Plant Answers  >  Christmas Gifts for the Wise and Wary

Christmas Gifts for the Wise and Wary

Well, we all squeezed by Thanksgiving so now we must be coming into the home stretch for Christmas. That's a sobering thought! But it IS reality. Reality also involves getting those "special" people Christmas gifts. You want to be sure that the Christmas gifts are as "special" as the "special" people who are to receive them. And DON'T THINK THAT YOUR LOVED ONES ARE GOING TO FORGET A WORTHLESS CHRISTMAS GIFT! If you think it's just the thought that counts, think again. I have tried just giving thoughts for Christmas -- that mentality can get you battered and bruised!

Knowing you want to give an appreciated, worthwhile gift which can be easily (mail ordered preferably!) obtained, I have compiled a listing of THE BEST Christmas gifts possible.

Gardening books always make excellent gifts for gardeners. Here are some to consider. Among my favorites are: Bill Welch’s “Perennial Garden Color”, “Butterfly Gardening for the South” by Geyata Ajilvsgi, “Native Texas Plants” by Sally and Andy Wasowski, “The Vegetable Book” by Sam Cotner, and “Home Landscaping Texas” by Greg Grant and Roger Holmes. Neil Sperry has a new book available, “Lone Star Gardening” that would make a great gift. It is available from his website and Telephone: 1-800-752-4769.

If your gardener also likes birds in the landscape consider the book “Attracting Birds to Southern Gardens” by Pope, Odenwald and Fryling. Except for Neil Sperry’s new book, the books are available at most bookstores and on Amazon. The prices vary according to the source.

A gardening magazine in Texas for Texans is the Texas Gardener Magazine.

Do you have a sports person in the family who likes to shoot? A DVD of professional exhibition shooting as it once existed features Herb Parsons, the last of the great exhibition shooters for Winchester-Western, and San Antonio's own master gunman, Ad Toepperwein. The DVD with Herb Parsons "Showman Shooter", and Ad with wife Plinky Toepperwein can be ordered (BOTH OF THESE ARE ON ONE DVD) for $30 (tax and postage included) . You can send a check made payable to Jerry Parsons to: Jerry Parsons, P. O. Box 380391, San Antonio 78268-7391 or order using a credit card from

You can actually see a video clip of Herb Parsons throwing and breaking seven clay targets with a Winchester 12-gauge pump shotgun before even one hits the ground at:

And click on “View Clip” SHOWMAN SHOOTER VIDEO

There is also a Showman Shooter Book available for $39.95 from

At long last a book chronicling the life and times of the late, great exhibition shooter, Herb Parsons. This is a must have for every person who shares a love for the world of hunting and the great outdoors. This book has over 500 pages packed with more than 250 photographs, many of which have never been published. They tell the story of how a young boy grew up hunting among the hills and sage fields of beautiful Western Tennessee. You will discover who it was who caused the young Herb Parsons to set his sights on being an exhibition shooter as well as what separated him from all the other exhibition shooters of his day. You will enjoy a pictorial account of his days afield and on the trap and skeet range. He rubbed shoulders with the likes of Jimmy Robinson, Nash Buckingham, and Jack O’Connor, world renowned outdoor writers. Discover how this humble man of integrity and skill rose to become the best exhibition shooter of them all. You’ll discover that Herb Parsons was not only a quick witted and talented exhibition shooter, but also a loving husband and father. You may recall a phrase coined by Parsons some fifty years ago which is as true today as it was then, “Hunt WITH your boy or girl and you’ll avoid the heartache of hunting FOR them.” He’s the kind of guy you’d want as a next door neighbor, a hunting partner, your best friend. If you love hunting and the shooting sports, then your library should not be without this book. To learn more about Herb Parsons, please visit

There is also a DVD named FAST AND FANCY SHOOTERS which features Bill Jordan, Herb Parsons and Ed McGivern and is available for $30 from the same San Antonio address as the Showman Shooter DVD. You can relive an earlier spectator shooting sport that hundreds of thousands of the older generations of shooters were privileged to personally witness and enjoy.

Readers may be wondering - what connection do I have with a world famous exhibition shooter? The answer is a matter of genetics. When an exhibition shooter marries a farm girl, the resulting offspring is a horticulture specialist who is an expert at shooting off his mouth. People always wonder - is the boy horticulture specialist as good with a gun as his dad? The answer - good enough with a gun; maybe better with the mouth! My father’s name was Herb so I proudly relate to those plant folks who are herb-lovers that I was ACTUALLY sired by an Herb!!!!! My father was stimulated to become an exhibition shooter by Ad Toepperwein whose life is described at:

The GREAT thing about this video is that it also documents the great shooting abilities of Ad’s wife whose life is described at:

The pecan harvest is in full swing. Here are two of the area's larger pecan sources for locally grown pecans.
Bragg Pecan Farm, 229 Highway 90 East (just past Walmart) in Hondo. San Antonio Metro number is 830-741-5215 or 1-800-938-0261 (website: Get some great pecan products, cookbooks, flavored & chocolate pecans and pecan gift bags.

AND Pape Pecan House, 101 South Street & 123 Bypass, Seguin Telephone: 1-830- 379-7442 or toll free at: 1-888-688-7273

For LOTS of WONDERFUL pecan recipes, look at:

For those of you who want to live happily ever after and have a lot of good luck next year, you should plan now to have black-eyed peas and country ham on New Year's Day. The peas won't be hard to find but the country ham -- true country ham -- is IMPOSSIBLE to find in Texas. However, I have located a place in Tennessee which sells the genuine item just like my old Mama used to cure. These are salt-cured hams which are hickory smoked just a little. The establishments name is Tripp Country Hams, Brownsville, Tennessee 38012- 3090 (Telephone: 1-800-471-9814 or 731-772-2130). Since we're in a bit of a hurry, THEY WILL ACCEPT Visa and/or MasterCard for telephone orders. You can “check them out” on the web at: You can click on the “Products” tag to get a listing of products available and prices.

NOW -- BEWARE -- if you do not appreciate truly good country ham, if you do not know how to cook country ham (you merely warm it since it is cured -- cook it too long and it turns to leather!), if you think Tennessee country ham is too salty and haven't got sense enough to soak it in water before cooking (if it's too salty for your taste) or if you think red-eye gravy is something you eat after a bad hang-over and are not willing to follow included preparation instructions TO THE LETTER, you should NOT buy this product!!! This pork is too precious for "non-believers"! DO NOT WASTE our time and the pig's life unless you truly appreciate this best country ham in the world. It is too precious to waste on non-connoisseurs!

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