Summer Sleuth: National Mail Order Catalog Day

Employees working

Employees would take online orders to process and ship out.

“The friendliest grapefruit tycoon in Texas”, was a name used to identify Mr. Frank Schultz in an article in the December 1980 Texas Monthly magazine. He had many successful businesses at the time, one which was the Crest Fruit Company in Alamo, Texas. Through the Crest Fruit label he created many mail order catalog businesses.

From 1966 to 1986 his Royal Ruby Red Grapefruits were sold under the “Frank Lewis” and “Red Cooper” catalog labels. Fresh grapefruit, canned grapefruit juice and orange juice were sold to people from up north and local fundraising projects. In 2002, he expanded to include Alamo’s Best Smokehouse Meats (Smoked Meats) and Café’ Sabroso (Coffee) to his mail order catalog selections.

In 2006, Mr. Schultz expanded the catalog business and introduced sweet onions. The trade mark name of the mail order catalog businesses were “Don’t Shed a Tear, Sweet Onions are here!” and “Sweet Onion Express”. By adding to his previous the catalog selections were increasing.

The year 2006 was also a turning point for the mail order business to go online. Mr. Schultz took the opportunity to go online and opened up an online retail store named “SweetOnionExpress.com”. This online retail store had services in the field of gift packages for Christmas, holidays and other occasions, featuring fruits, vegetables, herbs, seasonings, sauces, kitchen tools, cookbooks, snacks, and desserts.

Mr. Frank Schultz felt he was a “blessed man with a product that is addicting.”

Hi Im Frank Lewis

Frank used this letter to pitch his grapefruit mail order business. Letters would be sent out to potential customers.

Summer Sleuth: Spanish clay roof tiles!

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Walk in closet roof extension added by the Schultz family. Barrel shaped clay tiles.

Quinta Mazatlán has been in existence since the late 1930s. Jason and Marcia Matthews followed the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture on the home both inside and out. The inside of the home is accented with Talavera tile and the roof is made of terracotta clay tiles. The clay tiles have superior aesthetics that bring authenticity to the home. The Spanish clay roof tiles are patterned either as a “S” or barrel shape. The building design and installation has made the roof last for over 70 years. The roof tiles are beautiful with the added benefit of being extremely durable. This durability has served the tile well, as it has lasted through the brutal South Texas climate.

The only noted damage sustained to the roof was in September 1967, when Hurricane Beulah ravished the valley. Some portions of the roof sustained damage, which then had to be replaced.

In 1968 when Frank and Marilyn Schultz purchased Quinta Mazatlán, seamless repairs

old meets new

New meets old clay tiles used to repair roof after Hurricane Beulah.

were made to the roof. Terracotta clay roof tiles were purchased to match the originals. Any upkeeps and all additions to the home have followed the same concept in keeping the home genuine to the original structural design.

The Matthews or Schultz families, being environmentally conscious, chose clay roof tiles that are made from naturally occurring materials, therefore not depleting precious natural resources. The tiles are manufactured without chemical preservatives. Moreover, clay roof tiles are energy efficient: because of the superior thermal capacity of roof tiles and the ventilated air space that their placement on the roof surface creates. A clay tile roof can lower air conditioning costs in hotter climates and produces more constant temperatures.

S shaped tiles

Original “S” shaped clay tiles on Quinta Mazatlán date back to the 1930s.

Quinta Mazatlán’s terracotta clay roof tiles have superior aesthetics, durability, longevity, and cost effectiveness. It was a wise choice back in the 1930’s and it still is today. A visit to the historical estate is beneficial to the visitor because this urban sanctuary is working to enrich people’s lives by sharing knowledge about birds, plants, and environmental stewardship in South Texas.

Come out to Quinta Mazatlán and capture a picture of the “Spanish clay roof.” 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 sleuthin!

Bird tile cap

Roof end cap clay tile honoring Quinta Mazatlán – World Birding Center!

Armadillo

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Nine-banded Armadillo!

Armadillos originated in South America, hence the name Armadillo which means “little armored one” in Spanish. The Nine-banded armadillo is only found in the United States.

Their average size is 25-48” long (including the tail) with a weight of 8-18 lbs. The average lifespan in the wild is 7-10 years. Identifying features of the armadillo are: greyish-brown oval-shaped body with a long, tapering tail; long head with a pointy snout and small black eyes on either side; hard, armor-like shell (carapace) with 7-11 distinct band-shaped beaks around the center; four short legs with long claws designed for digging. Armadillos prefer warm, moist climates, and thrive in forested areas and grasslands. Because they must dig for their food and shelter, they generally gravitate towards areas with loose, porous soil. Reproduction for the nine-banded armadillo begins in early summer, and the breeding period lasts about 2-3 months. It takes up to 4 months for a fertilized egg to become implanted and another 4 before young are born. Each time, the fertilized egg breaks into four identical zygotes, yielding quadruplets.

Want to learn more about Nine-banned armadillos 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.

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Summer Sleuth: Outlets

living room

Floor Electrical Receptacle in the library.

Nearly every room of our convenient lives we have outlets and receptacles which facilitate our need to power our electronic devices and be connected to the real world instantly. Our modern homes have electrical receptacles and phone outlets at standard heights and easy access locations. A unique feature at Quinta Mazatlán are the electrical receptacles and phone outlets. Electrical receptacles and phone outlets can be found in the base boards, window/door casings or in the floors of Quinta Mazatlán. The Matthews family did not have electricity, but used gas lanterns around the home to illuminate the home. The gas jets were strategically placed around Quinta Mazatlán to be optimized as a power source. Through the renovation and modernizing of Quinta Mazatlán, electrical wiring was done discreetly. Electrical receptacles and phone outlets are hidden and out of sight. To not take away from the historical value of

Baseboard

Baseboard Electrical Receptacles are scattered throughout Quinta Mazatlán.

the home, electrical and phone wiring was run through the base boards, door trimmings and crown moldings of the home. The home was modernized to utilize electricity and phone service inconspicuously but still kept Quinta Mazatlán’s historical structure. The china cabinet’s light switch is found along the base board. There is a floor plate that reads, “H.K. Porter Company Inc., National Electric.” Its location is where Mr. Frank Schultz had his executive desk in the study room.

Dining room plug

Floor Electrical Receptacle in the dining room.

Come visit 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.

Equally electrical receptacles and phone outlets are a standard in modern homes, Quinta Mazatlán continues to be a standard and leave its mark as an urban sanctuary working to enrich people’s lives by sharing knowledge about birds, plants, and environmental stewardship in South Texas. Come out to Quinta Mazatlán and capture a picture of the “electrical receptacles and/or phone outlets”. 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….

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.

china cabinet plug

Baseboard Electrical/Light Receptacle combination at Quinta Mazatlán.

Eastern screech owl

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Adult Eastern Screech owl swoops in to tend to the young in the cavity of an old palm tree.

The call of an eastern screech owl is known to sound like a horse whinny in a tree.

Eastern Screech-Owls can be either mostly gray or mostly reddish-brown (rufous). Red and gray individuals occur across the range of the Eastern Screech-Owl, with about one-third of all individuals being red. Rufous owls are more common in the East, with fewer than 15% red at the western edge of the range.

Trees define the Eastern Screech-Owl’s habitat. This owl is fairly common in most types of woods (evergreen or deciduous; urban or rural), particularly near water.

The female doesn’t hunt while on the nest; she and the chicks depend on food brought them by the male. Though the male is smaller, his voice is deeper than the female’s.

Eastern Screech-Owl pairs usually are monogamous and remain together for life. Some males, however, will mate with two different females. The second female may evict the first female, lay her own eggs in the nest, and incubate both clutches.

The Eastern Screech-Owl is known to eat a variety of songbirds, including the European Starling. Despite this fact, the starling regularly displaces the owl from nesting sites and takes over the hole to raise its own brood.

Eastern Screech-Owls eat most kinds of small animals, including birds and mammals as well as surprisingly large numbers of invertebrates, including earthworms, insects, crayfish, tadpoles, frogs, and lizards. They eat many kinds of mammals, including rats, mice, squirrels, moles, and rabbits.

This owl is agile enough to occasionally prey on bats, and can rarely even be cannibalistic. When prey is plentiful, Eastern Screech-Owls cache extra food in tree holes for as long as four days.

Want to learn more about Eastern Screech-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.

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Summer Sleuth: Quinta Mazatlan Tiles

front kitchen 1

Walking up to Quinta Mazatlan, you will notice the kitchen façade is covered with Talavera Tile.

Mr. and Mrs. Matthews upon their many travels to Mexico, decided to model Quinta Mazatlán after the many grand homes they saw there. One such home is Casa de los Azulejos or “House of Tiles” an 18th-century palace in Mexico City, built by the Count del Valle de Orizaba family. Story is that the fifth Countess Del Valle de Orizaba, who resided in Puebla, decided to return to the capital after her husband’s death and remodeled the house with Puebla tile in 1737, to show the family’s immense wealth. The building is distinguished by its facade, which is covered on three sides by blue and white tile from the Puebla state.

At Quinta Mazatlán, the kitchen, which surprisingly is on the front of the house, is a

front kitchen 3

Quinta Mazatlán – Tile patterns compared. Left side from the 1930s and Right side from the late 1990s.

lovely half-circle with an opulent treatment of Uriarte Talavera Tile from Puebla, Mexico. The blue and white tiles bring warmth and a welcoming feeling to the home. From a distance one will notice the wavy geometric tile pattern of the front window treatments. As you approach the home you will notice that the geometric pattern does not match. In restoring Quinta Mazatlán, 50 years later, tiles from Uriarte Talavera were used to keep the historic value of the home. Samples of the original tiles used by the Matthews family were used to duplicate the tiles. The tile patterns blend inconspicuously to the casual observer.

Come visit 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.

Like the tiles, Quinta Mazatlán blends inconspicuously into the City of McAllen as an urban sanctuary working to enrich people’s lives by sharing knowledge about birds, plants, and environmental stewardship in South Texas. Come out to Quinta Mazatlán and capture a picture of the tiles. 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….

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.

front kitchen 2

Quinta Mazatlán – Front view of kitchen

Opossums!

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Opossum with her young!

Opossums are marsupial mammals that originated in South America, and entered North America in the Great American Interchange following the connection of the two continents. The word “opossum” is borrowed from the Virginia Algonquian (Powhatan) language meaning “white dog” or “white beast/animal”. Opossums have prehensile tails. Their semi-prehensile tails are not strong enough to support a mature adult’s weight. Instead, the opossum uses its tail as a brace and a fifth limb when climbing. The tail is occasionally used as a grip to carry bunches of leaves or bedding materials to the nest.

Opossums have a remarkably robust immune system, and show partial or total immunity to the venom of rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and other pit vipers.

Female opossums often give birth to very large numbers of young, most of which fail to attach to a teat, although as many as thirteen young can attach. The young are weaned between 70 and 125 days, when they detach from the teat and leave the pouch. The opossum lifespan is unusually short for a mammal of its size, usually only two to four years.

Opossums are usually solitary and nomadic, staying in one area as long as food and water are easily available.

Want to learn more about Opossums 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.

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