Dogs are a huge part of our family. Several came from the pound, one we found on the road, two were Give Away’s. Early one morning I was reading the paper and saw the ad, ‘Free Shih Tzu to a good home only’ . I waited until 6:00 to call, but I wanted to be the first on the list. Thomas Mallow answered the phone. I told him I wanted that puppy, that we had recently lost Spook who lived to be almost 19 years old and we needed a new baby. He asked a lot of questions and said they would hold her until I could get to San Angelo at 10:00 to be interviewed. When I rang their doorbell, I heard barking and when I was inside, there was this precious little black and white dog, all happy to see me.( I also noticed a beautiful little baby boy in a jumper seat on the floor.) So the story unfolded, Pamela and Thomas got Marsha when she was a few weeks old and she had been their only baby. Then 18 months later, Blake was born. Marsha did not like him, he was taking her place in her mama’s lap. She would just look at him and growl, they knew that wasn’t going to work so decided they had to find another home for her. They chose us. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. Coming home she rode in Dan’s lap and that was the beginning of great times for us. Pamula and Thomas saw Marci several times after that and she still growled when she saw Blake. We have kept in touch and I get pictures of Blake often, he is a big fine handsome boy now. Marci was one of our most wonderful gifts ever! Thank you again a hundred times sweet friends!
When ZZ was growing up, her favorite toy was her play kitchen. One year she even got an E-Z-Bake oven and was able to make cakes and cookies. She had her Papa’s little table and two chairs, and all kinds of dishes and cookware. She could put a real meal together for her little friends,( both real and play like). It was fun watching her. Most of her other ‘toys’ were how-to books. One was on sculpting and making figures. They were made from polymer that was baked in the oven and came out strong and hard. The figures had finest detail, ribs on the socks, buttons and buttonholes. She gave one away to someone special every year . What a thrill to be “the one”. These two pictured are a little boy with his fishing pole, Dan and Debbie got that one for Christmas one year, the girl in the blue dress and sandals is mine. What a treasure~
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.
This is a portrait I painted of my great-grandfather A.A. McGill. My grandmother really loved her papa, I think she must have been his favorite child. Since she loved him so much, I did too. I doubt if he even knew my name, by the time I came along he was an old man who sat in his rocker all day and didn’t want to be bothered by children. He and Big Mama lived in San Angelo,Texas on Rust Street, by the railroad overpass, where Rio Concho Manner stands today. They had a pretty two story house with a long porch on front. There was even a metal porch swing and you could swing really big! (get it going good and it would bang into the wall, and that brought Big Papa out to run you off!) I never got to see the upstairs, it was my dream to go roam around up there and see all the rooms. The nearest I came was once when I made it to the first landing, he came into the hall and grumbled and sputtered at me and down I came. There was a large bathroom downstairs, a dark room with no window. A chain hung down to turn the light bulb on but it was too high for me to reach, it was a scary room. Big Papa had a wine cellar, I think he made his own wine. There was a decanter that sat on the buffet in the dinning room, I could pull a chair up, lean way over to take the stopper out and smell the fumes. The whole family gathered at the McGill’s for New Years every year. The grown ups ate a huge meal, and talked while the kids had go off some place and be quiet~we would eat later. A pitiful thing,( that made me be a better mother though. Any child in my house ate when we ate, at the same table or at one close by.) Big Mama had a maid who came to help with all the work. I never knew her name, but behind her back, all the uncles called her “Feather Legs”, and of course, I shared this information with her. Big Papa died when he was 94. I painted his portrait as a gift for my grandmother. I think she liked it but when she was ‘studying it’, the first thing she said was, “Papa never wore a tie like that”. Now Big Papa has been hanging on the wall in my bedroom for several years. I like the painting and hope he knew I did love him as much as he would let me. The great thing is I ended up with that swing from his porch. It is one of my treasures.
When my Uncle James Montgomery was with the Air Force in North Africa during World War 11, he was in the Cantina one day and picked up a magazine where he saw this picture of his Big Papa and Big Mama McGill at the San Angelo Fat Stock Show in San Angelo Texas. It was a huge surprise. It must have made his day!
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.
Today’s blog is one I originally posted January of last year. I would like to post it again since at that time I had just started my texasmornings and had very few people looking. I was feeling pretty good when I was up to 9 lookers until someone told me that by the information on the my stat counter, 5 of those were me. So after a couple of weeks, I was up to 4 real people looking. One more thing that confused me was the time, instead of regular time, it used Military time so it ended up going on in the middle of the afternoon instead of early morning. Someone told me Military time ran from 12:00 midnight to 24 hours later and then started over at 1:00 AM. I would throw that system out but maybe we would have lost a war or something if we had done it my way.
This is a John Townsend secretary I copied from a real one I have in my living room. It is 23″ tall and made of mahogany. I found a place that made skis from thin strips of wood and they gave me enough scraps for years of projects. Unlike the smaller miniature furniture, the drawers and doors need work on the larger pieces. It took a while to make it, all the drawer pulls were made from copper wire that I hammered flat, then cut into shape with a scroll saw, probably something like making jewelry. Dowel pins are great for carving figurines, vases and all the pretty things we like. I found a jewelry place in Bryan going out of business and bought a box full of stuff. I took the stones out of the earrings and used the bezels to frame tiny photographs. Crystal beads and chains made great chandeliers. It was always fun making the furniture pieces but the best part was making all fancy things to fill the shelves. There are envelopes the size of a fingernail, addressed and stamped, inside each one is a two page letter. It only takes simple tools to build and carve these things. I used a coping saw, Diamond Deb fingernail file, emery boards and carpet knife. Later I bought a small scroll saw, it has a round sanding disc to shape the turned pieces. Finding good glue was always a problem, it had to be sticky to start with and then be really strong when it dried. This was always happy work.
This group of men were showing off their trophy mule deer from a successful hunt on the ranch in Culberson County. The picture was taken in 1946 by H. H. Wells of the San Angelo Standard Times.
This ranch up in the Delaware Mountains has been in the family for almost a hundred years and enjoyed by family and friends for all that time. It is one of the prettiest places in Texas and has a rim with a grand view of Guadeloupe Peak and another of the valley where you can see for a hundred miles. I like this picture, the men were all dressed nicely, back in that time if they went to town, they dressed up. They were truly Texas gentlemen. You notice the neat shoes and the high-heeled boots. (Good hats and good boots). I remember Uncle Will always wore a tie, even when he and Aunt Lummie were just dropping in for a visit. My nephew Earl Calhoun sent me this picture and I am thankful for this little bit of history to add to my blog.
The deer were wiping out my garden. They could eat every green bean plant in one night. I decided to try planting in kiddie swimming pools, the ones with the hard sides. I cut slashes in the bottom so they would drain and I put them close to the back door. It must have been too confined for the deer, they didn’t bother anything. I was able to raise tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, bell peppers, okra and onions. The next year I bought more pools and now have seven of them. I use the same potting soil from year to year adding more as needed. I had no problems with weeds, I just ran the weed eater around the outside of the pool if grass grew tall. Watering was easy, put the hose in and run it for 10 minutes. This has been going on for 5 years now. Since it was terribly hot and we had no rain this past year, the garden was pretty sad. I only raised cucumbers. The first warm day and I will be excited to get started again. We are born with the urge to grow things. Spring gets us stirred up, a package of seed just begs for dirt and water, and when the garden centers start getting in their new bedding plants, we all come alive. What a wonderful feeling~and there is nothing like a red ripe homegrown tomato.
My friend Pat and I were talking about biscuits this week and were wondering how it would work if you made up a recipe of buttermilk biscuits and froze them to cook later. There are times when I would like just one or two, but not a whole batch. Neither of us liked the ones in the dairy case, those leave a ugly aftertaste, and we liked the frozen ones they sell in the frozen foods section but those are pretty pricey. So I made a recipe of my buttermilk biscuits and froze them (without cooking them first), and the next day took a couple of them out and baked them and listen~ they were good. Better than anything you could buy. They have a crunchy crust and are tender inside, just slightly different from the regular ones I make, but especially delicious. I had them last night for supper with two of Anna’s fresh eggs from Chickie Town~ what a nice meal.
In 1973 I painted this combination of places and things. I started with a sky and everything else just grew until it was done. The building is a barn behind a nice home in Mason, Texas. I added a porch and a second story. Polk, the horse belonged to Danny Pena, Hank was Dan’s Ag. project, the chickens were Goya’s and the woman was ‘guess who’. The good thing about oil painting, if you don’t like something, you can let it dry and paint right over it. When I was painting full time, I kept at least three painting going at once. The first one I worked on completely covering the canvas, the sky and ground and some sketching with the brush. That went fast. Then I turned to the second one that had been drying for a couple of days and I worked on the road, trees and had it pretty well done. This was the time to correct things I didn’t like. Then the third canvas was ready for the fun part, all the many little details that made it a finished piece. (And I mean finished, there is a time to stop and not over work it.)
There are many pictures of these babies, they were each one so special. I used one of the Kiddie Pools for their play pen. It was great, they had lots of room to play and couldn’t get out to roam around and get in trouble. Marci could jump in and nurse them and take care of them, then get out and take a rest without having five little crawly things all over her. I took them out two at a time to hold in my lap and tell them the story of their life and how much I loved them. We talked a lot. Dan held each one of them every day. Lots of people came to see them, even relatives from Dallas.These are some of my favorite pictures.
This has been my favorite blog to put together. It has been wonderful going through all the pictures and remembering all of these sweet times. I hope you like it too~