Back Home Again



Hill Country rainbow over a wind farm

We’re back home in Texas after a cool couple of weeks in the southern Rockies of New Mexico. We love it there, with wonderful views of the clouds spilling over the mountains and cattle grazing in the valley below. It’s a long drive–almost 12 hours–but we have audio books to listen to and there’s always something  new to see.

On this trip, we noticed the continued expansion of wind farms along the route. Texas is famous for its wind (notorious, even), and it’s good to see its energy being put to use as an alternative fuel. Four coal-powered plants have been closed in the state in the past year. And no, wind turbines do not cause cancer, whatever Mr. Trump says. Turbines have their costs, as do all fuel sources. But that’s not one of them.

We enjoyed a wonderful couple of visits on our trip. Bill’s niece Abby and her family hosted us for a weekend, and the little girls kept us busy and entertained. We live a quiet life and were hugely impressed by the way this energetic, kid-focused family manages to enjoy one another while they get everything done. Both Abby and Tyler are highly skilled pilots–Abby commands the Air Force’s parachute training program and Wings of Blue, the USAF parachute team.

It was a great getaway, but Texas is home, and we were glad to be back, in spite of the continued string of 100-degree days. The Girls (tended by a neighbor while we were gone) were happy to get out of their coop and back to their free-range foraging routine. Bill was pleased to see that this year’s pecan crop is looking better than usual, although the squirrels are ramping up their attacks.

And I was glad to get back into my writing routine. It was a working vacation for me–I did some more work on the website, moving recipes from the old site to the new. You’ll find them on the “Resources” tab. I’m still in the process of adding the recipes from the books to the book pages themselves, like this one. So if you’re looking for a particular recipe and you remember the book in which it appeared, go there, scroll down to the bottom, and click. I’ll do a couple of these every day until they’re done. But mostly, I’m back at the writing desk, working on a novella trilogy that features the gang at the Pecan Springs Enterprise. You’ll have it early next year, if all goes well. Next up after that project: the first China Bayles prequel. That should be fun!

And still, while the mountains are beautiful, there’s nothing quite like the wide view of sky and meadow and trees from our living room window. I enjoy it every evening as the long, bright day darkens into lovely night. I’m happy to be home.



Reading note. “We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”― Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon









22 comments on “Back Home Again

  1. We love traveling out of state to visit family but when I cross that state line coming back, I always feel happy and comforted. Even though I’m not pleased with our current legislature and governor, it’s still the best place I know. Yep, Texas is Home.

  2. Love that you will write a China Bayles prequel, Susan. China meeting Ruby must have quite a tale behind it. Also, I have read only 2 of the Darling Dahlias. So last night I began The Cucumber Tree to read them all in order. What a joy – such lively characters. Thank you for sharing your travels with all of us.

  3. How far back in China’s life will the prequel go?
    This is a great idea and I look forward to it!
    Melissa in Arizona

    • China and I haven’t decided yet, Melissa. Definitely back to her first visit to Pecan Springs, wanting a career change–and her meeting with Ruby. Think we should go back farther?

      • Well, China may be open to you fleshing out some other key relationships from her past which shaped her decision to change careers and come to Pecan Springs. I personally enjoyed your brief reveals about her parents, boyfriend in college, and crossing paths with McQuaid. Perhaps China had a specific court case which jaded her to a breaking point to walk away from her career.
        Lots of options for you, an exciting project for you !
        Have fun with it! Melissa in Arizona.

  4. Hi I was reading your blog, in it you say you are working on a project a prequel to the China Bayles series, does this mean no more China.

  5. It sounds like a wonderful trip with a visit to a great family! Thanks to Bill’s niece and her husband for their service! They sound very accomplished in their careers and, at the same time, amazing parents!
    We just had Theresa Mieseler from Shady Acres Herb Farm here to speak for a MN State Horticultural Society fall meeting. I remember when you visited Shady Acres years ago. That was such fun! Well, she brought a lovely nasturtium pesto and provided samples on crusty French bread. It was amazing and I think China might want to ask her for the recipe to share with Ruby and Cass. Its slightly peppery flavor would be a real hit in Thyme for Tea!
    After checking out all your hard work in moving the recipes over, I will be borrowing some for upcoming events. Thanks for all the great ideas.
    Enjoy fall in your beautiful Hill Country!

  6. Love being able to keep up with you in this format! I’m picking up “The Five…” from our local library this coming week and really looking forward to delving into it. So far, the only negative reviews I’ve read come from “I-want-my-history-of-the-old-fashioned-skewed-kind” sorts ….. Ah, well. I’m just glad these women’s stories are finally being told.

  7. Are the Darling Dahlias calling you with a new adventure? I LOVE that series. When I finish reading the newest book, I am ready for a new book.

    • They’re not exactly calling yet, Anna. They did two books this year, so they’re taking some time off. But I’ve heard it whispered around town that theit next mystery might be called The Darling Dahlias and the Voodoo Lily. Wonder what that’s all about.

  8. Your trip sounds wonderful. I so enjoy your book China Bayles Book of days and the receipes . Looking forward to your new book of recipes.

  9. I love the quote from Pascal Mercier. I grew up on a farm in Central Iowa and it is still home altho all of the buildings and trees are gone. I was last there after my mother’s funeral in 1995. The morning I left I walked thru the house and stopped in my old room. I knew I would probably never be there again. As I drove away I thought of stopping and taking one last look—-the view of the farm was best from that spot in the road—but I didn’t. I have several photos, but it isn’t the same.

  10. Oh, Susan. Your comments hit home with me. After growing up and living in Fort Worth most of my life, I left it behind for New Mexico. Life brings us so many challenges and changes. I miss many things in Texas, but am now happily at home in my new home. Life in Santa Fe has opened new doors for this retired Texan.

  11. Sounds like a wonderful break from the routine. We used to feel that way coming from Ohio and our crawling river to the wide and wild Outer Banks of North Carolina. Alas, those days are over with my husband’s death and my aging, but I am fortunate that they were at least. As we age we have to learn to thank God for what we had, not for what is now gone, like part of the hearing, eyesight and mobility…but thank heavens the taste buds are still okay! Thank you for your books. Over the years the stories (and of course the recipes at the end) have been one of the joys of life. I also enjoyed meeting you once or twice on your Ohio visits. Good luck and a hug, Gini Hotchkiss

  12. Welcome home Susan! As you return, we are heading to Crested Butte, CO then on to Red River before we return home. My husband and I both love LOVE the mountains, but there is always just something about returning home to Texas!

  13. New Mexico is known as the land of enchantment with good reason. I love the small towns (Las Vegas, Socorro, etc.) not only for the friendly welcome, but also for the quiet. Out there, you can hear the meadowlarks, watch a coyote with her young, smell the pinion, and admire turquoise skies.

I love hearing from readers, so let me hear from YOU!