Covered Wagon Heading West

all the nice soft things for a good bed

The story goes that Thomas McCann met Blossom Blue at a social affair in Boston and had to act fast, he was on his way to Oregon to stake his claim on the new frontier. He didn’t have a real commitment from Miss Blossom but would woo her with letters until he could return for her later. He loaded up his wagon with trunks, bedding, tools, cooking utensils, and  everything he could carry to set up housekeeping.

a muzzle loader and 6 shooters in his gun belt,

He would be packing his six shooters and a muzzle loader. The gun powder is in the powder horn,  or in this case, a rooster spur.

 

Saws, hammer,brace & bit, and a good hatchet

Next he gathered up all the tools for building a place to live once he got there.

 

here are gardening tools which will go in a tool shed once it is built, A kerosene lantern is an important item, and a mouse trap~

A crate and gardening tools, they would be stored in a tool shed when he gets one built. The lantern is one of the most important things he owns

the photograph album is filled with old pictures

Some treasures are packed too, the telephone was ahead of it’s time but will be handy in the future

I can imagine the sweet sound of a guitar , softly filling the evening with it’s music 

 And how about a little music,(get your guitar baby)
 I will finish my Covered Wagon up tomorrow, then get back to flowers and recipes etc.

Miniature Covered Wagon~Goodbye

Miss Blossom tries out the front seat, she is wondering if she was a little too hasty~

It looks like it is going to happen, Thomas’ letters won  Miss Blossom’s heart  and she is gathering up her belongings and waiting for him to come and take her away. Aunt Edith has been on her bed bawling her eyes out for days~
A young lady needs her things

sewing basket, books, chamber pot, pitcher and basin, all those letters from her sweetie~

the pinto beans are loaded onto the mule, those keep for a long time

the china is made of clay and then baked, the silverware is from copper wire, flattened and shaped~pretty crude but the best I could come up with~

wash board, oak buckets and tub, ironing board and iron, clothes pins, and everything a woman could ask for~I like washing clothes~ put them in and push the button~

everything from coffee grinder to butter mold. The knives have oak handles and all the metal parts are cut from a tin can~

the pans are made from lids, the cast iron skillet is carved from wood, the spoons were copper wire, flattened and shaped

Off to Oregon and their new life together~

~as Blossom was saying~ “and when I was four my daddy got me a pony for my birthday and mama said he had been foundered because his hooves grew too long and he was too fat, but thin ponies got it too, so Daddy sold him and I remember how much I cried, but they said they would find me another one, but they never did, then when I was six~ ~ ~” 
This was going to be a long long journey, Thomas wondered if he might have made a mistake~

I have enjoyed doing this blog on the wagon. Time to take it back to the Schleicher County Museum where they are kind enough to keep it for me.

Miniature Covered Wagon

this wagon is one foot tall, ready to roll

We were in Mexico in 1968 and  I found a beautiful miniature Conestoga wagon. It was well made and I was excited to buy it. After I had it for a year I kept thinking about trying to take the measurements and copy it, but in oak instead of the light wood it was made of. At that time I had no power tools so the wheels were a challenge. I used a coping saw. This project took several weeks but everything was coming together and I could see it was going to work. It was a good feeling when I  put the ‘canvas’ cover over the bows, which was a  dish towel that I painted several times to make it stiff. It just seemed to turned it into a little house. Although the wagon is completely made of oak, I needed to make parts of it look like metal, I mixed silver paint with burnt umber oil paint and it did look like steel. I started adding everything a person would need, traveling across the Great Plains to Oregon in a covered wagon. A ladder, sacks of feed, a crate of ‘live’ chickens, a quirt, an anvil, tools, a lantern, and of course a muzzle loader. I used a rooster spur for the powder horn, perfect size. Then I found a little mule in a shop and knew this was going to be my one ‘bought item’. (I named  her Molly) I loaded her with sacks of feed, garden tools, and a butter churn. Now all I needed was a story to go with the wagon, so I named the fellow Mr.Thomas McCann. He was leaving his sweetheart Blossom Blue in Boston for the time being and would return for her later when he was established out west.  A package of miniature letters, each hand written, tells their story~ more on this later~    This has been my favorite blog to post, I suppose building this wagon and all the little stuff for it was was the most fun, but I always like whatever  project  I am doing at the time.

the envelopes are smaller than a postage stamp, all the letters are hand written~they are quite proper

 

Pasta Dumplings Lasagna

this is a 20 minute meal, you only use two pans and a big spoon. I like lasagna but it takes a lot of time, this one is every bit as delicious. It is enough for six people and left overs~

This is a recipe ZZ sent me from Kenya. I tried it yes and it is absolutely wonderful. (one plate for me and 7 plates for the freezer). It makes a lot. It was easy to make and took less than 20 minutes.

Pasta Dumplings Lasagna
12. oz. package of pasta dumplings or bowtie pasta
1 lb very lean ground meat
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 T olive oil
1 large carton cottage cheese, put in strainer and run water
over it to get milky stuff off, drain
8 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 can med. black olives drained
Put the pasta in 10 cups of boiling water and 1 tsp salt, cook just until tender~ drain.
Brown meat, seasoning, garlic powder, salt and olive oil in wok or big
pan until done, about 10 minutes.
Pour spaghetti sauce on meat, get it hot then add cottage cheese,
mozzarella cheese, cooked pasta, and olives. Stir carefully with
big spoon until mixed and heated through.
Serve with sliced cucumbers or a vegetable salad.

Horse Portrait

 

I practiced painting horses like this one, then someone would occasionally have me paint their horse~

This horse portrait is one I did for practice, I don’t know his name. I painted in whiskers, which my horse ‘expert’  told me not to do, this one must have gotten past him. I like painting horses, but my favorite large animal is a cow. I have known cows personally and have been fascinated with them. You can get up close to them and watch them while they eat. They have beautiful eyes and nice features. (they can whip that tongue out and just about wash their whole face). They are fun to paint, every face is different. Back to the horses, they seem nervous and jittery. I am afraid of them. I went off the back of Spark Plug, my Granddad Montgomery’s horse, when he was at a full gallop. The girt broke and the saddle slid  off and so did I. I was hurt for several weeks. That was the last horse I ever rode and it has been over 60 years. Yep, I flat out quit~

Beautiful Crepe Myrtle

this was a hand-me-down from the cemetery when they were doing a make over on a lot out there~what a wonderful gift~

these are showy mass from the road and a beautiful bouquet close up

every cluster is perfect, the color is unbelievable, thank you Lord and thank you Fred~for this wonderful gift

My grandmother had a large bushy bush in her yard that had beautiful lacy flowers all summer. It was a Crepe Myrtle and was the oldest plant she had. I can still picture her standing out there in the evening with her garden hose, watering it. The blossoms were a deep pink color. About 35 years ago, my neighbor Fred, who did cement work at the cemetery (as a job after retiring), called and ask me if I would like a Crepe Myrtle tree he had just dug up. It was very old and he said it was big but would be fine to transplant. His wife Marie didn’t need another tree, her yard was full to the brim. Fred brought it and put it in the ground for me out near the water trough. It never knew it had been moved, it took hold in a few weeks and was blooming when the weather warmed up. It has bloomed every year since. It takes no care, only needs watering when we are in a dry spell. Mine is about 18 feet tall now. These can be trimmed to make a tree or left as a big shrub. Absolutely stunning~and by the way, I have always had wonderful neighbors out on my road. I think of Fred every time I am watering my plants~he never knew what richness he added to my life~

Miniature Attic Room Restored

this room is for relaxing, snacking, and painting. It was one of the most fun to make and to restore, it had everything except my sewing machine~

Today I am showing the miniature attic room. It is also the painting room. I never had an art studio even though Dan wanted me to have one when we were building our house. I liked to paint on the kitchen table in the middle of family life. I would work for several hours after the boys went off to school, then put everything away to cook dinner. It was always nice to start out with a clean space again.

The sandwich here is 40 years old. (I have since made a fresh one), my favorite~ham, cheese, tomato and lettuce on soft bread~

Back to the attic room, there is a real card game going on, and place for someone to have a ham sandwich, bag of Fritos and a Coke.

In real life, I never used an easel or stool, I propped the canvas on my lap and painted at the kitchen table, I usually had a Dr. Pepper that lasted me all day~

Then a place with all the things I needed to paint pictures. The paint box has lots of tiny tubes of paint, brushes, turpentine, and yes it is a mess just like in real life. A stool, paint rag, pallet, and easel with a work in progress.

Finally a cozy bed, I like beds. I had lots of good feelings when I was restoring this room~

Green Pastures

This was a place between Llano and Burnet Texas, I have seen this same spot covered in wild flowers

Today I am showing a green scene. We are pretty green here right now because of wonderful rains in the past month. The great thing about this part of the state, if we get a little rain, everything turns green in a few days. The pastures have buffalo or mesquite grass, it can survive almost any drought and come right back with a rain. I painted this picture from down around Llano. I like a road in a picture, or a trail, something to let you imagine being able to get into it. A gate needs to always be open or it stops you dead in your tracks. Now in real life you would never leave a gate open. If you find it closed, you close it behind you. An Eldorado character (Jim Runge) who has a ranch north of town had a gate standing beside a country road, not connected to a fence but just a gate standing there. He had put a sign that read, “Keep Gate Closed”. Pretty funny~ Have a nice weekend~

River Tacos

The easiest Mexican Food, fix it ahead of time and it is ready to serve in minurtes

When our kids were coming to the river for vacation, I was busy for days clearing brush, mowing and getting ready for them. I always made River Tacos that first evening, I cooked the chili the day before, shredded the cheese, and chopped the onions. Then on the big day,  the last thing to do was soft fry the tortillas and cut up the salad. When they drove up, there was lots of sweet hugging and squealing, time to love each other and relax for a few minutes.  For supper all I had to do was pour the bubbling hot chili over the salad and we ate. It was a wonderful, easy and delicious meal.  Even now when I fix River Tacos, I remember that excitement I felt while waiting for my precious kids. 

Chili

1 lb. very lean ground meat
3 T Gephardt chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground oregano
3 c water

Brown meat in skillet with spices, then add water. Cover and cook on med heat for 25 minutes. Skim off all the grease.

Salad part

Mix together in nice serving bowl

3 c. lettuce, shred fine
3  tomatoes, cut in small cubes
1  avocado, cut in cubes
½ a cucumber, chopped fine
½ bell pepper chopped fine

Soft fry corn tortillas, 4 or 5 for each person plus a few extras) Note: no short cuts here, you need to soft fry the tortillas, don’t just heat them in a microwave~

Heat about ½ c corn oil in skillet, fry tortillas, one at a time, only about 4 seconds on each side.

Drain on paper towels to get off all grease. (I put thick newspaper on the counter, top with three layers of paper towels, lay each tortilla on it as I fry it, and pat it to get all the grease off)

Stack and cover with a towel to keep warm.

 Just before serving, heat chili bubbling hot, pour over salad.

Have some shredded  cheese, chopped onions and sour cream dressing on the side.

Let everyone make their own by spooning taco salad onto warm tortilla and rolling it up. Messy  but hey, pass the paper towels.

This is an unbelievably delicious meal.

Mexico, Cactus, Lizards and Condors

this prickly pear was over 10 feet tall, the pastures were full of it.

Dan and I drove to Mexico City in 1956, our first trip down there, and went through an area where the prickly pear was enormous, this is one of the pictures we took. Some Mexicans used the big cactus leaves for the  roof on their houses. There was a lot of this pear in the pastures. There were also giant lizards that little Mexican boys sold along the road, and there were huge  condors the largest of all flying birds, nothing like the buzzards we have around here. Years later, I was trying to get rid of prickly pear on three acres in front of our house. I had to take a course to get a license to buy the Surmount poison to kill it. I was using a one gallon pump sprayer and had to haul water in jugs from the house so it was a lot of work. After a few weeks, it started to turn yellow and die. It has been twelve years and it is coming back, it needs to be killed again and my license is running out. This time I think I will get someone to come and do the job. I will always remember the cactus in Mexico, and the lizards and condors. Lots of big scary stuff~ 

Bougainvilleas

I bought several bougainvilleas in gallon size pots and they grew into huge plants in one year~start small, they grow fast. Shown here was  my sweetheart Missy~

 

this is a terracotta pot holding a bougainvillea, Debbie keeps it on a shelf on top of her fence~these plants make beautiful hanging baskets

Bougainvilleas are beautiful, showy plants that grow well in big pots. I have several that I have had for years, I move them into the garage before cold weather and cut them back so they don’t take up so much room. Then in spring, I bring them back out and fertilize them once a month with Bougain, (which you can find at Home Depot). These are my favorite of all plants, they bloom all summer and have no problem with bugs. They do like to be watered every three days or so. In South Texas and Mexico, they grow into 18 foot trees that are everywhere, they are outstanding. As with many flowering plants, these have thorns~they will get your respect. 

Runners and Joggers

Calienta Classic 1984 , some of the winners: Monty Montgomery, Jim Hardy, Richard Sterling, Lynn Meador, Rita McWhorter, Pat Elder, Lindy Hardy  and Katy Hardy-cheerleader

In the early part of 1980, my uncle Monty was visiting and he told me I should start running, he had run in races for years~the big ones~ even the Boston Marathon several times. After he left, I decided to run to the gate and back, 200 yards or so. When I got back, I came in and fell on the sofa, (collapsed) and it took a while to recover. OK, so I wasn’t in good shape after all. That was the day I started jogging. It took me one year to run a mile without stopping to rest. (I was almost 50 years old). When I could do two miles, I joined the Road Lizards in San Angelo and ran my first race out on Gun Club Road by Lake Nasworthy. I had no idea what to expect, I wondered if I would get swept up in the crowd of runners and do OK. I was running in the two mile race and before I got to the turn around, the 10-K runners were on their way back. When I was almost to the finish line I started feeling like I would throw up. I made it though and got a medal for 2nd place in my age category. (there were three of us in that group). There were races several times a month and I went to all of them. Soon I was running the 10 Ks, not fast but always back to the finish line before they packed up the barriers and went home. That was my favorite distance, it felt good after those. I got my sister Tricia interested in running too, she was hooked like I was. We received lots of medals in our age groups. There were big races like Run In The Sun, Stroh’s Run For Liberty with over 600 runners, Texas Rattlesnake Run in Sweetwater, and then all the many fun runs. I jogged every single day just a few weeks shy of 10 years, then one day when Dan said I was compulsive, I didn’t run the next day to prove him wrong. These were some of the most fun years. 

Alan and Harriett Borger, Tom Mayfield, Pat Elder, David Herreman

 Runners are nice people, they run to win but they are friends getting together to have a good time.  

National First Class Runners, Brenda and John Stukey,   first place over all in every race

 

This beautiful lizard was carved by Masters National Running Champion, Tom Mayfield. It was named the ‘Fighting Monty Montgomery Award’. (I am sure I received it because I always took peanut butter cookies)

here are some of the runners getting ready for the gun

We all recognized and appreciated the real talent, some were really top athletes  and it was an honor to run behind them~

Candi was five years old and ran in a 5 mile race in Ozona

10 year old Justin Edmiston won first all around in the youth category at Wink Hill, the hardest of all races. Shanna  just watched~