Texas Cowboy


Cowboy at Hulldale barn

always nice to hang out around the barn at Hulldale, the only sounds you hear are the birds and the windmill pumping.

The boys posed for me when I was painting a lot of cowboy pictures. PJ and his friend Matt were always good to let me use them as my subjects. There is an old barn on the place at Hulldale, a good background for all kinds of western scenes. Here is one of them holding a Winchester 30-30 rifle, and of course had a pistol in his holster. They did some target practice out there, it is several miles from neighbors so the perfect place. They usually found a rattle snake around the barn so the guns were put to good use. I liked painting the guns, boots, and cowboy hats. I liked to add a little humor to the paintings, this one had wasp nests on the studs. They are a fact of life around barns and out buildings. If disturbed, they can sting the daylights out of you, ‘you gotta run fast’.

Rattle Snakes

The big rattle snake

Gail Mittel killed this snake in his mother’s yard.

The Mittels, down the road always had lots of snakes at their place. They had barns and outbuildings, tall grass outside the fence, just the perfect place for snakes. They would call us to come and look at the big ones. This one was over 4′ long, it was coiled up in the dog house. Snakes are a part of country life in Texas. You are always cautious but don’t walk around being scared all the time. I was leaving camp one day at Christoval and saw a rattle snake on the patio so I shot it with my .22 rifle. I decided to bring it home to show Dan.  I raked it into a red gallon ice cream bucket, put it behind the seat and drove home, (it did feel a little creepy). When I got here, I set the bucket on the butcher block in the kitchen and told Dan to go look at what I found.  He had a fit! The snake had ‘come to’ and was moving around in the bucket. I had just stunned it so it was not dead after all.  Dan killed it and it measured  22″ long. Not big but still dangerous.  (Oh Shivers!)

Junior Monkey


Port Aransas  Pier

My day to watch Junior Monkey, everyone liked him~

In the summer of 1952, I was in Port Aransas, Texas (on the Gulf of Mexico) with my parents and two sisters. The monkey belonged to Daddy, some friends gave it to him as a prank. Junior was sweet but then he had another side~he could bite! (no one got bit that time though). Everyone was fishing from the pier, Mother and Daddy fished for Tarpon and we fished for supper.That day I was in charge of Junior. I put on an old swim suit and shower cap and spent the day entertaining everyone, Junior could draw a crowd. He was wearing his swimming trunks but he took them off after they got wet, or should I say, he wet them~ Every day he would get in the water with us and  run on the beach trying to beat the waves. He was curious about everything, he picked up every shell he found and worked on it to see if anything was inside.  Several weeks after we came back home, a big brown envelope came in the mail. A photographer from the San Antonio Express newspaper had snapped the picture and they ran it  in their magazine. Someone recognized me and Junior and sent it to us. What a fun time to remember. A few years later, Junior went to live at the Zoo in San Antonio. I will have other stories about Junior later. Don’t get a monkey, get a sweet puppy instead.

Dinning Room (and Miniatures)

Real Table

the table has 3 extra leaves so it can seat 10 people, there are 6 matching chairs

The miniatures

the little table is 7″ tall,  the doors and drawers on the cabinet open and are filled with all kinds of keepsakes and surprises

I copied this dining room set from a real one from my Montgomery grandparents, it has three leaves so makes a large table. When I got it, I refinished the table and six chairs. It was a surprise when I removed all the different chair seat covers that had been replaced through the years, the original was maroon leather. The price stamped on the bottom of the chairs was $4.75. It is over 100 years old. I treasure this table and remember growing up and having wonderful meals at their house. The miniature table is 7″ tall, it is made of mahogany. The secretary is a copy of one that belonged to Dan’s grandmother. It took several weeks to make all the pieces but was one of those really happy projects. 

Fried Okra Salad

something special about the crunchy okra, fresh tomatoes and onions. All time favorite!

This may be your favorite once you try it. My mother got this recipe at least 75 years ago from Beulah Kerr. It has been a family favorite for four generations. Simply delicious! It is especially good with summer time meals~pork chops, mashed potatoes, fresh green beans and  pickled beets~

Crunchy Fried Okra Salad

1 pkg. sliced frozen okra
1 ½ c. flour (more if needed)
½ tsp salt
1 large tomato, chopped
½ c. chopped onion

Thaw sliced okra in warm water,
pour water off, then toss in plastic bag with
flour and salt mixture. Coat well. (okra should
be stuck together in clumps)
Heat about two inches of oil in skillet, med. hot
Fry half the okra at a time. (add more oil if
necessary on second batch). Use large slotted spoon to turn okra and cook on all sides until light golden and crisp, watch carefully so it won’t burn.
Drain on lots of paper towels, get that grease out! When ready to serve, toss okra with the chopped tomatoes and onions. Salt to taste.

Angel Wings


this is the truck Daddy took the crew to work in at Cooper Gas Company

When it is someone’s turn to drive a crew to work, they show up in a big four door truck with leather seats, air conditioning, everyone even has his own cup holder. (how’s about getting 10 mpg) Today I want to introduce you to my daddy’s truck, ‘Angel Wings’. He carried his crew of four out to work at Cooper Gas Company in the early 1940′s. He painted it silver, (the paint smelled like bananas) he built a wooden frame for the back and covered it with water proof canvas. Always thinking of his men’s comfort, he fitted the back with a seat from an old car. To add a little fun, he rigged  the seat springs up to a wire connected to the battery and with the push of a button, he could make them come alive back there! They didn’t like it but were anxious to pull the prank on any new guy. This  picture shows Daddy pulling Nancy and Tricia on a sled behind Angel Wings after one of our rare snow storms. This was 72 years ago, I still remember this fine little truck, and snow  that day. (someone who would also remember this crew truck is a fine San Angelo Attorney, George Stanley Finley).

Hot Chicken Salad

This is Pat Pfluger’s recipe, it is a great meal for company, they will remember it~I know I did!

Hot Chicken Salad is a main course meal, all you need to add is a fresh vegetable salad  or fruit salad and hot rolls for a fantastic company dinner. It is one of Pat Pfluger’s great recipes, and she has many. It can be put together the day before and then topped with the cheese and potato chips just before heating.

Hot Chicken Salad
2 c. cubed chicken cooked
1 c. frozen peas
1 c. thinly sliced celery
1 can water chestnuts
1 small jar pimentos
1/2 c. real mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
1/2 c. slivered almonds
Season with salt and pepper to taste
Mix together in casserole.
Then top with:
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese 
2 c. potato chips (or more)
Heat in 350 degree oven uncovered for 20 minutes or until bubbling hot
(you can make this ahead of time~then when ready to heat,
add the cheese and potato chips) This recipe can be doubled
or tripled.

Baklava Greek Pastry

this dessert makes all the sparks fly, it is unbelievable

My niece Linda,  took me to a Greek restaurant in Dallas about 50 years ago and I had my first  taste of Baklava. I  had never tasted anything like it before. I like honey, I  like lemon, I like  nuts, I  like  real  butter, but  the tender  crisp  pastry  leaves  were  what  made  it  an unbelievable  dessert. Several  years  later I  found  the  recipe, tried  it  and  found  it easy enough to make.(Finding a place to buy the phyllo leaves was the hard part, now most big food stores carry them in the  frozen  pastry  section,  ask  someone for  help.)  Read  the recipe through and you will see it is simple to make. 
BAKLAVA (Greek Pastry)
6 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (toast slightly in microwave, 2 cups at a time)
1 tsp. powdered cinnamon
½ tsp. powdered cloves
1 ½ sticks of butter
1 lb. pkg. pastry sheets (FILLO /PHYLLO) dough (you can find these at HEB in the frozen food section, thaw them before you start to assemble, unfold them but keep them covered with a towel so they don’t dry out)
Combine  walnuts and spices in a bowl. Melt  butter, use pastry  bush to brush bottom of 10×14  pan with melted  butter, and   place 1 pastry  sheet over  this. Brush  with  melted  butter. Repeat  this  process until   4  pastry  sheets  line  the  bottom of  the  baking  pan.  Sprinkle with some of the nut mixture. Repeat this until nut and spice mixture  is  all used. End with 4 top  layers of pastry, brush with  butter between each sheet. Cut into diamond shapes with  heavy sharp knife. Bake at 300 degrees until golden, don’t over cook.
1 c honey
¼ tsp. lemon extract
2 c sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
Grated rind of lemon
While pastry is baking boil syrup ingredients together for a few minutes. Cool, and pour very slowly over baked Baklava. Separate diamond shaped bars, then serve or wrap in Saran wrap. You can then put in bag and freeze any leftovers.
Baklava Greek Pastry

pour syrup over cooled pastry

Abe Lincoln

this took several weeks to paint, I loved every minute of it

I painted this picture from a black and white Mathew Brady sketch. I was not excited to do it but someone wanted it. Since the sketch had very little detail, I painted in faces that were not there. I ended up with people I knew, members of the family,  I had to improvised. When I thought it was finished, I had to go back and take out the 30.30 rifles, they didn’t have any of those in the Civil War, and replace them with muzzle loaders. I also had to repaint the Mexican people with black people. There was a lot of painting going on with this one. It was a huge challenge, all the faces are the size of a postage stamp .I was loving it by the time I finished. The guy I painted it for traded it for something else. (Some day it will be his again).

Chickie Town


A lot of singing and chit chat going on. Nothing like pet chickies

Here are seven of Anna’s pet chickies. When they got them four years ago, they were one day old. They put them in a kiddy swimming pool in the garage with a screen wire around it to make a cage. This was their brooder for several weeks with a heat light to keep them cozy.  I made a play house from a small box, with windows and doors, and they liked it. There was a chickie head sticking out of every window. When they outgrew it, they just stood on top. They all have names, Miss Lilla, Ellie Mae, Honey, Ivy June, and the Three Girls. When they were bigger, they moved to the chickie coop condo. Anna had it built and it has six laying boxes, roosts, even two insulated windows. It has a screened porch attached, made of hail screen covering the bottom, walls and top to make it snake and varmint proof. They roam around outside until evening, then go to bed on their own. Someone printed a production sheet with grafts and charts and hung it in the chickie house so they would know what was expected of them. They have done great, their eggs are too big to fit in an egg carton, each chickie lays a certain kind of egg, a certain color, a distinctive shape.When I drive up, they come running down the road to meet me, their wings spread out, looking like fat little airplanes, not being able to get airborne.  When we are working in the yard or the pasture, they are right there singing and talking. They are just the most wonderful pets. There are going to be more little ones  coming soon. They will live their whole lives there, and their only purpose is to enjoy themselves and lay a few eggs. Chickie Town is sweet place. Who knew!

The Little Sofa

The Sofa

a hand high and two feet long

Today I am showing a little sofa. It is one of the larger miniatures and a copy of a real one we bought at Robert Massey’s in 1964. After making the John Townsend secretary, I scaled everything to that size. When I first made it,  I kept it in my living room with copies of each piece of furniture, even the bay window with draperies and swags. It took up a lot of space so now the different pieces are sitting in other places around the house. The sofa is on my dresser and I see it every time I walk in the room. There is something magical about little things. Your eye is fooled and you can put yourself right in the middle of it. The sofa is one hand high and two feet long. Tumbleweed Smith (Bob Lewis) came out this fall to do an interview about my paintings and liked the little furniture most of all. That was a special day.

Best Cherry Pie

Cherry Pie

sweet tangy cherries and tender crust

Not all cherry pies are the same,  hardly! An old fashioned cherry pie is made with unsweetened ‘sour pie cherries’, they are usually found in the canned fruit section. If you don’t see them then get some help. HEB and Wal Mart carry them. (the stuff  called cherry pie ‘filling’  has a few cherries and a lot of thickened sugar water.) Here we go, you’re          going to love this pie.


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons shortening
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Cut in the butter and shortening.
Stir in cold water, careful not to overwork.
Divide dough in half, take one half and roll out thin on wax paper that has been dusted with flour, then place in pie pan.
Roll out second ball and cut in narrow strips.

CHERRY PIE (preheat oven to 400 F.)
Note, use RED PITTED TART PIE CHERRIES in water , NOT Cherry Pie Filling!
2 c sugar
3 T flour
2 cans Red Tart Pie Cherries (drain juice from one can)
In bowl, mix sugar with flour. Add all the cherries and juice from one can only. Pour into pastry lined pie pan. Weave dough strips on top to make lattice.                           Finally, cut up 2 T butter and put on top crust. Sprinkle on a mixture of ¼ tsp cinnamon mixed with 2 T sugar. Bake 45 minutes, in the last 15 minutes place a piece of foil loosely over top to keep edges from browning.

Cool on wire rack until completely cool before cutting.