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.

Birthday Time Again

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~he called her Gran-murr Courtney. 

Today is my oldest son’s birthday, he was born in 1956 and what a thrill to remember all these wonderful years.  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 by the next day when he was born we had a famous West Texas blizzard blow in and for 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. There is no sweeter blessing on earth than being a mama.

Our Greatest Presidents

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

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 bless our country as we seem to be slipping from our former greatness.  Raise the flag, sing the praises to God. 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).

Antique Trade Show in Santa Fe

here is ZZ in the booth, her cookie basket is on the right. She gave cookies to everyone that day. Give a child a job and they are happy~

There was an Antique Trade Show in Santa Fe in 1994, someone in my family decided to rent a booth and participate in it since they were interested in Civil War memorabilia and had some of the old Harper’s Weekly newspapers to show.

ZZ was all dressed up in this old timey outfit with a petticoat and pantaloons, her cookie basket was lined with a towel made from the same fabric.

I made ZZ an old timey dress from a Laura Ashley pattern, (I made her dresses from these patterns until she was about 8 years old).  Anyway, I found some suede high top shoes to go with it.  At  the library there was an old cookbook with recipes for simple molasses cookies, the kind that women made back in the 1800’s. I baked up several batches and took off for New Mexico.

she is checking her list, yes all she needed was to remember to take the boxes of molasses cookies~

The dress fit and  ZZ looked adorable with her hair hanging in long curls, and she had a basket for the cookies. During the show, she walked around and offered them to people.That was such a fun time for us. The dress~I have packed away. When ZZ out grew her dresses, Hannah, her younger friend down the street inherited them, and after she out grew them, they came back to go to yet another child. The dresses got passed around.

This was a tiny shoe that fit a tiny foot

In all of the shuffle, one shoe got lost but I have the other one on my shelf by the fireplace, it reminds me that sweet little girl and all the fun of getting her ready to help with the show.

100 Year Old Recipe Molasses Cookies
 1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 c. molasses
1/4 tsp soda
1/2 c. melted butter
1/4 c. boiling water
1/4 tsp salt
Mix together and add enough flour to make
a firm dough. Knead and form into a long
 log and chill overnight, slice thin and bake
in hot oven until done.
This recipe doesn’t have many instructions,
the old time cooks probably knew how to do
it just right. Mine turned out firm like a dog treat
but were not bad. It was just fun to try something different.
Maybe these cookies would have lasted in a soldiers
pocket for several weeks~

Enchanted Rock

this is a view from the highway, the road was narrow and had lots of curves, hard to drive and look at the scenery too

this is the largest pink granite rock in the U.S. and covers 640 acres. It is part of the Texas Park System. The Hill Country is filled with surprises.

These are pictures of Enchanted Rock, located on Ranch Road 16710 between Llano and Fredericksburg. It covers 640 acres and is over 1,800 feet high, the largest pink granite rock in the U.S. It seems like everything in the Hill Country is brilliant, the color of burnt orange, the soil is course heavy sand or grit. I don’t understand how anything can grow in it but it is fertile land and good crops flourish. (The best peaches in the world). Grandmother and Granddad Montgomery retired to the old family farm in Mason County near a little place called Grit. They had an orchard that had been there for decades and Granddad grew corn and beans in the field. Not far from there were acres of granite boulders, a great place to hike and look for topaz.  Just one more thing that makes the Hill Country so special. We spent happy times there. 

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.

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 some one’s yard one  afternoon and decided to show it off. They will be surprised to see it in the blog.

New Sun Room

Tricia’s yard is beautiful, it is big and she takes care of it  herself. It is a pretty view from the new sun room

Today I am happy to be showing off Tricia’s project from a few years ago. This area has gone from a breezeway to a screened-in porch to what it is now~ a big beautiful sun room. It has insulated windows to keep out the heat, cold and dust, it is a year round place to enjoy. This project has gone through several stages and has taken several years. It is now complete and perfect. We have enjoyed some nice meals out there.

this is the love seat area, on the opposite end of the room is a large round patio table~

this is the view from the living room, all it needs now are some palm plants. It is a beautiful place~(bluebonnet oil painting by Elizabeth Elder)

Jitter Joe, in his favorite spot~isn’t he just a little doll!

Soon I will be showing my own Sun Room project. I also went from a screened in porch to a glassed in sun room but it took me almost forty years. And there may be a  blog later on of another sun room in the family, (I lived in that one for a month this summer with three dogs and 40 chickens).


here she is in her last stages, she held up for years, guarding the garden and entertaining the deer

This is Miss Lilla, our scarecrow. She guarded our garden for many years, as you can see, she was just about finished. She had a sister Sarah who took care of the garden at the river. She faired much better, she went to the barn in the winter time. They were both life size dolls who wore size 8 clothes. Several times they got new outfits but the shoes held up for all those years. Miss Lilla’s arms would swing in the wind and when my neighbor drove down the road, she said she always waved back. It made me sad when I finally put them to rest, I felt like I was loosing an old friend. One of these days I will start over and make a new one, they were sculptured out of flesh colored sheer nylon fabric, with real wigs and stuffed with plastic bags filled with newspaper. It worked. The deer stayed out of the garden for a short time, until they caught on~

Jitter Fits

Minolta DSC

Jitter Joe is my baby boy, he is smart and cute and funny. What a blessing to have him.

Jitter Joe is my sweet little eleven year old Shih Tzu. I have had him since the day he was born. He is perfect, adorable and happy. He likes everyone he meets.  Just one small problem, two years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night as he flew off the bed and hit the floor. When I got the light on, there he was, swimming in circles on his side, jerking, foaming at the mouth and wetting. I tried to hold him so he wouldn’t hit the wall, he is so strong it was all I could do to keep him restrained. This went on for four or five minutes while I had a complete melt down. I thought he was dying. After the shaking slowed down, he started to come to  and was able to stand up and take a few steps but was confused. He seemed to recover and 20 minutes later was more normal. All I could think of was the emergency room in San Angelo, but when things got calm I decided I could wait until morning and take him. The rest of the night, I was on my computer trying to find an answer to what had happened to him. The symptoms all seemed to lead to the same, a seizure or epilepsy. Usually a dog with epilepsy will start having seizures when they are a few months old, but in older dogs it can be a brain tumor. When Ronnie checked him, he said a dog won’t likely die from a seizure, they just need to be protected from injury when they are having one. They are in no pain and don’t know something has just happened to them. If it only occurs once in a while, they will be fine but more often than every few weeks  they need some help. He gave Jitter a tiny Phenobarbital pill to take twice a day and that has worked. Jitter has a spell about once a month and I can deal with it since I know how to take care of him. We talk about it a lot and I tell him how much I love him. He is my perfect blessing.
Marci and Jitter Joe on their bed. I put pillows around the room in front of door facings and furniture to protect Jitter from hitting something when he has a spell.

Marci and Jitter Joe on their bed. I put pillows around the room in front of door facings and furniture to protect Jitter from hitting something when he has a spell. (oh one more thing, when it happens he has to have a good bath and a treat).

Peach of the Day


Stacy is one of the funniest and sweetest of all, she gets it~

This morning I want to surprise my grandson who is away on a trip at the moment, here’s a picture of his sweet Stacy Mae. She is my wonderful and beautiful granddaughter.  Have a nice day Mark, we are thinking of you, you are the peach today. Happy Birthday this month. The ultimate birthday party was the one Stacy surprised you with a few years ago, you were suspecting there would be some kind of ‘something’ in the works  and then you walked in to Miss Hatties and all your friends were there and your brothers and sisters had flown in from all parts of the country to surprise you, WOW, I get chills remembering the thrill. You have a mighty fine girl ~Grammy

Deer, Turkeys and Quail

here are seven of the turkeys in the back yard yesterday. I keep corn and sunflower seeds out for them

all of the turkeys are hens, I don’t know why they stay together and the toms are seldom around, I have only seen a tom once or twice in all the years here~

It looks like the wild life is back in my yard again. I am happy! Yesterday there were ten turkeys eating the corn and making dust bowls in the dirt. They may be the same ones that were babies here in the spring. I love the turkeys, they don’t fly away in a panic if they see me, they just walk over the rock fence and out under the oak groves.

these were are few of a covey of about a dozen quail under the bird feeders this week. They move around a lot and it is not easy to get a good picture. They are darling~

The quail have been coming too, they eat the sunflower seeds under the bird feeders. They are such sweet birds, all fluffy and pretty and stay together in a covey. It is hard to understand how they survive since they have their nests on the ground, sitting ducks for snakes, cats and other varmints. Somehow they do.  

these are three young deer here this week. I keep a mineral block out for them and then always throw corn out every day. Everything likes the corn~

Then the deer have started coming back, there were three this week and several more last week. The great thing about wild life, you can enjoy them and if something happens to them, it is not like losing a pet, you can just believe they move on to another place and will come back later. It is always a thrill for me when I see them out in the back yard.