Mother’s Day

My Sweet Mama

1913-1972- what a joy to remember her, she is always in my heart~

Sunday is Mother’s Day and what a special day! This was my  mother Elizabeth Elder, she was a wonderful mother and grandmother. We were best friends for all those years and almost everything I ever learned came from her, creative in  every way, but her greatest talent was painting. To watch her paint was an inspiration, she taught art for most of her life. She introduced the world of art to this part of West Texas. There are many  people who come into our lives who mean everything to us  but there is only one mother, mine was smart, pretty, creative and so much fun to be with. She was special~


The Roughneck

Jack with the goats

Daddy was a good subject, he would go along with anything I needed and was always willing ~

This is a painting I did of my daddy, Jack Elder at the Hulldale barn. He was always good to pose for me. He was not a cowboy, or a sodbuster or a plowboy, he was a roughneck. His usual dress was coveralls, steel toed boots and a hard hat. He worked full time in the oil fields until he was 68 years old, he liked it. He liked his coffee shop friends, his fruit trees, and liked being in charge of everything around him, including me.  We locked horns many times through the years. Daddy  would do things without thinking. He would have a mess on his boots and scrape them off  with his pocket knife, and a few minutes later be peeling a pecan or a peach with that knife for one of the kids. He liked to cook.  His peach cobbler recipe was original, it went something like this~                                            

Peach Cobbler
Take a loaf pan, fill almost to the top with sliced peaches
Add at least 3 times too much sugar and several sticks of butter
Bake in 450 degree oven until it boils over and burns
Scoop out the center and eat that
The last one who takes a serving had to clean the pan
Thank you Daddy~

Bingo Singers

Gig at the court house

Here are Dale, Leonard, Rita and Jim  singing at the court house square, our group changes often, just who ever is available and willing~

The Bingo Singers~this little group has been active for at least 19 years. It started at the nursing home when I was helping with the Bingo games. Willie Johnson was singing one day and I told her I had a guitar and brought it the next time and we were off and running. She knew every song there was, I  made copies of the lyrics for everyone and we sang for an hour before Bingo twice a week. We sang everything from old ‘he done her wrong songs to hymns’. Through the years we have had some great singers, some of the guys like Jack , George , Claudie , and Wally  to name a few, and volunteers  like Jim , James , Mary , Norma Lynn  and a group of women who love to sing . We’ve played a few gigs at socials on the court house lawn. A nice comment was, “you don’t mess around tuning guitars or warming up, you just get up and sing“.  It has been fun being a part of this sweet nursing home family, some of my best friends ever, it is nice having a good audience~We meet every Friday at 9:00 and sing our hearts out for an hour. Everyone is invited.

Texas Roughnecks

anytime the motors were doing heavy work, the smoke stacks blew off black smoke, it was pretty as it drifted off in the wind

Today I will show you some more pictures from the drilling rig operation. This was the Mittel well that was drilled in August 1990 so all the faces you see are 23 years older now. The chances are many of them are still  working in the oil fields. Daddy worked as a roughneck until he was 68 years old and loved his job. These men have to know what they are doing, one mistake and the whole crew can be in danger. Hard work but everyone seemed to like what they were doing.  They had to be strong and physically fit, they got dirty and they got tired. The money was good, it was one of the best paying job in this area. Men get broken ribs, some lose a finger, others have had burns from flash fires. and there have been wrecks when the crews were driving home from work after long shifts. It is just their way of life and they like it. Drilling is still going strong in West Texas

the derrick man had a dangerous job but he told me he liked it best, and the pay was great.

he showed me how he got to the top, he sat in a sling and took a little joy ride to the platform where he worked, 80 feet above  the floor

here you see the chains and collars, the chain was thrown around the drill stem, and the big motors spun  it to tighten it into the next pipe

one of the roughnecks and our long time friend Gene Rojas

here he is working with the tongs

I don’t understand about the lightning, it was popping all over the place and I wonder how it didn’t strike the tower. I was standing on my porch to make this video and when I captured a still shot, it made the lightning look odd, it was the real thing though~

the men had all kinds of jobs, when they weren’t making connections, they were busy on other things

working with the tongs

I don’t remember this man’s name but he used to run in the road races with the San Angelo Road Lizards~these men do other things besides working on a drilling rig

one of the younger men, he may still be working in the oilfields 22 years later

OK, so Dan didn’t work on the rig but he liked to watch, he was proud of the Texaco hard hat the Tool Pusher gave him.

I liked making this blog, Dan and I enjoyed meeting these fellows

Grist Mill in Glen Rose Texas

Charles Barnard built this grist mill in 1860, it is now an art gallery~

My friend Pat brought me an snap shot of an old grist mill in Glen Rose, it was built back in 1860  and at one time owned by her Great Grandfather Price. She wanted me to paint it for her. She told me the story behind it and I found more information on the internet, so while I was painting, it was interesting to know the history. She remembered visiting her grandmother there when she was growing up so it was part of her young life. Once when she was six years old, her mother put her on a bus in Ballinger, sat her behind the driver and told him not to let her off until she got to Glen Rose where her grandparents were waiting to pick her up. Times were different back then. After I finished the painting and she had it for a few days and came back and wondered if I could add some children playing in the yard.  I asked my little Edmiston neighbors to come over and pose under my oak tree, with a wagon and the swing, then  painted them in the picture. It brought it to life. This old building still stands in Glen Rose, it has been a grist mill, cotton gin, hospital and now an art gallery, many changes in a century and a half.  Pat has this little bit of history hanging on her wall. I enjoyed painting it~

World’s Smallest Office

This is  Jitter Joe, Marci and Missy, trying out one of the new office chairs~

Here are three of my dogs, this picture was taken in 2006 in the world’s smallest office. I got T4C to build me a little 6′ X 8′ building, I painted it barn red, trimmed it in taupe and the roof was hunter green. It was an exciting project.  I built two desks out of 1″ birch plywood and it had insulated windows, a ceiling fan, and also an air-conditioner. It had a small heater  but didn’t need one since the computers kept it warm. 

Almost finished except for the screened door and the deck, three more days and all done

When it was finished, there was space for two people working in there with         two computers, printers, scanners and 19 feet of shelving on the walls, enough storage room for all their business.This project took about two months but was one of my favorites. It was like building a play house. My dogs liked it too. 

I get tired sometimes, this was that time. And it was worth it~

What a thrill the day my kids moved home and saw it for the first time. It was sitting at our camp on the South Concho River near Christoval,  they used it until they were able to build their new home. Now it has been moved to it’s permanent place in the middle of Chickie Town and the Peacock Palace and the Bean Barn and the orchard. I never get over the feeling of excitement going inside that fine little place. Wonderful memories live here.

Texas’ Delaware Mountains


Culberson County Ranch

This is a remote place in Culberson County, Texas, rugged and unspoiled, I have painted several pictures with Guadalupe Peak in them~

This is a picture of  the ranch in the Delaware Mountains in far West Texas. It is 70 miles from Van Horn so is about as remote as it gets. You see Guadalupe Peak  in the background, the highest point in Texas at 8,751 ft. It is a magical place, the ranch has been in the family for around a hundred years. One day Dan’s Grandpa Pelt was in the coffee shop at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio when he got to  visiting with a man sitting there and they started talking about their ‘white elephants’. Grandpa had property in the Valley near Edinburg and the other man had a large ranch in Culberson County. When they were finished  that day, they had made a a trade for each other’s land, sight unseen. Back in those days, deals were struck like this all the time. The ranch has been  wonderful for 5 generations  to enjoy.   It is a favorite family hunting place with big mule deer, antelope, and every kind of wild life. The first time I saw it, it took my breath away, coming up to  the rim and seeing for a hundred miles, it was like the Grand Canyon of Texas. Thank you Grandpa, sweet trade~

Favorite Arm Chair


Favorite little chair

I have had the real chair recovered three times in 45 years. It is my special place to read the morning paper. This miniature is 8″ high. Yes, that is the Standard Times on the table~

This armchair is 8″ high and a copy of one in my living room that I have had for 45 years. We bought it from Bennett Brother’s of Chicago, a wholesale place that put out a wonderful catalog every year. They carried nice furniture, as well as jewelry and almost anything you could think of. The prices were ‘wholesale’. The miniature chair was easy to make, upholstered furniture didn’t take as much time to make as the wooden pieces. The lamp table was a copy of a real one I had. The books are a little block of wood, covered with pictures of books from a magazine, just cut out the  picture and fold it over the wood. One book is True Women by Janice Woods, I scanned the book jacket and then reduced it down to the right size for the miniatures. No matter how tiny these things are, you can recognize the covers and read the titles. It is the same with photographs, I scan, then reduced the size and frame them in something like an ear screw that  has the the stone taken out. Jewelry makes perfect little frames. This chair is like the one I sit in every morning to read the paper. I have said before  how much I enjoy the morning paper~if I am not liking the way a story is going, I just turn the page. The TV news turns into a loud debate, Breaking News! Then the rest of the day, each commentator giving their  take on it and explaining it to us dummies~I like the Standard Times and our wonderful local paper, The Eldorado Success~


Model T Ford

Paul and Patrolman Don Thomas

Paul passed his driver’s test with a perfect score.

On March 24, 1924, Mr. E.L. Hoover bought this new Model T Ford Roadster from Watkins-Inks Motor Co in Llano, Texas and paid $346.70 (filled up). Years later, in the early 50’s, Bob McWhorter bought it from him and completely restored it. He enjoyed taking kids for rides, showing it off in parades or just driving it to the drug store for coffee.  He had two Model T Ford cars and later gave one to each of two nephews, Dan and Paul McWhorter. The boys loved their cars and took great care of them. When Paul was 16 years old, he was going to take the test for his Texas Driver’s License and asked the patrolman Don Thomas, if he could use  his old car. Mr. Thomas said, “sure thing! I have never ridden in a 54 year old car”, so off they went! Paul passed with a perfect score. Several pictures were taken that day that ended up in the newspaper, and later in ‘Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.’ It was the oldest car ever driven for a Texas Driver’s Test. (licenses were not required until 1936). The boys have had their special cars for over 35 years, they are parked in a fine barn near Chirstoval behind Paul’s house. Getting the cars was one of their biggest thrills ever, and seeing the piece in Ripley’s was fun too. Nice surprise~

Flood on the South Concho River


This boat needed lots of work

the boat was in much worse shape than the first one I restored, but it only took four months on this one


The new River Mouse

This is the River Mouse ll after I finished restoring it. Missy is ready for a ride. All the dogs love the boat, so do children~

On Sept. 10, 1994 Paul called me from the river. He said, “we have had a flash flood,everyone is alright but the River Mouse is gone.”  I took off for Christoval, Dan was on the porch yelling, you can’t go! I couldn’t believe it, there wasn’t a cloud in sight, all the way up there there was no sign of a storm, not until I was three miles  away and I saw all the patrol cars, a helicopter, water in the ditches, water everywhere. I drove in on the East side, down Moore Road as far as I could, then walked in water on up to the river. It was raging. I had my video camera going,  (later when I watched the video, I could hear sobbing, I was completely crushed). We looked for the River Mouse for days, all we found was the trunk lid. Paul and Anna had to go back to Albuquerque and the last thing he said was, ” go get another boat and start over”.  I did, this one only took 4 months to restore since I had kept all the drawings and plans from the first one. When it was finished, it was exactly like the original River Mouse (except for a small brass plaque on the dashboard~ ‘Please Lord,  Bless This Tiny Ship’).

Baked Chicken Breasts

Sunday Company Dinner

this recipe came from my friend Pat Pfluger, it makes a delicious company dinner

This is one of those really easy to make dinners. It is great with hot rolls and a fresh fruit salad. For my Sunday company dinner yesterday I served it with Debbie’s green beans and a corn dish, dinner for eight, everyone enjoyed it. ~in the oven when I left for church, ready for the table when I got home~ Always a good anytime meal but makes a special dinner for company too, simply delicious~

Baked Chicken Breasts
8 or 10 chicken breasts
1 8 oz. can mushrooms
1 can mushroom soup
1 can Pet milk
1 8 oz. carton sour cream
1/4 c. sherry
Split breast so they will be serving sizes
Lay chicken breasts in a large baking dish, mix all
other ingredients except paprika and spread over
chicken, then sprinkle top with paprika. Do not cover.
Bake at 350 for about 1 1/2 hours

Daddy Let Me Drive

Daddy Let Me Drive

our 1936 car looked like this one.  ( Daddy built this house 74 years ago at a cost of $1,600, it is where I grew up

I was driving the car by myself by the time I was eleven years old. Back in the day, it was considered ok, as long as you knew how to go forward and reverse and work the gear shift. Not everyone owned cars then so you pretty well had the streets to yourself. The first time I backed the car up was one morning when Mother drove down the block, parked and walked the milk cow back to the pen behind our house. Then she told me to go get the car. That was a big deal, I had to back it out of the barrow ditch and take it on home. (one of those ‘dreams of glory’ times)  In fact I backed the car up twice that day. Later that afternoon, I drove over to Grandmother’s house and got too close to the mulberry tree in the front yard and hooked the bumper on the trunk. I was able to back up, but it bent the bumper so that it was pointing straight  out tn front. Damage to the tree and damage to the car~I knew I had to go tell Daddy, he had a filling station in town and I drove on the back street to get there. The car was rocking and jumping and making a flapping noise, I was scared to death, I could hardly hold it in the road. I didn’t know how a bent bumper could cause so much trouble. Then when Daddy saw me coming, he ran into the street, waving his arms and yelling. (I mean really yelling!) He was furious. I had driven all the way to town with a flat tire, it was in shreds. (It was during WW 11  and tires were rationed.) He told me I would never drive that car again and I would never ride in that car again. I walked home feeling worthless and knew he wasn’t finished with me yet. That quirt did sting! (I did drive the car again and there are more car stories~  later)