Charlie's Ramblings

March 27th, 2016

The Garden of Weedin started as of Valentine’s Day with the first planting of variety tomatoes and Early Girls were planted a week or so later along with some hot peppers. Round Up  was sprayed over the area back in January and after the weeds were all kilt out,  the tiller did its job over time.   It took several rounds for the tiller to get down deep enough to satisfy yours truly.  The tiller is a small Mantis brand and runs like a sewing machine.

  February 14th is also the date potatoes should be planted and one potato planted is enough for maybe one meal but that’s ok, it’ll help change the taste of loaf bread.  With this fickle Texas weather it’s hard to tell when to plant, we get hog killing weather one day and T-shirt weather the next. 

  Blooms are abundant already on the tomato plants and do not plan to do any pinching of suckers this year to see if that helps production in any way as time will tell.

  Me and the Mrs. just got back from a bit of R & R out near New Mexico as we went as far as Big Spring, Texas to visit my uncle JC who is now 87 and looks worse for wear but his mind is sharp as a tack.  The purpose of the road trip was to attend the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Round UP and we did.  Seems to be more snakes this year and some really big ones.  They had them piled in a round enclosed area and the aroma was enough to knock a buzzard off a gut wagon. 

 As we were around the walled in area this brave man was telling of the snakes and said he had one rattler that was a high striker and it struck above his boots so he went and put on his chaps that go around his waist.  The lad is most fortunate the snake didn’t penetrate his Wranglers.

A small boy looking over the wall asked the handler what rattlesnakes ate and the handler responded, “Mice, rabbits, an occasional blond headed little boy.”  The small blond headed little boy at the wall did a double take.

  Beautiful area can be seen during the drive as we rode the 10 to Comfort and turned right up heading up through Fredericksburg and on to Brady area.  We did stop and browse the National Museum of the Pacific War and was impressed to say the least.  The most interesting thing I learned in all that walking was a link on the anchor chain for the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz CVN-68 weighted 365 pounds.  FOR ONE LINK!

  It’s good to be back in flat land country and will be for a while now.  The plan is to stay home while the tomato crop produces or at least the hope is  to have a good crop. 

July 26th, 2015

Believe it or not in all this heat it is time for fall crops and our little garden out back is in the running.  Nothing but leftover tomato plants from the spring crop.  The bottom leaves are gone but lots of green on top with some blooms and with an occasional early morning drink hopefully they will make.  There are several bags of mulch around the roots with should help hold moisture.  The chili pequin plants are coming on, at least one is loaded with the little fiery balls.

We took a road trip to the Carolinas in June making our usual pit stops down the road.  Went through Atlanta in record time as it was an early Sunday morning and a piece of cake it was, not one delay or slow down.  Then we took Sherman’s route out I-20 making 3 stops on way to Columbia, South Carolina: one for petrol, Bojangles for some grits the Mrs. needed for breakfast to keep the peace and peaches in South Carolina @ exit 44.  South Carolina peaches are as good as or better than Georgia peaches one has always heard.  Too bad Blue Bell is out of season during peach season.

It’s a sight to go to a grocery store in that part of the country.  One would think prices would be a lot better than in Texas but NOT!  Back when there was Blue Bell it was higher there than at Kroger here in Texas.  One could not afford to eat steak as it starts at ten bucks.  Produce too, good grief at the high prices.  Thank God for Texas prices.

Thought I’d never see the day but old brother-in-law is losing his mind as Alzheimer’s has knocked on his door and entered.  Be watching a game and ask who is winning or what’s the score and get a, “I don’t know reply”.   Hate to see what the future will bring for the family but it will not be a pretty sight.  Even heard Alzheimer patients forget to chew or forget to eat…

While in Georgia we tried to take my 92 year old aunt to dinner one of two nights as is usual when we hit town.  She had to decline saying she had dates both nights.   She busted her pelvic bone months ago and uses a walker.  Betcha they don’t go dancing even if there was someplace to go, but she’s still out there at her age. 

April 27th, 2015

   Man has this rain kicked in the grass and weed growth; suckers on tomatoes too.  Almost afraid to mow some parts of the yard, do not want to take a chance at getting stuck and rutting the dickens out of the yard.  Over at the old house the old neighbor would come over when I was stuck and pull me out with his scooter cycle.  The creek rose and it’s too wet to plow.

  Sweet talked the Mrs. into a little trip to San Antonio and it worked.  Did the Alamo again and must say I’ve never been to the Alamo when it was not hot.  Had a good time huffing and puffing around, I finally found me a seat @ Market Square with a five dollar Budweiser.  Mercy that woman can look for hours and come dragging out with one little sack…well sometimes.

  The bus and street cars sure make it easy if you know how to read their schedule.  Eat good too, thanks to Jim Hays who showed me where the Little Red Barn Steak house is a long time ago.  Lots of Yankees there in San Antonio visiting this time of year.  Met some who flew in from Michigan. Couldn’t help but ask where they were from once I heard them talking….up north.  We get the same thing when we go up north.

  Then the next week we went to Rockport for an overnight trip with the Harris County Seniors out of Highlands, Texas.  Enjoyable trip via big bus where one could look more than while driving.  Managed to see one Caracara on a power-line.  A Caracara is a bird of prey and right pretty, also known as Mexican Eagle.  Google knows all.

  The group was scheduled to go to Corpus Christi for an aquarium tour and another tour on the carrier Lexington BUT they had a fish kill the day before and we all elected to head back up north due to the expected bad weather which came just after we got home.  A fun trip with those folks and didn’t smell denture crème at all.

  Love those mariachi bands that walk around the restaurants and play their strings.  Down south in Mexico one year in bird season we went out to eat at a restaurant which had real cloth napkins.  Uncle JC from Big Spring, Texas was with us.  Needless to say while at supper the band came to our table.  Next thing I know they gather around me and start singing Happy Birthday.  Kin folk, you gotta love them.

Till then

March 23rd, 2015

  Another gardening season has finally come around the bend.  Cut worms have been busy and it’s sure the stink bugs are peeking around the corner waiting for something to eat.  The Highlands guru of gardening has been having cut worm problems so he stuck a galvanized nail in the ground next to the tomato plant.  Never heard of that but that’s why I call him the guru of gardening.  You would think a cut worm would get tired of chewing after finding out the nail is too tough to eat.

  Read somewhere that you can sprinkle crushed egg shells around the plants but the cutworms are in the ground.  However the shells would deter other types of on top ground worms.  Having saved several dozen egg shells over time a while back; washed the shells then placed in a plastic bag until it the bag was full, baked shells @ 350 for 20 minutes.  Once cooled they were crushed.  Worms are thin skinned like some people but the egg shell cuts the worm in passing.  Also plan to use egg shell around the front cement drive as there have been some nice size slugs leaving trails early mornings.  You could use salt to kill the slug/snails but that would damage the grass roots.  It ain’t supposed to be good for concrete either.

  Potatoes should have been in the ground as a rule by Valentine’s Day, if you haven’t planted then you’re behind schedule.  Guru’s potatoes have sprouted to the surface and are pushing several inches in height.

  Fortunately my little mess of tomato plants is behind a fence and under lock and key.  One has heard of two former instances of vegetable gardens, especially the tomatoes have been poached.  Surely not you say but that’s a true rumor.  People are not planting this year for one reason or another but age prevents such activity.  Trust me, getting old ain’t for sissies.

  Me & the Mrs. did not make it to Sweetwater, Texas, this year in order to go to the Rattle Snake Round UP and gun show next door.  One of her cats came down with a case of something three and hundred dollars later, she is all better.  Seems as though if you don’t spend it here one will spend it there.  Ever have those days or weeks that would hundred dollar you to death?  Always something!

 Till then


December 17th, 2014

We are having a sun shower this morning which means rain falls while the sun is shining.

Put another way in an old saying: the devil is beating his wife with a walking stick because he is angry God created a beautiful day. The rain is said to be his wife's tears.  Plenty of those old sayings, for instance:

  A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.

  A blonde said, "I was worried that my mechanic might try to rip me off. I was relieved when he told me all I needed was turn signal fluid.”

  A bulldog can whip a skunk, but sometimes it's not worth it

  One can really relate to - A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

  Scarce is - A diplomat is one who thinks twice before saying nothing.

  A friend in need is a pest.

  A husband is someone who takes out the trash and gives the impression he just cleaned the whole house.

  A man's got to do what a man's got to do. A woman must do what he can't.

  Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.  Getting old ain’t for sissies.

   Happiness is merely the remission of pain.

  He who dies with the most toys is still dead. 

  If a frog didn't hop, he wouldn't bump his butt.

  If you want to be criticized, marry.

  If you want a quick summer, take out a 90 day loan.

    And one my mother quoted often: if you think we are poor this week, wait until next week.

    How one loves old sayings and facts of life, here a few more for your consideration.

  We all love to spend money buying new clothes but we never realize that the best moments in life are enjoyed without clothes. 

  Having a cold drink on a hot day with a few friends is nice, but having a hot friend on a cold night after a few drinks – PRICELESS

  Condoms don’t guarantee safe sex anymore.  A friend of mine was wearing one when he was shot dead by the woman’s husband.

  Arguing over a girl’s bust size is like choosing between Molson, Heineken, Carlsberg & Budweiser.  Men may state their preferences, but will grab whatever is available. 

  Not verified by Snopes but it sounds legit . . . A recent study found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it. 

October 27th, 2014

  Me & the Mrs. took a road trip up Nawth to my old Coast Guard ship’s reunion in Hyannis, Massachusetts.  That is a fer piece from Texas by auto and an interesting trip indeed if one likes long lonesome highways.

  Being stationed in Boston for two years, one never ventured down to “the cape” as they call it.  Traffic was a nightmare once you cross the Mason Dixon Line, and there were numerous tolls to boot.  Having just paid one toll in NJ and cross the state line into Delaware and a sign read, “Welcome to Delaware” that’ll be four dollars please.

   Traffic delays galore as one gets close to New York, as we crossed the George Washington Bridge.  Didn’t have time to do much gawking due to driving, but noticed all the litter alongside the road and all.  A very intensely populated place and only good thing I can think of about New York is you don’t have to have a car to get to work.  You can just ride a rat to work.

  The old ship mates only look older now that they are.  Hard to believe I was only 17 years old when I first reported aboard.  Stuck out like a sore thumb with all those Yankees, “where you from boy?”   One mate gave me a Battle of Gonzales flag as a token of friendship before we headed back down country.  In case you don’t know of the Battle of Gonzales in Texas , Google it, interesting as the flag reads COME AND TAKE IT.

  Interesting note about the types of road kill, four foxes (4 legged) were dead alone side the road on the trip, one in North Carolina and the rest above the Mason Dixon Line.  Numerous deer were also noted but only one skunk.

  After Cape Cod experiencing and getting to see our new great grandson in Pennsylvania, we ventured down to South Carolina ultimately spending a week on Hilton Head Island.  You could say we went to the beach, but did not get out on the beach.  The Mrs. wanted to go to Savannah one day since it was nearby.  I mentioned to her that everything there is old, so we went to Savannah for a day, took a tour and got to see old things like Paula Dean’s restaurant and others with lines out the doors.  Forest Gump’s bench in the movie when he went to find Jenny and other old things – statues and churches.

  Ended up being gone for 30 days, the Mrs. said no more long road trips.

July 24th, 2014

Here it is almost August and there are still green tomatoes on the vines.  Never had so many tomatoes in one season as this one but mind you there are no large tomatoes, about the size of a racquetball or smaller.  Makes a great sandwich and goes well with sausage and eggs for breakfast too.

  Used a bunch of the green tomatoes in two batches of chowchow, one so hot it would light your fire with a gallon of Serrano peppers cut up over two cases of pints.  That hot batch went back to Baton Rouge with one of the twins, the one who likes the hot.

  Going to allow the tomato plants to remain in the ground and give them an occasional drink.  The purpose is to see if they will produce fall tomatoes.  Read that you are to plant fall tomatoes in August and it’s just around the corner.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained or so somebody said.

  Me & the Mrs. took a little road trip across the Mississippi River and into Georgia for a 50th high school reunion.  I didn’t graduate in that year because, since I knew everything at 16 years old, I dropped out.  Just goes to show what a knucklehead I was, but had plenty of company back then.

  Anyway, great to see old friends and remembrances.  Some have not changed all that much and some of us have gotten right fleshy over the years, bald and gray too.  The snooty ones remain ever so snooty and have never figured out why.  Made the mistake of sitting in front of a speaker for the program and they had an Elvis impersonator come on and he loved loud music.  No Mas!!!

   Paid $3.23 for gas at the Wal-Mart in Auburn, Alabama.  While there we went in the Wal-Mart and were much surprised as we went in to see an Auburn room.  They had every kind of Auburn knick knack from alphabet cards to flags for your car and huge trash cans embossed with the Auburn label.

  War Eagle

May 5th, 2013

The month of May is a favorite one because of good weather, crops which are about to produce and time for the Talladega NASCAR which was this past weekend.   It was one month of May a long time ago when a seventeen year old joined the service to get away from the grind of the cotton mill in LaGrange, Georgia.   Fortunately I was discharged (Honorably) four years later but never moved back to the state of Georgia, only visits.  Two things learned in four years of military service was to painting and typing; both have stuck with me to this date, yet of course the painting has become less fun over time if you savvy. 

  Forty Six years later one finds himself married with grown children, retired and having fun while it lasts because time flies when you are having fun.

  Of course over the course of forty six years one has seen things priced out of sight.  Every day one finds something else which has gone up in price.  Why just this morning at the car wash, the price for a book of car wash tickets has gone from thirty five bucks to sixty four bucks and that’s just in a year’s time, unreal.  Just glad I bought 3 books of tickets when I felt rich.

  Go to the grocery store nowadays and you could have a stroke at the price of produce and other edibles.  The Wal-Mart had tomato plants on sale for $11.98 each, which came with a large pot and a small circular stake but have to harvest a lot of tomatoes to make that plant pay for itself.  A steak priced in the meat department caused a double look at $17.98 per pound.  Needless to say and sure glad that looking is free.

  Same with the price of milk and petrol.  With the way things are going up, maybe I can talk the Mrs. into continuing to work to keep us fed, but have my doubts if she could be sweet talked into not retiring.   

   Long ago when the folks were having a conversation about Eisenhower being elected to the Presidency of the United States, they called him a Republican.  I asked my mother what that meant and she said that means we are going to be poor for the next four years.  I thought we already were.

  We have a Democratic President in office now and money seems to just fly by, remember well having more spending money when a Republican was in office compared to the Democrats, but doesn’t seem to make much difference.  The government socks it to you whenever it can.  Work 40 years or more and when you want to use some of the money you’ve saved – not only do they sock it to you in income tax, but then they triple your Medicare costs. 

  It’s like Bob Hope said, thanks for the memories.

  Charlie Farrar can be reached via email:

April 7th, 2014

  The Mrs. has brought home some information about her upcoming retirement so reckon it will be this sometime this summer.    Yours truly has been retired now for 6 years and have had the best time of my life, not missing the bank and all that goes with it.  The peace and quiet all day long with the exception of some music maybe with many pages turned in a good book.  Numerous boxes of novels, fiction and western books have been accumulated during this time.  Amazing that one never realized he would enjoy reading so much, love it!

  Surely she will want to do some traveling and that is fine as long as it ain’t June, July or August.  For one thing during that time the price of petrol goes up to its highest thereby sticking it to me and you, John Q. Consumer.  Get the grandkids to come here rather than us going to Baton Rouge too. 

  Plenty of room in this new house compared to the one butt kitchen at the other house.  Besides, last trip we made to Baton Rouge got the bright idea of taking the blow up air mattress that is like two mattresses on top one another.  Anyway, being the first one in bed each night the mattress felt good compared to the fold out queen sofa with a mattress and springs where one sleeps in a hole.

  Daughter –in-Law being nice comes and turns on the ceiling fan that would blow ashes out of an ashtray if one was around and she likes a cool house at night.  Glad to have the Mrs. and some covers when she came to bed as one felt like a side of beef hanging in a chilly room. 

  About three in the morning my system says turn over and one scooched over to the Mrs. back to get warm and it was warm too.  She inched over and the air mattress began to indent where the two of us lay near the edge and to the floor we went when the mattress flipped up.  She ended up on her glasses and broke them.  Here we are laying in the floor, me on her and laughing at the episode.  It wasn’t funny because it was cold but it was funny.

  At least she got a new pair of glasses out of it and wore my old ones until hers were ready. 

  Thankful for the recent rains, the suckers on the tomato plants have really sprouted and had to be pinched off.  Got the fingers crossed and so far so good with the Early Girl Tomato Plants.  Big leaves shade the tomatoes and the red dirt on top of the ground.  Already have a jar of Duke Mayonnaise for the first couple of tomato samiches.

Charlie Farrar can be reached at:

March 25th, 2014

   The urge came to get out of Dodge for a bit and we did; me & the Mrs. made a little trip out west of Fort Worth and Abilene to Sweetwater, Texas over the weekend.  That is Texas Rangers Call’s & McCrae’s old territory or part of it from the Rio Grande to Amarillo.  With the miles we traveled, would probably have taken the Rangers a month or more on horseback.  We ended up going to the Sweetwater Annual Rattlesnake Roundup and the gun show next door wishing and hoping.

  Counted 62 dead skunks on the road and beside it on the trip to Sweetwater…incredible! 

  There were some very large Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes in the show pits this year.  They brought in over 3800 pounds of snakes and the longest was 76 inches.  Numerous rattlesnake trinkets and tricks were for sale by the vendors.  We hit it as soon as it opens so we were ready to go by time the thousands of school kids arrive in buses.

  This one exhibitor had on his 18” high snake boots and crawled over the wall into a mass of rattlers and started spreading them out with his boots.  Big pile of them and numerous ones taking a strike at his legs.  Some would say awesome but old Charlie says Holy Guacamole and no way.

Our drive was through the wind mill area out below Sweetwater on the way back; looks like huge fans turning slowly out in the countryside by the hundreds.  The trip continued through San Marcos on the way back to Baytown. 

  Thanks to some hunting buddies for turning me onto the Little Red Barn Steakhouse in San Antonio just off I-10.  Good food, good steaks but no blue cheese.  Always try to stop there when we make it that direction and this trip was no exception.

  The trip was going so well, that after supper at the Little Red Barn, we thought we’d make it back to Baytown but the highway sign said I-10E was closed at the Grand Parkway.  We looked at each other, thought back to our 3.5 hour detour between Baton Rouge and Lafayette, and decided to call it a night in Schulenburg

  An early morning wake up got us back to Baytown with not a lot of traffic.  As always, felt good to be back home.

March 5th, 2014

  Been out scratching around the garden hoping it’ll help it dry out from last night’s shower.  Spread Perlite in and over the surface of the garden, then raked it in.  Perlite is the Styrofoam looking little - white pieces added to help the structure of the soil, aids in moisture and aerating the soil or so they say.  Finally found some Early Girl Tomato plants, they are not available in some stores, but these will be in the ground in the morning if the creeks don’t rise.  Hopefully will have the first ripe tomato by say the end of May, first of June, maybe so?

  The Early Girl tomato plant is preferred because of its large leaves which produce shade for the tomatoes and soil.   Having seen the Guru’s tomato garden, one surely must get some Early Girls, as they make the best sandwiches too.

  It has been what seems like a long winter with a sore back and all those long winter sports on TV.  At least NASCAR has the engines cranked and running in oval today and playing follow the leader.  Do not watch of the races or TV much, but did see one car in pit row facing the wrong way; luckily someone did not get a hurt back in that incident.  Pit crew workers have a job as dangerous as being a logger.

  One spends many occasional moments on this computer; one of the many things besides the news groups  is Facebook.  Lots of hoo-ha, cooking, praying and little quotes from anybody and everybody.  Do a few Grocho Mark’s and W. C. Fields getting a lot of likes.  Anyway, saw one of a sign in the woods with particular interest and sent it to the hunting buddies and others who do not hunt but it goes like this:





  Interesting, but it was not my cam, used mine more, or did, for white wing dove, but since moving, no more birds or hummers.  Do not plan on feeding the dove like before, had more weeds and everything else in the garden but something you could eat.  Those web or game cam’s are neat and show very interesting subjects unknowing to being on camera.

  Get well Dickie Woods; miss your words of wisdom via email!

January 27th, 2014

  If you haven’t turned your garden soil over with this cold weather you are missing the boat.  Cold weather supposedly cuts back on the grubs, cut worms and other plant eaters in the soil.  In addition it helps prevent weed seeds from germinating   and aerates the soil.  Yours truly did manage to get out and scratch around a bit with a shovel.  That ground is hard as a rock in the little garden space for this year.  It will probably take 3 or 4 years to get the soil right for gardening, but a little bit each year should do the trick.   A bag of Perlite will be added to the soil, that’s little white plastic pieces which should improve the drainage and aeration.

  Not sure if it will help or not but back in September I brought back three large buckets of red soil from South Carolina to put in the garden at the Mrs.’ insistence – she says the red soil adds to the taste of the tomatoes.  That too will be placed in and around the tomato plants when put in the ground.  Time will tell.

  Wal-Mart has seed potatoes, onions and a few other items ready for your garden of weedin.  The guru in Highlands will probably be planting tomatoes within the next two weeks provided he can find the plants.-.

  We have the Rotary Club’s Chili Feast this weekend in Highlands as well as the Super Bowl.  Don’t really care who wins as long as it’s my numbers in the pot. 

  The next weekend there is a HIGHLANDS STATE BANK reunion of former employees dating back from when banking was fun.  That will be held at CHARLIE’S ICE HOUSE on February 8 so if you know someone who worked at the HSB back in those days remind them of the reunion please. It’s from one to three in the afternoon.

December 17th, 2013

  Finally got some hog killing weather around here.  Hog killing is an experience to participate in and to watch the process from beginning to end.     

  Back in the day out on the Liberty Hill Road, behind the house and in front of the smoke house, were two large black pots:  one for boiling water used to pour over the hog in order to scrape off the hide and hair and the other for the fat which was cut off to slow cook until the fat was considered cracklings.  If it was cooked too fast, it would ruin the meat.  That is also called rendering the meat to cracklings and a slow process of cooking it is.  The rendering of the fat also produces lard which is used throughout the year for frying and making bread.  Most folks do not use much lard anymore as it causes a thickening of the arteries, blood and butt.

    Not an easy or quick chore to kill and process a hog.  Cutting up the meat, grinding the meat for sausage and knowing how to cut the meat is an education all by itself.

  The chitterlings were placed in one side of the smoke house and somebody had to clean the chitterlings if they were to be eaten or used.  Cannot say we hung around when that was done so that maybe somebody had to do the dirty stinking chore.  Chitterlings were never cooked in the house but the guts (casings) themselves were used to stuff sausage into.  Heard a guy on TV while he was cooking the chitterlings say the only way to cook them is to boil the “chit” out of them.

  Dad used the hog head to make souse meat into head cheese.  So you say you would not eat such, but if it’s all you have, then you either had to eat that or go hungry.

  Always had some relatives show up about the time the work was done, but still wanting their share one could say. 

  So much for hog killing, that is what slaughter houses are for today, and the supermarket. 

  Not had any crackling cornbread in a good while but have eaten cracklins on occasion when we go through Lafayette, Louisiana and make a pit stop at Don’s Specialty Meats.

  Been trying to drop a few pounds since September and have managed to get rid of some but have a long way to go.  Not an easy chore to lose weight.  You tell someone you lost weight and they say turn around,” I found it”.

  I asked one of the twins once what he would do when he grows up as big as me and he says, “Diet.”

  Just wish I could lose weight as easy as I lose my keys, pen, cell phone, mind etc.

  Tried giving up chocolate but I’m no quitter.

  If you are what you eat I’d rather be thin like a French fry than round like a head of lettuce.

   I don’t exercise at all.  If God had wanted me to touch my toes, He would have put them up higher on my body.

  Thinking of going on a garlic diet, but you don’t lose weight, you just look thinner from a distance.

November 2d, 2013

   The Mrs. got a vacation by my going to visit my sister who lives in South Carolina. Two weeks was enough for her and me, so it was back to Texas for a week.  Then we both headed out to Hilton Head Island for a little R & R together.  Let me tell you, time flies when you are having fun.  We’ve been back in the routine for a while but it’s like a rut on the trail.  Road trips have to be given up while school is out because of the increase in the price of petrol and so many people on the road.  Gas in Rock Hill, SC, at the grand opening of a Sam’s was going for 2.68 a gallon. 

  Chilly weather has set in and it’s almost time to break out some long pants.  Sure dread that as yours truly has not wore long pants of any kind since last April. 

  Talk about being impressed, have a niece who stayed at the condo with us at Hilton Head.  She has dropped over 50 pounds in a 2 year period.  Amazing to watch her eat because she eats several times a day compared to 3 squares a day like yours truly or when I can get them.  Did manage to drop 10 pounds by time we arrived back in Texas.  Needless to say, one will try and continue to ride that diet wagon for a while, but have been known to fall off the wagon a time or two if you savvy.

Lots of fruit and salads for suppers at times; sure is hard to eat salad without a good coverage of blue cheese dressing.  Blue Bell dreams with pecan pie are hard to resist, but they slowly subside.

  After having visited Georgia and South Carolina, one feels most fortunate to be living in Texas.  Our grocery prices are much cheaper than those places for sure; somebody is making a killing.  Just paid seventy bucks for the license sticker on our car in Texas, and my sister in South Carolina has to pay a whopping seven hundred bucks each year for her Honda Crossover.  Made me think of that Ray Charles tune “Take Me Back to Texas….” but take me back alive! What was the name of that 1984 song?   SEVEN SPANISH ANGELS.

  It’s good to be back with my squeeze, the cats and the mowing of grass - difficult at times as it may be.  No bed like your own and a whole lot more privacy with just us.  We have gotten used to each other after being together now for forty four years.  She gets right cocky at times, but have been told more than once by my sister that she has been around me too long.  Can’t be around those two women too much, they gang up on me but its fun and they sure enjoy it.

August 26th, 2013

Me & the Mrs. took a detour on the way back to Baytown after visiting the kids across the Mississippi in Baton Rouge.  Instead of heading west, we headed due north, even though previously it had been decided no more road trips during the summer months when everybody and his cousin on the road dragging a trailer or having a kayak duct taped to his auto.  

  After reading several Greg Iles’ novels which take place in Natchez, Mississippi, it was agreed to drive on up the road to Natchez for a look – see.  Nice sightseeing little trip where quite a few items of interest were passed.  A U turn was made to go back to a place on side of the highway which had Hand Hewn Wooden Bowls.  We walked out of there with a hundred dollar wooden oblong bread bowl and a potted Harlequin glower bower plant which attracts humming birds.  Not the first fruit stand along the road, and ain’t holding my breath on some biscuits being made from that bowl.

  Driving on to the tip of Louisiana before crossing the state line, we passed the road to Angola.  That is the Louisiana State Penitentiary - the Alcatraz of the South.  The name of the prison is mentioned in numerous novels by many writers.  Bad place to be for bad people or so it’s said,  ”one could get cut three ways:  long, deep & continuous”.  Angola is where Freddy Fender spent three years for possession of marijuana - talk about Wasted Days and Wasted Nights!

  Angola is a prison farm, 18,000 acres and the fields are visible on Google Maps.  Once had a neighbor who worked as a guard riding a horse on a similar farm.  He came in each evening wearing his spurs.  Asked if any of the any prisoners ever jumped him, he said they had, but he keeps himself in good shape.  He also said ain’t much left of the prisoners after working all day in the field at the end of a two and half pound hoe head.  “Sixteen Tons and What Do You Get”, who was the singer? 

  We crossed the Mississippi into Vidalia, Louisiana and on to Ferriday, Louisiana, home of Jerry Lee Lewis, about 0600 in the morning on the way back to Tejas.  Just waved as we drove through ‘cause if he even lived there, he’d be sawing logs.  Speaking of, one noticed a lot of wood burning odor driving back.  Sure beats the odor of skunks, as we did get a whiff or two of them.

 Past Alexandria, on Highway 165, we passed many a wholesale nursery, which we had not been aware was a big business in Louisiana.

  Got the fall crop in the ground finally, a whopping three tomato and one pepper plant, which will need  a drink on occasion and some TLC.  Planted another chili pequin, seems like the other one got mulched as the Mrs. thought it a weed coming out of the ground, so being the woman driver that she is, the plant is now mulch.

  Charlie Farrar can be reached via email at:

June 5th, 2013

  June is the official start of summer in my book and always been since I was in grade school back in Georgia.  That’s when the swimming pools would open and I had my favorite swimming hole about a mile from our house on the hill. 

  Dunson Pool it was called and all the kids practically lived there in the summer months.  From 8 in the morning till noon when it closed for lunch then from 2 to 6 it was opened.  It’s a wonder a lot of us ain’t eat up with skin cancer by staying there so long.  Mill kids mostly went there because that’s where their parents worked.  Lint heads they were called at times.  Became one myself for a while, gave it up after I learned it was not my cup o’ tea or something I did not wanted to do for the rest of my life.  It was hard work for a 130 pound kid with more brawn than brain.

  The little cotton mill town had three swimming pools:  Dunson, City and Callaway.  To get to swim in the deep water at Dunson one had to swim across the pool and back.  Not sure what City pool required because my first trip there I went to a low board and went off with a flip and swam to the edge.  Nobody said anything so I was good for the deep end.

  At the Callaway pool one had to earn a FISH, it was a patch of cloth one wore on their bathing suit shaped like a fish.  Never did earn a fish so I didn’t go, and besides it was a long way to the Callaway pool, walking or by bicycle. 

  Dunson pool was almost a mile from our house on the hill and I had a few shortcuts.   One was to cut across our street down our neighbor’s driveway to the back street and follow it to the 29 Highway.  Then cut thru the side of Troup Oil gas station lot and walk to the far back edge.  One would cut thru the house lot next to it in back.  That was all barefoot walking and the truck lot behind Troup Oil got mighty hot in the summer times because the ground was covered in burnt motor oil to help make a base and keep the red dust down.  The bottoms of my feet were as tough as Shaka Zulu’s or so they felt except when one would step on a lit cigarette.  That would make one move quick, hurt too.  The rest of the way was under the shade of trees down the street to the pool. 

  When the pool was not crowded, we would get a game of tag up and no running was allowed.  We would use a wet t-shirt and throw it trying to hit someone who would then be it thus they had to hit somebody to get rid of it.

  That was all fun and games except when one reached junior high school and being a dummy, one had to attend summer school mornings to near end of July.

 The diving boards were the most fun and challenging.  Managed to get an unopened double flip off the low board but never managed a gainer.   That’s when you run off the end of the board and do a back flip.  Just didn’t have the want too bad enough to try, I’d call that courage today.

  Then there was the high dive.  It actually hurt the top of my old head when diving off, so I started and managed to do a flip and did so.  Once I changed my mind in the middle of a flip and do a Hawaiian cannonball, ended up landing flat of my back on the water.  That smarts.  Oh, those lovely old summer days!

May 10th, 2013

Attended the Baytown Rotary Club’s Shrimp Boil and Catfish Fry this past weekend and had a big time seeing old acquaintances and friends.  The fried fish was excellent and as good as mine but the shrimp, well that is what one uses to catfish.   My former bank boss, Paul Edwards was there and in good spirits, he will soon be 86.  He was the former President of what was Peoples State Bank in old Baytown; good to see you Mr. Edwards.

  The Northshore Rotary is having their Crawfish Boil & Catfish Fry on May 18th.  Another Rotary event that requires all hands on deck for the setting up and cooking of over a ton of food.  They manage to raise a heap of money each year and the clubs support surrounding area charities and all.  One thing for sure, you cannot go wrong supporting the Rotary Club or the Shiners’.  They know what they are doing!

  My Dad ran a fish camp back in his day out on the Chattahoochee River.  Fried catfish was the specialty of the house and there was no such thing as a filet back then.  Of course he had the hamburger steaks, hamburgers, T-Bones and all the hand cut fried potatoes one could eat.  Might mention that the cole slaw was good too.  Remember they would get the fish in large five gallon cans.  They would have to defrost them for the evening’s meal. 

  The little café or fish camp had private booths where you and your family ate.  The first three on the right side had privacy entrances from the outside.  Lots of corn liquor in those days and some of the higher ups would come out, eat fish and have a few snorts.  HA, that’s funny, a different kind of snort than today’ snort.

  Picked my first red tomato the other day, blasted thing had a big old black rot spot on the bottom.  After further looking, numerous tomatoes have the bad spot.  Blossom end rot is what the books call it and treatment was made to the plants a while back.  Back to the drawing block I suppose.

  Had my nose stuck in books a lot lately, there are some really good writers out there.  Some recommended are David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, Greg Iles, Stephen Hunter and P. T. Deutermann.  Enough so that one tends to let Two Cents Worth go by the wayside.  It is just that these authors are that interesting and have thus replaced TV watching almost 100%.

April 16th, 2013

Charlie’s late.

  You sod busters, if you haven’t planted yet, you are missing the boat.  Its tomato time and the time is right.  Some people have little tomatoes on their plants already.  The bucket plants outback have loads of blooms but no fruits just yet, excellent crop of suckers too.

  Tomatoes are fruits and not a vegetable, did you know that? I’m serious as a heart attack, check it out, better yet Goggle it. 

  Need to do a drive by over to the Channelview area just off I-10.  There is an electrician who used to plant 300 tomato plants each year and starts his from a mail order catalog.  He ordered Jet Setter seeds and had a very abundant crop, pretty tomatoes too.  He comes in handy come chowchow time.  He said people drive over from the Medical Center to buy from him, big doctor orders too.  A believer of wooden stakes he is.  Said the tying of the plants hold to the stake better as compared to sliding down with PVC.

  Going to check out another gardener’s patch in Baytown who says his best year produced 1550 pounds of tomatoes from 30 plants.  Should prove to be a sight to see if you enjoy such as one is waiting for an invite.

  Wrapped one plant in the bucket with clear stretch wrap (pallet wrap).  Heard it helps with the wind, hail, birds and bugs.  Problem is you cannot get to the suckers to pinch off, and the leaves get wet during watering.  Be easier to cover in the event of frost too. 

  Finally sold and closed on the house with the little garden on Goose Creek.  That’s alright though, have tired of doing a drive by daily for a check-see since its been vacant for a while.  Coincidentally, we moved from a house on Goose Creek that was on Ripple Creek moving over to another Creek and there is water in the back of the house and fence.

  Had the belly ache this morning, she had me hanging pictures and seems all I did was belly ache.  Made a new rule while we were at it, no more pictures, running out of wall space.  She is so peculiar and picky; I swear if I was to have to hang her, she would have to have a new rope. But you know your spouse truly loves you if you can get pictures hung together.

  Charlie Farrar can be reached via email at:

March14th, 2013

   Me and the Mrs. took a long weekend and attended the Sweetwater Rattlesnake RoundUp.  The annual event was created in 1958 to help control the population of snakes in that area of Texas.  They had enough snakes to give one the willies. 

  The arena was loaded with vendors selling their wares of stuffed rattlesnakes and rattlesnake trinkets, walking canes, skins and earbobs.    They had a wooden box similar to a cigar box that you opened, it vibrated, then a plastic snake was inside shaking its rattler.  $95.00 on sale, too rich for my blood!

  Bought some raffle tickets from the local fire department and was out of there in less than an hour.  Fortunately for us there was a gun and knife show next door so more walking for us.  Lots of old guns, ammo, accessories and toys for sale for the collector and people like us who just liked to look; priced one Navajo Indian blanket for $900.00 and one old time Colt pistol for nearly $5000.00.  Surprised there were not that many arrowheads this year.  Did manage to buy a pound of copper shaped like a gold bar, cheap.   

  That event took over an hour so being near lunch time we headed over to Allen’s Fried Chicken place in Sweetwater where they serve country style.  We sat at a long table for 12 and had lunch with Miss Texas at the head of our table.  A pretty little thing and didn’t get to spend much time observing her table manners and the such, but did get to listen to her jabber as we got seated in the middle of the table.  

  You would think as old as I am, I’d have enough sense to know not to set in the middle of the table, especially when it’s served country style.  Country style is where they bring all the food items to the table in family size bowls and I mean lots of bowls.  Spent more time passing the bowls than having time to watch Miss Texas some.  They had fried chicken, potato salad, cream corn, BBQ ribs & sausage, green beans, boiled potatoes, squash, turnip greens, bread and sweets.

  Miss Texas is a first year law student and everything she said was “like” sweet and “like” charming and all the likes you want to hear, I mean like you know.

  Anyway, $9.00 a plate lunch plus tip, should have gotten a middle of the table discount.

  Had a pretty drive with different routes going and returning if you like mesquite, cactus, crows, hawks and wildlife in general.  Noted numerous skunks on the road and bunch more we could not see but knew they were around.  Driving back to Baytown, we counted 22 skunks on the road as well as possums, coons, deer, porcupine, armadillo, hawk, buzzard and crow.  Oh and 1 turkey.  Saw lots of democrats in pastures and some looked familiar.

The route back also took us right through a wind farm which stretched as far as the eye could see.  The wind turbines looked like they belonged in a Star Wars movie. 

February 18th, 2013

  Charlie’s, late,

    At least football season is all in, all done for now.  Basketball is in and the Mrs. rather watch Duke play than eat. 

  Tis the season for, “Gentlemen start your engines” as NASCAR cranks up their season run starting in Daytona.  See that Danica Patrick has won the pole position –good for her.  Reading a book or bending a hook is my thing rather than watching a bunch of television, unless, of course, you get to go to a race in person.  The Masters is not for another month or so come April 14th - that I’d like to go to in person.   

  Mardi Gras is starting and got a dose of the beginnings while in Baton Rouge over the weekend, the Louisiana State Patrol was passing out tickets like food stamps and even the local parishes had their men checking for speeders, etc.

  If they see you drive across the solid white line on the roadside to make a turn or move into the lane of traffic or simply cross it, you will get a ticket.  $85.00 for an improper turn. 

  The garden has officially started as potatoes have been planted in two laundry baskets.  Additionally heirloom tomatoes were planted as well as the chili pequin plants; these were planted in buckets and hopefully they will produce an abundant supply of tomatoes and peppers this year. 

  Going to make some super hot chowchow for one of the boys, as he says he likes it hot so we’ll give the chili pequin peppers a try in the chowchow.

  My gone but not forgotten buddy Thomas Earl Fabian wanted some hotter chowchow one time so I used the food processor to do a couple of jars of pure jalapeno’s, prepared in the normal manner of chowchow and took one to the slaughter house.  Boy howdy did he ever fuss about how hot it was and wanted to know if I was trying to kill him.    

  The Baytown Shriners have a big Oyster Fry this coming Friday, so a ticket for the fried morsels was prepurchased from a local Shriner.  The Shriners’ do an awful lot for the Burn Hospital and other hospitals, so support them please.  

  The oyster is a gout kicker as is any shell fish.  Am going to see if the meds the doc prescribed work, as a plate of the fried oysters has my name on it.

Charlie Farrar can be reached via email at:

January 29th, 2013

Charlie’s late.

  Been waiting on some cold weather to arrive and it is very slow in coming.  We need it to kill bugs, skeet’s and other pests.  Do not need the single digit temps or the white mud as they do up Montana way but it does manage to kill off their garden pests.  Cousin sends photos on occasion of pest in their back yard which happens to be nice size mule deer.  She says the deer show up when it snows and trims their shrubbery.  The deer have been eating their garden up enough to make one talk tacky about the hungry critters.

  Speaking of pest, did you hear about the federal employee receiving a four-page reprimand charged with conduct unbecoming of a federal employee and creating a hostile work environment?  The so called employee repeatedly passed gas thus creating a stink, recorded nine times in one day.  This happened up in Maryland and documented over a three month period.  Democrat you think?

  Time for you sod busters to bust up your ground, if cold weather would prevail it would kill off some of the cutworms and other grubs in your garden.  Got potatoes ready to cut for planting and that is just around the corner.  The Highlands guru plants his potatoes on February 14 or there abouts.

  Going to do some container gardening this year and that includes the potato patch.  Got to go get a large laundry basket or two and bore a few holes in the bottom.  Cover the bottom with two inches of dirt then add the seed potatoes then more dirt.  Cover the tops with more dirt filling the basket with soil as the potatoes grow, simulating hills in the garden.  Never tried this but have an idea it just might and hope to get at least a five pound bag of potatoes out of it.

  Sticking with Early Girl tomatoes this year, they seem to produce well and the leaves are large thus providing shade for the dirt with less drying out.  Maybe do a dozen or less buckets of those. 

  Will go over to the other house and use some of that dirt, save a few bucks by doing so; store bought bagged dirt is expensive.

  The Highlands Rotary has their Chili Feast and raffle on the 2nd of February, did some bartering and managed to get a hundred dollar raffle ticket.  The club is giving away Dodge vehicles this year in lieu of the Chevrolet’s.  Be my luck to win it and catch slack at the hardware store for driving a goat.

  Charlie Farrar can be reached via email @:


December 12th, 2012 

  Me and the Mrs. wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a happy next four years. 

  It might take that long to get all the household goods squared away or at least learn where everything is now.  Frustrating when you try and find a kitchen item or wonder where she put it.

  Pesky old fruit flies have already found a home.  They gather around the items of fruit and the onion pile.  Will have to put up one of those sticky strips near the kitchen sink light and leave it on at night.  Those things sure did work in the other house with a fluorescent bulb.

  Have to buy bananas on a regular basis for my monkey or at least that’s what I tell the cashier at the grocery checkout.  Maybe a mini net would help keep the pesky gnats off the fruit.

  Had to repaint the shutters again at the old place, she didn’t like the color of green selected by yours truly.  The color was of what would sell, got two calls on it but the excessive chatter was not worth it so I give in and broke out the roller with a darker color green.

  Painting and moving furniture is something women should not be allowed to do once moving begins or the first daub is daubed.  Had to paint the hall bathroom three times before a certain yellow color could be achieved a while back. 

  For instance back in my banking career, it involved moving furniture, file cabinets and going to get the paper order.  We had a dozen or more large legal file cabinets used in a department of the bank.  There were some asbestos lined cabinets also, they’ll hurt you.

  Bet we moved those files (full) many times over.  Have moved them more than once in a single move as opinions differed among the movers as to where the files should go. 

  Reading on Facebook and all these people being blessed and giving thanks again.  Felt like yours truly has been blessed along with all them blessed people.

  Got some deer sausage links from Du, something you cain’t buy at the Kroger or Wal-Mart.

  Got a sack of home grown tomatoes from my gardening guru in Highlands, Texas.

  Had Thanksgiving with one of the twins, been almost 20 years.

  Blessed out by the Mrs. on the color of shutters I painted over at the old house.  Shoot fire, if I don’t get blessed out occasionally, I might feel like I’m doing something right.

Charlie Farrar can be reached via email at:

November 20th, 2012

   After living in the same house for 34 years, the Mrs. finally decided she was ready to move on.  Needless to say, yours truly was more than ready and tickled that she finally consented to move.  Yours truly has spent several years of looking at houses on Lake Rayburn and Lake Livingston, but she couldn’t live there and continue to work, saying the commute is too much. 

  Found a nice house less than two miles from the old house and made arrangements to move there.  Gone is the little garden of weeding and no more getting to watch the sights of birds and other creatures of the wild along Goose Creek.  Will miss the one butt kitchen and all the yard plants but hope to transplant a few to the newer house.

  Nothing but headaches and frustration dealing with getting everything turned on and hooked up at the newer house.  The local cable TV provider failed horribly as did their telephone people.  One girl wanted to charge 35 bucks to have the cable hooked up by the field man.  They tried desperately hard to get me to sign up for the phone service and get the complete package.  It did not seem they understood the meaning of not only no, but hell no. Read my lips!  Spent 58 minutes on the phone thinking my battery would run out.

  Amazing how companies have picked up the practice of banks, charging for any and everything they can stick to you. 

  Called Sears about our propane gas grill which had quit igniting and had rusted through in several places.  So glad that a five year warranty was purchased with the grill.  Spent much time on the computer talking telephone and it does not understand my Southern accent, but got down to near the end of what I was wanting, and be Johnny Brown if their phone did not start back at the very beginning again.  Got in the car and drove to Sears and ultimately completed ordering new parts for the grill also set up an appointment as to when to expect a man to come out and install them. 

  The parts arrived by UPS and the repairman came out.  Had three parts which were not needed and another piece to the side burner which has never been used.  Don’t get me wrong, the grill repairman did a good job but the person doing the phone work must have been pre occupied in doing the parts order.

  Bigger house, smaller yard but still close to all.  Old house was total electric with no complaints; the newer one has gas stove and heat.  Gas top stove has already singed some hairs and taught the cooker not to pick up a pot of boiling water because the handles get very hot cooking with gas. 

  Don’t care what they say; I’ll take electric any day period

 September 6, 2011

This is one of the many rattlesnakes on display at the rattlesnake roundup in Sweetwater, Texas

Me and the Mrs. took a little spring break and drove through central Texas to Sweetwater, Texas.  Our purpose was to go to the World’s Largest Rattlesnake Round-Up.  The event is awesome and a sight to see if you like looking at large rattlesnakes. 

  The Sweetwater Jaycees welcome all visitors and snake hunters.  We did not get the total tally on the number of snakes and total weight but at last year’s event 1,841 pounds of rattlesnakes were turned in by individuals and/or groups.  The longest rattler turned in for 2011 was 78.5 inches.

  Interesting indeed as the snake handlers have nerves of steel and I’m sure there is some brass included.  The handler we watched brought a big’un over and I got to put my hand on its arm thick body; enough to make one shudder.  Managed to get some nice photos as well.

  The snake handler said they display the big snakes on a slick surface table so the snake cannot get traction in case it goes to strike.  He went on to say if the snake is up against a wall or cliff, it can jump its length and more to strike you.

  Vendors galore at the event selling everything from rattlesnake items to grilled corn on the cob.  Most surprising was the weather, it got down to 31 degrees one morning with a stout wind.  A vendor of venison and buffalo jerky was there, but no rattlesnake jerky. 

  Fried rattlesnake meat was offered for sale at $4.00 a piece or $10 for 2 pieces with fried potatoes.  To buy rattlesnake in bulk, the price was $50.00 per pound.  The fried pieces we were served were nothing but bone and hardly any meat.  The Mrs. was wondering if they didn’t cut the meat off to sell it, thus frying up the bone for us. 

  Meant to take a drink of water while in Sweetwater to see if one could tell a difference as our home water tastes as though it has a shot of bleach in it.

  Lordy at the skunks on the highway, both going and coming back.  It was like a good whiff of skunk every 45 minutes. 

  Fortunately there was a gun and knife show in the next building so we got to check it out as well.   Managed to buy a nice arrowhead.  Some folks may hear that I found it -  just to keep up with their tales. 

  Charlie Farrar can be reached at:

September 6, 2011

  It sure feels good to be back in the saddle again or at least holding the bridle.  July 4th week was spent in the hospital and afterwards the old sawbones said lift nothing, no vacuuming or anything for 3 weeks, which included no driving.  If you figure that out, it equals a month of doing nothing but reading and eating period.   Staying at home and not being able to drive… talk about a case of cabin fever.

  Time was used to read a few books and to learn to read using an iPad and Kindle.  The iPad can be read in the dark as the background is lit.  The Kindle does not have a lighted background so a light is needed.  Some books downloaded cost more than the traditional paperback.  The iPad is bulkier and heavier than the Kindle.  All things considered, the paperback is the way to go based on ease of reading and cost.

   We drove to Rockport with the granddaughters for a few nights stay before school started.  Girls liked the pool rather than the beach with all the sand.  They played in the pool while yours truly was reading LINCOLN LAWYER on the iPad. 

  While in the pool, the Mrs. pointed out a Gecko (lizard) on the rock waterfall and she made a clicking/sic noises to lizard.  One of the granddaughters asked the other what Granny was doing.  She said, “Shhh she’s talking Gecko”. 

School has started and the kids have already started their fund raisers.   One neighbor kid caught the Mrs. at home the other evening and hit a homer.  After all these years, the Mrs. has always proved to be a generous person.  With the holidays coming around, the woman truly believes it is better to give than to receive, this really hits me in the wallet.  Her momma was the same way as everyone looked forward to birthdays and holidays with her.  RIP Evelyn McAninch.

  Also told the Mrs. after Four Dog passed on that we do not want anything else that eats, is taxed or poops.  The woman does not listen or pay attention as there is another cat in the house.  Oops, forgot that was to keep our granddaughter’s cat out of the clutches of the animal shelter.  This cat just loves to get into your lap when you are at the computer.  He will even walk all over the keyboard to keep you from computerizing.  He wants all the attention.

Charlie Farrar can be reached via email:

May 31st, 2011

    Me & the Mrs. managed a three day weekend before Memorial Day to beat the holiday rush and went to Rockport, Texas.  There is a beach down there and a nice little drive out of the big city.  During all the looking around, we got to see George Strait’s beach house in Rockport, Texas – not close up, mind you, but interesting. Like most rich folks, they enjoy their privacy and this one was right on the water on Aransas Bay just off the Gulf of Mexico.  Lots of low hanging palm trees and nice indeed.  Fort Worth did not even cross my mind.

   Also saw a Caracara, aka a Mexican Eagle; a pretty bird which is spread all over South Texas down into Central America.  The Caracara is a member of the falcon family but it does not fly fast.  Part of the anticipation for this trip was looking forward to seeing birds seldom seen around the Houston area.

  Hit a little used book store down there and the Mrs. introduced me to a new author of mysteries, Sue Grafton – all of her books go down the alphabet, for example: A is for Alibi.  I read a little of one of the books and think I might like it.

  All in all, a relaxing weekend.

  Whooped up a batch of chow chow on Memorial Day.  Sure enough when one gets the canning and cooking pots out, the Mrs. makes herself scarce.  A hot job it is and lots of cutting and chopping of onions, hot peppers, cabbage, and tomatoes.  End product resulted in 12 and half pints of fire.  There were over 200 pods of Tabasco pepper cut up with a food processor.  When the top was removed to dump peppers in the cook pot, I had to leave the room.  The aroma from the chopped peppers would literally take your breath.  Had some chow chow on a cheeseburger for lunch and more with the evening dinner.  The chow chow is hot and has a good flavor; burns twice.  Hands burned for two hours afterwards, you would think I would have learned by now.  The steam from canning makes hands hot too but not as bad as the burn from hot peppers.

Charlie Farrar can be reached at

May 10th, 2011

  It has been a good week, with good company no doubt.  You know some say kids and company get old after two days, but not these people.  Kin folk from back in Georgia or at least we grew up in LaGrange. 

  My sister from the South Carolina woods came down to Texas, so did my Montana cousin and her cowboy husband.  A first for both of them and the weather could not have cooperated more, mild temps and all.  Reckon they brought the cool weather from up Montana way; just wish they had brought some of that rain.

  Interesting to talk to the cowboy as he was once the manager of a ranch in Montana for the then owner of the Miami Dolphins, and said they had Black Angus cattle, 500+ when calves drop.

  During the round up, they would drive the cattle to another mountain for grazing.  When asked if four wheelers could be used, he said yes but they used horses.  When asked if they used ropes or a whip, he stated that the dogs were more helpful in gathering the cattle as well as wanderers.

  He made the comment about Black Angus being better than the Herefords as their bags did not get sun burned.  Thinking…how does a cow’s bag get sun burnt; he stated the sun would hit the snow and reflect back under the bags thus causing sun burn. 

  Said the momma cows would kick the fire out of calves trying to suck and it took up to three days before they were able to allow them to suckle.  They used a cream from the vets to help cure the sunburn, not sun lotion.

  It is always nice for us to have company from back home, it’s far and few between.

  The garden of weedin is producing and time to dig up the potato crop as we managed to eat some while company was here.  It has been a long time since they had fresh dug potatoes for supper with fresh tomatoes.

  The gardening guru said not to wash the potatoes until you are ready to use them and to use the ones with the skin peeled back while digging - to go ahead and eat them.  

  Charlie Farrar can be reached at:

April 29th, 2011

  If you are looking for a new author to read, I have finished reading four books by Ferrol Sams, a Georgia physician, which had me lying in bed rolling with tears of laughter.  Funny man! 

  Jean Auel, author of THE CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR series has her seventh and final book of that series out, The Land of the Painted Caves about prehistoric Europe; another good read if you are into that era of life.

  P. T. Deutermann also has his fourteenth novel now available in print, PACIFIC GLORY.   P.T is one of my top writers but will wait until this book is available in paperback.  Hardback books are difficult to read when one reads while laying on his back as does yours truly. 

  Reading does not occupy all of my time, but a few pages get turned on a daily basis; good books help. 

 When the granddaughters (6 & 8) were over this past weekend, we scratched around in the garden.   Dug around under the potato plants and showed them what a potato looks like while in the ground.  

  Its Rotary fundraising time and the Baytown Rotary fund raiser was held last weekend with the me and the Mrs. attending with a whole lotta other people – good turnout.  The feed consisted of fried catfish and boiled shrimp with trimmings.  They ordered 650 pounds of catfish and 520 pounds of shrimp to fry and boil for the event.  Good too!

  They made over a hundred thousand dollars which will be distributed to local charities, given as scholarships, and used for other community projects.  Good job guys and gals.

  Charlie Farrar can be reached at:

March 24th, 2011

  Finally after four months with three doctors, x-rays, C scan, MRI, a hand full of pills and a pocket full of money the right hand is able to type without leaning over to the left. 

  The garden of weedin is doing well considering how dry it has been.  There are blooms on the tomato plants and the stakes are in the ground at each plant.  Put some cotton burr compost around the tomatoes yesterday and need to make a trip to town and get a few more bags.

  Did manage to get the purple martin house in the air and soon as it was secure, four martins were circling the house.  There has been some fighting going on with the sparrows over who gets what room.  The birds will fight to the ground and something else to watch if you are into bird fighting like that.

  Bought one of those plastic owls to keep the sparrows out from under the back porch but the cat was more fearful of it than the birds. 

  Charlie Farrar can be reached via email:


February 7th, 2011

  This would be hog killing weather on the farm. It’s more than old bones like or are used to, but that comes with the territory.  Hope the cold kilt the remaining cut worms in the “garden of weedin”.  The plan is to play in the dirt over the next few days and turn some with a shovel…left handed mind you.  The next freeze should do the trick on the cut worms.

  You know I am from Georgia and ate so many greens growing up, had to wear kerosene rags around my ankles to keep the cut worms off! 

  Had chili today from the Highlands, TX Rotary Club’s annual Chili Feast and raffle.  As happens in the many communities which are served by Rotary Clubs, the Chili Feast is a large feed for the community, a good gathering of friends and politicians and a great way to raise funds to benefit the community.  Got to meet the sheriff and good to see him out like that, first time to see him in person…Sharp

  The Shriner’s Club is having the next oyster fry February 11th and it too is a turn out for the community and makes good eating for anyone who eats the fried morsel.  Shriner’s do a good deed with their Burn Institutes.  A heart squeezing place as one of our twins spent a week hospitalized at Shriners in Galveston.  Seeing what goes on in the scrub room and in physical therapy sessions, a heart breaking place it is, trust me!

  Charlie’s Kitchen will be open February 20th for the 52nd annual Daytona 500.  The menu will probably change several times before they start their engines, yet it’s a welcome change over ball games.

  Another community gathering which is probably duplicated across the nation, is the Pilots Club of Highlands’ annual fish fry on February 26.  That too is fun to attend and to chow down.

  Back in my traveling salesman days with Purex, the opportunity came to attend the Shriner’s Fish Fry in Kinston, North Carolina.  Kinston is up past Cherry Point Marine Corp Air Station in Havelock, NC.   Found the place by driving around. Got my fish plate and ate in the car.  Never liked eating fish with bone in, but that was so good.  Those Shriner’s know how to put on a good feed and a job well done. 

Charlie Farrar can be contacted via email at:

January 21st, 2010

  Haven’t written in a while, because my right thumb is on the mends after the hard cast is removed so this column will be slanted to the left if you savvy.  No cutting or surgery and did not break the thumb, but might have been better off if I did.  Not being left handed by any means, yet getting better at being a lefty, all except writing and the effort makes my tongue stick out.  Enough complaining before someone offers some cheese with that whine.  However one did manage to make a New Year’s Resolution to learn to speak Spanish but that lasted only dos weekos.

  The Walmart has its annual planting seeds out on display already; probably get some plants in another week or two.  You sod busters best get your ground turned over but chop that top layer of weeds on top first.  Need to go by my gardening guru’s and see how his garden space looks.  Man plants tomatoes in February and if it frosts, he covers and has lights for some heat; a sight to see and watch grow into some awesome tomatoes!

  Ate at one of our newest restaurants the other day, it too is located out on I-10 where everything else is going in.  Anyway, one visits the toilet and generated a few casual observations, negative of course.  You would think as much money as they put in the structure of such a building the restrooms would have sensors to operate the flusher.  No way am I going to grab the handle and pull to flush.  Same with handles on sinks but this one had the sink sensor for water flow. 

  Then to walk out one must grab the door handle.  Some people do not wash their hands thus doors to bathrooms should be made to PUSH in lieu of grabbing the handle, one usually butts it open.  One restaurant had a “tidy” PULL at the base of the door where you used your foot to open to get out.

  Walmart and some airports have simple walk in and around the corner to get to the restroom.  Out on the Liberty Hill Road we had a barbwire fence walk thru with 2 turns going back the opposite direction to get into the cow pasture.  No way could a cow get thru it.   Even the in outhouse out on Liberty Hill Road, one could PUSH to get out.

November 3rd, 2010

  Finally back in Texas after being gone a month in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.   Visited with friends and relatives and had a good time indeed.

  The Mrs. flew to Charlotte one weekend and we ultimately ended up at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina to attend the Coast Guard Cutter McCulloch’s reunion. 

  While in Aberdeen, North Carolina, one evening we went to dinner with my former boss with the finance company CIT Financial Services from days of old.  A fine fellow and a retired banker himself from a large bank in Tar Heel Country.

  We talked and mentioned several stories which have remained in our memory bank.  One for instance, he said there was a former bank customer of his who was from up North and paid like a clock for years and had come upon hard times.

  The customer came into the bank and explained the situation to him and said just come get the trailer because I’m dying and don’t have anyone I can turn to for financial help in NC, no relatives or nothing.  The customer was going to move back up North and live with a daughter until her death.

  My buddy told the customer not to do anything drastic just yet, let me present this to my people and we can save you a lot of trouble and all by having you sign over a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

  So he presented the facts to his boss and recommended they accept a deed in lieu of foreclosure from the lady rather than foreclose, store and sale the unit.

  He said his boss rejected the deal because by accepting such a deed from the customer, the bank would not be able to sue the customer in case of a deficient balance after the sale.

  Old’ friend said at the dinner table, you know those people sitting at the top don’t always have a clue on the situation and that he was glad when they ultimately had a big loss on the unit.  Vandals had broken into the unit and trashed it out and all.

 Actually saw and took a picture of a bald eagle in flight over Lake Wateree, South Carolina.  That was awesome and a first for me to get a photograph of one. You can tell it’s an eagle by the white head and the white tail.

  Only saw two remnants of tobacco growing.  Actually, only thing remaining were the stalks as the huge leaves have been harvested.  Tobacco is a dying business in that part of the country, though at one time, tobacco was king.  Did manage to pull over and get a couple photos of two old tobacco barns in poor condition.

  Of course me and the Mrs. got in some beach time, at least walking on it for a ways.  Long enough for me to find a dollar bill washing ashore, looked and looked after that, no mas!


September 15th, 2010

  Made the round from Washington through Idaho and into Montana last week headed   through Glacier National Park.  A trip of a lifetime, at least for this ole Georgia Boy and it’s a long airplane ride there and back from Tejas.  Do believe those airplane seats are as hard as any church pew, my rear is still sore from sitting.

  My first cousin from Georgia drove over from Montana and met us at the Spokane, Washington airport (GEG).  A quick trip for sure which she chauffeured.  Although good driver, she is like Fireball Roberts around the curves.  She had me puckered up a couple times going around those switchbacks up to Logan Pass along the Continental Divide; some so sharp one can kiss his rear going around them.

  The weather was not in our favor on the trip as clouds blocked some nice photo opportunities.  Managed to squeeze off 190 frames with lots of re-takes, might end up with a third of them being good shots.  Love those point and shoot cameras with no wasted film with digital camera.   Pictures are posted on Facebook if you partake.

  Made a stop at Kootenai Falls in Idaho to view the Kootenai Falls and the Swinging Bridge.   Made it to the falls and back, must say it was equal to a stress test by the time I got back on level ground.  The movie RIVER WILD with Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon was filmed here if you saw it. 

  The glaciers are about melted and a loss they will be, sad in a way if you savvy.  Saw a sign at one of the park stores of a big ole grizzly with the caption, “When they are gone, so will the wilderness.”  Managed to have my head turned just right as we were going down Two Medicine Road from Many Glacier, there was a large grizzly coming up the hill just as we were passing.  The big grizz crossed the road behind us running and another was behind it and up the mountain they went.  That was a view of a lifetime and ever so quick. 

   We cut a fat hog on this trip, came back with large bags of beef jerky, fresh picked apples, huckleberry jam, huckleberry wine and a cutting off a Fuschia plant to root.  Not to mention some nice photos and being around kin folk for a few days, at our age, that’s an opportunity of a lifetime too.

August 21st, 2010

 It is time to plant the fall crop for you sodbusters.  Tomato plants are available at the feed store at Four Corners, single plants only.  This ole boy does not buy the single plants because they do not seem to produce like the six pack variety and they cost too much.

  No fall crop at the little house on Goose Creek as there is a small load of chicken droppings to spread and turned into the garden of weedin.  That sure makes the weeds grow.  Figure by next spring the manure will have time to break down and hopefully improve the quality of the soil.  Be my luck to have a crop of crappy tomatoes next year.   Managed to chop a few weeds out of the garden this week, even though that ground sure is hard and dry.

  Also time to put up the hummingbird feeders and time to take down the Purple Martin house for the year.  Always something to keep one occupied.  Made a wager with the Mrs. that I would catch a hummingbird this year but she said NO.   Maybe just a picture of one, if they be still long enough and the picture will be sent to the paper.  One year I put on a full face mask and camo top covering arm to take photos of the hummers.  They do not hum as they go by; it is more of a buzz and makes you want to flinch as they zoomed by and stop in front of you to check you out.  

  Attended a photography class last month for several Saturdays, one thing learned was for yours truly to stick with the point and shoot camera as it is a whole lot less complicated, quicker and easier to operate.  The others had those high dollar cameras and my point and shoot camera got looks when used.  At least the point and shoot has a zoom and it comes in handy at times.  It too is a whole lot cheaper.

  Thought of enrolling in a painting class and was the telling the Mrs. about it.  She said I could start in the hallway.

August 9th, 2010

 My friend Ruby gave me some writings from her aunt from way back a long time ago...  She was getting some research done on her family history.  I found it very interesting and the woman writes like she talks.  Sound familiar?

  Lemme share it with you, here tis:

The lady’s name is Hallie so get used to it.  Seems like Hallie was the 13th child born in the family.  Time was 1893 and her mother was 45 when she was born.  She writes of being raised on a big farm, they raised everything - cotton, corn, sugar cane, peanuts, melons, and peas. 

She mentioned the system called the free range for all animals, only fencing was around the house.  The families had markings which they used to cut on the hog ears.  Each fall the men folk would go into the woods and kill wagon loads of hogs and then the work began - from boiling water to smoking the meats. Cracklins are mentioned as well the lean pork meat that was ground and after salt, pepper and sage was worked into the meat, it was fried and packed down in large jars of grease (fat) to be removed and eaten as needed.  She said the jars would be half-full of grease and the fried sausage would be added and the jars placed on a long shelf with the bottom end up so the grease would have a tight seal. 

  They had their own surp mill where people brought their sugar cane to be extracted and to be cooked down to surp.  Nobody had any money so they just gave them more surp which they stored in sixty gallon wooden barrels and sold for 25 cents a gallon. (They must have done some ‘sho nuff soppin back then. You ever did that or do you know what I’m talking about?).

  Hallie had written something’s that reminds me of Heloise.  She has a recipe for Lye soap, how to make tallow which I will share if you want to come get it.

  Hallie says to cut your wood on the decrease of the moon, it will burn better.

  Cedar Bough Tea - for chicken mites.  Brake (yea, brake) a lot of Cedar Boughs off and put in wash pot of cold water. Boil for one hour.  Take limbs out and put tea in wash tub to cool.  Dip chickens in it.  Separate feathers so you can get the tea down to the skin and all feathers.  Hallie adds that she closes her chicken house door the night before.

  For Worms - a teaspoon full of sugar and put two drops of turpentine on top.  Give it every other day until you have three doses.

  Poke Salad - gather Poke Salad while young; put it on to cook in cold water after you wash it.  Boil for a while, then take it out of water and put in a skillet of hot water with grease and salt.  Cook it real tender...then taste it to see if it is salty enough.  This is my way of cooking most everything...........................she said.

  Hallie goes on to tell ya how to do fig preserves, blackberry cobbler, serial cloth for Bronchitis, how to dry seeds, when to plant, Sassafras Tea, tobacco on insect bites, salts for infection, beaten egg whites for sprains, remove the head of a risin, (yuck....  been there, done that), setting your hens, hog killing, cutting wood, watermelons, sweet potatoes, peaches, tea cakes.

  Hallie wrote at one point, “I am 83, and wrote this May 1976, I am blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other.”

  Charlie Farrar can be reached via email at:  


July 6th, 2010

  Crossed the Big Muddy last week headed up Nawth across the Mason Dixon Line.  Me and the Mrs. ended up in Portland, Maine to attend the Coast Guard Cutter Castle Rock reunion.  Yours truly was aboard the ship from 1964 to 1966 while stationed in Boston, Massachusetts at the age of 17 to age 19.

  All the guys still talk funny, like a Yankee if you savvy especially the ones from Massachusetts and Maine.  They all have the “Pak the cah in the Havad Yad’ accent.

  Saw some really pretty country during the three day road trip.  Shenandoah Valley is a sight to see and very picturesque.  However that country is loaded with Christmas trees AKA Cedar which causes one to sneeze.

  The Pocono’s and Catskill Mountains are also very pretty coming down off the mountain seeing the valley below.   The roads are fairly good, but most have 65 MPH speed limits that should be increased to at least 70 but then again, they’re Yankees.

  Saw three foxes on the trip, all lying beside the road and a porcupine.  The Mrs. noticed numerous deer grazing as the only ones I noticed were lying beside the road.  Also would wager one animal on side of the road was a badger.

  Petrol ran as high as $2.79 a gallon to as low as $2.38.  At one store in Portland, Maine I asked the lady how much for a soft pack of Marlboro Lights.  She replied, “$8.05 plus TAX”.  OUCH!! 

  Noticed several outdoor signs on fish places that lobster was $4.99 a pound and scallops were $10.99 a pound.  Ate lobster everyday almost and attended a lobster bake one evening.  First they brought out individual bowls of clams and mussels.  Got to thinking, we used mussels from the Chattahoochee as bait back before they dammed it. 

  Managed to eat one and it was gritty, opened a clam and saw what did not appeal to me so I offered them to the Mrs.  They finally started bringing out the lobsters with corn on the cob, couple red potatoes and a boiled onion that I thought was a potato until I cut it.  That was good stuff.

  One day we went to Freeport, Maine and walked the L. L. Bean store.  Hugh place, nice and high dollar as well.  That’s where the rich folks shop.  I asked at the desk how many were employed there, the man replied, “We have 500 on the payroll but not all of them work”.  Also, they do not lock their doors or even have locks on the door as they are open 24/7.

  Did notice the sun was up before four in the morning which suited me to a T.  Lots of Subaru vehicles on the road and numerous Saab’s…Yankees

 Had my first lobster roll which is nothing more than something like a hotdog except using lobster meat.    Tasty but costs a lot more than a wiener, more like a couple packs of Marlboro.

June 7th, 2010

  Me and the Mrs. attended a Cole family reunion this past weekend in LA.  That is lower Alabama if you no savvy.  The Cole’s lived down the street from me when I grew up in LaGrange, Georgia.  Always good to see folks you remember from back home.  Almost didn’t think it was worth it through all the rain downpours and wrecks to Alabama – took a good two additional hours to get to Mobile.

  While in Mobile, we drove down onto Dauphin Island to see if there were any tar balls on the beach.  We did not see any tar balls but the Mrs. was fussing about all the cigarette butts on the beach and said they should be concerned about them as well.  It does not take much to get her started on litter and such.  A lot of workers were on the beach, but they were mostly standing around.  They are preparing for an onslaught of oil.

  We were not allowed on the west end of the island as some tar balls were reported there.  Anyway we headed back towards Mobile, she said take the next left and we went through Bayou Le Batre.  If you recall, Bayou Le Batre is where Benjamin Buford Blue (Bubba) was supposedly from in the movie FORREST GUMP.  There is no Bubba Gump Shrimp Co that we found on Bayou Le Batre but we did see one back on our trip to San Francisco on Pier 39. 

  One evening for supper, we went to Wintzell’s Oyster House in Mobile.  Wintzell’s is one of the restaurants Andrew Zimmern visited on his show B IZARRE FOODS; he is that guy that will eat anything.

  Stopped by a fruit stand down the road and was amazed at the huge red and green tomatoes @ .99 a pound; bigger around than a softball.  They had loads of Silver Queen corn as well as Vidalia onions; brought three bags of Vidalia’s back to Texas with us.

We were going to go to a bar in downtown Mobile on Saturday night, but it turned out to be closed down, so we picked another spot in the older part of Mobile and had a nice dinner complete with a wonderful band.

  Suggested to the Mrs. that we get a bushel of peas and she could shell them on our drive back to Texas.  Told her how good they would be with some corn, onion, tomatoes and cornbread.  She looked at me like I was crazy.

  Got the same look when I told her to look at the beautiful kudzu growing alongside the road.  The trip back was much better but not near the traffic on a Sunday morning.

At least one of the cats was glad to see me when we came back home.

May 27th, 2010

   The garden needs early attention each morning before the sun breaks the trees across the road because the day gets hot quick.  Suckers are pinched off the tomato plants each morning.  One could go back out there and walk around the garden a different direction and find a sucker.  A sucker was pinched one off a plant day before yesterday that was almost a foot long; do not see how it was missed but it was.

  The garden has to be watered at least every other day, so the tomatoes are going to end up costing about four bucks a pound once the city water bill comes in.  Mercy!  Seems like everything is getting so expensive.  Paid $2.329 this morning for gas at the Walmart and saw some $7.99 seedless watermelons.  Lordy

  The Mrs. had me go with her to the Blue Bird Circle Resale store yesterday to show me what I can get for her birthday present.  A china cabinet tis, and will be reduced in price next week if not sold.  She wants it to store her collection of cat statuettes in the entryway where a hall table is now.

  Not sure what she wants to do with the hall table, more than likely put it in the kitchen or bathroom because the house is full.  Tried explaining to her she cannot buy anything else unless she throws something away.  It is like talking to those hairy cats of hers. 

  After we left the high rent district of Houston, we rode to the Northshore area and went to the Rotary Club of Northshore Annual Catfish Fry and Crawfish Boil.  Lots of folks and lots of high dollar auction items.  That is a money making operation anyway and hats off to the Rotarians for the good work they do.  We walked around and visited with friends and Rotarians.  It was hot too!

  Went to the back of the serving area where they boil the crawdads and spoke with the Cajun from Louisiana at the crawfish truck, asking how many pounds they planned to boil:  Five Thousand pounds of crawfish, AKA mudbugs he said with his Cajun accent. 

  Sashayed on over to the covered area where the fish cooking operation was going on, lots of old buddies in there too.  They were going to fry up three thousand pounds of catfish.  They use portable concrete mixers (new of course) to coat the fish, then fry.  They had volunteers from Shriner‘s, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Rotaract and others at this event and a site to see, tis. 

  Like any other Rotary Club, they have those that do not do anything, just show up and get in the way.  They sold around 1300 raffle tickets for a hundred bucks each for the drawing of a new Toyota double cab truck.  Numerous other prizes as well, and with each ticket purchased one gets two dinners of crawfish/catfish. 

  Left there with sweat pouring and headed to the glorious city of Highlands, Texas where we stopped off at the Snak Shak, a local restaurant where we ordered believe it or not two catfish dinners.  Food was good and served hot as usual from the grease.  It sure beat setting in the heat to eat.   

May 3rd, 2010

   We had company from across the Mississippi for a few days, South Carolina to be exact.  Ole sister decided it was time to visit her brother and his wife.  We took off for San Francisco for a few days to see the sights and to watch her expression when she saw some of the goings on out there on the West coast.  

  We didn’t miss much and had a large time seeing things one does not normally see.  We rode the cable car to the end of the line which is downtown San Francisco in front of or near Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s in the high rent district.

  We decided to make a pit stop and into Bloomingdale’s we went.  Women’s is on the second floor and men’s is on the fourth floor.  They call theirs a lounge and a nice one indeed.  Afterwards we were sashaying around like we were somebody, looking at things.  Came across a nice men’s sweater and checked the price, near spit my teeth out when I saw $395.00 and the same price for a pair of ugly men’s shoes.

  Later on out on the street at an intersection, this dude in a dress walked by and crossed the street.  Sister asked me if I saw that and what was it, a man or a woman.  It was a he dressed as a she with a cigarette in his mouth pointed up, mercy day it was tacky too. 

  Next day on the street car (F Line) we saw a one man (salt & pepper) kissing another man.  She looked at me and simply shook her head.  I told her it was the city of brotherly love.

  The seals are back on Pier 39 and a good many of them.  They are as large as a bunch of hogs lying up on the floating docks; some probably weighed 600 pounds.

  The women shopped till I was ready to drop; lots of stores sell the “SAN FRANCISCO” colored shopping bags, various colors and all with a zipper closure.  The prices ranged from $12.95 to $2.99 for the same bag a couple blocks off the main drag, Chinatown too.

  Riding the cable car one day I slipped my Bubba Teeth in and had my own laughter.  People were looking at me like we were looking at the sweeties.  It was hard not to bust out laughing at some of the younger people staring at my teeth.  Of course it didn’t settle well with ole sister as I was sitting next to her.  

  Think it is fun to ride a cable car and hang on from the side?   A little girl down from where I was sitting got tagged on the elbow by the side view mirror on a parked car.  It didn’t hurt her but her father scolded her in German.  I can just imagine what he said.

  If you ever get to the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, by all means go eat a hamburger and fries at IN & OUT BURGER.  Just plain good eating and probably the cheapest burger around the wharf.

April 12th, 2010


   No race on TV today so it was baseball, drag racing, or golf; The Masters won out.  Not been that much on watching golf on the tube around here since my ole Pa-in-Law was visiting.   His best score in life was a 72, took me a while to figure out what that meant -  my having played a 72 many times, did good on the second hole too.

  Actually, you ain’t going to believe it, but yours truly has two holes in one, both on a par nine course.  First hole in one was at a nine hole course in Wilmington, North Carolina.  It was the eighth hole and a simple course except for the pine trees.  You would get a ball and two clubs of your choice at the get go, three if you wanted to tote that many.  After the hole in one shot on the eighth hole, the next hole, the ninth, was designed to keep your ball.  Thought about another round but would have to pay a fee to do so.  And no, it was not putt-putt.

  Later on in life, the next nine hole course was San Jacinto Jr College in Pasadena, Texas.  Seen my ole Pa-in-Law drip sweat from the bill of his cap playing there in the hot summer time. 

  The second hole in one was a shot less than a hundred yards, across a pond the width of the green.  BINGO and off we went to the next hole, no cigar, nothing.  Same hole later on, thought I had kilt an eighteen wheeler as the fairway runs alongside of Fairmont Parkway.  Drove a ball along side of the trailer on a weekday morning, know the driver must have heard it.

  Been pinching suckers off the tomato plants, a daily chore and when you wash your hands with soap, the water turns greenish.  Took the razor knife and cut all the stems below the bloom.  That is supposed to give them more sunshine and less something.

  Beginning to wonder what the Jerusalem artichoke is waiting on.  Had to put them in the ice box if I couldn’t plant them immediately and did but sort of forgot a week or so.  Anyway, they were planted then and given a drank of water on occasion.  From what I remember they are a tall bush stalk and dug early to make the pickles. 

  Bought a sock of garlic and planted them along the edge of the garden.  If nothing else it’ll ward off the vampires and skeeters.  Got enough plants there to give someone indigestion for a year or two.

Charlie Farrar can be reached via email:

April 1st, 2010

  After many months of research, looking, shopping and all, I finally came off the hip and bought a new vacuum cleaner.  Lots of looking for sure and internet research but the 12 Amps, weight, price and name led me to this one.

  My being the chief vacuum pusher of the house since retirement, the old vacuum got to where it was like pushing a cinder block.  The best thing about the old one is the long cord.  Of course the new one has a shorter cord and now it must be plugged into more outlets to get the job done but that is ok.

  It is a bit narrower than the old one and requires more pushing and pulling but that too is ok.  The best overall vacuum from consumer articles is the Kenmore Progressive and it is a bag type machine so that’s out!

  Fifty bucks were spent for a Eureka - The Boss Power Plus vacuum cleaner.  This little machine was very impressive as it really gets the job done and surprised me as how much dirt is picked up each Monday; it really sucks!

  Lots of high dollar machines out there and some over five hundred bucks; I’d put this one up against them any day.

  One thing about it, the cats do not like this vacuum either.

  You have read about Fess Parker kicking the bucket; he was my hero in his day.  Did not care for him getting kilt off at the Alamo and the Daniel Boone series was no way a comparison to the Davy Crocket series.  RIP Davy.

  Tip your hats off to the cooks of the Baytown Optimist Club, after attending their Annual Oyster Fry this past Friday.  The fried oysters were just right, even the Cole slaw was good and that is a rarity at fund raisers or so the trend is.  Most places evidently cut up the core of the cabbage into the slaw thus making it bitter; ain’t being picky, just like good Cole slaw.

  Me and the Mrs. will attend the Baytown Rotary Shrimp & Catfish Festival in April followed by the Northshore Rotary’s Annual Crawfish Boil and Catfish Fry. 

  Both Rotary Clubs are having a raffle for a new vehicle drawing and to win, one must purchase a hundred dollar ticket to be eligible.  Of course with the purchase of a hundred dollar ticket, you get two dinners.  That is some high priced eatin, huh!

  The Elks Lodge back home used to have a large Bar-B-Q each year.  If memory serves me correctly, the cook was a gentleman named Pete McGuire and the pork meat was cooked over wire covered pits.  They cooked an enormous amount of pork meat and some of the best to be had; hard to beat a good Bar-B-Q samich.

March 7th, 2010

   Watching the race in Atlanta off and on today while doing odd and end jobs.  Had to mow the back yard this morning making it the second time this year.  That old dead grass sure is dusty and a lot of good it did to shower this morning.  If the garden veggies grow as well as the weeds in the yard, one would be pleased.

  Me and the Mrs. have been trying to eat out the freezer and the pantry here lately.  Got canned goods that need to be consumed as the expiration dates are nearing.  The freezer is down enough now one can actually see the light in back.  Of course with hurricane season nearing, we will restock but will do so more selectively. 

  Over two dozen tomato plants were put in this past week and they are getting lots of TLC.  Hope to have a bumper crop this year as Walmart had tomatoes this morning priced at $2.48 a pound.  When tomatoes are expensive or not pretty, my older sister gave me a trick to use canned tomatoes in salads.  Works just as good and one drinks the juice.  Drained diced tomatoes are preferred in a salad, which are great with a good dollop of Marie’s Blue Cheese.

  Since tomatoes like onions, the garden border is lined with onions and then some.  Need to plant marigolds also as I have heard they are beneficial in a garden keeping away aphids.

  Peppermint repels ants, cabbage moths, aphids and flea beetles.

  Garlic discourages aphids, fleas and spider mites.

  Basil drives away flies and skeeters.

  Radishes help deter cucumber beetles, squash bugs and the ever present stink bug.

  Another tip, do not smoke or allow smokers in your garden, that’s not good for tomatoes as it can cause Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV).

  A hoe kept out by the garden keeps the Mrs. away until its picking time.

   A couple bags of cotton burr compost for the garden were found at the French Greenhouse on Massy Tompkins Rd.  Once the tomato plants are up a bit, the cotton burr compost will be sprinkled and spread around the base of the plants.  Hopefully this will help retain moisture and slow down the nut grass.

  Go plant a six-pack of tomato plants and stick them in the ground, you can thank me later.

  Charlie Farrar can be emailed @

February 21st, 2010

  Spring is so close one can smell it.  That must be why all these sneezing fits have occurred.   The neighbor’s Arizona Ash tree is budding out and the other neighbor’s pear tree will be in bloom once it gets a good drink of water as it is full of buds.  Pear trees are so pretty full of white blossoms.

  Spring will officially be here next month just after you turn your clock forward one hour.  Looking forward to the time advance, although Spike cat will not know the difference as he likes to walk around the pillow before daylight so someone will go get his breakfast snack of Whiskas Temptations treats.

  Spring Fever as defined by Ms Merriam-Webster is “a lazy or restless feeling often associated with the onset of spring”.  You can tell its spring when all the male dove start cooing to the nearest female dove.   It is also time for the white perch AKA Crappie to bite.  Actually the Crappie are already biting on Luce Bayou above Lake Houston. 

  Spring runs from March into May down here in Texas and at the end of spring is the beginning of hurricane season. 

  Spring is also the time to do your spring cleaning and, being the head janitor of the house the job has already begun.  The biggest chore at the house is washing the fascia and eves on the house; next biggest is the blinds and windows.  Guess I’ll have to turn the ceiling fans on high to dust.  Don’t care what she says, that’s woman’s work.  About decided when she retires, I’m going back to work. 

  Drove to the fresh water pond in the big city last week to check out a crappie hole found over the web; hope to wet a hook this coming week, but weather forecast says it’s going to be cold so Charlie might not make it.  

  Got a box of Jerusalem artichoke to plant one day this week, hope to have a pint or two of them pickled as Pop and Pearl Farrar grew them out at their place on the Liberty Hill Road.  Pearl would pickle them and they were right tasty, crunchy too.  Of course she would put a pod of red pepper in the jar for a bit of spice, hot but good. 

  We used to take the mattresses out each spring on a pretty day to air out; it was a job momma always had me help doing wrestling those heavy cotton mattresses out to the back yard for a day.  Nowadays you have febreze.

February 7th, 2010

     Back at the house after a three week road trip up through snow covered Virginia and on across the Mason Dixon Line into Pennsylvania.  Stayed with one of our twin sons for a week visiting his family and all.  Even made it into the Amish Country of Bird-In-Hand, PA and Intercourse, PA purchasing several bottles of Amish wine and got my usual jar of pickled beets. 

  Good grief it was cold up there and the wind would cut you in two.  Gave it a week and traveled on down through Washington, DC and Richmond, VA stopping in Wilmington, NC for a few days.  Stayed with a former Coast Guard mate and his wife and we rode around my old haunts of Wrightsville Beach, NC.

  Having left PA before daylight, it was dark traveling through DC, aw shucks as I wanted to see all of the buzzards flying over all that government land.

  Stopped by old sister’s house and she nearly laid an egg when she answered the door, not expecting me to drop in.  Managed to stay on the river with them for a week and gaining nearly three pounds. 

  Then on down to my hometown of Lagrange, Georgia for a few days.  Having been cured of my case of cabin fever, I headed out a bit past three one morning back to the Texas border.  Driving over 3700 miles and listening to three books on audio from Cracker Barrel sure makes the time fly by.

  If you plan to go through Virginia, by all means do the speed limit.  Never seen so many people pulled over by the blue light boys.  Alabama as well. 

  Stopped by the Lagrange Farm Supply store and picked up a bundle of onions to plant.  Told the man I was going to plant the onions in Texas.  He told me the people of Texas do not know anything about onions, and then he asked me where in Texas I was from.  Then he told me his wife was from Baytown, same town we live in.  Small world ain’t it.

  Got the onions planted this morning as well as the potatoes.   Been looking forward to doing that since arriving back home.  Sure feels good to scratch around in the dirt and feels even better to stretch out in my own rack with my own pillow and have that darn cat come wake me each morning.  Back into the routine one more time.

January 12th, 2010

   Already went to a funeral for the New Year, No Mas!  Heck of a way to start the year and it is simply too cold to attend a funeral.  Have noticed an increase of elders in the obit section of the big city paper; is there a connection with this frigid weather?

  Lots of times one sees in the obits a spouse of one who passed a few days or weeks before.  That tells me that old love suffers super grief that overcomes; some rather not go on without their loved one.  True love has its ways.

  Did manage to get in the garden and scratch around enough to get the soil turned over before the cold.  Hopefully the cold will have eliminated whatever cutworms that went undisturbed.  Always while turning the dirt with the shovel, unearth a cutworm, and leave it in two.

  Celebrated one year of retirement last week; sometimes one wonders when they had time to work.  Yet other times in between chores, details, and lunch a book is cracked - it sure makes the day go by.  On book 16 now in a series of over 60 books, wonder sometimes just how many grizzlies and bad guys one can kill.

   Still enjoy fixing supper for the Mrs. on a daily basis.  We are both corn fed and can honestly say we have had more corn on the cob this past year than ever before since learning to microwave the shucked portion.  It is so good, no need to butter, heat and eat.

  Eating fresh/frozen salmon now since a stent was inserted above my gizzard back in the fall.  A nasty piece of fish they are but go well with a very stout onion tartar sauce.  Microwaving the thawed portion of salmon or any other piece of fish is much healthier and easier than frying fish the way they were meant to be cooked.  Health food you know.

  Poached fish is good but much more work than compared to the microwave.     

  Speaking of fish, heard of a fishing hole with loads of crappie not too far away, it is in Houston city limits.

  Ain’t had a fishing license since my fishing podna kicked the bucket several years back. One has to have a salt water license to fish in this hole even if it is fresh water since it is within state boundaries requiring salt water license – this area South of Interstate 10 requires salt a water license.

  Sometimes it is much more economical to go to Sam’s, Costco, or Kroger to get one’s fish.  They sell bait too.

December 6th, 2009

  The bitter cold took its toll on the garden leaving only the weeds which survived and are flourishing.      Took the chain saw to the Confederate Rose and have a dozen small limbs in a bucket of water to root; thinking of planting all of them along the back yard by the fence row.  The other Confederate Rose took a licking from the cold, just hope it survives for another year.

  Me and the Mrs. flew to Charlotte Thanksgiving Day and had dinner with my sister in South Carolina.  Long way to go eat huh…  It was worth it as we had homemade biscuits each morning and one evening had fried fish that brother-in-law had caught (bass).  The Mrs. mentioned she would not mind moving up there but with the price of groceries up there, I think we’ll stay here.

  Managed to read three books while in the Carolina’s, because shopping with the ladies didn’t appeal to me.  The Mrs. has read the series WILDERNESS by David Thompson and they are most interesting if you like fighting grizzlies, injuns and such.  There are over 60 books in the series so it should do me for a while to come yet.  Used books are the best if you can find them.

  Needing to take a break in my reading and venturing out sometimes, to the hardware store is my usual destination to get my fill of local gossip and bull.  With the hardware store closed Friday so they could go deer hunting, I strolled into the barbershop last week and got an ear full of both.  Raymond the barber says some don’t like coming to his shop because they smell like cigarette smoke when they leave.  He got rid of the bench outside by the building as it was the non- smoking section, so there’s no way to avoid the smoke smell.

  Always a deer hunting story in the barbershop and they are usually spiced with tales of adventure and such.  Heard one about these two hunters and the pranks they pulled on one another.  One guy was shooting at a deer under a feeder and shot a hole in the other guy’s feeder.  Another one was this hunter would collect shotgun shells, etc and goes dump them in another guy’s blind.  Nice guys huh.

  Another tale from another place was that these younger hunters would go hunting on the lease and brought some high dollar steaks for supper.  They would season the steaks and take a mallet and pound the daylights out of the meat to where it was real thin.  The man that was telling it had a good laugh at the youngsters pounding on the high dollar steaks.

  Have heard of other hunting stories a while back but better not put them in print even with the guy dead and gone. 

  This may well be the last column for 2009 so Merry Christmas to you and yours and may the new year be an even better one for you.


November 15th, 2009

  It is going to be a race as to what comes first, the first frost or the making of tomatoes in the garden.  Finally got some blooms on the tomato plants and they will make if given enough time.  If the tomatoes do make, they will eventually end up in some glass jars with my chowchow makings. 

  Me and the Mrs. celebrated our fortieth anniversary recently and drove her new car to Lake Rayburn where we stayed at a bed and breakfast.  While up there, we looked and looked for a place on the water to consider purchasing.  She has told me when she plans to retire and we hope move at that time.  After we rode all over the place, she made the comment, “I don’t know if I want to live this far out from everything.”  So what does that tell you? 

  Anyway, we looked at numerous places on the water and the thought of moving to the lake is getting about as much fan fare as us moving to the Smokey Mountains.  That is not going to happen ‘cause I’ll not move anywhere it snows.  Besides all those deer around the lake would be in my garden.

  Have been assigned the task of cleaning out the garage so the new car can be parked inside.  Not only is the garage full but one of the twins use it as his storage shed too, rent free mind you.  Got two of everything from shovels, rakes to pump and sprayer.  He has a welding machine in there, now that might be fun to play with but I don’t even know how to turn it on yet.  Thinking about getting a rental storage place or having another shed built around back.  Does that make sense to build a place to store junk?

  If I could keep her out of the resale stores on the weekend there would not be as much junk accumulated.  Got more shirts now than I ever had in my life.  Probably get a couple more with Christmas coming around the corner.  Those resale stores are the very reason she does not want to move to the lake.  She has six stores she tries to checkout every other weekend, Sand Dollar, Bluebird, The Guild, Value Village, Houston Area Ministries and one more.  Reckon I should be thankful she does more looking than buying.

October 26th, 2009

   Two weekends in a row me and the Mrs. have ventured into the big city to walk around the Urban Harvest Farmers Market.  It is each Saturday from morning till noon @ Richmond Ave between Kirby and Buffalo Speedway.  One thing for sure, that’s over where the rich folks live.

  Lots of fresh produce, eggs, meats, fish, flowers, herbs, breads and snacks on hand should you so desire; besides, it’s fun to watch the people too.  There was a great guitar player there on our first visit and his case was open for tips.  I put two dollars in the guitar case and he thanked me as he played one of Paul Simon’s numbers.  Then I reached in what was where once I kept my cigarettes and got out what looked like a hundred dollar bill folded.  I had ordered some business cards which look like hundred dollar bills.  I laid the bill so the guitar player could see it and he thanks me again, more so this time; he was as thankful as the Mrs. was PO’d at me for doing it. 

  We got fresh okra, collards, green tomatoes and a good breakfast snack.  With the green tomatoes, the Mrs. suggested I make some chowchow and she would pick the peppers.  That she did this morning and there was not quite a gallon of Tabasco and cayenne pepper pods. 

  The hot peppers are stout enough to take your breath when you get them out of the food processor finely cut up, especially that many peppers.   Got the whole house odorized of vinegar and peppers smell, very pungent.

  Found a Costco store just down the street from the Farmer’s Market and made that trip for the last two weekends as well.  Get your share of walking in one of those too; it’s as big as a Sam’s and a bit nicer in my book.  Not so crowded in the mornings and it helps fill a weekend.

  After leaving a bit poorer from the Costco store, we had its hotdogs with mustard and onion for our brunch with a large cup of Coke.  Not a bad deal, two big hotdogs and drinks for three bucks plus tax.  Sure beats the dickens out of the big city ball parks price of hotdog and drink.  These were Hebrew National franks and they make good hotdogs.  Price them if you can find any. 

  Got up the other morning and found the glove box open in the car and the GPS missing.  Dumb ole me did not lock the doors upon exiting the car.  Live and learn, y’all lock your cars and your house.  Sad situation we have but we can make do with it.  Lock and Load! 

October 13th, 2009

  With October came a little trip cross the mighty Mississip to Georgia and South Carolina.  Attended a community reunion in Georgia and then chauffeuring my aunt and Montana Cuz to old sister’s house in South Carolina.  The Mrs. elected not to make this trip so I had a chance to do some real serious thinking on the long lonesome highway there and back, but missed my backseat driver.

  Almost two weeks and two thousand miles driven with my best MPG being 35.2 and that is good.  Cheapest gas was in South Carolina @ 2.08 per gallon.  Louisiana had the most police on the highway followed by Georgia.  The sugar cane in Louisiana is looking good too.

  With the women shopping, my brother-in-law rode me around the backwaters where they live and look at some of the high dollar homes.  He made a sudden stop, backed up and said look there.  There were a dozen buzzards perched on the roof of a nice home.  Two houses were buzzard perches and their mess could be seen on the first house.  Evidently the people have the house as a second home or they are on a trip too.   

  Brought back some country ham (salt cured), ‘cause it makes biscuits taste better.  Have to go easy with that stuff; some call it “trip to the hospital food”.  Montana cuz brought 3 one pound bags of some of the best jerky ever gnawed on.  Aunt gave me a quilt she made at the senior center as well as giving one to the cuz and to old sister.  Lucked out on that trip.

  Very few of the trees are turning color for this time of year, give it another month or so and it should be a site to see.   The kudzu is still green and will be until the first frost.  It is amazing how much that stuff has taken over.  Made a visit to the house where I grew up and grunted with displeasure.  The owners have painted the house blue of all colors.  I don’t do blue houses, blue trousers, blue shirt or blue suede shoes, well maybe, but not a house and especially that house.  They even had a kudzu vine creeping across the flat spot up from the side of the house. 

  Now the Mrs. is headed to Pennsylvania for a week with the grandchildren and will leave me with those darn cats.  That one ole tom cat jumps on the bed around 5:30 each morning.  He is trying to tell me to get up, do my thing and feed him.  Gonna be a long lonesome week.

September 20th, 2009

   Me and the Mrs. took a little R & R and a four day weekend down the coast to Port Aransas.  We stayed on Mustang Island and spent a couple of days in Rockport, Texas attending the Hummingbird Festival. 

  A fun trip indeed visiting various homes watching the hummers at people’s numerous feeding stations.  More fun than that was the “Last Chance Forever” live birds of prey show that is dedicated to the rehab of sick, injured and orphaned birds of prey.  Hawks, Owls, an Eagle, a Buzzard and a Falcon were on display Friday night and Saturday morning.

  The birds were allowed to fly in the school auditorium Friday evening and awesome cannot describe this event.  Additionally, vendors had their bird wares available from T-Shirts, feeders, blown glass hummer ornaments, high dollar binoculars and scopes were available for purchase.  The Mrs. noticed and purchased a 72 ounce sugar water feeder that hopefully will last more than one day without having to be refilled.

  They had rain down in that part of the country a week or so ago and the skeets were out in volume.  Finally found a place that has the skeets as bad as we do in the back yard.  They should name it the Skeeter Festival because they outnumbered the hummers 10 to 1.

  This ole Georgia Boy never has been a big fan of chowing down on fish and bait.  Back in the Coast Guard in Boston on Fridays they served seafood and lobsters in abundance, back then related to a Catholic requirement of no meat on Fridays.  Of course, I never had eaten the big crayfish much less any other seafood, giving mine away and opting for a bologna sandwich.

  Time changes all or most anyway.  Had my first taste of Mahi-mahi fish and found out just how good tis.  Ate it five times and consider the grilled much better than the fried.  Speaking of fried fish, the restaurants down there do not serve catfish or at least the six eating places we visited.  The Mrs. put two of her shrimp on my plate reciprocating for a piece of the fish yours truly gave her.  Later that evening, the shrimp were still swimming and I swear they were cooked in coon oil.

  The Mrs. agreed we might move to that part of the country and it sure beats the fire out of the Smokey Mountains that she has wanted.   We spent the better part of a day riding around Mustang Island, Rockport, and Fulton looking at homes for sale getting a sampling of the area.  The house she wanted was $399K and mine was over a Mil so we have to wait on her to reach retirement age and maybe our ship will come in so we can buy down there.

  We are back at the poor house now and it do feel good, peas and cornbread for supper, back to basics.

September 6th, 2009

  Labor Day weekend, tis.  This time last year we were in preparations for hurricane Ike to come to town.  It also reminds me of the blackberry wine which was started after we lost power.  The wine has been working the entire year now and it’s still working; might end up knocking your socks off.

  The blackberry patch is No Mas (that’s Spanish for No More) as it has been cut to the ground being nearly dried up.    That is good soil where the blackberry patch was, been thinking of getting some thornless blackberries or maybe something else we can eat to plant in its place.  Should be a rule, nothing is planted that you cannot eat.  Only have five things in and around the yard besides grass (weeds) that you cannot eat.  A Confederate Rose, a Seven Sisters Rose, a Tuberose (has the fragrance of the Gods), a Red Apple Ice plant and a palm type plant that is leftover from my father-in-law’s funeral, not sure what it is so it is called Don McAninch. 

  The two rain containers under the back roof and porch contained a bit of water but not enough to amount to anything.  It is used mostly to sustain the Tuberose lately. 

  Out on Liberty Hill Road in my hometown of LaGrange, Georgia at the little house on the hill were three large washtubs that gathered water as it came off the side of the tool shed.  The water was used to wash the clothes and all.  Out from the edge of the tool shed past the water tubs was the artichoke patch.   A Jerusalem artichoke is one that you dig and not like the globe shaped artichoke one sees in the stores nowadays.  The roots are knobby and Ma Pearl used to make pickles known for their sweet, nutty crispness in turmeric spiced pickles.  A South of the Mason Dixon line recipe with onion and red pepper.   Makes me wonder how the artichoke would do in the old blackberry patch.  If the plant is ordered now, it will not be shipped until spring.  Time will tell as they are ordered.

  Memories of the wash day chore out in the country come back then - laborious as all get out with the ringer type washer.  It was fun to put the water soaked clothes up and into the ringer only it was not so much fun when my hand went up into it.  I squealed like a cut hog and my grandma came running and set me free.  No longer did I think it was so much fun ‘cause that hurt. No Mas.

Another Oldie from Charlie - 1996 - maybe he ran out of stuff to talk about?????

  My friend Ruby gave me some writings from her aunt from way back a long time ago...  She was getting some research done on her family history.  I found it very interesting and the woman writes like she talks.  Sound familiar?

  Lemme share it with you, here tis:

The lady’s name is Hallie so get used to it.  Seems like Hallie was the 13th child born in the family.  Time was 1893 and her mother was 45 when she was born.  She writes of being raised on a big farm, they raised everything - cotton, corn, sugar cane, peanuts, melons, and peas. 

She mentioned the system called the free range for all animals, only fencing was around the house.  The families had markings which they used to cut on the hog ears.  Each fall the men folk would go into the woods and kill wagon loads of hogs and then the work began - from boiling water to smoking the meats. Cracklins are mentioned as well the lean pork meat that was ground and after salt, pepper and sage was worked into the meat, it was fried and packed down in large jars of grease (fat) to be removed and eaten as needed.  She said the jars would be half-full of grease and the fried sausage would be added and the jars placed on a long shelf with the bottom end up so the grease would have a tight seal. 

  They had their own surp mill where people brought their sugar cane to be extracted and to be cooked down to surp.  Nobody had any money so they just gave them more surp which they stored in sixty gallon wooden barrels and sold for 25 cents a gallon. (They must have done some ‘sho nuff soppin back then. You ever did that or do you know what I’m talking about?).

  Hallie had written something’s that reminds me of Heloise.  She has a recipe for Lye soap, how to make tallow which I will share if you want to come get it.

  Hallie says to cut your wood on the decrease of the moon, it will burn better.

  Cedar Bough Tea - for chicken mites.  Brake (yea, brake) a lot of Cedar Boughs off and put in wash pot of cold water. Boil for one hour.  Take limbs out and put tea in wash tub to cool.  Dip chickens in it.  Separate feathers so you can get the tea down to the skin and all feathers.  Hallie adds that she closes her chicken house door the night before.

  For Worms - a teaspoon full of sugar and put two drops of turpentine on top.  Give it every other day until you have three doses.

  Poke Salad - gather Poke Salad while young; put it on to cook in cold water after you wash it.  Boil for a while, then take it out of water and put in a skillet of hot water with grease and salt.  Cook it real tender...then taste it to see if it is salty enough.  This is my way of cooking most everything...........................she said.

  Hallie goes on to tell ya how to do fig preserves, blackberry cobbler, serial cloth for Bronchitis, how to dry seeds, when to plant, Sassafras Tea, tobacco on insect bites, salts for infection, beaten egg whites for sprains, remove the head of a risin, (yuck....  been there, done that), setting your hens, hog killing, cutting wood, watermelons, sweet potatoes, peaches, tea cakes.

  Hallie wrote at one point, “I am 83, and wrote this May 1976, I am blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other.”


  Red-Eye Gravy - I’ll stop here and add that it ain’t anything but ham grease and coffee or water.  If I rode the range all day or walked behind a mule all day-everday, I could work it off.

 August 27th, 2009 - An Oldie from 1988

  Sometimes I think if it was not for bad luck, I would not have any luck.  Last night, we had the privilege of having one of the twins over for a visit. I asked if he wanted to eat dinner with us.  He said he would since it smelt so good cooking.  I had baked chicken breast, mustard and turnip greens, baked cubed potatoes, butter fried zucuinni squash -cut length wise, cornbread and chunk white fresh onion. 

  I opened the refrigerator door and about that time a full pint jar of pepper sauce fell from the top door and landed smack dab on my big right toe.  Talk about a center punch. No, the glass jar did not shatter or break, rather the ring lid made a half moon on my toe.  Blood shot out of the base of my toe nail from the hard hitting pressure.  Yes, I was barefooted. 

  Gee, that hurt like the dickens.  I wanted to run, holler and squall.  All I could do was hold on to the counter and shudder.  That toe throbbed all night. 

  Mrs. Farrar woke up and greeted me this morning with a “What in the world are you doing?” 

  I was in the bathroom with my 14v Makita drill.  I got the smallest drill bit I could find and bore a hole at the base of my toe nail to relieve the pressure.  I stuck a pin in the hole causing it oozed.  That is the only way I know to relieve the pressure is by boring a hole in the nail. 

  I have had to do this before to fingernails and toenails.  I have had blood come flying out before.

  It is not easy getting a hole in a toe or finger nail.  First of all, the toe or finger is sore from all the pressure from the banging.  The end of my big toe has a purple color to it. 

  Having busted my thumb with a hammer before, I would take a needle and scratch back and forth on the nail base to open it up.  Once you get down close to the quick, it sure does get sensitive but once the dark spot is opened up and drained of the blood, it feels better.  It will feel even better when it quits hurting.

  I guess I will lose that toe nail.  That ain’t going to be fun either.  Ain’t nothing worse than putting on socks and the sock snags that sore nail while you are pulling on the sock.

  Back to hobbling. 

  Back when I was a chap, I rode a bicycle every day.  I was barefooted one time going in a circle and my toes were hanging over the pedal on the down stroke.  That hurts too when the toes hit pavement.  That ain’t bad luck, that’s just plain stupid. 

  So much for pain and agony.

  What did the fish say when it ran into a brick wall?....dam  

August 23rd, 2009

   Fall is in the air, you might not be able to tell it but it will be here this time next month.  The big city paper has already published their edition of FALL BAZAARS & FESTIVALS.   Bazaars are fun things to do should you have the desire to get out of the recliner and stay on your feet.

  It is time to plant your fall crop if you are a gardener.  The garden of weedin already has tomatoes in the ground and hopefully there will at least be some nice green tomatoes before first frost.  Not my idea of fun back there picking tomatoes with the wind whooping and the temperature is in the thirty’s and forty’s.

  It is hummingbird migration time, now thru September.  We have about six hummers buzzing around out front in and around the sugar water feeders.  Only have five feeders out now although in the past there have been over a dozen scattered around the house.  Those feeders need to be washed out once a week and in the peak time of the season; we have put out a gallon a day of the sugar water mixture (4 to 1).

  Tried to make a bet with the Mrs. this morning saying I would catch a hummingbird this year.  She would not bet as she knows one of the little things will fly in the garage and ain’t got enough sense to fly down a foot or so and go back out the garage door.  They will continually fly upwards bumping into the ceiling until they get so tired they can no longer fly.  That is where I come in; I pick up the little thing and take it out the garage and release or set it in the tree to rest.  The garage door is now kept down during hummer migration time.

  Caught a hummingbird and showed it to the neighbor kids last year and they wanted to know how I caught it; told them I am quick.  Put a couple feeders out with sugar water, it does not have to be colored red.  They are fun to watch and they will not harm you as their long beak is as flexible as a straw.  

August 9th, 2009

  Having spent over 30 years in the banking and finance business, my start in the finance company came soon after being discharged from the Coast Guard in Wilmington, North Carolina.  The position was titled Customer Service Representative AKA collector, not a bad job but dealt entirely with past due accounts and sometimes rough people.

  That was back in the corn liquor days as they still had liquor stills in that part of the country.  The fellow who trained me was from Ash, NC and he went to collect from this one person going into his garage.  Next thing he knew, he was surrounded by a bunch of men and they got into a shoving match. 

  That same customer was having his power cut off for lack of payment.  The customer held the power company man with a gun making him go back up the pole and cut the guy’s power back on.  Nice people huh. 

  After getting hired by a bank to assist in the collection of its loans, I was making an outside call to a customer’s residence only to find nobody home.  Arriving back at the bank at the day’s end and reporting to the respective loan officer of my attempts to collect, he informed me that this way past due customer had come into the bank.  The loan officer had loaned him more money, however the father-in-law co-signed the note.  That did not make much sense to me, but loan officers are known to do some really squirrelly things. 

  Had two lenders quit one time because the holding company had sent a big time lender to the bank who had been promoted over the two that quit.  Reckon it hurt their feelings.  Did not hurt my feelings, it gave me more job security because this hot shot was loose as a goose with his lending.  Apparently he did not know the meaning of No!

  Had another big time lender come in from Dallas and a big shot he was.  He even had to find a place to send his shoes to be shined.  I thought good grief!  Rather funny, this hot shot loved to frequent topless bars and soon after his arrival in town he made the Houston circuit of a few bars spreading word of how big a banker he was.  Needless to say, the next day a stripper showed up in the bank, fully clothed of course, and was going to hit him up for the loan per his evening before.  Thought the hot shot was going to crawl under his desk.  It was so funny; he closed the door to his office and told the assistant that he would be in conference for the rest of the day. 

  Had one lender with a drug problem and it too was comical for a while; but not so funny when I inherited his portfolio as the loans had to be collected.  I do believe the man would have loaned Jessie James money.

  Of all those college boys, we had one who simply could not compose a letter.  He had his secretary write all of them and to think they got the big bucks. 

August 2d, 2009

  I have always heard if you want a quick summer, take out a 90 day loan.  Time flies don’t it?

  Believe it or not, my Tabasco pepper bush has re-sprouted about 10 inches from where the main bush was before it got kilt by the frost.  I had hoped it would come back and it did.

  I have always been told it does one good to have hope.  Some hope, some pray, some wish.  Depends on what you want in and out of life, I reckon that makes one do what they do.  What do you do?

  Anyhow, hopefully, I will get enough peppers to put up some pepper sauce this year.  Since green tomatoes are so hard to come by,  I’ve planted six  plants of which five are doing fine, maybe there will be enough to make some chow-chow.

  While on vacation,  I spent a lot of time at Day Lake.  Somebody has dropped off a big male lab dog or it is lost up there.  He is a pretty dog, smart too. A bit on the poor side though.

  When Four dog first saw the lab,  he actually attacked or attacked at it.  The lab probably could have bit Four nearly in two if he wanted.  The lab backed away and around from Four.  I scolded Four for being a fool.  I gave the lab Four dog’s leftover food and some more.  Poor thing,  probably ain’t ate in a few days.

  The next morning, I had left over T-bone, collards, onion, and loaf bread for breakfast.  I fixed Four dog a bit on a plate with a good helping of collards.  He ate his bits of meat and bread and gnawed the bone to the point of being dangerous if one stepped on it.

  He did not touch the collards.  I told him I gave him the best part of the breakfast and he shunned it.   I told him if he didn’t eat it I was going to give it to that old black dog.  He looked at me with a cocked head.  I sweetly called in a higher than usual tone to the O BLACK DOG COME GET FOUR DOGS BREAKUS - CHUM ON NOW, CHUM GET IT.

  It didn’t take long but my acting like I was going to give the plate away, Four dog ate the collards.  I laughed at that dog, he sure is spoilt, greedy too. 

   This was writ over 13 year ago and still miss ole Four.

July 21st, 2009

  Finished reading an eBook this weekend, a first for me and enjoyed it so much, I ordered another eBook to download. 

  An eBook is read over the computer once downloaded for a nominal fee.  The program to read the eBook was free so I am good to go.  The particular book just finished was LONG HORN II by Dusty Rhodes.  AMAZON.COM has the book for $35.95 + S & H and it is a paperback edition, used at that.

  The eBook was purchased for $5.50 with the only drawback being it must be read over this computer and one cannot go lie down to read and catch a snooze.  It cannot be copied, printed, transferred or forwarded.  Like the Vegas theme, “What you read here, stays here”.

  Our oldest boy by 9 minutes and his clan are down from Pennsylvania.  They head back up and across the Mason Dixon Line tomorrow, none too soon for the cats.  Must admit the boy has become a good cook over the years and gladly turned the cooking over to him while he was home.  Reckon we’ll be eating leftovers for a week after they leave.

   Grandkids sure are nice and fun loving to have.  Some good, some bad and folks say you reap what you sow.  The reason kids today are such picky eater is because the parents ask them if they want some of this, that and the other to eat.  Prepare the kids a plate and expect them to eat.  If they do not, do not reward them with cookies and ice cream.  GOOD GRIEF!!!

  That is old school maybe but I am sure there are some of you who will agree with me.  Took the granddaughters (7 & 12) to Wal-Mart the other morning@ 0600; advised them to stick close to me because somebody might get them and they be making tamales for the rest of their lives.  Do not have to worry about the girls running around whooping and hollering like some you see in the stores.  Reckon you could say that is why little brother got left behind because I too would whoop and holler too if I had to tag along with two girls in the girl’s britches department.

  These kids do not know how good they have it.  All they did while in Texas sure beats sitting outside in a swing shelling beans and peas, shucking corn and putting stuff up, canning and all.  That may be productive and it sure beats watching SQUARE BOB WET PANTS or the Nick channel.  Guess that is why they are at their great aunt’s house swimming in the concrete pond and not in the creek outback.

July 5th, 2009

  While walking to the truck this morning, a bird took flight just ahead of me.  At first it looked like an owl and it landed on the other side of the truck, not far off.  I walked over there and the bird took another short, flight landing on some concrete. 

  This time I walked directly up to the bird or as close as I thought I should get and observed the bird colors and feathers, thinking I should know what sort of bird it is.

  Sure wish I had my camera too.

  Sure as shooting, Google described the bird and has a picture of one exactly like it.  It was a Whippoorwill, no doubt.

  Used to hear them down in the river bottom of the Chattahoochee River way back when, and always when it was dark.

  There is some folklore that goes with the Whippoorwill.  An unmarried woman would listen for the sound of the Whippoorwill.  One call means she’ll not get married for a year.  Three calls mean she will be destined to be a spinster.  Two calls means impending matrimony.

  Google goes on to say that repetitious calls were often considered an omen of death to the Omaha Indians.  The Ute Indians believed that the Whippoorwill was the god of the night and could magically change a frog into the moon.

  Iroquois believed that the lady slipper was the Whippoorwill’s shoe.

  The bird didn’t make any sound when I was around so reckon that means it didn’t want to be bothered.

  It made my day to say the least, it is not everyday that one sees a Whippoorwill much less know what one is.  Have you ever heard the call of a Whippoorwill?

  The twin son from Pennsylvania and his clan have been down all week; they went back this afternoon with web feet.

  He and I put up 15 pints of chowchow early one morning and got in the dog house with Big Momma.  She said we started too early and should have waited a bit.

  With the two granddaughters, I always take them to Wal-Mart one morning at six o’clock; they love it.   This trip we took the other granddaughter with us.  Ages 12, 10 & 5.

  Do believe they can smell the toy section of the store because that was their direction. 

  Then next thing I know they are looking at bras.  Nearly dropped my teeth when the 10 year old got one.

  I made a comment about why she was buying a sling shot so when we got home, she told on me. 

 June 22d, 2009

  Spent a little time behind bars recently as me and the Mrs. took a boat ride to the island of Alcatraz just off San Francisco.  A worthwhile endeavor indeed not to mention all the stories behind the self guided tour.

  The whole place has deteriorated very much but could still house a few prisoners.  The Box was something to see as was the visitation area.  An interesting sign during the tour read, “Break the rules and you go to prison, break prison rules and you go to Alcatraz”.  Lots of bad people spent time there and heard some interesting facts about the Birdman of Alcatraz.   He never had birds while he was at Alcatraz (it was against the rules) but had birds when he was at Leavenworth.

  There ain’t nothing cheap in San Francisco.  Parking at the hotel was forty bucks a night even if you stayed there.  We did not rent a car, but fully used the public transportation system.  The cable car was…well, I will not wait in line that long again to ride the thing.  It was packed like sardines on the inside and we managed to have inside seats.  But if you sat, people standing faced us or you get their rears in your face and you couldn’t see the city.  No Mas.

 The street cars (F Line) with overhead wires were the best mode of transportation.  We got on one the first day there just to get our bearings.  We rode it from one end to the other and back near our hotel.  That in itself was a tour of the city and a sight to see for a buck fifty each.  The ticket stub can be used again within four hours.

  Night lights mean bright colorful lights along Fisherman’s Wharf.  Made it to Chinatown one evening riding on the street car in San Francisco.  Have not been in that hilly of an area since I went back to Georgia.  Told one fellow from there that it is a wonder they don’t have one leg longer than the other with those hills.

  It was cold in San Francisco most of the time and we took jackets having been forewarned.  Lots of stores sell sweats and $19.99 lite weight jackets with San Francisco embroidered or something on the front.  Nice jacket and one would make you smile when all you brought were pull over short sleeve shirts.

  Out from the end of the building area was a swim club and folks were actually swimming in that frigid water.  Air temp was good jacket weather and water temp in the high fifties.  My Wranglers felt good too, so you can imagine the water.  Some had on wet suits while others had simple bathing suits.  You can see everything in California; I can believe that after this trip.

  Took one tour bus trip across the Golden Gate Bridge to Muir Woods, the place where the large trees grow and enjoyed it a whole bunch.  An interesting fact at the bridge is that it is painted every year.  Six months to do one side and six the other, then they starts over again – interstate orange.

  Glad to be back home even with this sweltering heat.

June 2d, 2009

  Been playing gardener every morning; pinching suckers off the tomato plants, pinching the leaf footed bugs off the tomato and keeping an eye out for stink bugs.  They will certainly mess up a pretty tomato or what have you.    Have not seen the first snake this year so knock wood. 

  Poke salad is coming along real good if you eat the poke weed.  Most folks don’t eat it much, less know what it is.  The leaves eaten after first boil will cleanse your colon they say.  The berries will kill mammals so take heed; stain a good t-shirt too.  I just grow it as a conversation piece having brought the seeds back from Georgia twenty year ago.

    The month of May marked the fifteenth year of the TWO CENTS WORTH articles so for what it is worth I hope you have smiled a time or two.  June marks the sixth month of retirement for yours truly and I have gotten around to doing the senior citizen thing with the community center.  No sewing classes, cards or such, but did manage to get to eat two times at different places.  So far-so good.  We ride on air conditioned buses and all of the buses are driven by women.  Not complaining mind you, just wanted to bring it out. 

  Sat at the dinner table today with a lady who reminded me of my aunt.  No eating place can ever please her.  Coffee is not hot enough and she would send it back to the kitchen.  They probably then nuked it to boiling for her.  She taught me how to make river coffee and the water was from the Chattahoochee.  Boil water; pour in the ground, that’s river coffee.  Same way the cowboys did it.

  Anyway, the diner at the dinner table sent food back because it was too salty and made a comment about me getting my greens put in a bowl and hers on her plate were all runny.  Then there was something about me getting more mashed potatoes than she did.  My aunt would put oodles of salt on her food, more than once sometimes.  If she was eating fish, it’s a sight, the amount of salt that woman would use.  Aunt never finished what was on her plate; she would take a bite of something and say it is not fitting to eat and that’s it. 

  My father-in-law rolled in his urn recently, because I bought a foreign car.  He was a Chevrolet man from the word go.  That is all he bought and sort of got me in the same habit.  Of course he got his right; his father-in-law owned a car dealership.

  When I met his daughter, my mode of transportation was a VW beetle and I listened to him back then about foreign made vehicles and something about my driving and speeding.   But he did not have much room to talk and neither does his daughter who takes after him. 

  “Look out, woman driver”

May 19th, 2009

   Had company last week, my ole country sister came to town.  She stays in the deep woods of South Carolina on the Catawba River and she drips country; from the way she talks to her eating habits. 

  We attended the Strawberry Festival in Pasadena with the real feel temperature hovering around a hundred.  Tried my best to get her to ride in the helicopter but she would have nothing to do with it.  Said, “I ain’t getting in no helicopter!”  So me and the granddaughter got tickets and took a quick up and around the fairgrounds ride.  Quickest twenty bucks I ever spent but it was worth it to see the little girl smile as we took off.  This was her first time to ride in a chopper, my second and this one was jet turbine.  I asked the fellow taking up tickets how much one of those helicopters cost, he quoted $1.2 million.

  Ole sister had her first beef brisket at the Catholic Church Bazaar Sunday.  Said it was good and cleaned her plate…as usual.  She was much surprised that beer was sold at the event but I told her it was to wash down the barbeque for the auction buyers.

  She cracks me up, at the dinner table; we have grinders for salt and pepper - remove the top, turn upside down and grind out the salt.  She was sitting there twisting the dickens out of the salt and nothing would come out.  She did not take the cover off and when she did, it was full of salt.

  Took her to our favorite Mexican restaurant and suggested she get a Summer Special.  When they brought it before her, she looked at me and said, “How do I eat it.”  There was fresh guacamole, a bean chalupa, a beef taco and chili con queso tostada.  She managed to get through the meal and said it was very good.  Lots different than the Taco Bell they have down in Columbia, SC.

  Quick witted she is, I made a comment about something saying, momma only raised one fool and she cut in and said, yea, he is in Texas.

  She worked at the bleachery for years, later going to work with Mack Trucks.  She had me arm wrestle her one time and she beat my socks off.  She  used air tools to put the brakes on those big units and was strong from doing so. 

  She worked on the line and said one of her girlfriends had placed a rubber snake up under a truck where she would be putting on brakes.  Said that truck came down the line and she got down doing the brakes and seeing that snake, came up from there screaming and hollering.  All her workers around were laughing at her hysterics.

  When it comes to sisters, I got the best.

May5th, 2009

  Finally broke down and cranked up the AC for the year and might get to shut it down come November when it cools.  It sure has been nice these last three weeks with the windows and back door open.  Always had a good breeze and the new screens helped immensely.  No mas.

  Went to a funeral last week of a friend and former Rotarian, first time I wore pressed slacks and starched shirt since retirement in January.  Told the Mrs. with all the humidity in the house, it has made my slacks shrink a bit; sounded good anyway.

   The granddaughter (1st grade) spent the night with us and she almost got her Granny in trouble.  Seems as though the two of them walk down the creek to check it out.  They came back with mud up past their ankles, Granny had mud up her legs and a big spot on her rear where she slipped and fell.  She giggled and said, “We got stuck in the muck.”

  Had them to go around on the side of the house and wash that mud off before tracking all that mud  on my clean floors.

  We went back there this morning but stayed on the grass and looked for the shoe that Granny threw up on the bank.  The granddaughter found the shoe upside down with about an inch of muck on the sole lying upside down like a pile of mud.  Told the Mrs. she is lucky she is not sore today.  At least the neighbors across the creek got a good laugh out of watching them go up the bank.

  Been there, done that.  I got stuck in the garden one morning and backwards I went and the ground was sopping wet.  Had to go back later and get my shoe out of the hole but I didn’t tell on myself.  Until now.

  Showed the granddaughter how to pinch suckers off a tomato plant and she did ok until she came across an onion and wanted to pull it up.  I said ok and next thing I know she ‘bout pulled up all of the onions and was going for the green tomatoes next.  Bet she would be good in a pea patch…for about five minutes.

April 22d, 2009

    The eagle screams this week.  In case you do not know what that is, it is payday for government service.  That is what it was called aboard ship in the Coast Guard and they paid us in cash.  Generally the supply officer and a gunner’s mate, both armed with .45’s, made the trip to the bank to pick up the ship’s payroll.

  Those once a month paydays are back now that yours truly is drawing social security.  While working in the banking industry for years, we were paid on the 15th and 30th of each month.  Never received an actual paycheck, everything was direct deposit, still is.  During my last year, the bank changed our paydays to every other Thursday and that was a nice treat.  Sometimes before on those long weekends before payday, you would have to wait for payday to do something and to buy groceries.

  One thing about the social security, and you have probably heard about it before, I’ll tell you flat out if you expect to live just on social security alone when you retire, you best move on into the poor house.  You might think you are there now but you are in for a big surprise.  Ma said if you think we are poor this week, wait until next week.

  What I draw from the government is just enough to pay required insurance on the old truck and old car, the old house plus all the various and assorted taxes one must pay to live in the great state of Texas.  Not to mention the light bill, water bill, phone bill, cable bill, Dr bill, drug bill, and incidental bill, and still out of your check is the income tax Uncle Sam charges you to pay you.  Ain’t nothing wrong with cornbread and peas but some good fried streak-o-lean is good every now and then.

  Enough of the poor mouth but fortunately for me, I married a woman younger than me and she is still working.  She has a ways to go before she retires and continues to work to this day.  As my old buddy would say, you cut a fat hog on that one.

  Uh-O, that almost got me in trouble, I had to explain what that saying meant.

April 6th, 2009

   Lost one of my buddies the other day, this one was an old paratrooper from WWII and his picture has hung on my office wall for years.  It was a photo of him with John Wayne.  Had another picture below it of John Wayne and David Jansen which was photographed at Fort Benning during the filming of THE GREEN BERETS back in 1968.

  Bob Fischer was my neighbor during my growing up days back in Georgia and an interesting man indeed.  Being the military liaison for the State of Georgia, he had diplomatic status at the bases in Georgia.  He enjoyed rubbing elbows while flying around with the General in his helicopter in those days. 

  He was a boxer and coached boxing at the Dixie Community Center.  Having fought Golden Glove in Alabama, he knew how to box.  He was a former Scout Master for one of the Boy Scouts Troops, having made a trip with his troop to the scout camp in Philmont, New Mexico.   A big time Shriner, he loved to participate in parades around the state with his convertible having a large time enjoying life. 

  Talking about the war one time, he called me Bub.  He said, “Bub, I’ve seen it all.” talking about the Germans and the mutilation that went on in Auschwitz.

  Back as a chap, I was at their house next door down the hill; Bob went into his attic and came back with a Nazi flag to show us kids.

     Guess you could say he has made his last jump in life, RIP old friend.

  Old friends like that are hard to come by; it takes a life time to create something that special.  Problem is, at my age, good friends like Bob are getting fewer and farther between.  

   Had lunches recently with some old banker friends.  Interesting to be around people like that; find out what is going on in the area, people, events, happenings, this and that.  Past dues are still past due.  What areas are hot in value and what is this, that and the other going to be?

  At least the working banker picked up the tab.

March 23rd, 2009

  Sometimes my ole cuz up Montana way sends items of interest about that part of the world.  The latest was a newspaper article out of the BILLINGS GAZETTE regarding the use of birds of prey to rid starlings from one of the refineries.

  As an admirer of birds, this article struck my fancy.

  A refinery in Billings hired a company out of California which uses trained owls, hawks and falcons to rid the massive number of starlings. 

  In 19 days, the starlings were reduced from about 50,000 to about 50 using 12 different birds of prey.

  Don’t go getting all huffy about that as the company does not want to hurt the birds, but simply gives them a fright to go someplace else.

  They let the birds of prey out in the afternoon and evening to scare away the unwanted birds.

  The article had some interesting facts that you may be interested in:

  A hawk’s eyesight is eight times better than a human’s, allowing it to see a rabbit up a mile away.

  A European eagle owl can see a hundred times more better than a person and is able to spot a mouse by starlight a football field away…yes more better.

  Owl’s claws can exert a thousand pounds per inch compared to a human’s ninety pounds per inch.

  An owl’s hearing is so good; it can detect a rat 2 feet under the snow or grass.

  They say the birds will stay away until they go back south in the fall.

  Sort of like me this past weekend with the Mrs. and grandyoungan looking at a potential fishing hole.

  We went up to Liberty County to the Trinity River Wildlife Refuge to check out a fishing spot.  The spot off the pier was so-so.  I walked down the trail to another pond on the other side and down a bit while the girls went exploring the butterfly trail.

  On down a ways this one little pond looked just right and down there I went.  Water on both sides and possibly some fish in the one on the left.  Eye balling the water and banks I gandered upon a rather large gator as it was eyeing balling me big time.  

  Like those birds leaving the refinery, you can have this place!


March 9th, 2009

  Hey, the temps have already hit the 80’s, tomatoes and peppers are in the ground, NASCAR has started and finally received the first social security check.  That is hard to beat. 

  Old cuz up in Montana said the snow is still coming down.  By the time my tomatoes run out, old cuz will be planting and eating tomato sandwiches in August.  Told old cuz they only have two seasons, winter and the Fourth of July.

  Being retired from the bank and finance business, one has many tales of events, adventures and OMG’s.

  The very bad past dues or way past dues however you want to call them, the branch manager would go with me, or I would go with him to see the customer.  This customer lived in a mobile home not far off the beach and it was a very sandy area indeed.

  The customer let us in the trailer and the boss did the talking.  He got to be real pushy in trying to collect monies due.  About that time, this ole customer come out and said, “By God, I’ll show you what you can do.”

  You know if you explain to somebody in plain English what can happen in the collection of a debt from court to writs of sequestration, the customers get very offensive.

  The weapon was a .30 .30 lever action, I knew because I’ve seen lots of Westerns.  About that time I’m nearest the door heading out and the boss gets in front of me at the door and started to get mouthy again.  I told him “let’s get out of here”. 

  Ain’t no sense getting in that hairy of a situation.  I am not that brave, that bullet would have gone through him, me and the trailer house.

  One of my buddies was out in the country collecting and went to the barn where the customer was with several of his cronies.  Long story short, they surrounded my buddy and gave him a few shoves.  He came out of the situation ill as a hornet and told the district supervisor, who called the customer and read the riot act to him over the phone.  People are real brave and brazen while on the phone.  Face to face confrontations are very much different.

  Glad to be out of that business.  Always believed one can get more from honey than vinegar. 

  One fellow from my hometown in Georgia got shot and killed in Atlanta while chasing.  Chasing is the slang for out collecting.  He walked up on the porch and got shot through the screen door.

  Another man from here was collecting over near the Louisiana border and got shot by the debtor.

  If I ever do another book, I have thought of calling it DIALING FOR DOLLARS.

 February 23rd, 2009

  Sure is nice beginning the third month of retirement and not having to dress up each day and make sure my brogans are shined up.  Actually I wore Florsheim shoes most of my banking career, but ended up wearing some SAS uglies.

  It’s a sight over the years how some executives dress.  Have seen them with baby slobber on their shoulder to shoes that looked like they had been out milking before they came to work.  Some have no clue as to what a shoe brush does with shoe tops covered in dust.

 SAS shoes are ugly as sin but are as comfortable as some of the men’s exotic shoes are tacky.  Got one buddy who wears nothing but khaki pants.  I asked him once if he had any other colors and he said no.

  One of my former bosses used to wear hundred dollar ties every day and silk, I suppose.  Have seen the high dollar clothing store van pull up, and the driver walks in the bank with five suits on hangers over his shoulder taking them to the big boss’s office.

  With all the free time, one has time to read the New York Times online and read with interest about an article last week about Saks Fifth Avenue.  Saks is now stocking off the rack suits for $7000.00.  Can you imagine?  That is to go with their $1395 sunglasses, slacks for $1195 and jeans for $795.  All one needs with those threads are a pair of tacky exotic gator shoes.  Is that what they call, “dressed to the nines”?

  Have seen people come to work without their belt or with different shoes, buttons buttoned in the wrong hole, and the list goes on.  Some even come to work in their house shoes and forgot to put on their dress shoes.  That’s as funny as wearing two different colored shoes.  One even had their pullover shirt on inside out.

  No plans to wear any of the many long sleeve white shirts in the closet.  One good thing about them, they will come in handy and that is repelling heat and the ‘skeet’s when working outside and in the garden.

  The Mrs. is now into resale stores, especially Blue Bird Circle resale shop in the big city.  She got PO’d yesterday when she came home with the granddaughter and showed me one of two casual shirts she bought me.  I said one of them looks like it has marijuana leaves all over and I ain’t wearing it.  I had to Google marijuana to see how many leaves it has and she was correct…again.


February 10th, 2009

  It amazes me how this Madoff fellow got away absconding millions and millions of dollars from people who thought they were getting richer.  This is one time I am glad we are not wealthy. 

  On top of that, Madoff has been walking freely about.  It is a wonder somebody hasn’t jerked a knot in his tail for what he did, being free like he is.  Do you think rich people do that?

  It would be interesting to see a list of who lost and how much.  It would be like playing poker, read’ em and weep.

  The government was asleep at the wheel on this one, specifically the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Having spent 38 years working for six banks in two buildings, one gets to know how bank examiners work or at least some of it.

  The examiners would go through our investment accounts like the bonds, stock, etc and etc., then the examiners would send correspondence to account holders requesting verification of the account and amount, etc.  The examiners would go through us as if using a flea comb looking for irregularities.  Of course, as Madoff has proven; it is sometimes hard to catch a thief.

  One time, there was a bank examiner who would go through people’s waste baskets.  Of course this one bank examiner had smelled a rat and was digging deep for irregularities.

  Then again having been close friends with past examiners, one can say they do party and play at times.  They like to play practical jokes on one another as well as cover for their podna’s too.

  At one time, a bank would take the examiners out to lunch but that is now history thanks to people like Bert Lance and Jessie James.  The examiners loved to go to the boat clubs or country clubs for their luncheon.  Many would drink their lunch thus making a day of the lunch.

  Mind you lots of people drink their lunches, so it is not all government people.

  Bankers are not angels by any means.  Many have sticky fingers and I’ll share a few tales with you if you are interested.

  The story goes that this one banker would make all these restaurant loans to persons and get a five or ten thousand dollar kickback for making the loan. 

  Then there was this banker who got a kickback on each loan approved for a certain dealer until company management got air of the deal.

  Then there was the banker who would make leg loans.  Now let me tell you, that is a brave man or fool, one way or the other, some poor fool is going to have to collect it.  Been known to collect a few leg loans in my career from bankers who had gone down the road; the customers sure gets perturbed when they have to fork over the cash for their little sweetie’s monthly note.    

  This one customer would take notes out for persons of his religious sect to sign and he would then return the signed notes to the bank.  This person was an outstanding person of the community, big in the church, etc, etc and of course etc.  He forged I don’t know how many of the notes thinking he was helping the church and all.  


January 26, 2009

Six more weeks and you can run your clock up an hour.  Time flies when you are having fun so hang on, spring will be here the following week. 

   Tomato plants are in the stores and must say they are right proud of them.  Singles they are, the six pack plants will be out in due time. 

  Numerous bits of humor relating to retirement are coming my way, as well as advice from others.  Some say you will enjoy retirement and after a while wonder when you had time to work.  Some others say you will not like it or what are you going to do when you get everything done?    Retirement is sort of like being in the credit business.  You are never caught up; someone is always past due and needs a phone call reminder.

  Just like housework, it ain't never done and I ain’t ironing like a couple of my very much domesticated buddies.  That is pushing too far and I tell them, “At least you know your place.”

  Bout worked out a schedule to help fulfill my retirement time to keep me content and out of trouble.  Figer Monday is M and M is for mopping or swabbing the deck to you deck apes.  Maybe a little yard work afterwards and if it warms up a tad, maybe wack a few golf balls in the back yard.

  Tuesday as in T is for theatre and I actually spent good money last week to go see Gran Torino.  Not been to a picture show since Star Wars came out.  Had a fill of the movies already and will have to T for tinker in the garage on Tuesdays and do some yard work.  There ain’t no dollar and a half movie anymore by crackie.

  W is for Wednesday and the day the grocery ads break in the big city paper.  Will do some shopping for what is on sale and surprise the Mrs. with a good suppers when she gets in from work.

  T for Thursday and it is for trimming up the fat boy.  My gym membership is due to expire in another month and think there is enough concrete around here to walk on without spending all that cash to see others sashay in front of the mirrors flexing their stuff.  One would think with as much walking as I do in the grocery stores and Wal-Mart that I would not need much exercise.  The Mrs. says the exercise I need is pushing away from the table.

  Fridays is F and that is fish day.  Not for any religious purpose but because of all the fish eaters around, fish should be more plentiful on Fridays.  There is the Good Times Marina down on the river that has a huge catfish feed each Friday and it’s all you can eat for about nine bucks.  Also Cracker Barrel has its Cod Fish Fridays and it is sooooo good if you eat the cod fishes.

  Frankly, we like the cod fish from Sam’s and prepare it in Charlie’s Kitchen.  Put your feet under my table and you too will have problems pushing away.

  Saturday and Sundays are for resting for the next week.


January 11, 2009

This section of the website will be used to add Charlie Farrar's anecdotal stories like he put in his book Two Cents Worth.  He writes a column for a newspaper in Texas and has agreed to provide those stories to us.  Hope you enjoy.

  Gave up my day job last week, might be a mistake, but Obama will be sending me a check every month going forward.  Having reached the age of social security eligibility, thought I’d go ahead and get in line for some of it while it is still available.  Ain’t gonna make up for two day job pay checks a month but time will tell.

  Having given up the day job, had to turn in the company provided cell phone and purchase one of my own.  Trouble begins when I get declined for a phone.  They said I have a block on my credit and in order for them to run the credit; the Credit Bureau must telephone me and ask my permission.  It was not as easy as getting on the phone and saying, yea it’s me, go ahead on.  Oh no, THEY have to call ME, but we told them I have NO phone and that is what I was attempting to purchase. 

  Even drove 37 miles to North Houston to the Credit Bureau’s office on the Beltway.  That’s mileage one way mind you.  The office was an about 12 X 12 with two stacks of forms for you to fill out and send to Dallas, 390 miles north.  Via email, the Credit Bureau says they have no office in Houston to sit with customers. 

  After five days of not having a phone and checking phones and carriers, Verizon so graciously let me get deeply indebted for the phones selected.  Having had years of previous service with Verizon, it was not necessary for them to run a credit report thus allowing me to get the phone of choice.  Got me a LG Dare and they dare you to learn how to use it.  Touch phone tis, missed the first two calls from my son because I didn’t know how to operate the thing.  They have come a long way from the finger dialing days.

  Took a character course yesterday, my old gone but not forgotten garden guru from Crosby said turning the garden with a shovel will build your character, so that is what I managed to get done.  Found three potatoes missed from last year so they’ll be in a pot later on today. 

  It may seem early but there will be tomatoes in the garden on Goose Creek next month by crackie.  Have to break out the duty buckets in case it gets down to freezing.  Onions are coming on so since tomatoes love onions, should be a good year.  Will plant some marigolds to help ward off a number of harmful insects including nematodes, Japanese beetles and aphids. 

  If it ain’t too wet to plow, get out in your garden and do some character building, providing you got the back for it. 


December 12, 2008

  Me and the Mrs.  recently went back to the land of our elopement, South Carolina for a long weekend.

  Mind you, she is a natural Texan while I’m a Georgia cracker.  We met in Lancaster, SC back in 1969 to get married.  She rode a Greyhound from Knoxville, TN and I drove a Volkswagen from Wilmington, NC.

  We got married, went on a two day honeymoon and back to Knoxville she went and back to Wilmington for me.  She was a student at UT, which stands for University of Tennessee,  because when we moved to Texas, I wondered why they had so many Volunteer fans down here.

  She finished that quarter of school and headed to Wilmington on a Greyhound.  We honey mooned again too.  Her Daddy wanted to shoot the moon and me when she told him we got married. 

  We flew this time to Charlotte, rode down to the Catawba River backwaters and stayed at old sister’s home on the river.  Got treated like company because we had handmade biscuits every morning and must say it’s been a while.  Pretty country up there but out in the boonies when it comes to using a cell phone. 

  Saw my first titmouse on the front porch rail.  That is a bird in case you are thinking otherwise.   It got to 24 degrees one morning while we were there and to think I left 60 degree weather for that.  Then it snowed 4 - 5 inches here this past week so seems like it’s hard to stay warm.

  Managed to pick the green tomatoes the day before it snowed and got enough to make a batch of chowchow this past weekend.  Only put one pod of jalapeno in the batch with two heads of cabbage, 5# green tomatoes, 6 large onion, 4 bell pepper with spices and ended up being something similar a pickled relish.  Cannot even create a spark with this batch if you savvy.

  The Mrs. wanted to argue yesterday about who was going to mop the kitchen floor.  No joke, she wanted to get right huffy about it so I started mopping to shut her up.

  She uses that towel on a stick to mop and it’s not my most favorite tool to swab the deck if you savvy.  Bought my own mop with cotton strings and it does the trick, wring it out with your hands, spin it in your palms and turn too.  Keep it clean and you will get a good job out of it.

  Back in the Coast Guard, we would tie the swab to a length of rope with half hitches up the handle and drag it off the fantail while underway.  Nothing better than seawater to clean a mop.  Helps to beat the tar out of it too.

  If she’ll sweep it, I will mop it, ain’t many of y’all can say that so Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, this is the final TCW for 2008.

  Till then!

November 23, 2008

  Turkey Day, tis.  Just us two this year, no company, two mean old cats and they are finicky eaters.

  Just as soon go get a bucket of chicken, Cole slaw and some jalapenos but the Mrs. likes to stick with tradition, so guess I’ll cook tradition even if it is just the two of us.    Hey, at least I know my place! 

  Been Cadillac’n it lately.  Got me a new set of cook wear at Sam’s.  Three skillets and it is something else compared to those old cripple, warped and scratched skillets we had.  Threw every one of them out except the cast iron ones.  Simple things for simple people but I do like the new skillets.  Can flip two eggs now just like they do at the Waffle House. (without’em sticking)  Not to mention they are actually flat on the bottom. 

  Saw a $150 box of pots and pans at Sam’s but kept on walking.  Does it matter if you have matched kitchen cooking pots and pans?  There are two under the counter we’ve had since we first got married.  The Dutch oven is what I do my hot water bath in canning my chowchow and will not dispense of it.  The other has no handle and has to be picked up with two hot pads.  Guess I got it around for sentimental reasons as it is a good pot, just no handle.

  Hunt & pecking this article on a new state of the art PC with an updated version of Microsoft Word.  Needless to say, we ain’t gee-hawing, nare bit!  Where things used to be is no more, trying to format this, they changed the whole thing.  Next is me and Spell Check, Oh Lordy! 

Just like that new DVD Recorder we got last Christmas.  Got it hooked up last week and still trying to figure out the remote.  The Mrs. appears to be better at it than me so she’s in charge.

  Now my day job employer tells me they are giving me a new cellular telephone.  Sent a whining email that I just learned how to do the voice mail on the one I currently use and they are changing horses in mid stream on me; should get the new phone this week.

  Ole Johnny Cash said, “Life ain’t easy for a boy named Sue”.  I can say, life ain’t easy with a new DVD remote control, new PC with no remote and Four Dog to talk to.

 Not really interested in getting another dog though since attachments come too easily.

November 9, 2008

  Me and the Mrs. went to visit one of the twins in Pennsylvania over a four-day weekend last weekend.  That satisfied our thirty-ninth anniversary gift to each other by getting to see grandkids seldom seen.

  A fer piece Pennsylvania is, less than three hours by air, two days by car and almost two months by mule and wagon.  If I get up there once a year I consider myself lucky.  Besides, ain’t nothing up there but Yankees.

  We were about thirty something miles from Gettysburg, PA but still have not made the site tour of the old battleground.  Want to find me a musket ball and have been told you can walk the fields out there and might find one. 

  The boy did take me just up the road to see Three Mile Island if you recall that nuclear plant disaster back in 1979?  Do not think I would want to live near one of them things.

That nuclear plant could get hot enough to melt all those lead musket balls over in Gettysburg but luckily, those plants are mostly safe.

  Managed to get to one of the markets in York where some of the Amish come to sell their wares, veggies and food products; bought a jar of their pickled beets…good stuff.

  Back to Texas and the ole grindstone, at least it was a four-day work week and the best kind.  The Mrs. seems to be in a better mood for the time being.  Give it another week, things will be back to normal.

  Took a tour of the garden of weedin this morning, fertilized the tomatoes, pinched off half dozen suckers, slapped dozens of mosquitoes and gave it all a good drink of water.

  When I dug the potatoes before we went to Montana, must have left a few in the ground because there are potato tops over a foot tall in the garden and a few onions.

  We get enough tomatoes, there will be a final 08 makings of chowchow for the year, and might make this a hot batch. 

  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, do not eat too much.


October 26, 2008
    Voted last week and got aggravated at the same time. 

  After I parked and headed for the door entrance of the voting place, the hawkers were out like buzzards.  They are on people like chickens on a June bug passing out literature for selective candidates and/ or bosses.  Most of this literature usually ends up as litter.

  The hawkers would walk up and ask, “You going to vote?”

  My comment to one was, “No, I’m going in here to eat”.  

  Those people (hawkers) should not be allowed to hang outside of polling places pushing their candidate.

  You would think most folks going to the polls have already decided for whom they will vote. 

  One fellow says it is a waste of time and an annoyance for anyone who is just peacefully trying to vote.  He stands up for free speech but the hawkers are just annoying.

  Back when we voted at a local school, the hawkers were in the driveway as we were going to park.  After making a few choice words with the window rolled up, evidently they can read lips and backed off.

  You voted yet?

  Me and the Mrs. have an anniversary coming up this weekend and I ain’t got a clue as what to get her.  39 years and holding, my but time marches on. 

  Checked Google and it recommends lace as it is the lace anniversary.  Only thing I can think of with lace is drawers.  Can you imagine me going into the woman’s department of the store and asking to buy some drawers with lace for my wife?

  Maybe calling them women’s underwear is more proper or step-ins, bloomers or knickers?

  It ain’t going to happen anyway.

  Would not mind going back to the cabin where we spent our honeymoon on the backwaters of the Catawba River in South Carolina.  That too is out because it has been sold.

  Her ole daddy was madder than a hornet when she told him we had gotten married.  Disowned her too for a while. 

  Reminded him years later about all the money we saved them with our elopement; he did not have much to say about that.

  She would not marry me on 31 October, said she could not stand the thought of me coming up to her each year and saying trick or treat.

October 12, 2008

  Took a little trip across the mighty Mississip headed for a reunion in Georgia (USA).

  The town in which I was raised had over half dozen cotton mills.  Dunson Mill had its own little village, pool and school; attended the school but grew up in the pool.  Over 320 people attended the event held at a restaurant.  That same restaurant used to be the cattle barn where my granddad once bought a milk cow and mules.

  Numerous persons whom I have not seen in over 50 years were in attendance.

  Time sure changes things and people; made me feel better to see some who had aches, limps and pains too. 

  The airports are something else with all the security around and what one has to go through to board an aircraft. 

  Thousands and thousands of people go thru the line and machine that scans for anything metal.  Empty your pockets, place in the plastic dishpans to go thru x-ray.  Shoes must also be removed and you walk through this arched machine.  Just think of all the nasty feet that have also walked on the same floor where you stand. 

  I made a comment to the woman in front of me, “I’m glad I washed.” 

  Watching TV one evening on the trip, one of my aunts called this girl on the screen, “Goat Eyes”.  Never heard someone called that, so I asked her what she meant by Goat Eyes. 

  Long story short, said she has long looking pale eyes.  OK

  While having breakfast with my former neighbor, a WWII vet who says he had seen it all over there.

  Anyway, this old soldier was a paratrooper, military policeman and is a devout member of AA.  He can sure tell some tales of times of old, a quart a day!

  In conversation about some people I know, he told me I need to watch folks like that, saying, “They will $#*+ in your mess kit”.

  Managed to make it to the grocery store and picked up several packages of country ham to bring back.  It is hard to find in this part of Texas; country ham is cured with salt. 

  Have to let the ham sit in a bowl of water to get rid of some of the salt.

  That ham and the red eye gravy you get when coffee is added is called, “Trip to the hospital food” because of the fat content and all that salt.  It is good on a biscuit!

  Everybody asked about Ike. 

  The new car that was rented ran like a sewing machine.  The radio would only pick up signals when I topped a hill, then it would go silent on the way down.

  The temperature got in the forties while I was there and I can assure you, it is good to be back on flat ground, heat, my bed and the Mrs.