Saturday, January 26, 2019


We are just about out of January – already.  Time goes so quickly.  My youngest middle granddaughter turned 18 yesterday.  She assured me that was correct – she is now, absolutely positively 18 years old.  Personally, I still think someone miscounted the years.

Then, I got to wondering – what exciting interesting things might I have maybe almost missed this month. 

Well!, I didn’t miss this one.  This month as been so J A N U A R Y I S H for us –
and did I say rainy???
that I’ve spent more days reading than anything else. 
Book Blitz Month
Make January your Personal Book Blitz month by -
Read the books that are sitting on your shelf that you have been wanting to read. check
Re-read your favorite series. check
Read a book from a new author or an author that your friend recommended. check
Read a book that was made into a movie. check

And, yea!, I didn’t miss this either.  I lean toward being a tea drinker anyway but when it’s cold and damp, a hot cup of tea warms me right up. 
National Hot Tea Month
Peppermint Tea helps to relax the muscles of the digestive tract and reduce spasms.
Passionflower Tea promotes sleep and relaxation, lowers blood pressure.
Black Tea is rich in antioxidants, has few or no calories, has minimal sodium, proteins, and carbohydrates, and is known for its curative qualities

I’m pretty sure the whole world missed this one.   
No Name Calling Week: 21-25

Ok – I had to look this one up.  Someone has too much time on their hands is all I can figure out if they came up with …
Dimpled Chad Day: 4
Noun  1.       dimpled chad - a chad that has been punched or dimpled but all four corners are still attached
chad - a small piece of paper that is supposed to be removed when a hole is punched in a card or paper tape

I certainly hope everyone participated on this day.  If you did miss it, start today.  I included one of my favorite Shel Silverstein poems – hugging is so much better than tugging.
National Hugging Day: 21
Hug O' War By Shel Silverstein

I will not play at tug o' war.
I'd rather play at hug o' war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins

OK, well, this one makes me glad we don’t have snow – well, real snow, the kind that is more than 2 inches deep and hangs around for weeks at a time.
Snowplow Mailbox Hockey Day: 23  It was created to give those snowplow drivers a day to have fun.  Here's how to play: See how far you can whack a mailbox with just your snowplow! 20 extra points if you hit it out of the zip code!

And finally, today is
Toad Hollow Day of Encouragement: 26 comes from the legend of Toad Hollow which is rooted in an 1800's school house in Kalamazoo, Michigan and the stories told by Ralph C. Morrison.  Morrison said that Toad Hollow cannot be found on a map, but rather, it's found in your heart.  This is a day to give encouragement and support to others (people you like, and even those you do not).

26 Jan 2019

Monday, January 21, 2019

Soap Making

I mentioned that I’m a soap maker.  I am.  I make soap using a cold process method (rather than melt and pour or hot process but more about those later). 

Not long after moving to Wharton, I became a member of the group that set up, promoted, and managed the Wharton County Farmer’s Market.  Michael sold candied jalapenos (yes, he made them himself), popcorn, eggs, and whatever garden vegetables we didn’t use. 

I sold all things herbal.  Like dried herbs, herbal mixtures, teas, fresh herbs, and so forth.  I also decided to make various herbal lotions, bath products and

soap.  OK – how hard can it be?  Well, after reading various articles on soap making, I was somewhere between slightly confused (saponification?? trace??) and completely intimidated (the glycerol molecule is separated from the fatty acids; fatty acids then react with the hydroxide ions???).  Then, what kind of soap (castile?? tallow?? use mica powders?? fragrance oils vs essential oils??).

OK – is there somebody that could teach me?  Wellllll, no.  So, I pulled on my big girl panties and took the plunge.  First tried making castile soap.  A nice mild soap that is (1) expensive to make (because you use mostly olive oil) and (2) takes a long time to trace.  I actually don’t make that anymore.

Now, in the 1600’s, soap makers used animal fat.  Lard!  Available at the grocery store in a handy dandy package

and a lot less expensive than olive oil and even less expensive than vegetable fats.  And, here’s a

Did You Know?  Lard is made from pig fats, while tallow (which you cannot buy in a nifty package at the grocery store) is made from beef and mutton fats. 

Next – sodium hydroxide (or to history buffs – potash).  Lye.  Here’s another

Did You Know?  You can’t just go to the grocery or hardware store and buy lye – at least not here in Texas.  Not anymore.  You have to order it from the internet. 

Fine.  Next, a couple of molds and I was off and running. 

So, when I was a just-getting-started soap maker, I followed all the prep work to a ‘T’.  Took me as long to get ready as it did to actually make the soap.  Today, while I’m careful (dealing with lye can be dangerous to all parts of your body, not to mention counter tops), I don’t cover everything with 5 layers of newspaper, wear old clothes, or gloves up to my elbows. 

Soap making is actually a precise science.  So, if the recipe calls for distilled water or 12 ounces of lye, you don’t want to use filtered water or 12-ish ozs.  I have my own “soap” tools – bowls, thermometers, spoons, and such that are kept clean and together in the back room.  I never just grab a spoon from my utensil drawer unless I’m going to add it to the soap tool collection.

Now, I’m not going to give a blow-by-blow description of soap making (if you ever want to try it let me know, I’m happy to share my experience).  In a nutshell – you dissolve the lye in water, melt the fats, mix it all together and stir for what will seem like hours until it traces.  Put in whatever additives you might want.  Pour into molds.  Wait.  Demold.  Wait, wait, wait.  Eventually, Ta Da! Soap!  Oh and just in case you want to know . . . . 

SAPONIFICATION is the process that changes fats and sodium hydroxide into soap.  TRACE is the sign that the soap is ready to pour into a mold.  Looks a little like cake batter.

Also, once the soap is in the mold, then demolded and/or cut into bars, using the cold process, it needs to cure 4-6 weeks.  It takes that long for the saponification process to actually complete. 

These are my curing racks.

There are a couple of other options for soap making.  The Melt and Pour method is a good option for beginners and children.  All you have to do is melt the premade base, customize it with your favorite additives, colors and scents, and pour into a mold.  As soon as it cooled, it’s ready to use. 

Another soap making choice, and one I want to try next time I make soap, is Hot Process Soap.  Supposedly the end result is a harder bar of soap.  The method is fairly similar to the one I use now but you “cook” the soap for a long period of time.  Sounds interesting.  I’ll let you know how it works out!

21 Jan 2019

Friday, January 18, 2019

SOAP – root, wort, and yucca

Because I’m a soapmaker and I generally collect all sorts of unusual facts,
Did You Know?
there are at least three native herbs that can produce saponins (a chemical compound found in some plant species that produces a soap-like foam).  Yep, three plants that can make a soapy substance used mostly (in past times) for cleaning and laundry.  You can use them on your own chubby little body but do a skin test first.  Wouldn’t want you to use one of these to wash all over then break out in hives from top of the head to tip of the toe.

Soaproot (Chlorogalum)

 . . . is native to western North America, from Oregon to Baja California.  A member of the Lily family, it grows from a bulb that produces a grey-green wavy or toothed leaf and white, pink, or blue flowers.  The flowers bloom in early summer and oddly, don’t open until afternoon.  They grow best in full sun or light shade (and considering the part of the world they’re native to – here I’d say light shade).  They like fertile soil with good drainage.  It’s easiest to grow them from bulbs.  Like most – plant bulbs in the fall.  You can grow them from seed but according to what I’ve read, it’s a time intensive process that needs a lot of hands-on attention.  They prefer regular watering and benefit from a healthy mulch covering during the winter.

The two species used for their detergent properties by Native Americans and early settlers are C. pomeridianum (it is occasionally known as Wild Potato, even though it lacks any resemblance or relationship to the potato) and the C. angustifolium (a perennial wildflower also known as Narrow Leaf Soap plant).  The juices of the bulb contain the saponins making them useful as a kind of soapy scrubber.

Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis)

Now, I’ve grown this one and the first thing I want to warn you about ---- it can be very invasive so keep that in mind if you decide to plant it.  Also known as Bouncing Bet (Crow Soap, Wild Sweet William, and Soapweed), this is an easy herb to grow.  It can get 1 to 3 feet high and since it cheerfully self-sows, it can be used as a ground cover.  Soapwort produces pale pink to white flowers from midsummer to fall.  Most pollinators are attracted to it.  You can start seeds inside during late winter or after the last frost, sow directly in the garden.  Germination takes about 3 weeks.  It does well in full sun to light shade and is happy in any type of soil as long as it is well draining.  My plants were on the southeast side of my greenhouse – it got a lot of morning and early afternoon sun but not so much of the really hot afternoon and evening sun. 

Now, it you want to make your own liquid soap – take 10-12 leafy stems and add to a pint of water.  Boil for 30 minutes, cool and strain.  The soap only keeps for a week or less so plan to make and use it. 

and finally,

Soaptree Yucca (Yucca elata)

Yucca is a genus of perennial shrubs and trees in the Agavoideae family.  There are something like 50 different species, all notable for their rosettes of evergreen, tough, sword-shaped leaves and large branches of white flowers. They are native to the hot and dry parts of the Americas and the Caribbean.

Some species have adapted to a wide variety of climates from mountains to coastal sand; grasslands to deserts.  Most species have thick, waxy skins to prevent loss of water through evaporation frequently store water in the thick roots.  Some store water in their fleshy leaves.  Some desert plants have an oily coating on their leaves or pads that traps moisture, thereby reducing water loss.  Some drop their leaves during drought to help control the loss of water.  Dead leaves of yucca collecting against the trunk of the trees help protect it from the sun.  And the channeled leaves of a yucca direct dew and rainfall water to their roots.  In general, a very versatile plant.

But we’re talking about the Soaptree Yucca.  The roots of this plant are high in saponins.  This is an evergreen, palm-like shrub or small tree that can grow 10 to 18 feet tall (which in my book does not make it a small anything).  The yellowish, leathery leaves have fine white threads along the edges and end in a sharp spine.  It’s native to the Americas, blooms from middle summer to early fall, and likes full sun and good drainage.  You can grow one from seed although be patient as germination can take anywhere from a month to a year.  It’s drought tolerant and when you do water – do so sparingly – enough to wet the roots, not enough to flood the plant.  And make sure you plant it some place safe – sharp leaves – dogs, cats, small children.  Oh, and it grows well as a container plant.

I suspect few people make soap from the Soaptree Yucca because it is really A LOT OF WORK.  First you need to dig up the Soaptree (no small thing by itself – big, heavy, lots of pointed sharp leaves).  Next, remove all lose dirt from the roots with a stiff brush and then, using a small hatchet, chop the roots into manageable pieces.  Cut off the hair-like extensions and the outer root covering, keeping the new exposed surfaces a clean as possible.  Whack the peeled pieces into small chunks and use a hammer (or a blender) to pulverize the pieces into a pulp.  When the mushy pulp has turned light amber, you can use it as a soap or shampoo.  It has a shelf life so it should be used, dried, or frozen.  Whew! 

Maybe I’ll pass on these soap options.

18 Jan 2019

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Doings (3)

A couple of months ago, my sister wrote that she spent some time, at her home, removing all the window screens, cleaning them, washing windows, and putting everything back together. 

It guilted me into knowing I need to do the same thing.  Now, washing windows fits right up there with vacuuming, mowing, and fixing car problems – not in my job description.  However, over the past many years, it appears my job description has changed so, after rechecking, I found Washing Windows on the list of responsibilities. Ick. 

When I moved into my current house, the window screens were in poor to terrible shape.  I contacted a guy to fix the problem.  He picked up the old screens – good.  I had intended to wash all the outside windows before he got back with the new screens.  Good intentions; road to hell.  I swear, he picked up all the old screens on a Monday and by Tuesday afternoon they were rehung.  No, I didn’t get the windows done.  Sigh. 

So, when I decided to start window cleaning, I was washing 7+ years of general dirt, spider webs, etc.  So far, I’ve gotten the three in the living room done – small start but starting is better than lamenting.  And, it took me longer than I would have thought to do just those three, since it involved moving furniture and then, half a dozen trips inside – outside – inside – outside.  And washing rags – you need a bunch of those since a good swipe removes the dirt onto the rag and if you're not careful, another swipe with the same rag, puts it right back (you can only turn it so often until the whole thing is really dirty - therefore, a bunch needed).  However, it’s well worth the effort. 

Next the windows in my office and dining room!!!!  Of course, today it’s rainy and the rain is supposed to continue through the next two days and then the temperature is going to drop into the very low 30’s.  Oh yes – I know, January, Winter is Coming.

Window washing is on hold.  That’s okay – still have those good intentions!

17 Jan 2019

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Doings (2)

 Another thing on my project list  -

Birdhouse Repair/Repaint

I have a large birdhouse – have had it for, well for a really long time.  Originally it was painted red, white, blue with a single Texas star on each side of the roof.  And, it looks like a bird – kinda.  I like it.  Its biggest drawback is that there’s no clean-out trap door.  Heaven only knows what’s inside it and as long as nothing (like wasps) flies out – I don’t think I need to know.  I’ve repainted it a couple of times and it was ready for a freshening up.

Now, here’s the thing about painting.  I really don’t like to paint.  I don’t like to paint because (1) I get paint all over myself and (2) I always convince myself that I will absolutely not get paint on whatever I’m wearing (translation: I don’t change into something old and already paint spotted). 

This time, I decided to give the birdhouse a whole new look. 

Started painting and wouldn’t you just know – splot! – a big drop of red paint landed on my BRAND NEW sweatpants.  Arrgh!  Skinned them right off and immediately washed out the paint.  Whew.  Changed to old pants.  Kept on painting and brushed the cuff of my BRAND NEW sweatshirt against part of the roof.  Double Arrgh!  Repeat above action.  Now, dressed properly, I continued to paint and while I managed to get paint all over my hands and fingers, I didn’t get any paint on the old clothes.  When all was said and done, I did get a new looking birdhouse.  It adds a bright splash of color to my back yard.

I like it!

16 Jan 2019

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Doings (1)

This is the time of the year I start my “projects” list.  That’s a list of things I want/need to get done before it’s actually spring and I start putting the yards back together (everything that normally resides in my yard is hither and yon right now). 

Hang the Rain Chain

I have always liked rain chains – well, actually I’ve only ever seen one in use but it was very cool looking.  And, this past Christmas, my sister gave me one. 

Next, figure out how to hang it so it will guide the water coming off the roof,

down the chain, through the little flower shaped cups and onto the ground.  How hard can it be – right?  IT’S VERY DAMN HARD! 

First thing I learned was rain chains are supposed to be used in place of a gutter downspout. 

Alright, well, I don’t have gutters.  I did have gutters across the front of the house but I am convinced that every tree in the neighborhood walked over to it and shook leaves, pecans, and acorns into it from September until December.  Rain and our warm/cool winter allowed all sorts of things to grow, thus making it way more work than it’s worth.  I had it taken down.  Okay – no gutter and therefore no downspout.

The next set of instructions to hang a rain chain without a gutter included buckets and metal rods and ‘S’ hooks and eyehooks and big potted (with a complicated drain system) plants and no pictures.  Finally I found this . . .

Okay – I can do this - - -  maybe . . . .

First, all the buckets I either have or found are smallish or big.  And, sorry – call me snooty, having a big galvanized bucket hanging off the house is just tacky.  So, I went with smallish. 

Next cut a hole in the bottom of the bucket.  Easier said than done.  Then, put a metal rod (I used a giant galvanized nail) through the bucket, side to side.

Ok, ok – not a pretty hole and probably bigger than it needs to be but there are no specifications – just “cut a hole in the bottom of the bucket”.  Besides, cutting a hole in the bottom of a bucket is hard and challenging and hard!

Then, because I don’t want even a smallish galvanized bucket hanging off the house and I do want the bucket to look like it belongs to the rain chain, I painted it.

So far, so good.

Now I’m to the really alarming part -

“Screw the eyehook into the soffit under the roof crease where you'll hang your rain chain. Position the eyehook about an inch from the edge of the soffit. This will allow most of the bucket mouth to be open to the streaming rain.”

Drilling a hole for the eyehook.  I don’t like the thought of (1) drilling a hole even close to the roof and (2) getting it in the wrong place and having to drill another hole.

Plus, I’m not sure I know how the rain comes off that junction of the roof – not something I’ve paid attention to obviously.  If we have a nice controlled rain, the water should funnel to the trough and right down into the bucket.  But, if we have a typical rain with 3 inches in 30 minutes, it may shoot right across the yard.  Big sigh!

So, now, I’m on hold.  I need to see what happens when it rains.  Fortunately, we are supposed to get rain tomorrow so hopefully I’ll be able to figure it out.  I will let you know how things go.

15 Jan 2019

Monday, January 14, 2019

Adventuring Up, Up and Away

A friend of mine texted me the other day – “Good day to fly.  Come on over”.  Okay. 

He had bought himself a new toy – a DJI Spark Drone. 

This is an “ultra-portable quadcopter that includes a camera gimbal, front and bottom sensors, dual GPS, FPV, an advanced App and an array of photographic and other options”.  It comes with a storage case, remote controller, battery, memory card and other stuff I’m sure. 

And, in addition to flying up, up, and away, it has facial recognition and responds to hand gestures.  How cool is that!  So, we walked over to a big open area and got ready to fly.  First of all – it’s smaller than I thought it would be – sat perfectly on my open hand.  It’s lightweight.  It’s rectangular shaped with four foldout propellers. 

Focusing on his face and, as it turned out, on my face also.  And, let me tell you, it was very freaky to see it fly up then turn its little camera eye on me.  We walked away from the hovering drone and he gestured for it to follow us which it did, just like a well-behaved dog.  Too weird.

Heading up, up …

Looking out toward Newgulf.  Those are the TexasGulf Sulphur Company smoke stacks in the distance.

Came back looking for us and, yep, there we are.

Toys!  You never get too old for toys!

14 Jan 2019

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Another Good Story

Storytellers have always been an important part of any community.  Using a combination of oral narrative, music, art and dance, the storytellers try to bring understanding and meaning of the past through remembrance and enactment of stories.  They share moral values, education, and entertainment with their listeners.  So, here’s one for all the future Storytellers out there.

The Old Man and his Grandson
From Germany
By The Grimm Brothers

There was once a very old man, whose eyes had become dim, his ears dull of hearing, his knees trembled, and when he sat at table he could hardly hold the spoon, and spilt the broth upon the tablecloth or let it run out of his mouth. His son and his son’s wife were disgusted at this, so the old grandfather at last had to sit in the corner behind the stove, and they gave him his food in an earthenware bowl, and not even enough of it. And he used to look towards the table with his eyes full of tears. Once, too, his trembling hands could not hold the bowl, and it fell to the ground and broke. The young wife scolded him, but he said nothing and only sighed. Then they brought him a wooden bowl for a few half-pence, out of which he had to eat.

They were once sitting thus when the old man's little grandson of four years old began to gather together some bits of wood upon the ground. ’What are you doing there?’ asked the father. ’I am making a little trough,’ answered the child, ’for father and mother to eat out of when I am big.’

The man and his wife looked at each other for a while, and presently began to cry. Then they took the old grandfather to the table, and henceforth always let him eat with them, and likewise said nothing if he did spill a little of anything.

taken from
Favorite Folktales from around the World
edited by Jane Yolen

12 Jan 2019

Thursday, January 10, 2019

This is only January

This is only the first of January – not even halfway through.  And, yet . . . . . the yard is calling me.

Come out, Come out
and work in the yard.

It’s because the past several days have been in the 60’s and 70’s with clear blue skies and light breezes.  Every time I walk outside, I start thinking

“I’ll just dig this up from here and move it over there won’t take but a minute and go ahead and plant these seeds right here and where is the shovel and . . .”   

Of course, the fact that all the weeds and many of the cultivated plants have jumped right up out of the ground and started blooming and growing, is not helping with the “work in the yard” song. 

I’ll just bet you think all that green is something good – nope – chickweed and wood violets.  Arrrggghhh!!

And these are all over the flowerbeds

A weedy Astor of one sort or another

Lots of Oxalis

And then, the things I planted on purpose that aren’t supposed to be blooming yet . . . .

Isn’t this little guy cute?
Flower is about the size of my finger tip.
I’m not completely sure what this is
other than a mini daffodil -
it was a passalong plant.

The roses are blooming

and the Milkweed


and the Shrimp Plant

Still, I am being mostly strong and limiting myself to only pulling the most annoying weeds because I KNOW there is still a good chance that Winter is Coming or at least a freeze or two, maybe three.  This is only the first of January!

10 Jan 2019

Monday, January 7, 2019

More …..

So, Did You Know?, for us here in Gulf Coast Texas, this past December of 2018 was one of the top rainiest months of recorded time?  Something like 9 or 10 inches of rain just in December depending on where measurements were taken – Houston probably got a little more, Wharton a little less.  Well, good thing, bad thing.  Obviously we didn’t have to worry about lack of moisture for plants or house foundations.  Plus, the rain and clouds keep temperatures mild (no snow or, god forbid, ice).  All good things. 
The bad side of the coin?  The “spring” (hellloooo – this is January – winter) weeds have already jumped up trying to see how annoyingly fast and tall they can get.  My yard is awash in chickweed, plantain, lambsquarter, cleavers (aka: "bort", bedstraw, goosegrass, catchweed, stickyweed, stickybud, robin-run-the-hedge, sticky willy, sticky willow, stickyjack, stickeljack, and grip grass-god I hate this stuff), spiny-leaved sow-thistle (another one I really hate a lot because you cannot just pull it up bare handed) along with others I’m not as opposed to like wood violets, henbit, and fleabane (well not as opposed to if they would just stay few instead of trying to populate the known universe).  Yes, I know many are considered herbs and have a variety of medicinal and culinary uses but they are really very annoying weeds mostly.

I’m not inclined to use anything like weed and feed (my grass is perfectly healthy, thank you very much, – it just realizes it’s still WINTER and therefore it is dormant).  And, I use herbicides very sparingly in general.  Plus, as soon as it gets hot (probably March if this “winter” is any indication), the weeds will be choked out by the grass or die of the heat or both.

As I was thinking I would have to pull out the mower (in January – winter!), my two Texas grandchildren called to say they were coming over for the weekend for a Work Day.  Yea!  Wow!  Woowoo!  And, work they did.  When all was said and done, the yard had been mowed, two trash trees cut down, all the wet leaves and small branches on the roof swept off and up, all the yard refuse stacked neatly by the street for city pick up, and a few heavy items moved from here to there. 

And, as a reward, we all got to watch a scary Netflix tv show.  (Well, actually, I think Vic watched the inside of her eyelids and I kept my eyes on my current cross stitch project – Bri watched).  It was a wonderful weekend.

Hmmmm – what else.  Well, the Herb of the Year for 2019 is Anise hyssop.  This very fragrant, butterfly/bee attracting plant is a member of the mint family.  It will grow in bright shade but according to herbalists, prefers sun (though not our summer burn-it-to-a-crisp sun).  All my mints are planted together in a bright shady place close to the house (yes, yes I know – shouldn’t plants mints all together – they get chummy and the strongest scent prevails, but …….).  It makes a beautiful flower.  And, it has all sorts of uses, like -

The flowers are edible with a lighter anise flavor than the leaves as an addition to a salad.  Or use the leaves in cookies or cakes or breads.
The leaves and flowers make a black licorice flavored tea which ideal for treating colds and relieving congestion.
Hyssop is a traditional ingredient in absinthe (a distilled, highly alcoholic beverage).
Put fresh or dried leaves in a square of cheesecloth for a Bath Tea.  The scent will help calm frazzled nerves and traditionally it was also used for pain relief for sore muscles.
Put the leaves and flowers in a dream pillow to stop nightmares and encourage sweet dreams.

What else???? Well the Flower of the Month for January is Carnation.  I can’t grow carnations here – too hot and humid.  However I can grow a relative – Pinks! (or dianthus).  They’re pretty, bright, like our sun, will grow in bright shade, and have a spicy scent.  All good.

Oh – and another name for this flower, used during the fifteenth century, is gillyflower – I really like that one.  Pinks attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.  They’re very hardy and are grown as an ornamental rather than as a medicinal herb.  Though there was a time when they were used to treat illnesses in both humans and animals.  And then, there’s this little legend -

The name dianthus was given by the Greek botanist Theophrastus (c. 371 – c. 287 BC). Dianthus means divine (dios) flower (anthos).  

The relationship to the divine might reference Artemis (Diana) and a story portraying the irrational anger of a goddess. Artemis was hunting when a shepherd playing an instrument frightened her quarry. In a fit of anger, Artemis tore out the shepherd’s eyes. However, her anger passed like a summer shower and she immediately felt sorry for her anger. Her remorse resulted in beautiful flowers that bloomed in the place of the man’s lost eyes..

7 Jan 2019

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Long Days, Lost Days

And when we got to Sweetwater, (the stop for the night), we were greeted with this . . .

The next day, I drove and encountered

all the way to Wharton.  Which was good because, I have to tell you, it took me a while to get used to being able to see over everything through a gigantic windshield!

We came back on Hwy 36 which you pick up just past Abilene at Cross Plains (pop 980).  I’ve traveled Hwy 36 for many long years and like it because it goes through a number of small towns.  Makes the drive more interesting, I think.  Plus, there are places to stop for food and gas.  Also, the towns are about 30-40 miles apart so I don’t worry too much about problems in the middle of nowhere.  And, I’m familiar with the towns so I can judge how much further timewise I have to go still.  Works for me.

Also, you can pick up all sorts of interesting moderately useless information, like for instance:

Cameron, TX (pop 5700) was named after Ewen Cameron, a Scot highlander prominent in the Texas Revolution and a member of the Mier Expedition during the war with Mexico. 

Gatesville (pop 15,700) has five of the eight prisons and state jails for women operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. 

In 1881, a small community sent a petition to the U.S. government asking for a post office.  The community had decided upon the name Star, TX but that that name was already taken. The citizens called a meeting to select another name, and after many long hours of deliberation, decided "Since we are a rising young community, why don't we just call ourselves Rising Star." (pop 835)

Brenham, TX (pop 15,700) is the home of Blue Bell Ice Cream – the best ice cream in the universe!

Then, you just never know what you’ll see – like . . .

Located on Hwy 36 just outside Comanche (pop 4300)

It was a long day of driving though and when we pulled into the driveway at home, I was ready to be done with it.

Friday was a busy day with - catch up – unpack – laundry – grocery store – do all the things necessary to inspect, title, and tag the new car (and did you know that in Texas if you get a car out of state, you have to have it weighed before you can do all the title stuff???) - this – that – and the other thing.  And, then, on Friday I ate something for lunch I shouldn’t have.  Looked ok, smelled ok, tasted ok, sell by date ok, however long about 3am Saturday morning my body said – no, no, no and I suffered all the problems of food poisoning. 

Saturday was a lost day. 

Sunday I took my daughter to the airport so she could return home.  Monday went into Katy to see my youngest daughter.  Monday night I did stay up until midnight; listened to all the fireworks (and some idiot that buzzed the neighborhood in a small plane). 

Happy New Year Y’all

3 Jan 2019