Austin to Lake Village Arkansas to Southwest Georgia to Stamford Connecticut to New York City to Austin. That is where I’ve been in the past 1.5 weeks.

Photo by Gordon Pellegrini

I took a road trip with my brother from Austin to Arkansas. It’s a loooong drive, but we rocked out to music. And stopped for roadside snacks. You know you’re in Arkansas when the sunsets look like this.

Photo by Gordon Pellegrini

Or when you see signs like this.

Photo by Gordon Pellegrini

Or like this.

Speaking of fishing, we did some.

Crappie fishing near the Mississippi River.

I had no cell phone reception for days. My world felt strange and wonderful.

We also ate beer can chicken. With pineapple marinade.

And visited the last standing plantation along the Mississippi river.

And visited Grandma’s Best.

It is crawfish season after all and girl’s got to have her fix.

Oh, here is my crawfish eating tutorial from last year.

Then there was a serious crappie fish fry.

A man who is a master fish fryer came over and fried some fish. Because he is a master and it was the right thing to do.

His daddy won an award for his hush puppie recipe and we ate ’em and they were good and the world felt right.

Then there was this.

Do you have any idea where this picture is from?

How about now? If you read my last book, Food Heroes, you’ll appreciate this especially. It’s Rhoda. And her Hot Tamales and fried pies.

And then I visited Paul Michael’s workshop.

I’ve been there before and showed you what he builds and what he works on every day. It’s recycled beautiful things that he repurposes into furniture.

I loved this piece especially. It would be lovely in a bathroom full of linens and soaps and trinkets.

And this cowhide mirror. I want one soon.

And the signs, oh the signs. The big Roundtop antique market is coming up and I think I’m going to do some American picking and get a sign or two.

What about this one? Remember when tobacco was 10 cents? I don’t.

A wall becomes a table…

A banister becomes supporting legs…

And this I just loved.

It’s one of their new pieces and it’s for holding wine bottles… not cokes.

I watched them turn a window into a mirror right before my eyes.

They cut and fitted the glass, scraping at the grooves of the wood to fit it in just right.

A little molding to help fasten it in.

And there is it. Paul Michael can be seen in the reflection contemplating this new prototype.

We discussed whether it needed any more ornate details… and decided not.

Simplicity is a beautiful thing.

More juice soon from this whirlwind week and a half. For now, I’m headed to the airport!