Thursday, December 31, 2020



One thing you and I have in common this weekend is that we are entering a new year. The good old days and holidays are behind us. My attention is on today and tomorrow. 

We are entering into a year of unknowns. Open season on good vs. evil. 

The lemon tree above was found in a row of other plants at one of our local road side nurseries this past summer. It was knocked down, still bearing fruit and the dirt in which it was living was dry and pulling away for the inner walls of its small pot.

The attendant propped up the tree at my request and the fruit wobbled on the small branches. I was amazed at how this little tree was producing fruit under what I perceived as serious neglect. The other lemon tree next to it was standing, had a couple fruits and also attempting a good life in poor dirt. Twenty bucks a piece.

They have lived here now for a few months. Repotted, well watered and fed. But they have some kind of blight that I addressed this last week. 

Folks in the know have said it looks like reaction to chemical spray; bugs and blight. I am applying a user friendly spray and a dusting agent. The turning in of the leaves from chemical spray is most likely drifting spray carried by the winds from other places. Bugs and blight are just that. 

Go ahead and start purposely growing a garden or flowers. You will soon learn that what you plant will be in your care. Will need your time, effort and work. Each day will pay dividends directly associated with your efforts. 

Got close neighbors? Start a community garden. I bet they will be open to the idea and work with you.

One morning last week I noticed that one flower had bloomed from new wintering buds. Lemon trees do not do well in cold weather so I have been fathering them in and out of the shop each day. Their nights are spent under a warming light. Not the best environment, but better than the over night lows of late. And the little flower is a hint of things to come. A survivor. A leader. 

I have taken this little event to heart. A lesson. It most likely is no more than any other plant that endures. All living have to struggle somewhat against down times to keep doing what living is suppose to be doing. 

This lemon tree is setting to produce fruit this year. Has a job to do. Would appreciate a much better environment for sure and that is on the way. A perfect home for lemon trees and other assorted garden vegetable's and flowers. 

We will build it and in the meantime they will have to do the best they can under Texas winter circumstances. They will be loved and attended to each day until their new home is secured. 

That new home starts this week. A greenhouse for us. To practice and learn small gardening in east Texas. The perimeter electric fence will be staked out. A greenhouse design and possibly a kit chosen no later than months end. A structure up by the end of February/beginning of March. Landscaping along the way. 

Life, living, growing, surviving and producing will happen this coming year.  If any of us become the lemon tree, hang on and for God's sake never quit , give up or give in. We all have fruit to bear. Good fruit! And should you find a lemon tree, fallen on the ground this year, take the time to pick it up and help as best as you can.

If the mind and body are uncomfortable in the days ahead, it is a sign that we are alive. Embrace the day. Words and advice from Keith. A grand friend and a man who lived the words, every day, day after day, years and years. Well beyond his days left on earth, said "the doctors."

Stay tuned.



Last day of 2020. No hoopla nor looking back. Time to become more matter of fact. Basics. What we have control over. No rabbit holes (maybe a shallow one) nor "poor me" attitudes. No savior coming for any of us. 

We are all brothers and sisters. We can choose our paths, together, supporting each other, growing together. Or we can choose not to. 

I choose getting and giving help. I choose some hard work, planning, protecting, a strong belief in God and working goodness as best I can. I am not afraid.

I vow to be the very best man I can or the very worst man I have to be. 

If I fall, it will be from a standing position. 

God bless and love "y'all." Thank you for your time over these past years.

Our test starts tomorrow.


Friday, December 25, 2020



The evening of the 21st of December, just after sundown, we drove up a tractor rutted hillside and parked our trucks on the top of a rise. The field sloped downward from there and the tree line was well below the southwest sky. Our neighbors popped up 4 lawn chairs and we sat, looking. 

A hint of a orange sun set completed, still shown through the bottom edge of the horizon. And we looked. We talked. My wife, though, was silent. I tried to engage her with some conversation (several times) but she stayed silent. And we watched.

A crescent moon shown brightly over head but not a star in the sky appeared. We checked the time. According to what we had read, that moment had arrived and we all looked up at the sky together. Nothing. 

I blinked, looked again and there it was. A noticeable star. The only star. Then appearing to be two stars. Close, noticeable to the naked eye. And we watched on this warm East Texas evening as the Star of Bethlehem was again born for us to witness. In an instant, a celestial switch was thrown from the sun to light those two close planets. 

We talked of that moment. Thanked our neighbors, from our hearts, for sharing their hill and this once in a life time moment with us. We sat, we watched.

After a half hour the two planets seemed brighter. The naked eye saw more of a single light than two. Without fanfare or notice five spikes of light appeared. I asked the others if they saw what I was seeing and they did. I blinked, looked away, looked back again and again. I looked at some of the other night stars starting to appear in the sky and none shown so bright and absolutely no other star was accompanied by five noticeable streaks of light emanating from their centers. And I watched. I must have done this several dozen times. I was seeing what I was seeing.

I compared the star lit sky to this Star of Bethlehem. There were none other that shown so bright or painted a noticeable singe point in the evening sky.  

It was personal for me, my wife and our neighbors. We were fortunate for the hill, the horizon and the blackblue sky. It makes no difference to any of us (I think) beyond what we saw that night. All of that became locked inside the 4 of us and most likely a unique personal event. 

I silently prayed. For guidance. For my myself, my wife, my family, friends my country. For good health and for strength. I prayed for the goodness of man to prevail. And I thanked God for his presence in my life. Under the star of Bethlehem, was a wonderful moment to offer a prayer. 

My wife has held this moment very close to her.

Christmas Day Eve now. Gonna post and then take a few days off. 

I realized yesterday, when a gal at the local market offered simple advice at check out. I told her I as having trouble with my homemade bread not rising and she said to check the date on the yeast. Offering bread making tips. 

She noted that I had also visited the discount meat corner. Yes, I had and found rib eye steaks at half price. A large circle of bread rolls followed as I feared I was going to encounter a homemade bread failure for the holiday.  

Then she asked if I was a senior citizen. I smiled said yes and to myself said "bless your heart." She said I saved $4.00 which meant that one of those rib eyes was damn near free. 

"Have a blessed day and a Merry Christmas" rolled off her tongue as she handed me my receipt.  Accompanied by the East Texas accent put an instant lump in my throat. From the heart. 

In that moment she taught me how important everyday human contact is. The simplicity of that moment, genuine conversation/interaction/warmth/niceness to others. 

These days and times are finding people that are giving up God given freedom, locking themselves in their homes and avoiding most all personal human contact. They are killing themselves softly. I am trying to understand. 

"Get busy living or get busy dying."

Thank you for the visit. 

Have a blessed day and a Very Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2020


For no reason other than friendship, our neighbor showed up mid-week morning with one of his tractors and drag buckets and started leveling the west yard for an upcoming green house project. I learned that he has done this kind of work for over 20 years and after watching him take the uneven hillside and scrape it into a level pad for the green house, I knew this was not his first rodeo. 

It was most apparent he knew his tractor and he knew exactly how to and when to use the bucket to fill and level and the drag bucket to finish the flat and slopes to the build spot. It was also obvious to me that I had no such talent, even though I thought I might if I was using the equipment. But I do not.

Watching skilled folk work their craft was a pleasure to watch that cold East Texas morning. The level pad was within 1" of perfect when measured from four corners. 

Now to lay out the pad and get a load of rock dropped in.




Seattle setting up a new CHAZ. You can look it up. One of my favorite cities in the world to visit is now falling deeper and deeper into chaos. 


FIRST NO BIG GULPS AND NOW NO CONFEDERATE FLAGS. Screw what the constitution might have to say. There must be rungs on a ladder below the bottom one. Has to be. 

80,000 doses and ya "don't have to pay a penny!!"



"...we have no idea what the long term effects will be....if there are side are better off find out with those in their 70' and 80's than if you gave it to all........."

Soooooo, if this is the thinking in the medical community; I am 75 years old; ah ah ah ah...hmmmmm.... "well    -    and the horse you rode in on." 

A thinking person just might apply this group think to government officials testing/injecting/administering/ordering/mandating onto the lower crust doses of social justice to needle delivery off what is good for "them." Whew. 

"....and people over 65, frankly, have lived a life......."

And just like that, the age is lowered to 65. So if you are over 65, get a serious side effect, you won't even get an empty bed in the hallway. Expect an elevator to the basement. Reason simply stated that you lived a life and are expendable. Frankly!!

Move on, nothing to see here. 

No one coming to save our ass. Might we all just be on our own now? Feels like it.  

And this just in. IMMUNITY...
Maybe a good idea to take a longer wait and see approach. 


Late afternoon snacks for Rummy, Denver and Cannon.  Beautiful at a distance, magnificent close up. 



Accumulation on the driveway at our old home in NH. By far the biggest snow fall in the past 10 years. A hand-operated snowblower was being used here to clear the edges by the house and around the driveway before the tractor snowblower was used. 



From a good friend who took his boat out on the Miami River last night. He said it was beautiful but for the idiots and drunks out boating. I responded saying that idiots and drunks out boating on the Miami River last night just might be a good sign given the times we live in. Regardless, beautiful pics of parts of Miami at night taken from the river.

THE NORTH POLE OF TEXAS 20     "Build it and they will come." 

Another east Texas back road trip after dinner.

Parking in near by pastures. 

A wonderful walk through a Christmas display. 

Families by the hundreds, bundled in winter coats and hats come to see.

Train rides for the kids while mom and dad enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate. 

People close to people, talking, visiting and even one gal carrying a blanket wrapped Lemur. We did not get it, but we did not have to. 

People being people. Families' being families. 
Good ol boys chatting. 
Gals chatting. 
Kids heads on a swivel taking in all the lights and activity. And me?

I was a very old kid last night. Big smile, arm in arm with my wife and our neighbors telling stories of Christmas hereabouts. 

Hey, the goats are real.

Kids still believe. Mrs. Claus had the youngsters full attention telling stories of the North Pole and how all the elves are hard at work getting presents ready. Mom and dad taking pictures, their children smiling ear to ear next to Mrs. Claus. 

Santa's Slayride (that's the way they spelled it)

And was all good. Very very good. 

Ya heard it here:

Merry Christmas to all.

Thank you for the visit this Christmas Season. 

Of course it is home made.

Sunday, December 13, 2020



Standing up against the wall in a neighbors shop were two trees like the one above. Their grandson made them awhile back in shop class. Yep, shop class. Actually, an agricultural course. Apparently some wood working involved too.  My wife was drawn to them immediately. I was too, but from a design point of view. How simple and functional for yard decoration this time of year. No plastic nor electoral help. A little paint with paper plate cut outs and spray cans of paint. Glitter of course!

I tightened the star on the top, my wife brightened up a few of the colors and to the front yard it went. Leaned up against a tree and fastened with wire ties. Christmas decoration for the season. I take time to look at it daily as we come and go. It is quite often the simple things in life that bring some joy and happiness.


No ranting. I am at my roads' end giving advice to myself let alone offering to others.  I ask myself constantly now, what else can we be doing in the few days left this year and before the 20th of January. Yep, we can still get more of this and more of that. Food available, even toilet paper to the top of the racks. No ammo. Have talked of that. We are, for all practical purposes out of time. Even asking for more time is wasteful energy. God knows we all have had plenty of time for the past few years. If we have not done it by now, more time is not an answer. Hope is not a plan. 

My wife looked at me this morning and said that we have lived long enough to witness the end. Witness being the key word. 

There appears to be real fear for gatherings or being in close proximity. I can feel it in the grocery stores now. People move out of the way, hold back within their 6' circle of perceived safety. Not all, but with some it is noticeable. People are polite. 

It has to be taking a toll, to avoid and be avoided in the social and public places. Conversations nearly impossible due to muffled voices. To be housebound for months on end has also got to be taking a toll.

Add to this the myriad of coming threats of against our freedoms and ways of life from newly elected governing class. I cannot find any happy news these days. None! 


Lemon trees appear happy though in the early morning dampness. Flowers healthy. I am putting off harvesting the last 4 lemons until I have to. They have become good friends at yard's end. They help me look forward to their next crop, next season, next year. Springtime. Growing season.  

Building a small greenhouse will be a healthy/smart endeavor. 



Deer sausage, black pepper and a little garlic salt, then grilled. Goes with cold beer like cc cookies go with cold milk. 

Jalapeno peppers, de-seeded and the inner membrane scraped out. Filled with sausage and cheese, wrapped in bacon and baked in the oven. Layers of flavor.

A long lonely back road in east Texas leads to this Christmas light display. Well done.


Winter weather this week has been bright sun and temperatures in the mid seventies. Then cool/cold, a few hours of soaking rain and this morning in the thirties with a high of 48 forecasted. 

My better half has the kitchen prepped for more Christmas cookies. 

Some ready to be mailed out and delivered. As in years past, she restricts my access. I have had only three so far and there is a promise for more coming for home eats this coming week. Today's bake comes covered in powdered sugar. 


And the beat goes on. Would you put your child through this?

For the children you know. Keep your eyes on more of these stories.

Who is John Galt?

 Another week. Appreciate your visit. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020


Oil and butter melted in the pan. Salt and pepper then floured. Fried medium heat for minute and a half on each side. Heaven on earth!!

Tis the season!



Folks in the gun community; hunters, plinkers, home loaders, hobbyists and serious shooters have forever been saying get it while you can. That there is no upper limit on how much ammo to have on hand. 

But standing in any gun store just 6 month's ago, shelves full and over flowing with guns, ammo and any accessory on any given day gave way to feeling that it has always been like this and will be like that tomorrow. Therefore no rush and no need to buy more guns or ammo today. I can get it next week; next payday. And during past years this thinking was fine. Besides, we would be able to see a problem coming and jump into action with purchasing. 

Guns, toys and ammo were costly and damn if life did not also demand the bills be paid and food in the fridge.  

But the advice from most all shooters was get it now and get a lot. Yes, I too gave this advice but now regret that I did not overload the shelves at home. How much is enough of anything?

The correct answer is that there is no upper limit!

And just like that .22 ammunition dried up. Seemed like in one week it was all gone. Shelves went from overflowing to empty. Well, it will come back. No worries. And it did and then it all dried up again. 

Today, at least where we are living, shelves are dry. Dust covered and any ammo that comes into a gun store is sold immediately. There are limits, quite often one box per customer. One box of any ammo is not enough to warm up the engine on a gun and practice at the range or in the back yard. 

Seeing .556 and 9mm advertised at over a dollar a round this past weekend is eye opening. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

Advice? Apply this lesson forward to other products that also can dry up over night. 

FYI: Found 9 mm yesterday and yep, only could buy one box. Eighty cents a round. All sold out by noon. 

Walking out of a gun store with one box in hand feels very different than walking out with a box of 500 rounds. Walking out with nothing in hand feels even worse.  


Getting the lemon trees and celery some East Texas sun. 

Temps in the high 60's and low 70's this week. 

Appreciate the visit.