Monday, September 24, 2012


Last week was High School's homecoming week. The home football game was Friday night and there was also a parade on Saturday. We decided we should support the local events so we went along to both.

It was our first football game here and we were amazed that there were so many people at the game. It looked like Town's entire 1600 people had come out for the game. It was our first experience at small town Friday nights. It reminded me of my high school games.

At half time, in addition to both school bands performing on the field, alumni were invited out on the field. The cheerleaders escorted the classes of '52, '62, '72, '82, '92, and '02 with signs out on the field. Several held signs with the names of classmates that had passed away. We actually recognized a couple of people out on the field - one lady from church and friendly neighbor with the tractor.

The parade started at the High School and ended just past Main Street. We were amazed again at how many people came out to participate and to watch. Neighbor invited us to ride along with him. He had been asked by the Garden Club to pull their float. We felt like celebrities. Guv'nor kept saying he how felt like he was starring in a film.

Sidewalk art

Marching band at half-time

Garden Club float

Several local vintage cars were in the parade

Two mules pulled a covered wagon

The Homecoming court were riding at the front of the parade

A vintage tractor led the parade

Two children rode electric cars

The Class of '62 had the largest attendance

Several horses and riders were in the parade

Every boy's dream: riding in the dump truck

Main street crowded with people and cars

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Guv'nor was finally persuaded to buy us a couple of four-wheelers. Neighbor introduced us to a man who repairs and sells them. Plus, we'd finally sold a couple of vehicles we'd left behind in Florida. They are Kawasaki Prairie's - one green and one red.

The Daughters have already started making some trails into the woods, cutting down weeds and laying out fallen trees.

They are fun. I'm not sure we're supposed to be having so much fun.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


The English Grandparents arrived last week for a visit so we've been trying to introduce them to Texas. There hasn't been a lot of extra time for blogging. They arrived on the first rainy day in over a month and for five days we had a hard time convincing them that it was usually hot and dry with clear blue skies and sunshine.

They have a healthy aversion to the internet, so I'll show you a few other random things we've done lately.

We stopped here for lunch while out showing them the countryside.

This time it was a cute goat on the side of the road.

Guv'nor brought this in from one of the ponds.

Sneaked a photo of these cowboys eating their lunch while I was waiting for our takeaway.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


We’re officially Registered Texans!! We completed the last step in the process the other day and got our driver’s licenses. It is mostly a formality - filling out the form, paying the fees - but it also requires several documents (two bills with your name and physical address on it) that are not so easy to acquire when you’ve just moved. That’s why they give you 90 days to get it done. Because we surrendered a valid driver’s license from another state, we didn’t have to take a written or behind-the-wheel test. But we did have to take the vision test. For Guv’nor and me, that was a bit tricky. But thankfully we both passed.

Friday, September 14, 2012


The local farmers have been harvesting cotton lately. There are several cotton fields on the way to town so we’ve been watching their progress.

I have to admit that I find the whole farming process interesting. I grew up hearing my father's stories about "chopping cotton" on his family's sharecropping farm. It seems very familiar to me and reminds me of growing up in the San Joaquin Valley. I like the perfect rows of sameness. I like watching the big machinery in action. I think it would be fun to drive one of those big combine harvesters someday. I think the cotton plant is pretty. I like seeing the various stages of the plant's growth. I appreciate the production of something useful.

There is a cotton gin out on the highway. It amazes me that over the years, Eli Whitney’s invention hasn’t really been improved on very much. The only difference I can see is that they bale the cotton in plastic rather than burlap.

At church the other day, the preacher was commenting on the cotton fields. He reminded us of the verse, "the fields are white unto harvest," most likely referring to a crop like cotton.

Field of cotton - not quite ready to harvest
Field of cotton - ready for harvest

Harvesting equipment with a cotton trailer

Cotton plant that eluded the harvester

Huge bale waiting to go through the gin

Little bales of cotton - without the seeds

Cotton bales in plastic wrap

Meanwhile, the tractor plows under the bare cotton plants

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Over the past week, we’ve been seeing several strays. At first it was just the cows from our neighbor’s field coming through gaps in the fencing. We’ve learned that in Texas, fencing is for keeping out rather than keeping in. So, it’s really up to us to get the fencing repaired if we want to keep the cows out. We didn’t mind so much having the cows visit for a few days. After all, it was free fertilizer. Thanks again to the Priors for leaving the fencing in such good shape.

A few days later we had a visit from a stray donkey. He was just wandering down the road when one of the girls drove by on her way home from work - and he just followed her home. We encouraged him inside the fence line and fed him for a few days. He wandered off later with the cows and is still probably with them in another field.

Yesterday we saw two horses wandering down the road. One is a very sad and boney white horse that we had been spotted once before out by the road. The other one is less boney and spotted brown and white.

So this is how it is in the country. When someone wants to get rid of one of their animals, or can’t feed and look after it any longer, they just turn it loose on the road. Someone said it’s because they can’t sell them either. We had heard of stray dogs on the road before, but horses and donkeys??

We must admit, we liked having the donkey. We even named him James. So when we asked around we found that there are several ways to adopt a stray. You can ask the neighbors if they or someone they know has lost the animal. You can make an announcement on the local talk radio that you’ve found a stray and wait for the owner to contact you. You can post a notice on your gate that you’ve found a stray. You can ask around up at the feed store where everybody knows everything. But the sad truth is most likely no one wants it. If you don’t want it either, you can call the county sheriff and they will come and try to catch it and take it to the animal shelter.

Neighbor's cows grazing in our field

Stray donkey we had for awhile

Sad abandoned horse

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wild Blue

We finally cancelled Hughes Net. A few weeks ago Guv’nor was planning to cancel (within our first 30 days you can cancel without agreeing to a 2 year service) and they offered us a free upgrade for another 30 days trial. Well, the upgrade wasn’t much better, so, he really cancelled this time. The downside was that we didn’t have an internet service at the house for about 10 days. Thankfully, Guv’nor has a phone data plan with a wi-fi hotspot option. So we weren’t completely cut off. We just weren’t able to use the internet for big things. I doubt we’ll ever be able to stream a video or watch Glenn Beck’s internet TV. Meanwhile, my blog posts are a bit behind. I shall try to catch up over the next few days.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


On the way home from buying some raw milk, I drove by another type of dairy. It is a large scale commercial dairy. It seems to be better than most because at least the cows are allowed to graze and roam fairly freely.

One of the harsh realities of dairy farming is that the baby cows are separated from their mothers shortly after birth. These calves are being kept just across the road. Each calf is chained to its own shelter with food and water. There are about 75 of these shelters but it is difficult to know if calves are in all of them. As they grow they are moved to another pen down the road.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Here's some of the local graffiti seen up at the school.

Local graffiti with added color from the birds

Stop - no - go faster.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Chocolate Crunchies

This is not really a cooking blog. I'll leave that to others more capable than I. But occasionally I make something that everyone likes. Chocolate Crunchies is one of them. The other day we were all craving CHOCOLATE. Chocolate in a hurry. We can't just pop out to Chick-Fil-A for one of their amazing chocolate chip cookies, so I thought this recipe would be quick and easy and thankfully we had all the ingredients in the cupboard just waiting to be used.

Here is the recipe for those of you needing a quick chocolate fix. Start to finish it takes about 30 minutes. It's not baked, so you don't have cooking time. It's also not particularly healthy, but it is yummy. You can cut it into small pieces if you're worried. The recipe comes from our English Granny so the measurements are in weights (ounces, grams, milliliters). I've put the US measurements in brackets.

250g McVitie's digestive biscuits, crushed (nearest US equivalent would be graham crackers)
115g (4 oz) butter
45ml (3T) golden syrup (nearest US equivalent would be Caro, but it's not as good)
30ml (2T) cocoa powder
115g (4 oz) chocolate bar

The recipe from my recipe book

The ingredients (digestives and golden syrup can sometimes be found at grocery stores like Sweetbay or Publix - I buy them when I see them)

I put the digestives in a zippy bag to crush them - and use a wooden mallet.

Hammer out your aggression until it's finely crushed,  but it's ok if there are a few chunks.

Put the butter, golden syrup, and cocoa in a bowl. I used a glass bowl. Tip: if you spray your tablespoon with cooking spray before, the syrup will slide right off.

I don't usually like using a microwave but for this recipe it works well. I did two rounds of 30 seconds and stirred in between. You could use a pan on the stove top but it would take longer. Stir until smooth.

Add the crushed digestives and mix well.

Press into a 7" or similar pan. I used a 6"x8" glass dish.

Keep pressing until it looks nice and smooth. Chill for a few minutes.

Melt the chocolate bar. I used the same bowl to economize on the washing up. I used the microwave again. Two or three zaps at 30 seconds, stirring in between, until it's fully melted.

Pour the melted chocolate on the digestive mixture.

Spread the chocolate evenly. I try to make cute swirls, but it doesn't really matter or affect the taste. The last step is the hardest: put it in the fridge to chill until firm. Patience. It is worth the wait.

Cut into squares or triangles once chilled. Eat with a nice cup of tea. 'Purfec'