Uganda

Bicycles (next to walking) are probably the most popular method of transportation in all of Africa and you see pictures of several people sharing a ride.This was a recent get together when lots of people came to study the scriptures and have a great meal of Ugali, greens, potatoes and goat meat stew.

I wonder how they know which bicycle is theirs.

I wonder how they know which bicycle is theirs.

Someone sent me pictures and here are a couple more  that I especially liked.

Some deep thinking~

Some deep thinking~

Four children with their ta ta.

Four children with their ta ta.

I am pretty well running out of new stuff for my blog so I have decided to just post something ever so often when things happen to write about. I appreciate all those of you who enjoy it and even check it out on a daily basis. Special thank you to my friends Al and Pat, Dan, Austin, Linda, Ann and Sharon. I even get a phone call early in the morning if I fail to get one up ((to be sure I am OK). You are welcome to go back to the older ones you haven’t seen. I started this over five years ago. Everyone should keep a journal of some kind. It makes you realize you have been living a busy life. That is good!  Check back often~

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~

                                                                                                               

 

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.

Fried Okra Salad

Here is my blog from over a year ago. I just wonder how many have actually tried this recipe for Fried Okra Salad. I am giving you another chance. It is absolutely one of the best dishes in the world. Easy too, it is OK to get frozen Okra that has been already breaded and ready to fry. It cooks up in a few minutes so cut up the onions and tomatoes first so they will be ready when the okra is done. I still go for the pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy for a wonderful meal. I like thin cut pork chops with the ‘bone in’, they are done in a few minutes and tender and crisp.

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   ( Or buy frozen cut okra that has been breaded, then you can put it right  in the skillet still frozen and eliminate the next two steps. Just as good either way.)
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) You DON’T need to do this step if you use the cut and breaded frozen okra! I am making it really easy for you.
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.

Mertzon Road

This is a simple little 11 x 14 scene I painted 46 years ago.  I was driving over to Mertzon one day and when I saw it the tree, I turned around and went back to get a picture of it. I have had it hanging in the same spot all these years.  If it had been bigger, I would have had a windmill and rock tank in it.

This is a simple little 11 x 14 scene I painted 46 years ago. I was driving over to Mertzon one day and when I saw  the tree, I turned around and went back to get a picture of it. I have had it hanging in the same spot all these years. If it had been bigger, I would have had a windmill and rock tank in it.

Here is another place between Eldorado and Mertzon. I think I painted every scene from here to there at some time. There are a few pretty live oaks, some windmills and rock tanks, and only about three houses in the 32 miles.  A woman who lived on a ranch out there was at a bridge party one time and we were all telling funny stories, she told us that one freezing day she went out to see if ice was forming on the water in the tank and dropped her car keys in. She had to do what was necessary so she ran to the house. put on her bathing suit and went back and jumped in the freezing water. She found the keys and was climbing out when Mr. Halbert drove up in his butane truck to deliver gas. She said she headed straight for the house like nothing had happened. She was sure he must have thought she had lost her mind. It was a good story and I know none of us ever forgot it. When I look at the paintings from Mertzon, I think of her.

Sunflower Afghan

the panels are crocheted in the afghan stitch, then the flowers are embroidered in a cross stitch. It feels good to be working with yarn~

If I can wake up with a project every morning, I am happy. I hope it will be the same all of my life.  When my first baby boy was born, one of the greatest things was to realize I would be totally committed to taking care of  him for years. Having two babies was the best of all projects~ Today is about a sunflower afghan, it took longer than most things, in fact I made two of them, each taking about 3 months. It was so much fun working with all the beautiful colors. I made them in 1969. My friend Billy had showed me how to do the afghan stitch, using a long crochete needle, it was easy to do and made a good background for the embroidery work on the flowers. Once when we were at a school picnic, a teacher saw the one I was working on and wanted to know where to get the thread and pattern. Billy wanted to show her the simple afghan stitch but she was not interested, she said she “already knew how to do it”. So Billy didn’t insist, even though there was a trick to doing it right. Later at the end of school, we saw her handiwork, it looked like a big loosely made fish net and was about 10 feet long.  She told us she realized it was not right but she liked it anyway. It was sure something different~ The two I made were for my boys and  stayed on their beds while they were growing up, I liked the bright colors, it was a decorated place in our house. Much later I showed each of my two little left handed granddaughters, (Stacy Mae and ZZ) how to crochet.  I showed them the  ball of yarn that was no more than a colored string, then had them hold an afghan and see how that string could turn into something beautiful and warm and wonderful. They learned quickly. 

Hydroponic Greenhouse

European cucumbers  are also called burpless cucumbers, they grow 18 or more inches long and are still tender and sweet.

There are several kinds of lettuce   like romaine and butter head, you can pull them out of the trays and put the roots in a glass of water and keep them fresh on the  counter for several days.

Tomatoes and cucumbers grow well in buckets of perlite, there is no dirt or soil involved

Here are a some pictures from the green house at Christoval. Anna and I had been left in charge of it last year (with lots of instructions) when her husband was out of the country for a few weeks. We were growing tomatoes, European cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli and all kinds of greens. She called me one Monday afternoon and said the pump had gone out on the big floor tank and she had called the plumber~ but he couldn’t get there until the next morning. So I loaded the dogs up and went up there and we installed a new pump ourselves and it was working in a matter of minutes. Women can do things, we always read the directions. (canceled the plumber) I will be in charge of the green house for a while this summer, big job. I will also be taking care of chickie town and the peacocks and one sweet little dog. I think I will set up a roadside stand and sell fruit from the orchard, eggs from the chickens and all those fresh vegetables. Or maybe I won’t~

Finally Got a Shop Smith

I borrowed a pick up truck to haul some furniture to New Mexico one year. It was a nice new Ford 150, navy blue and had a real phone that came with it. Feeling mighty good about then. I delivered my stuff and stayed for a few day to visit. Now the thing that always got me excited was they had a Shop Smith in their garage that had been turned into a work shop. There was a huge work bench, hand made out of fine wood, it even had a vice made out of wood. Beautiful piece of work.. The walls were lined with cabinets with dove tailed drawers, every size to hold anything from screws and bolts to measuring instruments of every kind made. Long drawers to store saws with rose wood handles. These people had a major hobby going on. I just dreamed of having something like the Shop Smith, it had every kind of big tool to build anything you could dream of. Nice thing was when you were finished with a project, you just rolled it over to  the wall of the garage out of the way.

this was not the actual Shop Smith, I borrowed a picture from the internet. I never did get a picture of the real one~

this was not the actual Shop Smith, I borrowed a picture from the internet. I never did  get a picture of mine.

The day before I was leaving for home, they told me they wanted me to have their Shop Smith. They were down sizing and knew I had always wanted one. They were not teasing me, it was mine! So for the next several hours we were loading it in the pickup, tying it down with all kinds of straps with ratchets and ropes, and the whole time I was getting a lecture about what I could and could NOT do. I had to promise never to use the lathe and heard about incidents where people had been killed while using one. Hook the heavy board up wrong and it could jump loose and cut your head off. ( I was thinking I could be extra careful and be able to use it OK.)  Anyway it was all finally loaded and after I went to bed I started to worry. I could not sleep and had a panic attack. It seemed like it was top heavy in the bed of the truck, there was a lot of weight up on top of those four legs. I was going to be driving through the Sandia Mountains, lots of dangerous curves and heavy traffic. There was just one thing I could think of and that was to try to unload it before anyone was up the next morning. Anything that I could lift, I had it on it’s way~ piece by piece back into the garage. Then I saw the PERSON standing there and he yelled at me, “Are you crazy, have you lost your mind completely?”  So this is the story of my wonderful Shop Smith that I hardly knew, it was mine and I did own it for a little over twelve hours.

Chicken Shun Gai

Sunday dinner today was an easy one to put together because most of it was ready to go last night. The only thing this morning was stir frying the vegetables, making rice and frying the little chunks of chicken. It all went on the table in about 15 minutes when we got home from church. Easy recipe and a delicious meal with plenty left to take home to enjoy again on Labor Day~

I found a wonderful Chinese cook book (with pictures!) years ago and have tried almost all the recipes in it. This is one of my favorites, in fact all of them are my favorites~

I found a wonderful Chinese cook book (with pictures!) years ago and have tried almost all the recipes in it. This is one of my favorites, in fact all of them are my favorites~

Chicken Shun Gai

Cut up about 3 chicken breasts into small pieces, dip them in a mixture of 1 egg beaten with 1/2 cup of water and then dredged in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Fry without crowding in a skillet with just enough canola oil to half cover them. You stir to keep them turning over in the oil. Drain on paper towels.

At the same time you can make a simple sauce with 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, 1/3 cup vinegar, 1/3 cup soy sauce.1 T sugar 1 1/2 T corn starch. Just mix this up and have it ready.

Chop the following vegetable is nice size pieces:  2 green and  2  red bell peppers, 3 ribs of celery sliced, 1 medium size onion, quartered  and broken apart, then 1 can of pineapple chunks, a can of water chestnuts and 1 cup of cashew nuts. 4 roma tomatoes quartered. (You don’t stir fry tomatoes, just add at the end to warm them). To stir fry put into a wop or large skillet with 3 T canola oil and cook while you stir until the vegetables are tender but crunchy. They need to be crisp~ Now add the chicken, tomatoes and sauce which you have given a big stir with a spoon before adding it. It will thicken in just a minute or two and your are done.

I cook about 3 cups of rice and use chicken broth for half of the liquid.

 

Shopping in Kenya

Please excuse the mistakes on this blog, I couldn’t get the strange letters between pictures to disappear. Maybe it didn’t like the toilet pictures~

As you can see, there are a few chickens in the cages. I saw several people carrying chickens in town, they just held their legs and they stayed calm.

There are shops all over Kitale, if you want  produce you will need to find a different store for each item. The egg place sells eggs, it is usually right beside several other egg places. The eggs we bought were always fresh and the shells were hard, no cracked eggs~then the meat market might be by the tattoo parlor, barber shop, or even beside the choo (public toilet).

The men’s toilet was  more simple than the lady’s. Two things that desperately  need fixing in Kenya are lack of sewer systems and the roads. I feel for them~

 

I

here is a typical ladies toilet. The blocks are  to stand on, not  sit, you figure it out. Only once did I need to use such a facility and that was a disaster.

few if any refri

Si

Since there are no refrigerators or ice boxes food must be bought daily. and in small quantities. There was a place that sold dry beans, seeds and maize. They had big sacks with the tops rolled open to scoop the grain out and weigh it. That day there was a roaming street chicken in one of the sacks, scratching and eating, she had found the meal of a lifetime. The store owner didn’t even shoo her away, he just kept sweeping the sidewalk. I shivered and kept walking.

This next little shop was on the street near Mili Mani, the man carried a variety of things  from eggs, to batteries, phone minutes, sugar cane, jars of nuts and soda pops. (I wondered about tobacco, I never saw anyone smoking the whole time we were there).

This man’s little shed was a going business. He always had customers. I noticed people adding minutes to their cell phone. Nearly every store in town sold phone minutes.

 

these girls were all fixed up. I saw a woman in the clothing market sitting on the floor behind a bench and she was not happy at all. I passed by later in the afternoon and she was still there, and still very upset. Then I noticed that she was having her hair braided in tiny dreadlocks and I am sure it was very painful.

Here is a beauty parlor, there were a lot of these. In the slums, most people have their head shaved, it is hard to tell if the children are boys or girls, except the girls wear dresses. The more affluent women have longer beautiful hair or wear a wig, whether or not they have hair they are all pretty, tall and slender, and have beautiful smiles. A surprise was the car dealerships, mostly Toyota and Nissan, their lots were filled with a big inventory of vehicles. There were a lot of motor bikes for sale. I liked them, they were whisper quite.  I thought the people were quiet too, they spoke softly and were friendly and pleasant. I am just about to the end of my adventure in Kenya , thank you for staying with me. I will have to find something else to write about now. 

Hanging Out With The Boys

The boys were always nice to have Dan go along with them, here they are at Hulldale, one of ther favorite spots~ just 14 miles north of town~ 

These two young friends liked to stomp around out at Hulldale in the summer between college semesters. Dan was always welcome to go along, he had the pickup, he knew the combinations on the gates, and he always carried plenty of cold water.

On the top of the Delaware Mountains,  you could walk half a mile and stand on the rim, and see a hundred miles into the valley~beautiful and awesome place. That is the  magnificent Guadeloupe Peek in the distance

Another place to hang out was in the Delaware Mountains in West Texas. Dan was welcome to come too, he brought his own car in case Matt’s pickup had a problem. (and it did). There were no cell phones or mobile phones back in the 1980’s. Bad to be 70 miles from the nearest town, which was Van Horn. Several times the truck got stuck in a ravine.

Here is Matt, digging himself out of a hole, just know he was getting plenty of advice~

this was a bad place to have a blowout, Dan drove to Van Horn for a new tire. these were summer time troubles, during Christmas Holidays one year it was almost a disaster~

The really bad time was being stranded for 5 days in one of the worst snow storms ever, so bad the interstate between Fort Stockton and El Paso was closed. There was no way to get them out during the storm, it was a scary time for those of us back home.(my worst  nightmare) The former Sheriff (Mr.Upchurch) from Van Horn flew his plane out to look for them but couldn’t locate the camp. Our sheriff here in Eldorado  got two other men and they headed out to Culberson County to see what they could do. Finally after trying for several days, the old ranch foreman was able to drive his bulldozer through miles of snow to reach them. They said when they heard him coming, they were yelling and celebrating. Cabin fever had almost done them in~

Miniature Swing Set

The real barn had a child size bed, table and small refrigerator  for ZZ’s playhouse. (this miniature swing set is 4″ tall)

I made the real table, which washed away in the same flood that took the River Mouse. It would seat 8 people, with two stumps on the end to use as seats. This miniature is 1 3/4″ tall~

This is a miniature copy of the swing set at Camp Rock. (I didn’t make the trailer, it was a gift from Dan and Debbie). The barn is a copy of one Dan built, ZZ helped him by handing him each nail, one by one that went on the roof. There is the picnic table like the one I built that washed away. I bought the real swing set at Lowe’s and put it together.  It came in several heavy cartons full of pipes, seats, chains and a thousand nuts and bolts. I laid it all out on the ground, opened up the instructions and it said, ‘have your helper hold the first leg steady as you connect it to the horizontal top bar’. Well,the only helper around was my little dog Spook. One of these things can be assembled by one person because I did it that day. (a hard job) When it was finished, it was worth it. Our kids came for vacation from Albuquerque the next day, and ZZ had stars in her eyes when she saw it. She spent the next two weeks on the slide or a swing or sitting in the glider with her dog and her stuffed toys, she was three years old. I see swing sets in people’s back yards that are a piece of work. They have climbing walls and bridges, curved slides, ladders up to a landing  on top with a flag flying. They are made of redwood and and likely very expensive. I know it would take more than your dog to help put one together. But what a nice thing to have when your kids are growing up, it should last forever. When I grew up, we were lucky if we had a tree big enough to hang a rope swing. Ours was across the street in Grandmother’s yard. You could sit in it and have someone wind you up and spin until you were sick. You staggered out of that swing drunk as a skunk~