Travel Lagniappe – Peruvian Women’s Weaving Cooperative

Recently, I hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with my son. It’s a trip that we’ve been talking about for years and it was an amazing, transformative, massive experience. No doubt it will be the subject of many posts. Today’s travel lagniappe is from that trip: before we began the trek, we visited a Peruvian Women’s Weaving Cooperative where indigenous people create beautiful woven textiles of sheep, llama, and alpaca wool.

Peruvian Women’s Weaving Cooperative
Women at the Coop
Women in traditional costume at the weaving cooperative

The outfitter for our trip – G Adventures – sponsors a foundation that, in turn, sponsors these cooperatives. Unlike many of the “shopping opportunities” that are foisted upon you on some tours, this one felt authentic – a genuine chance to experience and foster a traditional way of life.

Interestingly, despite the rustic and rural setting,

Livestock pens at the beginning of the Coop village
Livestock pens at the beginning of the Coop village

cell phone reception was excellent. Continue reading “Travel Lagniappe – Peruvian Women’s Weaving Cooperative”

Hildring House Kitchen on DesignSponge!

Our (well, Debra’s) Hildring House kitchen is featured on Design Sponge’s Before and After. Go take a look!

Hildring House Kitchen
Photo by Amber Shumake

Just in case you missed the link, find it here.

And the adventures continue!

Best –

Dan

Many Paths – Journey Lagniappe

Many Paths

You may have noticed a lapse in posts. I spent a couple of weeks in Peru hiking the Inca Trail with one of our sons – something we’ve been talking about for years. Right before I returned, Debra flew to France with a couple of dear friends for a “girls’ trip.” The schedules just worked out that way. Life With the Barretts means adventures down many paths.

But I’m back and she’s coming back and we’ll be back on track, just as soon as the jet lag abates.

For now – here are a some teaser shots from Peru – a little journey lagniappe.

Path inside Saqsaywaman, above Cusco
Path inside Saqsaywaman, above Cusco

Continue reading “Many Paths – Journey Lagniappe”

Carousel Joy – Friday Lagniappe

Today’s lagniappe is a bit of Carousel Joy to start your weekend.

The Fort Worth Zoo is a wonderful place. And our grandboys love it.

The Texas Wild – Carousel Joy

A section called “Texas Wild” features – among a petting zoo and other fabulous activities for young and not-so-young alike – an old-fashioned carousel.

The animals on the carousel are mostly horses in fancy western regalia – it is “Texas Wild,” after all. You’ll find some buckboards, too, for the little ‘uns.

Grandboy 1 on a horse
The older grandboy can ride by himself and he chose a blue paint

Continue reading “Carousel Joy – Friday Lagniappe”

A Quartet of Mushrooms at Hildring House – Thursday Lagniappe

I want to share an August oddity with you – a quartet of mushrooms at Hildring House. But first, a word about the real weather story in Texas:

A Monster Called Harvey

The monster called Harvey attacked south Texas with a vengeance. Our hearts go out to those suffering from the storm.

We’re proud of the courage and caring that folks have shown one another during a difficult time. Texans demonstrated that they’re better than their problems, bigger than their differences. That, at least, shines through.

Friends from elsewhere inquired about our status here in the northern part of the state. Hildring House sits about 275 miles from downtown Houston. As mean as that bastard Harvey was, he didn’t push anywhere near this far inland.

Which is not to say that this summer has been “normal” for us. But our weather aberrations have been welcome.

Not Your Normal August

Typically, August is a brutal, viciously hot month. This year, however, we enjoyed what Houston and surrounds had all too much of: rain. Fort Worth’s Meacham Airport (a small commercial field north of town) recorded nearly 6-1/2 inches of water falling from the sky. In August.

The temperatures for the month ranged from a high of 100 (and even that is a bit lower than expected) to a fantastic low of 68 with an average for the month of 83.7. And that, my friends, is pretty wonderful. (For those who don’t believe it, you can check the National Weather Service data here.)

A Quartet of Mushrooms

The rain and the moderate temps fostered the growth of mushrooms at Hildring House – and a variety of them, at that. Here, for your Thursday morning “little something extra” is a slideshow of a quartet of mushrooms:

As this post was in the works, I learned of the wildfires in the northwestern part of the country. More weather devastation. If you’re adversely affected by them, please know that you’re in our thoughts and prayers.

No matter where you are, we wish you health and safety, peace and prosperity.

Best –

Dan

10,000 Steps Through the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery

Time Travel – Hong Kong 2009 – 10,000 Buddhas Monastery

Today we’re journeying back in time, up a mountain, and through the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery in Hong Kong.

It’s mid-March, 2009. We’re in Hong Kong, enjoying a trip that Debra won (yes, that’s what I said – she won) courtesy of Central Market, a wonderful up-scale food store in Texas, and Intercontinental Hotels.

[There is a story behind her winning the trip – aside from the fact that she is a lucky lady – but that will have to wait for another day. Trust me, I took something like 1,200 pictures on that trip, so there is a lot of material for posts. I’ll tell you the “winning story” in connection with one of them.]

We see something in a guidebook or somewhere about a place called the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery. How can we not be intrigued? So we go and find it.

10,000 Buddhas – But What’s an Arhat?

The 10,000 Buddhas Monastery is on the side of a small mountain. The Wikipedia site –  you can find that here – says that you access it by means of “431 ‘steep steps’ … surrounded by statues of arhats – the Buddhist equivalent of saints who have achieved enlightenment.” Since it’s 2009 and if Wikipedia is even a thing, we’ve never heard of it, we don’t know anything about the 431 steep steps. Or the arhats. (I’ll call them “arhats” in this post since I have the benefit of 2017 research. But back in 2009, we don’t know anything about them.)

We figure out the steps pretty quickly.

Beginning of the ascent
The beginning of the path. It gets steeper.

 

We’re not sure what the arhats are, but they’re pretty cool.

ascending path and arhatsEach one is different – not just in facial features, like the terracotta warriors – but in dress, demeanor, and personality. And degree of weirdness. More about that later. Continue reading “10,000 Steps Through the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery”