In l963, I painted this picture from a snapshot my good friend Helen McAngus gave me of her daughter Lisa and nephew Willie. Their horse was Sally~ This picture was one of the most enjoyable to paint that I can ever remember. I knew these kids well, they had fun growing up in the country, there was always something to do. About five years ago, I had a letter from Helen’s granddaughter Shannon, telling me she had the painting now and how much it meant to have something from her mom’s childhood. Since then I have written her notes about Lisa and Willie growing up. Shannon has a beautiful little daughter named Morlee who looks a lot like Lisa. This picture has been on Face Book but I wanted to put it in my blog, it has come full circle for me, fun from 1963 and on up until today. I love this story, I loved those kids~
My kids were hundreds of miles away in Durango Colorado on vacation and they called me on the cell phone and told me to go put the live cam in my browser. I did and up came this picture of the street in Durango Colorado and they were standing on the right hand curb, waving at me. We kept talking and they pointed out things to see if I could find them and I could. I am still living in the dark ages so this was exciting for me. I have the address on my desktop and look at it every day, even though they are back home again. What fun. There are the same live cams in other cities too. To bring up Durango just type this address into your browser and it will be live. It makes me want to go~ http://downtowndurangocam.com/
This is about a new peach orchard in Christoval, it is small, only 12 trees that they put in four years ago. (remember, 2011 was the year of one of Texas’ worst droughts, no rain at all, hard time to start this venture) There are two apples, two apricots and the rest are different varieties of peaches. Since it is on a rocky hill up there, dump truck loads of dirt had to be brought in, it is about two and a half feet in new dirt, and the whole orchard is 40×50 feet. The new dirt was fluffy with no rocks and digging the holes was easy. Everything had to be watered daily and every tree has survived.
This year is turning into a great year for the orchard, the first year the trees rest, the second they come alive and the third year they flourish. We call this Anna’s Orchard~They have had a bumper crop of apricots and the peach trees are loaded.
This fat and very wet little chihuahua walked into the front door at a bridal shower one Saturday at the old bank building in downtown Eldorado. It was pouring rain outside with lightning and claps of thunder. No one knew who he belonged to but he came and sat by my feet. When it was time to go, I took him to the car and read a phone number on his tags. I called the number and ask the lady if she was missing a chihuahua. She said she had one but didn’t know he was gone. She told me where she lived, (that little dog had walked a mile in the rain), I said I would bring him home. Then she said “oh, I am not at home, we are out of town for the weekend”, then told me I could just leave him in their back yard. When I got to his house, I found a black cocker spaniel on the back steps, soaking wet with water pouring off the roof. I ran home and got some garbage bags and an old comforter to take and try to make a shelter for them, (I also wrapped my head in Saran Wrap and put two hoodies over that, then changed into my shorts and old shoes). When I got back to the dogs and walked in the gate, the big black one shot out past me and took off. For the next hour and fifteen minutes, I chased that dog all over that end of town. We went through car ports, back yards, down the Mertzon Highway, over porches, down to the practice field at the school, he always managed to stay about 40 feet ahead of me. Charley Nibblett stopped his pick up and started to get out to help but I said I could do it. It was still pouring rain, he told me I was going to get wet (no I was already soaked to the bone), he went on to town and after a while he came back and I was still chasing. He offered to go get his shot gun~not funny Charley! Finally the the dog stopped to smell of a bush by a porch and I slipped up behind him grabbed the hair on his back and held on until I could get my fingers under his collar. He was too heavy to carry so I held onto his collar and lead him back to where all we had been, and finally to his house.
This morning after church, I went to see about them and took them some dog food, I took these two pictures, they look great today, a totally different story from yesterday. I am sure if anyone saw me running through their yards yesterday they would have thought it was just some crazy old lady~ (they would be right) This is another re-run from a previous blog, since then I have become great friends with Minnie Love, the sweet woman who owns these dogs. She rescues dogs and a cats and is a foster parent for them. She has a big heart~
I like milk shakes, I mean I love banana milk shakes. This recipe is one we came up with years ago and it is my favorite.You can make if from “craving to drinking” in 5 minutes.
You need to start yesterday though, the banana slices have to be frozen solid. I always keep sliced frozen bananas in my freezer, ready for the drink or for banana nut ice cream. The great thing, besides being the best you ever tasted, is this 16 oz drink (enough for two people) has a total of around 200 calories while the small one at Dairy Queen or Sonic has over 500.
Start by slicing a bunch of ripe bananas, put them on paper plates and freeze them. (they need to be ripe, not over ripe and not even slightly green).
Some of us had been wondering if there were going to be any wild turkeys after the terrible drought in 2011. They won’t nest unless the condition is just right for them to at least have a chance. Two hens had been coming up to the water trough and I had been throwing corn and chick feed out for them. One week, they both walked in with 15 babies.They were on the driveway by the garage. I managed to get a picture and then today I got some of a hen and her baby sitting on the bird bath. What a thrill, I like the wildlife. I can enjoy them and as with the deer, if one in the bunch doesn’t show up that day, I don’t worry, I just suppose it is over at the farm eating at the deer feeders. Not like if a chicken or peacock goes missing and you look until you find it. I am keeping the windmill running to wet down the oak grove, the turkeys like to get in that cool wet place.
Our rain gage had been broken for a quite while, (when someone ask me how much rain we got, the answer was “not much, quite a bit, or I heard the Spinks about got 2 inches”). Years before when I was at a Hemphill Well’s Sale, I saw nice rain gage for half price and bought it. When I showed Dan what I found, he had a not so tiny fit! He said you could get those for free anywhere, the bank~ the gas company~ everyone gave them away. (‘Free’ for him meant ask for two). Anyway, my feelings were hurt so I kept it in the drawer for a long time before I put it up. One day I screwed it to a board and wired that to a post on the fence out across the road from the house. It was level and secure, I did a fine job. When I was walking back to the house, I saw a rock in the driveway, picked it up and threw it over my shoulder. Then I heard “ping”. You guessed it, perfect shot~
Guard llamas are used in goat and sheep ranching operations to protect the animals from predators~like coyotes, dogs foxes etc. They are not attack animals but fend off the intruder by making an alarm sound, then stalking or chasing it, kicking it or pawing it. It is usually scary enough that the intruder will leave. Predators can be a real problem with sheep and goats, especially when they are lambing or kidding. Llamas have been know to kill dogs while protecting the flock.The picture today shows a llama being clipped, the wooley hair is too hot in the summer and they need to be sheared, otherwise they will get in the water troughs to cool off and mess up the water. This one is in a squeeze chute with Claire sitting on top and shearing the hair. She told me you have to stay away from those back legs or they will kick the thunder out of you.
Little girls are sociable creatures, they can have a party any time there is a dog or kitty or stuffed toys. They can have a school and be the teacher, and share everything they have learned themselves. It is fun listening to the conversations with their ‘friends’. Two chairs and some blankets and they have a wonderful little house for their babies. Then when real live friends come, they know how to entertain them. What fun. Here is ZZ and Spook, then some of the stuffed toys, she danced for them and sang and put on a good show. No one left the room, she had a captive audience. This was our living room and we didn’t use it often, but when she was here, it was hers. She called it the blue room and she brought it to life. Little girls know how to have fun.
On one of our trips to Mexico, we were in a market in Zacatecas and Dan was visiting with this young boy. He liked to speak Spanish, buy what they were selling, and then tip them well. He wanted to buy us some peanuts, he handed the boy a pack of pesos and waited for him to give us 4 bags. The boy got up, picked up his toe sack, put the money in his pocket and started to walk off. Dan said, “wait, I need my peanuts” and the boy pointed the big pile on the sidewalk and said, “escos son los cacahuete.” (those are your peanuts). One other time, he was going to buy oranges from a woman on the street. She had a neat little pile stacked up on a towel. When he paid her, she tried to give him change. He said, “para usted”, so she pulled her towel out from under the stack, thanked him and left. I always believed Dan would have moved to Mexico if I had said the word. What a wonderful country it was back then~
This is a real old timey dish. Years ago, families tended to be big and food had to go a long way. With this meal, you could cook a chicken and add more dumplings and gravy to fit the crowd. The meat was left on the bone, that way, it took longer to eat and you could see if someone else got your favorite piece. My daddy had something he always said when we had company, “eat plenty of gravy, it’s just s good as the meat”.
You start with a large pot, and a whole whole chicken (fryer). Cut into serving-size pieces (you will have two legs, two thighs, two breasts, a pulley bone, back, neck and ribs). Put it in the pot, cover with water and 1 tsp salt, 1 med onion and one one rib of celery. Cook for an hour and a half. When done, put the chicken pieces in separate bowl, discard onion and celery , and thicken the broth. ( put 3 tablespoons of flour in a cup, add 1/2 cup of water and stir to get the lumps out. Then add several spoons of the hot broth to cup and stir to mix. Put this back in the pot and cook until it starts to thicken, stirring the whole time). Add more salt to taste if necessary. While it is cooking you mix up the dumplings.
I painted this picture while I was demonstrating at the Fat Stock Show in San Angelo one year. That was always fun because I knew many of the women who came to watch, most of them were painters too. For several years I judged art shows at the Kendall Art Gallery and had many friends from there. There is a lot of great talent around this area. And as I have said before, painters are nice people. You can’t paint and not feel good. This painting I am showing you today is one I did from start to finish in one sitting. It was a large 24X30″. I always say you need to let the paint dry after putting on the first coat and not put wet paint on wet paint or it gets muddy. It can be done but it is not easy. I worked on this one for four or more hours that day, the time flew by. Lots of lively conversation, it is surprising but I can remember what they were talking about that day. Mostly telling on themselves. Good stories. I can almost always remember what was going on in my life when I painted any picture~almost like writing in a journal.