Sunday, October 31, 2021

Greetings Ghosties and Ghoulies and Long-legged Beasties


We have officially reached The Changing Season.  For a time now, everyone in this part of the universe will change clothes 2-3 times every day.  This is because . . . . . the mornings are chilly, so long sleeves and long pants; the afternoons are very warm/hot, so shorts and t’s; and the evenings cool down quickly, so some sort of compromise is required (long sleeves and shorts or t’s and long pants).  Of course, Summer is apt to elbow its way in at any moment so there’s no putting anything away. 

The nice thing about The Changing Season is, I’ve gotten lots done outside.  My current project is the walkway up to the house.  It has been paved with very heavy stepping stones.  With the coming of the new season, I am redoing the walkway.  This has required

1 Moving all the very heavy stepping stones
2 laying down heavy duty weed cloth
3 Moving said stepping stones back
4 Moving them around
5 Moving them around again
6 Moving very heavy decorative boulders (okay, okay, actually very heavy medium-sized rocks)
7 Moving them around again
8 Moving planters

I would like to say, the end result of this is

but actually closer to

So true, Auntie Acid

I still have to shim all the stepping stones so they’re level and don’t wobble and then put down bags of pebbles.  Next weeks’ project.

And today is

and, I have a Halloween story to share.

Once upon a time . . .

a Farmer decided to

plant a little punkin’ seed.

That seed, along with many others started to grow.

And, next thing the Farmer knew, he had a field of beautiful orange pumpkins.

His next plan was to truck all those orange pumpkins to market.  Little did the Farmer know, one of those pumpkins was special.  Jack.  Jack the special pumpkin.

So, did you know that there are very weird people in the big wide world out there that use pumpkins in

and, oh yes – Pie.

However, Jack knew he was meant for something else.  Something meaningful.  Something unique.

  Something spooky!

The Farmer sold his pumpkins to a grocery story and they dumped them into a big box.

Jack waited and waited and waited for the right person to choose him.  And along I came.  I looked at several different pumpkins but when I picked up Jack, I knew he was the one.

In order to BECOME, Jack had to undergo some changes.  

He had a bit of a “nip and tuck”.

Under went a facial transformation.

and grew into what he knew was his destiny.



The End.


 31Oct 2021

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

So many books . . .


So many books . . .

Book review time!

by David Balducci

The Atlee Pine books
Long Road to Mercy
A Minute to Midnight

Atlee Pine is an FBI agent assigned to the Shattered Rock, AZ resident agency where she is responsible for protecting the Grand Canyon.  Pine is a complex character with a tragic backstory.   At age six, she and her twin sister Mercy were assaulted in their home – Atlee was beaten nearly to death and Mercy was taken.

In book one, Long Road to Mercy, she is assigned to find a tourist who has gone missing while on vacation in the canyon.  Although his body is not found, his canyon mule has been found killed and mutilated.  The investigation runs into one problem after another until eventually Pine and her assistant Carol Blum, go on a “rogue” road trip just to get answers.  Surprising and a bit unexpected answers.

Book two, Minute to Midnight.  Back in the Shattered Rock, AZ office, Pine is having anger issues related to her childhood attack and her twin sisters kidnapping.  Her boss gives her some time off to return to her home in Andersonville, GA to hopefully find some closure.  Another road trip for Pine and Blum.  However, once in Andersonville a new series of murders occur and Pine must help in the search for the serial killer in a small town filled with secrets.

Book three, Daylight.  With her time-off running out, Pine gets a promising breakthrough, the identity of her sister’s kidnapper.  Pine and Blum resume their race for answers in Trenton, NJ.  And . . . unknowingly stumble straight into John Puller's case, blowing his arrest during a drug ring investigation involving a military installation.  [Side note:  John Puller is another of Balducci’s book series.]  Pine’s and Puller's joint investigation uncover a connection between the suspected kidnapper’s family and a scheme that strikes at our democracy.  Working through layers of lies and cover-ups, Pine finally discovers the truth about what happened to Mercy. And . . . .

Book four, Mercy, comes out in November.

My thoughts – I enjoyed the first three books and am eager to read book four.  I think the characters of Atlee Pine and Carol Blum are well developed and suited to each other.  The mysteries are interesting and not too drawn out.  One thing – you do need to read them in order as they continue one from the other.

by Andy Weir
Project Hail Mary

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission--and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.  (ah, you say – is this an “end of the world” book?).  sort of. 
He awakens with amnesia, in a space ship with two corpses and a robot of sorts.  (ok, you say – it’s about space travel.)  kinda
As his memories slowly return, he realizes he has an impossible task to achieve.  (got it, – it’s the impossible dream/dare not go/unreachable star quest.)  a bit.
And, he encounters an unexpected ally as desperate as he to solve the problem. (uhmm – close encounters?) again - kinda.
Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, it is a tale of discovery, speculation, survival, and friendship.

My thoughts – Wowsa!  very good book.  I’ve read The Martian and that’s good.  This is better.  The ending is a little sad I thought, but you’ll need to read the book and decide for yourself.

by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Crooked River, a Pendergast novel (19).

Dozens of identical blue shoes are found floating in with the tide on a Captive Island, FL beach, and all have a severed human foot inside exhibiting unmistakable signs of violence.  FBI Agent Aloysius Xingu Leng Pendergast is called off his vacation to take on this unusual investigation.  A preliminary report indicates the feet were wrenched from their bodies in the crudest of ways. As the days continue, more wash in until the number tops one hundred.  Soon, Pendergast and his partner, Agent Coldmoon find themselves squaring off against an adversary more powerful and deadly than they've ever encountered.

My thoughts – for the most part, I’ve enjoyed all the Pendergast books.  They’re well written, not overly wordy, and a good mystery.  This one is all those things.  Plus, if you haven’t read the series in order (and I haven’t), it’s easy to know what’s what and who’s who.

by Donna Andrews
Murder Most Fowl, a Meg Langslow book (#29)

Meg Langslow is in for a busy summer. Her husband is directing a production of Macbeth, and most of the cast and crew are occupying spare bedrooms in their house or camping out in their barn.  She also has to keep an eye on “Camp Birnam”.  Located on her parents’ adjoining property, a group of medieval reenactors are commemorating the real-life Macbeth by setting up what they believe is an authentic medieval Scottish military camp.  And then there's Damien Goodwin, a questionable filmmaker who has been hanging around, trying to document the Macbeth production.  When Goodwin hosts a showing of some of the footage he's taken, he manages to embarrass or offend everyone. The next morning no one is surprised to find that someone has murdered him.

My thoughts – I’ve reviewed the Donna Andrews series previously.  And this one is great, just like the others I’ve read.  I really enjoy these mysteries.  They’re funny, interesting, uncomplicated stories.  An easy read.  And, while I’ve tried to read them in order, I found that as soon as a new one comes out – I have to jump ahead and read that one next.  Characters are easy to follow though it’s amusing to me that Meg’s twin sons get older but no one else does!

That’s all for today.  Happy reading everybody.

26 Oct 2021




Sunday, October 24, 2021



This past week, Bobby and I took a day trip to Stephen F. Austin State Park.  Oddly, neither of us had been there before even though it’s a short drive from Wharton, about 40 miles northeast.  And, it’s a beautiful place.  Very woodsy, very quiet.  The drive there is also nice – back roads through cotton fields and pasture land.

Small history lesson

Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas," brought the first 297 families to colonize Texas under a contract with the Mexican government.  Austin chose the location for the colony with the help of Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop (and this guy is a whole other story) and founded the town of San Felipe de Austin in 1824.  The town served as the capital of the first colony and (small piece of trivia here) was the founding site of the Texas Rangers.  It remained the capital until 1836.  Today San Felipe is a very small town with a population of 747.  In 1940 the town donated 630 acres to the state for parkland. 

The park itself offers all kind of options – tent camping sites, RV sites, rustic cabins, biking trails, hiking trails, playgrounds.  It is a state park with something for everyone.

These are tiny cabins with the only amenity being a wood picnic table.  I assume you would move the table outside and put down whatever bedding you need if sleeping in a tent does not appeal to you.  Personally – I’d be happier in the tiny cabin.  Tents collapse if a lion, tiger, or bear sits on one.

When I say it is heavily wooded, I did not exaggerate.  However, the paths were clean of debris and walking was easy.  There weren’t too many people there (middle of the week during school year) which was nice.  And, I know you are wondering what all we saw, so - -

How cool is this!  A small (4 or 5) herd of deer.  They watched us walk by then went on about their business.

Osage Orange Tree – this is the fruit it makes – inedible to all.

The trees were named bois d'arc (or "bow-wood"), by early French settlers who observed the wood being used for war clubs and bow-making by the people of the Osage Nation.  American settlers used the Osage orange as a hedge to exclude free-range livestock from vegetable gardens and corn fields.  Under severe pruning, the hedge apple sprouted abundant adventitious shoots from its base; as these shoots grew, they became interwoven and formed a dense, thorny barrier hedge. The thorny Osage orange tree was widely naturalized throughout the United States until this usage was superseded by the invention of barbed wire in 1874.

But, as far as I’ve read, it’s pretty much an invasive trash tree. 

Tingle Tongue Tree (I accused Bobby of making that up – but no ).   An odd looking small tree, it is covered with cork-like warts, each tipped with a small thorn and has the ability to numb your mouth if you chew on a bit of the bark or leaves.  In the lost past days, when one was experiencing pain in the mouth, they could chew on a part of the tree to numb it and take the pain away.

Paths were just a bit hilly (hey – I live in south Texas where the freeways have the tallest hills around!)

The Sycamore trees are starting to lose their bark as well as their leaves.

There was wild Turks Cap everywhere.  It’s a TX native that attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.  Plus, it will flower from late spring until first frost (and for us, that might be in January!).  Oh – another thing – it’s an edible plant.  Young leaves and flowers in salads or added to drinks. 

My wild flower book calls these Meadow Asters.  Very pretty.

It was a lovely day.


24 Oct 2021


ps:  Did I mention - - -

Halloween is Coming!

Sunday, October 17, 2021



I was looking around for something interesting to share and, looked to see what’s official this month.  Well, among other things, October is –

Vegetarian Month
Spinach Lovers Month
Sausage Month
Pizza Month
National Seafood Month
National Pork Month
National Popcorn Poppin' Month
National Chili Month
National Caramel Month
Corn Month
Apple Month

(Oddly – it is not Pumpkin Month)

It is also National Cookbook Month

National Cookbook Month is an annual designation observed in October. Most things in our world have moved to a digital-based format, including the recipes we use to cook. Nowadays, we usually use Pinterest, or the notes on our phone for reference when we’re cooking. This month, we challenge you to do it the old school route. Grab your favorite cookbook, dust it off, and make some fun, new recipes this month!

I have to tell you, I love cookbooks.  Well, let me qualify that – I like very old cookbooks and very pretty cookbooks and very fun cookbooks. 


I have a shelf of old cookbooks ranging from the late 1800’s to the 1950s.  A few belonged to my great grandmother, Margaret Laura Hudson Abbott (1859-1943). 

The books are very fragile and still have her notes written in them.  One of the things I like about those old cookbooks is – they are full of every kind of recipe.  Food – yes, but also advise on

Taking care of children

Rules for bathing and . . . . other things.

Some general facts

And a chapter on miscellaneous information like washing flannel or cleaning a black silk dress or making soap

Plus every one I’ve seen has an introduction section on the importance of keeping house (an occupation listed for most women in old census forms)

I don’t actually use those cookbooks from the 1890’s to 1950’s but they’re fun to look at and read.

The prettiest cookbook I have is this one

It has some very cool artwork throughout.

The most fun cookbook is this one –

The chapters include recipes for


Second Breakfast



Afternoon Tea




And, I’ve made many of these recipes, though the ones for Venison Cobbler and Rabbit Stew sort of defeat me a bit (no rabbit or venison at the grocery store). 

Well, that’s all I’ve got for today. 


17 Oct 2021



Thursday, October 14, 2021

Memories – A Story


The other day, I was reminded of a years-past time when I was younger and my children were little bitty people.  What reminded me?  This picture –

More about this later. . . .

In those times-past years, my longest-time best friend and I managed to have children that were months apart.  We lived close, shared good and sad times.  And every year we would, several times throughout the summer, take ourselves and children to the beach where we’d spend a week.

My parents had a beach house on the west-end of Galveston and, it was available to us to use pretty much any time.

We all went to the beach in early morning and late afternoon.  We played, relaxed, talked.  We wore bathing suits all day and loose sundresses at night.

Everyone played at the beach, paddled in the water, made drip castles,

wrote questionable poetry (remember – To the Third Sandbar We Must Go), read books, and got just a bit sunburned.

The other thing we did – we hunted for sharks’ teeth.  Hunting for sharks’ teeth takes a special eye and I’ve never been able to tell anyone what to look for – a certain shape, a glint of sun, a wash of surf.  Some of them were tiny things and some were pretty good sized.

Each a treasure.

One day I happened to glanced behind us and all four children were following along.  Hands clasped behind backs, looking intently at the sand and shell fragments.

They each learned to find those special treasures.

Over the years I’ve found many, given away many.

So, the first picture?  Well, that’s the size shark tooth every hunter longs to find!

I haven’t found that one yet, but I keep looking!


14 Oct 2021


 I think a sculptor, sometime, must have been watching us.

Oh and by the way . . . . .

Halloween is Coming!