For Christmas our family makes gift basket for each other and friends. Debbie fills hers with her famous soups, huge oatmeal cookies, gourmet coffees, and breads. Paul and Anna smoke turkey breasts and make beef jerky, Tricia makes Divinity candy, Truffles and all kinds of good things One year I decided to make sausage to put in my Christmas baskets. I was planning on homemade French bread, and peach preserves, I surged some pretty Christmas fabric to line the baskets. I had a sausage stuffer to go with my Kitchen Aid, I bought the casings and a pork butt. After grinding the meat, and there was a lot of it, I added the seasoning and began to knead it with my hands, turning and twisting it over and over until it was well mixed, then I started extruding it into the casings, it was fun to do, but the sausage is not pretty at this stage. The job took a couple of hours and I had a pile of nice fat links of sausage ready to cook. Then I noticed all the polish was gone from my fingernails. No, that wasn’t red pepper flakes in the sausage. I never considered giving it away in the Christmas baskets, (well maybe for just a few seconds). Everyone got something else instead. Dan and I ate all of that sausage ourselves (for a long time). We really burned out on it. Just a while back I decided to try again and it turned pretty good. I used store bought seasoning, no Revlon this time~
Wild turkeys are only one of two domestic birds native to America, the other is a duck. My friend Frankie Lively took these pictures in a pasture near her home in the country. It is not easy to get a picture, when they see you, they walk on off. The Toms either hang out by themselves or stay with other Toms~or gobblers~ and the hens stay together in groups until mating season. The hens lay from 7 to 14 eggs and are good mothers. They feed their babies for about three days then the babies find food for themselves, but stay with the group. At times there are as many as 45 or 50 that roam around together. Another ranching friend came home last week and there were 45 turkeys under her pecan tree in the yard. Wild turkeys forage on the ground and eat nuts, acorns, seeds and berries. Unlike the domestic turkeys, they are good flyers, they will sail into a big oak tree just before dark and roost there. Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the United State’s national bird, he saw all the good things about them. I would vote yes with him~
One morning a few years ago, I heard interesting noises from across the road, not a chain saw, a weed eater, not a mower, but something better. I knew the sound of a circular saw and it was buzzing away. This went on all day and when I went for my walk I saw what was going on with my neighbors. In an oak grove in the back there was some framing going up the biggest tree and legs down to the ground. I could see Jim was building a real tree house for their little girls. It was fun watching the progress. It took about a week and was perfect and wonderful. It had a nice sized room, a porch and real stairs with hand rails. I thought how lucky those two kids were, it is every child’s dream to have a tree house, a play house or a cave. I always look when I drive by, it is a mighty fine house and a fine daddy who built it~
I am re-posting my blog from last year’s Thanksgiving Dinner at the Presbyterian Church in Eldorado. I won’t be there this year, instead I will be enjoying my 80th birthday dinner with my family in Christoval. Let the fun begin!
After church service today we had our annual Thanksgiving dinner, it is always a special meal. Everyone brings their favorite dishes and we have wonderful cooks. There are about 40 members in our church, I think they were all there today and some guests too. I will show you a few pictures, it will make you hungry~
I painted these two orangutans a long time ago and have had them hanging around my house ever since. I move them around so I will remember to notice them. I saw a photograph in an old National Geographic magazine and knew I wanted to paint them. Of all the primates, the orangutans are my favorites, they look like little old men and seem more like humans than any of the others. I enjoyed painting these two and like having them around. Believe me, they are better than the real thing. We had a monkey when I was growing up and it was not easy. We all loved him but a dog is the world’s most perfect pet.
This is a modern truck of the mid-century, it is sixty years old and still part of the fleet, there are plans to have it restored in the future.
I will show you pictures I took today down at the fire station of some of the new trucks.They are awesome~ state of the art.
I have had to call the fire department on several occasions, most times it was my fault, other times~ not. Twice I called for help when some aggressive bees were in my big oak tree. Jerry Jones came out, dressed to the hilt in a bee suit and got rid of them. He didn’t get stung but I got a couple of stings. Always greatest thanks to all the fire boys, they are the Hometown Heroes~
This is a great sandwich. It looks complicated but is easy and fun to make. The bread recipe is the easiest of all yeast breads. You just need to go through the list of ingredients and have everything sliced, laid out and ready, then it goes together fast.
This is Ajax, my little great-nephew-dogie, sitting on the rim in the Delaware Mountains in far West Texas. Here, you don’t tell him to “roll over”, he might roll for three miles down into the canyon. He likes to travel and goes everywhere with Earl, they log lots of miles together. “
Last December, Earl was headed for the ranch in Culberson County to meet a friend Steve and the deer hunters, he was running late. Still several hours away, no time to stop and eat and no time to feed Ajax, he had to barrel it on down the road. Earl knew Ajax was getting hungry so opened up the chicken jerkey treats and gave him a few of those~and then a few more. Then it happened, several hours later during the night, Ajax got sick, really sick. By morning he was desperately needing medical attention. They drove the great distance to Carlsbad, several trips back and forth and the vet then told Earl he needed to get him to someone who knew what to do or he was probably going to die. He drove over 400 miles to near San Antonio where Ajax had to have emergency surgery as a last resort. He lived, but it was a mystery why his organs had failed or why he had gotten so violently ill. After researching, Earl learned the Chicken Jerky Treats were made in China. (You can Google this problem). Thousand of dogs have died from treats made in China. He bought them at Costco. They damaged Ajax’s kidneys, liver and gall bladder. He has recovered now but was near death for over a month. Earl has devoted time and effort to get these deadly products off the shelves and it seems to be working. He also wants all companies to have a big warning on the packages that any treats are for occasional use, not as dog food. I learned something from this and now my two dogs get a half a treat once a day, and nothing from China, that’s it. Ajax should be the “Poster Child for Dogs”, he earned it~ Click on this to read the whole story
Date: September 4, 2012 3:40:10 PM CDT
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.
Today is my oldest son’s birthday, I will post this on my blog tomorrow. He was born in 1956 and what a thrill to remember all these wonderful years. We had his birthday dinner yesterday after church. Debbie made his favorite soup and a beautiful coconut cream pie. (she is the gourmet cook in our family) That was the menu he chose. It took me 24 hours “to born the boy”. The afternoon before, I had taken my 2 mile exercise walk down Rabbit Road in my summer clothes, it was a hot fall day. Then the next day when he was born we had a famous West Texas blizzard blow in and for the next five days everything was frozen solid, tree limbs were breaking from the weight of the ice. I always remember that hard freeze on October 22 but most of all how wonderful it was to have that brand new baby boy.
I have been cleaning paintings and repairing frames for a couple of days. When I am busy and it is time to eat, I may go have a spoon full of peanut butter and a glass of milk. But today my friend Bertha called to see if she could being me some okra out of her garden. Well Yes! It was easy to put a meal together, I had Jimmy Dean sausage cooked and in the freezer, a tomato from Anna’s greenhouse, Mexican cornbread only takes a few minutes to make so everything was ready in 25 minutes, I even had time to run to town and get the mail while it baked. I like okra, any way you fix it, today I boiled it for 10 minutes. I love Mexican corn bread. It is good to have for supper too, and always with a glass of cold buttermilk. Here is a recipe for the corn bread.