Saturday, January 30, 2021

EAST TEXAS STORM --sights and sounds - - I MET A CRAFTSMAN - -

Quick passing narrow band of thunder and rain Monday morning. 

Photo below is the trailing edge as the storm moved north east.

YouTube video sights and sounds. (click here)

Big rigs exit off of Interstate 30 near Mt. Vernon, TX.

The next morning from a down the road view.

I found an old time craftsman.

The tail pipe and muffler had again failed on the Dodge. Every three years after living in NH and driving on the winter salted highways.

I have found an excellent shop here in east Texas for getting work done on our cars. 

I stopped in to get a quote on fixing the exhaust leak. An older fellow put the truck on a rack and called me to take a look. "Winter in New Hampshire" he said. My license plate gave it away that the truck had endured salted highways. I told him we had just moved to Texas and it was time for a new muffler system. He showed me the failing rusted tail pipe and muffler. I asked for a quote and if he had to order both the muffler and tail pipe. I expected he would have to and that I would have to make a come back appointment.

"I can fix it now; will take me a little over an hour; I have all the pieces and parts; $230 complete" he explained. I did not expect that. I have been trained in car repairs that parts always have to be ordered, have to make an appointment and to have to return at a later date. It is the norm now as most shops do not have skilled workers who can make on the spot repairs like this. I was surprised and said yes, go ahead and do the work. 

I would sit on the outside bench in the warm morning Texas sun and wait. 

And it dawned on me, watching him start to work, that he was going to install a stock muffler and then build a tail pipe from round tail pipe straight stock. This was the norm in days of old. Craftsman working in shops with skill sets and that special touch their experience brought to that particular shop. 

I watched as he changed out pipe bending forms on the hydraulic pipe bending machine and then begin compound bending angles. A few bends, a test fit, back to the machine and so forth. A saws-all cut the final length and after a short time the tail pipe was fit over the rear axel, attached to the end of the muffles and lifted into the tail pipe holding straps. Like a glove, the unit went in. 

A quick wire weld around the fit and he was done. Old system cut out and tossed. New system, hand built and installed all in 73 minutes. I just happened to look at my watch.

This whole process is in and of itself remarkable in this day and age. The price is beyond reasonable. The quality of work exceptional. 

The fellow said he has been doing this for 45 years. I asked him if he knew that "they do not make him anymore?" After a moment he said "yes."

We talked awhile about the "trades" and skilled workers who know what they are doing and enjoy the work. I told him how much I enjoyed watching him work his craft and that I appreciated his work. He smiled and said thank you. 

To round off that mornings work on the Dodge truck, the tires were set to 40 lbs. each, NH license plates were removed, new Texas plates installed along with the windshield sticker. All for $230. 

The mechanic was happy in his work, pleasant to visit with and actually enjoyed the give and take between employee and customer. The owner of the business appreciated my business, said so and I told him that his shop has done and will continue to do all the work on ours cars. 

The deep throated sound of the old Hemi has returned. 

A very fresh breath of air last Wednesday morning. There have been quite a few breaths like this in the past month in the way folks here treat other folks on a daily basis. 


Spatchcocked a whole chicken this past week. Seasoned to the hilt, let sit for a few hours and baked at 350 for an hour. Ate on that for three day. Messy. Chickens grown here in Texas are big, fat and juicy. I never saw chickens like this in the NE. Side note: gas station fried chicken is 10 times better than any cooked chicken we ever found in years past. Ever!!


Got my fishing license, two reels and poles from an estate sale and a few lures. Neighbor says he needs someone to go fishing with him on near by lakes. I am told what we will fish for is good eating. He also says that we drink some beer, tell lots of lies and eat baloney sandwiches and call that time spent fishing too. I am also going to learn Noodling. Not like Hannah Barron does. Will keep you posted.


Have 4 large cow feed/watering tubs that we will use for raised gardens this season. Add to this a dozen buckets of growing veggies and the like. A learning year. Winter plants out now and planting starts near the end of February. 

Neighbors plant large tracks of soil with just about everything. Eating daily from gardens, canning and dehydrating. We ought to be able to have some success.


Rumor has it that there is a Super Bowl this year. Tom Brady has brought his new team to the party.  Budweiser is drinking the cool aid. 

Will there be masked cardboard cut outs in the stadium and will they be set 6' apart? Will the announcers play all the political tunes, sell the lies, tell the fairy tales and will the National Anthem of this great land be played?

Seems odd strapping young alpha males will publicly live on their knees and protest the peoples and arenas that brings to them multimillion dollar contracts. 

There was a time my friends, there was a time. I could tell you stories.


While in the presence of like minded folk, my wife was found laughing so hard this past week, that tears were running down her cheeks. 


Because I asked. 

Some cup cakes and one pie going to neighbors. The rest will be covered in icing and whipping cream. My wife is keeping her pie making skill sets up to date.


You came back again this week. You get an atta girl and an atta boy. Thanks. You know I appreciate.

Sunday, January 24, 2021


 Old barn has been there for awhile. Seen some history for sure.

East Texas family gardens starting.

Old chicken house being demolished and parted out. 

A dollar each at local small-out-of-the way stores this past week. Best canned peaches you will ever eat. From South Africa.

Sun-dried tomatoes go in every kind of cooking that you may add tomatoes to. We have cut up two bags of these tomatoes, put them in a small jar with jar garlic and olive oil. We add them to stew, soup and put them on top of Mozzarella slices with a little garlic salt, drizzle of olive oil and Balsamic vinegar.

These go into meal planning very easily, affordable and store wonderfully. If you find them, buy every one you can. 

January 24, the month is damn near in the history books. 

East Texas gray skies, rain and thunderstorms have kept me in the house and shop. The upside of all of this has been a few pots of soup, stew and the bride's brisket teased with barbeque sauce. Add a few drop-off-the-end-of-earth couch naps. 

Renting some good movies and tv series. Reading a few blogs and even that is confined to headlines as long-winded crap is just that. Some YouTube videos for simple entertainment value. Zero sports of any kind as most have self-destructed. 

Getting back to outside chores will be great entertainment and productive. 

Thanks for the visit.

Monday, January 18, 2021

JANUARY 17, 2021

Cannon and Denver, soaked to the bone under east Texas thunderstorms. I often see them and Rummy (not pictured) standing by the fence looking at their owners home. Last week they grabbed my heart like a young puppy can. That part of me that wants to physically wrap the animal up in my arms. Horses are one of my favorite animals. 

And yes, I know they are weathering all of this in stride. Horses live outside yadda yadda and so forth. But these large magnificent horses have the path that tugs at my heart. I think it is their eyes.


Appreciating the amount of work that went into building a large farm storage silo.


Good Morning,

Trying a laptop propped up with a pillow while sitting here in my living room chair. Up early every morning just because of habit and a good nights' sleep. The propane fire place heats this area wonderfully, but the bedrooms are cold as is my computer work area.

Realized that this next week is upon us and if ever I was at a loss of words and opinion, this coming week tops any I can ever remember where I had no advice or idea on the coming week ahead in my life and the life of this country.

These past several weeks have found us tightening up the things we have control over. Has been more socializing with neighbors and trips to near by towns for stuff in general. Some skill set work, outdoor activity from planting our first row of onions, getting the ham radio antenna hung and testing several bands. From Chicago to Florida and one hit in San Diego. Mostly chatter about much of nothing. Receiving ok, but antenna problem with transmitting. Will work on that if time permits.

You and yours are folks that own a big part of our hearts and thoughts. As my mornings progress much in the thinking department, you are always included.

We have talked of times like this and I doubt we never knew any of the details of down times. But damn if they are not on all of our door steps. Each of us have our sh*t together as best we can. I know that. To what point here?

I think of you daily. And most likely will forever. Know that for whatever that is worth. Please keep in touch with how you are doing and snippets of the world in your circles. I do not need details because we have talked of such things.

I will do the same. If coms break down we will write letters. If that breaks down we will punt. We are physically fine. We are mentally fine. We most likely will be fine barring an un-foreseen local event.

It has been a grand run, huh? “It” is not over for sure, but boy oh boy is it going to be one hell of an adventure. None of us will be bored or complaining we have nothing to do.

God bless us all. Be smart, keep your knees bent and question everything.

I am going to put in an expensive bottle of booze early this week. A shot every now and then as needed to remember and toast good moments still to come. Join me.

An optimist would buy two bottles. 


Kitchen sink chicken soup with home baked white bread. Family came to visit and we laughed and joked. 

Took two cans of very good peaches from the storeroom to our neighbors this morning and then they brought over homemade chicken spaghetti and buttermilk pie at dinner time. 

Saturday was gas station fried chicken and we shared bites of the one sausage on a stick for lunch. 

It is a good thing that east Texas weekends only last for two days.

A good tired tonight.

Yep. Thanks for stopping by.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2021



East Texas sunrise, first week 2021

Celery stock BELOW re-planted. 

Slice an eighth of an inch off the butt end to clean off hardened root end. Plant, water and give it some sun light. 

Small pot on your window sill? Porch? Any window sill with light.


I did not like reading this:

From Raconteur Report. “ 80+ is God's waiting room.” That statement alone is why I am sharing. 

I am 75.5 now (yes, back to the times when we were young and included half years with our age) and I do not appreciate being closer to the end than in the beginning or in the middle. Do not like it at all. 

I still have things to do, not yet started nor completed. Getting up in the morning with nothing to do and only being half done at quitting time. 

And I am now on too many endangered living lists. Old, white, retired, veteran, and viewed as already having lived a good life. A throw away man. Written off with in the small print of conversations.

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence"

John Adams



Our new green house is sketched. Windows to be found. Plot leveled and 8'x10' structure roughly staked out. An electric wire fence is needed to protect from deer. That, too, visually planned. 

A start! The leveled greenhouse pad endured three days and 3" of heavy rain over New Years. I had worried about erosion of the barren dirt recently filled, leveled and raked. 

The spots that look water-filled are settled sand from puddles. Some earth movement, but given the heavy rainfall with ground cover, I am confident this spot will weather well.

Drag rake works wonders for cleaning and leveling.



The world is watching. Crowds gathering. Decisions will be made regarding the presidential election and my bet is that the fat lady will not sing this week. Others disagree! 

Talking heads will be on fire. Some fist pounding, chest thumping and more downgrading of the dirt people. 

Folks walking into DC this week are walking into a lions den. My bet is they know that. God bless. 

A close friend commented this past weekend that everyone around him is so happy to have 2020 finished. He mused that, this time a month from now, they will be more than happy to return to this past year. It's funny.

On January 20, at day's end, we will all know. 

HT to American Digest for sharing my recent post, YEAR ZERO. I appreciate. 


Gonna post early. Have run into a brick wall. So tired of looking up at the scimitars hanging over our heads. Let's get on with the final act so we can start getting on. 

Thank you for the visit. God bless.