Trying to get healthy around here – NOT

Just finished a 10 day course of radiation in Abilene yesterday.  Sure glad to have that done.  The treatments really wear me out, but add 2 hours worth of driving after working most of the day….you end up with one exhausted cookie.   Therefore,  I’ve been missing in action again.

I will say that it feels like the radiation has helped my right hip some.   Jury is still out on the back/rib area.   Still have the big knot on the back of my skull and it’s pretty tender.   Praying these issues will all resolve themselves and with the Lord’s grace,  I can move on to living my life normally for awhile.   Apparently insurance hasn’t approved the new chemo drug yet, so we’re still in limbo on that.

We went to Winters, TX last weekend for a “Save the Memories Day”…had Tractor Olympics,  a couple of bands belting out music, a quilt show and a parade of old cars, tractors and fire trucks.   They are raising monies to put a new roof on their beloved old Rock Hotel.   Hoping they did well!   We looked through the exhibits,  had some hot dogs and enjoyed ourselves greatly.   Oh…we DID get to visit with Wanda and her husband, Charles!   That was the best part!

Had lunch with a good friend from the Baird Housing Authority today!   Was great visiting with you Ronda!  Let’s do it again soon.  Prayers for your Mom’s continued recovery.

The weather front has been mixed blessings the past week or so…we’ve had 93 degree days…and 26 degree nights.   Ernie has covered/uncovered plants until he’s tired of messing with them.   The wild plum and the pecans had already flowered when the freeze hit, so we’re figuring nothing there for another year.   However,  his tomato and  potato plants  look good.    We’ve had a tiny bit of rain and a couple of drizzly mornings with much cooler temperatures.  That’s really good for the lettuces and spinach.

I thought we were down to 1 rooster and 1 hen, but there are still 2 hens running with the rooster.   That’s a good thing.  I wish we had about 20 more hens out there and a coop!   Ernie got some more chicken scratch and the doves came back.   Guess they don’t like the cat food like the chickens do :-)    Those guys will come up on the deck for cat food…and brave the cats!

Speaking of cats….Ernie put Blaze out the other night (normal thing) and we haven’t seen him since.  Hoping he hasn’t run afoul of a predator.   If he’s gotten hurt,  maybe he’s holed up somewhere till he regains his strength.  Just makes us sick though.   That’s the trouble with kitties allowed to go outside.  You cannot protect them 24/7.

Now,  maybe I’ve got you caught up on life on the Bayou!


Susan ~ Patchkat



did you ever wonder…

what a $130.00 cake looks like?

DSCF9800  this is a slice of Ernie’s Perfectly Chocolate German Chocolate Cake.   The cake was auctioned at last night’s Burkett Volunteer Fire Department’s annual BBQ.  $130.00!  Nice profit for the kitty.   Had one cake that brought $400.00!!!!   I didn’t do any baking this year.   Just not enough energy.  But fortunately,  Ernie enjoys cooking and baking.

The cake is absolutely yummy….and so rich, there ought to be a law!

Think the meals, auction and door prizes brought in a tidy amount to help outfit our newest fire truck.  We’ve had 3 fires out here recently…one a bunch of hunters who went to cook their dinner…blew up the trailer they were staying in…sent 6 of them to the hospital.  I understand they were airlifted to Dallas.  The propane tank they hooked up to the cook stove had a leak.   The fire department found the base of the trailer and not a lot more.   Haven’t heard an update on the injured men.  Praying for their full recoveries.

Pretty tired today, so I think I’ll take a nap.

Susan ~ Patchkat


We really should be thankful that we’ve made it to March without a major grass fire.  Ernie called before lunch today to say we’d been called out on a grass fire.  I was at work, so didn’t go out.   This turned out to be a good sized fire…maybe caused by an electrical line or a heater in a hunter’s camp not properly disabled.  Whatever,  it sure messed up the hunter’s camp and burned off a bunch of land area just Southeast of our house.  Scary.   Ended up with trucks from 4 different departments in the area and they called it “out” about 5:30 PM.   Someone will babysit the area for awhile incase it flares up.  That’s always a big possibility when you have trees or buildings involved.   Kudos for those fire fighters who answered the call today.  Our volunteers are the best.

He’s had a shower,  grilled pork chops for dinner and finally,  crawled into his recliner.  Bet he sleeps good tonight.

On the housing front,  one of our area housing authorities had a fire in a duplex unit…burned the building to the ground.  Sadly,  there was one reported death and one resident in critical condition this evening.    How devastating for those families and for the housing authority.    Prayers for all involved.    We’re so thankful the fire in our Hi-Rise  had no casualties.   We had 44 displaced families, but everyone survived to include all their pets.

That’s my report on this week’s fires.   I truly hope we go the rest of the year with no more fires.

Susan ~ Patchkat

Neighborhood clean up day in Burkett

We had about 20 residents/property owners show up ready to work on the 9th of November.  We ordered in a 30yd dumpster, had chain saws buzzing, hammers banging and rakes in high gear.   Several yards were cleaned,  a porch cleared of damaging vines and trash, dead trees/branches/shrubbery removed.   Another house had the pipes winterized, a leak fixed and the roof repaired.   Scrap metal, concrete chunks, old furniture and carpeting were picked up out of yards and carried to the dumpster for disposal.  By the end of the day,  the dumpster was overflowing!   Took Colton a lot of time on the tractor to get it packed down level for transport.

DSCF9568  The Pastor of Burkett Baptist Church, Audey Sheppard, and owner of AREACO Bruce Adams, along with Ernie were operating chain saws trimming deadfall and dangerously overhanging branches.DSCF9569

 Mike, Melinda and Colton were running the bucket to haul trash to the dumpster, shredding lots and cleaning yards for some of the elderly residents.  Thank you to Melinda for mowing the BVFD lots.   Looks much nicer now!

There were so many workers I didn’t see what everyone was doing.   My time was spent ensuring lunch was ready for the crowd.   We had plenty of water, hot coffee,  sandwich makings and cookies for everyone to eat their fill.

Most of the work was under the direction of one of our main organizers, Linda.   She did a great job of pulling things together. 

DSCF9570There were people on mowers, shredders, tractors running all over Burkett.   When they were done,  things looked clean,  trimmed and nice.   We still have a house to paint for a resident and another that’s in the process of being torn down.  

Burkett is an official Texas Ghost Town.   It’s an old oil boom town (population of about 1500) that has fallen on hard times.  The ranchers are the largest viable industry now.   Out of about 30 businesses,  only 2 churches, the Community Life Center, the Volunteer Fire Department and the Post Office remain open. The population has dropped to around 60.

Most of the younger people have had to move away in search of jobs and the elderly are becoming fewer and unable to care for their properties.  Many properties are either rented or left abandoned.   When that happens,  yards and homes start looking seedy and unattractive.  Thanks to our volunteers, driving through town is much nicer.  There is a renewed sense of community pride.  

Thank you to all who came out to help make our first Clean up day such a success.

Susan ~ Patchkat


Crime Wave :-(

Several concerned residents of Burkett met 2 weeks ago to discuss a Crime Awareness Program due to all the robberies and problems around here.  Tonight,  we had our first official meeting.  39 residents showed up along with our Council Precinct Member, a Sheriff’s deputy and the County Judge.  Got some good input from the officials.

There was an introduction with our purpose in forming this group and the proposed agenda.  The residents asked questions with some positive answers from the officials.  All in all,  a good meeting… we established a contact list for residents to call if they see anything odd…and a couple of folks to be the contacts for the Sheriff’s dept…we’ll see how this works.

The officials have arrested 6 people in conjunction with the 20 robberies in Coleman County and they’ve solved 17 of the 20.   If the criminals keep squealing on each other,  they’ll get them all soon.   They’ve got a huge amount of evidence to catalog and start returning to the rightful owners.  That’s good news for those who were victims.

Not only did we discuss the crimes, but also got the scoop from the Judge as to what we can do to clean up some of the local properties.   Other than some unofficial threats, we can file complaints under the “Nuisance Ordnances” of the State Statuates…and fines can be assessed.  If the properties are considered a health hazard, that falls into a different category with more fees and legal action.  We did get some positive reactions from some of the property owners present.   1 lady who rents her property out went straight to her tenants and gave them a week to get the place cleaned out!   I hope she will get them gone soon.   A good beginning.  Maybe some of the other problems in town will start feeling the pressure of being watched all the time and MOVE ON.

Ernie and the VFD missed most of the meeting as they were called out on a burn gone wrong.  Every time the county lifts the burn ban, some fool decides to do a major burn and the VFD ends up having to go put it out.  Today the wind got up and the sparks flew…and lit the neighbors field.  4 and a half hours later,  the fire was out.  Crazy.

Time to crawl between the sheets for tonight.

Susan ~ Patchkat


Our BBQ was last Saturday night…and it was good!

DSCF9040  Ernie cooked chicken for several hours with the Nice Boss Lady’s husband (Mike)  DSCF9036 then the Fire Dept was called out on a grass fire about 2 miles away from us.   It was good that all the volunteer fire fighters were in one place and all the fire trucks were parked at the BBQ….we sent out 2 fast attack trucks, 2 brush trucks and the water tender.

The winds were gale force, but the Lord was watching over the guys and the fire…they had it completely out before it burned much more than 5 acres.   By 6PM, the fire fighters were back at the BBQ and ready to eat.

DSCF9045I spent most of the night on the serving line.  I enjoy talking to the folks and visiting as friends come through the line.  That’s me…second from the left with the kinky hair!   In line with me are LeeAnn, Amber, Sandra and Teresa.

We had a cake auction which is always a highlight of the BBQ.   It’s fun to watch the cakes go for sky high prices.   My lemon cake was the first item and it didn’t fetch much, but the Orange Chiffon brought $58.00.   There were cakes and pies that went for even more!  People got into good natured bidding wars over things like 12 Apricot fried pies…or an Italian Cream Cake…so many good looking cakes!!!   We came home with 3 :-)


We fed a room full of hungry folks…and there was more seating outside which stayed full.   Our largest bake sale supporter is the man in the foreground.   That’s Basil and he has a big heart and an even bigger sweet tooth.  I lost count of how many cakes he bought after the 5th one.

Pam and Deana took care of the raffles and the door prizes…for hours!  We had some great items donated by businesses in the Abilene/Brownwood/Coleman/Cross Plains area.   There were several beautiful laser cut western scenes and other art work.   I saw all manner of gift certificates for fine dining, fast food places, beauty shops, the grocery stores,  the gym and so on…Deana heads a great crew for rounding up the opportunity items and door prizes.

All in all,  think everyone had a good time and certainly no one left hungry.   Me,  I’m thankful it’s behind us and we can relax for a few months before we start all over again.

Susan ~ Patchkat