Muddy Water Indie Bookstore

There are lots of choices in used books, some antiques, records, and gift items. The owner was very friendly and helpful.

Muddy Water Bookstore storefront with colorful awning painted with books and store name.Muddy Water Bookstore

120 E. Washington Ave.
Navasota, TX

Venue: Small town, independent used bookstore. This store opened Summer 2018. It will be fun to watch it grow.Books and items displayed in store.

Atmosphere: Casual and inviting store. The storefront awning is a colorful display of books and the store’s name.

Books and items displayed in store.Offerings: There are lots of choices in used books, some antiques, records, and gift items. You can trade in your books for store credit.Children’s section in bookstore with small teepee. Also, there is a children’s section offering a fun browsing area complete with a child size teepee.

Recommendations: Stop in and browse when your enjoying the day in or passing through Navasota. Be sure to find the refreshment area in the back of the store. Coffin bookshelf in horror nook.Also, be sure to view the coffin in the Horror Section. If you enjoy older or rare books, inquire about choices currently available. Also, when your done at the bookstore, mosey on down the street to The Navasota Emporium and check out the Fort Couch Quartermaster LLC booth. You’ll find it all the way to the back and to the left by the restrooms.

Service: The owner was very friendly and helpful. I was trying to find a children’s book on a specific topic and she helped me as I searched titles.

Return Rating: Definitely. Books are a weakness for us and we love bookstores.Muddy Water Bookstore storefront with colorful awning painted with books and store name.

“Herd Thinning” Venture

What do you do with your surplus of stuff as you . . . downsize your possessions?

Display of antiques and other merchandise on a table with a four shelf fixture on it.With our 35 years of marriage, my husband and I have accumulated lots of stuff, trinkets, treasures, antiques, interesting items, and a little bit of junque.

Note, junque is classier than junk.

Not to mention the extra goodies we acquired after 3 of 4 parents have passed. We both love books, pottery, historic memorabilia, and the unusual. What do you do with your surplus of stuff as you “thin your herd” and downsize your possessions?

You could open your own store, have lots of garage sales, donate, and/or do nothing and let your family deal with it when you are gone. My parents chose the last option and I really don’t want to do that to our son, but my husband does.

My solution—set up a booth in an antique store! In our property search to relocate to Texas, we enjoyed the small town of Navasota in Grimes County. Navasota has a quaint downtown and lots of small shops. One shop we enjoyed was the Navasota Emporium and it came to mind as a good fit for our new venture.

And we’re off and running with our herd thinning. Stayed tuned for further updates.

Coming soon — a blog page for Fort Couch Quartermaster LLC.

Earth Exchange Upscale Thrift Store

Merchandise is well organized. . . . LOTS of used items. . . . ask about their Customer Appreciation Card.

Earth Exchange merchandise displayed: antiques.Earth Exchange Upscale Thrift Store

1713 Belknap St., Superior, WI

Venue: A thrift store with LOTS of used items. They advertise that they sell new furniture and mattresses at liquidation prices.Earth Exchange merchandise displayed: clothes and furniture.

Atmosphere: An old department store with stairs leading to a second floor balcony that surrounds the first floor sales area.

Earth Exchange merchandise displayed: home decor.Offerings: In addition to new furniture and mattresses, they have home décor and arts, books, vintage, household, linens, arts & crafts, children’s, antiques, clothing, and jewelry. Earth Exchange merchandise displayed: children’s section.I may have missed a few categories. Merchandise is well organized.Earth Exchange merchandise displayed: children’s clothing.

Earth Exchange merchandise displayed: books.Recommendations: Plan plenty of time to browse in Earth Exchange, and be sure to stop in the Salvation Army Thrift Store located in the same block. Also, ask about their Customer Appreciation Card.Earth Exchange merchandise displayed: arts and crafts.

Service: We were left alone to browse and paying for our treasures was easy. Earth Exchange merchandise displayed: vintage.We were offered a Customer Appreciation Card.

Earth Exchange merchandise displayed: household.

Return Rating: Definitely! Looking forward to it.Earth Exchange chalkboard listing specials.Earth Exchange storefront.

Salvation Army Thrift Store – Superior, WI

I really like shopping at Salvation Army Thrift Stores as their pricing is reasonable, and their use of funds for ministry is impressive.

Storefront of Salvation Army Thrift Store
Salvation Army Thrift Store

Superior, WI

Venue:  Downtown, city thrift storeSalvation Army Thrift Store merchandise displayed.

Atmosphere:  Loosely organized, cluttered displays but these can be fun to rummage through.

Salvation Army Thrift Store merchandise displayed.Offerings:  Clothing, housewares, furniture, books, and other stuff you typically find in a thrift store.

Recommendations:  Stop in and look around when in the area. In the same block you will find another thrift store, Earth Exchange. Both thrift stores are worth checking out. Salvation Army Thrift Store merchandise displayed.I really like shopping at Salvation Army Thrift Stores as their pricing is reasonable, and their use of funds for ministry is impressive.Salvation Army Thrift Store merchandise displayed.

Service:  We were left to ourselves to browse. Checking out was pleasant.

Salvation Army Thrift Store merchandise displayed.Return Rating:  Definitely!

Hensley Automotive Services Trustworthy

We were very pleased with the professionalism and follow up from Hensley Automotive. Hopefully, you won’t need an auto garage when traveling. If you do . . . I hope this information helps you out.

"Hensley Automotive Services" front of thank you note with envelope beneath it.Hensley Automotive Services Trustworthy

With our son in the Army, we get the opportunity to travel to see him and his family. In addition to enjoying them, checking out new territory, shops, and restaurants, there are times we are forced to slow down and find an automotive repair shop.

When this happens, we have the dilemma of finding a trustworthy fix it shop willing to fit us in. When traveling, we are usually on a tight schedule. This past February, heading East to Virginia to see the kids, we experienced some pretty grueling driving with a lot of stop and go braking. We were even stuck in traffic at an interchange East of Atlanta for over an hour. There were wall to wall cars with an accident in each direction of the interchange in addition to road construction both ways. During this time, our F250 front brakes went toes up.

Our initial plan was to spend the night and continue to our destination, and then find a repair shop near Ft. Lee. Since the brakes complained louder and more frequently, we opted to spend 2 nights in Braselton, GA.

With an internet search and review check, we found Hensley Automotive Services in Hoschton, Georgia. Hensley Automotive hooked us up with a tow truck and took care of the brakes. As hoped, we only had to spend two nights at the motel and only lost one day of the trip. We were very pleased with the professionalism and follow up from Hensley Automotive. Copy of handwritten thank you note.We received a hand written thank you note for our business and have had a few texts reminding us they are willing to be of service for our auto needs. Note: there are two locations for this business: Hoschton (706) 658-0076 and Buford (678) 714-9091.

Hopefully, you won’t need an auto garage when traveling. If you do and are in the Braselton, Georgia area, I hope this information helps you out. Do you have any automotive repair shops that treated you well when traveling?Back of thank you note with phone numbers for Hoschton and Buford locations.

Sugar Tit Moonshine

This is a small batch facility with emphasis on SMALL batch. We had fun during our little stop and would recommend this distillery.

Inside Sugar Tit Distillery showing doorway to the Still Room

Sugar Tit Moonshine

Don’t get your skivies in a bunch over the name. Let’s look at some history.

Teat or tit has been used for that portion of the anatomy used for nursing. A sugar tit, historically, was a piece of sugar tied in some cloth so that a fussy child could suckle and keep still. A term common in the south. A pacifier of sorts.

On a drive to Virginia to visit our son and his family, we observed a sign for Sugar Tit Moonshine. It grabbed our curiosity and on the return to Texas we looked it up. Located in the sleepy little town of Reidville, SC, Sugar Tit Moonshine sits off to the side in an old red brick building.Storefront of Sugar Tit Moonshine

The folks that started this distillery selected the name of a local unincorporated village, Sugar Tit, SC to label their “taxed” Moonshine.
Counter and merchandise inside Sugar Tit Moonshine During the renovation of the building, numerous items were located that speak to the history of the building. It was an apothecary shop, blacksmith shop, etc over the many years since it was built. Off to the side is a room where artifacts are kept for your viewing pleasure.

The still room was spotless. This is a small batch facility with emphasis on SMALL batch. The front has a variety of tourist items for sale such as books, clothing and other trinkets.

Then there is the taste testing. Simply Naked Sugar Tit Moonshine is 100 proof and crystal clear. It has a very nice flavor and is surprisingly smooth. The 120 proof sampling was as expected a little more stout but still amazingly smooth.

Picture of “Simply Naked” Sugar Tit Moonshine and large and small Spikers bottles.Also available are “Spikers” flavorings. These are a vinegar based flavoring to use in your Moonshine or water. The lavender and raspberry flavors were exceptional. When used in water, this creates a “switchel” that is exceptional when it’s cold and you are hot. Switchel is known to our reenacting community as a great refreshment during those hot events.

We had fun during our little stop and would recommend this distillery. Will we go back? Hard to say just because of our goofy schedule. If we can, we will.Sugar Tit storefront with employee waving.

By Pete Avery


Small rocks with painted eyes in garden bed at Sugar Tit Moonshine.



Another Superb Small Town Thrift Shop

. . . the Fig Leaf donates monies to fund a variety of community interests. This small town thrift shop is a win-win for the community and their customers both!

"Open Thrift Store" sign in front of The Fig Leaf thrift store.Here’s another small town thrift shop for you.

If you find yourself in Northern Wisconsin on Highway 2, look up The Fig Leaf in Iron River.

Located at 7530 U.S. Highway 2, on the main road, it is easy to find. Another plus is they offer very reasonable prices.

Merchandise on display in thrift shop. Main room from entry point.Step into the entryway vestibule and then into the shop, and get ready to start your shopping. Merchandise is lined up and waiting. There are several rooms with items on display. Merchandise on display in thrift shop. Shoe and book nook.The front area houses the women’s clothing, knick knacks, glassware, jewelry, and a free rack. There is a men’s section with other household and craft items, a combination shoe and book nook, and a children’s items room. Be sure to check out the jewelry in the case by the check out counter too.

Merchandise on display in thrift shop. Children's items room.Staff have been friendly when we stop in. In addition to providing affordable used goods and items for their community, the Fig Leaf donates monies to fund a variety of community interests. This small town thrift shop is a win-win for the community and their customers both!Merchandise on display in thrift shop.

If you like small town thrift stores, be sure to read about the Methodist Thrift Store in Union City, Michigan in case you find yourself in the area. Also, please share your favorite thrift store in the comments section so others can stop in when passing through the area.Storefront of The Fig Leaf.

Amish Adventures in Arthur, Illinois Abound

Amish are known for non-electric homes, peaceful lifestyle, hard work, and traditional values and beliefs.

Family Health Foods store with cars in front and back of Amish buggy to the far right.Ready for a Central Illinois road trip? Amish country in Arthur offers plenty to do.

Enjoy driving Country roads to appreciate farm scenes, walk downtown Arthur for a small town shopping experience, or venture into the local, rural shops for some fun browsing. I wanted to share some of our favorites with you.

Sign above door for Green Meadow FarmGreen Meadow Farm offers goat products. Now, hold on. I’m not usually a goat milk fan because to me it tastes like a goat smells. Green Meadow storefront.However, Green Meadow Farms offers mild goat milk that tastes great. They also offer a tasty goat milk yogurt as well as Sissell Supplements.

Country Salvage sign. Hours are Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.Country Salvage offers groceries at discount prices. I absolutely love to shop at Country Salvage. Note their open hours on their sign and be sure to plan your shopping to catch them open. Merchandise inside Country Salvage grocery store.There are regular groceries, damaged items, and other discounted items. You’ll find sales and specials too. They offer items you will find in any grocery store as well as speciality items you won’t find everywhere. Be sure to bring a cooler if you shop in warmer weather.Merchandise inside Country Salvage grocery store displayed in bins.







Storefront of Family Health FoodsIt has been fun to watch Family Health Foods grow in their merchandise offerings over the years we’ve been shopping at their store. Merchandise inside Family Health Foods store.They offer a good variety of health supplements, kitchen cookware items, cookbooks, gift items, and other food items. You’ll find the advertising health food magazines if you read these to keep up with new products. Staff are extremely helpful.Merchandise inside Family Health Foods store.

Beachy’s Bulk Foods is a fun store too. If you’re in the market for baking needs, be sure to drop in. Flours, sugars and bulk candies and crackers will be found here. Gift items, toys, and lots of other stuff. As the name implies, they offer foods in bulk. One of our favorite items had been gummy chicken feet, but they have all kinds of gummy candies.

Yoder’s Kitchen is a great place to eat in Arthur proper. On weekends and prime tourist time you’ll have to wait in line for a seat unless you plan ahead to beat the rush or arrive other than peak meal times. Traditional comfort foods and desserts are on the buffet. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, salad bar, and ice cream machine are a few items. You can also order off the menu if you prefer.

When you are ready to explore, be sure to plan plenty of time for shopping in Amish Country. Country Salvage storefront.Also, bring cash. While some stores accept credit cards, there are some that only accept cash and possibly checks. There is an annual Arthur Mennonite Relief Sale at the Otto Center. August 24-25, 2018 is the next one. It is a great opportunity to eat some great foods and buy some Amish/Mennonite made products at the benefit auction and market.

If you are not familiar with the Amish culture and traditions, I encourage you to read about it online. As with any culture, you will want to be informed so as to be respectful. Amish are known for non-electric homes, peaceful lifestyle, hard work, and traditional values and beliefs. We have been blessed to meet and become friends with an Amish family and have enjoyed their friendship, laughter, and mutual prayer support.Merchandise inside Country Salvage displayed in bins.

Ready to Cook Off Grid Cook with a Rocket Stove?

The rocket stove is a neat stove that we can use at home right next to our smoker. Or, we can take the baby brother camping and have a great home cooked meal.

Rocket Stove with stew cooking in a skillet.About 10 years ago we were looking for a cooking system for our off grid property. I came across a rocket stove that was made with bricks.

The examples I found on the net were primarily used in third world countries. It was very applicable for off grid use. I will discuss the brick stove another time.

We were driving south through Texas and made the mistake of driving south through Canton during their monthly, gimongous flea market. Pedestrian and vehicular traffic is atrocious.

About 5 miles south of Canton on Hwy 19, we saw a rural vendor open. Clifford Brown, who we later found to be the proprietor, is a metal worker. Cindy and I both enjoy looking at metal stuff to see what we can adapt to our uses.

As soon as we pulled up, I observed a metal rocket stove. This stove was built with 4” square tubing, and had an 8 x 8 square cooking surface. Clifford Brown with welding helmet in up position and welding gloves on hands.It seems Clifford, known as Bones, became interested in the rocket stove and came up with his version using materials he had laying around.

We negotiated and I went home with a tall rocket stove. Clifford showed us another he was working on that used 2” square tubing. He thought it would be better for travel or camping. It is a great idea.

We went home and fired up our new rocket stove using lump charcoal. Top down burner view of rocket stove with fire.It worked great. I did a test water boil and while slower than the kitchen stove was fine for outside. I ended up making a pot of stew. It was nice as I could drop charcoal in the loading chute and walk away. I kept the damper barely open so there was no scalding. I could work on a project and cook at the same time.Rocket Stove view of fuel loading shoot with fire going.

I liked the tall rocket stove enough that on our next drive through the Canton area, we stopped and ordered another, just shorter. I like the idea of a shorter one for camping and travel. A couple of weeks later we drove through and picked up our stove. Clifford had just finished and welds were still hot. He didn’t have time to cover it with high temperature paint. I picked up some black manifold paint and sprayed it black likes it’s big brother.“Baby Brother” rocket stove

The rocket stove is a neat stove that we can use at home right next to our smoker. Or, we can take the “Baby Brother” camping and have a great home cooked meal. A 5 gallon bucket of lump charcoal will last days in a rocket stove.Smoker and rocket stove on porch.

Next time your driving on Hwy 19 South of Canton, TX look for a yellow metal building on the east side of the road. You will see antiques, junque, and stuff lined up. We highly recommend stopping in, saying hi to Clifford, and checking out his latest project. If you don’t see something, he can likely make it. Clifford can be contacted at 903-385-0977.

By Pete Avery

Deep Fried Cheese Curds are Delish

Fresh, squeaky cheese curds are a delight. Deep Fried Cheese Curds are a delish treat. This recipe offers a batter recipe and a crumb coating recipe.

Bags of Mullins cheese curds on counterDeep Fried Cheese Curds are Delish!


Mullins Cheese is a Wisconsin cheese factory not too far off Highway 39 near Knowlton, WI. Definitely worth a stop when you are passing through. You can get your cheese curds, souvenirs, and a bathroom stop all in one. Check out my previous post for more information: “Fresh Wisconsin Cheese Curds for Lunch!”

I’ve wanted to share this “Deep Fried Cheese Curds” recipe with you from Mullins Cheese. Fresh, squeaky cheese curds are a delight. Deep Fried Cheese Curds are a delish treat by themselves, for an appetizer, or even a meal accompaniment. Give them a try. Note, this recipe offers a batter recipe and a crumb coating recipe.

Deep Fried Cheese Curds recipe

If you want another idea for using cheese curds, take a look at “Cheese Curd Croissant Creation.” We really enjoy cheese curds. Got any ideas on using cheese curds?

Market 406 Offers Vintage & Salvage

Merchandise and antiques were displayed in an engaging manner.

Storefront of Market 406Market 406

406 N Market St, Petersburg, VA

Our son and his wife took us to this interesting shop in Petersburg, VA. True to its sign, offerings included vintage and salvage. Outside of Market 406 in side yard with planters, small fence, old wash tub, and large rocks.Also, the building itself was interesting both inside and out.



Merchandise and antiques were displayed in an engaging manner and staff were available if needed. Vintage clothing, Borax is King framed poster in old bathtub, and framed photos.Check out the pictures I took and decide for yourself if this shop is worth a stop when you’re in the area.Three shelf display of merchandise including vanity items and quilts.






What interesting shops have you been introduced to?Two Coca Cola signs and wood shutters

Looking through double open doors into room with variety of salvage merchandise.







Long table with variety of merchandise on it, hanging items overhead, chairs, glassware, and other antique items displayed.Brick work with arch inside building and horseshoe forge displayed. Light and bucket hanging from ceiling.







Variety of lamps and tables displayed. Some lamps are hanging from ceiling.

Sinks, tubs of merchandise, lights hanging from ceiling, and cabinets of merchandise.







"Open" Market 406 Sign, stating: General Store, Salvage and Vintage. Sign is on brick sidewalk and you can see the brick side of the building and a tree.

Farm and Ranch Store with More!

Welcoming staff greet you. Displays are attractive and invite browsing.

Davis Country Store

Merchandise displayed inside Davis Country Store

635 E.Commerce St., Buffalo, TX

We first stopped by this country store sometime last Spring because it looked interesting. My first time in the store I immediately found two tops I just loved and quickly found a third.

They offer a variety of interesting merchandise. If you stop in, you’ll see why I saved their business card in my phone shopping file. We recently returned and I wasn’t disappointed!Outside view of Davis Country Store

Venue: Farm and Ranch store with More

Atmosphere: Welcoming staff greet you once inside the door. They are willing to help but do not hover. Displays are attractive and invite browsing. There is a seating area by the fitting rooms.Fitting rooms area with couch

Offerings: All of the basics for ranch and home. Seed, feed, plants, minor sporting goods, game cameras, and gardening items. Larger items such as fire pits and sprouting tables. Other items include toys, shoes and boots, and jewelry. There is clothing for all ages and even matching Dad and Son or Grandpa and Grandson country shirts. I’m sure I didn’t get everything listed here.

Displayed merchandise inside Davis Country StoreRecommendations: Stop in and browse when you’re in the area. If there is a sign alerting you to sales, be sure to check out the markdowns. Be warned, the ladies clothing section offers a lot of fashionable choices. Cute, colorful, and stylish selections abound. You’ll also find a variety of bralettes to compliment your wardrobe.Displayed merchandise inside Davis Country Store

Service: Friendly, helpful, and attentive. If you wish they will put your selections in a fitting room while you browse. Need a different size? A salesperson will get that for you also.

Displayed merchandise inside Davis Country Store with checkout counter Return Rating: Most definitely! We did that this trip but will stop in again.