Schlatter Family Site

Table of Contents Photo Album Back to Home Page




Table of Contents

Photo Album


Our Current Weather


Hurricane Katrina

New House

Joe's Pages

Gulf Coast House
(Destroyed by Katrina)

LeConte Lodge

Ol' Dad's List
Good Stuff


This page features "stuff" that we -- Rose and Joe -- have used and, as a result of using it, we recommend it to others.  This page is in no particular order and you are likely to find just about anything listed here.  We add to it from time to time so be sure to come back and visit.

"Rite-in-the-Rain" notebooks

These notebooks are made of water-repellent paper -- covers and pages are water-repellent.  The notebooks are intended for use by people who must make notes outside in all sorts of weather and environmental conditions -- such as surveyors, field collectors, scientists, and the like.  They are not inexpensive but, for what you get, the price is reasonable.  I have used these for years.  Because I am a career military officer, I developed the habit long ago of carrying a notebook with me to write down whatever.  I don't recall where I discovered "Rite-in-the-Rain" notebooks but I have a stack of them in my closet and almost always have one in my hip pocket.

Here's a link:


 Here's the "Rite-in-the-Rain" 3X5, top spiral-bound notebook.   They have notebooks of every size and configuration -- 3X5, 4X6, shirt pocket, hip pocket, 5X8, 8-1/2X11 -- you name it.  The notebooks come with many different page styles:  ruled, graph, surveyor notes, EMT notes, etc., etc.




They sell waterproof ball point pens, but, I have found a pencil is best for writing in the rain.


Garmin GPSmap 76Cx GPS receiver

I have owned three different Garmin GPS receivers and this is my favorite.  I also own a Garmin eTrex GPS receiver which also is an excellent piece of equipment but the 76Cx is my favorite.

The GPSmap 76Cx has a LOT of capabilities; my favorite is the ability to load maps into the receiver and to set up maps on a computer and load them into the receiver.  The  GPSmap 76Cx has a color display, long battery life, external connections, and is easy to use -- the buttons and commands are quite intuitive (entering addresses is a bit slow, but, that's what you expect when you work with an instrument without a keyboard).  Also -- the GPSmap 76Cx uses a microSD card to store maps.  This allows the user to insert a large-capacity card so you can carry around a lot of maps.  I have a 1GB microSD card in my GPSmap 76Cx.


Here's a link:

Mini Cooper

This is a long story, but, in August 2007, we purchased a Mini Cooper automobile.  If you have never seen one of these -- and you may have seen one and not known what it is -- the Mini Cooper is a classic.  It's a British car; the Cooper company was failing for a number of reasons, so, BMW purchased Cooper and started making the Mini Cooper.  The car retains the classic Mini Cooper body style and is manufactured in Great Britain but under the skin the car is all BMW. 

Ours came with:

  • Leather seats;
  • Cold-weather package (heated seats, heated mirrors);
  • Sirius satellite radio with lifetime subscription;
  • Six-speed automatic transmission with electronic, clutchless manual shift capability;
  • Run-flat tires.

The Cooper is something of a cult car -- a lot of Cooper owners take advantage of the fact that Coopers are FAST and NIMBLE.  The car is highly maneuverable -- it corners like a cat --  and is very peppy, even with a 4-cylinder, 142 HP engine.  The Sport Cooper has a turbo-charged engine and a 6-speed manual transmission and will hold its own with the likes of big Mustangs. 

We like it because of its fuel mileage -- we get 32 MPG driving around town, 36 MPG driving in a rural area, and 42-45 MPG on the interstate.  Yes, it's a small car.  We leave the rear seats folded flat and put all sorts of stuff in the rear -- luggage, groceries, lumber, hardware, you-name-it.  Ours is Chili Pepper Red with a white top.  WE LOVE OUR COOPER and recommend it every chance we get.


Here's a link to the Mini Cooper website:

Pointer Brand denim jeans

I discovered Pointer Brand jeans in the late 1990's.  As of around 1998, Levi's jeans are no longer made in the US.  In fact, in 1997, we were living in Bristol, TN.  I had business in Mountain City, TN, which was home to one of the last Levi's manufacturing plants in the US.  Levi closed the Mountain City plant -- putting 500 people out of work -- and moved the plant to Mexico.  I stood on the loading dock of the plant in Mountain City and watched as equipment was shrink-wrapped and loaded onto flatbed trailers to be trucked to Mexico.  I was acquainted with a man who had worked in the Levi plant for several years and was supporting invalid parents.  When the plant closed, he shot himself so his parents could get his life insurance money.  At that point, I stopped wearing Levi jeans and started wearing Pointer Brand jeans.

Pointer Jeans are made by the L. C. King Manufacturing Company in Bristol, TN.  All the employees are local people.   The plant is non-union and provides its employees with a full range of benefits and has a pay scale that's well above the local wage.  They make jeans, painter paints, overalls, and short overalls.

The founder, Mr. L. C. King, raised and trained hunting dogs -- pointers -- and one of his dogs was a champion pointer named Carolina Bill.  Mr. King named the jeans "Pointer Brand" to honor his dogs and a likeness of old Carolina Bill is on every garment that leaves the factory. 

You can order Pointer Jeans online -- here's their website:     One of my favorite parts of their website is the "Pointer People" section where people who wear Pointer jeans submit photos of themselves.

Estwing hammers

Can't beat an Estwing hammer.  Now, I know that everyone has a favorite hammer.  A lot of carpenters, especially framing carpenters, have started using the California framers with their curved handle.  Some folks don't like an all-steel hammer -- Estwing makes a full range of hammers -- steel, fiberglass handle, wooden handle, framing, general carpenter, rock hammer, engineer hammer, etc., etc.   And -- nail guns seem to be taking over -- but -- have you noticed that carpenters who use nail guns always seem to have a hammer hanging off their tool belt?   I have used Estwings for years and own a pile of them -- one of almost every size they make.

Timex Bodylink System

Check out my article about the Timex Bodylink System.


Falls Mill stone-ground products -- grits and cornmeal

First, let's go through an explanation.  We are Southerners and we eat a lot of traditional Southern foods, especially grits and cornbread.  The grits and cornmeal sold in most grocery stores are not the real item -- over-processed, pasteurized, cleaned-up and tasteless. 


Grits is/are an institution in the South.  In fact, grits is similar to any number of porridges made worldwide from coarsely-ground grains boiled in water until the grain absorbs the water.  Those unfamiliar with real grits sometimes refer to "hominy grits" -- in fact, grits and hominy are two different items.

Hominy is made from flint or dent corn -- corn with hard kernels that are dried on the cob then removed and soaked in a solution of baking soda, lime, or wood ash. This process causes the hulls to soften and swell. The kernels are then hulled and degermed using friction, then dried.  Hominy retains the shape and size of the corn kernel.

Here's a photo of hominy and corn kernels -- the hominy is the white stuff.  Hominy is cooked by boiling it in water until the kernel absorbs the water then it's served as a hot cereal.

 Grocery-store grits are made from the milling of corn kernels. The first step in the process is to clean the kernels; then, the grains are steamed for a short time to loosen the tough outer hull. The grain kernel is split, which removes the hull and germ, leaving the broken endosperm. Heavy steel rollers break up the endosperm into granules, which are separated by a screening process. The large-size granules are the grits; the smaller ones become cornmeal and corn flour.

Here's a photo of a bowl of grits -- most of you are familiar with Cream of Wheat -- grits is similar only more coarse.

We don't eat hominy, only grits.  Click here for our essay on grits ( under construction ).


Another traditional Southern dish is cornbread -- an unrisen bread made from cornmeal and other ingredients.  Here's a photo of a "pone" of cornbread -- cornbread is cooked in an iron skillet which is NEVER washed.  When the cornbread is done, the skillet is turned upside down and the "pone" ( or, loaf ) of cornbread drops out, upside-down -- this is what real cornbread looks like:


Click here for a link to our essay on cornbread ( under construction ).

Now, to the point

Enough of the preliminaries.  For years and years we suffered through the bland, spirit-less grits and cornmeal offered in most grocery stores.  When we found it, we purchased Jim Dandy brand grits and cornmeal because they were ground more coarsely than other brands and the Jim Dandy products seemed to taste more like corn than the other brands.

You see, grits and cornmeal ( from which cornbread is made ) are made from corn and should taste like corn with a rich almost nutty flavor.  The grits and cornmeal sold in grocery stores just don't make it -- too bland, no real flavor.

Then, one day, we discovered FALL'S MILL in Belvedere, Tennessee.  Operated by Jane and John Lovett, the mill has been in continuous operation since 1873.  It's a real water-powered stone-grinding mill and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Lovett's operate the mill much as it was operated in the 19th century.  They purchase local corn and they grind cornmeal and grits in small quantities.  By grinding small quantities, they don't store the meal or grits -- storage allows the ground corn to dry out, thereby ruining the flavor.

They ship only freshly-ground products and they recommend you keep the product stored in your freezer -- this prevents the ground corn from losing its fresh-ground flavor and texture.  Unlike grocery-store grits from which the corn germ has been removed, Fall's Mill products are made from the whole kernel.  For this reason, the Fall's Mill product retains the oil and taste of fresh corn and that's why you need to store the products in the freezer.

Here's a photo of our latest shipment from Fall's Mill:

In this photo are three 2-pound bags -- from left to right:  stone-ground multi-grain pancake mix; white corn meal; white corn grits.

Here's a link to the Fall's Mill website.  If you want to order their products, there is a 10-pound minimum order -- so order five 2-pound bags and share with your friends.  They ship promptly -- place your order via e-mail from their site; they ship the product and send a bill with the shipment; return the bill with your check; we normally receive products 2-3 days after we place our order.

Garmin Nuvi automotive GPS units

In early 2008 we purchased -- more on impulse than anything else -- a Garmin Nuvi 260W automotive GPS unit.  These units are sold everywhere; they come from various manufacturers -- Garmin, Magellan, and TomTom being the most popular ones with Garmin by far the most popular.

Here's a stock photo of our first one, the Garmin Nuvi 260W.


Below is a photo of a Nuvi 200 mounted on the dash of a Toyota Prius.  The device can be mounted anywhere on the car -- but it needs a clear view of the sky ( to receive satellite signals ) and the driver needs to be able to see the Nuvi -- so the driver can follow directions.



The device works like this:

  •  The device contains a GPS receiver that receives location data from the Defense Department's Global Positioning System ( GPS ) satellites.

  •  Using that information, the Nuvi knows where you are , direction of travel, and speed.

  •  The Nuvi has loaded into it a detailed set of maps ( North America, Europe, etc., depending on where you live ).

  •  As you drive along the device shows a map on its screen with your location -- indicated by a little car -- and the display follows you, showing road and street names as you approach them.

  •  The Nuvi also has a powerful address function -- you enter into the device the address to which you want to go and it gives you turn-by-turn directions to that address.  For example:  My daughter is somewhat "directionally challenged" -- she's not exactly certain sometimes how to go from one place to another.  I purchased and installed a Nuvi 350 in her truck.  She went to a location over 100 miles away where she had never been before.  She simply punched in the address, followed the directions, and arrived at the front door.  She returned home the same way -- entered the home address, followed the directions, and arrived at the front door.

I now have installed one of these in every vehicle we own:

  •  Nuvi 650 in our Ford Explorer

  •  Nuvi 260W in my truck

  •  Nuvi 260 in our Mini Cooper

  •  Nuvi 350 in our daughter's truck

  •  And I plan to give my son a Nuvi 350 for his truck.

Here's the Garmin website where you can read more:

Tilley Hats and Caps

Several years ago I purchased a Tilley hat for outdoor wear.  I lost my original Tilley hat in Hurricance Katrina and the company replaced the hat free of charge.  Now, I have three Tilleys:

The T5:                                                            The T3:                                                            The Air-Flo Cap:


The T5 is water repellent nylon; the T3 is heavy cotton duck; the cap is water repellent nylon with a cape that drops down to protect the back of your head and neck from the sun (it folds up out of the way), and, a ventilated top to keep your head cool.


More to come -- check back with us later!!



Return to front page.
Return to Table of Contents
Return to Dad's home page.

Send an e-mail.  

Search the site.