Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Day of Celebration

The sun shone, the wind blew and the temperature was perfect for being outdoors exploring. To celebrate Thanksgiving Day and our wedding anniversary we went to South Padre Island and to Port Isabel. On SPI we mostly drove and looked at all the construction since we were there years ago. We went into the big county park to check out the RV park there and watch people on the beach. We even saw a man surf fishing catch a manta ray! Once on the beach his friend tried to remove the hook from the manta ray. The fisherman picked up a heavy 5 gallon bucket and placed it on the tail of the ray so it could not sting them. They worked the hook out then used a pole to push it back into the water. The whole sight was a first for us landlubbers!

We went back across the causeway into the harbor area of Port Isabel. The historian in me must tell you that Port Isabel is the oldest city in South Texas, having been charted by a Spanish explorer in 1519. It was inhabited by pirates and Indians. With all good intentions of climbing to the top of the lighthouse, I headed up the steps to the entry door. When my knees and hips protested, I settled for photos and a walk around the port area. Of course, all the museums, except the lighthouse, were closed as were the lighthouse keeper's cottage and the shops by the fishing pier. We walked and looked and enjoyed the wind. Just being out in such beautiful weather and fun suroundings was a celebration of thankfullness and togetherness.

Check out the web album for pictures of this fun time.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Taliesin West

We are fans of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. A few years ago we had an opportunity to tour Taliesin West in Scottsdale AZ. There was a large tour group and we were almost rushed through and around the campus but I did manage to snap a few pictures. Some of the memorable things we saw included a theater where the acoustics are so great that the back row can hear a whisper on the stage and the seats are angled exactly right for a person to sit with legs crossed and possibly with an arm on the back of the seats and still comfortably face the stage. We saw how the minimalist approach to living quarters didn't mean small tight spaces or discomfort. All in all, a very memorable experience.

More info about it can be found here:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Update on Clyde TX Property

Long time, no blog. We have been having too much fun out on the road again. Here are pictures of the sign on the interstate service road side of the property.

We were denied the zoning change on the Clyde property that would allow us to live in our rv. We subdivided the property into large manufactured home lots and have it for sale.

We are spending time in south Texas right now. More about that later.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Clyde City Picnic

The City of Clyde TX held a 5th of July picnic at the Clyde Lake City Park. The day began with a bass fishing tournament. The winners were anounced about 1pm. The biggest bass caught was 7.875 lbs. The next biggest died before weigh in even though they tried to revive it. The rest were released back into the lake for another fisherman's dream catch.

The cookoff started with judging desserts, then beans, chicken, ribs and brisket, in that order. The food all had to be cooked on grills or smokers. We walked through the campground to see the cook teams setups. Many were almost outdoor kitchens. The man who won first in the dessert competition had an oven in his smoker grill. He cooked a cobbler as the first thing he had ever cooked. His cobbler was gone before we had a chance at trying any but another team gave us a serving of their peach cobbler with gingerbread topping. They also had a blueberry pie they had cooked. The picnic organizer said that next year another catagory of cooking would be added to the cookoff, All Other. People cook salsas, veggies and many other things on a grill so this will be their catagory.

There were about 12 servings of chicken that I tasted, cleansing the palate with dill pickle slices and drinking water between the servings. Since the servings were identified only by numbers I have no idea how my judging contributed to selecting the winners. R's rib-tasting was handled the same way. We stayed around until the points were all tallied & watched the first, second and third place winners receive their plaques and checks.

The wind blew and kept us cooler when we were in the shade but after being out for more than 5 hours, we were ready to head for home. The music was still playing, different bands every two hours, and other events were going on. The fireworks would start about 10pm but we were tired and wanting to put our feet us & have some peace & quiet. Photos found at:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fort Griffin Fandangle, Albany Texas

Every year the last two weeks in June sees Albany decked out as Frontier Texas. Their celebration of the history and settlement of this area of TX is boisterous and colorful. The prairie is filled with music, gunshots and the jingle of horse bridles. There are many events and shows that happen, but I will only tell about the ones we attended. You can learn more about the Fandangle at this website:

We started the fun on Friday afternoon with an organ concert at the Matthews Memorial Presbyterian Church. The church was founded in 1880 and the present stone structure was erected in 1898. The church was remodeled in 1954 and the present organ was installed. The organ was given in memory or Caroline Spears Matthews, by her children. The pipe organ was built by Otto Hoffmann of Austin TX and used some parts from a 1910 organ. This was the first modern tracker organ in the US to be permanently installed in a contemporary case. We heard Sandy Abel play a wonderful mix of classical, patriotic and religious music. Although we felt the concert was over too soon, the audience was invited to get a closer look at the organ and ask questions of Ms Abel. She gave us information such as the organ keys were ivory overlaid with wood.

We then visited the Shackelford County Courthouse where we admired the great woodwork that was restored recently. Then on to the Courthouse grounds to see the history reenactment of an officer’s camp. On display were many articles from a typical camp site, Including two plaques. These were made in China of compressed tea leaves. One for green tea and one for black tea. The wealthy people of the nineteenth century often had these plaques displayed on their walls as artwork. The poorer people could only afford a tiny corner of a plaque to use to make a cup of tea. Also on the Courthouse grounds were some actors ready for a showdown and gunfight. We made a brief stop by the pen where a longhorn was a very disinterested observer.

In a small city park, we saw the old Ledbetter Picket House built near Ft Griffin in the 1870’s. In the dog trot area was a quilt frame with a quilt in progress on it. Behind the house were kettles from the 1860’s Ledbetter Salt Works, a major supplier of salt to the Confederacy. Also in that park is the Georgia Memorial, a beautiful fountain built in 1976 to honor the Georgia Battalion who joined Texas troops at Goliad in March 1836. Eighty three Georgia Volunteers died during that battle. Also in the park is an artwork of Three Avacodos.

Around 8 pm we went to the Prairie Theater to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Fort Griffin Fandangle. This show was first produced by high school students at their football stadium. The city of Albany adopted the show as a theme for the city and began to produce it with all ages in the cast. On this anniversary year two men who were in the original productions participated once again. The show begins with a beautiful flag parade of galloping horses crossing the huge grassy stage. The horses weave in and out at what seemed to me breakneck speed without every colliding or stumbling. Graceful women riding sidesaddle joined the male flag bearers. The narrators are the only spoken voices during the show. The music & dancing is very good. For a small town, Albany has produced many excellent voices. The show is long (about 2 hours) but there are very few slow moments. It carries you along on the magic carpet of music, laughter and pure enjoyment.

Photos are at:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Made Me Look Twice!

This caught my eye in downtown Abilene TX.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Changing Landscape

The snapshot downloaded from GoogleEarth shows our property in the red outline. It is the full length of the unpaved street and covers 2/3 of the depth of the block. The north edge is on the I20 service road. The deed actually says that some of the property was sold to the state when Hwy 80 became I20 and added service roads. A lot of brush clearing has gone on since I last posted. The majority of the property received some attention from the shredding machine over two days.

Some work was started on the 3rd day when the machine broke down but not before a neighbor's corner fence post got knocked down. He traded off some of the work time for us doing the repairs on the fence. We'll call him to come back to finish later.

The post has been replaced and most of the chain link fencing reattached. Two of the brackets were bent too much so they will need to be replaced. Temperatures in the high 90's keep us from working steadily.

You can see photos of the shredder, the start of the work and the results:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Progress & Relaxation

While taking cool down breaks we sit in the shade and watch the wildlife. Ok, wildlife is limited to birds, squirrels, butterflies and bugs. There are at least two pair of bluejays, a pair of cardinals and a couple of squirrels. Earlier we saw some finch but they aren't making an appearance now so must have migrated. One day a squirrel ran up a live oak, leaped over to the hickory tree and ran out a branch just over me. He was being harrassed by a big bluejay, so after looking down at me the squirrel ran up another branch & launched himself into the big bur oak (we were told that was what it was) and disappeared among the leaves.

The utility pole has a guy wire running into some bushes out by the street so we started cutting out the bushes so the shredding machine could get in to the area without snagging the wire. To our surprise we discovered another guy wire that was broken from the pole and coiled around in the bushes. We took lots of photos & sent them to the power company. They don't understand what we are telling them. They think we are talking about the line to the house!

I not only have a black thumb when it comes to growing flowers, I really can't identify many of them. I have included photos in my album with some that I think I can identify. Any help you can give on what they really are will be appreciated.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Work Goes On

We are progressing on our cleanup. It is taking a long time to do the manual labor. This week we were told that the shredding machine was in the repair shop so that work on our property will be delayed at least a week. That means we can finish the fence post removal. R got some of Dad's old tools from his workshop when we visited Mother for Mother's Day. My Dad collected old, usuable tools for many years, both from individuals and old oil field pump stations. I think we now have a couple of pipe tools that were used in oil field work. We rigged up a boomer/come-a-long & chain and use it to pry out the poles that were cemented in. Still have to dig out around the concrete but it saves some steps. Here is a link to some photos of the piles of stuff we have dug up and pulled out.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Our New........Adventure???

It's been a long time since I wrote in this blog so I'll try to get you up to date. Fuel prices have doubled since we started our full-time rv living so we thought to be stationary for a while. We have bought some property in Clyde, TX. Clyde is about 15 miles east of Abilene on IH 20 and is about 1/2 way between Midland and Dallas, with about the same distance to Austin. The original ad for the property was for 8.6 acres in the city limits with city water & sewer, starting at the IH service road and running south. We later learned that it actually is 6.8 acres but decided it was still a good buy. There are a lot of trees, mostly oaks, and a tremendous amount of brush with prickly, spiney vines & bushes since it has not been cleared between the trees since the early 1960's. Our first thoughts were of an RV Park so we could continue to visit with some of the greatest people ever. The city had zoned this property for manufactured homes and are indicating that they are not favorable to rezoning for rvs. The neighbors don't like that idea, either. We are now thinking of selling some of the cleared property as mobile home lots since there is a great need for them.

There is a small house in very bad condition inside and poor condition outside. It was originally built as a garage & turned into a house for a widow. Building codes are iffy that we could actually clean up and remodel the house & live in it. It is much too close to the street according to the codes. We would have to put some money into the house with a new kitchen & bath, new wiring & plumbing, some new windows and general paint, light fixtures, etc. That is a lot of $$$ to put into it. We are glad right now that it is concrete block and would be safer than our rv in a tornado!

You can see some pictures taken in April of the property & the blooming iris garden. The photo above is hubby on the first day of cleanup.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

East TX Dressed in Spring Colors

Saturday, March 29 was a cool, cloudy gray day with rain forecast but we went off to explore. The trees have really leafed out in the last week or two & the flowers are blooming everywhere. The photos do not show the true colors of the flowers but they do give some idea. For photos click on this link

We saw a lot of interesting old houses & store buildings. The small town of Mount Vernon has a neat little town square with well-restored store fronts and a wonderful Genealogical Society library & research room. Since none of our ancestors had been in that area we didn't dig through any records but had a good visit with the president of the society.

We also stopped in at the Pine Mills Pottery Studio & Gallery. They have lovely art pieces with graceful shapes and gorgeous colors. The link to their site is http://http//
I snapped this photo as we passed a pied donkey farm.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Chicago-Why Cities Are A Fun Place To Visit

Two years ago in May we spent one day in Chicago. We spent a Friday night in an RV park in a suburb and Saturday morning drove the motorhome to the train station, parked it in a neat little space & rode the train to the city. Round trip was $5 for each of us. Pretty cheap. Certainly would have cost more than that in gas & parking fees had we driven the Jeep. We walked & oohed & aahed over all the building & people. Since we had few destinations in mind, we just wandered and explored. We weren't on a guided tour so we could spend as much time at any one place as we wanted. We examined all the stone pieces we could see in the Tribune building including a stone from the Alamo. It gave us a strange feel to see a little bit of TX in this far-off state. Then we remembered that the actual mileage from Texarkana TX to Chicago IL is less than the mileage from Texarkana to El Paso TX.

We skipped the Sears Tower tour to go up to the top of the John Hancock building. My vertigo did not kick in at all as we stood at the glass windows looking out over the city and port. Lake Michigan was beautiful.
I even posed for a photo for my moonlighting job application!
After our day of touring we rode a bus back to the train station and drove off in our little house into Michigan.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

The morning dawned with bright sunshine, cloudless skies and a light breeze. It was a perfect day to get out & see the beautiful day. We had charged the camera battery so stopped by the Wood Co. Courthouse & photographed the beautiful dogwood tree. Then we drove around part of Lake Fork and saw lots of flowers.

An old and beautiful legend has it that, at the time of the crucifixion, the dogwood was comparable in size to the oak tree and other monarchs of the forest. Because of its firmness and strength it was selected as the timber for the cross, but to be put to such a cruel use greatly distressed the tree. Sensing this, the crucified Jesus in his gentle pity for the sorrow and suffering of all said to it: "Because of your sorrow and pity for My sufferings, never again will the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a gibbet. Henceforth it will be slender, bent and twisted and its blossoms will be in the form of a cross -- two long and two short petals. In the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints -- brown with rust and stained with red -- and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see this will remember."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Quitman TX

We are enjoying clear sunny skies and mid-70's degrees temperature here in Quitman. We drove around small Lake Quitman and saw some beautiful dogwood trees blooming, a strand of blooming wisteria and blue jays flashing among the trees. Lovely and, wouldn't you know it, my camera battery said "Feed Me." I have it charging now and maybe I can get a few pictures after a while. Of course Easter Sunday is forecast to be cloudy, cool and a 30% chance of rain.

Friday, March 21, 2008

First Monday Trade Days, Canton TX

In the 1850's people of the area began gathering in Canton on the first Monday of the month. They began to use that day to trade and sell produce, goods, and livestock. From those days it has grown to be "THE biggest open-air trade days in the world." The Trade Days take place the Thursday through Sunday before the first Monday every month.

For more info visit their website:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tyler TX Azalea Trail 3/14/08 - 4/6/08

On Sunday 3/16 we drove to Tyler for the Azalea Trail. This was the first weekend of the Trail this year and we knew there was a chance the blooms would not be at their fullest. Not only they weren't at their fullest, there were very few azalea blooms at all. Most of the blooming flowers were tulips, pansies and daffodills. One yard did have some impatiens, along with several blooming rose type trees and a beautiful blooming tulip tree. There were other blooming trees but we only saw one dogwood in full bloom so it is probably a little early for them this year, too. You can check out the info on the Trail at this link:
For more photos click on this link.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Places We’ve Visited – Killdeer ND

We stayed in the Killdeer City Park that has electrical hookup, water & dump at the edge of the park. There are wonderfully fresh & clean restrooms with showers. The town has fewer than 800 people but is supported by the oil industry, a small high-tech manufacturing firm and agriculture. We ate at the steakhouse where I had a FLEISCHKUECHLE, a local favorite. It is a hamburger patty wrapped in piecrust and deep fried. It was good but not something that I would want often. Ron had a chicken fried steak with white gravy that was NOT the same as Texas-style. Interesting to experiment.

I expected North Dakota to be fairly flat, open prairie, something like western Kansas and Nebraska. On the eastern side, along the northern Red River it is flat delta land that is farmed in big fields like in the south. The only differences are the trees planted as wind-breaks and the crops are mostly sugar beets. Across the northern part of the state lies the Turtle Mountains, highest points about 3000 feet, and rolling plains. As we came south, we crossed the Missouri River at New Town where the river has been dammed into a very long Lake Sakakawea. The lake was named for the Indian woman with the Lewis & Clark explorers. They had camped in the New Town area.

Further south is the Little Missouri River, which starts in South Dakota and runs north to the MO River. The Little MO River has cut through the landscape to form the North Dakota Badlands. The Badlands are so named because of the difficulty to travel through. General Custer named them when he was on his way to the Little Big Horn. Along the river is the Little Missouri National Grasslands and the north and south units of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We drove to the north unit but did not tour it since we wanted to drive through the grasslands to the south unit and tour it.

The village of Grassy Butte has a 1914 log post office building that was covered with adobe. It has been turned into a museum with lots of old settler artifacts. By the post office is a wooden frame church from the 1920’s, St. Peter Canisius Church.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Places We’ve Visited – Hoh Rain Forest, WA

We set up camp in the Willoughby Creek campground beside the Hoh River. There are no hookups & only 3 campsites. The river was just a few yards away, down a slope beside us & the spruce & black cottonwoods towered over us. We drove along the Hoh River to the Hoh Rainforest trailheads. The Hoh is a glacier-melt river. that is colder, and often higher, in the summer from ice melt, and warmed in the winter when it is fed only by winter rainfall. The Hoh is the premier temperate rain forest in the United States because of the warming trend of the Japanese Current. While the forest is dominated by the Sitka spruce, it is the big leaf maple whose arching limbs provide the framework to support the mosses which give the forest its mellow feeling. One of the finest examples of a temperate rain forest left in North America, the Hoh has been named the third best hike in the world. A rain forest is defined by a lot of rain - an average of 150 inches a year - which makes this the wettest spot in the United States outside of Hawaii, where Mount Waialeale has an annual rainfall of 460 inches. In 1997 a new record of 190.42 inches was set. Protected by the mountains: to the east, the mild temperature seldom drops to below freezing in the winter or rises above 80 degrees in the summer. The Hoh Rain Forest, which contains more than 3,000 species of plant life, abounds in Sitka spruce and western hemlock, some reaching 3OO feet in height and 23 feet in circumference. Douglas fir, western red cedar, big leaf maple and black cottonwood are also found throughout the forest. The forest floor is carpeted with ferns. Nearly every bit of space within the forest is taken up with a living plant, and its biomass may be the greatest in the world. In some areas of the forest the vegetation is so thick that snow cannot reach the ground. We walked the Spruce Trail 1-1/4 mile 1-1/2 hour hike only we took more than 2 1/2 hours to do it. So much to see. We experienced everything this quote says, "As you walk through the forest, green draperies soften the outlines of the forest. you experience damp smells which are a mix of decay and fresh new growth, and hear sounds of water from streams and dripping leaves. You see the different textures of a variety of plants, and feel a cool breath of fog against your cheek."
We were visiting with our neighbors at our campfire as it grew dark when we heard splashing in the river. We couldn't see thru the brush & trees in the dark to see the elk that must have been making the splashes.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Places We've Visited - Greenville MS

The Delta of Arkansas, northern Louisiana and Mississippi is flat land with large field after field only separated by trees in the drainage areas. It is pond after pond of catfish farms and occasional processing plants for the fish. It is a port in every little community on the river for shipping. It is antebellum homes, modern mansions, houses from the turn-of-the-twentieth- century, ordinary houses and shacks. There are so many areas of poverty and a few areas of wealth. The Delta is not just the river, it goes away from the river quite a distance and may have hills and forests along the many creeks and rivers. There are lots of pecan and fruit orchards. There are many lakes formed by the Mississippi River when it has changed courses. The lakes are shaped like commas from the curves the river had cut.

Warfield Point Park, Greenville, MS is a very nice county park on the Mississippi River side of the levee just south of Greenville, MS. The park has electric & water hookups and a dump station. There are nice shower/restroom buildings. Warfield Point was named by Thomas B Warfield in 1831. He was traveling down the Mississippi River from Kentucky and came upon this high spot along the river. Mr Warfield settled here and named this point Warfield Point. Since that time the Point has been a ferry landing. Today a marine company (tugboat service to the port) operates next to the county park. It is fun to watch the boats and barges and speculate where they came from, where they are going and what the load is.

East of Greenville is the community of Leland. It is the home of a Blues music museum and festival. There are murals depicting blues greats. Deer Creek goes through Leland on its way to the Yazoo River. The creek is as large as many rivers in west Texas! The land around the creek is said to be the most fertile in all of the US. The Leland Welcome Center houses the Jim Henson Muppets museum. Nearby is the Belmont Plantation. The house was built in 1857. It is a private residence and the gate is kept locked but what we could see looked very interesting.

Friday, February 29, 2008

This 'n That Shop I&II

Great little jewels of shops in the tiny Texas towns of Robert Lee & Bronte. The tag line for the shops is: Gifts: Past & Present. They have antiques, new and nearly new furniture, glassware, pottery, toys, children's books, cookbooks, hand crafted items and other stuff of interest. It is so much fun to browse and discover beautiful colored glassware that gleams on the shelf, 70+ year old doilies, china that we remember from our grandmothers' tables and a beautifully made wooden chest. Lots of fun browsing and chatting with the manager, Cyndy. Just one of the joys of being retired and being able to take life at your own pace while traveling in you rv.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hords Creek Lake

This lake is totally new to me, I never knew it was tucked into the rolling plains just 8 miles west of Coleman TX. There are 2 lovely Corps of Engineers campgrounds here, only one of which is open for use during the winter months. The lake is rather small but beautifully clean and seems to have good fishing. There are even some Group Shelters where large groups could have reunions, etc. On the weekdays we have a large area of the campgound to ourselves. On the weekends it gets busier and they tell us that during Spring Break weeks it gets crowded. We have enjoyed being outside when the winds aren't blowing 30+ mph as they have been the last 4 days. At least the sun is shining and it isn't cold.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Living Small

In our Campground Crafters Yahoo Group we discuss living in recreational vehicles (rvs) full time or for extended times. There are challenges to this style of living, such as finding enough storage space and organizing it for your stuff. No one type rv is ever perfect for every person so we adapt, customize and get very creative. Our Class C motorhome has a surprising amount of exterior storage for it's size. We have a full-width and height storage at the back called the "garage" where we put the lawn chairs, campfire starters, hanging bags filled with cables & awning tie downs and plastic storage boxes. There is a compartment just outside the entry door that I call the "trunk" that carries our slow-cooker, the tool box and plastic storage boxes of my out-of-season clothes. There is another compartment that carries our leveling boards and water hoses and another one that holds some seldom-used stuff. When we are traveling down the road we put our satellite internet dish in the back of the Jeep we tow (the toad) which also has a tote bag of my yarn. So you can see that there are ways to adapt and adjust to small spaces. Any time I have a flash of wishful thinking for more room, I remember that it only takes a couple of hours to thoroughly clean & freshen up the whole interior. After all we can move to a new location for a new yard view any time we want.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Permian Sea - Don't Expect to Surf

We are homebased in Midland TX, one of the largest population centers of the Permian Basin. The Permian Basin was formed as a sea 230 million years ago. You can learn more about it at this link Midland has a great museum of the petroleum industry and an exhibit of Chaparral race cars.

Recently we had a Sunday outing with friends to the town of Iraan about 85 miles south of Midland. We were fossil hunting for their rock garden & water feature. When hubby was a boy in the area he found many large fossils while roaming the mesas. We drove to a mesa top and found a few small fossils. My big find looked like a closed clam shell protruding from the top of a rock. Others were various kinds of coiled shells. It was a cool, windy day but still pleasant to be out and the view from the mesa top was great.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

2/17/08 Day One

I caved in to the pressure and started a blog of our travels and miscellaneous things that interest us. I've written journals to share with family & friends by email. My family doesn't think I ever stop talking. I've been accused of being gabby on a Yahoo group, Campground Crafters. So naturally a blog filled with my blathering should be a cinch. After all, we travel in our motorhome, I knit, we watch animals, we are history buffs, we geocache and waymark and love exploring all sorts of places so what is so difficult about finding something to talk about? Is this a version of stage fright?

We have spent a year in West Texas. This area is not really the Texas of western movies with a strong emphasis on cattle and ranching. This is oil country. Few people were here before 1900 so the history of the area is not as obvious as it is some other places. The land of the southernmost tip of the Great Plains is flat, sandy and mostly dry.