purchased the estate and opened it in 2006 as a mansion with a mission? Call to schedule a private one-of-a-kind History Tour and discover how this massive structure was built from adobe and the secrets to its longevity.

Call us at 956-681-3370 for more information.

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Wine grapes are washed, de-stemmed and the liquid grape juice is now called Must. The Must is allowed to ferment in 55 gallon metal drums lined with thick plastic bags.

Dragonflies

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Dragonfly searching for a meal.

Dragonflies (Anisoptera) are insects that have long bodies, transparent wings, and large eyes. There are over 5,000 species of dragonfly. Dragonflies begin their life in water, and because of their brief lifespan, about a month, you will usually see them near water. Their huge eyes help them hunt for bugs. Because dragonflies are insects they have 6 legs, a thorax, a head, and an abdomen. The abdomen is long and segmented. Despite having 6 legs, the dragonfly doesn’t walk very well. It is a great flyer, however. Dragonflies can hover in one place, fly extremely fast, and even fly backwards. They are some of the fastest flying insects in the world reaching speeds of over 30 miles per hour. Dragonflies come in a variety of colors including blue, green, yellow, and red. They are some of the most colorful insects on the planet. They also come in a range of sizes from half an inch long to over 5 inches long. Want to learn more about Dragonflies or other native South Texas fauna? Join us for our one-of-a-kind outdoor Sculpture Trail Tour on Thursdays at 10am and develop an appreciation for the vast variety of creatures that call our region home. Each sculpture provides insight into the natural history of the Rio Grande Valley. At each turn of a trail, there’s a new creature to discover.

Sculpture Trail Tour – Thursdays at 10am

FEE: Free with general admission.

For groups of 10 or more, please call to reserve a private tour.

Call us at 956-681-3370 for more information.

TBT: Marcia Crary Jamieson Matthews

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Marcia Crary Jamieson Matthews obituary picture.

May 22nd marked the passing of Mrs. Marcia Crary Jamieson Matthews at the age of 72. Marcia was born November 26, 1892, in Warren, PA into an affluent family. Her prosperous upbringing allowed her to be part of the “social scene” at the time and travel extensively around the world. She attended Smith College of Liberal Arts for women in Northampton, MA. Often described as a woman before her time, adventurer, writer, editor, broadcaster and pro-American.

Marcia was the editor of The American Mercury of which her husband was publisher, and was doing regular radio broadcasts on anti-Communist subjects on the Life-Line programs from Shreveport, LA. She was also a director of the Guardians of American Heritage and president of the Legion for the Survival of Freedom. She received the Liberty Award from the Congress of Freedoms several times and was recipient of many other similar awards from all over the nation.

On a more personal note, Mrs. Matthews a collector of curios and relics, proudly displayed them throughout the mansion. She breathed and fought for America. While others lowered their standards to make accommodations, she raised hers to empower others.

Want to hear tales about the families that built and lived at Quinta Mazatlán for a total of 60 years before the City of McAllen purchased the estate and opened it in 2006 as a mansion with a mission? Call to schedule a private one-of-a-kind History Tour and discover how this massive structure was built from adobe and the secrets to its longevity.

Call us at 956-681-3370 for more information.

Marcia Matthews 1891-1963

Mrs. Matthews socialite picture circa 1920s.