Monday, February 28, 2011

Back home again in Indiana ...

Praise the good Lord, we made it back home safely!  Got in about 4-ish Saturday afternoon.  Spent most of that evening and Sunday afternoon unpacking, doing laundry, etc.  Today we went and got our mail from the post office!  Wow!  So I spent about two hours going through it.  Fun, fun, fun.  Now I have a PILE of magazines and catalogs to go through.  There were some seed catalogs in there ... great!  Looking at them always gets me excited about planting the vegetable garden and trying some new flowers.  On our trip I had some wonderful pickled okra one day with a salad for lunch so for the first time I have decided to grow okra this summer.  And learn how to pickle it, too.

Our trip home went great.  The first night we spent at the Gage Hotel in Marathon, which is about an hour out of the Big Bend National Park.  What a wonderful place!  If you ever get a chance to stay there, do.  I'm posting some pictures from that place.  The room was all Texas!  A steer hide rug at the foot of the bed as well as another, smaller one, in front of the bathroom sink.  Chaps over the bed.  A saddle on a plank.  Spurs on the wall.  And lots of typical west Texas decor.  We liked that town so much that we are trying right now to rent a house there for next Jan. & Feb.!  Wish us luck.  

The second day was pretty uneventful.  We tried a reservoir in northwest Texas, right at the NM line, but it was a bust.  We did end up eating a picnic lunch there, then on through SE New Mexico, which was BORING ... all oil wells and cattle, oil wells and cattle ....  Third day we spent driving through the south of OK because we didn't want to get on the interstate ... it took all day.  Beautiful country!  We found the nicest little cafe somewhere in south central OK (and I had that wonderful salad with the pickled okra I mentioned).  We met the three sweet little ladies who ran it as well as two of the husbands!  Wonderful people.  We have met some special people on this trip!  Wandered across the south of MO the last full day out.  We stayed in Sikeston MO that night and had throwed rolls at Lamberts!  What a kick!  I had fried chicken livers there and they were WONDERFUL!  And the rolls were good, too.  It is an enormous place!  Lots of servers and they were super nice.  You should go there!  Got up Saturday a.m. and headed for home.  Stopped at the grocery in Linton so we would be ready to stay in for awhile (the cupboards and frig were bare of course).  Sunday went to church and got a nice welcome back!  

NOW ... today is not so good.  We noticed that our water pressure was low so Wendell found out that there are a couple broken pipes in the well pit and, bless his heart, he has been trying to get that fixed for the longest time this afternoon.  One trip to the hardware and one to a neighbors for something he forgot at the hardware!  It's now 4:30 and we've been without water since 10 this a.m. .... so I am thinking I should pack a bag for us for a night in a motel because I don't see this getting done before dark sets in.  Oh well ... nothing is ever easy, is it?  Later ...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Great week, but all good things must come to an end ...

[A Donald Judd aluminum sculpture at the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX.] 

Today is a sad day.  Packing to leave Marfa early tomorrow!  We're off to the Big Bend National Park for a couple days, then we head slowly back toward Indiana.  We hope to swing up through the Guadalupe Mountains on the way (at the TX/NM border) and Wendell wants to do some fishing in a reservoir near there.

This week was fantastic!  The weather has been good (70s during the day and cool at night).  On Monday we toured the MacDonald Observatory and that was so interesting.  Tuesday spent around here and around town.  Wendell got a tour of the town, learning all of the local history from a new friend from church one day.  Our 48th wedding anniversary was this week and we got a beautiful bouquet from our youngest son and his family; went to a local restaurant for a special dinner that night.  Took a long bike ride on Wednesday.  Last night we had a last-blast special dinner at an over-priced restaurant in Alpine then stopped at the Marfa Lights Viewing Center (again the lights were a no-show but the moon rising behind Cathedral Mountain was spectacular). 

Most unique day was Friday.  We toured the Chinati Foundation here in Marfa for an all-day tour of several art installations on the grounds and at an off-site location downtown.  I am posting some pictures of that tour below.  What a day!  Lots of walking but well worth it.  The grounds are just wonderful; very unique use of an old army base in the desert.  The spaces are well used; artillery buildings, barracks, mess halls, gymnasium, etc.!  Donald Judd bought this place and installed some of his work as well as several other minimalist artists.  He used these large spaces to install large pieces of art!  Not always available in the average gallery or museum.  Some of the work was not interesting to us but lots more was than wasn't.  (You have to keep an open mind!)  Close as I can remember, artists represented are John Chamberlain, Carl Andre, Ingolfur Arnarsson, Dan Flavin, Roni Horn, Ilya Kabakov, Richard Long, Claes Oldenurg, David Rabinowitch, and John Wesley.  I'm sure I've spelled some of the names incorrectly!  If you're interested, read more about the place at

It was sad saying goodbye to all of our new friends at the First United Methodist Church here in Marfa this morning.  Clementine, the pianist, played some Bill & Gloria Gaither songs for us (since we're from Indiana)!  And they gave us a couple of UMC coffee mugs!  What more could you ask!?  We feel blessed to have spent each Sunday with them.

I may not post again before we get home ... who knows?  Let's pray for nice weather back home in Indiana.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Word or Two About Marfa TX ...

[The Hobby-Eberly 36-foot telescope at the MacDonald Observatory 
17 miles northwest of Ft. Davis, TX.]

This a.m. is a catch up time here.  I'm into laundry and Wendell is out back, washing his DUSTY truck.  These poor people must battle dust 24/7/365!  It blows all the time, everywhere.  I ran the Swifter last night while dinner was cooking and I went through one pad per room!  And I think I could do that daily!  (But I don't.)  This afternoon one of the guys from church is taking Wendell on a sort-of driving tour of Marfa; W. is interested in learning more about what some of the interesting looking old buildings used to be before they were turned into art galleries. 

This town is different ... (but aren't they all?).  Home prices are terribly high considering their condition!  This has happened (according to the locals) because of all of the "artists" who have "found" Marfa.  There are more art galleries than restaurants (open).  People who move here from east Texas cities find the prices reasonable compared to 'back east' (Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston, Austin, etc.).  An old adobe slum house can go as high as $150,000!  Actually (unbelievable to me) there is a real controversy here, brought about by these same new residents, about whether these old adobe homes should NOW be left as-is (since they have theirs fixed up) and be retained as they stand as a piece of history, not to be disturbed.  In fact we are right next to such a "piece of history".  We love this region and this house we are staying in, but wouldn't come back to Marfa to stay.  Maybe Alpine, Ft. Davis, or Marathon?  Who knows?  It is too laid back for our structured selves.  For instance, when we go to a restaurant, drug store or grocery we expect it to be open at its posted hours.  (How dumb are we?)

As an example of how laid back this town is, last Saturday I went downtown to a shop called Stuff.  Through the window I could see it had interesting looking art deco furniture and decor, and I really wanted to check it out.  Hours were posted as Thurs-Sat 10 to 4.  I was there within those hours but they were closed.  I went on to a yarn shop and one of the two women working there said this about Marfa when I mentioned my experience at Stuff ... "It's what I call the wonder of Marfa ... you plan on going somewhere but before you leave home you say to yourself 'I wonder if they'll be open?'"  We got a good laugh.  But do you know me?  (Yes, I think you do.)  I'll not even try to go back to see if Stuff is open again. 

Yesterday we went to the MacDonald Observatory north of Ft. Davis.  It was awesome!  Since this is their off season at the observatory, there were only two other people in our guided tour group -- a nice couple from Pensacola.  Surprisingly the astronomer who led our tour was originally from Evansville and knew people from Worthington!  What a small world!  This is the second time this has happened to us on this trip.  The other time we had stopped on a back road to talk to a Border Patrol officer and his home town was Vincennes!  We have met the nicest people here!  I'll post some pix from the past few days below.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Visit to Fort Davis ...

[The entrance to Fort Davis National Historic Place.]

Today was such a beautiful day!  The weather was great, about 58, clear and the sky was so blue it hurts your eyes.  Wendell & I drove to Fort Davis and toured the fort, a national park.  There are actually two forts; the old part is now mostly foundations but the "new" fort is about half intact.  Several of the buildings have been completely restored and are open to the public, some are restored but not open, some are only foundations, remnants or partial walls left standing.  We did a lot of walking; spent about 3 hours there.  It was too wonderful being outside to give up the day so we went downtown Fort Davis (the town) and got a coffee and sat outside to drink it.  Then we took a long, circular route back to Marfa.  Had pizza from a place called The Pizza Foundation ... how it got the name is interesting and I'll get to that eventually ...

I'm experimenting with putting a photo within a post so the one above is of the entrance to Fort Davis National Park.  Tomorrow we're driving back down to the Rio Grande on a farm road called Pinto Canyon Road.  It's supposed to be 70 degrees!  We'll be careful ...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Moving day for the flower pins ...

Today I'm going to move the pictures about how to make flower pins to the bottom of this page.  So this is to direct you there if you're still interested ...
 It was cold last night (17) but supposed to be in the 50s today.  Bright and sunny.  I'm going to walk to an antique shop and a yarn shop downtown today, as well as the library.  We're almost daily regulars there!  I haven't read so much in such a short time in YEARS!  I'm keeping track of what I've read on this page, too.  Tomorrow we're going to tour the Fort Davis National Park.  Also, they have a great thrift shop in the town of Ft. Davis operated by the Humane Society and I'm going to check it out again.  There might be some wool skirt there calling my name!  :-)Later!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I saw the Rio Grande yesterday ! ...

[Along the Rio Grande east of Presidio, TX.]

Yesterday was a wonderful day!  We left Marfa in the a.m. and drove to Presidio.  Stopped at the ghost town, Shafter, on the way and picked up another geocache!  (It is our 51st to date!  Ta-da!)  It was about lunch time when we arrive on the Rio Grande and we ate lunch in a wonderful little cafe right on the main street.  One of those ordinary looking places which turn out to be surprisingly good.  I took a picture of a lovely Catholic church there in Presidio, which I'll post on this page.  After lunch we went on east out of town on FR170 to Fort Leaton and visited that state historic site.

After leaving Ft. Leaton. we drove on a few miles east and I took some pix of the Rio Grande ... it is pretty small.  Sort of the size of the White River near our home!  It was so quiet there and really beautiful.  I'll post a picture of that stop, too, and a couple others.

After we left the river we took off on another farm road, FR169, and it was a rough gravel road for 37 miles!  Then went back to pavement so it was smooth sailing back to Marfa.  But oh!  The beautiful country we saw out there!  And we did not meet one person on that road!  We saw longhorns grazing in the Big Bend Ranch State Park along the river, more javelinas, lots of little birds which did not seem afraid of people, and mile after mile of desert and mountain ranges.  AND it was 76 degrees!  What a jolt to get up this a.m. to about 10 degrees.  That is a big difference in such a short time.  Back home in Indiana that temperature fluctuation would result in a storm.  But not here.  They haven't had rain for four months.

Got my hair cut this a.m. at a sweet little place and the woman who cut my hair, Josie, was so nice.  And she did a great job.  You meet the nicest people when you're traveling!  More later ...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cold snap ... all over he world?

[One of the Marfa water towers sprung a leak and sprayed water a half-block in all directions.  They're not used to such cold temperatures and are not prepared
for such events.]

Well, we thought we were getting away from the cold but it is very frigid here!  Just as cold as at home if not colder!  Only difference is that here people don't know how to deal with it ... i.e., they don't build houses with proper insulation or heating sources, they don't allow for freezing pipes, etc.  The thing that is being threatened now (on the radio) is rolling blackouts.  So, just in case, the schools are being closed or delayed so as not to promote a surge in the early a.m. of power usage!  Luckily our little casita is newly remodeled with heat in the floors and we're pretty comfortable.  The bedroom is cool but we sleep cool anyway ...

Yesterday we went for a drive up to Fort Davis and went to the state park inn for lunch.  It was super nice.  We almost had the dining room to ourselves!  The scenery in the mountains there is breathtaking!  Stopped at a yuppie grocery store on the way out of town and bought the best rosemary & olive oil bread (made wonderful toast this a.m.).  They have the best coffee, too!  On Monday we went for a long drive out south toward the Rio Grande and stopped at a historic site in Alamito (a ghost town).  I'll try to remember to put a couple pictures below that I took that day along FR169.  Today we're sticking to the house and reading and watching movies.  May run to the p.o. and library after lunch (?).  Tonight is supposed to be even colder and we hope the weatherman is then correct and we'll have a somewhat warmer weekend.  Our neighbor back in IN went to our house and turned up both furnaces for a few days (due to the ice storm predicted there) so we feel pretty good about our little house on the hill.  Steve and Dodie are the best!

I brought all of the yo-yo's I had cut out with me and am now done with them, so I must find some fabric soon!  Am reading a very good book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  More later ... Enjoy the pix below.