Saturday, March 31, 2012

First Monday Trade Days - Canton, Texas

First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas is actually held on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday BEFORE the first Monday of each month. Trade Day hours are: Sunrise to Sunset.
Ozzie, Lexie and Pop

In the 1850's , the trade day was held on Monday. That's when the circuit court judge stopped in Canton to hold court.  People from the surrounding areas came to town to watch court proceedings and take care of business. They brought livestock, produce and farm equipment to trade.
The opposite side of the sign.
Ozzie is a bit of a camera hog. Lexie is shy.

In the very early trade days, horses were the most traded animal at Canton's First Monday Trade Days, but in the 1940's with tractors replacing horses on farms, pigs became the popular trade item.  Later it would be hunting dogs. At one time the name of Trade Days was actually changed to "Dog Monday".  

Currency was not used in the early days of the sale as participants literally traded goods instead of buying.  During the 150 year history nearly everything imaginable has been traded.  At one time two couples met at Trade Days and eventually decided to trade spouses and took their request to the County Clerk to make it official.  I don't know if the trade actually took place...

I'd heard about Trade Days at different times during our travels, but got a little more information from Tammy when we were at The RV Shop last week.  I did some research as we got into Texas and got the scoop.  We would be arriving at just the right time to take in this monthly spectacle.

Here's a sampling of what we saw...
We came in through the West Gate Entrance.
A trolley brings you to and from the parking area.
More than 100 acres of trading inside.

One of the first vendor spaces included an old brass bed, used cowboy boots and some wash tubs.

Wayne's doing some serious shopping. 

In addition to the more than 100 acres of trading space, Trade Days has space for more than 2,000 campsites -- with hookups.  The price is reasonable but we didn't know all this going in so we are not patrons of the camping grounds.  Wish we were though. 
Weird "yard art" made from wagon wheels and disks from farm equipment.

Words fail in describing this.

I got permission to get this photo. It's a custom (by the daddy) wagon to pull the toddler.
The little boy is eating snacks while he's watching a video.  He has a battery operated fan if he gets too hot.
I asked but they wouldn't let me ride.
Carnival type atmosphere

Burlap bags (called coffee bags here) for sale. 
Gee, I really need some of these...

Lots of old wood frames, doors and stained glass.  Some of it is really attractive

We saw some really funny dressed people.

This is in one of the areas of more permanent looking shops.
Lexie and Ozzie ride very well in their stroller; Ozzie watches all the goings on while Lexie mostly naps. They did get out several times for walks and a bowl of water (Wayne sees to all this).  Only one episode really scared us.  When a big Yellow Lab walked past real close, Ozzie got excited and literally leaped out of the stroller.  I think he was as scared as I was because he stood real still, tucked his tail between his legs and waited for me to pick him up.  Of course, the Lab was totally uninterested in Ozzie and never even noticed that he had jumped out...

This is called Tiffany On A Stick
It's just odd pieces of glassware glued together.

This is the speedometer from a Chevrolet vehicle. 
I've been looking for one of these for a long, long time. 

These guys brought a bunch of pine trees to sell.
They cut them into rough boards and sand them.
I actually saw somebody buy one. 

I took this picture for the look of the camper.
Notice the nice wood front and the window air conditioner.  

Boat motors

Although we looked through hundreds of booths, we didn't find a thing we couldn't live without so after four hours of roaming among the grounds we left with only having bought two hot dogs, soft drinks, chips, an ice cream cone and a fried peach pie. We ate them all right on the spot.
Long horns for sale.

I cannot imagine the work involved in loading and unloading all these books. There were thousands of books.
And what happens if it rains?

Another home made rig to shade the rider from the sun.
The best one was a man riding his scooter, pulling his wife sitting in a lawn chair on a wagon.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture.

More glassware, cooking utensils, pictures and stuff.

I'd like to have the concession for rental wagons. They also have onside rentals of scooters.
 $8 for an hour - $50 for the day.

Some of the grounds are in shady areas and seem to be more eclectic than those booths in other area.
This is probably where the best treasures are hidden.

This shot shows some of the campers outside the trade area.

It's a bit like a huge "out of control" yard sale.

Returning to our campground about 16 miles west of Canton, in Terrell.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lexie's Sand Spur Injury: Follow-up

Ozzie on the left, Lexie on the right.
On Tuesday while the final work was being done on the new motorcoach Wayne, Ozzie and I took Lexie to another vet to have her foot checked again.

The sand spur injury she received in Ft. Pierce seemed to finally heal but left her licking the top of the paw where the skin broke to release the fluids.  Unable to keep her from licking it, I am convinced we need to put one of those horrible plastic funnel-shaped collars around her neck for a few days so the wound can heal. Wayne cannot stand the thought of putting her little head into the plastic collar. 

Wayne has become quite the advocate for Lexie and Ozzie.  Last weekend, as a matter of fact, we bought a medium sized crate for the two of them to sleep in together. This was the second time we went to Petsmart to buy the crate. The first time, we left without the crate as Wayne easily talked himself out of it. He thinks it's  cruel for them to sleep in a crate.  Meanwhile, Ozzie's early morning (4 a.m. I'm talking here) pee-pees continued. He wakes up and gets all excited for us to pick him up and put him in the bed.  He wakes Lexie up too -- so we're all four wide awake long before sunrise everyday.  But on the second trip, we did choose a nice crate that easily will accommodate both of them. They love it and go into it readily when Wayne announces "time for nite-nite"

Anyway, I've gone off on another story.  Let me refocus on today's visit to the vet.

We came upon a Petsmart store that included one of the Banfield Animal Clinics while we were looking around for some new throw rugs at the nearby Target. On inquiry, I was told to bring her in immediately and the vet could see her. I was also given a complimentary office visit coupon. I returned to the car, gathered up the gang and returned to the clinic desk.

Because we've had some concerns over Ozzie's urine stream, we asked if we could get the vet to make an examination of him too. Our request was granted, of course. 

In the end, the vet prescribed a round of steroids, Nystatin cream and Yuck gel for Lexie's foot. Yuck  a product suppose to taste so bad dogs will stop licking when you put it around the affected area.  The vet also removed the small cyst from behind her right ear.I'll apply Neosporin to the area twice a day for a while.

For Ozzie, his urine stream is likely nothing to worry about. His early morning accidents are likely due to excitement because he loves to get into the bed with us and is anxious to be picked up.

That evening, I reconsidered the steroids for Lexie and opted to leave them off. I so much dislike the idea of steroids and antibiotics.  We applied the Nystatin and put Yuck around the medicine.  Lexie licked it off. Yes, she licked the Yuck and the Nystatin right off that little foot.  That's some incredible dog ... our little Lexie. 

Not sure what we'll do next as Wayne absolutely refuses to put that plastic collar 'round her neck. 

After a day or so more, it looks like the spot might be getting better anyway. I'm applying the Yuck gel a bit heavier and I've kept her busy with other things so she doesn't have as many opportunities to lick.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Final Touches Before Leaving Baton Rouge

Finally on Tuesday, March 27th, with all the ordered parts received, the last issues with Endie were resolved. Nothing major... just some minor adjustments and factory assembly line issues. In the end, we were in the Baton Rouge area just two days short of one month.  We couldn't complain because we enjoyed visiting all the old places and finding some new ones.

During those weeks we managed to buy the new coach (Endie) and the new car (Big Blackie), see our old house and places of work, eat at some of our favorite diners and dives, visit with some old friends and make some new ones. 

Here are some of the people at The RV Shop who helped make our motorhome trade so pleasurable.
Here we are with Al. He worked us through the trade.
 We exchanged many emails before we ever met him.

I really enjoyed visiting with Tammy.
A beautiful lady, inside and out. A cancer survivor and a new and dear friend.

Reed coordinated all our service after the purchase of Endie.
That's Endie behind him.  Nearly ready now....

Josh worked on all the electronics.
He also installed the new Blue Ox Faceplate onto Big Blackie
This is the Blue Ox tow bar, adjusted upward several inches to accommodate the high faceplate on Big Blackie.

Tyson is the Sales Manager. He still owes me one set of keys! 

James worked hard getting the desk moved from Mona into Endie.

 Reed and Josh behind the service counter.

Rodney orders everything. Always smiling.  He's a dog lover too. 

The RV Shop King, Gerald. Great guy, great family, great business.
His hat still has the tag dangling off the back of the brim.
Tammy gave Wayne a nice white canvas Panama Jack hat that didn't get photographed because the camera's batteries died.

This is Buddy, The RV Shop watchdog.
Buddy is a Pit Bull and Lab Mix. He has a ferocious bark. He attacks small animals and kills them without warning.
Fortunately, Buddy stays locked up during the day and anytime Lexie and Ozzie were on the premises.
By about 2 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, everything was complete and we were ready to pull away. We're excited to move on now and we're headed west.  Just about the time we got out of town a rock flew up and chipped Endie's windshield! A "dime" shaped and sized chip on the lower right section.  Oh well.... if we can't cope with a few bumps along the way, we're in the wrong retirement business.  

As new coach buyers from The RV Shop in Baton Rouge, we'll enjoy a complimentary night in Breaux Bridge at Cajun Palms campground.  Tomorrow, we'll make our way into Texas via I-20 toward Dallas.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cajun Dictionary, Common Terms and Recipes

The language in this part of Louisiana is unique and I love to hear it spoken. In many ways hearing the Cajun people talk is much like hearing my own sweet French Canadian Father. Daddy came to the United States when he was just 17, joined the U.S. Military and never returned to his homeland. After marrying mother he remained in the deep south where he lived until he died.  His French became a broken kind of Southern-Cajun-French.

I came upon this Cajun Dictionary today while looking around online for things to see and do while we're waiting for the part to come in for Endie.  I thought some of my blog readers might like to take a look.  I hope you enjoy it.

Cajun Dictionary | New Orleans Plantation Country

If you enjoyed the dictionary, you'll probably get a kick out of the next link that interprets some  common Cajun terminology. It's taken from the same website .  Enjoy.

Cajun Terms | New Orleans Plantation Country

And finally, there was a page of some (undoubtedly) delicious Cajun recipes -- for those who cook.

Recipes | New Orleans Plantation Country

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

River Road: Best and Worst Scenery

Heavy and frequent rainstorms are expected to move into the area tomorrow so we took a nice long sightseeing drive south from Convent on River Road east of the Mississippi River today. Having seen so much of New Orleans during the years we lived in Baton Rouge we won't revisit there but instead, we'll head south to the parish line. Incidentally, Louisiana is the only state in America that refers to the geographical areas equivalent to counties, as parishes.

Less than 2 miles into our ride, we came upon a very nice setting and caught a glimpse of a small painted sign for the Oaks of St Joseph.  A chain was stretched across what appeared to be an old entryway. This looked like it could have been a plantation setting but no home was at the end of the tree lined lane. Instead there was a statue. Directly across the street we could see several beautiful old buildings neatly kept on a lush green garden. Several signs indicated that "Visitors" were "Not Allowed"  ... interesting.  We wondered out loud why they didn't just close and lock the gates instead of leaving them open with a sign posted.  Hum.

Oaks of St Joseph
The tiny spec between the trees at the end of the lane is a statue.
I'm guessing it's representative of St Joseph.

"No Visitors" on these grounds.  Hum.
A nearby historical marker described this place as Manresa House of Retreats apparently a Jesuit retreat for spiritual development of the laity since 1931.

In earlier times this was Jefferson College property but the institution failed. The buildings were later used as Louisiana College but it also failed.  The presidents house (not pictured) and the gate houses (perhaps the two buildings on either side of the photo) date back to 1835 and the main building (I'm guessing the large building in the center) was built in 1845. Federal troops used the property 1862 to 1864 during the Civil War. St. Mary's Jefferson College operated on the property from 1864 'till 1927.  In 1931, the Jesuits bought the property and have conducted retreats here since that time. Some 5,000 laypersons and priests use the facility every year.

Just down the road from Manresa House of Retreats we stopped below this Mississippi River bridge. We walked to the crown of the levee to see the river, but found a garbage filled overgrown area between the levee edge and the main body of water. About that moment we became concerned that drivers above us could throw garbage out and directly onto us so we hurried back to the car...

The following photos show some of the scenery along River Road south from here for the next several miles.
Can't imagine what this is...

Or this. Everything on this property is this color.  Weird.
This is the strangest of all. Just this big dome out in the field.

Lots of things like this over the road.

... not a clue what any of this is either.

The ride from the bridge to the next stop wasn't a great distance and was only interesting from a curious point of view as the industry is so strange looking.  Any way, we came upon another of the famous old plantation homes along the road.
San Francisco house dates to 1856.
It is a sugar plantation home.
San Francisco Plantation House boasts itself as the most opulent plantation house in North America. It is a Creole, open suite style mansion. Like most other Louisiana plantations, it is surrounded by Live Oak trees.
Like the other plantation homes, San Francisco House is on the National Register of Historic Places.
 Some say the house resembles a Mississippi riverboat.  I don't know 'bout that.

The story of San Francisco Plantation is that the land was part of a huge "land and slave" purchase by a free black man who speculated on the property, selling it to a man named Marmillion for $100,000; a whopping $50,000 more than he paid.

Edmond Marmillion added yet more land and slaves, and operated a sugar production facility during the 1850's.  His wife, Antoinette (same as me) and six of the couple's eight children, died of tuberculosis within 20 years.

After his wife's death, Marmillion's sights turned to making a tribute to his family by providing a home for his two surviving sons. He completely renovated the sugar plantation home.  It would include five hand-painted ceilings, ornate painted door panels, marble and elaborate wood grain throughout.

Novelist Frances Parkinson Keyes wrote "Steamboat Gothic" a story about an imaginary family living in the house.

Edmond Marmillion passed away a year after the renovations were complete and the next half century left the plantation in a constant state of turmoil among the two surviving sons and relatives.

After a great flood in 1927, the Army Corps of Engineers began building the levee system along the Mississippi River. The levee took the luscious front yard and gardens that were originally part of San Francisco plantation and very nearly claimed the home itself. If not for the lobbying efforts of local residents, this and many other of the plantation homes along the river would have been sacrificed to the levee.

In the late 1970's the home was purchased by Marathon Oil, who owns it still today. A huge restoration project was begun just after that purchase. It was about this time that the house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Slave houses on the property.

San Francisco Plantation was the last of the beautiful sites along today's ride.  Here's the remainder of the sights we saw.

This ferry will, for $1 (yes 1 dollar), ferry an automobile across the Mississippi River.
Pedestrians pay 25 cents.

Sugar cane field in the foreground.
More industry in the distance.

This barge is apparently empty.

A huge Shell Oil refinery is located beside this Valero Oil complex.
By this time, we were famished and stopped for a bite of lunch at a 'hole-in-the-wall' diner.
Undoubtedly some of the best country fried steak, gravy, mashed potatoes and green beans I've ever eaten.  Wayne too.
After lunch we came upon what I call "America's Most Dreadful Bridge" -- the Huey Long. Happily, it's under construction, I certainly hope they are widening it.  We traveled across this bridge back in the 1990's and I think that crossing is the cause of my dreaded 'bridge phobia' of today.
The crumbling, weathered overhead sign states,
"Huey P Long Bridge Built Under The Administration of Gov. Huey P. Long and Lt. Gov. Oscar K. Allen"

We found our way back to Poche Plantation Campground along I-10 and I snapped a few more pictures of interesting Louisiana scenery.
Lake Pontchartrain reaches over to the edge of I-10

Cypress trees