WEB Site Launched!

Rita McWhorter

After years of thinking about it, I had finally decided to publish a Blog. I planed to share a little bit of what I had learned over a lifetime.

Hello, this was my first blog when I launched it January 13, 2012. I had been having a great time with Face Book when a son told me I should do a blog instead, that I “was too wordy”. I loved it, I checked the stat counter every day to see how many people clicked in. When the number hit 9, I was thrilled. (Then that same son told me that all the clicks came from my own computer where I had kept checking the stats several times a day). Anyway, I had so many good pictures to post and comments about them, I would get started at 4:00 in the morning, find a picture, write something about it and have it published by daylight. That was panic time. Then I started making several posts at a time so I could get ahead a few days and just have them automatically come up. It has been fun remembering things that happened a lifetime ago. One memory sparks another and on and on~

I just celebrated my 84 birthday six days ago, life is good, I have been blessed with sweet memories, and great things are coming up in the future. For the past few months I have taken a break from the blog, I had other things that needed my attention. Since then I have painted more and read more, and just started hosting the Bible study group on Friday nights at my house. We have a wonderful meal, then an hour of intense Bible study with Paul leading us in the Word and we enjoy a special  time with friends.

Number One Dog

she was my baby for almost 19 years, she was home with me longer than my children, it fills me up to think of her. What a precious little sweetheart~

This is one of my favorite pictures of my sweet little Spook. We found her abandoned on the road two miles from our house and brought her home to be ours for almost 19 years.  

Spook was always happy, she liked to go in the car and wherever I went, she went~she looks big but she was all fluff, she weighed about 16 lbs.

She was my baby, it makes me happy to think of her and all the wonderful times we had together. I would never leave her, if she couldn’t go, I wouldn’t go.  

I made her frilly collars and she liked dressing up. She had one for every occasion, she liked her hair bows too~

She was smart,  I would tell her to go get her card from Nancy, she would think a minute, go to the bedroom to her toy basket and get the birthday card in the red envelope and bring it to me. Then I would read it to her. I still have it with all her little teeth marks on it. I could tell her to go get her toothbrush, and off she would go and bring it to me and lie in my lap and let me brush her teeth. (that was also treat time)

Here she is in her trick or treat outfit. This picture was taken when she was a year old.

Once she backed the car into the street at the grocery store in Sonora. A woman came in the store and said, “your dog~she drive the car!”  If you have had a dog, you have known love~

Growing Fruit Trees From seeds

Beautiful Loring peaches from a tree that was started with a seed from a neighbors tree. They do not need to be grafted. The seedlings from peach, apricot and nectarine trees produce fruit same as the mother tree,  If some fruit is left on the ground, the next spring you will see little seedlings coming up. Those can also be replanted and will grow into nice trees.

Loring peaches  from Anna's orchard. She gathered these for me this morning. The tree is 6 years old and loaded~

Loring peaches from Anna’s orchard. She gathered these for me this morning. The tree is 6 years old and loaded~

Here are the apricot seeds that I sprouted two years ago. I ended up with about 60 trees which I gave away. Now I am starting another batch.

Using seeds from a native tree in your area to grow a peach or apricot tree. (no store bought fruit)

Using seeds from a native tree in your area to grow a peach or apricot tree. (no store bought fruit) All of the kernels resemble almonds~

1. Save seed from a good native tree,
2. Remove little kernel inside the outer hard seed with a hammer, don’t damage it.
3 Wrap kernels in a wet paper towel and put in refrigerator for 6 to 10 weeks, until a little root starts to pop out. (be very patient) This cooling period is necessary.

I liked to use plastic shower caps, those are easy and can be reused for later batches

I liked to use plastic shower caps, those are easy and can be reused for later batches

4. Plant kernels in small buckets filled with potting soil, cover with plastic bags. Set on a warm porch and check often to keep moist but not too wet. When green sprouts pop up, set in a place with morning and late afternoon sun.
5. After about 3 months or more transplant into gal. size buckets.
6. I keep them for a year before I give them away so they will have a good start. I still have Indian peach seeds that started from my daddy’s trees 50 years ago. I have Indian, Loring, Princess, and seeds from the FLDS orchard, chilling in the refrigerator. They will be ready to plant in another few weeks.

 

Some of the seedlings three days after they sprout. They grow fast.

Some of the seedlings three days after they sprout. They grow fast.

After they are about a foot tall, re-pot them into gallon size buckets. I like to keep them for about year in buckets, they are easier to take care of as they grow. When they are three feet tall, you can plant them in the ground. If you wait until December or January, they will be dormant and will have lost their leaves, that is a good time. Then in a few weeks when the weather warms up, they will put on new leaves and flourish.

When planting in the ground, dig a hole about t feet across and no deeper than the depth of the bucket. You want it at the same depth as it was planted in the bucket.

When planting in the ground, dig a hole about two feet across and no deeper than the depth of the bucket. You want it at the same depth as it was planted in the bucket.

Baked Chicken Breasts

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 I serve it with Debbie’s green beans and a corn dish, dinner for eight, everyone enjoys it. ~in the oven when we leave for church, ready for the table when we get home~ Always a good anytime meal but makes a special dinner for company too, simply delicious~there will be take home plates for everyone~

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
paprika 
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

Last Flight

The dove hit the window and left this wonderful image~

The dove hit the window and left this wonderful image~

There are six double windows in my sun room and often the birds I feed fly into one of them. Usually they just make a thumping sound and fly off. Once in a while it is a dove and they really hit hard. I run out to see if they are alright but sometimes they are lying in the hedge with a broken neck. That is sad, Doves have one mate and they stay together for their whole lives. Yesterday I heard the loud hit and knew this was not going to be good. I went out and picked him up out of the hedge and held him a few minutes to love him and let him know someone cared. I said, ‘I will take care of your girl and feed her every day’.  This evening when the sun was shinning on the windows, I saw where he had hit and it was a soft outline, a perfect ghost like image. There is also an image below him where another dove had hit last week, that one lived. I won’t wash it off and it may still be there until next spring when I clean the windows. One of the greatest blessings is to have the beautiful wild life in my yard. Deer, wild turkeys and all the many birds. I have many bird stories~

Happy Birthday

I still have this beautiful little doll. The baby boy is 61 years old today. Happy Birthday

Madame Alexander doll is now 63 years old~

Madame Alexander doll is now 63 years old~

Blue Boy, four years old

Blue Boy, four years old

Meet Blue Boy. He was four years old when our baby boy was born  and he liked that baby. One day when I was sweeping and walked out the front door, Blue Boy was on my shoulder and before I knew it, he had joined a bunch of birds that  flew over and was gone. I was in a panic trying to see where they went, but he was gone. I walked in the pasture until dark, calling him and looking in every bush and tree. The next day I went out again with my guitar, thinking he would hear it and come to me. I couldn’t give up, I was sick, my heart was broken. I put an ad in the paper for my ‘lost bird’ and Dan said it was useless, no way would anyone find him. The third day it turned cold and wet and I was losing hope. On the fourth day, Margaret Whitten called me and said she thought they might have found Blue Boy. Morris had been out working livestock and this little bird came and got on his shoulder and would not leave so he put him in the pickup until he finished work and headed home. They lived four miles from our house and I cried all the way out there, praying for a miracle. IT WAS HIM! The feathers on his head were gone there was a cactus thorn through his foot but it was him. He got close to my ear coming home and kept saying “Blue Boy Sweet Baby Bird”. He lived to be nine years old and was one of the finest little pets we ever had. I know this is supposed to be a Happy Birthday blog for my son today but when I saw the picture, I remembered what a wonderful and blessed life we lived. Sweet little bird and that sweet and precious little baby boy. Happy Birthday!

Buttermilk Pound Cake (Revised Version)

September 20, 1953, a big day

September 20, 1953, a big day

Yesterday would have been my 64th wedding anniversary.  Here is a picture from that day. I had planned to run a picture of my Lemon Pound Cake but couldn’t find it so found this instead. Dan and I were married at 9:00 that morning in my Grandmother Christians’ beautiful front room, with 50 guests celebrating with us. Everyone was alive back then and now there are just a hand full left. Happy day, in just a little while we were off to a honeymoon in New Orleans. These were fun and exciting times. I loved that sweet boy~

Now for the recipe, I wish I had made this cake yesterday, then I could have been enjoying a slice with my coffee right now. Maybe I will have it ready tomorrow morning.

I like a pound cake because you can slice it, pick it up and eat it, or you can have it with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk. It isn’t sticky, you don’t need a napkin or a fork. But of course you can sit down and eat it quite properly if you like. The slices can be wrapped and frozen and ready for drop in company. Real pound cake is made with real butter. I like the little bit of lemon icing on it too.  Pound Cake must be good, it is in every recipe book, and has been handed down for generations from good cooks~   Note! Since I first placed this on my blog, I had a failure on one cake so this recipe has been changed slightly. After testing, it turned out very nice~

   Buttermilk Pound Cake

1 c ~soft butter (2 sticks)
2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 c flour
1 c buttermilk
1/2 tsp soda
Cream butter and sugar together
Add eggs, one at at time, beating well
Add vanilla
Stir soda into the cup of buttermilk
Add flour alternately with buttermilk,
batter should be smooth.
Grease bottom of tube pan, (not sides)
Bake one hour and 15 minutes at 325 degrees, test with toothpick,
it sould come out clean when pushed into center of cake
Cool for 10 minutes, then run knife around the
sides to turn cake loose, Shake pan to loosen
cake, then remove to plate.
Lemon Icing
Mix grated lemon rind, juice from one lemon and
1 1/2 c powdered sugar. If icing is too stiff, add a
few drops of water. Drizzle over warm cake~, use only
this amount of icing, don’t overdo it~

                                                                                                               

 

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~

I have a little secret about taking pictures of food for the blog. One recipe doesn’t always make a table full, it might seem a little skimpy so like on the lasagna, I turned a cereal bowl upside down in the bottom of the pot and poured the dumplings on top of that, then it makes it look like it is a heaping pot full. If the bread basket doesn’t look full, I put a wad of paper towels under the napkins and pile the bread on top. If I am going to show pictures of the food, I want it to look as generous as it really is.

This is a recipe ZZ sent me from Kenya. This morning I am going to make a batch of it for the freezer, it is absolutely wonderful. (one plate for me and 7 plates for the freezer). It makes a lot. It is easy to make and takes about 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.

Shish-K-Bobs

this is a picture of the meat and vegetables strung on a skewer, ready for the broiler. If you crowd them a little, they will stay put when your turn them and not roll over, don’t over cook, you want them tender~

A few days ago, I put Pinto Beans on my blog and for less that $10, there were enough beans and tortillas, cantaloupe and iced tea for 6 people. (some left for the freezer too) Today I want to show you my Shish-K-Bobs. This is a great company dinner. I served them with Armenian rice, cantaloupe, homemade French bread, and for dessert, I made a cherry cobbler with ice cream. My kids come for church and dinner on Sundays, so there were five of us~My grocery bill for  this meal  was $66. (gulp) It takes sirloin steak, lamb, red and green bell peppers, mushrooms, and a few other things. Give yourself plenty of time, it takes some preparation. You can cut up the meat, vegetables, and the cantaloupe the day before, and have all of this in the refrigerator.

I got the skewers 50 years ago, If you don’t have any, go buy them. You will want at least 10. This recipe makes enough for dinner and left overs, I always cook enough so that everyone takes a plate home for supper

 It makes a wonderful meal and is something everyone looks forward to. I call this my Greek Dinner. Anyway, I hope you will try it some time if you have an unexpected windfall~

The nutty flavor of the wine , the curry and the grated onion,makes this something you will remember. The vegetables stay crisp and the lamb and steak are tender from having been marinaded for hours..

Shish-K-Bobs

 2 to 3 lbs sirloin steak
1 lb lamb chops
6 slices thick sliced bacon
2 pkg mushrooms
3 green bell peppers
2 red pimento peppers
6 Roma tomatoes, quartered (or 20 cherry tomatoes)
2 onions, cut in quarters and separated
cut loin and lamb into 1 1/2 inch  cubes
cut vegetables  in nice size chunks
Marinade
1 large grated onion
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup Canola oil
Place meat in large bowl, cover with marinade and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight, stirring several times. String meat, mushrooms and vegetables on skewers, in the same order on each one until everything is used. Drizzle any marinade left in the bowl over the shish-k-bobs. Broil in oven, 4 inches from burner. Turn after 5 minutes, then turn twice more until all sides are cooked, watch carefully and don’t over cook then. Place skewers on platter, scrape up juices left in pan,  heat and serve it in a small pitcher.
Armenian Rice
 4 cups rice
1 stick real butter
1/2 tsp celery seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt
8 cups hot chicken broth with about 1/4 cup of white wine. 
In 4 qt pan, brown rice in butter with salt and celery seeds, stir constantly until rice starts to brown,  add heated chicken broth, (careful, it will spatter when you put it in the hot rice) put tight lid on and leave for 20 to 25 minutes on med heat.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

coffee and cookies or milk and cookies, either way, chocolate chip cookies are one of the all time favorites, easy to make and pure pleasure to eat~

Chocolate Chip Cookies are easy to make and most people love them. I borrowed this recipe from Elizabeth’s cooking site   ‘My Home Cooking’  check it out, some great recipes, and lots of detailed instructions. She built it as a school project 10 years ago when she was fifteen and it has been running ever since. This is a simpler version of her cookies but the results are the same. Homemade cookies are great to take on a trip,  then all you need is to find a Starbucks~)

                                       Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c Crisco shortening
1 stick real butter
1 1/4 c white sugar
1 14 c brown sugar
1 T vanilla
2 eggs
4 c flour
2 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
12 oz.pkg semisweet chocolate chips 
1 c toasted pecans, chopped coarsely*
Cream Crisco, butter and sugars together, beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and eggs and beat again until completely mixed. In another bowl, combine flour, soda and salt until well mixed. Mixing at low speed, add the flour a few tablespoons at a time to the cookie dough, stopping several times to scrape down sides of bowl. Now you can add the chocolate chips and toasted pecans and stir well. (if you freeze the chocolate chips first, they will hold together in the cookies and won’t turn the cookie a brown color)
Using an ice cream scoop or table spoon, place dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet with room between  and bake in 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then remove with spatula onto a wire rack and cool completely. *to toast pecans, place on paper plate, microwave one minute, stir and microwave another 30 seconds, watch that they don’t scorch~

Coons

I am on a quest to catch some coons that have been invading my yard for several weeks. They mess up the cat’s water bowl, knock limbs out of the trees and  I just don’t like them! I hate coons~
This duck house was built with left over lumber when we built our house in 1974.

This duck house was built with left over lumber when we built our house in 1974.

Thirty years ago, a small coon got in the duck house one night and killed everything that was precious to me. There was a small space under the eve for ventilation and this little coon squeezed in, not to do anything except kill them. There were our two mallard ducks, Rose Olive and Stanley and our three guineas, Sir Chester Charles, Matthew, and Alfonzo Thomas. They had been our pets for 8 years, I got them at a garage sale when they were 3 days old. I was sick for days, it broke my heart.
.
one of the coons that week, there were 13 of them~

one of the coons, there were 13 of them~

For years I trapped coons in the back yard, once there were 13 coons in two weeks. The live trap I have is too small for the new coons, they are about 10 inches longer than the trap so it won’t snap. 
This DP Coon Cuff sells at Amazon for $15, the setting tool is another $5 and I will need it if I ever get this trap set.

This DP Coon Cuff sells at Amazon for $15, the setting tool is another $5 and I will need it if I ever get this trap set.

 Bobby told me at church last week about a trap that was a sure thing. It is called the DP Coon Cuff (dog proof).  It will only catch coons or possums, coons have five long fingers and long nails. You bait it with a marshmallow and when he reaches into the cylinder the trigger snaps and he is caught. This is not a trap and release, it is a bait, catch and shoot. I ordered two of these traps and studied the videos online about using them. It looked simple, you dropped in the marshmallow, set it and secured it to a stake. Problem was I couldn’t set it, the spring is so strong it is impossible. I even asked a trapper if he knew how to set it and he tried, he pushed the jaws down and then his wife reached over to set the little trigger and she got a blood blister. So I have ordered the ‘setting tool’ that Amazon highly recommended and I’m waiting for it to arrive in 10 to 14 days. It looked like a large hair pin~
a coon cuff, it is supposed to really catch them, if only I could set it.

The spring is too stiff and I put a clamp on it overnight to try and loosen it up. No luck~

For now I am forgetting about the coons, my .22 rifle has scotch tape holding the sight on and I wasn’t sure how to load my 410.  Now a friend has loaned me one of his guns and showed me how to load mine, so when I am ready to go after the coons again, I will be in business. I really really don’t like coons!
Up Date~ I gave up on the new coon traps and gave them away. I am back to live traps and they work. I caught 4 coons and a grey fox in just a few days, then they got smart and quit coming. Now I bait them for 4 days and if I don’t catch anything, I take a rest for a while and start over. I had been hauling the dead coons over to the farm and dumping them but someone told me to just throw them over the fence here, the buzzards would get rid of them in one day. So I threw the next one out by the windmill and I think it worked.

I counted 9 buzzards out by the windmill in an hour. Two were guarding and the others were waiting for the word~

I counted 9 buzzards out by the windmill in an hour. Two were guarding and the others were waiting for the word~

The New Rain Gage

this is the garden after a big rain, I lost one of Dan’s boots out there that day, it was buried in the mud and never seen again~while I am thinking about it, I also buried a treasure out there years ago same place as the rubarb, it was in a quart mason jar and had a wrist watch, a silver dollar and a surprise note. The rubarb never came up and I never found the treasure.

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~