Archive

Christmas. True That.

The wind blew slightly and there was no snow but there could have been. The foggy, wet night was heavy, rising only enough to halo

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The Way Life Works

Prayer is a strange thing.  Really.  Imagine believing in the productive outcome of a form of communication that largely resides and is expressed solely in

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Letting Go

I’ve been cleaning out a lot of stuff.  Of course I have been saying that for a while now. But with me, because I am

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My Josh

  On this day in 1983, early on a Sunday morning, Silent Bob and I left for the hospital. I was 2 weeks past my

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Daniel Scahill

Daniel graduated from Wiesbaden High School in Wiesbaden, Germany. While in high school, he participated in Army JROTC, Cross Country, Soccer, Track and Field, and

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My Two Veterans

I give thanks to all of those that I know who have served with these two veteran sons of mine.  I am thinking about you,

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Honey

All summer long the girls in my hives have been working. They scrounged the country side for pollen and nectar.  Because not much bloomed in

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The Pool Guy

When Silent Bob and I bought the house I live in, it had been abandoned for over 2 years. Sitting higher up than all of

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Tender Mercies

If my Silent Bob were still here he would have gotten me a card.  It would have been pretty and sentimental and he would have

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Lily

Lily Connolly is a senior Political Science major and Military Studies minor from Santa Barbara, California. She will graduate and commission as an Adjutant General

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Be The Cam

Cams have been used in engineering from the 3rd century BC, in everything from music boxes to combustion engines.  Janet thinks of them as ‘oblong

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Forgiveness

I miss my husband. I do. You learn that when suffering tragedies and heartbreak, you have to make a choice to either fall into the

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Where Am I?

Thinking back, these last few weeks, I’ve been trying to remember what I have hoped for over the six decades I have lived. I am

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My Silent Bob

Robert R. Siefert, Jr. March 12, 1951 – January 31, 2020 On January 31, 2020 around 10 pm, my husband passed on to Paradise. If

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The Birds and the Bees

This is not about our family farm. Explicit content included. “What do you mean there are no sex education classes,” I asked, my voice escalating

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Olives and Sons

It was the summer of 2011 and Josh had just come off his second deployment and I had a conference in Greece. We made plans

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Dear Chick-Fil-A

Dear Chick-Fil-A I am sitting in the drive though at Walter’s Road and FM 1960 in Houston and I thought you might like some feedback!

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To Build a Fire

The family of four set around the fire. They were the only campers, having arrived past the weekend, so they had their pick of campsites.

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Thanksgiving

I can’t tell you if it was the fact that alcoholism dominated our family dynamics or if it was a legacy affect from dysfunction going

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My Josh. My Jake.

I missed them both terribly. I never thought, when they were young, to worry about them going off to war. It was a total of

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This Day’s Joy

Dealing with the hardships of life that sometimes make finding joy difficult, according to Jake in an AIM message with his mother on July 29th,

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Welcome to Holland

Tanis the Redneck Mommy, this reminds me of you and your contribution to all of us about the beauty of ‘Holland’. You share with us

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October

October is the month that God is good to remind me that life doesn’t make sense without Him.  If you aren’t a believer, it’s okay

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Honey for Sale

We’ve harvested our honey.  We are selling a limited number of jars to locally interested parties. 9 ounces for 10 dollars. (Just under a pound)

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So.. Sew!!!!!

Mother insisted I take Home Economics a thousand years ago. (For those of you who might be too young, that was the class in high

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Where did Happy Monday go?

“How come you aren’t writing your Happy Monday’s anymore?” Neil says. We were at the end of our phone conversation. The question came a little bit

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Spanish Needle

“I don’t understand what the bees forage off of down here.” Neil is walking through the pasture, I’m keeping up with him wondering if I

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24/7 Janet-Care

My Mother and I love each other despite the fact that as adult women we have lived together for over 40 years. Shared genetics does

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Eu-Social?

“That buzzing-noise means something. If there’s a buzzing noise, somebody’s making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of

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Golden Bee Beauty

I’ve wanted honey bees out at the farm for months. To have honey bees is…  sexy.  Sexy in that politically correct kind of way… as in

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Familia

The little girl’s tight, golden curls sprung from her head in all directions. They bounced when the 4 year old talked so they were in

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Who Are You?

“I want you to take this test.” My middle son handed me his laptop. “I’ve never taken a personality test, Johnathan.” “Just take it.” Ten minutes

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Bake With Me

“I’m going to come down the last weekend of August, if that’s okay?” That was my brother’s son,  a young man busy understanding life. I’ve

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What’s In A Name

“When I was a young woman, the girls that put out got to ride in the convertibles.” Mother said this while she was having her

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August 11

Just like everyone else in the summer, I’ve done a bit of movie watching. Because I never know what the movie is about or how

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Louise

My brother called early this morning. That’s not so unusual, but I had been waiting for this particular call. “Janet, your Aunt Louise died at

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Doris Huddle Turns 84

In celebration of my mother’s birthday and for your information and education, Doris cooks Salmon, a meal guaranteed to love no matter your age.  

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Bee Update

Remember the hive I got a year ago from my brother? Well, in a year, this girl has done her job. Did you find her?

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Life in the Woods

We’d piled into various cars. There were too many of us. We were headed to overpasses and intersections known for sheltering the homeless of northwest

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True That

The older I got the more times Dad  would find a moment when we’d be talking… no, he’d be taking.. and he’d say “God showed

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Aint No Haints Here

“Why don’t  you stop at Arbor Gate and see if they have  one?” Mother suggested. The winter sun was streaming in the truck windshield. I

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Giving

Let’s call her ‘M’. I know M because about 8 years ago and for every two weeks since, M has come to my house to

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Dear Mr. Colbert

Dear Mr. Colbert, I know you are very busy getting ready for your late night talk show. But I would like to ask a favor.

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The Bees in August

What are the honey bees doing at the farm, you might ask. Well, I am very glad you did. Because I have wondered myself. It’s

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Go Greek

If you’ve been reading anything about me you know that just about 9 years ago I joined an unusual Sunday School in the church I

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Pear-fect

I like to cook. Currently, because I do very little in the way of artistic expression in any other media, cooking serves my soul and

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The Iron Off

I love being the mother of three boys. That’s not to say that if God had seen fit to give me girls that I wouldn’t

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Atom Ant

“No, Mother, you cannot take that piece of junk out of the trash.” I had moved the old wicker bookshelf from one room to another.

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Testimony

“It’s like there is a shadow over their place,” said Mother, looking at the truck and closed house of our neighbors to the north. “I

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Gene

I remember the first time I met Gene. It was a cold, wintery day at the farm. I had been researching the wooded area north

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Water Walking

How many of you can tell me why this photo is interesting? There are two little science lessons here. Very cool ones. Put your answers

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Bees at the Farm

On Monday,  Neil called and said he was on his way down from Fort Worth. When he pulled into the driveway in Houston, I knew

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The Sewer Saga Revisited

Remember this? Sometimes the things we try just don’t work. Despite all of the efforts, Mother’s sewer remained backed up. It only took about 36

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A Turtle in The Road

I’d just picked up Mother from her daily very local shopping trip. About four times each year she has bouts of car sickness. This was

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A Salad For You To Try

This is absolutely delicious. My brother taught me to make it. It’s his creation. You can use any greens. I used mostly arugula. 1 apple

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Better Call Saul

I’ve read the reviews on Better Call Saul. It’s a quirky, one hour long, mostly dark, part comedy television series that is a spin off

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Memorize Me

Since January, the teacher of a class I attend challenged all of the attenders to memorize the entire book of 1 John, two verses a

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Not So Common After All

Paper: HOUSTON CHRONICLE Date: SUN 12/17/95 Section: TEXAS MAGAZINE Page: 3 Edition: 2 STAR Not so common after all By JANET L. SIEFERT This band

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The Year of the Phage

Phage, you might say. It’s an interesting story. Let me begin where I began. About ten years ago, I was trying to understand something called

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Bradley Cooper

I wasn’t a fan of Bradley Cooper in Hangover or Failure to Launch. I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing him in Silver Linings Playbook so

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Goodbye to All That

Not too long after my Jake went to Heaven, someone asked me if I had found out anything about him that surprised me. I said

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The Covers on My Bed

Sometimes you find just the right combination. Ever once in a while, completely independent of talent or conscious choice, something comes together perfectly. Like my

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Deaf and Dumb

Back in Arkansas, tn the middle of the woods, behind my childhood home and a little to the south, was a school for special ed

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Astronomy Thursday

Hubble is busy taking pictures. I ran across a post explaining about a particular photo that Hubble took.. I can’t write the magnificence of Hubble’s

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Sons and God Children

Today, is  my youngest son’s birthday. Thirty one years ago, on a beautiful Sunday,( which is the best day to have a baby by the

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Katrina

Katrina was one of those kind of people. I first heard of her when I received a notice for a workshop that she was holding.

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Where I Am Supposed To Be

I’ll admit it. Since childhood I have suffered from brain chemistry that can provoke slips into depression and anxiety.  It’s very clear that some of

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Pretty Soon

I’ve been concocting. Not quite a witches brew, but someone did accuse me the other day of running a compound pharmacy. He was jealous. I

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Random

I had a new friend email this morning. She lives in another city. She is getting ready for trial and was relating a dream she

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A Brother’s Love

“I read a story today that reminded me of you,” said brother Neil. He’s talking to me on his iPhone as we do our almost

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August at the Farm

We bought this farm in 2008. It hardly seems like six years ago. A lot has happened since then. I’ve seen droughts and I’ve seen

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Hey Jake!

Just a note from this side of Heaven on your birthday. To tell you I love you. I’m still trying to do something with your

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Barefoot

When I was young, the mark of summer was going without shoes. I loved those days. As cool nights gave way to hotter days, there

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Parsimony

I remember the first time I heard that word. Parsimony. It was about my second year of graduate school. It only took me two years

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Ants with Chips

We’ve been getting our tennis in right after the sun comes up. Its too hot otherwise. Four of us are out there, water bottles in

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Blankets or Covers

If you’ve never been to Iceland, you should go. I would not have thought it was as interesting as it is. Besides the fact that

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Farm Babies

The birds are going crazy at the farm. They are mating. They are incubating. Cycling from mating, egg laying, to fledging. And then they start

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Mother’s Day 2014

It seems to me there has been more buzz about Mother’s Day this year. (It’s possible that this is a personal observation based on my

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A Life Remembered

When I was four my sister died. Her little body, thin, her lungs structured with malformed sodium channels, she succumbed and went to heaven at

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Thank You

I heard from so many of you last week. So many of you prayed, told me your own thoughts, gave minutes of yourself to consider

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A Little Art

Do you know who Charlie Harper is? He drew this: And this one too.. And this one, which makes me think of spring. He was

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A Little Music

Ever so often I’m in the mood for a little Leonard Cohen. His distinctive gravelly baritone rolls out of my earbuds, half zen, half folk,

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The MS 150

Decades ago, my oldest son, when he was a young teen, rode in the MS 150. I remember going with he and his Dad the

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Coffee

The woman stretched. She’d never put curtains on the windows, she liked to see the sky. She could tell that on the other side of

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Tool Bath

A few weeks ago, me and thirty or so other women gathered to shower a young woman for her upcoming wedding. Being the fashionista that

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A New Year

All the Christmas decorations are packed away.. The cleanup crew is busy at the farm. They know when one of our cows is due. The

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Brian

I’ve talked about Brian. Here, and here. For a little boy who I saw only a couple of times a month, he was never far

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Spanish Class

I hate that I am not bilingual. I certainly have had opportunity. I have had in-laws whose native language was Spanish, I have worked for

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Merry Christmas

Every year at this time, every denomination that holds to Christmas tradition, has a play of some sort, a concert at least, centered around the

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Starling Swarm

We all stood still staring into the sky. The tennis game came to a halt, we were transfixed. “What is that?” said the tall blonde,

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V’ger

Back in the 60’s I crushed on Captain Kirk. My Dad, noticing, hated it and told me so. Many times. Preteen, armed with reproductive knowledge,

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Bat Delivery

Someone left this adorable, singing bat on my doorstep. I’m still smiling from just how freakin’ cute he is and how adorable the certain party

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Witches’ Broom

At a garden just north of Houston and south of the farm, a gardener collects trees. He tends them and watches to see which ones

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You Have Me at Maps

I love maps. I love them more the older I get. It’s possible that’s because maps give perspective and wisdom comes from perspective that I

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Bee Love

Oak Hill street contained seventeen cracker box houses with ample backyards and rock or asphalt drives. The road itself rose slightly from its intersection off

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The Price of Television

I am completely enamored with today’s technology. Smart phones and tablets and GPS and internet radio, along with bluetooth, DSL and cell phones that work

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Dovie Makes Contact

It’s me again, Helen! After reading about you and your home in Texas, I thought I’d share about mine in northeast Arkansas, bordering the bootheel

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Say Hello to Helen

At the new barn in a corner where we recycle is a web.   It’s a place that’s dry, a bit dusty and gets no direct

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Damn Fire Ants

I think the fire ants are the worst they have ever been. They ate my okra plants this year. THEY ATE MY OKRA PLANTS. I

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One, But Many

The line snaked around, back and forth across the sidewalk. It was pretty out, a clear blue sky with a temperate wind blowing, cooling things

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Let The Rocks Cry Out

I’m in Australia. It’s a group of us, all scientists, of different disciplines. (Some of us are biologists, some geologists, and some are either so

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Farm Magic

Mother and I and all the dogs went to the farm on our regular midweek trip. John, middle son and the teacher, came with us.

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Gifts

We were at the farm, piddling, the sun shining and as I walked into the barn I saw the  speakers. Black, heavy, cumbersome with huge,

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Walmart Wisdom

Sitting in the Walmart parking lot a little bit north of Houston, the blustery wind is buffeting the car. It’s going to be a hot

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Fruit of the earth

I fixin to read some wise, ancient literature and bow my head in thought afterward and with a little thank you for two things: sweet

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A Weekend

It’s been spring break for most people. Some went out of town. Some tried to go out of town. Some stayed in town. Us? Well,

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A Tomato Spring

We’ve been working in the garden at the farm. The ground is all tilled, we could use a bit more water in the form of

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Stuart

The conference list of speakers had been set months ago. I was to talk on the last day. Thirty or so friends and colleagues of

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More on Jar Salads

Because so many of you asked… 1. No, I never vacuum sealed the jars. The salads were very fresh for about 4 days. 2. Use

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Dinner at 6

The long dining table had three leaves. There were seventeen chairs place around it’s perimeter,  leaving room for elbows and scooting in and out. Silent

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Mason Jar Salads

I love these. I made these. My family loves these. Try these. They last for 4 days in your frig. They look appetizing sitting in

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Rustle With Me

Brenham is about thirty minutes from the farm. It’s the home of Blue Bell ice cream.  It’s also the place for the oldest synagogue in

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More Than Me

A big, thick walled, glass jar with a narrow neck was a constant commodity in Dad’s room during my formative years. I had to be

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A Last Day in Savannah

  If you’ve been reading here, you know that we stalked Paula Deen for Mother’s 80th birthday. While this particular event was the reason for

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5711

We’ve been raising prime Angus cattle at the farm. Poppy our big fat headed bull has done a good job of building up our herd.

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Beginner’s Greek

by James Collins Beginner’s Greek is a romantic comedy. It is light and frothy and requires that you take leave of the humdrum, everyday world

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August 11th

This day 34 years ago I became a mother, a job that I longed for, one I hoped for. My first born, a son, who

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Pigeon Enlgish

by Stephen Kelman “Advise yourself.” This is a book that may break your heart, but you will enjoy every minute of it. When I read

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Eight Weeks to Eighty

  It was fall and Mother and I were sitting outside on the concrete picnic table. We have breakfast out there frequently. “Mother, you’ll be

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Tree’s

We sat around the table, the four of us. “Where should we eat?”  Saundra said. No one wanted to choose. It was already past 8pm

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Strawberry Cake

“Silent Bob, what kind of cake do you want for your birthday?” He thought for a minute. “It’s two weeks away, I’m going to have

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Dinner at Six

Much to the consternation of adult sons, my middle son and my youngest son have found themselves in residence at their childhood home. In other

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Three Dog Night

Monika and Jim had met us at the airport. I knew Monika to be a lover of dogs so I was surprised when she complained.

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How To Cook

I love food. Even as I clatter away at the keyboard, I am munching on a light snack in anticipation of the sirloin burgers for

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Saturday in Patagonia

Today we got the lay of the land and an understanding of what the volcanic eruption did. On June 4th, Chile’s Puyehue volcano looked like

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Patagonia…

On June 4th, a volcano in Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle chain erupted. It had been dormant for 50 years. The eruption sent a towering cloud of

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To Build A Fire

Deep south Texas, having received no rain for the baking months of the summer of 2011, had finally gotten rain in late December. A late

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The Future in My Hand

Babies have been affecting me for some time now. But lately, it’s been a different affection. I increasingly marvel at them as small tiny miracles

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Music of the Spheres

SB and I held hands as we walked the paths of our friends’ home. Having experienced the European Christmas markets, these friends of ours had

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De Queen and 24 Windows

My search was unlikely to prove fruitful, 20 or so vintage windows, still intact, identical in build wasn’t likely. So I thought. Tempting fate, I

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Janet, the Boxer

The newspaper clipping, faded to the color of parchment and creased, had passed through my hands more than once. It showed my dad, clad only

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Bel Canto

by Ann Patchett   In the novel Bel Canto we are introduced to a diverse cast of characters: Mr. Hosokawa is the CEO of a

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Crete

Josh and I had been planning the trip since before he came back from Iraq. Having never been to Greece, I was eager to see

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The Blind Assassin

by Margaret Atwood “Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge.” Suicide? Accident? What happened? This intriguing book

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Corduroy Mansions

by Alexander McCall Smith It is always good news when Alexander McCall Smith creates a new series. I am a big fan of this writer

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Simple Worship

In the darkened worship center, his parents pulled his chair to the handicapped section. A place designated for wheel chairs, it was half way through

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Death in Holy Orders

by P. D. James St. Anselms is a seminary of the High Anglican church located on a wild and lonely stretch of coastline in East

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Tarzan meets Janet

There are two bodies of water on the farm. They were there when we bought the place and I am guessing that they have been

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In the Garden of Beasts

by Erik Larsen The year is 1933.  Newly elected President Franklin Roosevelt must fill the vacant post of Ambassador to Germany.  No one wants the

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Castration: Method # 2

There’s a big old water oak down by the east end of the lake. It’s massive with resurrection fern decorating almost every branch and for

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Unbroken

by Laura Hillenbrand Review by Buddy Ellisor How much can a man endure before he gives up? It is said that we all have a

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Lap Top Less

I am seriously going crazy. And I mad as hell at Dell… For two weeks, two weeks, my laptop has been broken! and I am

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Flat Janet

Somewhere inside my brain, whatever normally goes on, or has at least for almost 6 decades, isn’t. I noticed this happened a few months before

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The Stolen Child

By Keith Donohue When a child is stolen by the fairies, he remains forever a child until the time comes—maybe 100 years later—when he can

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Cowgirl recruits…

Beside the wonderful and informative lecture at the LTL last weekend, Pineknot Farm and Lab got to introduce a couple of city girls to the

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Saggin’ Revisited.

I walked through Wal Mart and there it was again, staring me in the face, a young man’s butt cheeks barely visible beneath the thin

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Daisy the Savage Beast

I’ve told you about Daisy. She’s a huntress. She’s a mouser. And lately she’s a ratter. She’s lethal. She’s sweet. The farm needs her. So

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Mother’s Day

It was the night before, tired from putting grout into the tiny little crevices we had created in the tile of Silent Bob’s Steak ‘n

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L’chaim La Niña

I shuffled around the pine needles that filled up the farm yard. Everyone’s gone but me, they’ve gone north and south out of Hempstead and

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Mere Christianity

Probably most of you are familiar with C.S. Lewis’ works, especially if your children’s required reading included ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, but

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Chicken Filipino

Early in our marriage, Bob and I moved to deep East Texas. We bought our first house, a little track rancher with a big yard

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The Decorah Eagles

I was primed for baby birds with all the nests at the farm. There were Carolina wrens in the barn and barn swallows in their

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Meet Daisy

One cold night up at the farm, we heard a kitten, back behind the barn, mewling. She was mewling loudly and from the sound she

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Italian Picnic Sandwich

It’s spring! Time for a picnic! This sandwich won’t need refrigerating because despite it’s tastiness (and it is tasty) there is no mayo or dreamwhip

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The Ice Road

by Stefan Weydenfeld On August 23, 1939, Germany and Russia signed a secret non-aggression treaty known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. According to the terms of

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The Middle Heart

Bette Bao Lord Three unlikely friends forge a bond of loyalty and duty to country that they will remember all their lives in this poignant

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Moses and Mary

“I have an old lab. He’s 12. I just want you to make him comfortable. He has trouble making his back legs work. But mostly

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Cowboy Ethan

Spring, for some reason, always makes me think about Handsome Cowboys. They steal my heart in different ways. Sometimes its the little ones, little ones

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A Treatise on Crazy

I never watched ‘Two and a Half Me’; mostly because I never seem to get involved with 30 minute sitcoms. The few times I did

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Morocco

We’d been at Elfoud for three days. Base camp had been a lovely palace turned hotel just outside the city. Each morning we had piled

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the Library: Wolf Hall

by Hilary Mantel The world of the English Tudors, particularly that of Henry VIII, is well-known to most of us. We studied about it in

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Marrakesh Part 1

I arrived in Morocco yesterday, Marrakesh to be exact and it was the most beautiful desert evening. This part of Northern Africa, west of the

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A Little Finance…

I’ve been thinking about this blogging thing.. Unfortunately, if I could I would give up my day job and write for a living. Alas, having

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Trees of Waller County

The deciduous holly. If you go along the highways of Waller county or quite frankly in any part of the southeastern United States, you might

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McNamara Fossil Hunt

After one trespassing attempt…. And the hunt begins… What about here? Really… there?! No words necessary… Bob, the hunter. A mud Pedi… Can you hear

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Fossil Hunt

For reasons that have to do with a battle, my sister in law and her husband have been in town. They are Midwesterners, living outside

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My Heart is Grateful

So, if this is the season for giving and joy, my admission and confession is that I have come to suck at Christmas gift shopping

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Baldwin… I can explain…

Maybe it’s because I’m old. Maybe it’s because he’s old. But I got to say, Baldwin, for his hairy self (obvious from ‘It’s Complicated’) and

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Sour Cream Cookies

I fought long and hard to get this recipe. (Thanks Sue, from over 30 years ago.) It’s an old Czech recipe and there is a

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Christmas Reads!!!

A few days until Christmas, and Cathie H provides you with a great list of novels and short stories to keep you in the spirit!

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The Mystery of Holy Night

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian and pastor who is probably best known for his courageous opposition to Adolph Hitler in Germany. He

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Buttons

These are the cutest cookies… okay maybe they aren’t officially cookies, but they are treats, and I could eat them with milk, or coke.. of

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A Tale of Two Trucks

I’m sentimental. I am wondering if there is a word that could indicate a lot more excess of emotion than that, because if there is,

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Buckeyes

I am not totally certain these are a cookie. But whatever they are they are easy and most delicious, and even better than that they

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What To Do

I’ve been trying to write a happy Monday for three days. It’s not that I don’t have things in my heart to say. I do.

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Ghostie

Silent Bob came back from the back field. “#12 is acting funny. She’s in the middle field lying down. The other cows are back there

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Cream Cheese Tarts

So we are stepping up the effort just a tiny bit, but I really want you to make these cookies! These were my Dad’s favorite

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The Tale of Hill Top Farm

By Susan Wittig Albert Picture the English Lake District; the rolling hills and sparkling lakes under a vivid blue sky. Of course, plump white sheep

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Pecan Snowballs

These have to be one of the most delicious and easiest cookies to make! They are not too sweet, but they are buttery. There are

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Eric LeGrand

I don’t know Mr. LeGrand. All I know of him is from the news. That and what his fellow teammates say about him. That and

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Take Flight

It’s been the year of insects out at the farm. This summer the fields were filled with grasshoppers and crickets peeped out of whole under

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There’s the rub.

The old house on Oak Hill was drafty. It would have been more so if it hadn’t been spit and pasted together with layers of

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Boiled Cookies

The 2nd cookie recipe and this one will satisfy your chocolate needs! I have lived on these on long trips. I have craved these. I

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The Best Ever Cookie

You CANNOT mess these cookies up they. They are absolutely delicious. You can add almost whatever you want to them, with the exception that you

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What a Wife Must Do

“Don’t just stand around. Figure out what needs to be done and do it.” Dad said. “Don’t wait for me to tell you,” he continued,

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Christmas Cookies!!

Starting next week, a new step by step cookie recipe for you holiday enjoyment. We will start with the easiest, failsafe, you-can’t-mess-this-one-up and they-are-good-for-you and

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Leslie and Life

We sat in Beijing, Leslie and I, about in the middle of the auditorium. It was hot and the day outside was typical for the

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Chicken Almondine

This is the last of the September Casseroles! I hope you have tried them. I hope they become favorites in your hope.. One last one

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In Praise of Jerga

Sometimes I see things I really want. Take for instance the utility sink that my amiga had in her Mexican home, when I was visiting

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My Day Job

I’m here in Mexico, Cuatro Ciénegas to be exact, one of my favorite places. A place I have spent some time looking at the mountains

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The Quilt Group

We used to quilt. Okay, maybe we never really quilted much, not as a group anyway. But given that no one seemed to come up

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Deep Dish Taco Pie

This was John’s and Jake’s favorites! Make it tonight with some homemade guacamole and chips. Your family will thank you. First you need these items:

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Noah’s Compass

“Face it: I haven’t exactly covered myself with glory. I just don’t seem to have the hang of things somehow. It’s as if I’ve never

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Fish Kill

The lake was an eerie green week before last. All that cow poop, as those black Angus mommas stood in it 24/7 to try and

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Little Seeds

Near Troy, Missouri and the junction of state roads V and W and JJ, there are a series of low rolling mountain ridges. These ridges

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Fear the Worst

“I gotta go, she said, walking away and getting into her car. She had her eyes fixed on the road as she drove away, and

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John Wright

For the month of August, announcing, Handsome Cowboy of the month, Mr. John Wright! Just look at those eyes! Look at that smile! Look at

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Major Pettigrew

Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) is a very proper English widower who enjoys a properly brewed cup of tea. He leads a quiet life in Edgecombe

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Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Great Aunt Tootie. Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper. Oletta Jones. Violene Hobbs. Gertrude Odel. Sapphire, Miz Obee, and Flossy. They all had a hand in Saving

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A Movable Feast

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man then wherever you go for the rest of your life it

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The Lacuna

“Laguna? The lagoon? No, lacuna. He said it means a different thing from lagoon. Not a cave exactly but an opening, like a mouth that

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Garrett

This guy has stolen my heart. Really. I first met him about 6 months ago. He came riding up to the fence on his bicycle,

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Who is Hieronymus Bosch?

Hieronymus Bosch is hands -down my favorite literary detective.. …not to be confused with the  15th century artist with whom you’d need to be a

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Who Silent Bob Is

Silent Bob, my beloved, is a very smart man. There isn’t a sport that you can talk about that he doesn’t know the stats, in

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If you’ve been perusing the summer selections of the Pineknot Farm bookmobile looking for a good book to read, you might have ignored  the one

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Who I Am, Part 2

Maybe it’s because I drive so much, but lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about cars. The one I am currently driving has become something

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Who I Am

I have never been much into cars. This is clearly all on account of my Dad, no question about it. He thought one of the

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Look Before You Lock

As temperatures start to rise this summer, I see constant reminders of how dangerous it is to leave your child inside a car unattended.  Article

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Armando Galarraga

I must have looked through a thousand photos of Armando, trying to find the right one for his installation into the PFandL Handsome Cowboy Hall

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Memorial Day

It’s the last hours of Memorial Day 2010. All day I have chosen to remember… “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who

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Read Line Four

“I am going to have to renew my driver’s license. I want you to take me,” says my tiny, feisty, soon to be 78 year

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Start a Baby Blog!

Baby books are out, blogging is in! Blog about every single event in your child’s life, no matter how big or small. There are many

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Mike Rowe

It’s that time again… the one where we get to pick the Handsome Cowboy of the month (whatever… inspiration is not constrained by time… where

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Court Yard Hounds

I’m not one of those people good at discovering music. I want to be. But I’m not. I collect people that can help me. First

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Ranch Art

On a recent hill country jaunt, graciously organized by Pineknot’s fabulous friends, while talking and not paying attention, we managed to make a big broad

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Angus Beef

We raise prime Angus Beef cattle. We are committed to responsible husbandry and specialize in healthy, hormone free animals.

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Mother’s Day Redux

“I think you need a brooder box for your birthday,” says brother Neil. I don’t want to raise anything else, I think to myself. “No”.

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Babies

“Babies amaze me.” I said to God the other day. “I gave you three of your own. Weren’t you amazed then?” He replied. “Yeah, I

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An Arabian Night

We sat there, Fariq and I, gazing out on the pyramids. “I don’ think an Egyptian made them.” He said. His eyes were like dark

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Magic Straws, Part One

You might recall that I have mentioned previously that cow farming is all about reproduction. It’s  a place where we acknowledge what is true and

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Bluebonnet Picnic

All over the prairies of Texas the lupines buds are swelling about ready to bust forth in indigo blue. I love Texas in the spring

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Coccinellidae

Strange the things you don’t know… like where in the heck do ladybugs go when they aren’t eating the aphids off your summer plants and

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Bodhi

March 1, 2010 The young woman looked to be in her late teens. Very tall and lithe, she was beautiful. She was applying her makeup

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Silent Bob

Since its Valentine’s Day, at least it’s the aftermath… I am proposing to induct a Handsome Cowboy in my own Hall of Fame, whenever the

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Be Quiet 2-15-10

I knew it was going to be a bad week, Harriet had left three messages for me to call her back. ‘Janet’, says Harriet, when

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Beauty

I have been having a strange desire the last few months. I want to create something. There was a time when it was babies that

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Romancing the stone

They had just laid down a fresh load of gravel outside Moss’ place.  Meant to cover the potholes and welcome the thirsty souls looking for

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Day 2

Everyone here in northern Mexico is bracing for an even colder weekend. Today clouds covered the mountains that surround this valley and we kept our

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Road Trip: Come with me

Day 2 Everyone here in northern Mexico is bracing for an even colder weekend. Today clouds covered the mountains that surround this valley and we

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Come to Mexico

I don’t know what you are doing this week. Maybe you are starting some new resolutions or maybe you are trying to get settled back

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Before and After #2

The Kitchen looked like this: Please note the brown paneling and the yellow linoleum, two very popular items.. in hmm.. about the 60’s .. I

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Those in Heaven

Have you ever wondered about Heaven? I mean beyond whether there is one or not. (I have to assume you already made a decision one

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A Prayer For Owen Meany

This months’ book choices will be all about the pageant. As in Christmas pageant, and if you want to celebrate Christmas and ponder a bit

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Crown me.

I think my Mother would have liked it if I had been a movie star. She wanted this, not because of any particular talent or

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Come on in…

Old houses, before there were utility rooms, had a windowed room, just about big enough to put an old washtub or if you had a

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Thinking about Christmas

“Mom, you can’t do what you did last year about the Christmas tree.” Johnathan says, somewhat exasperated that he has to go there with me.

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La La Cucaracha

We got big cockroaches here in Texas.  I mean big ones, so big you can hear them walking along the floor in the middle of

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From Cadet Barrett

PMB G 129 2 Commons Lobby College Station, TX 77840 Dear Mr. Robert Siefert and Mrs. Janet Siefert My name is Bradford Barrett. Let me

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Warm Buttery Muffins

It’s this time of year that I think about some of the most delicious things my Mother cooked… Something warm from the oven, I would

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Purple Cowboy

I don’t mind telling you, the second I can find this… well, yeah, I am trying it. They got three strikes for them in my

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Elementor #1

[slideshow] Welcome to Pineknot Farm and Lab where Readers Digest meets Ladies Home Journal meets Scientific American meets some weirder, non-new age version of Daily

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The TV Closet

My dad was adamant. Television rotted your brain. He never said it exactly like that, it was more like “it’s a boob tube, Janet. The

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December 15, 2008

I think in Howard’s mind and heart, we cemented our friendship the season we played lepers in the church Christmas program. That was more than

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Geese From Above

On Monday’s I’ve taken to visiting with my friend Howard. We sort of spend the day together waiting for the chemo to do its job

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Balance

I sat in the conference center; stiff chairs set in a steep incline, angled so that everyone could view the small stage and see the

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Again, Mexico, Again

I don’t quite know why, but Mexico speaks to my soul. It’s not because I speak the language; I limp along down there, struggling to

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Mexico Bound

I am on my way to Merida Mexico tonight. I had a lot of things to say, seems to be a lot on my mind,

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Hold My Hand

I watched fine sand grains fall away as I took a step onto the bank of Cypress Creek. This suburban, soggy, watershed has been a

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Meanness

I knew a young woman once. She had the most beautiful, brownish red, full bodied hair, which she wore long. It curled in just the

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Another October 20th

Hey my Jake,  Happy Monday up there in Heaven. I am writing you because today is the third anniversary of your getting there.  You know your

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Howard

Today, I don’t have any words. They are locked in my heart and won’t come out. I have some people on my heart that my

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Men in Trees, Really

The winds that came through Houston on the night Ike came ashore on the Galveston beaches were faster than I have ever driven a car.

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A Morning for Birds

Laying on my squeaking air mattress, I was wide awake, had been for at least an hour. And its THAT hour, that long hour before

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Walking Home

There was a woman who walked the streets of my neighborhood. I haven’t seen her in a while, but for almost two years, I saw

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Dirt Under My Feet

When I was young, one of the best pleasures for me was getting to go barefooted. Soon as I heard the June bugs and lightning

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Dad

I thought my dad was handsome. Maybe all daughters think that about their dads. I know that a good part of why I thought he

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Say Hello To Tony

I saw Tony Snow the first time on television when he was announcing that he was leaving his job as press secretary for President Bush.

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Another Tree Story

The pine tree stood at the edge of the pasture, once majestic and green with bark of brown and gray, but now ghostly white. Branches

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Pears on Branches

There are two pear trees that frame the path to the back door of the old house. When we first walked the property, before we

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Coming Home

At the height’s of Dad’s active alcoholism, Brother Pointer took him to Alcoholics’ Anonymous. I don’t know too much about that car ride for dad,

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Josh Deployed

I finally got to talk to Josh. The first time in 8 months, since he left, I got to hear his voice Saturday, a little

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Memorial Day 2008

Right after I had my third son I set about worrying about the responsibility of raising three men, keeping them out of danger and ensuring

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RM Vroom Vroom

It all started with excess appliances at the farm. It’s easy in this life to accumulate too much, it’s had too get rid of all

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Labors of Love

The first weekend of work on the floors of our old farmhouse began with out much discussion or thought. We just started massively ripping out

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A Brother Teaches

If you have read these Happy Monday’s the last two years, you have a sense of how much I love my brother. I asked God

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Chicken Janet

The first few weeks at the farm we realized we had inherited some farm animals. There were two cats skulking around, one huge, multicolored, and

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Squaring a Home

I heard a story about Jake from one of his friends. We were reminiscing and he was sharing.   He and Jake were out by his

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A Very Bad Thing

I did something awful. I didn’t mean to, but just the same, I did something of which I am deeply ashamed.   This weekend we were

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Grace Again

February 12, 2008 I drove Grace this past week. I think she remembered me from two years ago. Let me explain. Grace is Jake’s first

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Silent Bob Works

Howdy and Happy Monday!  I have been thinking about my husband. For 17 years he has left the house at 5:30 every morning to travel

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Christmas Ready

Howdy and Happy Monday to you! Hope you are having a better time at getting your Christmas shopping done than I am. I rarely go

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The Winds of Change

Gulf coast winters are almost all about mild, which means if you are the kind of person who likes to watch and poke a campfire

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Josh Deploys

Howdy and Happy Monday! I missed talking to you last week. I have a lot my heart wants to write, Mexico always refreshes my soul

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Elk Camp

My dad told me, “Janet, don’t ever judge how someone grieves”. He said it in a voice that was at once commanding but filled with

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Church and Courage

The last couple of times I have been in church, I have caught myself wondering whether or not we are getting bigger or smaller? Not

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Jake Remembered

Dear Jake,  Happy Monday up there in Heaven. I wanted to tell you about something, son. Remember the time you took me to Mulligans to

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Brother Neil

September 17, 2007 Today is my brother’s birthday. If you ever wonder if your prayers are answered, Neil is an example of one. When my

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Hats and Caps

For as long as I can remember, my dad wore a hat. He used it for his switchman’s railroad work and he wore it when

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Believing in God

My dad and I spent a lot of time together. I was dad’s first child and in spite of him desperately wanting a son, according

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Lake Nimrod

All this month my brother’s flights have allowed him weekly overnights in Houston. It’s been the rare treat to go down and pick him up

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A Time for Everything

Howdy and Happy Monday Well this week has seen the start of two families into marraiage contracts blessed by God and one dear friend’s mother

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July 4th, 2007

Howdy and Happy Monday!!  Mother’s day of 2005 Jake gave me a book about Abraham Lincoln, A Commitment to Honor, A Unique Portrait in His

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Father’s Day 2007

Howdy and Happy Monday! Today it’s just about Father’s Day! This Happy Monday is dedicated to all you  dads, gonna be dads and father of children.

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Memorial Day 2007

Well, Happy Monday Yal’ll, just barely. Today is a day to remember all those soldiers who have given their all. For me, its personal as

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Peckerwood Garden

I woke up Saturday morning with no particular plans. Spent a bit of quiet time, Bob brought me some coffee, and the phone started to

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Jake Today

  I missed last week, mosly because I was out of the country and there was no internet. My head cold today is preventing me

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Do Something

Jake’s been on my mind a lot this past week. That means I have been missing him, at night more than I think I can

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St. Patrick

Howdy! I want to tell you about a good day. Every once in a while, a day comes along, that if you had been God,

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Peace Like a River

March 12, 2007 I am thinking about fishing. Maybe it’s because Dad took me fishing on my birthday for many years or maybe it’s because

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Daffodils

March 5, 2007 Happy Monday!!  Those of us here in the South can feel spring in the air. Its right around the corner and the

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Moses and His Girl

Happy Monday and Howdy. I really missed sending you a good wish for the last week. But here we are back to it, the end

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Brick and Rock

I have a vague, dusty memory of my Dad and I as we rambled down a dirt road in his old Ford truck. I remember

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Man from U.N.C.L.E

Howdy!  (5th Happy Monday of 2007, rewritten Sept 21, 2019. When I was a young one of the shows I watched religiously was ‘The Man from

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3rd Happy Monday of 2007

Howdy! Happy Monday ya’ll!  Well…It’s only the third Happy Monday and it’s already turning out to be a bit more difficult than I imagined.  Its

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The Desert

When I go to the Mexican desert I go for a couple of reasons. Most of them are professional, it’s a place of remarkable biology

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do it!

for more, much more...

All the ideas, advice, and opinion six decades can provide… and maybe a little wisdom.

do it!

for more, much more...

All the ideas, advice, and opinion six decades can provide… and maybe a little wisdom.