Deer Hunt in Culberson County

This group of men were showing off their trophy mule deer from a successful hunt on the ranch in Culberson County. The picture was taken  in 1946  by H. H. Wells of the San Angelo Standard Times.

pictured: “Goodbye” (the cook), Grady Madison, Willie Whitten, Jack Whitten, Sam Calhoun, Morris Whitten, and Dick Nasworth. There was probably one more deer which was used for camp meat~

This ranch up in the Delaware Mountains has been in the family for almost a hundred years and enjoyed by family and friends for all that time. It is one of the prettiest places in Texas and has a rim with a grand view of Guadeloupe Peak and another of the valley where you can see for a hundred miles. I like this picture, the men were all dressed nicely, back in that time if they went to town, they dressed up. They were truly Texas gentlemen. You notice the neat shoes and the high-heeled boots. (Good hats and good boots). I remember Uncle Will always wore a tie, even when he and Aunt Lummie were just dropping in for a visit. My nephew Earl Calhoun sent me this picture and I am thankful for this little bit of history to add to my blog.

My Ranching Experience

this is a picture of an angora goat, they are smart, cunning and playful. This picture was borrowed from Wikipedia, looks a lot like the goat from today~

these are two of the Pfluger’s goats from last year. They were shearing today and will be busy with that job for another several days. Ranching is hard work~

Sometimes I feel like a ranch hand except I have never ranched~unless you count taking care of pasture cats and wild life. But many times I have had to stop on the road and get a goat out of the fence and I felt like a real rancher woman. Today I had to do that job, I was on my way to San Angelo to see the tax man and do some banking business. The wind was blowing a gale, I didn’t have my head scarf so my hair got really big~ you know like having to walk through a door sideways.  Not good at all. There is a trick to getting a goat out of a fence, they all want to stick their heads through the wire to eat the same stuff that is on their side, it works fine until they try to pull back, then their horns hang and they are stuck. They will bleat and fight all day until someone finds them.  To help them get lose, you have to pull their head toward you as far as you can and twist it around and poke their nose back through (nose first~if you manage that, then the horns will follow). It looks like it would hurt and sometimes there is a little blood on their nose but you keep talking to them and telling them you like them and they are going to be fine. When they are finally free, they take off running. My ‘used to be neighbor Joe Max’ had Spanish goats and he solved the problem by cutting a broom stick wider than the head and wiring it across the horns, there was no way they could get that new head gear through the wire fence. I thought it was ingenious, it didn’t hurt the goat at all and it kept it out of trouble. I love goats, especially the little kids. They have boundless energy and are the most entertaining creatures, maybe something like the pasture kittens~ By the way, a man in a pickup stopped to help with the goat today, that is usually what happens.  

Apricot Cake

Burst of flavor, big surprise

Years ago a good  friend introduced me to this delightful cake  She was a great cook and  had many old recipes. She said this recipe made “one to eat, one to share, and one to keep for later”.  Dan and I spent great times with the Mann’s, they were an older couple who liked to ride more than drive. We made lots of day trips to the Hill Country.  Mr. Bart and Dan both smoked a  pipe and were happy to sit on the benches outside while Mrs. Mann and I shopped in the antique stores. She liked water tumblers and I liked everything. If you try this recipe, you will be surprised. It is wonderful!

APRICOT LOAF CAKE

11 oz.package of dried apricots (cut up and soak in warm water for 30 minutes,drain)

2 cups sugar
4 T. Shortening
2 eggs
½ cup water
1 cup orange juice
4 cups  flour, sift before measuring
4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
½ cup chopped pecans

Cream shortening and sugar, then beat in eggs. Mix dry ingredients together and add to the batter alternately with the water/orange juice, ending with flour. Blend in nuts and apricots.

Line bottoms of 3 loaf pans with wax paper, spray with Pam, and pour in cake batter. Bake 55 minutes at 350 degrees or until done. Cool slightly, remove wax paper and put cakes back in pans. Dribble a mixture of  3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup of orange juice over tops of warm cakes.

 

 

Downton Abby

this series has many actors, many stories, everything all tied in together, it is truly a masterpiece

A nice Christmas surprise this year was the DVD new PBS season of Downton Abby. This is season 7 and the finale of the long running series. My kids know how much I like British Masterpiece Classics and this one is the best of all. It has been a thrill from the first minute. I was going to just watch one episode a day so they would last for a while but that is hard, today I watched the same one twice to try to get control of myself. Not only is the setting beautiful, the Abby is a huge mansion with grand furnishings that I could only dream about, and here I am invited inside and to get to know the people who live and work there. The story is rich with twists, turns and surprises. The great thing about the English, they take time to let each character develop. They keep you spellbound, they are the best of all actors. Pride and Prejudice was my favorite but this one tops it. Another favorite was the Doc Martin series. it is also in its last season( Also the old Fawlty Towers). I know I can go back and enjoy it again and again. I have watched the first four series several times, it is like a favorite song, you never get tired of  it~

I have always loved the British Masterpiece Classics, they know how to tell a story, you never want them to end~

Tres Vaqueros Mexicanos

Three Mexican Cowboys

even in the most remote places of Mexico, we would see vaqueros riding their caballos, the ranches were huge, they had a long ride each day

The year was 1965 on a trip to Mexico. Tres vaqueros mexicanos. They were proud men. It is hard to believe anyone could carve out a living on land like this, not much growing here except scrub brush and cactus. A little further down into the interior of Mexico, the lush beauty begins. Back in the years when we traveled there, we found the people to be genuinely fine in every way. They were hard workers and they took care of their families. On Sundays, everyone brought their children to town and it was like a celebration,  there were parks everywhere, lots of fountains that were built to honor  someone. It only cost a few centavos to have a day of fun. There was the  music of Mariachi bands or maybe just one man with his homemade harp, ready to entertain. Even riding on a city bus, there was usually someone with a guitar singing his heart out. I am thankful that my family got to know Mexico back when it was such a wonderful country. It was like another world, and right in our own back door~

Texas Creamy Pecan Pralines

Delicious chewy pecan pralines

this candy is not hard to make, it just takes a little while, Texans know how to make good candy. I have run this blog before and it has been one of the most popular so I am putting it up again. It is worth it~

 

 

This is the recipe for the soft, creamy, chewy pecan pralines. It takes a little longer to make then than the sugary ones. I like all kinds of pralines so these are are worth it. You need a candy thermometer if you are going to have success every time. Wal Mart has them and they are not expensive. This is another one of Grandmother Montgomery’s candy recipes, she made a date loaf candy that was wonderful and something she called ‘fork candy’. She made  pot of clear syrupy candy and poured it over pecans in a platter. Then the kids each got a fork to scoop it up and enjoy. Candy making isn’t just for Christmas time, you can make it all year and it might be even better when there aren’t so many sweets at once. Try this one, you will love it~

Texas Creamy Pecan Pralines
1 cup sugar
1 cup white Karo syrup
pinch of salt
1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
1 cup  milk
2 cups toasted pecan halves
1/2 tsp. vanilla
In heavy saucepan, mix sugar, Karo, and salt,
 cook and stir over medium heat until temperature
reaches 245 degrees on candy thermometer.
Add milk, butter and pecans slowly so candy keeps boiling,
continuing to stir. When the temperature again reaches 245
degrees, remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Let stand until candy stops
bubbling. Drop by spoonfuls onto well buttered cookie sheet.
Cool completely, then put in refrigerator for an hour or so, this
way the candy will be easy to pop off the cookie sheet, wrap
each piece in plastic warp and store in cool dry place.
(butter the cookie sheet before you start, also toast the pecan by putting in the microwave on a paper plate, one cup at a time for one minute for each cup. All candy tastes best if the pecans are toasted~

Texas Ranch Life

boots last a long time~when they wear out they get new soles and  and keep on going

A few pictures from the Lively ranch in Schleicher County. (thank you Frankie for the great pictures).

many horses have been replaced with four wheelers for ranch work, still people love their horses~

Almost anything that has to do with ‘ranch’ ends with ‘ing’. The list is long but here goes; lambing, kidding, calving, marking, drenching, dipping, tagging, shoeing, shearing, feeding, penning, improving, moving, counting, doctoring, hauling, worrying, banking, celebrating, fixing (water gaps, fences, roads, flat tires), control burning, checking the rain gage, sometimes this is the best of all~

feeding dogies~ lambs, calves or goats~ there are always some that need to be hand fed

goats are smart, this one found the feed sack~”Oh my stars,I’ve died and gone to heaven”.

Ranchers are most highly regarded for their hard work, dedication to improving and preserving the land, and holding onto it for generations. (I learned so many interesting things about ranching from my friend Pat who fell into the business when she married a rancher 59 years ago). Country life is the best life in Texas~

the end of another wonderful day, God Bless Our Country

Our Tree House

When it was starting to come together~ paint works miracles and with a lot of ‘pretend and imagination’ it turned into something wonderful~

Another tree house for you today. This one was when we lived over on the farm, there was one mesquite tree big enough for a tree house ~ just barely~It was about 9 feet above the ground, there was a ladder up to  a 5′ X 5′ landing with side rails. To be sure it was safe for the kids, I strung wire fencing underneath, sort of like a safety net. It was the fun place to be.  It was still standing and in good shape years later when we moved.

we always had kittens, they were tame and wherever we were, they were right  in the middle of things, they all loved the tree house~

All the kitties liked it up there. We had a slumber party more than once, I was there to be sure no one fell out. 

there was a ‘captain’s chair’ and several other places to climb up higher and sit. The Texas Flag flew from a pole that went up through the branches.

 

it was a fun place to have a picnic, no ants or flies, just an apple and a jar of Peter Pan~

The wonderful thing about having children is you finally get to have the things you wanted when you were little. Childhood can last a lifetime~

Lime Jello Salad

this is an easy one, you can make it the day before and it is ready to put on the platter and set on the table. It goes with any dinner.

I am bringing you one of my favorite salads, it is a great one to take to salad pot luck luncheons or for Sunday dinners. It is easy to fix the day before and one everyone enjoys. You will need a large box of lime Jello, one small lime, 8 oz. cream cheese, pecans and large can of crushed pineapple. Any leftovers will be enjoyed later. It is one I grew up on and is one of my favorites. Grandmother Montgomery made it often, but in later years, she left out the pecans. It refreshing, cool and full of zingy flavor.
Lime Jello Salad
1 6 oz. box Lime Jello
3 c water
1 small lime
Boil water, add Jello and stir to dissolve, add juice from lime
8 oz package of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 large can crushed pineapple~ juice and all (pineapple juice
replaces the third cup of water the Jello calls for)
2 c  chopped toasted pecans
Mash the cream cheese up on plate with some of the
hot Jello mixture until it is smooth, then add to the 
Jello. Add the can of pineapple,  juice and all and mix
well. Stir in pecans, pour into 9″X13″ oblong pan, cover and refrigerate overnight.
To serve, line a platter with lettuce leaves, lay Jello squares on
lettuce and you have a beautiful and delicious salad.

Texas Longhorn

This longhorn was named after Bob Oglesby,  a Schleicher County rancher back in the 1960’s

Meet Bob, he is big, he is gentle, he is beautiful, he is a Texas Longhorn Steer. Their horns can extend up to seven feet. They were highly prized in the old days for their ability to survive on the open range with little care. Many people who keep them now days do so for their historical value and just the pride of ownership. Longhorns are important to Texans just as the bluebonnets are. They deocrate the pastures but especially the state parks and  the Hill Country. People are fascinated by them. Schools name their teams for them,  the University of Texas has always had one  (Bevo) as their mascot. They are a great subject for Texas artists. Longhorns are our connection to the Old American West. If you ever have the chance to stand beside one, you will be overwhelmed by it’s size, they are enormous. If you want to own one, you will need a good fence!

Goodbye to Kenya

This was the Nissan seven passenger van that came to pick us up. WHAT!  No Way!

When it was time to come home, a driver was recommended who owned a new Nissan Pathfinder with seating for seven. Since it would be an 8 hour trip on a terrible road to Nairobi and the airport, we wanted to be comfortable. Perfect, “come pick us up at 8:00 sharp”. When they said  our ride was there, I saw the ‘ride’ and thought maybe it was a taxi to take us to the real ride. This was just a little bitty blue car, nice and new but little bitty! Since Stephen came and picked two of us up from Elizabeth’s house first, I got the best seat. He loaded our two big bags and two carry-on’s. He had to lay the extra back seat down to make room but he got ours in, then we went to pick up Benton, Lisa and Abbie.

these three  were enjoying their breakfast at Karibuni, their last meal before we left.

 

They were waiting with their three large suitcases, three carry-on’s and various purses and sacks of snacks. I just sat in my chosen seat and let them worry about how all that stuff was going to fit.

At this point the car was full of luggage, we still had three large suitcases and one carry-on bag to go~plus the five of us and the driver~I did worry about those little tires~

It took a while, our bags came out and went onto the roof carrier, their bags went in and then out again and added to the roof carrier. Those on top were covered with a tarp and tied with lots of rope, and then the other bags were loaded into the back of the car and into that folded down 7th seat. But wait a minute, it wouldn’t fit! It was in and out, re-arranged and the hatch back still wouldn’t quite close so more attempts  that didn’t work. Off came the tarp on top after untying  all the knots in the rope, and some more luggage was piled up there. It was a tight fit and I worried that my little honey pot or zebra might get damaged. Finally everything got loaded and now for the people and the driver. We had over a thousand pounds of humans, I thought some more about those small sized tires on that car. They looked more like lawn mower tires~

we had a short break here to take pictures and look in the curio shop, even though this is on the equator, it was nice and cool because the elevation was 9,000 ft.

We made it to Nairobi after only three stops, one at the equator for a few pictures, a stop at the look-out at Rift Valley, and Stephen was nice to stop so I could get a pictures of a herd of zebras.

We saw several herds of them. Those tails never stop switching~they are fat little buggers~

It turned out to be a good day but it was hard leaving Elizabeth. Goodbye’s always hurt~ I was also leaving part of heart in this beautiful country.  

here is Elizabeth at Karibuni the night before we left. Wonderful time with her but it hurt to say goodbye. She will be coming home for a couple of months during the elections in Kenya so we can look forward to some nice times ahead.

God’s Richest Blessings on all of those beautiful people who touched our lives and made us realize what is most important, God Bless this unbelievable country~

Let the Games Begin

here are the kids dancing with their bustles. They were naturals when it came to rhythm and the beat of the drums. They chanted and that is all the music they needed.  Elizabeth and Lisa were sort of following along.

A few more pictures from my album, it is hard not to show every single one, they were all so special to me. These are the fun pictures.

here are Benton and Lisa, doing their own rendition of African dancing. They were not bad, they really entertained the real dancers with their moves.

One of the things I loved about the trip was getting to be a child again and play the games I played when I was a growing up.

this was a tag game, you chased your certain kid and if you tagged him, he had to come over to your side. I never ever once caught mine~

We didn’t have toys back then, no multi-color playground equipment, no fancy play houses with kitchens, easy-bake ovens, or have a pink Barbie convertible parked out front. We played the same old timey games these children at the orphanage were playing. They don’t have fancy toys either and I hope they never will. I can’t imagine any of them ever saying, ‘I’m bored’. Their only toy was a soccer ball and a jump rope.

they were good at jumping rope, sometimes two ropes at a time. The girls wore dresses and that could make it harder to do. They were good! Since this was our first day there, they were all dressed in their best for us.

two or three could jump at once, even the girl in the peach colored dress kicked her shoes off and jumped along with the rest of them.

There was a lot of dancing, singing, running races, chasing, and laughing, and at the same time, they were sweet to each other.  I can’t ever remember so much energy,  I think all of our group played harder than we had in a long time. 

here were the happy kids with Elizabeth on the play ground. They didn’t need a coach, they just played their games. Naomi was a referee though, she stood over in the shade to watch the little kids and be sure no one got hurt. The older girls were always looking out for the little ones too.