Tag Archives: Texas

Finding Texoma

Once again we are in a area that is known by a morph or portmanteau (a combination of two words). Remember Ark-La-Tex? Well, we’re are in a area known as Texoma. Get it? Texas and Oklahoma. Here it is on a map –
Texoma Map
See the squiggly line through the middle? That’s the Red River, and it’s the border between Texas and Oklahoma. And we figured since we had never been in this area before we needed to take some time to Find Texoma!
We set out from Charis Hills, just outside of Sunset, and headed towards Muenster.
FindingTexoma-1
Along the way we passed a lot of these –
FindingTexoma-4
Oil? Natural Gas?
lots of these-
FindingTexoma-6
a fair number of these –
FindingTexoma-5
and many varieties of these –
FindingTexoma-10
Big ol’ Texas style gates!
Mostly the road looked like this –
FindingTexoma-2
and
FindingTexoma-7
(does it look like it only rains on one side of the road? Don’t know what that’s all about since we didn’t see any signs of traditional irrigation……)
And look – it’s almost a hill……
FindingTexoma-3
Eventually we came to Muenster, population 1544. And why did we want to go to Muenster? We’d heard about a wonderful supermarket there – Fischer’s Thriftway and Meat Market.
FindingTexoma-13
The operative word there is Meat Market!
FindingTexoma-14
I know I should have taken a picture of their amazing fresh meats, but there was always a crowd standing around so I settled for a shot of this sample table (you call it samples, I call it lunch) and the smoked sausage and cheese display.
FindingTexoma-15
We were also delighted to discover that there was some kind of fancy car festival going on!
FindingTexoma-12
I “get” the first three cars in this row – roadsters, fancy sports car of some unknown origin, and then a late model Chevy Truck. Really? We didn’t research this anomaly – just noticed it when I was reviewing my pictures. Go figure!
But we enjoyed a little street music –
FindingTexoma-16
and some great mural work as we were pulling out of town.
FindingTexoma-17
This sweet little town certainly was working hard to put it’s best German foot forward!
But onward – Lake Nocona was calling us. (When I mentioned this morning to our hosts (who have lived in this area for 3 years) that we checked out Lake Nocona, they confessed they had never even heard of it!) But look – we found it!
FindingTexoma-21
FindingTexoma-22
OK, I can check that little lake of the bucket list. 🙂 Next stop – OKLAHOMA! I had hoped we could make it all the way to Duncan, home to a The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, but it was just a little too far north for us to do on this Saturday. But still, we got to cross the Mighty Red River…..
FindingTexoma-26
Yes, I suppose it has seen some mightier days – especially when all those cattle were being taken to market in Kansas!
FindingTexoma-27
FindingTexoma-28
We made it all the way to Terral, where we tried unsuccessfully to find an historical site that had been promised on a roadside sign.
FindingTexoma-29
Oh well, we did take a little tour through town (pop. 350 so it was a very little tour….), and I did manage to take one of my favorite pictures of the day –
TexomaLovely
I liked it so well, I played with it a little bit with my editing program ….

TexomasepiaTexomaVintageTexomaHeartlandTexomaSeventies
But I digress…..
From Terral it was a straight shot back to Bowie (the closest “real” town to our SOWER project, with not only a Walmart but also a Tractor Supply and several restaurants over and above the DQ and Sonic! No Lowes or Home Depot, but really for the area, it’s quite a hub!) This was as close as I got to a Chisholm Trail Historic site –
FindingTexoma-35
and this
Chisholm Trail
right in Bowie. Go figure!

All in all, a beautiful day for a drive, filled with quiet beauty and just a little bit of history. My kind of day!
If you’d like to learn more about the Chisholm Trail and the millions of cattle that were driven north to market, check out this link – The Chisholm Trail.
And if you’d like to see some more pictures of Texoma – You can find the entire set HERE!
Yep, I think we found Texoma!

A Waco Weekend

One thing our kids have learned over the years (especially since we’ve been “on the road”) is to have a list of chores for their Dad when we come to visit. It really makes him crazy if there’s no room to paint or faucet to install or stairs to build. He’s helped Toby build a deck and basement shelves, helped Josiah install windows and outfitted the baby’s closet with shelves, and if you’ve hung around this little blog you know he did a little kitchen thing last year at Lara’s! Well, we spent a nice long weekend in Waco with Lara last weekend and let me tell you, there were tools involved! 🙂 There’s always a long to-do list when you live in a house built in 1919 so it was just a matter of picking the right job to fit the budget and the time-frame. This time repairing the fence seemed to be the chore that fit the bill. And since there are three dogs that live at Lara’s and three at the house next door, a fence repair DEFINITELY seemed like the way to go.
Of course, I don’t have a true “before” picture, but here is one in the early stages of the re-build –
LarasFence-5
And here are the boards that we were removing….
LarasFence-6
And here is the fist section completed.
LarasFence-7
The neighbor (with the OTHER three dogs) was so pleased with the results that he said he’d pay for all the material if Gary could replace the rest of the fence along that side. OK, that was a no-brainer!
The next day, the rest of the fence came down –
LarasFence-2
and by the end of the day Friday – Voila!
LarasFence-1
Pretty sweet, eh?
But the weekend wasn’t all work. The three of us played at the Waco Food and Wine Festival along the riverfront downtown on Saturday and it was a perfect day for the event! Bright sunshine, not too hot, gentle breeze……
WacoFoodFestival-1
We each had our little plate and wine glass – and had a grand time sampling food from many local restaurants and wine from local wineries and shops. Lots and lots of choices – but I was especially happy to see an iced tea choice at one of the booths!
WacoFoodFestival-2
WacoFoodFestival-4
Since it was a fund raiser for the Waco Humane Society, there were lots of adoptable puppy dogs hanging around too. 🙂
We joined some of Lara’s friends toward the end at one of the “reserved” tables –
WacoFoodFestival-5
and then later we all went to a local eatery for dinner (please don’t ask me why we needed dinner after grazing all afternoon…….). It was really fun to hang out with all the youngun’s. And I don’t think we embarrassed Lara too much.
Hipsters
Well, I don’t think so, anyway!

So it was a great weekend all around. Gary had fun doing his “thing”, Lara and I helped him when we could (mostly in debris removal), we had some good play time with Lara’s friends and we even got in a couple of HGTV shows (for those of us TV deprived folks!). We’ll be back toward the end of the month….I wonder what will be at the top of the list then?

It’s beginning to look a lot like

A Kitchen!
We had a couple of big days here at the Kitchen Reno ~
The counter guys showed up bright and early Tuesday morning with a trailer full of Bee-U-ti-Ful granite. Such excitement!
Counter Install-3
It turned out to be a longer than expected installation – and they even had to go and get a new piece – but that’s the challenge of installing a new anything in an old house.
Counter Install-5
Counter Install-6
Hmm….if we get it to line up on one side, there’s an inch gap on the back side. Quite the puzzle.
Counter Install-1
Then there was the peninsula slab – now that was one big heavy piece of rock! Unfortunately, the overhang curves weren’t right and we were afraid the whole counter would have to go back. Gulp. But not so :). These guys carry all kinds of tools with them, and recutting and bullnosing and polishing a couple of corners was well within their grasp. The glitch on the sink side of the counter was not so easily fixed, though, and they did have to go back to the shop to get a new piece after they tried to fix the gap problem.
Seams were joined –
Counter Install-7
and edges polished.
Five hours later, the kitchen had counters!
Counter Install-8
Counter Install-9
I’m happy to say that the little piece over on the refrigerator (spot) wall did not present any problems whatsoever. 🙂

But while the counter guys were busy figuring out how to make the granite fit, Gary was busy on the other side with the water heater project. After finally getting the chimney pipe (remember, that 3/5 concentric vent) down the chimney, it was time to get that baby operating. He decided to move it to the chimney wall to make that little teeny tiny closet just a tad more useful, and by the end of the day, we not only had hot water from the new tankless water heater, but Lara also had a designated Vacuum Cleaner Closet.
New Closet
OK, so you have to imagine the closet walls and door, but I’m sure you get the vision!
And did you notice that the hall decoration (aka old water heater) has been removed? Now that was a delight to behold to those of us who have been squeezing by it for the last month!

Once we had counters, it was on to plumbing! By the end of Wednesday we had a working sink, garbage disposal, cold water filter and dishwasher.
sink faucet
The dishwasher isn’t quite installed just yet, but close enough to do a load of dishes for sure!
So, what’s next?
Well, today Gary is trial fitting the large pantry and bookcase that goes in front of the Vacuum Cleaner Closet.
Tall cabinet
This picture was taken a couple of days ago – but perhaps you can see our problem. Even without the kickplates installed (which will make the entire unit 3 inches taller) there is that door cornice molding that will definitely be in the way of actually opening the upper cabinet doors. We haven’t totally figured out the fix, but Gary’s on it, as we say. Problem has been identified, and resolution will be forthcoming.
He doesn’t want to actually install the cabinet though until we do the painting behind it. And we’re still not quite sure about the color. Lara did decide on the backsplash tile – a great mosaic with lots of neutrals to work with –
backsplash
We’ve tried four different shades of green (the last two are still in the running), a nice gray-blue, two shades of mocha/latte and even a deep wine color (ruled out pretty early, way before she decided on granite color and backsplash). Right now she’s going between a lighter or darker sage green or maybe that blue gray. Of course Jo (she and hubby Roy stopped by to see the progress) just said – have you ever thought of a deep gold? AAAAAHHHHKKKKKKKK…..
Help!!!!! We’re open to suggestions!

Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed –
It’s also beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
One day and a wake-up!

Life in Waco

continues to revolve around the Kitchen Remodel.
Floor progress-1
However, we have found a few opportunities to check out spots in Waco that didn’t involve the word “Lowes” or “kitchen”. 🙂
The day before the official demolition began we were joined by friends Jo and Roy as we checked out the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.
Texas Ranger 1
It was a great little museum that was filled with not only the history and art of the Texas Rangers,
Texas Ranger 2
Texas Ranger
but also how the Rangers have been treated by Hollywood! We put together our own little troupe of Texas Ranger wannabes with our very own bad guy!
Texas Ranger Fun
Check it out if you’re ever in Waco. It’s definitely a fun POI (point of interest).

We shared a lovely Thanksgiving Day with housemate Katie and her parents at their friends Steve and Jenna (and adorable son 3 year old son Henry). Jenna went over the top with spectacular food, the fellowship was sweet, and we were all reminded of how very much we have to be thankful for. It was a great day.

And while Gary did get to Home Depot at 5AM on Black Friday (while the rest of us slept in!) to pick up a shop vac, the rest of us stayed far away from the shopping mayhem. Instead we all (including buddies Jo and Roy) went to the Homestead Heritage Fair.
Heritage Homestead Fair-2
Heritage Homestead Fair-1
It was full of beautiful handcrafts, lots of demonstrations and opportunites to make items, wonderful homemade food, and great music!
We really enjoyed the baby chick/duckling barn –
Heritage Homestead Fair-4
Heritage Homestead Fair-5
and naturally I couldn’t stay away from the quilts!
Heritage Homestead Fair-3
It was really a fun (and yummy) day!

But of course, most of our focus has been on the kitchen (or lack of at this point!).
We did get all the floor cleaned out so it was all ready for the new floor joists –
Really Empty
Gary picked up the floor joists (now that was a fun ride through town)-
New Floor
and the re-construct began –
Floor progress-7
Kitchen Re-do-4
Once the floor joists were in, it was time to run the new plumbing.
plumbing
And then there’s the rest of the water lines, the drain lines, the gas line and the electric. And THEN he can put down the floor for “real”. He has a busy week ahead of him!
Meanwhile, the design team (that would be Lara, Katie, and I) has been busy trying to figure out wall colors, floor options, countertop choices and backsplash possibilities. Any and all suggestions are welcome, as we are pretty much brain-dead in these departments.

Kitchen Re-do-6
I think Nali has the right idea!

PS – if you’d like to see some additional pictures of our progress without having to see ALL of them, here’s a link that should take you to closer to the end of the set!

A Dishwasher

Honest, that’s all she wanted. Lara really liked her kitchen, but the one thing that was missing was a dishwasher.
Kitchen Before-1
And that made entertaining (which she loves to do) a real pain in the neck.
Kitchen Before-2
Installing a dishwasher was well within the Daddy Can Do list, but try as we might we couldn’t figure any way to install a dishwasher that didn’t require changing her sink.
sink
And if you had to move the sink, you had to replace the counters.
And if you had to replace the counters, you also had to reconfigure the cabinets.
So before we knew it, we were at sitting at the Lowes kitchen design center talking about doing the whole shooting match. Because really, if you’re going to do your kitchen, you might as well DO your kitchen!
She lined up her financing, got a really good deal on some gorgeous cabinets, shopped around for the best deal on appliances (hey, no point putting an old stove next to a spankin’ new dishwasher in a new kitchen, right?), and hired Dad as her General Contractor (because he’s just that kind of guy!). All of this happened when we were hanging around here off and on in October, and we made plans to return after our November project and hang around until the job was done – probably through Christmas anyway. And now that we’re back, and the job has begun, we’re really glad that we’ve got LOTS of time to get the job done.
Did I mention that her house was built in 1919? Never underestimate the number of surprises you will uncover when you start tearing up floors and removing walls in an almost century old house!
First the floor –
Kitchen During-1
We were hoping that underneath the quarry tile floor would be the original wood floors (that are throughout the rest of the house) and they would be in good enough shape to refinish.
First sign of trouble was this huge patch in the middle of the floor –
Kitchen During-2
And then there was the fact that under the quarry tile was a blue and white linoleum tile, a layer of backer board, a layer of red linoleum tile and then tar paper.
Kitchen During-7
Yeah, the “refinishing the wood floors” was rapidly becoming “let’s go tile shopping!”
Deciding not to worry about keeping the floors in one piece did allow for easier removal of the floor in general, and would allow Gary the opportunity to make sure the floor was good and level. But more on that later!
Once the tiles were removed, it was on to the (what we thought was) the real demolition – getting the cabinets out and removing any extraneous walls. Our good SOWER buddies, Roy and Jo Butler, were kind enough to join us for the demo, and with the addition of the housemates and a friend or two stopping by, it was quite the productive day!
Kitchen During-18
Stove out.
Kitchen During-25
Counter disassembly.
Kitchen During-28
Sink out.
Kitchen During-29
Just what IS holding these cabinets here?
Kitchen During-31
Pulling, pulling……
Kitchen During-32
At last! And just what is behind those cabinets?
Once the cabinets were out it was on to finish removing the partion wall, get the rest of the tile up, remove the drywall and cute backsplash tiles and get ready to pull up that floor!
Kitchen During-40
Kitchen During-45
Ah, yes, the floor.
Kitchen During-48
You can’t really see it in this picture, but most of those joists aren’t even attached to the side wall. Pretty much the weight of the floor and cabinets kept the joists on the sills, but it helps explain why the floor tiles were cracking in different areas.
Kitchen During-49
And while it will make certain electrical, gas line, and water line changes easier, actually rebuilding the floor from the dirt up wasn’t exactly in the budget. Somehow the “miscellaneous” column just ballooned!
But then again, you never know what you might find when you expose those ancient walls –
Kitchen During-41
The sink plumbing could certainly use an upgrade, and will benefit from all new flooring.
Kitchen During-23
Uh, my computer was plugged into this outlet.
Kitchen During-10
I think this connection could be handled just a little bit neater.

Hopefully we’ve identified all of the trouble spots (“hopefully” being the operative word here!), and tomorrow Gary will begin work on the floor joists. Today he hooked up a utility sink in the laundry room – a great addition to our “temporary kitchen” (um, an electric frying pan, a crockpot, and a George Foreman Grill!), and he was even able to reuse one of the kitchen cabinets for a base!
Kitchen Remodel-2

There is a long way to go – and I’ll try to keep you’all updated as work progresses. If you’d like to see more pictures, there are several more HERE!

Oh, and Lara wants me to make sure to note that the red checked apron was functional only. It was the only thing she had that had a pocket in it for all the nails she was pulling out. What’s a girl to do! 🙂