Bluebonnet Oil Painting

this landscape was just as I found it, I had to change nothing when I painted it.

This is a painting I have in my living room. It is a scene of an actual place in Schleicher County and I didn’t have to change a thing. When my little granddaughter wanted to paint a large picture, she copied this one. It took her over a year since she could only work on it when she was visiting. It is easier to copy a painting than a photograph, I showed her painting on an earlier blog. It is a great way to teach a child to paint, they can learn to paint a tree and road and soon be doing their own originals. She never got tired, she stayed with it. Those were sweet days for me.

Delaware Mountains

here we are with more tire trouble, no matter that the tires were good, there was always something to ruin them. The ranch roads were terrible~

Today’s picture is another one from the ranch in Culberson County~in the Delaware Mountains in far West Texas. I was on this trip, it made me uneasy because the boys were already out there at the camp when Dan I went. There ranch roads were no more than rough paths that Mr. Ronsaville scraped out with his bulldozer ever so often, and we had no real idea where we were on this 12 section ranch. Dan just sort of knew the general direction to the camp. On this day, we had a flat. Dan honked the horn to see if the boys were anywhere nearby and sure enough we could hear them honking back. They figured out which road we were on and were there in a little while. Oh my! When they drove up I nearly had a fit, they had a three wheeler and the Kawasaki in the back of the pickup and I had no idea they had taken them out there, certainly not safe for ridding in the mountains.

not a mountain bike, it scares me to remember  seeing these things out there. One skid and you could end up in the bottom of a ravine~

 Matt fixed the flat, he was always the first to jump in there and help. There was a rule that no women were allowed out at the ranch, it was meant to keep wives and mothers from coming every year at hunting season and messing up the men’s fun. Dan told me for sure I could go, and I got to go several times after that. We never went during hunting season. It was just the four of us and of course I was the cook~ 

Small Texas Landscapes in Oil

 

here again shows a road with an open gate, it invites you into the picture, remember in real life, if you find a gate closed, be sure to close it behind you.

 

a companion to the first one, both are landscapes, both are in the country and work well as a nice pair

These are a pair of landscapes that worked well together, just right for a small space. The paintings are 9×12′s  and I painted them in a few hours, with drying time in between. First coat is to pretty well to finish the sky and hill, then put in the dark green where the trees will go, and the calache colored ground, road, and brush. No details at this point. After the canvas is covered and it is time to let it dry, I pull my pallet knife over the wet paint to make it smooth. That way when I come back to do the finishing work,  the canvas is nice and easy to paint on. (If it is rough, it is like trying to paint on a cinder block). After it is completely dry, that is the time to paint in all the details, the heads on the grass, the gnarly limbs coming out of the tree, hit it with highlights, and don’t forget to sign your name~

Pound Puppies

In the pound, Kobi had already won, he was going home with papa, no one knew what a prize he would be~

Our family has a long history with found puppies, pound puppies, and give away puppies. This is a picture of Kobi, On of my boys adopted him from the pound. He was looking for a little girl dog but Kobi was begging and jumping up and down, it was me me me! He couldn’t resist so he chose him. 

here is Kobi at about 6 months, he was beautiful, we wondered how he ever ended up in the pound~

He looked a little like a poodle, but when they groomed him, he looked like a bichon frise. Living with Kobi was all about and being loved and licked to death. Goodbye to any more afternoon naps after work.

Emily Molly was the real thing, a full blood bichon frise, absolutely adorable and always a happy girl~

 

 

 

About a year later, it was decided maybe Kobi got lonesome while the kids were at work, so they went to North Texas and brought Molly home. She is a real bichon frise, just the sweetest and most precious little thing you ever saw. She and Kobi look exactly alike and they get along great. They sleep together in a big kennel in the bedroom, it is a ritual when they go to bed or get up in the morning, Kobi has it planned who goes in first, who gets out first, who is in charge of Molly’s little girly pillow, very complicated but he runs things and she goes along with “what ever”.  Kobi is a worrier, you can see it on his face,  when someone walks out of the room, he listens and watches and whimpers until everyone is back together. They are both funny, precious and wonderful~ 

these are two of the most beautiful dogs ever, they have a good life and make the world a better place, they sure love their mama and papa             (and Tricia)

Grits and Eggs

this is a delicious meal you can put together in minutes, no special ingredients, just always keep a box of grits handy and a package of Jimmy Dean sausage in the freezer, you are ready to go~I serve this on a small breakfast size plate so the portions aren’t as big as they look~

The one thing that we think about or talk about at least once every single day is food. It is one of our greatest pleasures. I always knew what Dan liked~it was everything~ but I have to say his all time favorite was eggs. He liked them fried~hard or soft~ omelets, scrambled, deviled, even hard boiled. We always had our big meals at breakfast and dinner at noon, we all sat at the table and ate together, then for supper it was left over’s, or popcorn and apples, or eggs. Either an omelet or grits and eggs were his first choice. (He lived over 90 years so the eggs never hurt him). Creamy cheesy grits are delicious and satisfying, and go great together with the eggs. Now you need to choose your grits carefully when buying~if it says ‘Instant’ on the package back away and don’t take those home by mistake. No good!

There are 5 Minute Grits (Quaker) that work well, or old fashioned grits that take a little longer to cook. Anyway, you can cook up this meal for breakfast or supper, it only takes a few minutes. Oh loudy have mercy, this is good!
Cheesy Grits
(four servings, either half or double for however many you need)
Boil 3 c water
1/2 tsp salt
1 c Quick 5 Minute grits
Stir grits slowly into boiling water, put lid on and turn heat
down to med-low, cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in until melted 2 slices of American Cheese and 1 T butter
Soft fry eggs, one or two to a serving,
Cook sausage in a skillet on med. heat~ it will be ready in about 8 minutes
A little bowl of fruit and you have a delicious meal. 

The Art Lesson

Dan’s first painting was a small desert scene with blue sky, sand hill and yucca plant in the center, later he painted this larger one with more detail. Not bad at all~He was liking the art lessons and liking the girl~

In the summer of 1953, I was home from UT, and working at Blake’s Electric. Not much happening. Mother kept books for my daddy’s business and gave art lessons twice a week. She said  ‘Dan’ came in the station one day and sat around for a while then asked her if she would teach him to paint. She was surprised, all of her students were women but she agreed to give him lessons in the evenings. After a few weeks, she couldn’t meet with him for a couple of sessions but told him that I might help him instead.  He was serious about learning to paint and he was doing a good job. That was the start of a whirlwind courtship.

We went to Garner State Park for the afternoon, it was a pretty place near Uvalde, I thought he was just pretty neat~

First real date was going to San Angelo to play miniature golf one afternoon, then to Garner State Park for a Sunday afternoon, every evening we painted or went to a movie. It was a fun summer. When it was getting time for me to go back to school he started trying to talk me out of leaving. I had pre-registered, my room at SRD was reserved and it was all set. I thought maybe he would come to Austin once in a while and we could see each other. One afternoon we went out to the farm on Rudd Road to shoot his new pistol. No shooting that day, instead he proposed to me. He went to meet with  Daddy and ask for ‘my hand’. Oh my goodness how very proper. Daddy told him all the reasons it would never work, too much age difference, (12 years), I was not going to be easy to live with, (a silly girl) and I wasn’t finished with college. (Daddy, will you please be quite!) But the stars were right and it happened and Daddy was wrong, ( a few times I had some doubts though)

we were married Sept. 20, 1953 in my Grandmother Christian’s home and went to New Orleans on our honeymoon. I love remembering all of this~

We were married for 57 years and had two wonderful little boys. Dan quit painting after a few years and just helped me haul my paintings to shows. He liked art just as much as I did. (he also liked music, food and cigars)

Durango Colorado Live

there is something different about mountain towns, there is a special feel to them, cool, crisp air and everyone is having a good time.

My kids were hundreds of miles away in Durango Colorado a few  weeks ago on vacation and they called me on the cell phone and told me to go put the live cam in my browser. I did and up came this picture of the street in Durango Colorado and they were standing on the right hand curb, waving at me. We kept taking and they pointed out things to see if I could find  them and I could. I am still living in the dark ages so this was exciting for me. I have the address on my desktop and look at it every day, even though they are back home again. What fun. There are the same live cams in other cities too. To bring up Durango just type this address into your browser and it will be live. It makes me want to go~        http://downtowndurangocam.com/

Texas Peach Orchard

In West Texas, a fruit tree does better on a hill than in the low spots. A  late frost in the spring, usually settles in the lower places and can kill many of the blooms ~

This is about a new peach orchard in Christoval, it is small, only 12 trees that they put in three years ago. (remember, 2011 was the year of one of Texas’ worst droughts, no rain at all, hard time to start this venture) There are two apples, two apricots and the rest are different varieties of peaches. Since it is on a rocky hill up there, dump truck loads of dirt had to be brought in, it is about two and a half feet in new dirt, and the whole orchard is 40×50 feet. The new dirt was fluffy with no rocks and digging the holes was easy. Everything had to be watered daily and every tree has survived.  

this Loring peach was one of three that got ripe in June. It was the size of an orange, juicy,sweet and delicious~everyone got a taste

The first peach that year was from the Loring tree and got ripe in June. There were three peaches on that tree, simply delicious.
The Princess tree has lots of peaches which are going to ripen  in a couple more weeks. Anna thinned more than half of them out since the tree was young. It is a sweet white honey peach. Some of the trees were 3 year old bare root, some came in 5 gal buckets, and others were from seeds grown in buckets for 4 years. These seeds were from Granddad Jack’s original old Indian peach trees that he started in 1937, he was well known for his fine fruit trees. He would be happy to know the tradition is still going.  

the Princess is a sweet white honey peach, it is freestone. These trees can live for about 25 years, the apricots and apples live even longer.

Next year should be a great year for the orchard, the first year the trees rest, the second they come alive and the third year they flourish. We call this Anna’s Orchard~

Big Dog Chase

he walked into the party, uninvited, soaking wet, shook off and made himself right at home

This fat and very wet little chihuahua walked into the front door at a bridal shower one Saturday at the old bank building in downtown Eldorado. It was pouring rain outside with lightning and claps of thunder. No one knew who he belonged to but he came and sat by my feet. When it was time to go, I took him to the car and read a phone number on his tags. I called the number and ask the lady if she was missing a chihuahua. She said she had one but didn’t know he was gone. She told me where she lived, (that little dog had walked a mile in the rain), I said I would bring him home. Then she said “oh, I am not at home, we are out of town for the weekend”, then told me I could just leave him in their back yard. When I got to his house, I found a black cocker spaniel on the back steps, soaking wet with  water pouring off the roof. I ran home and got some garbage bags and an old comforter to take and try to make a shelter for them, (I also wrapped my head in Saran Wrap and put two hoodies over that, then changed into my shorts and old shoes). When I got back to the dogs and walked in the gate, the big black one shot out past me and took off. For the next hour and fifteen minutes, I chased that dog all over that end of town. We went through car ports, back yards, down the Mertzon Highway, over porches, down to the practice field at the school, he always managed to stay about 40 feet ahead of me. Charley Nibblett stopped his pick up and started to get out to help but I said I could do it. It was still pouring rain, he told me I was going to get wet (no I was already soaked to the bone), he went on to town and after a while he came back and I was still chasing. He offered to go get his shot gun~not funny Charley! Finally the the dog stopped to smell of a bush by a porch and I slipped up behind him grabbed the hair on his back and held on until I could get my fingers under his collar. He was too heavy to carry so I held onto his collar and  lead him back to where all we had been, and finally to his house.

he didn’t understand ‘come here NOW!. do you want to go bye~bye, want a treat, let’s go in the car, lie down’, I tried all those magic words but nothing slowed him down~

This morning after church, I went to see about them and took them some dog food, I took these two pictures, they look great today, a totally different story from yesterday. I am sure if anyone saw me  running through their yards yesterday they would have thought it was just some crazy old lady~    (they would be right)

Banana Milk Shake

 

this is thick and creamy tasting even though it is made with fat free milk. you can use low fat if you like but it tastes the same~

I like milk shakes, I mean I love banana milk shakes. This recipe is one we came up with years ago and it is my favorite.You can make if from “craving to drinking” in 5 minutes.

here is the blender, I have had a food processor but this tool is my favorite for everything~

You need to start yesterday though, the banana slices have to be frozen solid. I always keep sliced frozen bananas in my freezer, ready for the drink or for banana nut ice cream. The great thing, besides being the best you ever tasted, is this 16 oz drink (enough for two people) has a total of around  200 calories while the small one at Dairy Queen or Sonic has over 500.

Slice bananas and spread on paper plates, cover in gallon size plastic bags and freeze. When time to use, break apart how ever many you need. Don’t let them thaw!

Start by slicing a bunch of ripe bananas, put them on paper plates and freeze them. (they need to be ripe, not over ripe and not even slightly green).

Banana Milk Shake
1 c skim or low fat milk
2 T sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla (scant)
 2 c frozen bananas (about 2 or 3 bananas) Don’t let them thaw, work fast~
Put milk, sugar and vanilla in blender and get it going, then break apart the frozen bananas into chunks and add to the milk.
 Blend on high speed until it is thick and creamy, less than a minute.  If you want it even ticker, add a few more slices of bananas.
This makes one huge milkshake, share it with someone~
I will have my famous banana nut ice cream recipe another time. It has almost the same ingredients, very low calorie and rich and creamy.   

Wild Turkeys

the mother turkey and one of her babies sitting on the bird bath, I hang the hose in the tree and let the water drip

here is one of the mothers of the two mothers who came this week, they will keep coming back for the food and water~

 

all kinds of birds like the bird bath. Last year a deer laid her head in the water to cool off~

Some of us had been wondering if there were going to be any wild turkeys after the terrible drought in 2011. They won’t nest unless the condition  is just right for them to at least have a chance. Two hens had been coming up to the water trough and I had been throwing corn and chick feed out for them. One week, they both walked in with 15 babies.They were on the driveway by the garage. I managed to get a picture and then today I got  some of a hen and her baby sitting on the bird bath. What a thrill, I like the wildlife. I can enjoy them and as with the deer, if one in the bunch doesn’t show up that day, I don’t worry, I just suppose it is over at the farm eating at the deer feeders. Not like if a chicken or peacock goes missing and you look until you find it. I am keeping the windmill running to wet down the oak grove, the turkeys like to get in that cool wet place.

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~

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~