Daniel needed to go to the Amish store up north off the highway this afternoon, and invited me along. Great store, been here a few times and he ended up talking me into buying some pickled okra.

Then we went for a drive deep into Amish country on a perfect afternoon in the south and it was spectacular. We stopped at a family farm and they were all out working in the fields while we poked around in their store. Pastries to die for, fresh baked bread, chocolate and pickled okra.

I bought ocra and some chocolates and I put the money into the cash drawer they had sitting on a table. No checkout here and no photos, they don't allow it.

Then, we headed to the Old Natchez Trace original trail which I had never seen. It's a narrow dirt road and it took us down to the main parkway.

When we got back we did an okra taste comparison and both gave the ribbon to the home grown.

My office window looks down on a large grassy area along Shoal Creek. I see a lot of wildlife from here but there's one big elusive bird that comes soaring along the creek occasionally and all I see is an eight foot wing span and a long curved neck.

Today he stopped to visit. He landed in the water and was so tall his head was above the bank. I knew if I ran out and tried to get a shot he would be gone so I grabbed my camera with the zoom lens and took a shot from a hundred feet away, through my window screen.

As soon as I snapped it he extended his huge wings and disappeared down the creek. Using my art tools I was able to get a defined image of his head and if anybody knows what this is, hit me up!

Here's the shot:

Update: It's a Whooping Crane, the largest bird in North America (5ft) with a wing span of 7'5".

I was sitting on my front porch this afternoon, soaking up rays with Piper at my feet, when a familiar sound came rumbling down our very quiet dead end street. It was the Crocket Shoals Tubing bus pulling the main trailer with three tubes in it, heading down to the creek.

The owner Ricky smiled and waved as they drove by so I walked down to see what was going on. Turns out they were doing the first float of the season, armed with a branch trimmer and checking out the creek for a Memorial Day opening.

Driving the bus was my job last summer and Ricky came right out and offered me the job again, which I respectfully declined. I actually have a new job, it's called getting my ass in shape for Belize in six weeks!

According to the Belize Tourism Board:

Non-vaccinated travelers:

[ Must continue to present a negative COVID-19 test to enter Belize. Belize will accept a PCR test taken within 96 hours of travel or a rapid antigen test taken within 48 hours of travel. Those who fail to present a test will be required to undergo one upon arrival at the airport at a cost of $50 (payable only in cash). Travelers who test positive for COVID-19 at the airport will be placed under a mandatory 14-day quarantine. ]

Vaccinated travelers:

[ Need only to present a vaccination record card, with full inoculation completed at least two weeks before their arrival into Belize. ]

Which means, if you're not vaccinated and you take a few days off from your work to enjoy Belize and you test positive when you get there, they can detain you for two weeks in lockup and your job back home is screwed!

Damn...

As part of my new fitness regime, I've started a new diet. I eat one bluebird egg a day, sometimes fried, sometimes hard-boiled. Sadly, just before eating my egg, I decided to take this picture, and broke it. Guess I'm going hungry today, oh well, off to the gym!

Piper loves to sleep on my lap when I'm watching the big screen and I don't mind her fat old body one bit, but her new flea collar stinks.

It's a chemical smell and we both hate it, but damned if I'm going to let those little bastards crash our house again!

The recent heavy rains took a tree down across the creek and it lodged itself perfectly into another tree. It looks walkable, I think...

It's funny how one decision can change everything. My dad returned from the Navy after the end of WW2 and wanted to swoop my mother and my brother and I up from California and move us all back to Texas to be around his family, where I would have grown up completely different. My mom chose not to go, they got divorced and she ended up marrying Paul Hamilton, from which I gained a sister.

In 46 days I'll be down on a Belize island sitting on the beach with my sisters son, his lady, and maybe my grand-daughter Shelby. As I was power walking around the creek this morning, getting in shape for the beach, I realized that if the divorce had never happened, I wouldn't have a nephew, my son, or the many grandkids I've got, and love.

The truth is, every decision we make, changes everything. I've decided to quit abusing my body, shed 18 pounds, and work on my abs. I'm glad to be alive and to be here now.

I've been backing up old photos and saw a bunch I wanted to share here, but just settled on four.

I've gathered up an analysis of the water coming out of my tap. Click the chart below to see it.

Here's the link to the data, and under Menu is a zip code input for finding your own water stats.