Sunday, July 25, 2021



A road trip with the neighbors. 

I will admit I felt and acted like a kid knowing we had a road trip at weeks end. We were going to get to play in boats on the water.

The 4 of us were going to get on a boat, cruise a river and bayou and I was going to get to play with cameras. Add lunch and who would not be look forward to this outing. 

On Friday, we wove our way to Pittsburg and headed southeast on scenic rolling countryside.  Just a little over an hour and a half to Captain Ron's dock.

A pontoon boat, seating 10-15 comfortably under an awning, was tied to the dock. 

We departed just after 10 AM and were treated to history lessons of the local area and Caddo Lake. We followed narrow waterways into the bayou witnessing an ever-changing scenery bathed in shade and sunlight.  Filmed with a GoPro 5 and an S7 cell phone camera. Edited using OpenShot. Learning.



Flinch got his name because every time he heard a noise that would make him nervous, he would start turning circles.

GREEN PEPPERS bagged and in the freezer


Pot size makes a big difference in the growth of plants. Not rocket science I know. But the above, soon to be red hot peppers, describes all of this quite well. Same seedlings from same starts. 

I planted these like this on purpose. Curiosity and for some reason, I get a kick out of growing these little hot peppers that will take the top of your head off. 

The dill is small because of the pot size also. In years past the dill I grew in larger pots were noticeably taller. Yet, I do not remember the dill this full of blooming. 


The Texas heat is upon us now. Through August. 

It was 91 yesterday with "feels like" 107 degrees. High 90's forecasted for the next 10 days. All sun. "Feels like" around 110+ degrees not out of the question.

Folks get done what has to be done by mid to late morning. Working outside in this heat is nearly impossible. For me it is impossible. Not safe. 

Thanks for the visit this week. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021



I found this image this past week on American Digest, July 11, 2021.

I zoomed in a couple times here which means you have to have to scroll and cannot see the photo in a single glimpse. 

Regardless, I was slowed down earlier this last week scanning blogs I read. The enormity of citizens compacted in this area is well beyond any experience I have had around large cities. The photo held my attention and I was trying to put in some perspective of living like this. And there are larger cities ie., Manila for example. 

But this photo is worthy for being worth a thousand words. Especially in that the whole city is not fully captured by the camera. 

Tokyo: 16,121.8 people per square mile (Google Search).

To what point here. Mind boggling for a start! Engine Failure?  



Just south of us is this little restaurant. I have seen the sign and small building a dozen times. Fresh pies apparently. But I have paid no never mind attention to it. For what ever reason, it never caught my attention beyond a quick glance and not a place I planned to stop in and take a look. And I do love home made pies. 

Then my wife stopped in on a lark coming back from an appointment a few weeks ago. Met Ganny and discussed her baking and menu. That was the day her told me that Ganny makes Chicken and Dumplings every Wednesday. 

Her does not like Chicken and Dumplings. It is the dumplings. Always the story of her mother making this often for the large family. Served over mashed potatoes. 

Her always squints up her face explaining how she would not eat it. Her brothers would devour the whole dinner, but her wanted nothing to do with it. It is the chewiness of the noodle dumpling. Serious body language along with every explanation. For me though, chicken and dumplings is a whole new world to dive into.

Just before 11:00 AM Wednesday, I told her I was off to try Ganny's for chicken and dumplings and she nodded, "drive safely and enjoy." I would always prefer we go out to lunch together. 

I was the only car driving in and parking at Ganny's. No big crowds at opening. One small neon sign said open, the sign on the door said closed. I walked in.

I said that I heard a rumor that you serve chicken and dumpling every Wednesday. Ganny said hello and told me she only cooks one specialty meal each day. Everything else is pies. "I can make over 100 pies." 

Like an idiot I repeated, "you can make 100 pies." To which she replied, "over!" A menu board on the wall had a dozen or so pies that were fresh out of the oven that day. 

Ganny said she never knows on Wednesdays what will happen with her batch of chicken and dumplings. "Some days I have a gallon left over and other days I am sold out at 10:30." She opens at 11. 

She set a medium sized bowl of steaming hot chicken and dumplings in front of me. Then a corner slice of out of the oven corn bread. The corner slice of any out of the oven corn bread is the gold standard. There are only 4 in any given batch. 

Her serving me out of her kitchen was right out of any family meal serving play book. I was not in a restaurant, I was in a home, a guest, take it as it is, relax, enjoy and so forth. 

And we chatted. Ganny had stories to tell. How she started her business, took the leap of faith to open her own restaurant and cook what she wants to cook before she turned 50.  She wanted to do what she loves best. Her way!! 

Keep in mind this restaurant is word of mouth. No big advertising campaign. I noticed that she was filling to-go cups on the counter as we talked.  A full big ladle then a half ladle to complete the portion. 

Whole warm pies rested on the stove tops and behind the glass oven door windows were pies on the bake. 

Like moths to the flame, the front door comes alive. Friendly greetings, a little chatting then another small group of folks. They start coming and going. All take out. Cars park outside in random order. 

During all of this I am nose down in her chicken lunch. This was personal. Every bite tells me that she will be sold out within a couple of hours. That I most likely will be back every Wednesday. "When it is gone, it is gone!"

During a lull, I asked for slice of cherry pie. Does it go with chicken and dumplings. Who cares? 

Ganny said it was still warm and not set up. She served it in a bowl with a spoon. Just like home. 

I have never waited on any cherry pie to set and be fully ready to eat. Well, ten minutes maybe. Homemade pie crust melting into the warm cherry filling and a few cherries in each bite. Like the chicken and dumplings, I could have easily over dosed there that day. But hey, next week is just around the corner. 

I should be smart enough by now to know that the out of the way no never mind eateries often offer the very best in Texas foods. That there is always charm and a boat load of Texas welcome. 

Ganny knocks this out of the park.



Seven shelves including the top completed mid week. Tools all picked up, last dabs of paint then gave her the keys Thursday morning. Happy girl.

Will never see a photo of these shelves empty ever again.



A typical warm warm day after they have run themselves ragged. With a fan blowing over the middle shelf, one on top of the other, they drop dead asleep like youngsters who have played hard into a similar drop dead nap. 

Kittens are becoming cats. They are smart enough now to double team my wife and me when we move them in and out of this big cat house. So close to escaping into the worlds they can only see. My wife speaks sternly to them as one might to a small child. I keep telling her they are cats. To which there is no reply. 

They run every possible gauntlet in their cat house. Literally flying off of every solid object including screen siding. They are getting strong, agile, practice hide-seek-pounce a dozen times a day. They love the human touch.


Fresh tomatoes off the vine were blanched this past week and her made a wonderful batch of Gazpacho.  Used Alton Brown's recipe with soy sauce substituted for W-sauce and no Jalapeno. Left to set over night, we had the first taste for dinner the next day. Excellent summer meal. Toasted baguettes served as dipping scoops. 

This summer also finds a half gallon of iced coffee in the fridge. I have found this to be a wonderful afternoon treat when I come in 4th time drenched drenched from the wonderful humidity that lives here now. Thirst quenching. 

Grilling nightly too. Last of the zucchini sliced with a drizzle of olive oil and a tap or two of garlic salt. Lightly blacken off a hot hot grill. Whole half onion slices prepped the same way. Hamburger, chicken, dogs and steaks from time to time as a treat.

This week also marks a milestone living in Texas. It was just a year ago this week we shook hands with the builder on the sale/purchase of this new home, moved into a most wonderful mess of all the boxes of goods shipped from the old homestead, less all of my tools that were stolen. 

The home is put together the way we want, ready for company and our every day living. This week also marks one our last efforts to further organize the kitchen and laundry room to be 100%. A few boxes, yet unpacked, hide in each closet. 

We have roots setting deeper and wider in this country of Texas. Her is home. Happy. 

I will leave you with this:

I pulled into a local gas station to top off a 5 gallon can of diesel this past week. Only two pumps have a diesel nozzle. When the car pulled out of that slot, I drove in. 

A pick up truck pulled up along side of me and said he was in line to be next. I apologized, started to shift into reverse so he could pull in. He said to go ahead, no big deal, no rush. A honest to genuine displayed kindness. I teased and told him that I did not want him chasing me down after this. He grinned and said:

"Not unless it is to tell you about the Lord." 

Thanks for the visit. I will have another story or two next week.
Check back in.

Monday, July 12, 2021



Walking into neighbor's garden.

Off to the left, out of sight here is a large bench swing set on old metal wagon wheels. A welded structure. We gravitate there when we go over to visit. 

Several chairs around, enough for 6 folks comfortably. The walkway is stone with uneven edges. Most likely from time. Old broken clay pots cover the ground around many of the plants. Neighbors says that is on purpose. A reminder of plants and times passed. One might look at all of this and say some is hit and miss. Not cleaned up to be pristine; but it is by design and not intended to please anyone more than the Missus who lives there. And within that, this a most wonderful spot on earth. 

It beckons folks to it. Time can easily evaporate here in a world built by wife and husband. 

Tomatoes are ripening on the vine and herbs are in bulk. Thriving.  

My mother built gardens. Dad helped and I always got the impression they got a lot of pleasure out of the finished product. I remember both grandparents and parents having gardens that produced. Quantity. Lots of green. Worlds in and of their own. 

Full circle now I suppose. Maybe life is like that if we pull back and observe. I never took the time in younger days to do that. Too much to do ya know. 

My wife's flowers have given the new home here the wanting of passers by to take a longer look. Cars stop out front to look. The neighbor's Missus has been instrumental in helping her. Plant this, add this, a few of these here and just sow seeds along here. "Stick em in the ground." Matter of fact advice on things growing in Texas. 

And this is wife's first real attempt to have the garden she has always wanted. Living on a NH rock on a small hill did not yield like the Texas soil does here. 

Digging beyond 3" deep was always met with rock, then more rock. Not here. There is much more dirt under those top three inches.


Protected from predictors under netting.




We lost power early in the week, midnight till 3 AM. It was the first real test of our whole-house generator.

The generator is located just outside of our bedroom wall and consequently the noise level was noticeably elevated. Not to be unbearable, but loud enough to be noticed out of the everyday norm. Of course her slept through it like a baby. I, on the other, hand went into worry concerned mode.

After checking power outages in our area on the net, it appeared that the best explanation was “a planned outage” since it was straight up midnight when the power went out. And it was not a bump or two, but drop dead power cut off. At exactly 3 AM the power came back on.

A call that morning to the power company to find out if it was indeed a planned outage, the answer a simple “no ma'm.” Curious.

My wife called back and the explanation was given. “There was a “snake intrusion” at two of the local substations and the power was indeed shut off to solve that problem. That sounds planned to me. 

Regardless. We did not ask more questions, although I would have liked to know what a “snake intrusion” looks like and how they rid the area of snakes.

There are snakes here where we live. We have heard stories, told not to walk in the tall grass or bushy places. Neighbor killed a 5' snake just two weeks ago while it was slithering across his lower driveway. Friendly snake. But 5' snake!!

Anyone talking spiders or snakes sends me immediately to Scarlet Ohara-ville...”I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow.”


I told the bride that I am taking August off. I am retired and it is about time I took some time off. Cat house, garden, normal chores and now building her corner shelves in the laundry room for storage. 

The builder of this new home did/does not have a good grasp of room function along with design. Bathroom sink and cabinetry does not serve a laundry room purpose. "Where do I thaw the Thanksgiving Turkey?" Real world problem once a year; maybe twice. 

More importantly, there is no storage room for laundry needs and kitchen supplies. The new shelves will be a big help. She will also get two corner shelves over the dryer. 

This project is much easier and quicker than the cat house. Working inside on a hot Texas day helps. 

Seven L shaped shelves when all is said and done. 

Sides set in place for marking shelf locations and a better visual of the project set in that space.



The First Step. Episode #1. Yacht design, build and world travel series. You will want time to enjoy these series episodes. Traveling the world photography and narration, in this yacht, is well done. Visiting places and learning history of areas around the world that most of us will never get to travel to. I find the time watching these episodes relaxing and educational. Besides I like boats and being on the water.

I found Mike Patey quite awhile ago. An aviator, designer and builder of airplanes. This video is a perfect example of his work in advancing airplane design. I am looking forward to his flight tests. Keep an eye on him and his work. I think you will learn and enjoy.


And just like that, a chunk of July is gone. Days coming and going quickly. Heat and humidity of Texas summer is upon us. The garden has given a very good first yield along with a lot of learning.

I am not doing a second planting. We want to get in a few day trips; lunch/shopping excursions. The heat of August is a good month to minimize the need to be outside. 

Appreciate the visit this week.   


Sunday, July 4, 2021


Yes, it is overkill. Over-built and taller than the original plans. No table-saw, chop-saw, drill press, band-saw nor any of the little tools I took for granted in the old shop. I do, though, have a good assortment of Ryobi power tools and along with basic hand-saws, got the job done. A lot of old school stuff; basics.

Kittens have more than doubled in size since we got them and I have been under the gun to get them into a roomy place where they have room to play, climb, jump, hide and practice all of their developing cat skills.

Friday morning was their first “walk” through. Set in on the ground floor of their five-level new home, they began their first explorations.

They much preferred the quick climbing up the wire side of the cage and forcefully pulling themselves through the few small places left inside the cage. Cats see things much differently than i do. All the shelves for the 5 levels were in place. 

Jump down and repeat. Then a new path; then another and finally, the staging I built up the top level was discovered. That took an hour as they kept running and playing through one new level. One would look upward only to be hard hit by other landing on top or knocking her over. Which, of course, requires retaliation.

My wife is a new parent at heart. Her scolding falls on deaf ears. “Hey; don't do that!” I keep telling her that they are large kittens. They are cats!!

That they are doing what they are supposed to be doing and with great enthusiasm and skills quickly learned and practiced over and over. They are developing; evolving before our very eyes.

We watched for two hours, visited, laughed and finally the kittens were exhausted. We moved them back to their small cage, put them in the shop with A/C on and they slept for 5 hours.

And to answer your question, “do I have plans?” the answer is no. I invented this from the first cut of the saw cut to the last screw holding the top on.

(Publishing today.) Several days now in their new home. They have adjusted well and are acting like young teens. Bolder at trying to escape when we clean the cage, add food and water and moving them to inside evening quarters. The wife and I feel that they are double-teaming us with purpose now. The have no fear of trying any route of escape. 

They believe they are ready for the keys to the Corvette.  


Morning Pond

Her first test batch of bacon wrapped stuffed Jalapenos.

Neighbor's recipe. And her just killed it on her first attempt. Crunch, the perfect amount of heat flavor and mixture of pepper and stuffing mix. Cut into bite size portions, five each of these were a full meal deal. 

* 1 Hot Jimmy Dean sausage, fried and drained
* 1/2 can of original Rotel. The remainder of the can saved control of filling       thickness.
* 16 oz of soft cream cheese.
* All simmered and mixed together in the frying pan.

This mixture alone is wonderful chip did served warm. Several spoon scoops on a plate with a handful of chips and served. It is quick, easy and addictive. 

Jalapenos cut in half, cleaned and the insides washed thoroughly with cold water. Neighbor lightly scrapes the insides with a spoon to help reduce heat. Her did not do that and the heat flavor was perfect and I am not a fan of hot pepper heat.

Jalapenos stuffed, wrapped with thick bacon (what we had) and stuck with a stick to hold everything together.

Set on top of wire rack inside large glass pan. Baked at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes. 

They were left to set for 5 minutes and then put on the table. 

I have never been a fan of Jalapenos because of the extreme heat. But it is all in the proper preparation and baking. A whole new world of flavor for me. 


Flying flags, prepping the grill, setting the tables, icing fresh watermelon and a variety of drinks. Neighbors arriving at 2 PM. A most typical of "The 4th of July" celebration in a free land on a free day. 

We celebrate, always will!!


The above was a test dog yesterday and an opportunity to make my perfect hot dog, photograph and share. Of course any hot dog says pile it on. But my perfect dog is not yours I am sure. 

The perfect dog in my world is on a buttered and grilled bun. The dog also grilled with grill marks and a hint of blackening. Two passes of mustard. Snug the sides together and eat. 

I cannot remember the last time I took the time to make this dog right or the time anyone making dogs served them this way. Yes, there are hundred ways to dress this meal up for added flavors. But I will always opt for this dog above all others. 

God Bless, have a wonderful week and thanks for the visit.