Saturday, June 27, 2020


This past month, we have been witness to the daily hard work from sun-rise to sun-set. Raising cattle, harvesting hay and constant caring for the land. Farming workdays offer little time off. 

The photo above was taken mid-week in the middle of early evening thunderstorms. The bales of hay are being stored near the road along a fence line. A gate gives easy access for customers wanting to purchase bales of hay. 

Thunderstorms lasted all night. The sky was filled with cloud to cloud sheet lightening dancing on canter stage off of our back porch. Closer lightening strikes followed by the ripping boom punctuated the four-hour performance. We lost power for a little over an hour and appreciated Mother Nature turning off all of the lights for our viewing pleasure. 


include southern Arkansas, western Louisiana, and southeastern Oklahoma. "You can look it up." 

Our talking of moving to eastern Texas started a few years ago. 

Then one non-descript day, we pulled the plug. We dropped the reins of our New Hampshire home as quickly as we picked them up some 18 years ago. It had been a wonderful ride. Winters were the major deciding factor and our age. If were ever going to act on the move, it is time and late in the game for us. Do it or forget it. 

If these past 5 weeks of Texas blogging has led anyone to think this move has all been sunshine and roses, let me be the first to add heartache, mental/physical exhaustion and day-after-day of work trying to resettle 2000 miles southwest of our old life/home. 

Nothing has been easily given to us in this venture. That was not expected by either of us. But the old days we remember of walking into any office or business to complete tasks face-to-face are over. They are not coming back. In all fairness to the big picture, the harder one has to work for any achievement, the more it is fully appreciated. We have become more resilient, self-sufficient and secure in our ability to work together to eventually solve any problem. My wife has earned woman of the year awards damn near daily since we started this venture. And this last week, given Queen of the Universe several times. 

Drilling through company's web sites, holding holding holding on the phone only to reach a few incompetents, listening to social messaging that far over-reaches any reason we would ever need/want to listen to just to acquire help or product, can kill the desire to do business. But when services are mandated to problem solve, the social messaging wears deeply. And every initial call means listening to "the message" and that somehow we are in this together. That the company really cares about protecting employees and customers. The message is always the long version, repeated. 

And in all fairness, there have wonderful moments and days. The ups and downs of any life I suppose.



The ever-changing Northern sky.

Peaches are on.

It is all I can do to just lift one of those out of the bin.

Display art.

More display art.

Morning sunrise looking west. Piney Woods

Looking east over our AirBnB. Piney Woods


Appreciate the visit this week.

Sunday, June 21, 2020


Cutting, raking and baling hay on 70 acres in East Texas week 4. 

Some photos first.

Looking south early Wednesday morning.

The workhorse (1987-1997 series)

Raking system raised for towing.

Rakes left set in towing configuration. 

The towing of these rakes set in a V-shape cause them to turn. They are not mechanically nor hydraulically driven. They do an exceptional job of bringing cut rows of hay into a single center row.

First cutting pass around the acreage. The blades are covered so as to minimize dust and debris.

Raking cut hay into single rows.

Running the raked rows with an automatic hay-baler. When the bale is complete, the operator stops and births the bale out the back. A small arm gives the bale an extra push and then pulls back inside the baler. 


I have not yet met the fellow working this acreage single-handed. He has done all mowing, all raking and all of the baling. He is the quintessential Texan and man's man in my book.

I doubt if I ever put in back-to-back days of work like this man has. I have only seen a quick snapshot of his work ethic these past few days. My guess is that what I have witnessed is exactly who and what this man is! He starts his workday day after lunch, after the sun has had time to dry off the evening dew.

I watched the day he started and saw him work the Massey Ferguson till sunset. Then finishing the cutting the next day.  Seventy some acres. Full hot sun. 

I think he took one break and that was to fuel up the tractor. This is an older tractor. Not air-conditioned or will "comfort" ever be used to describe the seat. All gears. No hydraulics for easier driving. Watching the tractor bumping along several of the paths he has worked, indicates a day's rough ride.

From all the mowing to all of the raking. Row after row after row. From the drone photography I have done, this man's skill-sets of getting every blade of hay on either side of the raking system is evident on each pass to include all of the turns and corners. No GPS system or computer screens guiding his paths.  No enclosed air conditioned cab. All seat-of-the pants and placing tractor front wheels, rear wheels and his forward judgements of the rows cut and raked.

Yesterday, he again worked till sunset. I was privy to his last baling pass and run. Shutting off the baler, he towed the rig to the end of the field and simply shut off the engine. His work day here was over. As with all farming, he most likely had chores to get done when he got home.

He picked up a small lunch-pail and paced to his truck. A work truck, single bench seat, simple and functional. This, too, is a piece of farm equipment that tows all of his haying equipment to and from the fields. 

Sound travels here. I was privy to his stopping at the landowners back deck and watching him walk to the stairs going up the deck. The landowner was there and it appeared time for older fellows, who work the Texas lands, to chat. 

Stopping at the bottom of the stairs, the fellow said "Ain't Life Grand?" His official good afternoon to the owner. The owner did not hear him and the fellow repeated, "Ain't Life Grand." 

The words spoken with a slow relaxed conviction.  After so many long, hot, hard riding, dust covering hours, the older gentleman opened with an upbeat take on life and living. If the words alone were not a testimony to Texas living, it was in his Texan delivery spoken from deep in the heart. 


Rethink ordering rare.

We ordered everything plus, mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise. So far the best hamburger in Texas. Tater Tots came piping hot with a salted crunch.

The restaurant was 100% open and food was served with real silverware. 

Note: The restaurant was not quite half-full when we stopped for lunch. The waitresses were busy enough to keep on the move from taking orders, serving and clearing tables. After a short while another waitress came by and asked if everything was ok. It was. With that Texan accent she offered to bring us a few crackers while we waited. "Don't want your tummy to hit your back bone." 

Other Ma's Cafe menu items read: Chicken Fried Rib Eye; Country Gravy Covers the Plate; Grilled Pork Chops; Sothern Cooking at its Best; Garlic Toast; Biscuits and Gravy $4.98; Soda Pop; 4 Large House Breaded Shrimp and more.


Ya'll come back next week, ya hear!!

Sunday, June 14, 2020


We have been here for three weeks now, nose down and fanny up in finding a new home. This weeks post revolves around some good eats and a few photos throughout the week.

We found these a few minutes away from where we live. Available everyday until the roadside fruit stand closes in the fall after pumpkin season. Till then, this is what's for lunch as often as we dare to push the overeating of this important food group. These corn dogs are exactly what every corndog lover hopes for. Dipped in a light corn meal coating and then deep fried to perfection. The dog snaps at every bite and has flavor much better than the shorter, fatter brands.

I asked my wife if she wanted to share one more in hopes she would succumb to the moment. Nope! But I could do two of these in a long heartbeat. If I ever do, I will never ever tell. Not that I plan to. But when the the end of the world is in sight, two corn dogs will be a part of the last supper. 



The above corn dog find is but one of many such eatery finds in East Texas.

The gas station ten minutes from here has a showcase of fresh southern fried chicken, catfish and the best damn Cajun-seasoned sausages. Their freezers there are full of off brand sausages. 

The older gal touring me through the freezer showed me the pineapple infused sausage she said were by the far the best. Maybe like clam sauce on spaghetti, I will have to try it to cross that bridge. This appears to be sausage heaven just for the grilling experimentation alone.

Early this past week, we happened on a small Mexican market in Pittsburg. Inside is a gold mine of spices, fresh meats and everything ever needed for all Mexican cooking. Produce fresh and every kind of bean and rice ready for scooping into take home bags.

In the back room is a very small window eatery. Basic menu, but cooked by one man and his son taking orders waiting on folks. 

An older gentleman was sitting alone at one of the 4 tables enjoying enchiladas.  He learned the secrets of this little restaurant long ago.

Two of the best taco salads we have ever had and we took home an order of white queso dip, pico de pallo, guacamole and fresh made chips. 

This market is now one of our major go-to shopping stops. Affordable to boot.

Fried peach pie above.


I have been carrying this can opener on my key ring for a few years. Gets in the way at times, but I have been too lazy to take it off when it gets caught coming out of my pocket.

The simplicity and universality of this opener has come full circle from army and camping days. 

There are few things in life that never ever go out of style and function. 

It is worth noting that some of the places we have visited are still full tilt Covid19. 

From "waiting 6 more months" before full reopening to no mask(s) and little to no social distancing well represent the bell curve. Management decisions all. 

Two small cities away will find us in full capacity eateries with the hustle and bustle of "normal."

This photo to the left was taken the day before we left NH. 

All of our traveling over the past 3 weeks has found some degree of mask wearing from tucked under the nose, under the chin, taken off after we leave the business or removed for intelligible conversation.  

Generally speaking, the constant touching/adjusting of masks, the face and then a myriad of objects/things is common. Any understanding of collection of germs and sharing from mask wearing is lost within the population. A petri dish is a petri dish.

We have been personally addressed by only one mask wearing Nazi hell bent on bringing everyone under his verbal commands.


Cool temperatures in the high 80's and strong Texas winds mid-week. Could not resist the opportunity to try to get both flags standing  together. 

Two hundred pics in just a few minutes and one turned out. 

The world is changing fast and this will be a recurring theme from time to time. Writing (past mid week) of what is coming will quickly be old news. 

I do not know the words to hang on the downfall of large American cities succumbing to crime, looting and mandates to take a knee. Daenerys Targaryen may be coming to set us free and teach us the upside of throwing away our shackles of freedom. 

Summer is coming.

Local governments' promotion of disbanding police departments leaves a populace totally dependent upon themselves for everyday living and safety. Unpredictable moments such as these are exactly what folks, who have a prepping mind set, have been talking of for years. 

That anyone gives credence to hate, hurt, harm and destruction as a viable future is beyond my ability to grasp. Understanding it or not is time wasted. Using these last few weeks and months to finalize our ability to take care of ourselves in the after best be front and center.

In one of our little out of the way towns here in East Texas, a lone individual the other morning was holding a sign in protest; a request for "America to re-think...".  Driving by too quickly prevented me of seeing the punch line. 

My wife and I would like to think we are immune from the madness reaching us due to the expanse of the lands and being further away from maddening crowds. 


The flatness of the northern horizon from the patio deck offers spectacular sun scape's. We are currently in a span of weather forecasted with clear skies, cooler temperatures and no rain for the next 10 days. 

I appreciate the visit this week. 

Saturday, June 6, 2020


Big sky looking north from our rental. Covered porch, two chairs and a small table and outdoor cook stove. We are anxious to grill, but will be patient with that until we purchase a home. 

Thunderstorms. The little bird above had to take quick shelter in an instant downpour. It fluttered off in the big winds and hid under the chair for a few minutes. All in a day's bird work.

We have been doing miles and miles searching for a new home since our arrival in Texas just two weeks ago. Houses that have been on the market for months and months are no longer. In East Texas houses, may be listed for hours or a few days before selling. Many of the homes we have found on the net have an offer pending or under contract when we contact our realtor to go look at the house. The pace of home sales appears to indicate flight from large cities around the country. 

Just a year ago, homes for sale in this area would sit on the market for months. Currently, those days are over.

Covering several hundred miles daily and time spent from early morning to late afternoon has been our new normal. But it is our main job and we approach each day as if going to work.

Sleeping all night is not a problem, even with trains and a few night barks from the Great Pyrenees.

The little towns offer a lot to see. The photo above is half of a mural on a road side business in Mineola.

Pinto beans are fresh now. I have never thought of the freshness of beans in the same light as fresh seasonal fruit. But beans too are a seasonal food and early testing of cooking fresh pinto beans seems to verify the taste and quality of seasonal freshness over canned or long-term storage.

I used a slow cooker and a simple onion, garlic, bacon and bacon grease recipe. I also added half a sliced Kielbasa . Salt and pepper was added when the beans were done. I am a fan and will work on improving the whole process and other added seasonings for flavors.


Earlier this past week.

As much as I would like to stay hidden in our move, home shopping and living in the far off lands of east Texas, my wife, myself and Dallas family are in this worry and mix of civil unrest.

Also friends left behind in New Hampshire and calls from close friends in Ireland.

This is playing out in large cities across this nation and now the threat from the protesters that they are coming to the suburbs cannot be ignored

I believe there is a lack of understanding of what awaits violent protesters entering neighborhoods or back road dwellings outside the big cities. We'll see.

This ought to change the game and the rules of all of this nationwide violence.


Normal sights just off the back roads. 

This particular readiness set up is for woodpeckers.

A large wooded decks wraps this back country home.

Taking off our walking shoes is indicated. 

We were offered this rustic setting as a place to again say our vows of marriage in December.

The warmth of this location and surrounding woods oozes country living in eastern Texas. 

I saw the Massey Ferguson tractor setting back inside. I could not help but to be drawn to it. While my wife visited with our hosts, I became consumed with the red tractor. 

Running, working or parked next to a wooden lapped wall, machinery like this is one of the highest forms art to me. Looking, looking, touching, photographing and time in the presence of working history. This can be felt deep inside me and words escape to explain.

The fellow showing us around asked to see my hands. He responded, "city boy." Measured in a heart beat. I let it go because there is truth in the statement. 

Been a few years since I have been deep in building, fixing and working a property. I would drive this tractor in a heartbeat. Maybe on our next visit. 

We talked of days of old when we were both young, sitting on the fenders and riding with elders on their work tractors. 


We have been looking forward to finding these. And yes, excellent. Will always have a bag or two in the freezer. 

Large fresh fruit stand 4 minutes away.


Gotta find a fan light like this one.

Kitchen knives by Shane Stanton, Red Dog Forge, Fairfield, Tx

Heavy knives. Gladewater Knife Co. will complete the sharpening to razor sharp. 

Carbon steel and have to be maintained. 

Reasonably priced.

Kitchen art!!

Also the best custom holster and sheath store I have ever been in. Store owner will build right/left hand for any gun. 

Love knives and will return soon and feed my wantings.


Signs of this past week. HT ACE ONT June 2, 2020


A small rural town north of us. This sign says it all here in East Texas. Streets are busy with traffic. Restaurants half to full capacity and we can get a haircut like in the olden days. The gal who cut our hair said she did just fine during the shut down working her skill sets. 

The only news channel we can get here is CNN. We have watched 10 seconds so far and most of that time was spent in figuring out how to kill the sound and change the channel. 

Appreciate the visit this week.