This is a scene near Mason. I would love to drive down this road on the way home every day, a winding road with trees making a canopy overhead. We used to visit relatives in East Texas and between Douglasville and Atlanta, there were roads like this that went to the farm houses. It was magical, mystical, and maybe a little bit spooky at night. Dan’s ‘McWhorter cousins’ lived in East Texas and I liked going there, it was so different. The people were soft spoken and no one ever got in a hurry. Their voices had such a sweet, kind sound. (Dan always came home with an East Texas accent and it took a few days for it to wear off). I was amazed at how green it was back there, very hot and humid too. Ben took us fishing in his boat, we got out in the middle of Caddo Lake, anchor in the water, hooks baited, then he had to turn around and take Cousin Lilla all the way back to the bait stand because she was afraid of the water. We fished all day while she sat on the dock beside the picnic basket with the food, I wished I had stayed with her. We loved our East Texas people.
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~
Looks like a tea party going on, maybe for you and a special little granddaughter. It is almost as easy as reaching in the cookie tin and walking through the house eating cookies, except you will enjoy this special moment you give yourself. The figurine is one my sister Nancy gave me, one of my favorites. The china is from my Grandmother Christian’s set when she started house keeping as a new bride. Little girls like tea parties and old girls do too~
This is a large 24″x36″ painting of a river scene, no real place, not really anywhere. The idea for it came from once going with Mother to a friend’s ranch in Sutton County and spending the day on the river. I remember the woman had a camp house with a wood cook stove, and she cooked up the most wonderful pot of red beans and baked a skillet of cornbread. We had that with iced tea and it was a feast. The smoky smell of the wood stove made it even more memorable. But back to the river scene, water has always been one of the things I enjoy painting most of all. As anyone who paints will tell you, when you are lost in this kind of project, you can only have good thoughts, good feelings, and all stress is washed away. For a while, you can forget problems (like worrying whether the avocado will be ripe by Sunday, you know~ those big things~) I can look at one of the paintings and remember what was going on in my life when I was painting it. I think it always had something to do with the people I love~
This is a picture of Granddad marking the hem on ZZ’s new dress. When she came to see us there were always projects. She learned to sew and cook, oil paint and, and most of all practice driving the pickup. Here she is at 9 years old. She made this dress in two days. Dan always was happy to mark hems for me and he helped her with hers. You had to stand perfectly still, he would stick a pin in and and then say ‘shift’. He praised her for whatever work she was doing. They were great friends. He died four years ago and while I was going through some of his things, I found about 20 ‘tickets’ she had printed for him, each with a picture of an omelet, plate of scrambled eggs or brownies~which he could redeem “at any time” and she would cook it for his supper. Sometimes we find these treasures that remind us of precious moments~ they are priceless~
Handsome Jack ran the place at Christoval, he is now relocated to Schleicher County. What a beautiful magnificent bird. Unbelievably colorful. Anna started out with Lovie and her three two day old babies, then she got Handsome Jack and in four years the flock grew to 21. They were wonderful and so much fun to be with, like the chickies, wherever you were working in they yard, they were right there too. I love to hear their big voices! They have several loud honks/screeches/bird songs, especially in the spring. (they can quietly walk up behind you and then scare the life out of you) Several of them now live at the Sonora Caverns, eight miles west of Sonora. Others have moved to their new homes on two different ranches. Now there are two boys left but once in a while a stray girl walks up to eat and visit with them. What a wonderful experience it has been to have these birds as pets. They are unbelievably beautiful.
We had the little 17′ Airstream and for years traveled in it. Later when the boys and their families were coming to Camp Rock on the river for two weeks at a time, it was pretty crowded. Early one morning, I saw an ad in the Standard Times “Airstream 31′ trailer for sale,1974 model, one owner, $6,500″. Paul and Anna were at the river so I went to Christoval to get Anna so we could go look at it. We loved it, it was big and it was beautiful. We went back to the river and sent Dan and Paul to buy it. (Dan drug his feet as usual, he had to always think things over). I told him I would pay for it so ‘just go get it, and don’t come home without it!’ Anna and I spent a couple of hours planning and celebrating our soon to be dream come true. When they got back, Dan said, ‘it’s in the bag!’, I offered the guy $5,000 CASH, he will be calling back in a little while to say he will take the deal!’. We came home and he did call, he said, ‘I know how much you girls wanted that trailer but I sold it to the Fords right after your husband left’. I was so mad at Dan, I was sick! The kids went back home to Albuquerque, and a couple of weeks later I took Elizabeth Ann home. One afternoon Anna and I were shopping, and when we got back, Paul said ‘Daddy just called and said to tell you, the trailer is on the premises’. The Fords took it on a short trip and decided it was too big so put an ad in the paper. Dan saw it and went straight up and bought it. They even pulled it down here for him. When I got home, that wonderful trailer was parked in the driveway. In the 20 years we have had it, the longest trip it has made is the 24 miles to the river.
Happy Birthday to someone I love very much!
I painted this Mexican man with his oxen pulling a cart in 1966, after one of our trips deep into Mexico, (not far from, Guanajuato.) Usually I take a picture and use parts of it for a painting. This time, it is almost exactly like the photo I took. There were three men sitting on a bench under the tree and I chose to leave them out. This part of Mexico is beautiful, the scenes are like they came from another world. It has a ‘feel’ about it that you don’t forget. With sounds like a donkey braying, a ‘hee-honk~wheeze~ hee-honk~wheeze~ noise’ that keeps going until you wonder if he is dying~or just happy. The birds have their brilliant colors and exotic songs. In all of this noise of nature, people are quiet spoken and you hardly hear them make a sound. Nothing rowdy going on here. You notice all of this because it is so different. Then the smells are fresh and pleasant, orange, pineapple and mango, the slightly pungent smell of papaya, (I am aware of smells and enjoy that special sense, next to seeing and hearing~ a cow lot, or a dirt floor in a barn when it starts to rain, the warm sweet smell of a baby’s hair, a puppy’s breath~) Anyway back to Mexico, I know I will never be able to go there again, but it stays fresh in my mind and I will keep it with me forever. México, hermoso país, personas finas
This is a wonderful Chinese dinner, perfect for company, everyone will love it. Any left overs can be put on plates for the freezer to be enjoyed later. It is colorful and simply delicious. My favorite Chinese Food.
1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
2 bell peppers
large can pineapple chunks
3 Roma tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
Sauce ( you can make this ahead of time)
1/2 c soy sauce
4 heaping T. corn starch
2 c chicken broth ( I make my own any time I am boiling chicken, then freeze it)
1/2 c vinegar
3 T sugar
Pineapple juice from drained chunks
Stir (constantly) together and cook until thickened, it is slightly thinner than gravy
Fried chicken breast chunks (this can be done an hour or so before dinner, like before church)
Cut breasts into small cubes (the size of pineapple chunks)
1 egg & 1/2 c. water Mix together in med size bowl)
2 c flour seasoned with salt and pepper and put in large mixing bowl
Dip chicken cubes in egg mixture, then into flour and coat completely, only do about 1/4th at a time so they will be well covered.
Heat 2 c. corn oil hot in wok or skillet, drop in chicken and stir while it fries until done, it only takes a few minutes . Put on paper towels and get all the grease off. Then do the rest of the chicken the same way until it is all cooked.
2 c rice
2 tsp salt
4 1/2 c chicken broth
Put it all in a large pant, bring to a boil, stir, reduce heat and cook 25 minutes or until tender. (you can do this before church too)
Cut up vegetables, even the day before is fine
Stir fry in hot wok or big skillet with 1/4 c. corn oil:
2 bell peppers (big chunks)
1 onion, quartered and separated
4 stalks celery cut into 1/2 in. chunks
(Only cook for a few minutes! you want them crunchy)
Add drained pineapple chunks,
can of water chestnuts drained
Roma tomatoes, (quartered)
fried chicken chunks
toss together with vegetables and sauce on heat for
about 30 seconds more.
Serve the Shun-Goi on rice in each individual plate, this recipe is generous for 6 people~
This is such an easy recipe, it sounds complicated but once you make it, you will see
it is fast and simple. When I cut up the vegetables, I put each in a plastic bag and don’t
mix them until I cook them.
It is one, two, three, four:
1. fry the chicken chunks
2. make the rice
3. stir fry the vegetables~ and 4. make the sauce
This is a picture of two Texas country boys, taken back in 1980. They were out running their traps that day. They usually caught a shrunk or raccoon, and once in a while a grey fox. On this day they got a prize red fox. Later they brought it to me to tan. (I had a tanning kit to use tanning rattlesnake hides) I scraped it clean, put it in the curing solution for a while, then I stretched it and tacked it to a board to dry.(no, I didn’t chew on it like the Eskimo women) It was pretty when it was finished. One boy took with him and sometime later, I was visiting his family and of course, I had my little dog Spook with me. When we went out to eat that night, Spook found the fox in a box in the study and had a big time with it. When we found it, it was missing it’s nose, two ears and two front feet. From then on, when we went there, Spook would head straight for the study and try to find that fox. That old fox hide is still around after thirty something years~
Yesterday I couldn’t find Marci, if she doesn’t come when I call her, she is usually in the front bedroom in Sue Ellen’s lap. That has been one of her favorite places for a while. Sue Ellen doesn’t talk on the phone or move around or try to pick the burrs off Marci’s feet. She just sits and holds her~that is why Marci likes her.
She has had lots of clothes. I found this sailor outfit at a children’s resale store, there was a sailor dress too, the sales girl told me they had belonged to twins.
Twenty four years ago, ZZ was born and later she got to wear Sue Ellen’t clothes as she grew into them. It took a while for the shoes to fit but she wore those too. When ZZ was four, I made the Mexican flamingo dress for her wear to dance at the nursing home. When she outgrew it, little Hanna Fort enjoyed having it, then it came back again for Sue Ellen. It has made the rounds. ZZ is now a nurse missionary in Kitale, Kenya~ East Africa. She has been there for almost four years. I still have Sue Ellen and Marci and all the sweet memories of this tiny granddaughter who came into my life and blessed me with the greatest joys of all.
My sister Nancy surprised me with this beautiful bouquet of silk roses over 30 years ago, she had made them after taking a silk flower class. They are just as fresh and pretty as the day I got them. Nancy always had a knack for picking the best gifts, she knew what anyone would like and and especially me. The shoe is from the ‘Right Shoe’ collection and the figurine is one from G. Amarini’s ‘Magic Moment’s’. These are some of my treasures, but most of all she is the real treasure, if you have a sister, you have a friend forever. She loved my babies and I loved hers. Oh and we do have fun on the phone every day, that is the best of all.