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”

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

Lo-Tech Eclipse Lagniappe

A total eclipse must be an awesome thing to experience. Here in North Texas, the occlusion was at roughly 75%. Despite the lack of totality, eclipse glasses sold out weeks before the date. I opted for lo-tech eclipse viewing. But it worked. It’s a bit of lagniappe, while Debra works on another Hildring House post.

Materials at Hand

Cardboard and shadowA hunk of cardboard, ripped from a box of something or other, with a hole poked by Phillips-head screwdriver made a basic viewer. Why a Phillips-head? Because I couldn’t find our ice pick, if we even still have an ice pick, and because it’s round. I did have to trim the fuzzy edges of the hole with the kitchen shears.

Image on concreteAs the occlusion started to show up in the image, I was disappointed in the quality of our driveway as a screen. So I went inside and grabbed a piece of printer paper.

Improved Visualization

Point of Maximum OcclusionThis picture, taken at 1:08 CST shows our maximum occlusion. You can also see the image at the edges of the cardboard (most notably at the ragged lower right-hand edge) and – my favorite – in the gap between my finger and the cardboard.

Here’s one more from a few seconds later:

Another image of the eclipseLo-tech eclipse viewing was a thing, apparently. I’ve seen some really cool images across the web of hundreds of eclipse-crescents made by everything from tree leaf shadows to a colander held above a white foam board (quite clever, that one!).

The best thing about the eclipse was that, for a few minutes, the whole country had its attention turned in the same direction, observing a natural phenomenon far, far bigger and more wonderful than any of the issues that divide us.

We all walk under the same sun.

I hope the rest of your week is peaceful, pleasant, and prosperous.

Dan

Hermitage in St. Petersburg – Wishes for Your Thursday Travel Lagniappe

The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia is an amazing place. We don’t have time today for a full visit – one day, we’ll do that. It’ll be worth it. But for now, let’s just indulge a little local legend for your Thursday Travel Lagniappe.

The Hermitage in St. Petersburg
Hermitage Facade
It is enormous

Originally the Winter Palace of the Romanov family in Russia – from Peter the Great to Nicholas II – the Hermitage in St. Petersburg is an immense, sprawling museum. The building is actually several buildings but there is no way to tell when you leave one and enter another. It boasts over 1000 rooms and they’re all huge – like a couple of thousand square feet, each. The whole thing covers several city blocks.

And every inch of it is impossibly ornate.

Ornate staircaseSomeday, when we do our full tour, you’ll be able to see the scale and grandeur of the place. For now, the picture above should give you some idea of what I’m talking about. Continue reading “Hermitage in St. Petersburg – Wishes for Your Thursday Travel Lagniappe”