Sunday, August 29, 2021



Chicken wings on the cook.



Grumpy frog.


Harvested one full basil plant and realized again why we planted 6 plants. 

Making pesto takes a lot of basil leaves. Her made just two jars from that one plant this past week. 

The flavor kills. She did not even take the time to toast the bread. 

None goes to waste.


Maybe how all of this is referred to behind closed doors? 

Hints of things to come?

Short feel good video!


It's whats for dinner......

Learning to grow a productive garden comes with making sure we are using what we grow. Gazpacho and pesto have been in the plan. 

Toasted garlic bread completes. 


I often hear and read of an "October surprise." Also more hints and mention of false flag(s) event. 


We are entering a second planting season. I think we can plant year around here in east Texas and getting used to that idea is still sinking in. I will start planting beets, spinach and lettuce this next week. Will implement two week planting intervals for longer harvest. Notes on the calendar a must. 

If successful, we will improve the garden feeding us for longer periods of time. More important these days than ever before. Exchange of garden foods with neighbors added bonus. 


We put in a few boxes of water-only pancake mix this past week. Her made a test batch this morning and they were quite good; butter, honey drizzle and syrup. Crisp edges and fluffy middles.  

Her mentioned all we need is a few gallons of cooking oil on the higher shelves. We both remembered and told stories of our grandparents kitchen container of bacon grease that was dipped into daily. We do not eat that much bacon, but often save left over bacon grease out of habit. Maybe a small dedicated container in the fridge ought to be considered. 

Frying most anything in bacon grease comes with extra flavor. 

Your visit this week helps kick "The After" over 100K visits. A small milestone for me. Happy with that number over the years of publishing this blog.

Appreciate you stopping by again. Heads up this coming week, as always.  

Sunday, August 22, 2021


Garlic chives going to seed.



Early morning August rain welcome.

Peppers packed in a left over jar.  Apple cider vinegar heated to an initial boil then spooned over the peppers. Let set at least a month and the broth will then serve as a hot pepper sauce as wanted. Local recipe. We'll see.

Speaking of peppers:

Other hot peppers from seed. I enjoy growing these for the fun. Here in East Texas things grow. Add some Texas rain from time to time and everything explodes. Magic dust me thinks. 

I should find a use, though. 




Fresh out of the fields. Sun warm. Mouth watering.


From Dr. Anne McCloskey

Informative and easy to listen to. You may or may not agree. Take the time. Five minutes. 



These musicians make all of this look and sound so easy. Fun video and good music.



Local east Texas lake swollen during June rains. I was told that the lake rose two feet. The picture below shows this person's dock under water.

Same person, same dock, same lake. I was told these are mean snakes. I always assume that. But this is a swimming, diving, water skiing, jet skiing and so forth lake. Crazy busy on the weekends. 

"Come on honey, lets go for a dip. Water's fine." Dock not so much!


Seems every day is a week now. "Sailing into the fog." The Heebie-Jeebies. 

Saw this headline and realized I have not used this saying for a long long time. The heebie-jeebies well describes this past week. The above statements and article shows me I am not alone in this constantly looking over my shoulder. 

Just saw another one of many photos of empty shelves in grocery stores. Have not seen any of this here yet. 

I am  seeing a lot of push back from forced "vaccinations." Blanket walk outs and quitting of career jobs. Being forced into a world wide test pool of experimental mass drugging does not set well with a large population. No matter how all of this pans out, it is for sure a one way ticket. 

Government and corporations are doubling down. Hard to run any kind of business though w/o employees. This directly affects all of us now!

Prepping anyone?

Thanks for the visit this week. 

Sunday, August 15, 2021


"Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey,
There came a big spider
Who sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away."

Her picked up dairy farm cottage cheese this past week. The farm makes this from their Jersey cows. One of their many products. 

Her knows I like cottage cheese and brought it home as a gift. We both like visiting foods from our past. This cottage cheese is indeed curds and whey. "Whey" being the broth from the curing curds. 

I opened the container and started saying the nursery rhyme shown at the top of the page. 

I had to give a few moments thought to bring forth the entire rhyme with her helping. 

The photo does not accurately show the whey being the color of butter. Very rich. A spoonful taste did not bring with it my decades of eating processed cottage cheese. 

My first reaction was, "not so much." Her told me to let the bite set in my mouth a moment. "Taste the butter." I did. 

I realized I was being treated to a food common to my weekends spent on the ranch. A family dairy farm. Over six decades ago. 

These curds and whey have a very different taste and texture from the processed cottage cheese found in markets. Day and night.

The whey is thinner and curds are a texture like feta cheese. Not as crumbly though. Close to the chewing of small cheese pieces. Combine the buttery flavor of the whey with all of that. 

We tasted several times giving this all its due. It is different. Not displeasing. But different. Flavor and texture. A good different. This find from our past  will replace many years of eating processed cottage from grocery store shelves.

Cottage cheese and peaches. A marriage of flavor for me for many years. I added some peach juice to a helping of these curds and whey. A half slice peach on top. Bingo!!

We have found a second dairy farm to shop at now. An hour away. Call ahead ordering required.  

OK! from my external hard drive. I knew I had this somewhere.

KLATSCOS (Pierogi) From the old country; Central/Eastern European influence

Grandfather immigrated from Russia and grandmother from Lithuania. 

This is my grandmother Rose's dish. We had this often during weekend visits to the ranch in Raymond. All the ingredients were raised/made on the farm. I learned to eat these and then eventually learned to love them. I think it was the noodle and butter parts that appealed to my taste buds. The very best way to eat these is the next day. Cut each Klatscos into 3/8” wide strips and lightly brown in butter.

3 sm eggs

½ to ¾ cups of milk

3 ½ cups of flour approximate to make a rubber-like dough. Salt to taste

This makes a large batch of dough.

Use low calorie cottage cheese curds and squeeze dry or use any cc curds available. Set dry cc curds aside. Curds must be dry!!! (curds and whey were used on the dairy farm and always mandated by grandma and mom)

Add 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yoke., a little salt and mix well.

Pinch off chunks of dough and flatten evenly in the palm of your hand.

Add a spoon full of cc to the middle of the dough.

Fold dough over cc and pinch edges together to seal in the mixture. I remember laying down the filled dough and finishing the pinching with the front tongs of a fork. It is most important for the cc to be completely sealed inside the dough.

Makes about 15-16 Klatscos.

Place completed Klatscos into boiling water for 15 -20 minutes. Add a little salt to the water for flavor. Serve with sour cream. 

Klatscos can also be spaced in a baking dish and put in the oven covered with a little butter over it. Lightly grease or butter the bottom of the pan first.


My grandmother could barely read and always wrote phonetically. Some of her old documents have to be said out loud to try to know the content of records she was keeping.

I cannot find the word Klatscos on the net. 

I have memories of this dish early on and always the hearing name in conjunction of the making/serving of the dish. My grandmother, my mother and her sister sharing part of the kitchen, making these round noodles filled with curds. 

The spelling is directly from my mothers hand writing. BUT, my guess is that it is a close written representation of grandma's broken English pronunciation. 

It is a pierogi, but I sure would like to find history of the name originating in central Europe. 

My wife's research found this. The photos are exactly what these look like.



I shared this photo on the last post. Maybe the one earlier. 

While visiting with the wife of the dairy farmer this past week, her found out that this 25% butterfat milk product, only made from Jersey cows, best approximates mother's milk in richness, ease of digestion and nutrition. 

We learned something new last week. 



Her wanted me to take her and the truck to a nearby nursery early in the week. After lunch, temperature 95 degrees; muggy. She quickly added that they have pepper plants. Showed me a picture. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, she had me at peppers.

A half dozen pampas grass, hanging baskets of pepper plants and huge Black-eyed Susans quickly filled the truck bed. 

The above ornamental peppers owned me from the get go. I had them hanging within an hour. They thrive in the hot Texas sun. 

Her laughed at me when I told her to look at the carport. Said something to the fact how surprising it is that things you want to do, seem to get done instantly. 



Sampled often! 


From neighbor's garden.

"Look at the pollen on this plant. The bumblebee picked up the pollen off of my sunflower and came over this bloom and crawled over the bloom. Cross pollination great example."

Neighbor also sent a wonderful video of the bumble bee walking over the sun flower and all the pollen what was accumulating on the bee's legs. 

But it is an Apple video and I have not a clue how to download and share. W10 wants nothing to do with any of it. 

Regardless, Mother Nature continues to garner my attention.


Up at 0400. Blogs read, temperature of the world discussed with her, Rice Chex with half a peach for breakfast and outside by 06:00 re-potting a few basil plants.

Her has watered everything from the road front to the flower garden devouring the front porch. Family due at 1100 from the west. Gonna lunch and visit. 

Hot and humid rules the month.

I appreciate the visit this week. Never ever too late to stock up. Too many stories of shortages and crop failures; worldwide. Add shipping problems, C19 and a world run a muck. 

God bless us all.

Sunday, August 8, 2021


Goulash is a quick meal made with love and a wanting to build flavors, texture and second helpings. 

This dish has been on my mind for awhile now. A casserole. Her is not a casserole fan by any stretch of the imagination. She puts up with my off the reservation cookings, but I am under no illusion that some day she will step up to the stove, grab a spoon and jump in for a taste test. Body language is always consistent. On this cook, she gave a little look and a "hmmmmmm."

I grew up on meals like this. Stretching a chunk of meat with pasta and sauce. Mom was a super hero at this kind of cooking. I never ever once thought we were poor. Never at the kitchen table for sure. She could add flavor and sauce to sawdust and shoe leather, I swear. And if mom was a super hero, grandma wrote the book.

So it is in keeping that I go back to some of those ranch/home days of kitchen sink cooking. This is comfort food. Good memories food. Easy. Fun to make. Using spices and cupboard offerings. 

There are lots of recipes. Generally all the same basics. Hamburger, onion, peppers, tomato paste, canned diced tomatoes, chicken/beef/or water for some flavor and thinning. I am better now at seasonings. What goes with what and how to enhance flavor with a little of this and a bit of that. Too much of any spice or ingredient never works. I have learned the hard way.

Best made in a dutch oven. Mixed, stirred, folded over and over with a big spoon. Simmer a half hour. Test. Add a little water. And in a perfect world, let rest for an hour or so before serving. Guaranteed to taste better the next day.

I prefer to cook the noodles outside the dish. Drain and do not rinse. Then fold into the mix. I know the noodles are supposed to cook in the sauce and are suppose to pick up flavorings as they cook. I think it best cooked on the side then added. No pasta cooking residue in the meat mixture adding cooked noodles. 

Also just the sauce mixture can be added over rice, on top of bread or put in a bowl for dipping. Warm up the next day takes minutes. Wide open serving options. 

The upside of this kind of cooking was stretching the food budget. Mom only had to feed dad and me. This may have made her job easier as we would eat that sawdust and leather and never bat an eye and compliment her always at meals end.

This is also an end of the world meal. It works as well today as it did seventy years ago and for the same reasons. Stretching a dollar and still having good eats. 

Will the kids of today, look back seventy years from now and cook up what their parents are putting on their dinner tables tonight?  Have fond memories?



Lasagne is plural of Lasagna. Did not know that.

Neighbor's dinner invite this past week. Home made. Toasted garlic bread and chocolate desert on a butter/pecan baked crust. Flavor heaven. Over dosed. 

Great company and catching up on life and living. 

The lasagna was Virginia's Easy Lasagne recipe

This was their home made secret. Not a secret at all. The only change they made was adding white wine in place of water. Letting it rest 10 minutes a must also. 

This is exactly what I expect when a helping of any lasagna is put on my plate. Possibly the best her and I have ever eaten. Try it.



The weather station was put up months ago. Held only in place by two wood clamps. I wanted to make sure the station worked before committing to a permanent install. Then it became too easy to ignore the clamps and put off the final screw attachment to the metal posts. Ladder safety being the big issue.

The ground was uneven and it would take more time to dig a level pad and then top it with 2x material to achieve a flat and safe surface for the ladder. On a previous try, I ignored all the warning signs that a quick ladder placement close to the post would work. It did not.

On the way down the ladder, I grabbed the top of the ladder and it started its backward motion (just like in the movies). The uneven ground to step down to, was still too far away. 

On the way backwards, I tucked somewhat, hit the ground and rolled over on my back, landing on my ass. So far so good. Next was the ladder falling on me which I barely had time to put one arm up over my head. Charlie Chaplin had nothing on me that day. 

I had made every mistake on the ladder placement/usage that could be made. I also thought myself invincible. After all I was only going up to the second step. Classic DS (Dumb........).

This past week I slowed down and did the job correctly. Pad built further away from the bottom post. Flat and sturdy. Top of the ladder tied to the metal post. Tools set on the top of rung of the ladder rather than trying to climb with them in hand. 

I also did this with morning legs. Strength and balance legs are always gone by noon and any ladder work is out of the question.

I teach and preach wonderfully about things like this. Take the time to look at jobs like this and ask yourself, "how can all of this go wrong?" 


I am amazed that one small beef steak tomato plant consumes every inch of soil in a 5 gallon bucket. 


These will turn bright red soon. Still not sure what I am going to do with these but I do love to grown em. All from one tiny seed placed in good soil, plenty of sun, warmth and daily watering. 



This past week has given us a few days of relief from the heat and humidity.

Morning routine is a daybreak walk down the driveway to the gate. A short walk, but long enough to give me time to appreciate the simplicity and gift of the landscape. The Texas state flag hangs in a line of blue, red and white. Somewhat hidden by the flag pole yet ready to come alive in the slightest of wind against the background of green.

Our once mud yard is much greener from our plantings, yet still needs attention in a few bare areas. Areas where the rain water runs heavy during passing thunderstorms offers no time for grass to root.

The green pine trees across the road obscures the green pastures. But a closer look finds narrow spaces where the fields offer the morning mist highlighted by the morning sun rise. All of this is a large mural wanting the passerby to stop and look at all the detail of Mother Nature's brush.

I appreciate these moments. The slowing of time throughout the day is a learned experience. For so many years a blur, but yesterday and today the seconds last longer and a minute can be an eternity. To the point where I will engage my wife in conversation of the beauty I have seen walking to the morning gate.

The garden has run its race this summer. Except for a few producing green pepper plants, it is all coming down. September offers some winter planting options and I am going to prep for planting two or three. Winter planting will also be a test for us. 


Much of the news these days revolves around having to take the "clot shot" or lose your job. My bet is that someone you know is soon to be affected by this mandate.

Each morning now when my wife walks to the coffee pot for the next cup, she mentions, in passing, other companies now announcing that mandate for their employees. Many healthcare facilities falling to this decree and now Tyson ChickenFolks getting two to three months to make the decision. More

"How did your day go honey?" opens a can of worms walking in the front door after a day on the job. There are serious conversations; life changing conversations in households all over this world.

How all of this is going to play out in the days and weeks ahead is worth paying attention to. Just this morning, more major companies listing this requirement for their employees. But not the CDC!!

Workers enforcing these rules are "just doing their job." Friends and colleges a few days ago. History repeats. 

Heads up and keep planning to take care of you and yours. Long term!

I end here this week with..........

Take care of yourself, work hard and learn learn learn. 

Appreciate the visit this week.  

Sunday, August 1, 2021


Neighbor drops off honey fresh from the hive and extra eggs. He cannot eat all the eggs his few chickens produce and does not want to throw them away. 

The honey was from his beehive and a first time treat for my wife and me. Like gold. Noticeably smoother and sweet. Ran from the honey dipper like thin syrup. 

Soaked the biscuits below but not to the point of being lost as a thick top coating. 

Half a locally grown watermelon was shared the same day from a different neighbor. Key here, locally grown just up the road. With seeds but oh so sweet and tender. I love watermelon and they are coming on and abundant. 

Of course, I soaked a chunk of watermelon with honey. I would have soaked bacon too.

SHARING.... this crazy world might seem out of place. Actually the crazy world is out of place. No one talks about these simple human interactions today. Does not play to a narrative. Will not see this on the evening news. But you will here.

We poured half of the honey into a small jar and took it over to watermelon neighbor. This amount of honey will go a distance. And it is the thing to do.

Mind you, not out of responsibility or as any kind of payment. Sharing gets its reward from the very appreciation given back as a simple thank you. Quite often followed by comment that the food shared will be on their table the same day. Or a follow up antidote the following day, "we ate half that loaf of bread after you left." An appreciated treat.

I think it a human nature to share food. The cooking of a main dish and taking half over to a neighbor or family member. A baked pie. Container of homemade soup. Half a baked chicken. 

Everyone appreciates not having to cook or a sweet treat on the kitchen counter. Besides it is an excellent opportunity to go visit.

It was a way of life growing up. And all of this still works here, 76 years later.


"you and your wife will have to come up and look at my gourds."

And we did just that. Gourds start growing and looking like gourds from the get go.

Growing gourds for the simple pleasure of watching them grow. Because she can. 

She gave me a few gourd seeds early on. But I had my hands full with other garden items. Did not know where I could find a spot either.

Neighbor told me that I needed to scratch the seeds. Rough the hard outer shell to help the seed germinate. 

I am promised one large gourd when she picks. I want to learn how to cure and make a bird house/feeder. 

Gourds climb!

From a couple seeds in the ground, up the fence and up the tree. Have to keep an eye on this.



Quick summer eats.

Thin cut, light seasoning, high heat grill; 4 minutes. Onion, olive oil, garlic salt, 12 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.



The butterfat of raw milk changes with the season. Depends on the quality of grazing grass and the seasons have control over that. My wife picked up the gallon above and the butterfat is much higher than it has been the past few months. We do not drink that much milk and this gallon will go for a full month. From coffee, cereal, home made biscuits and bread, having access to these kind of farm fresh local choices is a big plus for us. 



This appears to have loaded. Now will it play? If it works, then other quickie videos are possible.



Not too far down the road, locally grown watermelon and cantaloupe await at a roadside stand. The honor system is in play. Seven dollars for warm, ripe melons and two dollars for cantaloupe. 

Several small batches, like the ones above, have been picked and set aside by the farmer. These do not make it out to the roadside stand. 

Farmers here have been friends and colleagues for eons. Our neighbor and I drove in (invited) to pick from several of these piles. Not given away or ever expected. We gladly payed. 

Folks in the know say tapping a water melon to see if it is ripe gives off a solid hollow sound. I tapped and for the first time ever felt the sound. Also the flatter one side is with visual evidence of resting longer in the field yields the perfect ripe water melon. 

An easy squeeze of the cantaloupe reveal its ripeness.

These were 15 pounds each of they were an ounce. 


The last of the green peppers picked, cleaned, bagged and frozen. 



Youmeandtheafter blog was started years ago, in part, to discuss being prepared for uncertain times and futures. It was a way for me to put inner thoughts into word and to be visible . Share too. It helped me act on putting a few things away and to develop some self sufficient skill sets. This blog has also helped me stay tuned into what others are saying, thinking and doing/not doing. 

We are all now in "an after" from the normal of just a couple of years ago. Trying to compute that uncertain future was impossible.  I would have never thought of the goings on of these days. I have thought that much of this radical change would never happen. Too far from common sense/reality even in a worst of times scenario. 

Goes to show ya, huh?  

August 2021 is upon us. The heat in east Texas is here. The heat folks talk about. 

Appreciate the visit this week.