Dinner Rolls

this is a wonderful meal, the hot homemade rolls make it extra special

This is one of Anna’s Sunday dinners. It is shish-k-bobs, Armenian rice, stir-fry vegetables right out of the green house, and the great homemade hot rolls. Today I am showing the recipe for the rolls, they are easy to make and always perfect. Whether we are eating at the river or at home, there is always hot bread. It makes every meal special. Debbie, Anna, Elizabeth, Stacy Mae and I have used this same recipe for as long as we have been cooking. Try it and then keep the recipe handy, you can keep yeast fresh in your refrigerator for months so you will always be ready. You can easily double or triple the recipe, sometimes Debbie ‘4 times it’~

Hot Rolls
1/4 c warm water
1 pkg active yeast (not Rapid-Rise yeast)
2 T sugar
Mix together in small bowl and let sit a few minutes
1/2 c milk
2 T real butter
1 egg
1 tsp salt
2 c flour (scant)
Heat milk and butter, let cool to lukewarm warm and
add yeast mixture, egg and salt.
Stir in flour and beat for several minutes.
Cover and let rise for 30 minutes, then knead
it on floured board. (try to use as little flour as possible)
Put flour on your hands, pinch off golf ball size pieces of  dough
and lay on greased baking sheet, about an inch apart
Let rise again for about 30 minutes in warm place.
Bake for 15 minutes until slightly golden in preheated 375 degree oven.

Pueblo Paintings

a simple painting with a pueblo in a distance, desert scenes are easy to paint. This one was on a 9 x12 canvas, ZZ was ll years old when she painted it~

a desert scene is easy to paint, you need a cloud in a blue sky,sandy ground and a subject  to make it interesting.

 We were always looking for simple subjects ZZ could paint when she came to visit. Desert scenes were simple enough, blue sky with one cloud, sandy ground with a few patches of scrub brush. Then we needed a subject, like a yucca plant or as in this case, a group of adobe houses connected with each other to make a small pueblo. Starting with a few ‘boxes’ and adding ladders to get to the upper levels, vigas~or wooden beams~ then doors and windows. Shadows were the fun part, they made the different rooms stand out from one another.  ZZ painted several of these scenes when she was around 11 years old. Some she gave away, some she sold on e-bay and others she kept. (when you paint, pretty soon you have a lot of pictures). New Mexico is rich in ancient history and these kinds of pueblos are scattered throughout the state. These that she painted were made up, no real places, just remembering those we had seen.

Tree House

this tree house is about 8 feet from the ground, beautiful job. I will be showing other tree houses in later blogs.

One morning a few years ago, I heard interesting noises from across the road, not a chain saw, a weed eater, not a mower, but something better. I knew the sound of a circular saw and it was buzzing away. This went on all day and when I went for my walk I saw what was going on with my neighbors. In an oak grove in the back there was some framing going up the biggest tree and legs down to the ground.  I could see Jim  was building a real tree house for their  girls. It was fun watching the progress. It took about a week and was perfect and wonderful. It had a nice sized room, a porch and  real stairs with hand rails. I thought how lucky those two kids were, it is every child’s dream to have a tree house, a play house or a cave. I always look when I drive by, it is a mighty fine house and a fine daddy who built it~

Homemade Corn Tortillas

there is no end to the things that can go into a taco, scrambled eggs,cheese,lettuce,alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, cottage cheese or sour cream~

This recipe for homemade corn tortillas is fast and easy. You mix the batter, pour it in a small 8″ skillet, much like making a crepe or pancake, and cook it in a minute. Repeat until you have used all the batter, It should make 12 nice size corn tortillas. You can roll up whatever you like inside, here I have grated cheese, cottage cheese, shredded lettuce,scrambled eggs and tomatoes. Everyone can build their own. When you cook a tortilla, you cook it twice, once to make it, then the second time to soft fry it in oil to cook it and make it a little crisp around the edges, it gives it a wonderful flavor. Since the batter has an egg in it, don’t heat it in the microwave or it will taste “fishy”. ( I sent this recipe to Elizabeth since she likes Mexican Food and there are no tortillas in Africa, and no masa flour to make them. They do have corn meal so she will be able to make enchiladas and tacos now).

Homemade Corn Tortillas
1 1/2 c water
1 c flour
1/2 c yellow corn meal
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
Beat all of this in a blender until it is completely mixed.
Heat small 8″ skillet that has been sprayed with a little Pam
Pour 1/4 c batter (measure, no more than this) in heated skillet and tilt pan to cover whole bottom of pan with the batter, it needs to be thin.
Cook about 15 or 20 seconds on each side, take out and do another one
until all the batter is used. Stack the tortillas as you cook them.
Now, add about 1/2″ corn oil to skillet and one by one, cook
the tortillas (med heat) 30 seconds on each side. Lay each one’
on several thickness of paper towels, patting tops to get the
grease off. Stack and keep warm.
 You will have the platter of scrambled eggs, lettuce and stuffing
done ahead of time so you are ready to eat when you finish the
tortillas. My favorite is a little bit of scrambled eggs, lots of lettuce
and some cottage cheese. Sour cream is good, alfalfa sprouts are good,
but I always want the scrambled egg too. One scrambled egg is enough for about three tacos.

Happy Birthday Miss Nancy

Happy Birthday Nancy Jo

Happy Birthday Nancy Jo

Today I would like to wish my sweet little sister a Happy 79th birthday. One cold November night in 1937, my mother and daddy came home with this tiny bundle, a  new baby sister. We had stayed with Grandmother and Granddad Christian for a couple of days and had no idea there was going to be this surprise.  She was probably the first baby we had ever seen. She seemed to fit right in though. We have been friends for a lifetime. She has brought so much joy to our lives. Happy Birthday Nancy, I am glad you were born~

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~

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~

New Draperies for Aristream (oops)

new-draperiesWhen the kids were staying on the river for a while, I went up to spend the day, it was not too long after I made the new draperies for the trailer. I was sitting on the sofa and it seemed pretty bright in there. Then I noticed half the draperies were gone from the wrap around window in front. I wondered if they had fallen down during the night or something. No, they were at Holiday Cleaners. ZZ had been playing with her box of makeup and when she was putting mascara on, she flipped her hair back and hit the drapery with the mascara wand. It left a little streak of ‘midnight black’. No problem, she was always one to take care of things so she got Anna’s Vaseline and rubbed it over the streak and pretty soon it had turned into a big black circle. The more she worked the bigger it got. She had seen Anna take her eye makeup off with Vaseline so thought that is what she needed to do to get it off the draperies. (I can  feel the panic, I have known panic!) But they came back from the cleaners looking like new. She was even able to rehang them herself. That was the hard job. Another lesson learned, no real harm done and I have to laugh when I think about it. I love that girl!

Mallard Ducks

this is a male mallard duck figurine, Andrea made thousands of these ducks and they are beautiful but not expensive~

we always named our ducks before we knew if they were boys or girls, we were usually wrong.

Here are some Mallard duck figurines I bought after I no longer had my real ducks. They are quite beautiful and realistic. I have had a love for ducks ever since I got two babies at a garage sale thirty five years ago. Stanley and Rose Olive lived with us for almost nine years. Later the kids had ducks when they were grown and married. There was Sarah Kate, Katy Mae and Algeritta, to name a few. No one knows how smart and loving these birds can be until they have them for pets.  They are unbelievably beautiful. All they wanted was a puddle of water. We always remember them at Christmas time and how much fun they were  when they got their special gift~a pint of earth worms~

This is a picture of Katie Mae begging for his Christmas worms. He got to come in the kitchen on special occasions.

 

Algeritta went to live in Santa Fe Park after he was a bad boy~

 

ducks are noisy, but those of us who owned them loved the sound of their ‘wak wak wak’  This is the handsome  Sarah Kate in the pond

Sarah Kate was a beautiful male mallard, he loved the pond with the fountain. It was fun to watch the ducks go upside down in the water to eat off the bottom. We had a wonderful time with all the ducks, what special little friends~

Just the Right Shoe

this is called the ‘I Do’ and is a little miniature shoe that is about 3 inches long. The detail is amazing.

My first miniature shoe was the ‘I Do’ shoe, a little old timey wedding slipper. Nancy gave it to me for my birthday one year. I couldn’t put it down, it was absolutely adorable.

this shoe looks like patient leather and the detail is exactly like a real one. The bow is not fabric but made from the same material as the shoe.

Then a couple of years later, she sent  another one, this time it was the ‘Toe Tapper’, a perfect to scale ‘patient leather’ tap dancing shoe. She and I took dancing lessons when we were kids (Gwen Eschew was our teacher).  
I had a skinny foot and had trouble finding narrow shoes.

the sole of the shoe has metal taps, it is completely realistic in ever way

My shoe flew off more than once in class. (heel toe, heel toe, fu-lap ball change). Anyway, this little tap shoe is darling.

again, the detail on this shoe is amazing,  the shoe strings look real but are made of the same material as the shoe itself.

the sole of the shoe is like the real rubber soles on running shoes

Then on another birthday here came the Raine Runner, this was during my jogging years and is a perfect replica of a running shoe. These shoes were all made by a company called Just the Right Shoe, they came in their own fancy box with only the shoe for the right foot.

this shoe was made by another company but is equally as fine as the others and is absolutely beautiful, it is quite blingy.

Later a friend in Canada sent me the pretty little blue mule slipper. It was encrusted in pearls and looked like blue satin leather. I just like things that are little, all the shoes remind of those special days and happy times.

I put several of the shoes with a large apple to show you how small they are. The blue jogging shoe was actually a leather key chain

  

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!

Septic Tanks and Grease Traps

This is when the trouble started, I was washing turnip greens in my kitchen sinks but when I pulled the stopper, it would not drain. I tried the plumber’s friend but it was not doing anything. Next was the Drano, a quart of it but the water was not going anywhere. I ran an outside hose through the kitchen window and packed it tight in the drain with a towel, turned on the water out at the faucet to try and flush it out and all it did was spray the kitchen with the Drano water.

The grease trap is a 50 gallon cement tank, it catches the kitchen water.

The grease trap is a 50 gallon cement tank, it catches the kitchen water.

I knew I had to go and find the plug to the grease trap and dip it out.  Any grease floats to the top and then another pipe at the bottom carries the grey water to the drain ditch. It is a nasty stinky job to dip out the top layer of grease and carry it to the pasture in the wheel barrel. This didn’t fix the problem so it must be that  the drain ditch was stopped up. This ditch has a 4 inch PVC pipe with holes, where it soaks into the soil. This pipe was in shambles, it was jammed full of roots, some places it  had collapsed.

Short line running from the grease trap to the main drain line.

I dug a 15 ft. ditch running from the grease trap to the main drain line. This took me all day.

I knew the whole drain ditch had to be cleaned out and not a job I wanted to do by myself. A friend brought two boys out to work. Ricky, Junior and I worked for 3 weeks digging. I had the City come and mark where the electric, gas, phone and water lines were buried. My utilities run all the way from town. The City marked the lines with red paint but as it turned out, it was ‘OFF by at least 10 feet’. First, the boys cut the phone line (it looked just like a root)  so no phone or computer for 5 days. Then Ricky banged on the door and when I ran out, water was gushing 8 feet in the air. He had hit the water line. I got hold of Floyd to turn the water off at the meter a half mile away. So no water that day. When I saw that the orange pipe that carried the gas was right up next to the water pipe, I was thankful that we missed hitting it! I found the conduit that carried the electric line and showed it to the boys and told them if they hit it, it would kill them. No one died that day~

Just some of the rocks that came out of the ditch. We hauled them all to the pasture in a wheel barrow.

Just some of the rocks that came out of the ditch. We hauled them all to the pasture in a wheel barrow. The entire ditch was filled with rocks.

The ditch is 70 feet long and 42 inches deep.

The ditch is 70 feet long and 42 inches deep.

Concho Valley Plumbing came and told me how long and how deep the ditch needed to be dug. Three weeks of digging, another 4 days of hauling the rocks off.

I was digging one morning before the men came and "someone"" surprised me with this picture later.

I was digging  before the men came that morning and  later “someone”” surprised me with this picture. I never knew he was there~

This was the week I was celebrating my 83rd birthday.

Here's where we quit, that bolder was the size of my kitchen table.  The orange conduit carries the electricity to the cabana. Luckily, Junior  didn't cut all the way through it, only a nick.

Here’s where we quit, that bolder was the size of my kitchen table. The orange conduit carries the electricity to the cabana. Luckily, Junior didn’t cut all the way through it, only a nick.

When we found this bolder, that was it. The boys wanted to use a stick of dynamite (lots of laughs!) but this was the end of the road for this ditch.

Concho Valley Plumbing laid the new drain pipe.

Concho Valley Plumbing laid the new drain pipe.

The plumber told me this Bio Diffuser Arc would last for 30 or 40 years. It only took them half a day to put it in.

As soon as the dirt settles, I will clear out all the small rocks

As soon as the dirt settles, I will clean out all the small rocks

 The deed is done. One of the hardest jobs I have ever had to do but the harder the job, the greater the reward. Tops came and emptied my septic tank and everything is working like a $$$$ dollars. I am thankful~ and no, I am not for hire!