I didn’t name this place; my family did before I ever set foot in the Piney Woods of Deep East Texas. Most of the residents are hoofed and living out their days in peace. A few, including me, are here to heal.

This property consists of just under 30 acres about 15 miles outside of Nacogdoches, the “Oldest Town in Texas.” There is funny little horse called Pedro that keeps getting my attention. I’ve told him everything. He wanders around and follows me whenever he can.

Last night, Pedro patted me down for carrots and we saw a shooting star together. I prayed for God to give me strength to watch my mother’s life come to a close. As I started crying, Pedro wiped his nose on my head. It was perfect.

The sporks are cross breeds between miniature horses and donkeys I think. There are a pair of them and they are the first hoofed animals that I have ever seen wrestle. They bray-night and day-and are considered ‘lawn ornaments that eat.’

One is an older horse who I’ve been told was once a champion that won dozens of buckles in his day as a barrel racer. Another is half-blind and I am careful to come up on her sighted side when I feed so I don’t startle her. She is a very gentle animal and loves to have her neck stroked.

There are loads of antique stores in the downtown area and many estate sales out in this secluded pocket of Texas (3 hours from major airport). Sometimes in these small towns there are rare pieces of the glass I’ve collected for years called Heisey.

Small town amusements are fun. In a town of close to 33,000, I’ve seen one movie theater, a bowling alley and one honky tonk down by the railroad. Unlike California, the are churches on every corner instead of coffee shops and even the coffee shop is lovingly named “Thumpers” as in Bible.

I was surprised to see both sushi bars and stands in the grocery store. The employees came from the East to the Wild West directly. There only reference is Deep East Texas. All I could imagine was Asian accents saying ‘y’all,’ ‘fixin,’ and ‘Bless you heart, sweetie.’

Real estate is run by a few houses. LaDonna Simpson has my heart. Poole has the best visual image. Their ads are clean and signage is very classy. Badder’s Law Firm makes you wish you had a legal question just to see the inside of that beautifully restored home. I’m hoping that there are open houses on some of the historic properties at some point like they do in California as fundraisers.

Rental rates posted at $400-$700 for decent-looking apartments along with houses starting in the 50s. Of course, the prices also elevate to over a million for an estate on a large piece of land. Condos are basically unheard of here except as senior or student housing. The concept of buying an apartment doesn’t make sense to country people when you can own even a small piece of earth.

Horses and cows are everywhere as well as donkeys and wild deer and large, roaming pigs. The sporks also keep coyotes and poisonous snakes away. They will kill them in fact. I tried to get my mother’s miniature donkey, Pedro, to chase away a chicken snake but he just stepped over it and gave me a glance that said he wasn’t interested in my fun.

So goes life here in the Piney Woods of Deep East Texas. Stay tuned for ‘tales of tails’ from Misfit Island. Our small rescue is growing every day and Mom appears to be coming back to life.

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