"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

Monday, December 26, 2016

It’s Almost Over! 2016, that is!


Seems just a few days ago we were at Fountainbleu state park in Louisiana for a New Years gathering with friends.  Actually it was a year ago.  Time does indeed speed up as the years go by.

December is usually a quiet month for us, and this one was much the same.  Not many plans, just get up and see what the day brings.

The brother and I build three box stands for deer hunting one day. 


The next day we disassembled them, loaded all three on a trailer, trucked them about eighty miles, and reassembled them in various locations around the property.


While at home I get a chance to try a few new recipes.  We love chargrilled oysters and I received a dozen ceramic oyster shells for my birthday.   We purchased a quart of fresh shucked oysters just to try them out.

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Though they weren’t as good as Acme’s, they turned out really well.  We will be using the shell quite often as we hone the recipe.

On another rainy Saturday I built a “pork bomb”.  A pound of hot sausage rolled out with a rolling pin, stuffed with things such a sweet peppers, spinich, green onions, mushrooms and plenty of cheese.  It’s rolled up and set aside while a weave is made of thick sliced bacon.  Then the sausage roll is rolled up inside the bacon.


Three hours on the smoker and it looks like this.


We carried it to a little Christmas gathering.  Wish I had taken a better picture.


None remained to bring back home, so I guess it was a successful dish.

Christmas Eve found us on the road to Natchez for a weekend with family.  Didn’t seem much like Christmas with the sunny skies and warm temps.


Our granddaughter decided it was time she learned the secrets of Christmas Eve gumbo. Three generations watching one pot.  Gotta get that roux just right.


She did a great job, and will probably be the one preparing it from now on.

The Christmas Day meal consisted of grilled pork tenderloins, stuffed venison tenderloins, baked ham, shrimp and grits, sweet and sour green beans, breads, and bread pudding for dessert.  And, it all has to start with shrimp cocktails.


Hungry, yet?

On a more serious note, we hope everyone had a blessed Christmas Day.  Hopefully, 2016 was a good year for all of you, and 2017 will be even better.  We had a wonderful year with numerous journeys and are planning for more next year.  Hope all the plans come to fruition.  2017 isn’t here yet, but it’s already off to a great start.  The granddaughter received this today (Monday).


Yep, she’s engaged; to a great guy!….jc

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1


It’s hard to believe that December has arrived.  The weather has been more like September.  I took a ride to town today and took notice of our few hardwood trees.  They are just now showing off their colors.  When you live in the land of pine trees, it is always fun to see a flash of yellow or red.

I took a few pictures through the windshield with the point and shoot.

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I still had the camera in my pocket as I walked out to the mailbox this afternoon, our sideyard looked to be glowing.

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We have been under a burn ban for the last couple of months.  The storms of the past week have brought us much needed rain, and the ban was terminated yesterday.  I have two large piles of fallen pine limbs, as well as a downed tree which was hit by lightning.  Tomorrow, I’ll be doing what most men love.

Playing with Fire…..jc

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving, past and present.



Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  I was even born on Thanksgiving Day.  Many of my earliest memories are of things that happened on, or around that day.

Being raised in a rural area where most of the nearest neighbors were aunts, uncles, or cousins, there was never a shortage of family around.  Add to that mix the family members that had migrated to Baton Rouge or Jackson for the “good jobs”,  and returned home for the holiday; and you had the makings of our Thanksgivings.

We raised our own poultry.  A fat old hen would be sacrificed for the chicken and dumplings, and I would watch with a touch of regret as my grandfather took an axe to the neck of a young tom turkey.  It would be baked, deboned, and added to a pan of dressing that would barely fit in the oven.  Add a baked ham, many bowls of beans, peas, greens, sweet potatoes, corn, breads, and desserts, and you had our Thanksgiving meal.

While all the food was being prepared by the ladies, the majority of the men went hunting.  It was the only day many of the town folks got to hunt, so they made the most of it.  No deer in the area at the time, but plenty of squirrels and rabbits.  Every home had a dog or two that would tree a squirrel or run a rabbit.  Picture a bunch of men and boys tromping through the woods, chasing a bunch of dogs.  Often one dog would tree a squirrel over a hill, while another two or three would be chasing a big old swamp rabbit around a slough.  I still remember the first time I was allowed to carry a gun. I was nine years old, and the gun was a .410 shotgun. 

By eleven or so, the hunt would be winding down.  It was back to the homes for the Thanksgiving meal.  We usually had fifteen or so at our home each Thanksgiving.  Just down the road at my aunt’s house, about the same number, and that was the pattern throughout the area.  After the meal the visiting would begin.  Cars would arrive and depart all afternoon. All those kinfolks home for the holiday would stop by to show off their new car, or tell about their job in the city.  Kids played in the yard, the barn, or the woods.  No television allowed as the ladies had taken over the living room.

Best I remember, I’ve missed one family Thanksgiving in all my years.  Our children grew up with many of the same memories as me.  The hunting changed from squirrels to deer, and the after lunch visiting changed to rough and ready football games in the side yard, or a real game on TV.  And, of course the people involved, changed.

Come Thursday,  brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and a few other assorted folks will once again gather within a stones throw of our old home.  The number will be close to thirty people. The menu will be similar.  Wanda now makes the chicken and dumplings.  My sister in law does the dressing.  There will be turkeys and a baked ham.  Vegetables, salads, and desserts will arrive with each vehicle. 

We’ll all gather around a table(s) creaking under the load.  We will thank the Lord for all the blessings He has given us this past year.  We will thank Him for family.  We will thank Him for the memories of Thanksgivings past.

One grandson is nine years old.  Here’s hoping that six decades from now, he will remember Thanksgiving as being his favorite holiday.

We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day…..jc

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Super Moon, and not much else.


It has been close to a month since my last post.  Nothing worthy of the time it takes to write, has taken place.  Just the routine of being home. 

Each morning we get up, pour a cup of coffee, grab a tablet or laptop, and start our day.  Very little television for us the last few weeks.  Wanda’s checking email and looking at facebook. I’m checking blogs and forums, and reading local newspapers, as well as those in places like Billings, MT and Salt Lake City. 

It’s usually not long before Wanda will ask “what are you going to do today”?  The answer is often the same.  I don’t know!  But, there’s always something that needs to be tended to if you live in the country.  I’ll get up, walk outside, and most days don’t come back into the house till mid afternoon, or later. 

The so called super moon was blanked out by clouds on Sunday night.  It was clear last evening so I tried to get a few pictures of it.  There was no way to get a shot of it breaking the horizon anywhere near where we live.  Too many trees.  By the time it started to clear the treetops, it didn’t appear much different than a normal full moon. 

That being said,  here’s my feeble attempts at capturing the “super moon”.

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I don’t think anyone will be wanting copies of those.

Though it’s early, we wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Always my favorite holiday.  We have numerous family birthdays that also fall during Thanksgiving week, and that makes it even more fun. 

We hope to get the Casita out for a short run the week after Thanksgiving.  Stand by……jc

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

At a Loss


I know it’s been a while since the last post.  Not much to write about while at home.  We did slip away for a week the first week of October.  We attended a fiberglass RV rally in the Land Between the Lakes area of Tennessee and Kentucky.

While there we received the heart breaking news of the sudden death of a dear friend.


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More than a friend, really.  He was the balloon pilot which we have crewed for the past twenty or so years.  He and I were like brothers.  Our families intertwined in so many ways.  One of his goals in life was to bring joy to others.  Examples such as taking his balloon to intercity schools and giving imaginary rides to those brave enough to get in the basket.

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While some pilots could hardly scrape up a crew, he never had a shortage of crewmembers.

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Every member of our family made their first flight with him.  He flew friends of family and friends of friends, bringing joy to untold numbers of people.

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This past weekend the balloon races were held in Natchez.  Both daughters now live there so we didn’t take the Casita like in the past.  We were out early on Friday morning for the Hare and Hound race.  I wandered around like a lost child.  I took a few pictures but it just wasn’t the same. 

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It won’t be the same, ever again.

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The winds have welcomed you with softness.
The sun has blessed you with it’s warm rays.
You have flown so high and so well,
That God has joined you in laughter
and welcomed you with open arms.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

We aren’t in Kansas, anymore.


When leaving home for many westward journeys, we make our way up to central Kansas before turning West.  We’ve been asked numerous times why?  To many, Kansas is the most boring of states.  I tend to disagree.

Upon leaving Colorado, we were headed for Junction City, Kansas; and a fiberglass RV gathering.  We Punched Junction City in the Garmin from a Mcdonalds in Lamar, Colorado.  It routed us due North, then Northeast through some of the most desolate country we have even seen.  The view Eastward across the treeless plains had to be nearly fifty miles, and it was beautiful.  We traveled through May Valley and the ghost town of Chivington; named after the leader of the Sand Creek Massacre.  Sheridan Lake, Cheyenne Wells, Arapaho, and many other small towns intriqued us as we made our way toward I-70 at Oakley, KS.  What were they like before the dust bowl days?  How many trains a day once traveled that abandoned railroad? 

We stopped for the night at the small town of Ellis, Kansas.  The town has a small park  with RV hookups.

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Like many small towns in America today, Ellis was hurting.  The railroad was a major influence in the towns growth back in the day, but apparently had moved on.

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Though things weren’t as they once were, I found the town fascinating.  The hometown of the founder of the Chrysler Corporation.

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Brick streets, and sunflowers.

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Rusty, but bet it still runs.

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Neat little homes hugged the sidewalks.  Impossible to ignore your neighbors out for a walk while you’re sitting on the porch.  It reminded me of Mayberry.

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Beautiful old stone churchs.

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And, very proud of their Austrian heritage.

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Another interesting thing we stumbled upon in Kansas was the Orphan Train Museum and Research Center.  Located in Concordia, Kansas, it was a tribute to all the orphaned children that were placed on trains in New York City, and shipped throughout the Country in the early decades of the twentieth century. 

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Each picture came with the story of the individual.

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There were many stories about the new lives those children were given.  Though I’m sure some landed into difficult situations, it appeared most found themselves in loving homes, and lived long productive lives.  The research center is still actively working to unite family members, as well as collecting more information from descendents.

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While in Concordia, visiting the museum, we happened upon this brick mural. Covering most of a block.

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The wall was designed brick by brick, with each individual brick sculpted, and then fired.  Then, they were laid by master craftsmen to create the many different 3-D images.  We were told each image depicts a moment in Kansas history. 

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And then, there’s the Kansas Prairie.

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Just close your eyes, let your mind drift back, and you may see the millions of buffalo, persued by a group of Native Americans; or maybe yourself digging out a sod house for your family to start a new life in.

OBTW, we did attend a gathering near Junction City.  This is how we spent most of our time there.  Seems there was always food around.

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We’re now home, planning the next trip.  It may include parts of Kansas..jc