country life · Family · Food · History · Hunting · Vacation

Hunting We Will Go

 

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Howling Game

It’s hunting season here. That means my wonderful husband will be off for a 3-week elk hunting trip with his friends. Once upon a time I was more into the hunting but not anymore. I thoroughly enjoy the enthusiasm and excitement hunting brings to Jimmy. He is the best!
Many, many years ago (warning, memory lane and ex-husband Dale story happening) we were on a lease at Travis Marks ranch in Fannin/Goliad Texas. He was an incredible man and the most fun to hunt with. Hunting on a working ranch is always fascinating to me. I love watching the ranch being worked and this family, including his wife was out working the cattle. I remember the 1st time I saw her in full face makeup and beautiful clothes on her horse working the cows. She sparkled and shined as she made it look like child’s play wrangling the cattle to be worked. The sight of her big convertible Cadillac with horns on the grill coming at you down the dark country road would bring a smile to my face, after it scared the daylights out of me. That woman could drive!

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Doe for Deer 1993 Travis Marks Ranch. Three layers of clothes in the morning!

On the ranch was a little museum that memorialized his family’s history. His father was one of the founding members of the Salt Grass Trail Ride. What an honor to have been able to see this memorial he had. He raised long horn that were used in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo at the beginning of each rodeo performance. I learned a great deal about Texas history from Travis and his wife Linda. Dinner at the Empresario with them was exciting. Listening to the stories of not just Travis but his friends and neighbors made for an entertaining experience.

 
When Travis got a chance to hunt with us it was always entertaining. We once stalked geese on a pond, crawling on our bellies with our guns in hand as we came over the little hill trying not to spook them. He made sure my hunting partners always put me in the blind of the front pasture (Linda’s pasture). It backs up to the river behind the trees. Guaranteed to get a deer and since I hunted only for meat, I went for the does when it was the season. I would sit in the blind, wearing vanilla perfume, reading a book by a little light waiting for the sun to come up. Some days I just sat and watch the deer as they came out to eat in the early light. The smell of musk was incredibly strong on the ranch as the bucks marked their territory. And nothing made me crazier than being able to track deer for the guys, so they knew where the deer were crossing. Many memories were made on his ranches in the area. I shot my first turkey on his ranch. Dove season and quail was always incredible. Rabbits were not my thing, but the guys killed a lot. Those things can take over a field so quickly and eat the young sprouts. Once a little rabbit was just stunned and not shot. I took it and set it free while the guys were cleaning the dead ones.

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First turkey and pregnant in 1994.

And nothing like driving the jeep into town and forgetting about the rack on top as we drove through Dairy Queen for lunch one day. I don’t the think guys liked when the wives got together and headed to town. Always mischief to be had. I learned that rattle snaked jump straight up! First time I ever heard Dale yell. We chased turkey all over the Fannin property in the jeep. They are fast! Every year we had to take back the blinds from the owls who nested in them. Nothing like 6 inches of dead mice, rabbits and owl manure having to be cleaned out. Yuck! If you hunted you worked to maintain it just like the guys so we helped clear the blinds, fill feeders and mow the trails.

 

I hunted on Travis’s properties until I was too big and pregnant to get up and down the blinds. Then the vertigo set in and there is nothing worse than trying to get a big pregnant hot angry woman with vertigo out of a blind. I was so fortunate that we had a lot of game and fresh fish. We ate what we caught and killed. Dale would make venison sausage that was to die for. My family always wanted some when he had a chance to make it. I love fresh turkey cooked on the grill and loved waterfowl until I got pregnant. Made him cook duck gumbo outside that year. He is still a great cook. I learned a lot from him.

 

The first time I went duck hunting was not a great day. We were to hunt down in the Anahuac area there in east Texas. Dale of course had the proper gear and knew what he was doing. I did not! After an air boat ride we hopped out with the dog (named Trouble)and I was to follow him to where we were going to hunt. Yeah, well I stepped into a coypu (nutria rat) hole and sank clean up to hips. As I struggled to get myself out of the hole (he was putting out the decoys and Trouble ran around) the light was coming up and I heard him yell ‘duck’. So I ducked my head down thinking he was shooting. No, the ducks were coming in to the decoys around me and as I looked up all I could see was duck feet in my face. Scared the living daylights out of me. And Dale laughed. Yeah, I haven’t hunted ducks since except with Travis.

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Unhappy 1st duck hunt

And a little side note here, I was always told you shouldn’t wear make-up or hair products to hunt let alone scented anything. Honey, I wore make-up when I wanted. Vanilla perfume attracts the deer. I would hunt in high heel wedge boots too! Oh yes, when I wasn’t roughing it with the guys I dressed to the top for my deer. And I always got a deer when I wanted to shoot one. So, take that y’all!!

 
After my little walk down memory lane, I watch as my husband Jimmy packs his gear and prepares the trailer for his trip. This year they are heading to Colorado. I will miss the dickens out of him. But he deserves this trip and the break from work. Jimmy checks on me regularly and shares his adventures when he has cell service, so I get to enjoy in his escapades.

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Dead and gone

Jimmy brings home the bacon, the venison, the fish and anything else he kills or catches. Yep, still a lucky lady here. Jimmy and my step-son Nick fill our freezer with fresh fish and lobster each year.

 

And it is that time of year where I am down to just barely any meat left so Jimmy better get to work on filling it. Hopefully it will be some elk but if not, he always gets the deer and venison is our main meat around here. Jimmy is better at the hunting than I am as you can see and enjoys his time with the Texas boys, Jeff, Robert and Josh. Once he is back, I get to share his latest adventure with you. Then we will be off to Texas for the wedding and bow season. I love hearing Jimmy’s stories and the mounts on the wall of the Mancave. But for now, my heart aches that he is going to be gone.

 

 

Good luck to you, Donny and Mike! Love you, be safe and have a great time!

West Tx Buck Jimmy
West Texas Buck Baby
Cooking · Decorating · Family · Food · Shopping

Heading Home

On my way home, I stopped in Houston to see my daughter. Nothing puts a smile on my face like Lacey. We had dinner at one of our spots called James Coney Island. The memories we have made eating hotdogs there will always stick out in my mind. Thanks for another memory Kiddo!

 


I stayed a couple nights so that I could also get a chance to see Amber and Chris. I am so excited…they get married in January!! So proud of these two and the amazing future they have together.

 


I headed to downtown Houston so that I could go to James Avery and do some shopping. I love their jewelry and always find something for a gift or myself when I go. I picked a few things and headed over to Central Market.

 
HEB is a Texas chain grocery store and their specialty stores are Central Market. I wish Florida had an HEB, let alone a Central Market. The fresh squeezed orange juice puts all others to shame. You will find five or six different kinds of potatoes to exotic fruits in their produce. My mind just goes crazy with ideas when I am there. I want to take it all home. They have a butcher shop on sight as well as fresh seafood. A bakery and freshly made foods to take home, all kinds of spices, coffee and teas are just the tip of the iceberg of what you can find. I fill my basket with all my favorites that I can’t get anywhere else and spices galore. I think I picked up at least 4 lbs. of Texas Pecan Coffee. If you ever get a chance to shop at HEB, you will love it. And if you get a chance to shop at Central Market, bring a cooler!

Central Market 1

 

After my little shopping spree and lunch, I headed over to Half Price Books in Pearland. I love the book store and lose time when I am in there. Then I made a stop at my favorite antique store there in town, Brows’ Aroun’ Antiques. They have been there since 2001 and I have been going there since they opened. I love finding new little treasures when I shop, and they never disappoint.

 
I had to make this visit short, but I will be back again soon. I made a stop in Port Allen LA on my way home to stock up on my Cajun favorites for cooking. Bergeron’s Boudin and Cajun Meats is where I pick up my tasso and andouille. Wait until you see what I cook with them!

Baking · Cooking · Crafts · Decorating · Family · flowers · Food · Party · Wedding

Ashley’s Shower

Shower 8 Front Sign

We were home late on Sunday from Massachusetts and I was back on the road by Tuesday heading to Texas. It’s shower time y’all!

I arrived Wednesday at the little house and unpacked before heading up to my sister’s. My car was loaded with wedding decorations including the bouquet. Talk about a nervous drive trying to make sure nothing got screwed up. But I was glad I was able to bring it out and now we can focus on the shower.

 

We hit the ground running when I arrived. Reviewing through the menu and getting our lists together of what we still needed to buy. Decorations have been accumulated and it was time to start getting them up. Marie’s house is looking amazing and all the work being done for the wedding is really paying off. I can’t wait to show you all the work when it is done.

 

Thursday is a day of decorating, getting our nails done (mine look horrid after all the crafting), grocery shopping and of course the liquor store. I have things to do! Ashley comes in to try on her dress so that I can get an idea of what needs to be adjusted. Oh my, her dress is beautiful and all lace! And it needs to be taken in quite a bit. Holy cow!!!

 

 

Friday I am deep into my cooking mode so all worries about alternations will have to wait. I make my Sangria using a Llano red wine and a berry brandy. Llano is one of my favorite Texas wine companies. They also have an amazing port I highly recommend. So here was the menu for the shower. I had to make up the chocolate bread pudding for the dessert tamales and prep the rest of the menu. Luckily the beans, rice and tortillas came from Rosa’s and would be picked up before the shower along with a few other things. We had a few last-minute decorations to make and were so glad Beth and Carla came over to help. Chairs are delivered from Borrowed Treasures. I love the assortment they brought and can’t wait to see what they do for the wedding. Our brother Chip and his wife Noemi arrive with our niece Anita. Woo hoo!

 

Saturday as Marie is rushing around running last minute errands (our brother too) I have Anita working those arm muscles helping me with the two sauces for the tamales. The cookies as gifts were so adorable from Back Home Bakery. Long story short, it was great! Everything went well for the shower. We had over 50 people show up and Ashley was happy. We took care of the food and venue so that Havalah and the rest of the bridal party could concentrate on the bride. Noemi and Beth worked hard helping me with the food and clean up. My brother cooked the meats and jalapenos and Clarinda was the photographer. Michelle made the red sauce, yummy! I am so grateful and thankful for everyone’s help!

 

Sunday was a day spent finishing the headdress for the flower girls, taking in the wedding dress and chatting with my sister. Ashley will be a beautiful bride and I know that when I go back before the wedding, more alterations may be needed. The wedding is just a month away…

 

Bridal Shower Menu

Family · Fishing · History · Shopping · Vacation

Gloucester Ma

Gloucester 66 Red Building

Our last morning in Massachusetts was spent in Gloucester. The drive from Beverly was absolutely beautiful. The homes and landscape as we passed reminded me of why people love to go up north to see the changing of the foliage.  The curves of the road draped on each side by tall majestic trees. The stones and architecture of the homes graced our eyes as we passed. I could have driven for hours down the back roads.

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My husband talks about the Perfect Storm from time to time. I personally have not watched or read it. I have a fear of the ocean and to think of what happened terrifies me. As clear as the water is here in Florida I know what lies beneath. But for him, this was a trip he wanted to make.

 

As we arrived in town, we passed the Fisherman’s Memorial. What these men do and what these families endure, I know is hard and dangerous. This town has been through a great deal and yet it thrives still today.

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We stopped at the Crow’s Nest. The bar is mentioned in the movie. We took a few pictures of my husband before stepping in to look around. It was a little early for drinks but I could have handle one I think.

 

 

Across the street from the Crow’s Nest is the harbor and beautiful boats being stored or worked on (dry docked).

 

 

We went down to Captain Solomon Jacobs park and walked around. Got a quick look at the Schooner Ardelle and pictures from the harbor.  Ten Pound Island Lighthouse is just a speck on the horizon today. We head over to Main Street for a little shopping but most were not open yet.

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Gordon’s Seafood is located here too. For 169 years it has been in Gloucester and is there to stay. I remember eating Gordon’s fish sticks as a kid. You couldn’t get me to eat any other brand.

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We stopped for coffee on our way back to Beverly to drop Jamie off. It was a great quick trip and next time we will plan on staying longer. Now back to Orlando because I am on my next adventure in just a couple days. Are you ready?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family · Food · History · Shopping · Vacation

Salem MA

Salem MA Hawthorne Hotel
Hawthorne Hotel

After our Marblehead adventure we dropped Jamie off and headed back to the hotel. I love the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem. When we got back that evening it was bustling with wedding guests and people arriving to have dinner in the restaurants at the hotel. From the beautiful flowers in the lobby to the friendly staff, it was a welcoming sight. Bewitched Salem episode was filmed here and that is just a speck in its long history. I love the brass mail shoots that remain between the elevators. I wish we there was time to sit and people watch. But we needed to rest and grab a snack before going to see Jamie perform.

We had a lovely room. I love the simplicity of the décor and the bed was so comfy. The large windows lend an awesome view of Salem Common from our room. We ordered room service and shared a meal while we rested before the show. The food was incredible and the staff so friendly. But what made me smile was seeing on the room service menu food for your dog. Oh, my goodness! They will actually prepare food for you dog. I love it!! I love hotels that understand our pets are family too. Actually, everywhere we went while in Massachusetts pretty much dog friendly. But I digress. This beautiful historic hotel has so much to offer including adjacent homes they owe for staying. Gave me ideas for visits with my sister in the future (a girl can dream).

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Salem Witch Museum

After seeing Mamma Mia the night before we spent the day exploring Salem. We did a self-guided tour of the city starting with the Salem Witch Museum. With a brief history of the witch trials and the history of witchcraft we set off about town. There is much to see and one day will not be enough to get it all in. Right outside of the museum is a statue of Roger Conant, the founder of Salem.

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Roger Conant – Founder of Salem MA

We missed the tours of the New England’s Pirate Museum, but I did get my husband’s picture with a couple locals.

 

The Old Burying Point Cemetery didn’t get much activity on my ghost tracking apps, but this tree sure had people interested. We watched as locals (in costumes) took photos in front of it, so I had to take some of it. Do you see what I see?

 


After walking through the Witch Trials Memorial and visiting the Salem Witch Village, Witch History Museum and the Salem Wax Museum I had enough of witches and we headed down towards the waterfront.

 


I poked my head in a few shops like the New England Dog Biscuit Co. before sitting down for a drink and snack at the Sea Level Oyster Bar and Kitchen.

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Sea Level Oyster Bar & Restaurant Salem MA

 

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Sail Loft weathered beauty

Right next to the restaurant was the Salem Maritime National Historical Site. I loved the look of the Sail Loft replica. I could just imagine the wharf busy with boats and ships as goods were delivered and checked at the Custom House across the street. I love the National Parks Service website and apps. It gives you so much of our history at your fingertips. I always check it when I am exploring new places or on one of our adventures. When we went to Gettysburg, I was overwhelmed and in awe of this hallowed ground. I strongly suggest checking out our National Parks Services.

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Sail Loft Replica at the Salem Maritime National Historical Site

Not far from there is The House of Seven Gables. As we continued to explore Salem while dodging rain, I made a little stop at Ye Olde Pepper Company. It is America’s oldest candy company since 1806. I indulged a little, ok a lot on their chocolate covered orange and lemon peels. Love, love it!! After getting an assortment of chocolates we headed back to the hotel before picking up Jamie for dinner. I made a little stop at the Old Naumkeag Antiques and Gallery next to the hotel. Extremely tiny place but incredible antiques. I picked a few things of course. If I had a truck, corbels and antiques would have filled it up!

It was a short visit and dinner at Finz with Jamie between her shows. But the next day, now that adventure was for my hubby…

Clothes · Family · History · Shopping · Theatre · Vacation

Marblehead MA

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I love taking trips with my husband. I really do have a lot of fun with him and we work well together. So, when we planned our trip to visit his daughter we made a long weekend of it. I had never been that far north on the east coast, so I had no idea what to expect. But our love of history and historical places made it a lot of fun.
We flew into Boston and that was all I saw of Boston. We will be planning to do Boston on another trip. After getting our rental car we headed to our hotel to check in and then we would go pick up Jamie. We decided to stay in Salem. I chose the historical Hawthorne Hotel when we made our reservations and I thoroughly love it. After checking in we headed to Beverly to pick up Jamie.
For those who don’t know about Beverly, I suggest you check it out. Not only is it home to the North Shore Music Theatre where Jamie performed, but is the birthplace of our Navy. Ok, it is a rival of Marblehead for that title, however it is where the first ship of our Navy was built and set sail from. Anyway, it is a beautiful city and you will not be disappointed visiting.

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We head to Marblehead (settled in 1629) for lunch and take in the sites before Jamie’s show. I will be honest; my head was whipping from side to side trying to see everything. The beauty of the architecture made me excited and I just wanted to touch and look at everything. My obsession with corbels had me wanting to get a truck and take as me home with me as I could pack in it. The beauty of these hand carved wooden wonders used in the architecture of the time still exist today. I mean they are still there from before the American Revolution people! The houses and buildings still exist. Historical markers on the homes and the layout of the city make it easy to imagine how it must have been in the early years of our country.

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The Barnacle and Jamie

We decided to have lunch at The Barnacle, a quaint little bar/restaurant on the waterfront. The view was amazing, and I will admit they make a damn good Bloody Mary too. I know people probably were staring at me because I just was just like a kid at Christmas taking in the building. I found myself staring at the huge wooden beams. The bar was stacked with patrons and the dining room filled up quickly. I have lived on the Gulf coast of Texas off and on all my life but the beauty of the terrain here was so new to me. After a delicious lunch we head out to explore the town.

 


This was a walking tour and shopping for us. There are no straight roads and parking is not easy. You would miss all the wonders of this town anyway if you don’t walk. Carriage houses turned into garages and cobblestone driveways make these homes so endearing. I love the dental molding on this one yellow house that was being restored. And I must admit there was this pink or blush painted house with cream trim that made me smile. Maybe my sister needs a pink house on the ranch? I have always wanted to have a home like these where the history and simplicity of the times was still used with of course modern convenience. But the lack of air conditioning in most of these was where I would have to draw the line. I was amazed how many still did not have it but then again, it isn’t like living in the south. Taking such care of these historical homes and buildings is not an easy task and the pride of the owners taking on this responsibility shows everywhere. I applaud you and thank you!

 

 

Marblehead has museums and galleries as well as shops and local artists with work on display. We stopped in some of Jamie’s favorites called She as well as Bobbles and Lace where we proceeded to try on the cutest clothes. The Paris Galerie and Ship Shape caught my attention and the buildings themselves made the experience even better.

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With 369 years of history and beauty, Marblehead left a lasting impression on me. I want to go back and spend more time exploring the incredible history of this amazing town.

 

 

Family · Surprise · Theatre

Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia
Mamma Mia Beverly MA

She was in Mamma Mia!!! Yes folks, my step-daughter Jamie made her debut at North Shore Music Theatre in the ensemble of Mamma Mia. We could not be more excited for her. The pride on my husband’s face said it all as we watched her perform.

Jamie has wonderful parents who have supported her since she started dancing at the age of 4. Her mother has always been by her side as she learned and worked hard to master her art. We wished her brother Nick and step-sister Lacey had been able to join us and see her perform. Unfortunately, their schedules made it impossible. They sent their support and wished her the best. Love those kids! Look at a nice piece that was written about her from Dance Wear Corner.

For someone who isn’t a huge fan of musicals and having never seen Mamma Mia or even read the book, I was mesmerized by the show. What an incredible performance! Now I will have to see the movies. North Shore Music Theatre has such character. A beautiful round stage so the performers were coming down the aisles beside you, drawing you further into the performance. It felt like you were right there on the island with them watching as the story unfolds before you. I must say, I was impressed! And reviews agree. Broadway World Boston had a lot to say about it.

We are all very proud of Jamie. Family and friends from all over have come to see her in Mamma Mia. Now that the run in Beverly is over, she is back in New York on her next adventure. We can’t wait to see what she will be doing next. I will keep you updated!