Our other activities, hobbies and interests

An evolving list in no particular order...

Smoking bacon on the front porch

Epircurian pursuits - I have spent my entire life learning how to cook, and cook well...  I blame my parents for forcing me to make family meals when I was a young man.  My food interests span the globe.  Now that I am an adult, I can appreciate their efforts to make me more self-sufficient.  The people who dine at my table swiftly have that opinion too!  Over the years, I have become pretty good at what I do.  I am NOT a baker, that's my daughter.  I can punch the buttons on a bread machine pretty well.  But I definitely know my way around a stove, a smoker, a grill and a BBQ pit.  I enjoy cooking a lot of our families meals and hear very few complaints.  Well, except for those "Hey, we are going to try something different tonight!" experimental projects - some turn out awful...  Some turn out AWESOME!  But, practice is what makes perfection!  (Over time and a lot of trial and error!)

Showing off the new grill 

Not to mention we have a well stocked and well equipped kitchen than regularly feeds some 40+ people at some of our 4 day parties we throw from time to time.  One of my prized possessions is a huge double doored commercial refrigerator that several people can step up into and stand there inside it together.  It's THAT huge!  Learning how to feed a LARGE number of people in a small kitchen is an art, and a very personally satisfying accomplishment.  Feeding a hungry, hung over crowd in the mornings over several days is one hell of a trick!  (Not to mention lunch and dinner!)  Our guests never go hungry...


Photography - I am a photographer with experience reaching back to the late 1960's.  I am an honest to God, dyed in the wool, Nikon addict.  I also have done videography as well.  I am a camera collector and enjoy using multiple medias for my work.  You may have seen my work as I have been published numerous times in various publications in print as well as on line.  Thanks to my father who encouraged me and gave me Yashica's, Hassleblads, Nikons and Cannons to play with as a kid.  I spent more time in a dark room in high school than any other person I have ever met...

See some of my Sunset and Sunrise photos

SCUBA Diving  Snorkeling in Cozumel  SCUBA diving

SCUBA diving - Ever since my parents handed me a mask and snorkle as a young child I was fascinated by the "other world" under water...  I got my first certifications while in college and enjoyed the sport for many years on and off.  Now that I am older I am more fascinated by freshwater diving in shallow depths.  It's easier and you can learn a lot about a small eco-system if you look.  I now own metal detectors that go under water - it brought a whole new facet to the hobby! 


My wife and both of my children are certified SCUBA divers.

Clyde the wonder horse  Rescue critters  Rescue critters

Animal lover - I have had an interesting life with animals.  Horses, dogs, cats, birds and all sorts of critters call our place home... Some we rescued, some just showed up.  We have owned everything from cats to ferrets, rats and snakes, you name it, we may have had one at one time.  I have spent my entire life caring for critters in one way, shape or form over the years.  I grew up with a thundering herd of bassett hounds.  Having a few critters around makes life interesting and it is difficult to be depressed around a bunch of bassett puppies or kittens!

Our South Pasture

Having handled everything from Horses, Cattle, Pigs, goats and other farm animals, (Not to mention dogs and cats!) I have a keen sense of loyalty to animals.  I am a firm believer that animals have feelings, maybe not like people do, but they DO have emotions, can communicate and have an ardent need for emotional and social support.  Gaining their trust is the first step to a beautiful relationshop between man and critter.  Certain animals have transformed my life from a mundane existence to one of joy.  Nothing makes me happier than making an animal happy.  Having done rescue work with several volunteer organizations over the years (and fostering a lot of critters!) for different breeds of dogs and other animals has given my family a chance to "give back" to the world we live in.


Fostering abused and neglected animals has also given us a very dark view of "humans" who do not care for animals the way they should.  I would rather spend my time with an abused and neglected horse than hang out in a bar with a bunch of drunk, irresponsible humans any day...  The horse may not be able to "talk" to you, but the appreciation you see in their eyes are words enough.  When they come bounding across a pasture for no other reason than to come say "hello" - THAT right there is worth more to me than a pile of gold coins spread across my living room table.  When a feral cat curls up on the couch with me or an abused dog cuddles up to me on the couch - the display of trust is worth more than all the gold in Fort Knox.

Feeding time!

Our work with abused, neglected and lost animals is ongoing and will likely never stop until the day I die...  Living a life without animals is like a day without sunshine.  I believe there is a very special place in hell for people who abuse and neglect animals...  And after some of the horror stories we have witnessed over the years, I wouldn't mind putting some of them there, personally...


Technical writing - I enjoy writing about technical subjects that interest me.  You may or may not have seen my work.  I have been published in numerous newsletters, QST, ATV Quarterly, 73 Amateur  Radio today, CQ magazine as well as publications serving the telecommunications industry back when I worked for Verizon.  My "occasional" writing career spanned from 1980's until the present.  Most of it was back before the internet.  Since the internet appeared, anyone can write and share with the world!  I haven't been all that active in recent years due to health reasons and lack of time.

Working on the old firebird  Racing at Lone Star Raceway in Sealy TX. 

Racing - I grew up around SCCA racing.  I grew up on a motorcycle seat, living out in the country it was a handy way to get around.  I was involved in street racing, rode Moto-X and did trials riding as a youth.  Later in life I became addicted to drag racing at our local strip.  It was legal and a lot more fun!  I have since hung up my leathers and my helmet but I still enjoy watching even though I can no longer participate.  However, our TV is regularly watching just about anything having to do with motorsports.  Anything from lawn mower racing, boat racing to the indy-500 - and just about anything that has NOTHING to do with NASCAR.  I am not interested in NASCAR in the least.  Give me a good road course any day!

Working on cars - I am a shade tree mechanic.  A pretty decent shade tree mechanic, if I do say so myself.  I enjoy working on projects and working on cars.  I've been working on mechanical machines all of my life.  Modifying my cars has been a long running passion of mine that never seems to get old.  My old $500 buck 1984 TransAm is a prime example.  Now I toy with a 2012 Toyota FJ and my sons new Ford Crown Victoria P71 project.

Dash-Cam video - I have been tinkering with Dashcams lately - Experimental Dash Cam video Page

My rocket collection  Tripoli rocket launch 12/2014  Tripoli rocket launch 12/2014  Tripoli rocket launch 12/2014

Large scale model rocketry - I got into this many years ago and I still dabble with it.  Any day you get to play with explosives and punch holes in the sky is a GOOD day!  Some of my toys make people do double takes as they pass me on the freeway on the way to a launch!  I like BIG rockets!  I especially enjoy sharing this hobby with newbies.  I have been a member of Tripoli for years.

Click Here to see a short movie clip of one of our rocket launches in 2014 from an ON board HD color camera 

Click Here to see a short movie clip of one of our rocket launches in the 1990's from an ON board B&W ATV camera  

Click Here to see a short movie clip of one of our rocket launches to 4,000 ft. at Charlotte in the 1990's from an ON board B&W ATV camera

Click Here to see a short movie clip of one of our rocket launches in Katy to 10k ft. in the 1990's from an ON board B&W ATV camera

Showing off one of our turkeys  Feeding time for the flock  Feeding time

Raising chickens, turkeys and guineas (and a few goats) - I have been raising birds for a number of years with a limited ration of success - the local varmints and predators knock a dent in your flock when you least expect it!  Over the years, the turkeys ended up being loyal pets and Arucana chickens ended up being our favorite hardy breed of fowl.  They make for great natural BUG control around the farm!  Our flock has swelled to over 200 birds at one time, and been decimated by predators more than once.  But the eggs sure come in handy!


We also tried our hand at pygmy goats.  We loved the goats.  But they spent 150% of their time trying to discover ways to get out.  And they have nothing better to do all day than figure out how to piss you off...  Not to mention they will eat ANYTHING including all those plants you spent YEARS growing around your home and on the porch.  The birds just simply hung around (and didn't destroy porch plants!).  Raising chicks was easier.  Our bird feed bill was ridiculous.  But they were a great way of keeping some critters around, we always had something to watch and they kept the scorpion population in check.

    Shooting skeet in the South pasture

Hunting, Fishing and Shooting Sports - I have been a hunter and a fisherman since a young age.  I don't get to do it as much as I used to, but retirement has its opportunities.  My wife and I are handgun and shooting enthusiasts.  We sometimes shoot skeet in our South pasture just for fun.  I was given a shotgun on my 5th birthday.  I shot it once and didn't touch it for another 5 years - after that I have been a shooting enthusiast ever since age 10!  Rifles, pistols and shotguns - the shotgun activities interest me the most.  I prefer old antique firearms over today's technological marvels - they just seem to have more personality and every scatch on the stock tells a story...  Give me an old double hammered, double triggered side by side shotgun over an 8 shot automatic any day!


Aquaponics, hydroponics and bananas - Many years ago I built a timed watering system for some potted plants.  As with many things in my life that system took on a life of its own.  It worked well but I wanted BETTER results.  I then started experimenting with hydroponics and GOT those better results but came to hate the constant maintenance and balancing of chemistry.  I moved onto aquaponics and had a lot of fun learning and it worked, but not as well as hydroponics.  Then someone gave me a banana plant and it wouldn't die - I became hooked on raising banana plants and have enjoyed tinkering with various breeds of bananas.  I have become quite successful - to the point of almost every visitor to the farm hearing me say "Please take a banana plant home with you!"


Fish - I have had aquariums, ponds and fish tanks pretty much my entire life.  Of various sizes and configurations.  We have done everything BUT salt water aquariums.  These days I have a 660 gallon tank on our front porch that we keep some very old goldfish that have turned into small Koi and a recent addition of a bunch of perch.  The water from this fish tank is what we use to water all of our plants in the greenhouse, around the house and around the porch.  It's like feeding the plants every time you water.  With a little fish food and regular cleaning of the filters, they have lived a long and happy life out here on our little farmlet in the country and they do a wonderful job of feeding all of our plants...

Bluebonnets in the South pasture

Wildflowers - My passion for wildflowers came at an early age, living on a small patch of land way out in the country.  They were a yearly treat of color and a visible reminder of the yearly cycle of winters death and springs explosion of life.  My parents mowed around them, we left them alone, we literally let them do their thing and then spread their seed when it was time.  Over the years, doing this properly, allowed the flowers to come back stronger and stronger each and every year.  Now that I have my own little patch of dirt out in the middle of nowhere, I have been doing the same thing.  Because of my efforts over the past 15+ years, we usually have a bumper crop of Bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush and a myriad of other native Texas species of wildflowers that populate the countryside.


Our patch has become so popular we have even had people travel all the way from Australia to make a special stop at our farm so that I could shoot some photos of them in the Texas springtime splendor!  It's a yearly ritual around here and we have friends and clients stop by every year to share the splash of color.  The one thing I dearly love about the wildflower crop each year, is that it is totally natural.  We haven't planted any seed, it just arrived and propagated all on its own!  All we have to do is let them do their thing each year and mow at the right times to spread their seed so the birds don't get to it first!  Our hill side has become a popular place for all the local birds as well - because we have a long row of feeders that are regularly stocked with fresh bird food... (Much to the amusement of our cats!)



R/C airplanes and helicopters - I got hooked on model airplanes in the 1970's and have messed with them off and on ever since.  I started with line control, moved up to radio control and eventually ended up getting into helicopters.  After destroying more than my fair share of planes over the years I have fallen in love with the newer FOAM plane kits.  They are easy to repair, you can get replacement parts easily and they have become downright affordable!  So I no longer have to wait MONTHS to build a new plane and take it out and crash it (or have a red tailed hawk attack it in mid-air!).  Now I can put it together in a matter of hours and go fly it into a tree immediately!  My history with helicopters is maddening.  You really DO have to be able to walk, talk, chew bubble gum and pat your stomach and head all at the same time - I am not all that coordinated...  So I have a great collection of various parts from various helicopters I have flown over the years on a shelf in the barn - I call it my "bone-yard".  It looks like a sad history of the RC helicopter history in the united states...


If practice makes perfect, it's evident I need a hell of a lot more practice!



Model railroading - My father always wanted a train set, but his mother (My grandmother) would never buy him one.  He begged her for one for years, and she never gave in.  So my mother (his wife), back in the early 1950's and soon after they got married, gave him a complete HO guage set one Christmas with little wooden building kits, train cars and all.  He spent hours building those kits, he spent hours and hours building a small layout.  Years later, I was born and I eventually ended up with his old trains, once I was old enough to appreciate them.  Those train cars and his old locomotive that spewed smoke (If you could find the drops to put in!) have become the most treasured objects in my collection.  Now that my father is dead and buried, I have shared these toys with my own children, usually setting up the trains around Christmas time and tearing down the layout before new years.  The collection grew over the years and takes up two whole 4'x8' sheets of plywood every year.  I added many train cars over the years, adding a few each Christmas, I like Pullman cars the most.  I don't have the room to put it up all year round.  But it is a walk down nostalgia lane every time we set it up.


Thunderstorm over Houston

Watching sunrises and sunsets on my porch - Retirement has its perks...  One of which is a flexible time schedule...  Ever since a nasty illness and subsequent forced retirement, each and every sunrise and sunset have become much more valuable to me.  Because each one I witness, is one more day on the planet with those I hold dear.  It has become an almost religious thing with me.  To watch that sun do it's thing, is one of the most valuable experiences of my meager existence.  Each one gives me the strength to see another...



See more of my Sunset and Sunrise photos


Traveling the world and spoiling my wife... - One of the things I always wanted to do before I died, was to see a bit more of our planet and share that journey with someone I love.  Over my life time, I have traveled to 14 countries in Europe and over a half a dozen countries in the Carribean, Central and South America.  I have also traveled to 19 of the contiguous 48 states here in the U.S.  I haven't ventured to the Orient or Australia - yet.  Seeing how other people live is fascinating to me and getting to know people from all over the world has ended up being a life long passion of mine.  (Which explains my Ham radio hobby!)  Learning about other places has opened my mind to new ways of doing things, new ideas and a different view of our little world far away from our little home in Texas.


I have had a beer in more countries than I can count...

I enjoy taking my wife places that other people have never heard of...


Sharing sunsets with my wife with a glass of booze in my hand has become a life long passion of mine...


This woman has spent over thirty years with me..  She gave me the best thing anyone could ever give someone else - a "LIFE"!

Wedding day    25th Wedding anniversary  25th Wedding anniversary

I can't think of another person on this earth I would have rather spent the last 30 years with...

In our favorite environment!

Public service – Over the years I have done volunteer work for organizations such as the March of Dimes, American Red Cross, Legacy Clinic, local Fire Departments, various local civic organizations, clubs and special interest groups. I've done everything from board meetings, to guarding airplanes, to watching bicycles go by at 2am in the streets of downtown Houston. I enjoy volunteering my services for events to help their activities go more smoothly. Giving back to the community is my small way of helping someone else's life (and our community) be a little bit better. Lending a hand when it is needed is what I was raised to do.

Local politics – Over the years I have served on boards of directors, been president of, secretary to and treasurer of several clubs, local civic organizations and social groups. Although I have never really had any political aspirations, doing what I CAN DO to help groups function for its members is something I am rarely ever hesitant to tackle. Sometimes someone with a vision can make a difference, even if it is only one man kicking things in the right direction....

Ordained Minister – I can perform weddings, officiate funerals and memorial services and I have spent some time counseling young folks about marriage, life and the consequences of being human. It's a small way of giving back to my community is some small way.


My interests, my hobbies and my passions are always evolving.  This is just a sampling of the things that my family and I are into...