"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Love Bugs!

Not the Disney version…


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Most everyone that lives in, or has driven through the deep South within the last few years, are familiar with love bugs.  For those of you that haven’t experienced them, consider yourselves lucky.  Seems every part of the World has their bugs from Hell.  Biting flies, mosquito’s, black gnats; the list goes on. Our most hated insect is the love bug.

A native of Central America, it migrated North, and was first identified in Texas over fifty years ago.  They get their name from their mating process.  A male and female lock up and stay connected till death, apparently.  The female is the larger of the two, and the male is along for the ride.  They live together and die together.  Though they don’t bite, they are a real pain in the rear end.  They hover over the roads, fields, and most other open spaces. They are drawn to anything of a lighter color. That includes bare skin.

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They slowly spread across the Gulf South, living, breeding, and dying along our highways.

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A swarm of them usually last two to three weeks. When smashed by a vehicle, they leave a greasy residue that is really hard to remove.  If not removed quickly, it will damage the automobile finish.  We met up with some today near Alexandria, LA, and they stayed with us all the way to the campground.  I’ll spend Monday cleaning the truck and camper of all this mess.

On a brighter note, we spent Saturday night at a great COE campground near Jasper, TX.  Sandy Creek has over fifty sites with water and electric.  Many backing right up on the lake.

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Though most are back-in, there’s a number of huge pull-through’s.

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A really nice place to spend the evening, in spite of the bugs.

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More later……jc

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Though we didn’t get very far Friday, it was thrilling just to be on the road again.  We only made it as far as Natchez State Park.  Our oldest daughter lives in Natchez and today is her birthday.  We wanted to visit with her on her special day. The park fit the bill, nicely.

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Located a few miles North of Natchez, and just off the Natchez Trace, it was a great stop for the evening.

The  old Natchez District is home to many ghost towns and settlements.  Just a few miles from the park can be found the towns of Stanton and Church Hill.  Nothing in Stanton now but a few old store buildings and an abandoned railway right of way.

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Church Hill is much the same.  Home to the oldest Episcopal church in Mississippi, there’s nothing left but an abandoned store and the church building, itself.

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The last time I was here, you could get into the building, but it’s all locked up, now.  Peeks through the windows show pews, organ pipes, and unique reflections in the old glass.

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Lots of old graves going back to the early 1800’s, and many unusual monuments to folks from all over.

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I wonder what inspired a native of Sweden to travel to Church Hill, where he died in 1850 at the age of 38, and had a monument erected by a friend.

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Andrew Jackson probably walked these steps many times during his visits to the Natchez area.  He married his beloved Rachel at a plantation just up the road from here, creating the first White House scandal. 

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Also in the same area, and down a winding country road, stands Emerald Mound.

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Quite a pile of dirt to be built a basket full at a time. It towers above the surrounding area.

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Nothing really special about any of the places.  Just a way to spend a couple of hours before supper. But if you look closely, and listen quietly, you can imagine the dreams and visions of those that created them.  Some fulfilled and some denied. 

On to Texas…….jc

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It’s a Blue House


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As the Egg hasn’t been doing any rolling the last couple of months, it made for lots of time for house building.  We usually worked on it at least four days a week.  Finished the outside siding, primed all the raw wood, and got it painted. The pictures were taken on two different days. One cloudy and dull, the other was bright sun.

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All the sheetrock finished. and the subfloor screwed down.  Air conditioning system also installed and will be working within a few days.

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Cabinets built in kitchen and bathroom, along with outlets and switches being installed.

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Step stringers were cut out and installed with some temporary treads.  Sure beats a concrete block.

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We have had lots of rain the past three weeks or so, but thankfully we had completed most of the outside before it arrived.

The power company finally showed up to set a pole and connect our meter.  Our old generator was mighty glad to see them.  Some have asked why we didn’t get a temporary service pole so we would have power from the beginning.  The power company charges to provide the temporary service, and then charges again to move it to the house.  Just didn’t want to pay them twice.

With all that work behind me, I hope we can get the Casita back on the road this weekend.  Wanda’s moms situation is improving daily, and we plan to hear for Crockett, Texas on Saturday.  There’s a gathering of fiberglass trailers near there which we have registered for.  Really looking forward to seeing that little white trailer in my rear view mirror, again.  Also looking forward to seeing lots of friends again.

From there? Who knows???……jc

Saturday, September 7, 2013

I may not have won the war,

but I did win some battles.

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A few weeks ago I made a post about the critters getting all of our grapes each year.  Well, this year it has been a little different.  I did have to step up the defense with a live trap to even things out.  After catching and relocating two opossums and three raccoons, we have had a harvest of sorts.  We still find evidence each morning of nocturnal visitors, but they haven’t stripped the vines like in years past.  Today was jelly making day.

A pot of purple and a pot of bronze.

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The hardest part.

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But it’s worth it in the end.

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This is just a part of what Wanda did today.  She had one jar that didn’t seal properly so I had the opportunity to give it the taste test after it had jelled.  I give it an A+.
We still have lots of the bronze grapes on the vine.  It appears the critters prefer the purple.  I may gather most of the remaining ones tomorrow and try my hand at some wine making.  I found a recipe for “real” scuppernong wine from 1880.  Sounds interesting….jc