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Friday, August 19, 2011

You’ve got to admire a 71 year old man who traveled alone across all 254 counties in Texas riding a Harley Road King. More amazing, he completed this ride between stints of contract work. He began his feat in 2009 and finished with Milam County on August 17, 2011, this past Wednesday. My son met J.D. Massingill taking a break on the roadside, and brought him to our farm in Falls County for a cool drink and a little AC while he talked about his journey.

Mr. Massingill has been to Marlin and Falls County before. From 1970 to 1980 he worked for Tom’s Snacks in Waco, and Marlin was a regular part of his route. The day we met him, he was traveling through Falls County headed to his home in Farmer’s Branch, Texas.

He was traveling to a motorcycle rally in Daytona, when the rain on his route changed his mind. He decided to see places he’d never seen before, and make his ride across Texas. He used a1997 Road King Police bike to begin his Texas ride, and finished with a gleaming 2006 Harley of the same model.

A road map was his constant companion, but not always his friend. A few times when he referred to the map, found he’d missed a county and had to backtrack. Once in the panhandle he had to ride back 150 miles to catch a county he missed. After he returned from a stint on the road, he’d color in the counties he’d completed on a map posted on his wall. One of his best days was 400 miles and 28 counties, a lot to shade in!

J.D. mentioned riding through all of the United States in 2007, spending the nights in a sleeping bag at campsites along the way. On this Texas trip he used motel rooms for the night for their amenities. He especially enjoyed the air conditioning after a day of riding in heavy clothes and helmet in our record breaking heat. He liked riding alone because he’s a slow starter in the mornings and needed his coffee. A quick tidy-up of his room competed, he’d be off on his bike again.

Before he left, I asked him what was next; he thought he might travel all the counties of New Mexico or maybe Oklahoma. When I wished him “Happy Trails!” his face split into a wide grin. Obviously he’s a man who enjoys cruising the road on his Harley.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Summer of Jars -- Emergency Prepardness

Found some old Mason jars in storage along with some attractive antique food jars. Back in the day the manufacturers went the extra mile to decorate the glass jars containing food. Today's jars, not so much.

As  matter of fact, there seems to be another problem with today's canning jars -- they seem to be a bit smaller than the old ones. The canning recipes don't quite fit the jars. The jar dinner recipes have required a bit of tamping down to fit.

Recipes from the "jar" cookie book have not fit in all cases. Especially the chocolate chocolate chip one. Layering in the ingredients, by the time I got to the chips, there was no room at all left in the jar. Good recipe, but problematical. I'll need to find some slightly-larger-than-a-quart jars.
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Ordered more freeze dried veggies from Honeyville Farms. Friend Maggie has gone in on the order, too. This time I'm trying the potato slices, she's trying the mixed vege, and we're splitting mushrooms and dried onions. These products are so good I use them as additions to everyday cooking out here in the boonies, when I run out of something. Next month I plan on getting the peas and carrots, and maybe the tomato powder.
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Drought continues unabated; the weeds even crunch under my feet. 58 days of 100+ weather, 36 days in a row. Did manage to pick a watermelon the deer didn't get to first. It was slightly underripe, but good. Leaving out water for wild birds, thinking about leaving some out for deer, too.

Please, let it rain.