Notes From The Cactus Patch

Tall Tales and Ripping Yarns from The Great State Of Texas

Archive for the tag “Granbury Texas”

“Armadillo Dream Wrecker”


A few days ago I approached an Armadillo that was nosing around in my backyard. Having lived here in the country for over two years, it’s the first one I’ve seen on my property.

Last night, the little tank dug up a few plants and excavated a two-foot deep hole in one of my flower beds, then rooted around in my lawn, leaving nose holes like Swiss cheese. I am not pleased with nature at this time. But, I am respectful of nature and the animals that live around me. I still like Armadillos, but barely.

A trip to Home Depot arms me with a sure-fire critter deterrent. A shaker full of granules that resembles the classic Twenty Mule Team Borax; the product mined in Death Valley and was the backdrop for a great western television show in the 1950s starring Ronald Reagan. I also picked up a few shakers of Cayenne Pepper powder for an added kick; Dillers hate pepper powder.

Two hours later, I am gagging from the Cayenne Pepper powder that somehow got up my nose and in my eyes, which are blood red and producing copious amounts of tears, along with streams of red snot flowing from my burning nose. So this is what it was like to be gassed by the Krauts in WWI? Not a shot fired, and the little critter is kicking my butt.

My trap is set; the war is on. The chemical attack is imminent. My battle plan had better work because I am faring worse than the critter. I think for a moment that my Savage 12 gauge might be a better option, but then I would need to console my wife, then plan a funeral and say a few words, possibly invite a few neighbors over for the service and such, so I will stick with the deterrents for now.

01200 rolls around and my eyes are open; no sleep or sweet dreams for me. I roll out of bed, disarm my security system and sneak onto the patio, LED lantern in hand. I smell a skunk and hear frogs croaking; a rustle in the woods behind my shed startles me; it could be Sasquatch, or worse, a Haitian invader. We have night snakes around here; Copperheads and rattlers like to bite, so I am careful where I step in the grass. No Diller to be seen. No evidence of digging as of yet, but I will launch another reconnaissance mission around 3 AM. Wish me luck.

“Natures Little Excavator Pays A Visit”


Photo by Marlin Perkins

We have critters in Texas; lots of them, and they all have the potential to do damage to our landscape in one way or another. My favorite demo-critter is the pugnacious determined Armadillo. Nature’s natural tank.

Thanks to the cowboy-hippies down in Austin during the 70s, the “Diller” is now our state animal. I can’t drink a Lone Star beer without thinking of the Armadillo World Headquarters and all the great music played there.

My wife calls me to our back door this afternoon with a ” lookey here at this, there’s a diller in our back yard.”

Well, I’ll be sprayed in Unicorn piss, rolled in fairy dust, and made into a Tinkerbell biscuit, it is one, and in the daylight, which is unusual since they are known to be nocturnal. Covid has thrown nature’s time clock off by a few hundred hours, so I presume our little visitor is Covid bug disoriented or just oblivious.

We watch him for a while as he travels around our lawn, nose down, sniffing for grubs, of which there are none because I murdered them all with poison a few months back. There is nothing quite as satisfying to a gardener, as the screams of grub worms dying a painful death. The same goes for fire ants, armyworms, and mosquitos.

The little guy is not digging up my lawn so I let him be. After a while, I step outside and approach him. He is too busy searching to notice me, and I walk within a few feet of him, fully expecting a quick exit. Nope, not interested in my presence, too busy thinking about bugs and stuff. He lifts his head, and we briefly make eye contact, human and critter mind-meld type of contact. I catch a glint in his beady little eye that says, ” hey man, it’s cool, I’m just shopping.”

After a while, he meanders over to a flower bed and exits through a stand of Canna Lillys. All of God’s creatures got to eat too.

“19 Holes With Dirty Harry”


How’s that for a landing! I have never flown a plane in my whole life, but my newly-minted friend, Sir Richard Branson, let me land one of his private jets.

This adventure started last week when my wife and I were feeling “down in the mouth” because all our friends were posting their vacations on Facebook, and here we are, stuck in Granbury.

My wife loves to enter stupid contests found in the back of her trashy movie star magazines, so she entered one that promised lunch with Sir Richard Branson. Who knew that she would win the darn thing.

A week later, out of the blue, Sir Richard sent us an email saying he would be stopping in Dallas on his way to Carmel, California, and if we weren’t busy, would we like to fly out with him for a round of golf and a spot of lunch at Pebble Beach. Well, hell ya!

A few days later, we are on Sir Richards jet heading to the West coast and dining on Picasso Pawns and ice-cold Chardonnay at 30,000 feet. We wondered what all the poor people were doing.

Sir Richard is a gambler and a jokester, so he bet me a fifty spot that I couldn’t land his private jet. Having consumed an entire bottle of cold wine and feeling a bit cocky, I took the bet. It was a rough-assed landing, giving the pilot a heart attack after we slid off the runway, but it was great fun.

Unfortunately, Sir Richard didn’t have any cash, so he gave me his Rolex instead. What a pal!

Arriving at Pebble Beach Golf Club, Sir Richard mentioned that his good buddy Clint Eastwood would be making up our fourth. My wife was so excited she fainted on the spot. Sir Richard brought her around with a few sips of expensive chardonnay, and a pre-paid Platinum Visa Card waved under her nose.

Clint and Sir Richard have more money than Moses and have a running bet of twenty-thousand a hole. We passed on their game but agreed to keep their score, so no one cheated.

Clint had Sir Richard down by two until he missed a critical par putt on 16 and posted a double-bogy.

Being Dirty Harry and all, Clint didn’t take that well, so he pulled a 44 Magnum from his golf bag and blasted his ball into powder, leaving a large crater in the green. ” Take that you little white shit,” he mumbled. He then turned to us and said, “its okay, I own the course.” My wife and I were a bit unnerved but managed to finish the round. Sir Richard knew better than to piss off Dirty Harry, so he let Clint win. It was chump-change to him.

After the game, we made our way to the grill and were seated in Clint’s special booth. He told the waiter to bring four “Dirty Harry Specials,” which consisted of a chili-cheese hot dog with extra onions, San Francisco Curley Fries, and a large glass of Colt 45 Malt Liquor. Yum-Yum, fine dining it was.

Finished with our meal and preparing to leave, we noticed a commotion at the bar, and Clint, being the owner, intervened.

It seems a group of hipster golfers were pissing about their outrageous bar bill and didn’t want to pay up.

Clint grabbed the nearest one and threw him to the polished pine floor. Then, being Dirty Harry and all, he produced his 44 Magnum from his jacket, pointed it at the hipster’s face, and uttered, ” this is the most powerful handgun in the world and it will blow your head clean off. Now in all this excitement, I forgot how many bullets I fired. Was it five or six? Well do you feel lucky, punk?”

Too afraid to move, we stood there shaking, we are sure that there would be a shooting all over a bar bill. Sir Richard offered to pay the tab, but Clint would hear non of it.

Clint got all “beady eyed” and, in his famous Dirty Harry voice, said to the hipster, “Well, do you feel lucky‚Ķ punk?” The young man, fearing for his life, answered, ” I gots to know.”

Clint then fired a shot into the ceiling, sending everyone in the grill running for the door. He started laughing, as were the hipsters and the guy on the ground. It seems he pulls this act about once a month, just for fun.

It was a great trip, and Clint gave us some coupons for a free game at Pebble.

When Sir Richard dropped us off at Love Field, he asked if we might like to take a little trip with him and some of his mates into outer space. It pays to know the right people.

“Where’s The Dress?”


I met up with my old pal Mooch for lunch at the local Whataburger a few days ago; corner booth by the west window, same as always for at least ten years now. Giblet, his foul tempered chihuahua was nestled into his chest mount baby sling. A large colorful patch on the sling read; “Service and Emotional Support Animal.” I never knew that? What in the world could Giblet do except bite your fingers trying to steal french fries and crap in the carrier.

We ordered our burgers, said our howdy’s and made small talk until the meal arrived. Mooch was quiet except for smacking his double meat burger. I knew he was troubled about something.

About half-way through the meal, Mooch blurted out, “my grandson is a sissy-boy.”

I know his grandson Willie quite well, so this surprised the hell out of me. The kid is 6 ft. 240 pounds of Texas football playing whoop-ass. All district line-backer all 4 years at Granbury High School and the fastest man on the track team. Mooch must be on drugs or suffering from early onset “Old-timers.”

I said, ” come on Mooch, the kid is all testosterone and muscle and will be playing football for some Big 10 university next year.”

“Nope” he says. “He’s a girly-man, just like that Boy George dude back in the 80s. My son Harry called me yesterday with the news. Willie is transitioning into a girl named Sadie Sue. Harry said he’s wearing a blonde wig, dresses, high-heel shoes, makeup and big fake titties. He still has his Johnson, so that’s a good thing, but he said he is a girl now. I should have noticed something was amiss when he sent the AR 15 rifle I bought him for Christmas back to me with a note that said, “no thanks, guns or for mean boys.” His Grandma is so freaked out, she took a handful of Valium and took to her bed.”

I know nothing of this subject, but offered Mooch a coddled word, “I know this is a shock, but is there anything positive that can come of this. You think it’s just a fad or a phase?”

Mooch smiled and said, “Well there is one good thing, he got a full-ride scholarship to the University of Oregon, so at least he will get a good education.”

“Well that’s good news indeed. I’m sure he will be a stellar line-backer for the football team,” I say.

Mooch wiped a tear from his watery old eye and said, “not football buddy, he’s on the girls track team.” And with that, Giblet bit Mooch’s hand trying to get the last french-fry.

Strange Times In The Cactus Patch


Life in the cactus patch has been a bit odd the past month. The spring rains assaulted us like an Indian typhoon. Our veggie garden, thanks to the downpours, is boarding on fantastic and the landscape plants are strutting their stuff like a drum major. I am down to my last two classes for my Master Gardener certificate from Texas A&M, and upon receiving that document, I will be a certified plant snob, ready to impress or offend everyone I come into contact with.

I can picture myself sporting an English tweed jacket, bucket hat and Wellingtons, patrolling Granbury’s historic neighborhood’s dispensing unsolicited advice to the horticulture-ally uneducated.

“Mam, you shouldn’t plant those Hollyhocks next to the roses, the two species harbor a great dislike for each other.” You get the picture. I will be insufferable.

“Good God, help me!” it’s been 66 days and no presser from Kamala Harris. Imagine, after every gentle question from her adoring group of reporters, she cackles like the lunatic she is, and that passes as an answer?

Over at HBO, Bill Mahar blast the liberal media for portraying Israel as the bad guys. I’m not a fan of his, but he shoots straight from his liberal hip and takes no hostages, and he’s not Jewish.

As if he couldn’t get any creepier, Sippy-Cup Joe, in front of a “live” audience at a military base, tells an 8 year old girl he likes the berets in her hair, and she looks like she is 19 sitting there with her legs crossed. What the hell? Can one of his handlers put duct-tape over his mouth.

Switching gears now: I caught a little cancer back in the spring of 2019. Summers are usually boring around here, so it gave me something to occupy my time. SBRT is a high dose radiation treatment from a robot that looks like a Star Wars toy. They stick all sorts of devices up your backside while strapped to a table; kind of like what Frankenstein experienced. I asked my oncologist if the radiation was good? He said ” oh man, it’s the best, right from Los Alamo’s labs and endorsed by Oppenheimer.” So I’m being radiated with the same stuff that built “the bomb?” Yeah baby! Two years down the road, I am cancer free, but now have to deal with the side effects of massive radiation damage to my bladder, prostate and urethra. Pissing a stream of blood like like a vampire for 4 months is not for girly men.

I haven’t had a haircut in seven months. Look at the money I have saved! In 1970, my hair was long, now in 2021, it’s longer than it was then. Bald guys look at me with disdain. They hate me.

It’s never too late to rebel against something. I’m 71 years old, I have earned the right. I’ll let you know when I figure out what my choice will be.

Last week, Texas passed a law that allows every man, woman, child and animal to freely carry a firearm. Children toting 22’s, dogs with an AR15 strapped to their harness and grandmothers wearing twin holsters filled with shining Colts. The streets of Laredo comes to mind. Imagine getting into a argument at H.E.B. with an old lady over the last loaf of rye bread, and she pops you with a chrome-plated 9 MM. This will add new meaning to the saying “Wild Wild West.” Granbury, my town, is installing a new sign on 377; ” Welcome to Granbury, Where history lives. Beer and Ammo next exit. Yeah man! God Bless Texas.

“More Things That Make You Wonder, Why?”


In Texas, if you want a hamburger, you go to one place; “Whataburger”. Born in Corpus Christi in 1950, it is the home grown holy grail of burger joints. Always fresh cooked to your order with all the fixins’. It is a redneck culinary delight. Sure we have other boys popping up on prime real estate. “In And Out,” and “Five Guys,” are a bunch of West coast flakes trying to sneak in here and contaminate our burger pool. Cute little paper wrapped sandwiches you eat with one pinky finger sticking out like your drinking a glass of Chardonnay at a movie star pool party. I would like to see Spielberg try to eat a Whataburger.

I whipped into my local orange and white Whataburger here in Granbury yesterday for my monthly fix; a burger, fries and a Dr Pepper made to my order.

The voice from the speaker said, ” would you like to try our number 4?”

I replied, “no mam, just a Whataburger meal number 1 with fries and a small Dr Pepper, hold the onions and add two spicy ketchup’s.”

A few moments ticked by and the voice says, ” Sir, the meal comes with a large drink.”

Not trying to be difficult, well maybe just a bit, I say,” Yes, I know that, but that is too much liquid and my old bladder is smaller now, so I can only handle a small Dr Pepper or I will wet my jeans. I will pay for the large drink, but make it a small.”

Now the voice from the speaker is getting testy,” Sir, it comes with a large drink, and you have to take the large drink, that’s what has to happen.”

I pull up to the pick-up window for my meal. The lady opens the window and thrust a large drink into my hand.

I hand the drink back to her, and she shoves it back to me. I set it on the ledge and say, ” I will pay for the large Dr Pepper, but I want a small drink, just make the substitution and I will be on my way.” She is clearly, shaken and bug eyed. She leaves and in a few seconds, the manager appears at the window, ” Sir, you have to take the large drink, that’s the way it is. Our kitchen is in a turmoil now because you changed the Number 1 meal.”

“Tell you what Bub, take the Dr Pepper back, and give me a small Dr Pepper shake with chocolate ice-cream instead of the Dr Pepper drink,”I say. Now the crap is really hitting the fan. The window lady, standing behind the manager, is leaning against the counter, weeping. The manager looks as it he got goosed by a cattle prod and the kitchen is in a tither.

After a few minuets, the vehicles behind me begin to honk. The guy in the pick-up truck directly behind me takes his shotgun off of the gun rack and chambers a shell. Texans take their burgers seriously, and this is about to get nasty. There is nothing scarier than armed men in pick-ups having a blood sugar low because he can’t get their feed bag.

The window opens again, and the manager tosses me my burger meal, a large, and a small Dr Pepper, and a small Dr Pepper shake. He also gives me a gift card for twenty-dollars, a Whataburger Covid 19 mask, and a coupon for 30 days of free Whataburgers. ” No charge, and have a nice day,” he says.

Things That Make You Wonder, Why?


My wife and I visited our favorite Mexican restaurant a while back for lunch. We live in Texas, so Tex-Mex is one of our food groups that must be consumed at least once a month in order to maintain our cosmic balance and to keep our gut bacteria in check.

The wait staff, or the chip guy, plopped a basket of chips and a bowl of salsa on our table. No hello, how are you, and no water to wash down the salty chip dipped in a tomato and jalapeno fortified liquid fire? How does one eat hot and spicy foods without water? Why do they not think of that? Gringos are sissy-asses when it comes to hot salsa.

Our waitress, a pleasant young Hispanic girl arrives to take our order. The music in the room is loud and I have a hard time hearing her explanation of the “special of the day.”

Not wanting to appear deaf, which I almost am, I ask her to please turn down the music so I might understand her. She stares at me like I have a third eye on my forehead, something my wife does often. She says, “we need the music for the ambiance of the dining experience, and besides our staff likes it.” Okay, that’s fine, but it’s too loud.

This is one of the questions that make you wonder why, so I ask her, “young lady, do you know we are in Granbury, Texas, and not in Cancun, Mexico? Everyone in here is middle age or older, and they are all gringos that don’t speak Spanish, so they can’t understand a word of the songs being played.” She looks puzzled and rubs her chin a few times, then replies, “Sir, if we don’t play the Spanish music, then the food will not taste as good, and we want you to imagine you are in Old Mexico dining on a vine-covered patio and watching the waves roll onto the white sandy beach.”

Okay, this is getting good. I say,” I am looking through a window at a parking lot full of big-assed pick-up trucks and a highway full of speeding pick-up trucks pulling construction trailers, and nothing you can play or say will make me imagine I am in Old Mexico eating a resort lunch. We are in Texas, and I am going home, which is about four miles from here, to take a nap after this, not to my hotel room overlooking the beach.” I think she got the message.

Somewhere around my tenth chip and a few sips of beer, the music stops, then starts again. Eric Clapton playing “Sunshine Of Your Love” fills the room. The other diners smile, and there are more than a few tapping feet. Makes you wonder?

” Waffles of Insurrection”


Photo courtesy of Colonel Sanders

Old Pal Mooch called me early this morning. I was dead asleep and dreaming of Pioneer beer batter pancakes slathered in Aunt Jemima syrup. In his usual excited state, he tells me that his band of patriots, the Hood County Plowboys drove straight through from Granbury to Washington DC, stopping to buy gas and some North Carolina jerky and pork rinds. I believe about half of his stories, so it never occurred to me that he and his bunch of armed rag-tags were serious about forcefully taking back the country before old Joe lays his hand on the “Good Book.” I will pay more attention to his wild schemes from now on.

He said that the closer they got to Washington, the more National Guard troops and armored equipment they saw. Thousands of soldiers posted along the highway, eating from food trucks and playing games on their phones. It was the scariest thing he ever saw.

Arriving in the city, they tried and failed to get to the mall, but installations of razor wire, armed troops, tanks, cruise missile installations, and claymore minefields blocked their way. A group of large and menacing soldiers told Mooch to take his raggedy-ass pop-gun carrying hillbillies back to Texas and then pointed a 50 caliber machine gun at the would-be insurrectionist. They got the message.

I asked Mooch what their plan B was and if they might be in peril. He took a moment to answer and then told me that since they couldn’t shoot anybody or get to see Old Joe, they found the nearest Waffle House. When all else fails, it’s time for a waffle.

“Plowboys and Snowmen”


Last week we had snow in Southwest Texas. It wasn’t our typical donut powder dusting, but 7 inches of heavy, wet snow that required the tree limbs and plants to muster all of their natural strength to stay upright. The hundreds of cedar trees surrounding my rocky plot fared well; my salvias and a few sissy cacti lost the assault and lay flat like a pancake, wondering what the hell hit them.

My wife channeled her inner-child and fashioned a decent 2-foot snowman in our backyard. Organic cucumbers for eyes, a carrot for the nose, and organic red grapes for the mouth. She said since snow is organic, then the building materials must also be. She topped it off with my worthless Texas Rangers ball cap. I took pictures with my smartphone, knowing that it may be years before another storm comes our way, and by then, who knows? I may be resting in a colorful Fiestaware container on the mantle, not caring about the weather at all, but If it wasn’t for keeping close tabs on the weather and waiting for the postman to deliver my favorite junk mail, my life would be over. I’m especially fond of H.E.B. ads.

Old pal Mooch called me yesterday. We haven’t met at Whataburger for six months, thanks to the “Rona,” and it was good to hear from him. He said himself, Mrs. Mooch and his chihuahua “Giblet” are now “vegan” and as happy as summer squash. He donated his freezer full of West Texas venison to Father Frank, the priest at Our Lady Of Perpetual Repentance, and the Mexican taco trailer in the Discount Tire parking lot.

After a few pointless pleasantries and howdy’s, he asked me if I would join his group of senior citizen revolutionaries and ride in his pick-up truck caravan to Washington, so on January 20th, they can take back our country. I entertained the invite for a few moments until he said his group’s name is “The Hood County Plowboys.” They wear overalls and gimme caps and have loads of AR guns and other assorted weaponry. I told him it sounded more like a hillbilly jug-band than armed insurrectionists and declined his offer; I don’t care for overalls or gimme caps. I told a disappointed Mooch I would watch for him on the TV news and to send me some pictures on his smart-ass phone.

It’s Alright To Speak Your Piece


I started my blog twelve years ago as an outlet to publish my short stories, opine on everyday life, and serve as a recounter of odd-ball Texas history. America and the “blogosphere” is different now.

My blog,” Notes From The Cactus Patch,” was born on another blogging site, and then switched to WordPress, which for me, a non-geek, was challenging and difficult to navigate. It took a while, but I became friends enough with this platform that writing and posting is no longer an ordeal.

Readers have inquired about the name of my blog. “Why do I write notes from a cactus patch?” they say. At the time I started my blog, my wife and I lived in Georgetown Texas, north of Austin, and was surrounded by cactus and cedar trees. Now we live atop a rocky hill in Granbury, over-looking Comanche Peak and I am once again, surrounded by cedar trees and cactus. The locality has changed, but the fauna is the same, so the name remains.

I discovered the “Search” button in the “Reader” category a while back. Not that I am keeping a count, but, I find that leftist-leaning blogs have hundreds, if not thousands, and possibly millions of more followers than conservative ones. Why is that? Coincidence? maybe, because more bloggers are in that twenty-to-thirty something age range. Us older bloggers, also known as “boomer’s and deplorable’s” are gaining on them. What else do we have to occupy our time but collect our Social Security check, clean and load our gun collections while reading our Bible, go to doctor’s appointments between medical procedures, and yell at kids to get off of our lawn? Blogging is a welcome and healthy distraction. A recent study finds that for seniors, blogging can add five years to our lifespan, or, cause us to stroke out and face plant into our laptop. Who did this study, Dr. Fauci?

This morning, I am sitting at my laptop watching the north wind whip the trees into a formidable frenzy. The sky is gray and spitting cold rain, the windchill is way below what I can stand, and, there is snow in the forecast for tomorrow’s eve. Not our typical Texas weather, but it’s dawning January, and winter’s appearance is late this year. The Cardinals visited their feeder a few times before giving up; too windy to eat. These hunker-down days are for writing, tuna sandwiches, and strong coffee. I will read and write for a while, then succumb to a nap.

After suffering through a dozen or more random blog posts, one, in particular, grabbed me. His blog picture was the spitting image of that “Jack the dude” that owns Twitter. Short un-even haircut, a ZZ top hipster beard, and that “no one is home” look in his doll eyes. I clicked on his post.

It seems that this slightly if at all educated young fellow is dead certain that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will save the world in 30 days or less by un-doing every good deed our President has put into place the last four years. The dynamic duo will correct the wrongs that plague every third or fourth world country on the globe, but will save our fascist, greedy white privileged racist America for last; It’s the right thing to do, and yes, America will foot the bill. He supports the movement to make AOC a saint, even though he is an atheist and has no idea how religion and the Catholic church works. I am assuming this young man was born in the late 80s and started his education around the same time the teacher’s unions became a full-blown socialist organization. They still are but now have “outed” themselves because they feel “empowered” by “the movement” and the great reset that is due to premiere in 2021. Let us pray he doesn’t have access to a Harry Potter wand.

His comment section was fat with support for his soliloquy. ” Go dude, we are with you” and “f… America and the conservatives.” I cringed more than once as I read on.

I don’t care for his poisonous pen or his misguided forecast of the future, but people that share common beliefs bond together, no matter the outcome. That is what shaped our Republic, and that mindset is what made us America. Let all free citizens speak their piece, but don’t be offended when others challenge that piece. God Bless Texas and Willie Nelson.

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