Friday, December 24, 2021



Light through our east Texas front room window earlier this week.

Photo above from the North Pole of Texas.

What the pillow says!!


Little Drummer Boy from   for King & country


Christmas Eve day. Three presents still to wrap and it is just her and me for the evening and Christmas Day tomorrow. Her sister was diagnosed with strep throat just hours before she was due to board a plane up near the caprock in the panhandle. Best laid plans for many months - poof!!

But sister is on the mend and doing fine. That is much more important and a wonderful gift in and of itself. We can visit at the push of a button and the visit is now pushed back to early in the coming year. Life so often gets in the way. 

Son sent pictures yesterday of a Christmas present he recently finished for the son of a good friend of his. A toy box for all of boy's baseball equipment and collections of other toys. An oil finish is applied making it easy to repair some of the dings and dents this box will endure over the years. 

His work is impeccable with absolute attention to detail in the build. The kid has skills. This is not something you can find on the net. This is a homemade gift from the heart. Good things me thinks! 

He said he made this from scraps of wood left over from other projects and some pieces warped and bent; all needing TLC from a craftsman's hands. 

How would you like to receive a handmade gift like this? My bet is you would keep and cherish it for life. 

High 70's today and forecasted to be 80 tomorrow. Joints do not ache and her is talking of weed-eating around the sidewalk today. Imagine that. And no, we do not miss the snow below. Memories are just fine. 

Thanks for the visits this year. A very Merry Christmas to you and yours, God Bless and have a Happy New Year. 

Sunday, December 19, 2021



Another new recipe shared. I followed this site for some guidance. 

Quick, easy, great use of leftovers and open to individual likes. A few drops of hot sauce, in the broth above, added flavor.


Fat chickens greeted us on the deck picnic tables.

Classic Jeep

Texas Longhorn. First close up look for me.

We took a trip the day these photos were taken to Herby-K's seafood restaurant in Shreveport, LA. Two hours to the minute driving the back roads through Gilmer and Marshall Texas and arriving just off of I-20 at this bucket list eatery. Miles and miles of never-ending back roads of homes and farms linked along the entire trip.

Folks already in line and we were early enough to get one of the 4 booths just inside the door. There were more tables out back and on the patio. 

Her jumped on soft shell crab and I opted for butter-fly shrimp with a side of two Louisiana fried oysters as a test taste. The seafood gumbo was different from gumbo I have eaten in the past. The broth was thinner, the bowl was to the brim with shrimp, crab and crawfish. But it was not what I expected. Very good yes and I would have licked the bottom of the soup bowl for the last drop. Just different for me. My bet is that gumbo well represented local Louisiana gumbo.

But next time, and there will be a next time, it will the a large order of fried oysters. Noticeable salty. Fried in corn meal the way it should be done. Every corn meal fish or dinner out of fried sea food here has not been good in my opinion. For me. Too much caked on corn meal. 

There are two types of fried oysters. Excellent or garbage. No in-between. Herby-K's seafood restaurant lives up to the recommendations we were given to go there for sea food. 

Add to this the normal comings and goings of local customers picking up armloads of take out, folks chatting each other up in booths nearby or the natural atmosphere of home-cooking is all well worth a day's outing. 


CLAM DIGGING at Ocean Shores. Mom was counting our razor clam limits before we left the beach. One clam over the limit was costly in fines. 


My first boat build.


Times of our lives. Enjoy here.


My first car. 1956 Chevrolet, 2 door post, 289 cu in with 2 bbl carburetor and three on the column. I had worked and saved since I was 12 years old. 

I often wonder if kids these days will ever know the exhilaration and fun of cars of this era. Probably not. 



Pictures and stories from our friends up north are just fine now. But, "no," we do not miss the cold, snowy bone-soaking cold and all that comes with the long winter months.

Cold this publishing morning, though, here in east Texas. Thirty-three degrees. Temperatures forecasted to be in the 70's with plenty of sunshine this coming week. Fireplace is on and most all of our Christmas gifts have been delivered or mailed. 

Enjoying the comings and goings of neighbors and long relaxed visiting about much of nothing. Cooking some new shared recipes and I am still trying to learn how to make perfect rice. I know the procedures, but have not yet mastered this simple side dish. I refuse to get a rice cooker. 

I appreciate the visit this week. Have a very merry and blessed Christmas.

Sunday, December 12, 2021


 3 Methods of Transport

A postcard from my father salmon fishing in Alaska to my mother living in Raymond, Washington. Marked June, 1937. It read: "Hoping you are ok. Please write often. Say hello to Boo Boo." I believe they were dating at this time in their lives.

Another post card exchanged from my mom and dad. What a beautiful city and represents my memories of my days I often visited that city. So much change. 

The information on the back reads, "Seattle, the principle seaport on Puget Sound, is one of the busiest cities in the Northwest. Fishing, manufacturing and lumbering are the chief industries," The post card was, "Made in the U.S.A. by E.C. Kropp Co."


I found this pass while going through a box of old family records. This is the ship my father worked on and mom was invited to see the launch. The U.SS. Pursuit. Click on some of the photos and history of that ship.

Times have changed, huh?


Young Leroy or Bobby. From my aunt's box of left over photos and family papers. Left to my mother after my aunt passed. A small box of her family photos. On the back of this photo is printed "Lusterlite Finish Will Never Fade." I zoomed in on this photo but did not try to clean or enhance. A hundred year old photo and still looks great. 
I do not know what to do with the small handful of photos. All friends way back when. "Aunty" never had children and those branches of the family tree are long gone, but I cannot toss them away. Will use new rubber bands and re-package in the old box and set with all other history.

One common thread through out all of these old black and white photos are the girls and guys next to their cars. The automobile and the young took to the freedom and mobility coming out of The Depression. 
Automobiles and young ladies are still center pieces in many of today's photos in all of our family histories. 

Go ahead and stand on the hood and front fender of your Dodge Charger with a friend on your shoulders. Send me that photo to share. 



This past week was a kitchen full of cookies, granola and Chex Mix batches and her measuring, mixing and baking. Me? Waiting patiently for any small "mistake cookie" not worthy of gifting. 

Thanks for the visit this week.

Sunday, December 5, 2021


A gun for Alec.

Her and I have been NRA pistol instructors for quite a few years now. Early on I wanted a "tool" to help teach sight alignment and grip. I wanted it to be a safe gun teaching aid and also safely be a hands-on teaching aid that students could pick up, point and readily see/practice grip/sight alignment. 

And within all of the use of this tool, we mandated and reminded students to exhibit safe use when pointing and learning. The use of such teaching tools always reinforced the basic gun handling safety rules. 

I see now where Alec is saying that he did not pull the trigger. So here is a gun that Alec can absolutely present with that argument in hand. There is no trigger. 

All of this absurdity and an actual plea that he was some how "absent" within the act of physically grabbing, cocking, pointing, trigger pulling and killing another human being, is beyond me.  

Is it possible that Alec is blowing smoke where the sun don't shine? Not sure.

I will though remain open minded to see how the experts sort all of this out. 



Just wants some green grass and good eats. The horse is now in "time out" in a near by pasture. 



This week is text book comfortable weather. Daily forecasts come down to "warmer than yesterday." All sun, brisk mornings, gentle breezes, t-shirt afternoons. Some rain every 10 days or so, but not enough for what the lands want or need. Dew well coats anything green and growing and it appears this seems to help all of this hold its own. The ponds are down to "too low."

CChip, Sugar and Cranberry Oatmeal. All with some crunch.

Her is into the seasonal cookie bake, granola bake and I am going to try making Chex mix from the recipe on the back of the boxes. Maybe tweak it somewhat. Everyone will get cookies and home-baked items for gifts this season. 

Neighbors dropped off enough gumbo after Thanksgiving for her and I to have our fill. Old family recipe. The flavor heat was one notch over my red line. The short version of all of this moment is that now my red line is one notch higher and I am have found that craving in flavor heat that says one more bite, one more bite, one more bit until the bowl is empty. 

Cleaned the fridge out of all the T-day leftovers. Turkey soup in the freezer. 

In an attempt to cut down on all of the high carb meals, all lunches this week and next will be some zero carb(s) soup. Well, as close to zero as I can get. And only one helping. Diet Eating healthy and losing that fracking 30 pounds again is the anvil over my head. Will ease into this with a 90% effort. 

Watched this simple cabbage soup video.  Have made similar soups before like this and fully enjoy them. I do like all of my vegetables and do not tire of eating them. Flavor comes in those first minutes of cooking mixed veggies.

Fired up outside cooking island to make cabbage soup, less the cabbage.

Decided to go with leftovers in the veggie try, the freezer and fresh from the garden. Added tomato past, white wine and one medium home grown/roasted red pepper. 

Cooking station not fancy but full function and room to work.

Leftovers of last batch of roasted red peppers. A few folks will get a small jar of my home grown/roasted red peppers this Christmas.

Soup: celery, carrots, onion, one russet potato, neighbors turnips from the freezer, 1 small can tomato paste (use a half can if you want more of a brothy feel), salt, pepper, Adobo seasoning, fresh garden cut spinach, one medium red roasted red pepper, the juice from a half lemon (use a whole lemon from the market), basil, thyme, a very good steady splash of white wine, jar garlic, a box of chicken broth, one bottle of water, and fresh cut parsley stirred prior to the first bowls for lunch. Simmered all of this for about 30 minutes. 

Making soups is always a work in progress. No matter the size of the container I cook in it always fills up before I am done adding ingredients. Her just shakes her head and every time. Yep, every time. She did give me the look when trying a taste. I told her I did not add peas to which she said nothing. 

One medium roasted red pepper here, finely chopped, gave this whole batch prefect heat flavor.  Adding one of the larger peppers would have been closer to my red line. The power of peppers.


I want the 1962 white convertible. 

If I could own a 1962 Corvette now, it would be parked in our living room on a protective carpet. The top would be off. A dust rag would be close by and I doubt that a day would go by where I did not sit in it, left hand on the steering wheel and the right on the gear shift lever.  Could not resist moving that dust rag over some of the best design lines in the history of time several times a day. I would never tire of this visual and mechanical work of art. 

Maybe it would be parked so we could sit in it and watch the tv on the wall when we wanted to. I would have no problem being obsessed with all of this. 

My bet is that her would allow me this indulgence. Somehow, some way, we would find room for that art display inside the house. And be damn sure it would also be driven often. 

A white one, please, if you have an extra 1962 Corvette that needs a loving home.  Great conversation piece, huh?

Just made myself laugh!!



A new eatery. Have driven by this small market/gas station too many times.

Less than 10 minutes of back roads to a popular dollar store, across from which there is this market.

A few weeks back our patio deck contractor told us that this marketplace makes the best hamburgers anywhere around here. 

Neighbors shop there, but have never eaten there. Local lake folk visit there regularly for most anything from dining to fresh farm eggs and any type of stop and shop needs.

Friday we were on the road at lunch time, picked up a few items at the dollar store and noticed this market again and decided to give it a try. A local bucket list for us. 

Surprise surprise. Now the best hamburger in east Texas we have found and we have found some great hamburgers. 

The gals who work, cook and run the front counter could not be nicer and more helpful. Like old friends with a "hon" here and there thrown in like melting butter. 

We ordered two hamburgers, "all the way", I sat down at one of the many country-style tables while her went to the back corner of the store for farm fresh eggs. Two killer burgers delivered five minutes later along with a Dr. diet pepper. Seasoned fries.

Seven napkin hamburger. No knife or fork used.

Hamburger ordered "all the way" with seasoned fries. I doubt that many food photos do justice to the moment. Worth a try though, huh?

I visited with the gal who said, "I made your hamburger" as we started to leave. I told her on a scale of 1-10, that the hamburger was an 11.8. She beamed and I told her we were regulars now. The menu is large and if all of the other offering's are as good as that hamburger, we have just found another  gold mine in our back yard. 

On those Friday or Saturday nights when the dinner hour arrives and we have nothing planned, excellent eats/choices are just a few minutes away. 

It is the little things in life.



Drove with neighbors to the North Pole of Texas Friday night for the lights and merriment of folks enjoying the rides and a visit with Ms. Claus. Simple relaxing fun outing. 

Appreciate the visit this week. Will leave you with farm fresh eggs. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 28, 2021


Pre-turkey week.

Found marked down kebabs at the market store early last week. Half-price. Beef and chicken. Looked fresh and took a chance. Wellllllllllll!! Just under 20 minutes and they were a full meal deal. No muss, no fuss. Grilled meat with all our vegetables. 

Who knew! 

I have never been a fan of making kebabs. All the cutting, prepping, poking and so forth. But when someone else makes them, wraps them and then cuts the cost in half, seems I would be a fool not to give 'em a go. 

Drizzled the chicken kebabs with honey and coated the beef several times, on the grill, with olive oil. When her does not talk at the dinner table and eyes my chicken kebabs, I knew I had a  "winner winner kebab dinner."  

and then...Her goes to the store the morning of the day before Thanksgiving. Before leaving, she said; "poke the turkey." I did and it appears to be on the thaw. Twenty-four hours left.

Off to the store for just two celery hearts. Had one in the fridge, but with soup planned and a large pot of dressing, best to be safe. Walking in the door a half hour later she said she got the last stalk of celery in the store. She said there was big hole of nothing on the end wall of the produce section. No more trucks that day either. 

Everyone needs celery on Thanksgiving. Everyone cooking a turkey and side dishes. But, no more celery for you!

Then she brings out two items wrapped in black packing paper. She found another kebab deal. Beef and teriyaki Chicken. "They were on sale." Pointed to the price. I wrapped my arms around her and told her that she was now pre-forgiven for any/all her mis-doings for the rest of the day. A kiss on the cheek to cement my sincerity. Winner, winner!!



Lets put the kids, the dog and mom in the front seat, without life jackets and head out through the Haulover inlet. The gal in the video first boat was no snowflake. It only gets better.


Men with skill sets having fun.




I was flying over this plane and pilot one day on my way to drop off geologists at a near by ridge line. I flew several small circles over him as we watched the pilot making low passes over a gravel bar he wanted to land on. On each pass he mowed down the scrub brush with the propeller, making a safe landing and take off strip. The pilot later told me that all of that was fairly normal in his flying of hunters in and out of the wild. 





A rare photo find as the home behind is reminiscent of the stories my folks told of the old homes they purchased after leaving Seattle. My mother always mentioned all the black berry vines they had to remove and the old chicken house on the side they had to take down. And here it is. 

Brother-in-law asked me yesterday what my dad and I had of mutual interests as I grew up. One of those interests was cars. My father always tried to have one of the newest cars out and loved driving and taking care of it. I grew up helping and of course have to this day yearn for old cars to play with. 


A short post this week. I am covering a lot of ground now scanning old photos, negatives and color slides. The Vietnam photos are all scanned. Other old boxes of photos are pulled out at random and being scanned. I am realizing that my parents enjoyed photography and mom kept anything and everything regarding the family. Fortunately, all of her work was not lost and kept close as I have moved and life has changed. 

Many of the older photos are friends of my elders in their younger years and before me. I do not recognize many of them but do love the old black and white photography. And with in that, these people have passed through my history.


This is a post card. I have found others like this of family and friends. Apparently folks could get a family photo made into mailable post cards. Add a note on the back and send it through the mail. It appears to me that this photo was taken on a logging job site. A father and his son. Most all photos show family and friends and activities. Good simple moments in time that can stand on the merit of the photography and still be shared.


Turkey and all the leftovers gone for the most part. Black Friday passed quickly and all we know is what others who ventured out said of the lines not moving and crowds. No thank you. 

For the very first time in her life, wife has a Christmas tree covered in lights, on a timer and sitting on the front porch. Large boxes of decorations are down and I have promised to be "the good husband" helping, not complaining. So far, so good, but it is early.

After this post goes up, the first batch of oatmeal cookies with nuts and cranberries will hit the cooling racks. "I love the smell of cookies in the morning."

December 2021. Where in the hell has the year gone?

Thanks for stopping by this week. I appreciate. 

Sunday, November 21, 2021



Pulled over to visit with neighbor sitting on one of the blocks of wood in his pile. He is my age and was spending some time splitting wood for the coming  east Texas winter. He thinks that some of the local plants/animals are telling him that it is going to be another cold winter like last year; that hundred-year Texas freeze. 

He showed me this splitting wedge stuck in the block and we both laughed out loud. He said he was now splitting these blocks with a chainsaw. They were all burled and full of hardened knots. All but impossible to split with a maul and wedges. It has been many years since I have set a wedge like this splitting wood. 

Plan B was to get the splitter from his son. The upside of this will come winter as this wood will burn hot and twice as long as dense as it is. 



......before grandpa bought his first Ford tractor for the farm.


FINALLY DECENT BREAD AGAIN. It was all in the tap water minerals causing the bread not to properly rise. 




GETTING CHRISTMAS GIFTS READY.    Second batches of homemade granola.








FLOATING RESTURANT HONG KONG, 1967. First time in my life I walked into a restaurant and picked my lunch live from a large glass pool of swimming fish.

Probably most every G.I. that went to Honk Kong on R n R ate at this restaurant once.  It was the list of places to visit and experience.



During the last months of the Army helicopter flight school training, cadets were excused from noon Saturday till midnight Sunday. We were all but assured our wings and bars if we stayed smart and did not mess up. 

We were usually set free around 1100 hours for lunch at the mess hall. Many of us put on shorts and a t-shirt and packed a small overnight bag of stuff and left the base to play. 

I put the top down on the "vette" and a good friend and I headed out the gate. We had a 5th of whiskey stuffed under the passenger seat and stopped at a local gas station for a package of Oreo cookies and a quart of milk for lunch. 

Topped the car off with gas and headed out sharing milk and cookies. If we did not cruise too much while at our destination, one tank of gas would get us there and back. Important because we could then go broke having a good time. 

There were dry counties on our roads and we never knew where. On one such weekend journey, we got caught in a "stop all vehicles" checkpoint. We pulled over as the old southern Sherriff checked vehicles ahead of us. When he got to us we identified ourselves as cadets out of Ft. Rucker and were heading to Panama City for the weekend. "What's in the milk jug, son?" 

"Milk, sir." We offered it to him for inspection over the bag of half-eaten Oreo cookies. And sure enough, the boys were drinking milk and eating Oreo cookies. He stepped aside and waved us out of the line wishing a good/safe weekend trip. We were the only car exiting that lineup. 

We laughed out loud most the rest of that drive that day. The 5th of whiskey came out when we landed in Panama City. It was a very good lesson. 

The Beach Party was a club/bar/dance hall located directedly on the beach. Opened at noon or so and stayed open till midnight/one o'clock. The drinking commenced at noon and the music started late afternoon. Live bands, rock and roll and there was no place like it before in my life. I was smart enough to soak up every living weekend there with friends that I could. And even then, there was not enough time. 

I met a very nice gal from Tallahassee one weekend early on and she turned heads riding in that red Corvette. We had a wonderful time together to the point she invited me down for a few days after graduation. But time was short and getting home to Washington state for those few weeks before going to Vietnam was a mandate. We said we would keep in touch but, never did. 

The Beach Party was a world of it's own. One of the airline stewardess schools would drop off the gals attending those courses for a Saturday afternoon and early evening. The gals had to be back to their quarters by midnight Saturday or would be kicked out of their program. 

There was just enough time to party and dance. And there were plenty of young guys and gals to go around. It was just plain old fun, teenagers dancing the night away, barefoot in the sand to the world's best-ever live music. I never saw nor heard of anyone getting stupid, guys or gals. But we may have come close. 

Dancing the nights away to live rock and roll music on the warm beech sands of Panama City was an end game in and of itself. 

When all was said and done, at the end of the evening, the beach outside would be lined with bodies covered in blankets for a night's sleep on the warm sand. I found a way to sleep in the Corvette parked outside the club.  

The Beech Party is but a story now. Most likely remembered by a few older gals and guys who found that club during the times of their lives. My guess is it the memories are still followed by smiles. It was a great time in trouble times. 


SAILING a ghost town in Russia

Normal days for my wife start early - 3:30/4:00 AM. I/we have had a good night's rest by then and both love the quiet of the morning. The only sound is tick-tock of the AA battery operated clock on the kitchen wall. The coffee pot completed gurgling out our first cups of coffee into the pot. The gas fireplace is lit as winter sets in.

We both read a series of blogs and when I am done, I head to YouTube. 

I have followed several couples sailing around the world for several years. Most any video of someone playing on the water with boats draws my attention. The couple "SAILING UMA" are folks I check-in on from time to time. This particular video title caught my eye and has proven to be one of the very best video sailing adventures I have ever seen. These early morning hours provides the time to crawl into a video like this.

The subject matter, the photography/videography/editing, the sailing, abandoned town and their presentation of the days adventure....then the last 4 minutes. 

The last 4, do not just go there without spending at least some time in that first half hour from the start. Get to know the story/days adventure and spend at least 10 minutes with this sailing couple first....paaaahlease!! Then, if you must,  go to the 30-minute mark, watch and turn up the sound. 


FALL COLORS linger here. Not big splashes of color, rather, random tossed color against an east Texas smattering of trees and scrub brush. Simplicity in a typical landscape surrounded by fields with homes tucked in. 

The garden is still producing peppers although they struggle now to  ripen as temperatures cool. 
Beets are growing and more need time to grow larger. Lettuce and spinach, poorly planted, grow and survive in spite of my lack of attention to proper seeding. This weekend offers fresh lettuce for baloney sandwiches and small spinach salads with dinner. Picking only what we will eat extends the crop. 

Two lemon trees produced 7 lemons. I found out too late how the bugs love that baby lemon that pops out when the flower leaves drop off. I will cover with netting next season. The lemons I have harvested are sopping wet with juice when cut. Nothing like store-bought. A reason to improve my understanding of growing these fruit trees. If others can, so can I.


Bulk Tennessee Red Valencia and Spanish peanuts are in now at the local feed store. Another seasonal for feed and roasting. We were gifted a few bags from local friends last year. They had roasted the peanuts and brought over a paper sack full. 

So what!! No one in my lifetime has ever brought over fresh home roasted peanuts. Peanuts always came from the lower shelves at the grocery store and I never ever gave peanuts a thought beyond that. If local feed stores ever offered this, I never knew nor had reason/interest to purchase. But here in Texas, bulk fresh peanuts  are another seasonal crop that passes through local stores. 

Two and half pounds of the small Spanish peanuts scooped out of a hundred pound bag: $7.00. Roast 45 minutes at 300 degrees. Turn once. Filled a large clear plastic jar with home-roasted peanuts because I could. More importantly, I wanted to learn the process from purchase to roasting to storing. And yes, eating. 

Are they better? I am not sure. Would have to do a side-by-side test and I am too lazy to do that. The Spanish peanuts are smaller in size and the kitchen smelled of peanuts roasting over an op in the oven. An upside. They are fresh and full of flavor and gift-worthy. 

I roasted the peanuts because I have never done this before. Seemed like a good time to learn and I had fun. Yep, fun!!


THE VAX  a personal opinion, shared from VOX POP0LI.



I think the wheels are falling off. I turn my back and purposely find chores to help me ignore media and find ways of moving through each day without being swept into the lies presented in most every nook and cranny. It all appears to me that my America is under heavy attack and all of this may soon be coming home to our front doors. If the elephant is not in the room yet................ 

To piss and moan and walk in constant quicksand of complaining while looking down the road for someone to do something is not a platform from which I want to write each week. I fight this. Have said that before and you will hear it again. 

I have voiced that I fought my war. Stepped up and walked straight into it. My other choice was to run north but I would have spent my years running and this was no way to live for me. No future. 

Age teaches me to be patient, but that may be yesterday thinking. Yet patience provides and may clearly define the reality of "the after" that is ahead of us. I do not know and refrain from giving advice. Not knowing is grit in my machine. 

One constant is and has been appreciating your weekly visit. Thank you.