Filet Gumbo and Filet Crow

What a nice day it was, through a bit nippy. So much got done that I felt like a paragon of efficiency. The Red House is ready for the next visitors, I got a fun custom sweatshirt from the talented Kimberly of Side Hustle Shirts (photo later), and I enjoyed a really special time with friends at lunch. That was the gumbo part.

From where I had lunch I could almost see our place. It’s over the far ridge.

Community is important, and with all the restrictions easing, it’s been a real pleasure to enjoy time with friends and meet new people to expand my community. It was very sweet of our friend Linda to invite a few women over for lunch today. It felt both special and normal at the same time. It’s healing to me to feel part of a group again, and I can’t wait to do more of this, like people used to do in the before times.

And the gumbo was so good. I need to eat that more!

Of course, it’s always good to be home with one’s spouse and his fancy mustache.

As for filet crows, I finished the little filet crochet curtain I started a few days ago. It was fun to do and I figured out how to do a bigger project with other yarn. The key is extended double crochet, which will make the squares more…square. You add an extra loop to make the stitches a tad taller.

Rectangles, not squares.

As my coworker said today, it looks more like a pigeon than a crow, since I did it left to right rather than top to bottom. But, since it’s cotton, I can block and starch it to stretch it a bit.

At least you can tell it’s a bird.

Most important is that I enjoyed making this. It came out the right size to be a curtain in the tack room, too. Sadly, I used up five of my eight skeins of fancy Rowan organic cotton, so I can’t make a pair!

Tomorrow I’m starting a smaller scale filet crochet project, which I hope will get it all out of my system and I can go back to knitting. Since the temperature blanket I designed uses many colors, I’ll wait a bit to start it. Why? It’s time for another road trip! Talk to you from the road tomorrow!

Too Windy

I had many outdoor plans today but ruled many of them out due to a pounding wind from the south. Activities like cleaning up trash and shoveling horse poop were curtailed pretty quickly. I did manage to get some square bales of hay out to the horses with minimal bits of hay going into my eyes.

A living carousel

Once I put the bales in, each horse seemed certain that the next horse over had a better selection, so they ended up moving in circles just like a merry-go-round. Such comic relief.

Soon they got a new round bale, which calmed them down. Maybe having enough hay will keep them out of the dang cockleburs. Fiona apparently slept in them, because I got 20+ off her right side and there are still some left. I wore out her patience.

The rest of the day included highlights such as kitchen cleaning and re-organizing my nail polish strips. Whee.

Nails currently match the pool.

I watched US football playoffs and worked on the last border of the rug project. I’m growing quite fond of the back side of the rug!

At least I got to see friends at dinner and laugh a lot. Our conversations veer off into strange territory sometimes! I’ll be more interesting tomorrow, perhaps. There will, at least, be horse riding if the wind stops. It might have toppled me today—the gate nearly did so today!

Why Yes, We Can Have Fun in Cameron!

I just got home from a genuinely fun and satisfying evening out in our little town. It’s so great to have options for hanging out with your friends and neighbors in downtown!

Our beautiful new coffee shop

I don’t get into town much, but Anita invited me to join her for coffee, so I headed over to the Farmers to Market Coffee Shop for some of their delicious coffee and cozy decor (plus friendly staff and friends to chat with). I’m thrilled we have TWO coffee shops to choose from. It’s getting better here!

Lighting in the ceiling

Then we took the opportunity to see how the work Railfan is doing on downtown buildings is coming along. The Venue is getting even more beautiful. The mezzanine now has a beautiful wood wall and the floor is so shiny. What great work!

Next we wandered across the street to the old JC Penney building and its neighbors, where my son was painting walls and sealing bricks. It fascinates me to see the bones that were hiding in the former bland county offices.

Next we checked out the Penney building, which I’d seen before, but not cleaned out. Wow. I’d love to live in a loft on the third floor! Being able to look out the windows was a fun surprise. And the old elevator is something that needs to somehow be preserved. Being able to watch these renovations gives me a real sense of the hard work and creativity it takes to achieve a downtown revitalization.

Enough with the old buildings! Anita and I next went over to another building that was vacated when the county offices moved, the former tax office. Now it’s the Cameron Beer Market, with pizza, beer, pool, and so many fun people.

They’re not posing.

There were opening night glitches, like the credit card machine not working, so we had to pay cash. I never have cash. Still, we had fun conversation with so many folks we know, plus I got to enjoy Lee, Anita, and Declan talking about music. That’s always interesting.

This was before it got crowded. I like the grass on the wall.

Dang! Another fun night here, and soon we can do stuff like this all the time. And hey, some of the people were planning to go to another downtown spot, our beloved Central Avenue Bistro, after their beer, so wow, options!

Lots of pool tables, too.

Thanks to everyone who supports local businesses here, including the established ones, so I’m not forgetting Ginno’s Italian and the great Mexican restaurants here. Or further out, Bob’s! There’s stuff to do in our little town.

Plus we have a scenic old jail and cabin. Rural fun, yep.

Not Everything I Did the Past Two Days Was Boring

Now, there’s a blog post title that will draw dozens of readers, right? I’ve had lots to do during this week of no work, but much of it consists of mundane chores that aren’t interesting even to me, much less other folks! You know, farm tasks, applying for Social Security, making medical appointments, taking the car in for its very expensive five-year checkup, etc.

News flash: chickens are laying 1-2 eggs a day.

But hey, after dropping the car off at a new-to-us dealership, we did get to go to a restaurant and eat different foods from what’s available around here. Sushi is a rare treat, so we enjoyed the place that just happened to be on our way home, knowing we could linger because the horses were fed for me. What a luxury!

The ex-wife roll. Spicy.

Actually, I got to eat out TWICE yesterday, which is exciting for a hermit. Some friends invited me to join them for lunch (Mexican, of course), which is always fun when it’s me and a bunch of people from the Cameron area, because I learn so much (and get to laugh).

Then, I spontained, as Lee would say, and after running an errand went to check out the new coffee shop in town. Lo and behold, it was open! They were training staff. I texted Anita to come join me, and we had a nice coffee and chat. I look forward to when they will have food and be a lunch alternative, but I won’t give up the coffee trailer, either. Wow, a CHOICE of coffee spots here?

Other than that, it’s the usual. In bird news, I got a photo of the greater yellowlegs who’s making its annual visit. I love the sounds those guys make. I realize this photo isn’t great, but you can at least recognize its shape and bill. My “photos” of the weird kingfisher who has been visiting didn’t even capture its distinctive shape, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t get one of these darned lark sparrows to hold still. Why won’t the birds come closer so I can get an ID?

And of course, there are horses, who were due to get ridden today, but every time I went out to groom, it started to rain. Then it would stop, and I’d be annoyed with myself. Finally, I just fed them in a gap between showers, which was good, because now it’s raining hard enough that I think the ponds will refill. Now, THAT isn’t boring.

I guess it’s a perfect night for leftover soup, hanging with the dogs, and putting that afghan together.

Thanks. We don’t like lightning, so appreciate your nearness.

I have been avoiding a lot of ruminating and deep thoughts for a little while, so I realize my posts are a bit mundane. I’m focusing on living in the moment right now, because it’s a very painful time of the year for me. The present is good, however. I’m thankful for the supportive folks around me and that life is pleasantly boring.

Community Holiday Joy

Maybe residents of our small town are sick of hearing about it, but I’m gonna say it again: Cameron is like a new town this season. I’m so grateful to all the folks who have worked so hard to turn the town around over the past year, especially everyone on the Chamber of Commerce Board. Just wow.

Honest, the square is gorgeous when not captured through car windows

There are lights everywhere this year, unlike before, when it was a few sparse displays on some of the more chipper businesses. This year, wow!

Even this building looks good!

And check out tonight’s fun event at the new Venue, the Sip and Shop.

Look at this beautiful building and the beautiful vendors!

I had so much fun hanging out here with my friends and seeing what the vendors (some of whom also are friends) had to offer.

Beautiful decorations and snacks

I got some wonderful things, you know, to support local artists and bakers. Or for fun. My favorite thing is my hat. It has a bird on it. Pamela had a hat, too.

It was just a beautiful night, and the Venue looks so beautiful! I’m so proud of the work everyone has done on this project. I admit one team member is my kid. The new staircase is awesome and the new bathroom wallpaper made me so happy. What a great project the team has completed!

Sometimes I feel alone and like an actual hermit. But events like this, where everyone is so kind and welcoming, make me feel a part of something. We even tried to recruit our jeweler friend, Mary, to be a Master Naturalist. Community peer pressure! That’s holiday magic, right there.

I got this gorgeous piece of labradorite made into a pendant by Mary. The copper backing is stamped with an “om” stamp. It’s very special.

When we get down on our fellow humans, we need to remember how communities can come together and support each other. I saw so much networking, generosity, and fellowship tonight that I couldn’t stop smiling.

So much smiling! And sweets!

That, too, was a holiday miracle. Now enjoy some friends and vendors who made Cameron, Texas magical tonight.

Breaking in the Vacation Rental

I’ve spent my first night at your vacation rental, the Red House on Fannin, and I’m happy to report the beds work.

My friend Sheryl from Austin came up to see me and Anita, and it was really nice to be able to have her stay overnight rather than having to drive home in the dark just hours after she arrived!

Fun times at the Red House

Instead, we were able to drive around and look at Christmas lights, eat a fine Mexican meal at El Charro, then retire back to the Red House to catch up on each other’s lives. It was great for three of us hermit ladies to hang out.

Sheryl tested out the master bedroom and I tried out the bottom bunk. I quickly realized I need a reading light next to the bed, so I’ll get one with a USB outlet in it as well. The top bunk blocks light from the ceiling fixture. That’s an easy fix! We also figured out a few more little things like that, which I’ll implement this week as soon as I have a car I can drive.

What? Yep, my car started acting very oddly when we were driving to the Red House from the ranch, where I’d made Sheryl endure watching me ride Apache (it was back to work time for the horses!). It just didn’t want to shift gears. That was sorta scary, so I was glad we went down the back road. This morning we went over to look at the Venue where the guys were working, and I got some ideas for what to try before driving it to Austin. The best suggestion was to use the manual shift paddles, which I use so seldom I forget are there. That got me home with much less lurching.

The coffee maker worked, too!
Learning to use new phone camera features. And showing how I feel about life right now. Ya just don’t know what’s happening next.

I tried to get the car fixed locally, but they don’t do transmissions, especially of fancy city cars (implied, not stated). I did get the oil changed, which I know was also needed, because I’ve dawdled over getting it serviced for a while due to hating to go to downtown Austin. Of course, there are challenges with staying local. I was not at all amused to find that whoever changed the oil also changed the radio station to The Word, or some Bible station. Aha, KALD, which is a part of Houston Christian Broadcasting. I guess they were trying to kindly show me another public radio station to replace my Heathen NPR that was on. Except, it was OFF when I arrived at the repair place. Well, bless their hearts, I’m sure they meant well.

Meanwhile, Sheryl and I enjoyed a Mexican breakfast, because Los Comales makes the best breakfast I ever ate. After that, I tried to take her to the new coffee shop, but of course, it’s not REALLY open. Never fear, the coffee trailer run by my actual friends (Cloud 9 Coffee, it’s in a cute trailer) WAS open, so we got some fun lattes and forgot to get Anita her chai. Oops. Bad friend.

But, we did get to tour Anita’s house before Sheryl followed me home in case the car exploded. It didn’t, but the check engine light came on. I think we need to go get the other car, which is waiting for us at the dealership in College Station, due to us going out of town over the weekend and not engaging in obligations.

At least I got home and managed to get some work done. Soon as I’m totally done, Drew gets to trot around in circles some more. He has a new cinch that matches his saddle to try out, which will hopefully fit him perfectly.

I guess my life is just right. Some fun, some challenges, and interesting enough to keep my mind off the fact that we live in Bizarro World now.

Fun Times in Cameron, Texas

I forgot to blog about the fun I had last Saturday at the Steak Stein and Wine event in downtown Cameron. I got to hang out with so many friends. In the morning my friends Martha and Mike wandered around, having coffee from the extra cute new coffee trailer two friends of mine are opening and enjoying the vendors. The nice thing about being in a small town is you know lots of the folks.

We’re so happy for Cloud 9 Coffee!

I got a couple of Mexican outfits from a nice family who have tons of cool stuff, like lóteria shirts and Virgen de Guadalupe stuff for Anita, who came by later. We enjoyed chatting in our second languages to each other.

Our company had the cutest fishing game for kids. Kathleen is so creative in making stuff like this! She also made gorgeous wreaths for silent auctions. The caregivers and I dressed up as fish or something but I gave my tutu away to one of the husbands. They really didn’t need me cramping their style!

Friends I met at Master Naturalist stuff have opened a new hot dog stand that serves local 44 Farms all beef hot dogs. They were so busy, because it was so good. I’m happy for them and look forward to more Yoe Dawgs!

Michelle smiled through the whole hot dog thing

I must admit the highlight of the event was the Rotary Club pie throwing for charity. There were many officials there, but I zeroed in on the poor mayor. Bill was a good sport and I hammed it up to encourage others to grab a pie. I’m not a violent woman, but that was fun. And yes, I got a tie dye shirt.

I enjoyed the Art Walk in the beautifully renovated building where the last one had been. Wow has the Railfan on Main team done a great job! Anita came and enjoyed it with us. And she enjoyed trying to kill Kathleen.

The bathrooms are also lovely. I’ll share more pictures when all is done. In the meantime we drank delicious drinks and eventually had a fancy ribeye dinner. The steaks were huge! Tarrin joined us for dinner and it was so fun. Plus we got to see her in non-horsey clothes.

There was a sun dog in the sky while we waited for food.

I’ve left off half the wonderful booths and vendors. It was a great group. I was impressed by the work of Lee and the rest of the Chamber of Commerce team. Everyone worked so hard to make it fun for all.

Look, a cornhole tournament with a professional player!

Thanks for reading my ode to the fun of our little town. Things are getting better!

More Fire but Okay

The wind came up and blew the fire from yesterday across the road. But they saved a bunch of other hay and then used our tractor to spread the remaining bales out so they would burn out more quickly.

Spreading bales

These round bales are like cigars. They are so dense that it takes a long time for them to burn. Once again I’m sure grateful to our local fire fighters.

You can see it went across the road.

Interesting fact: the hay field will come back beautifully once it rains. Burning the fields is good for them. This just isn’t a good time.

Goldie says don’t play with fire.

Other than that I’m tired from working, doing stuff with the two horses that aren’t mine, and cooking some dang good jambalaya with ham and boudin. Plus I’m sad that a friend lost her husband yesterday. That will do for today.

Scary Evening

We were feeding horses when I spotted some smoke in the near distance. Then Anita texted that she couldn’t make it over here to eat, because the road to the ranch was closed at the intersection with the main road. Oh no!

Yep. The road was closed.

We quickly realized hay bales were on fire, so we sent our tractor over to help out. We also realized it was our friends who lease our land for their cattle whose equipment had sparked the fire. Oh no!

Good news. The tractor and hay cutter (and the driver) are ok.

Lots of tanker trucks arrived and people began spraying while our tractor and another one helped move burning bales around to space them out.

They had to cool the tractors off.

There was great teamwork among the firefighters and neighbors. Everyone pitched in. We were a little scared when the tractors were moving bales that looked like fireballs, and especially when our tractor had to pull one that got stuck off a burning bale. But everyone knew what they were doing.

Pulling the stuck tractor.

We are very happy the fire is contained, but it sure is smoky downwind from us. And the bales of hay will take quite a while to burn out. Someone is sleeping there and we left our tractor in case they need it.

Ruby the hound dog watches from my friend’s house.

It’s so dry. And we have flint rocks in the fields. The field was being mown to prevent fires, ironically. I’m just glad no homes or people were damaged, and that lots of hay was saved.

Lee was on the other side of the road and got some good pictures of the teamwork that kept everyone safe.

Sending gratitude for the firefighters and skillful neighbors. And I’m glad everyone is safe. Sending love to friends who got less good news today.

Why Yes, We Still Buy and Sell Houses: Ross

One of the things we’re learning lately in our real estate business is that it is not easy to quickly buy or sell property, even a cash sale! Way back on April 10, I wrote about selling the Ross Avenue Victorian house in Cameron to two fellow renovators. We finally closed on the deal yesterday.

The house when we first saw it. We since trimmed bushes back.

When we bought the house, it took three months to close “as soon as possible” but that’s nothing! This one took five months! The buyers could be excused for getting anxious about it. We knew it would take a bit longer than usual, because we were only selling part of the land we originally purchased. The buyers got the house and the lot behind it, where the garage is.

The other side.

We kept the lot across the street, which is pretty straightforward. We’ve had a big sickly tree removed that was threatening to crash down either on this lot or the poor man next door, so it’s in better shape now.

The lot across the street, me with blue hair, and scary tree.

We also kept the middle of the block, and that’s what took a while. We had to survey the property, have plans drawn up to subdivide the property, and get the plans approved by various entities, including the City Council. So, Lee has been quite busy working on all this stuff and getting our ducks in a row (probably whistling ducks, Cameron’s favorite fowl). It all went well, but took a lot of time. Then, of course, one entity or another “forgot” to do some of the things they needed to do, and title underwriters kept asking for one thing, then another, and then another. All this required a lot of patience on our part, the title company representative (Kimberly has been so helpful), and the buyers.

This is NOT EXACT. I am NOT a surveyor. But you get the idea of how we divided the property. You can even see the shadow of the tree that is no longer there, from Google Maps.

All the time since we bought the property, we have had to keep maintaining the property, of course, mowing all that grass, keeping it looking presentable for the Code Inspectors, etc. We did get something good, though: my tack room was originally the workshop on the part of the land we kept!

Kathleen of 2020 in the lots we kept. The building at right with the white window frame is my tack room.

I have had to keep quiet about all this, since we were not wanting to say we’d succeeded until money changed hands! Things have just been going so wrong this year that we didn’t want to risk it. But Hermits’ Rest Enterprises has now sold a house and has a mini-subdivision of three houses plotted out for the future. Hooray.

We were just a little giddy after the closing, at least Kimberly and I were! Lee looks relieved.

I just can’t wait to see what the new owners can do with the house. They do amazing work.

More on this house and our former plans for it

A NEW Project to Distract Ourselves (March 2020)

This Old Ross House, Part 2 (March 2020)

We Have a Date (June 2020)

Ross Is Ours! Kathleen Is Overjoyed (June 2020)

Checking in on the Ross House (June 2020)

Joys Of Creating

crafts, hobbies, gardening & nonsense

sara annon

seeking the middle path

Tonya's Tall Tales

My life with horses, bunnies, chickens, ducks, and cows.

rfljenksy - Practicing Simplicity

Legendary Whining and Dining World Tour.

The Backyard Horse Blog

All about keeping horses at home

Hazel's Animal Adventures

My life on the ranch.

Katie Zapfel

Children's book author. Mom blogger.

365 Knit Socks

I knit a lot of socks

recoveringpornaddictcom.wordpress.com/

Coach, author and educator

The daily addict

The daily life of an addict in recovery

Happy Heidi's Happenings

My life in the country.

BrownesPups

A family of dog lovers, owners & breeders since 2015

The Adventures of a Mountain Coward

panic-stricken mountain adventuring!

Something Over Tea

Scribbles from my notebook

The Renegade Press

Tales from the mouth of a wolf

Heccateisis's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

The Upstate Gardener

The Upstate Gardening blog with Gardening Information, Recipies, Home Improvement Ideas, and Crafts Projects to make your life more beautiful and healthy.

Nature And Photography

Bring Nature Into Life

AT PATHO

no streetlights, just star light

Words and Stitches

woolgathering at its best

The Grief Reality

Normalising the conversation about Grief.

iRoseStudios.com

Art Studio Dumfriesshire

The Creative Pixie

eat up some crafty goodness with this creative mama

Writings of a Furious Woman

My thoughts, sentiments, and scribbles on womanhood

Paws Bark

Dogs Leave Paw Print in your Heart

Yeshua's Child Art

Art that Expresses the Heart

Chicken Coop Plans

Build Your Chicken a Home

Writing about...Writing

Some coffee, a keyboard and my soul! My first true friends!

Leaf And Twig

Where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry.

Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Cathartic Tendencies

motivational posts, rants, and stories!

TotallyTexasGifts.com

Featuring Fine Arts & Crafts created and sold by Texans

Seasons As My Teacher

Truth Written In The Wind

claudiajustsaying

Aging & Attitude

The Tragedy Kween

A boisterous introvert illustrating her way through life.

Zoewiezoe

Where a little insanity goes a long way