Happy Birthday

I still have this beautiful little doll. The baby boy is 61 years old today. Happy Birthday

Madame Alexander doll is now 63 years old~

Madame Alexander doll is now 63 years old~

Blue Boy, four years old

Blue Boy, four years old

Meet Blue Boy. He was four years old when our baby boy was born  and he liked that baby. One day when I was sweeping and walked out the front door, Blue Boy was on my shoulder and before I knew it, he had joined a bunch of birds that  flew over and was gone. I was in a panic trying to see where they went, but he was gone. I walked in the pasture until dark, calling him and looking in every bush and tree. The next day I went out again with my guitar, thinking he would hear it and come to me. I couldn’t give up, I was sick, my heart was broken. I put an ad in the paper for my ‘lost bird’ and Dan said it was useless, no way would anyone find him. The third day it turned cold and wet and I was losing hope. On the fourth day, Margaret Whitten called me and said she thought they might have found Blue Boy. Morris had been out working livestock and this little bird came and got on his shoulder and would not leave so he put him in the pickup until he finished work and headed home. They lived four miles from our house and I cried all the way out there, praying for a miracle. IT WAS HIM! The feathers on his head were gone there was a cactus thorn through his foot but it was him. He got close to my ear coming home and kept saying “Blue Boy Sweet Baby Bird”. He lived to be nine years old and was one of the finest little pets we ever had. I know this is supposed to be a Happy Birthday blog for my son today but when I saw the picture, I remembered what a wonderful and blessed life we lived. Sweet little bird and that sweet and precious little baby boy. Happy Birthday!

Uganda

Bicycles (next to walking) are probably the most popular method of transportation in all of Africa and you see pictures of several people sharing a ride.This was a recent get together when lots of people came to study the scriptures and have a great meal of Ugali, greens, potatoes and goat meat stew.

I wonder how they know which bicycle is theirs.

I wonder how they know which bicycle is theirs.

Someone sent me pictures and here are a couple more  that I especially liked.

Some deep thinking~

Some deep thinking~

Four children with their ta ta.

Four children with their ta ta.

I am pretty well running out of new stuff for my blog so I have decided to just post something ever so often when things happen to write about. I appreciate all those of you who enjoy it and even check it out on a daily basis. Special thank you to my friends Al and Pat, Dan, Austin, Linda, Ann and Sharon. I even get a phone call early in the morning if I fail to get one up ((to be sure I am OK). You are welcome to go back to the older ones you haven’t seen. I started this over five years ago. Everyone should keep a journal of some kind. It makes you realize you have been living a busy life. That is good!  Check back often~

Buttermilk Pound Cake (Revised Version)

September 20, 1953, a big day

September 20, 1953, a big day

Yesterday would have been my 64th wedding anniversary.  Here is a picture from that day. I had planned to run a picture of my Lemon Pound Cake but couldn’t find it so found this instead. Dan and I were married at 9:00 that morning in my Grandmother Christians’ beautiful front room, with 50 guests celebrating with us. Everyone was alive back then and now there are just a hand full left. Happy day, in just a little while we were off to a honeymoon in New Orleans. These were fun and exciting times. I loved that sweet boy~

Now for the recipe, I wish I had made this cake yesterday, then I could have been enjoying a slice with my coffee right now. Maybe I will have it ready tomorrow morning.

I like a pound cake because you can slice it, pick it up and eat it, or you can have it with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk. It isn’t sticky, you don’t need a napkin or a fork. But of course you can sit down and eat it quite properly if you like. The slices can be wrapped and frozen and ready for drop in company. Real pound cake is made with real butter. I like the little bit of lemon icing on it too.  Pound Cake must be good, it is in every recipe book, and has been handed down for generations from good cooks~   Note! Since I first placed this on my blog, I had a failure on one cake so this recipe has been changed slightly. After testing, it turned out very nice~

   Buttermilk Pound Cake

1 c ~soft butter (2 sticks)
2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 c flour
1 c buttermilk
1/2 tsp soda
Cream butter and sugar together
Add eggs, one at at time, beating well
Add vanilla
Stir soda into the cup of buttermilk
Add flour alternately with buttermilk,
batter should be smooth.
Grease bottom of tube pan, (not sides)
Bake one hour and 15 minutes at 325 degrees, test with toothpick,
it sould come out clean when pushed into center of cake
Cool for 10 minutes, then run knife around the
sides to turn cake loose, Shake pan to loosen
cake, then remove to plate.
Lemon Icing
Mix grated lemon rind, juice from one lemon and
1 1/2 c powdered sugar. If icing is too stiff, add a
few drops of water. Drizzle over warm cake~, use only
this amount of icing, don’t overdo it~

                                                                                                               

 

Far Far Away

I get new pictures almost every day and it makes me happy. This is one of my favorites, a picture from Soroti Uganda. These two sweet girls are actually sitting in a mud hut with no running water or electricity. They and their family were visiting a young friend who built it and lives there on his $30 monthly income.

Two of my special  somebodies~

Two of my special somebodies~

I ran this picture through Adobe Photoshop and will use for my screen saver. Good morning to my sweet ones~ ZZ, John and the lovely Miss Gavriella.

Angora Goats

I have painted a lot of goat pictures through the years. I like goats, they are smart and make good pets. Well maybe not so good but who can resist. They will climb on your car and eat the nice plants in your yard. They bother the neighbors, stand around on your front porch and look in the windows. Sometimes they come inside. If you only have one, they will be your best buddy. They like to be with someone or something, they need a companion. There is nothing as cute as a baby goat~

I like goats. they look you straight in the eye and watch you~

I like goats. they look you straight in the eye and watch you~

Pasta Dumplings Lasagna

this is a 20 minute meal, you only use two pans and a big spoon. I like lasagna but it takes a lot of time, this one is every bit as delicious. It is enough for six people and left overs~

I have a little secret about taking pictures of food for the blog. One recipe doesn’t always make a table full, it might seem a little skimpy so like on the lasagna, I turned a cereal bowl upside down in the bottom of the pot and poured the dumplings on top of that, then it makes it look like it is a heaping pot full. If the bread basket doesn’t look full, I put a wad of paper towels under the napkins and pile the bread on top. If I am going to show pictures of the food, I want it to look as generous as it really is.

This is a recipe ZZ sent me from Kenya. This morning I am going to make a batch of it for the freezer, it is absolutely wonderful. (one plate for me and 7 plates for the freezer). It makes a lot. It is easy to make and takes about 20 minutes.

Pasta Dumplings Lasagna
12. oz. package of pasta dumplings or bowtie pasta
1 lb very lean ground meat
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 T olive oil
1 large carton cottage cheese, put in strainer and run water
over it to get milky stuff off, drain
8 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 can med. black olives drained
Put the pasta in 10 cups of boiling water and 1 tsp salt, cook just until tender~ drain.
Brown meat, seasoning, garlic powder, salt and olive oil in wok or big
pan until done, about 10 minutes.
Pour spaghetti sauce on meat, get it hot then add cottage cheese,
mozzarella cheese, cooked pasta, and olives. Stir carefully with
big spoon until mixed and heated through.
Serve with sliced cucumbers or a vegetable salad.

Shish-K-Bobs

this is a picture of the meat and vegetables strung on a skewer, ready for the broiler. If you crowd them a little, they will stay put when your turn them and not roll over, don’t over cook, you want them tender~

A few days ago, I put Pinto Beans on my blog and for less that $10, there were enough beans and tortillas, cantaloupe and iced tea for 6 people. (some left for the freezer too) Today I want to show you my Shish-K-Bobs. This is a great company dinner. I served them with Armenian rice, cantaloupe, homemade French bread, and for dessert, I made a cherry cobbler with ice cream. My kids come for church and dinner on Sundays, so there were five of us~My grocery bill for  this meal  was $66. (gulp) It takes sirloin steak, lamb, red and green bell peppers, mushrooms, and a few other things. Give yourself plenty of time, it takes some preparation. You can cut up the meat, vegetables, and the cantaloupe the day before, and have all of this in the refrigerator.

I got the skewers 50 years ago, If you don’t have any, go buy them. You will want at least 10. This recipe makes enough for dinner and left overs, I always cook enough so that everyone takes a plate home for supper

 It makes a wonderful meal and is something everyone looks forward to. I call this my Greek Dinner. Anyway, I hope you will try it some time if you have an unexpected windfall~

The nutty flavor of the wine , the curry and the grated onion,makes this something you will remember. The vegetables stay crisp and the lamb and steak are tender from having been marinaded for hours..

Shish-K-Bobs

 2 to 3 lbs sirloin steak
1 lb lamb chops
6 slices thick sliced bacon
2 pkg mushrooms
3 green bell peppers
2 red pimento peppers
6 Roma tomatoes, quartered (or 20 cherry tomatoes)
2 onions, cut in quarters and separated
cut loin and lamb into 1 1/2 inch  cubes
cut vegetables  in nice size chunks
Marinade
1 large grated onion
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup Canola oil
Place meat in large bowl, cover with marinade and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight, stirring several times. String meat, mushrooms and vegetables on skewers, in the same order on each one until everything is used. Drizzle any marinade left in the bowl over the shish-k-bobs. Broil in oven, 4 inches from burner. Turn after 5 minutes, then turn twice more until all sides are cooked, watch carefully and don’t over cook then. Place skewers on platter, scrape up juices left in pan,  heat and serve it in a small pitcher.
Armenian Rice
 4 cups rice
1 stick real butter
1/2 tsp celery seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt
8 cups hot chicken broth with about 1/4 cup of white wine. 
In 4 qt pan, brown rice in butter with salt and celery seeds, stir constantly until rice starts to brown,  add heated chicken broth, (careful, it will spatter when you put it in the hot rice) put tight lid on and leave for 20 to 25 minutes on med heat.

Fried Okra Salad

Here is my blog from over a year ago. I just wonder how many have actually tried this recipe for Fried Okra Salad. I am giving you another chance. It is absolutely one of the best dishes in the world. Easy too, it is OK to get frozen Okra that has been already breaded and ready to fry. It cooks up in a few minutes so cut up the onions and tomatoes first so they will be ready when the okra is done. I still go for the pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy for a wonderful meal. I like thin cut pork chops with the ‘bone in’, they are done in a few minutes and tender and crisp.

something special about the crunchy okra, fresh tomatoes and onions. All time favorite!

This may be your favorite once you try it. My mother got this recipe at least 75 years ago from Beulah Kerr. It has been a family favorite for four generations. Simply delicious! It is especially good with summer time meals~pork chops, mashed potatoes, fresh green beans and  pickled beets~

Crunchy Fried Okra Salad  

1 pkg. sliced frozen okra   ( Or buy frozen cut okra that has been breaded, then you can put it right  in the skillet still frozen and eliminate the next two steps. Just as good either way.)
1 ½ c. flour (more if needed)
½ tsp salt
1 large tomato, chopped
½ c. chopped onion

Thaw sliced okra in warm water,
pour water off, then toss in plastic bag with
flour and salt mixture. Coat well. (okra should
be stuck together in clumps) You DON’T need to do this step if you use the cut and breaded frozen okra! I am making it really easy for you.
Heat about two inches of oil in skillet, med. hot
Fry half the okra at a time. (add more oil if
necessary on second batch). Use large slotted spoon to turn okra and cook on all sides until light golden and crisp, watch carefully so it won’t burn.
Drain on lots of paper towels, get that grease out! When ready to serve, toss okra with the chopped tomatoes and onions. Salt to taste.

General Robert E. Lee

one of my favorite paintings, it was a pleasure to paint this great man, I knew his history and felt like I knew him personally by the time I was finished.

I painted this picture of Gen. Robert E. Lee in 1984, from a photograph by Mathew Brady~ published in Harper’s Weekly at the time, the caption read:  “This photograph shows a picture of Robert E. Lee. The picture was taken shortly after Lee’s surrender. The photograph was taken by Mathew Brady, and shows the General in his uniform. Despite his recent loss in the War, the General still stands tall and proud. ” I enjoyed painting this picture of the General  tremendously, he was one of the really great men of all times. The painting  belongs to one of my sons, he found a mistake, he said “General Lee did not have blue eyes.” 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

coffee and cookies or milk and cookies, either way, chocolate chip cookies are one of the all time favorites, easy to make and pure pleasure to eat~

Chocolate Chip Cookies are easy to make and most people love them. I borrowed this recipe from Elizabeth’s cooking site   ‘My Home Cooking’  check it out, some great recipes, and lots of detailed instructions. She built it as a school project 10 years ago when she was fifteen and it has been running ever since. This is a simpler version of her cookies but the results are the same. Homemade cookies are great to take on a trip,  then all you need is to find a Starbucks~)

                                       Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c Crisco shortening
1 stick real butter
1 1/4 c white sugar
1 14 c brown sugar
1 T vanilla
2 eggs
4 c flour
2 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
12 oz.pkg semisweet chocolate chips 
1 c toasted pecans, chopped coarsely*
Cream Crisco, butter and sugars together, beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and eggs and beat again until completely mixed. In another bowl, combine flour, soda and salt until well mixed. Mixing at low speed, add the flour a few tablespoons at a time to the cookie dough, stopping several times to scrape down sides of bowl. Now you can add the chocolate chips and toasted pecans and stir well. (if you freeze the chocolate chips first, they will hold together in the cookies and won’t turn the cookie a brown color)
Using an ice cream scoop or table spoon, place dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet with room between  and bake in 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then remove with spatula onto a wire rack and cool completely. *to toast pecans, place on paper plate, microwave one minute, stir and microwave another 30 seconds, watch that they don’t scorch~

Coons

I am on a quest to catch some coons that have been invading my yard for several weeks. They mess up the cat’s water bowl, knock limbs out of the trees and  I just don’t like them! I hate coons~
This duck house was built with left over lumber when we built our house in 1974.

This duck house was built with left over lumber when we built our house in 1974.

Thirty years ago, a small coon got in the duck house one night and killed everything that was precious to me. There was a small space under the eve for ventilation and this little coon squeezed in, not to do anything except kill them. There were our two mallard ducks, Rose Olive and Stanley and our three guineas, Sir Chester Charles, Matthew, and Alfonzo Thomas. They had been our pets for 8 years, I got them at a garage sale when they were 3 days old. I was sick for days, it broke my heart.
.
one of the coons that week, there were 13 of them~

one of the coons, there were 13 of them~

For years I trapped coons in the back yard, once there were 13 coons in two weeks. The live trap I have is too small for the new coons, they are about 10 inches longer than the trap so it won’t snap. 
This DP Coon Cuff sells at Amazon for $15, the setting tool is another $5 and I will need it if I ever get this trap set.

This DP Coon Cuff sells at Amazon for $15, the setting tool is another $5 and I will need it if I ever get this trap set.

 Bobby told me at church last week about a trap that was a sure thing. It is called the DP Coon Cuff (dog proof).  It will only catch coons or possums, coons have five long fingers and long nails. You bait it with a marshmallow and when he reaches into the cylinder the trigger snaps and he is caught. This is not a trap and release, it is a bait, catch and shoot. I ordered two of these traps and studied the videos online about using them. It looked simple, you dropped in the marshmallow, set it and secured it to a stake. Problem was I couldn’t set it, the spring is so strong it is impossible. I even asked a trapper if he knew how to set it and he tried, he pushed the jaws down and then his wife reached over to set the little trigger and she got a blood blister. So I have ordered the ‘setting tool’ that Amazon highly recommended and I’m waiting for it to arrive in 10 to 14 days. It looked like a large hair pin~
a coon cuff, it is supposed to really catch them, if only I could set it.

The spring is too stiff and I put a clamp on it overnight to try and loosen it up. No luck~

For now I am forgetting about the coons, my .22 rifle has scotch tape holding the sight on and I wasn’t sure how to load my 410.  Now a friend has loaned me one of his guns and showed me how to load mine, so when I am ready to go after the coons again, I will be in business. I really really don’t like coons!
Up Date~ I gave up on the new coon traps and gave them away. I am back to live traps and they work. I caught 4 coons and a grey fox in just a few days, then they got smart and quit coming. Now I bait them for 4 days and if I don’t catch anything, I take a rest for a while and start over. I had been hauling the dead coons over to the farm and dumping them but someone told me to just throw them over the fence here, the buzzards would get rid of them in one day. So I threw the next one out by the windmill and I think it worked.

I counted 9 buzzards out by the windmill in an hour. Two were guarding and the others were waiting for the word~

I counted 9 buzzards out by the windmill in an hour. Two were guarding and the others were waiting for the word~

The New Rain Gage

this is the garden after a big rain, I lost one of Dan’s boots out there that day, it was buried in the mud and never seen again~while I am thinking about it, I also buried a treasure out there years ago same place as the rubarb, it was in a quart mason jar and had a wrist watch, a silver dollar and a surprise note. The rubarb never came up and I never found the treasure.

Our rain gage had been  broken for a quite while, (when someone ask me how much rain we got, the answer was “not much, quite a bit, or I heard the Spinks about got 2 inches”).  Years before when I was at a Hemphill Well’s Sale, I saw nice rain gage  for half price and bought it. When I showed Dan what I found,  he had a not so tiny fit! He said you could get those for free anywhere, the bank~ the gas company~ everyone gave them away. (‘Free’ for him meant ask for two). Anyway, my feelings were hurt so I kept it in the drawer for  a long time before I put it up. One day I screwed it to a board and wired that to a post on the fence out across the road from the house. It  was level and secure,  I did a fine job. When I was walking back to the house, I saw a  rock in the driveway, picked it up and threw it over my shoulder. Then I heard “ping”. You guessed it, perfect shot~