True Grandmother Stories, 1880~1974


this picture was taken in 1969, she plowed into life~ full speed ahead! She was a fun grandmother and a walking history book.

I came across this picture of my grandmother (Miss Nellie) and thought it would be fun for my family to see it and remember her again. She and Granddad Christian lived catty-cornered across the street from us when we were growing up, in a nice house with a wrap around porch, big climbing trees, and a storm cellar in the back yard. Grandmother had the fidgets if she didn’t have a project going, she oil painted, she played the piano, she read to us and quoted scripture, she made wonderful pies, not so good cakes, and was a sweet and loving part of our lives. Once or twice  a year, she robbed her beehives and could be seen running around the yard flaying her arms, trying to get away from a charging bee. (I was fascinated with her three bee hives, it bothered me that bees crowded around the long narrow door at the bottom of the hive, they came and went, crawling all over each other in a disturbing mass. One day, I got a long stick, stood behind a little tree and started scraping them off, it only took a second before they were all over me. I was covered in stings. Every stinger had to be pulled out with tweezers but no real damage done). Grandmother had so many good stories to tell~ about when she was a little girl growing up in Loyal Valley, stories of  Lost Creek. Fredonia, Camp San Saba and the Comanche and Apache Indians that still roamed around, raiding and causing trouble. There was the story about  little Herman Lehmann who was kidnapped by the Apache raiders in nearby  Fredericksburg and spent his young life with the Indians. (In 1927 he wrote his biography,  ‘Nine Years Among the Indians’, this book is still available at These were stories of things that happened to people she knew, and times that she lived though. She had an amazing life.  When Grandmother was 58 years old, she told me she was ready to go any time the Lord was ready to take her, it upset me terribly to think she could really go away. She did~but it was later when she was 94. Sweet memories~

Mummies of Guanajuato

this picture was the least disturbing of any I found on the internet. we did not take pictures that day, we just wanted to leave this nightmare~

One of the attractions in Guanajuato Mexico are the mummy caves. It is a dark narrow corridor and the sides are lined with shelves holding mummified bodies, hundreds of them. They were moved there when people could not pay an $8 tax each year to keep their relatives in their graves. An epidemic of cholera killed so many that there was no room in the cemeteries and old bodies were disinterred and replaced with new ones. After 1958, there was a law passed that they were no longer allowed do this. The mummy caves are now a museum ~El Museo De Las Momias~ and one of Mexico’s biggest   tourist attraction. Books have been written about it, movies made and even songs about the mummies. We visited there in the 1960s and after the shock of seeing what it was, we  headed  back out the door. It was a haunting sight. It was even more horrifying than the one bullfight we saw.

Taxco Mexico

this is a view from the  hotel where we stayed

Taxco is a silver mining town located about 100 miles southwest of Mexico City, we visited there in 1956.  

Mexico is known for it’s many churches and cathedrals

The area is is known for it’s rich silver mines.
It is one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico, with quaint narrow streets, lined with shops filled with every kind of silver artistry. All day from early morning until dark, there was the ‘ping ping ping’ of silver being hammered out into everything from jewelry to bowls, candlesticks and silver trays.  

the city is old and clean and beautiful

Taxco’s history dates back to the 1700. You can click on  Taxco in your browser and learn all about it’s interesting past and view pictures of it’s many churches.  

the aged old streets were paved in  stone, still in perfect condition~

since the city was built on the side of a mountain, buildings were stacked close together.

We stayed in a beautiful old hotel with a balcony,  two large bathrooms with all marble fixtures, and something quite different from our little house back home. The three night stay cost $6.00. This is one of the most memorable places we ever visited. Absolutely gorgeous, and as always, the Mexican people were wonderful.
At another time, I will do a blog on some of the interesting churches In Mexico.They were beautiful buildings and some of them had their own clever twists~

Kenya Missionary/Nurse


this is a sweet picture, all of the children are inquisitive and anxious to learn. She is filled to the brim with love for them

This is one of my all time favorite pictures of ZZ. She is checking out a little boy’s throat while another one watches from behind. She is a missionary and nurse in Kenya. She planned to be there three months, it has been three years. She has a great passion for her work there~May the Lord Bless her and keep her under His watch~


here are two children playing Chess, it doesn’t take long to learn the rules and is a great game for all ages~ even kids as young as 8 years~

Back to board games, the ultimate game is Chess, the modern version of the game is around 500 years old but is thought to have been started in the 6th century. Anyone is old enough to play if they can learn the rules, 8 years old is about right. It is interesting, it takes skill and teaches skill,

Chess board and all the different pieces, rooks, castles, pawns, knights, king and queen, they all have rules for how they can be moved~

There is a lot going on in a chess game, different pieces move only certain directions and are some only allowed to jump certain ways.  Every piece can be captured and removed from the board except for the King, when he is blocked  and can no longer move, the game is over and you have “Check Mate”, someone has won and someone has lost. It is intense, it takes a lot of thought but it is not hard to learn and such a pleasure to play. It has stood the test of time.

Dan and I used to play a lot and he played to win! Once in a while if I beat him, he would want to start another game immediately and would always say, “one more game, winner take all”. And as  with all games, he kept track (for months) of how many games he won and how many I won. These were his rules and I went along with it until his sister-in-law told him that nobody did that and it was the craziest thing she ever heard. I didn’t allow him to keep track after that.

Our Greatest Presidents

George Washington, Father of our Great Nation, He had Honor beyond Challange

Abe Lincoln, he was dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. He was a great man and greatest of all Republicans.

Today I am showing portraits of our most famous presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. I painted them in the 1960s. They have been a part of my art shows and hung in special places through the years. I have now moved them to the Schleicher County Court House where they will have a permanent home. May God continue to bless our great country.  Raise the flag, sing the praises, we all have one vote, use it to keep the principals which these two great men lived for. (you can write their names in the Google Browser and enjoy hours of great reading).

Pictures from West Texas

birds sunning themselves, Delaware Mountains in the background

Today I will show you some nice pictures from far West Texas. Most are on the ranch in the Delaware Mountains in Culberson Country. My nephew Earl goes there often and always has his camera handy. (a favorite quote from his dad~Sam Calhoun was,” Mother Nature was in her prettiest dress”). I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I have, that is a beautiful part of the country and so many interesting things going on. It is alive with wildlife and is unspoiled. 

the cow seems to enjoy the birds on her back, maybe they are finding lice

these are acres of yellow with the Guadalupe Mountains in the background

I am not sure where this picture was taken but it is out in West Texas

these are interesting and beautiful desert plants

the mule deer are big, there are lots of trophy deer out there.

I like this picture, the yellow flowers and the cactus apples are a pretty combination

and here is Earl Calhoun and his faithful traveling companion Ajax. Thank you Earl for the great pictures

Schlotzsky’s Type Sandwich

don’t take orders, make them and serve them, if someone doesn’t like the cucumbers, they can pull them out themselves~

This is a great sandwich. It looks complicated but is easy and fun to make. The bread recipe is the easiest of all yeast breads. You just need to go through the list of ingredients and have everything sliced, laid out and ready, then it goes together fast.  

these are 6 inch cast iron skillets, you can find them on the internet for under $10 each. They will last a lifetime~

Years ago, I bought a dozen 6″ cast iron skillets to bake these buns in and also for  my hamburger buns. I live 45 miles from the nearest real Schlotzsky’s place so this recipe works for me. It is a great meal even when you are having company. They will remember it~ 

these make a big sandwich, it is a full size meal~

you can cut them in quarters and serve as company snacks~

 Schlotzsky’s Buns  (copycat)
note: this is the easiest of all yeast breads to make!
1/2 c warm water
2 tsp sugar
2  1/4 tsp dry yeast (or one package)
1/4 tsp soda (dissolved in 2 tsp warm water)
3/4 c warm milk
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 c bread flour
2 T cornmeal
Stir together the warm water, sugar and yeast,
let sit for a few minutes.
In large bowl, combine dissolved soda, warm milk, salt
and one cup of the flour. Beat until smooth. Beat in the
yeast mixture and remaining flour, Batter will be sticky and
Prepare six little 6″ skillets by spraying with Pam, then sprinkle
bottoms with cornmeal. Divide dough  between pans, it
will spread during rising time. Spray tops with Pam
and let rise for one hour. Again spray tops with Pam,
bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Split buns with knife when cool.
You can use two cake pans if you don’t have the 6″ pans
and after making the sandwiches, cut them into thirds
for 6 sandwiches.
mozzarella cheese, grated
cheddar cheese, grated
parmesan cheese, good sprinkle of it
onion slices
tomatoes, sliced
cucumbers sliced thin
lettuce shredded
black olives, sliced in half
creamy garlic dressing, about like spreading mayonnaise on bun
salami  (it makes the sandwich~
2 slices of boiled or smoked ham for each sandwich
Assemble the sandwich~ 
1. spread garlic dressing on both halves of bun
2. sprinkle top bun with parmesan cheese
3. spread mustard and mozzarella on top bun
4. spread cheddar cheese on bottom bun
5. toast to melt cheeses
6. heat meats and place on buns, ham on bottom, salami on top
build with olives, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and cucumbers
Enjoy the Schlotzsky’s (copycat) Sandwich with a few chips~

Mertzon Road

I like rock tanks, I know of many that have been here longer than I have, they are beautiful. I would imagine rock masons would go through the country building tanks and rocking houses. They were master craftsmen~

Here is another place between Eldorado and Mertzon. I think I painted every scene from here to there at some time. There are a few pretty live oaks, some windmills and rock tanks, and only about three houses in the 32 miles.  A woman who lived on a ranch out there was at a bridge party one time and we were all telling funny stories, she told us that one freezing day she went out to see if ice was forming on the water in the tank and dropped her car keys in. She had to do what was necessary so she ran to the house. put on her bathing suit and went back and jumped in the freezing water. She found the keys and was climbing out when Mr. Halbert drove up in his butane truck to deliver gas. She said she headed straight for the house like nothing had happened. She was sure he must have thought she had lost her mind. It was a good story and I know none of us ever forgot it. When I look at the paintings from Mertzon, I think of her.

Birthday Dinner

this is Debbie’s famous chicken noodle soup, it only needs crackers and a glass of iced tea to make a perfect meal~

he wanted a pie instead of a birthday cake this time. Debbie baked this one,  beautiful and absolutely delicious. While we enjoyed dessert, we remembered all the birthday cakes through the years, Aunt Tricia made most of them and came up with elaborate ones~

Today is my oldest son’s birthday, I will post this on my blog tomorrow. He was born in 1956 and what a thrill to remember all these wonderful years. We had his birthday dinner yesterday after church. Debbie made his favorite soup and a beautiful coconut cream pie. (she is the gourmet cook in our family) That was the menu he chose.                                   It took me 24 hours “to born the boy”. The afternoon before, I had taken my 2 mile exercise walk down Rabbit Road in my summer clothes, it was a hot fall day. Then the next day when he was born we had a famous West Texas blizzard blow in and for the next five days everything was frozen solid, tree limbs were breaking from the weight of the ice. I always remember that hard freeze on October 22 but most of all how wonderful it was to have that brand new baby boy.

this picture is when he was almost two, he was a happy baby and had lots of grandmothers~it is one of my favorite pictures~

Kenya East Africa

this is the road going toward Kitale, the elevation is 7,000 feet so even though it is close to the equator, it is cool and lush with vegetation. I am excited that I was able to go there last year.

I never knew much about Africa. I had it pictured as a country with a parched and dry landscape as far as you could see, and maybe one old gnarled, water starved tree with an elephant kicking up dust. In the last year, I have learned it is not that way at all. I have enjoyed seeing hundreds of pictures of Kenya with it’s lush and beautiful green countryside. It is on the equator but the elevation is 7,000 feet so it is cool, green and wet. There are small gardens everywhere with maize, tomatoes, greens and all kinds of fruits growing. The city of Kitale is in the eastern part of Kenya and has a golf course, modern hotels, large banks, supermarkets and then the unique market places on the streets that sell all kinds of produce. It is much like parts of Mexico.  My heart is over there with someone I love very much.

Beautiful Pyracantha


this plant has been trimmed to become a small tree, they can also be left as a bush. As with so many of the showy plants, they have lots of thorns~absolutely beautiful

The pyracantha bushes are covered in beautiful orange berries around town. The plants grow to 10 feet tall and are showy and beautiful. They tolerate heat and cold and even drought, in fact they like it dry and can live for many years.

in the spring they will be covered in beautiful fragrant white flowers. They liked to be pruned, that keeps them producing~

In the spring, they are covered in white blossoms and then the berries come on in later summer. Good food for the birds, they eat everything that falls on the ground. It is also a safe nesting place. The branches are a mass of thorns so they are considered a good barrier against predators. They bring lots of pretty color to the landscape with little effort. Now is a good time to plant them, start with a gallon size and it will grow into a nice plant in a hurry. This one I found in Tricia’s yard this afternoon and decided to show it off. She will be surprised to see it in tomorrow’s blog.