Snakes On A Plain

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Charlotte and I have been redoing the Ranch House now for about a year. It's a definite work in progress, but she's done a great job decorating on a budget and we've even hung curtains without filing divorce papers. 

So, it's all good. 

The biggest challenge we've faced has been letting the various critters in our neck o' the woods know that we're here and we mean bidness. They're welcome to share our little slice of Cranfills Gap paradise so long as they obey The 5 Critter Commandments. 

The 5 Critter Commandments

1. Thou shalt not scare the shit out of me by jumping out of the darkness

2. Thou art not welcome in my house - EVER

3. Thou knows that even if I look cute and cartoon-like, I may be killed if I break commandments #1, #2 and especially #4  

4. Thou shalt not frighten Charlotte

5. Thou knows that if thou art a SNAKE and there is a weapon handy - shotgun, rock, hoe, rocket-propelled grenade launcher - thou will die a very unpleasant death accompanied by the sound of something resembling a three-year-old girl screaming 

I'll take a pair of boots, belt and a nice handbag for Charlotte, please
Snake-533.jpgThe Rattlesnake Whisperer and the reason why we no longer go barefoot at the ranch

The Commandments are non-negotiable, so I was more than a little happy to get a phone call the other day that went something like this: 

Caller: "Mr. Hill, I'm (name redacted to protect the innocent) I was wondering if you'd let me come on to your place and do some rattlesnake huntin'" 

Me: "You want to do WHAT?" 

Caller: "Snakes. I'd like to come on your place with a couple of my friends and hunt rattlesnakes." 

Me: "This some kind of a ranch joke?" 

Caller: "Nope, we like huntin' rattlesnakes. Took over 100 last year and I think we might get some on your place, if you'll let us."


Samuel L. Jackson and I share the same thoughts about snakes

Snakes on a Plane-600.jpgIt's not as big as the one taken at Bob's ranch, but it'll have to do

Since the person whom we shall now call THE RATTLESNAKE WHISPERER was checking every box (except #3) on The 5 Critter Commandments, I agreed. I also told him we didn't subscribe to a "catch & release" program for the snakes and that we "weren't responsible for any accidents." 

"I'm not interested in any snake rehabilitation program," I told the rattlesnake whisperer. "Terminate them with extreme prejudice" (I'd heard that once in a movie and it sounded really badass.) 

"Just to be clear," I said, "Samuel L. Jackson and I share the same thoughts about snakes (Clip NSFW (language)."


I didn't think he'd find anything, because, well, I just DIDN'T.

I was wrong. 

In a couple of hours he wrangled eight of these creatures straight from Hell.

Snake cage-600.jpgThis picture is as close as I want to get to these bastards
Snake cage 2 - 600.jpgThat face on the right side of the picture gave me nightmares for weeks 

Charlotte, who once wore sandals on top of Charlotte Mountain, has forsaken fashion for a pair of snake boots (Kinky, amirite?). She also wants me to look into the cost of mounting a 50 cal. Machine Gun and Flame Thrower to the front grill of the Jeep.   

Texting from Charlotte Mountain-600.jpgCharlotte texting from Charlotte Mountain - pre-rattlesnake boots 

Oh, and one more thing. 

"Call the Rattlesnake Whisperer and tell him something for me," Charlotte said. 

"OK, what..." 

"Tell him he can hunt snakes on our place any time." 

"That sounds like a good plan," I said.

But, until he's gotten rid of every single one, I'm gonna stick with hanging drapes. 


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Guest Room: Perfect Prime Rib

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By Andrew Schloss, author of Cooking Slow Although pretty much any beef rib roast is referred to informally as prime rib, less than 1 percent of the beef that is produced in the United States is actually officially graded "Prime,"... ...Read More

Out of the Closet: 3 Fab, Feet-Saving Summer Sandals With Style

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Warmer weather means it's time for new sandals, especially if you're a shoe-aholic like me. (Hello, my name is Charlotte and I can't resist shoes.) I'm lovin' these three, super cute new looks because, besides being right on trend, they're incredibly comfortable.

Prints Charming

Created with HGTV interior designer David Bromstad, Naturalizer's flower-powered Neila wedges will catch your eye while keeping your tootsies pain free. A fun way to wear heels, these stunning sandals will take you everywhere from casual Friday at the office to dinner with friends to Sunday brunch in style.

David created a fresh floral painting for Naturalizer much like he does for his clients on HGTV's Color Splash. Then he worked closely with Naturalizer designers to use the colorful print on the shoes and accessories in their new Bromstad collection.

Dressiest of the bunch, the Neila features David's playful pattern as well as of-the-moment ankle straps and a funky, just-the-right-size flower embellishment at the toe. These sassy sandals have a 3 1/2-inch heel (1 1/4 inches of that is platform) that ups the style of skinnies, shorts, sundresses and more.

Naturalizer's Neila wedge, shown in sand leather, features a playful print created by HGTV interior designer David Bromstad as well as of-the-moment ankle straps and a funky, flower embellishment.

Floral sandals - 600.jpgLoving their tropical vibe, I put these gems on as soon as they arrived for testing and wore them till bedtime. What a surprise! I walked up and down stairs, cooked dinner and even did laundry in those leg-lengthening heels without thinking about my feet. Made with Naturalizer's N5 comfort technology, they have oh-so-soft, padded insoles, non-slip bottoms and adjustable ankle straps so you can practically live in them.

The Neila comes in three, cheery color combos packed with personality. You can choose neutral sand or white leather with an orange, pink and purple floral fabric heel or beachy blue floral fabric on a raffia heel. Sizes go from 4 - 11 with medium and wide widths. ($89 at where shipping is free on orders over $200)

Life on the Wedge

The striking Cancun Adjustable Wedge has a killer look that won't kill your feet. Inspired by exotic island destinations, this strappy shoe is sensational for errands, exploring and shopping with the girls.

The wide toe straps hide my ugly bunions (the price of being 50+!) without aggravating them. The cute ankle straps adjust to so many different sizes they actually fit my skinny ankles without biting into them when I walk (a HUGE plus!) The shine-coated, faux wood-grain soles have a 1-inch platform that slopes to a 2 1/4-inch wedge, which is ever so easy to manage. And that's just the beginning.

A fierce fashion choice, these bronze Vionic with Orthaheel Technology feet savers have been shown to relieve aches and pains.

Leopard sandals - 600.jpgVionic with podiatrist-designed Orthaheel Technology, these feet savers have been shown to relieve aches and pains. They have what feels like a pillow-topped footbed and a light, flexible midsole that absorbs shock, reducing stress on feet, ankles and knees. Made for hours and hours of comfort, the Orthaheel design even helps avoid heel, knee and lower-back pain. Ahhhh!

With bronze toe straps, color-blocked leopard-and-brown ankle straps and cork heels, the bronze color makes a fierce fashion choice. For something tamer, you can go fuchsia toe straps with color-blocked tan and bronze ankle straps and a fuchsia-and-ivory-print raffia wedge or black straps with a black-and-ivory-patterned raffia heel. Available in whole sizes 5 - 11; half sizes should order the next size down. ($139.95 at where you can get free shipping by joining the email list)

Busy Day Dream

Just the thing for busy days, Sanuk's feet-pampering Yoga Slingshot flip flops will leave you smilin'. Stylish straps with two-way stretch make them a breeze to slip on and off (no buckles!) while Sanuk's special Yoga Mat footbed keeps things unbelievably cushy.

Sanuk's Yoga Slingshot flip flops, shown in indigo, have an unbelievably cushy footbed. 

Blue Pool Sandals - 600.jpgI fell for this laid-back brand last fall when testing their Horizon Primo booties. After living in those cuties all winter, I couldn't wait to try these summer-rific sandals. Now I reach for them first thing every morning. They're perfect at the beach, by the pool and around town, especially when you have one of those days when you never sit down.

If you like basics, go for the solid black, natural or my favorite indigo Yoga Slingshots. For something edgier, try one of the four gotta-have-'em prints ... zebra, cheetah (Yes!), grey snake or natural snake. Sizes range from 5 - 11. ($36 for solids; $38 for prints at where you get free shipping on orders over $35 and free returns)

Perfect at the beach, by the pool and around town, Sanuk's Yoga Slingshots come in great prints like cheetah.

Leopard Sandals II - 600.jpg



We'd like to shout out a big "Thank You" to the brands in this post for providing free samples for review and testing.


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Here's the Dish: Best-Ever Broccoli Rice Casserole

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If you're looking for a super side dish for your Easter table, this Broccoli Rice Casserole is a crowd pleaser. Most everyone in our family adores this cheesy concoction so it's always a hit on holidays.

We've been enjoying Broccoli Rice Casserole since one of my brother's girlfriends got us hooked on it many moons ago. My spin on this classic includes water chestnuts for a little crunch and a touch of hot sauce to make things more interesting. I also like using Success boil-in-bag rice because it's so easy and one bag gives you the perfect amount for this recipe. But you can use any cooked white rice.  

To simplify my life, I usually cook this sensational side the day before, stash it in the fridge and reheat it before everyone arrives. It's wonderful with ham, fish, turkey, most any main dish. And the leftovers (IF there are any) freeze beautifully. 

This cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole includes water chestnuts for crunch and hot sauce for a little zing.

Broccoli Rice - 600.jpg

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Want some help getting ready for summer? Aveeno invites you to join Charlotte and other bloggers in a commitment to naturally beautiful results. Be a part of our #Aveenodailychallenge by using Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion in combination with a new healthy habit for 3 weeks. Charlotte's exercising 30 minutes every day. Click here to learn more about the challenge and share your progress!

Know someone battling cancer? Baylor Health Care System's Sammons Says... cancer blog is a great place to go for help. Here, you'll find information, resources, physicians, support groups and just about everything you need to help you navigate your way through this illness.


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