Delaware Mountains

here we are with more tire trouble, no matter that the tires were good, there was always something to ruin them. The ranch roads were terrible~

Today’s picture is another one from the ranch in Culberson County~in the Delaware Mountains in far West Texas. I was on this trip, it made me uneasy because the boys were already out there at the camp when Dan I went. There ranch roads were no more than rough paths that Mr. Ronsaville scraped out with his bulldozer ever so often, and we had no real idea where we were on this 12 section ranch. Dan just sort of knew the general direction to the camp. On this day, we had a flat. Dan honked the horn to see if the boys were anywhere nearby and sure enough we could hear them honking back. They figured out which road we were on and were there in a little while. Oh my! When they drove up I nearly had a fit, they had a three wheeler and the Kawasaki in the back of the pickup and I had no idea they had taken them out there, certainly not safe for ridding in the mountains.

not a mountain bike, it scares me to remember  seeing these things out there. One skid and you could end up in the bottom of a ravine~

 Matt fixed the flat, he was always the first to jump in there and help. There was a rule that no women were allowed out at the ranch, it was meant to keep wives and mothers from coming every year at hunting season and messing up the men’s fun. Dan told me for sure I could go, and I got to go several times after that. We never went during hunting season. It was just the four of us and of course I was the cook~ 

The Art Lesson

Dan’s first painting was a small desert scene with blue sky, sand hill and yucca plant ithe center, later he painted this larger one with more detail. Not bad at all~He was liking the art lessons and liking the girl~

This is one of several of Dan’s paintings while he was taking art lessons. He liked bight colors~

In the summer of 1953, I was home from UT, and working at Blake’s Electric. Not much happening. Mother kept books for my daddy’s business and gave art lessons twice a week. She said  ‘Dan’ came in the station one day and sat around for a while then asked her if she would teach him to paint. She was surprised, all of her students were women but she agreed to give him lessons in the evenings. After a few weeks, she couldn’t meet with him for a couple of sessions but told him that I might help him instead.  He was serious about learning to paint and he was doing a good job. That was the start of a whirlwind courtship.

We went to Garner State Park for the afternoon, it was a pretty place near Uvalde, I thought he was just pretty neat~

First real date was going to San Angelo to play miniature golf one afternoon, then to Garner State Park for a Sunday afternoon, every evening we painted or went to a movie. It was a fun summer. When it was getting time for me to go back to school he started trying to talk me out of leaving. I had pre-registered, my room at SRD was reserved and it was all set. I thought maybe he would come to Austin once in a while and we could see each other. One afternoon we went out to the farm on Rudd Road to shoot his new pistol. No shooting that day, instead he proposed to me. He went to meet with  Daddy and ask for ‘my hand’. Oh my goodness how very proper. Daddy told him all the reasons it would never work, too much age difference, (12 years), I was not going to be easy to live with, (a silly girl) and I wasn’t finished with college. (Daddy, will you please be quite!) But the stars were right and it happened and Daddy was wrong, ( a few times I had some doubts though)

we were married Sept. 20, 1953 in my Grandmother Christian’s home and went to New Orleans on our honeymoon. I love remembering all of this~

We were married for 57 years and had two wonderful little boys. Dan quit painting after a few years and just helped me haul my paintings to shows. He liked art just as much as I did. (he also liked music, food and cigars)

Pound Puppies

In the pound, Kobi had already won, he was going home with papa, no one knew what a prize he would be~

Our family has a long history with found puppies, pound puppies, and give away puppies. This is a picture of Kobi, One of my boys adopted him from the pound. He was looking for a little girl dog but Kobi was begging and jumping up and down, it was me me me! He couldn’t resist so he chose him. 

here is Kobi at about 6 months, he was beautiful, we wondered how he ever ended up in the pound~

He looked a little like a poodle, but when they groomed him, he looked like a bichon frise. Living with Kobi was all about and being loved and licked to death. Goodbye to any more afternoon naps after work.

Emily Molly was the real thing, a full blood bichon frise, absolutely adorable and always a happy girl~




About a year later, it was decided maybe Kobi got lonesome while the kids were at work, so they went to North Texas and brought Molly home. She is a real bichon frise, just the sweetest and most precious little thing you ever saw. She and Kobi look exactly alike and they get along great. They slept together in a big kennel in the bedroom, it was a ritual when they went to bed or got up in the morning, Kobi had it planned who goes in first, who got out first, who was in charge of Molly’s little girly pillow, very complicated but he ran things and she went along with “what ever”.  Kobi was a worrier, you cuuld see it in his face,  when someone walked out of the room, he listened and watched and whimpered until everyone was back together. They were both funny, precious and wonderful~
Kobi went to puppy heaven earlier this summer, he was 13 years old. We are left with sweet memories. Miss Molly now has two new playmates, TJ and Abbie, who came from Fuzzy Pet Rescue Center in Waco Texas.

these are two of the most beautiful dogs ever, they have a good life and make the world a better place, they sure loved their mama and papa             (and Tricia)

Grooming Old Sally

two kids growing up out in the country where there was always something to do, there is no better life for a child than this~

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~

Wild Turkeys

the mother turkey and one of her babies sitting on the bird bath, I hang the hose in the tree and let the water drip

here is one of the mothers of the two mothers who came this week, they will keep coming back for the food and water~


all kinds of birds like the bird bath. Last year a deer laid her head in the water to cool off~

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.

Guard Llamas

this is the safest and easiest way to shear a llama, they are gentle but don’t like to be fooled with.

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.

here, Cole and Megan are sacking up the hair~ one llama done, one to go~


Little Girls and Friends

every friend had a name, some of them were very old, all of them were her friends, she taught them everything she knew~

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.

Mexican Boy Selling Peanuts

he had a big pile of peanuts, I notice he was wearing nice shoes. The kids in Mexico were nice and polite, friendly too. They seemed older than their years though~

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~

Oil Painting and Friends

I had no plan when I started this one, I wanted to demonstrate “how to” on a sky, tree and road and had a nice group of ladies (and two men) who watched all afternoon~

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.

Old Bumper Gates

these gates were a great improvement, I wonder if this is what you bought after your kids were all grown and gone~(whose turn is it?)

My nephew Earl sent me this picture a while back. It is of an old bumper gate near Del Rio. For many years, the bumper gate was a modern luxury, no one had to get out and open a gate, drive through and then get back out and close it. Sometimes there might be 7 or more gates between town and home, some gates no more than wire mesh stretched between two post and you had to hook them with a wire loop to the fence posts.  No fun~ My friends who lived north of Eldorado had a bumper gate, it was a little scary to drive through, you had to hit it just right to push it open and then go through in a hurry so it wouldn’t swing around and  hit your back fender, (then watch that it closed before a goat could follow you through). For Father’s Day a few years ago, their kids gave them new automatic solar operating gate to replace the bumper gate. You drove up, waited and in a few seconds a sensor would make the gate open. (modern wonders). They had a man who worked for them for years, and his daughter would often come for a visit. The first time she came after the new gate was installed, she drove up like always, and went right on through with her car~oops! there went the new gate, off it’s hinges, flat on the ground, gears and arms twisted and broken. So they had to get their second  fancy automatic gate in less than a month. 

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~

Mexican Mercado

these little boys were happy to have their pictures taken., they stayed around close to their mother while she sold her tomatoes~

Here are some little Mexican boys at a market in Guanajuato, many years ago. The first three boys belonged to the tomato lady. I always loved the markets, they had wonderful smells~  tomatoes, oranges, mangoes and leather. I learned about  things I had never heard of before, all kinds of squashes, exotic fruits, strange melons. The women always had time to explain the different types and how to fix them. Once I was talking to a woman who had a few vegetables for sale, and she was explaining how to cook a green round chayote squash. She was sitting on the ground on a blanket and had a small child close to her holding onto her arm. After a few minutes, I noticed she had a cardboard box next to her and there was this tiny tiny baby, wrapped up in a soft blanket. I was filled with mother feelings. It brought back all the sweet memories of having a newborn baby. Mexico is a country of mothers~