GOTexan Holiday gifts, wines, food, recipes, and decorating ideas

I like the idea of helping local/state companies and artists by buying their products and promoting them for gift giving.  Here are a few to check out:


Mary of Puddin Hill is just a few minutes from where I live and very famous too

Here are great GO Texan gift ideas, as well as recipes, holiday decorating ideas, and free e-zine subscriptions,1218,1670_19176_0_0,00.html

The 2009 Holiday Gift guide is here:

Alpacas and Texas 4-H

I got an e-mail today about getting 4-H groups involved with alpacas as a project.  We would love to see that happen in our area.  Has anyone had experience with alpacas in 4-H and is it a possibly successful idea?  I have not ever been involved with 4-H so I don’t know what all the ins and outs of the organization is.  I will try to read up and find out more, but right now we would like to get our animals more into the public eye.

Since alpacas are  naturally shy animals they are hard for people to understand why they don’t  act all warm and cuddly  like their family dog.  I don’t think cows or sheep act like that either, but because alpacas have such a cute presence and appearance,  people expect them to act differently.

The ultimate goal of the U.S. alpaca organizations is get the fleece going as a major product (like cotton, and wool) and get enough animals on the ground to produce the quantity of fleece needed by major manufacturers.  I hear differing answers to that so I cannot say for sure what an ideal number of animals is for fleece production.

Hopefully, we can get something organized in northeast Texas to get the word out.  I have contacted a ranch near me and we may be able to get some ideas for getting this off the ground.

4th of July in Texas Happy 4th of July

Please visit Texas; there is so much history and lots to do. Here is a link to help you get started

I live in east Texas, northeast of Dallas, near Greenville with a wonderful, reclaimed and restored downtown. Also the Audie Murphy/Cotton Museum  is a great place to visit. 

Going just a little further east puts you into the Pineywoods, and believe me there are pine trees thicker than grasshoppers.  There are many logging operations in east Texas; you will see semi flatbeds loaded with loooong pine trees, already limbed, on their way to a sawmill.   There are lots of small towns who have reclaimed their downtowns and made them into charming destinations.  Greenville has successfully done this.  So has Marshall, Lindale, Mineola, and others.  Look for downtowns with antique stores and usually it will be a successful, thriving area.  The thriving courthouses on squares mean there are plenty of attorney offices surrounding the area and is a busy beehive of activity during the week. On the weekends it is quiet and enjoyable to wander through the stores.


A fantastic area to visit south of Dallas is Elm Mott, 8 miles north of Waco. You must visit Homestead Heritage Village, working craftsmen, a huge barn moved here and restored, an on-site deli.  They have a working gristmill producing their  flours. They were commissioned to build President George W. Bush’s ranch house in Crawford.  They were also commissioned to build some furniture for the White House that remains as a Texas tribute before President Bush left office.  They have pics and documents on their wall.

 There is lodging nearby

and a map to get there

and links to their furniture, barns, gristmill, trades schools, and natural range-fed beef

Another great place is south of Dallas near Palestine.  An historic steam engine train makes round trip excursions from Palestine to Rusk and back. Make a reservation and enjoy.

Safely enjoy the holiday weekend and remember to fly your flags