Birthday Time Again

this picture is when he was almost two, he was a happy baby and had lots of grandmothers~it is one of my favorite pictures~he called her Gran-murr Courtney. 

Today is my oldest son’s birthday, he was born in 1956 and what a thrill to remember all these wonderful years.  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 by the next day when he was born we had a famous West Texas blizzard blow in and for 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. There is no sweeter blessing on earth than being a mama.

Mertzon Road

I like rock tanks, I know of many that have been here longer than I have, they are beautiful. I would imagine rock masons would go through the country building tanks and rocking houses. They were master craftsmen~

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.

Jitter Fits

Minolta DSC

Jitter Joe is my baby boy, he is smart and cute and funny. What a blessing to have him.

Jitter Joe is my sweet little eleven year old Shih Tzu. I have had him since the day he was born. He is perfect, adorable and happy. He likes everyone he meets.  Just one small problem, two years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night as he flew off the bed and hit the floor. When I got the light on, there he was, swimming in circles on his side, jerking, foaming at the mouth and wetting. I tried to hold him so he wouldn’t hit the wall, he is so strong it was all I could do to keep him restrained. This went on for four or five minutes while I had a complete melt down. I thought he was dying. After the shaking slowed down, he started to come to  and was able to stand up and take a few steps but was confused. He seemed to recover and 20 minutes later was more normal. All I could think of was the emergency room in San Angelo, but when things got calm I decided I could wait until morning and take him. The rest of the night, I was on my computer trying to find an answer to what had happened to him. The symptoms all seemed to lead to the same, a seizure or epilepsy. Usually a dog with epilepsy will start having seizures when they are a few months old, but in older dogs it can be a brain tumor. When Ronnie checked him, he said a dog won’t likely die from a seizure, they just need to be protected from injury when they are having one. They are in no pain and don’t know something has just happened to them. If it only occurs once in a while, they will be fine but more often than every few weeks  they need some help. He gave Jitter a tiny Phenobarbital pill to take twice a day and that has worked. Jitter has a spell about once a month and I can deal with it since I know how to take care of him. We talk about it a lot and I tell him how much I love him. He is my perfect blessing.
Marci and Jitter Joe on their bed. I put pillows around the room in front of door facings and furniture to protect Jitter from hitting something when he has a spell.

Marci and Jitter Joe on their bed. I put pillows around the room in front of door facings and furniture to protect Jitter from hitting something when he has a spell. (oh one more thing, when it happens he has to have a good bath and a treat).

Peach of the Day


Stacy is one of the funniest and sweetest of all, she gets it~

This morning I want to surprise my grandson who is away on a trip at the moment, here’s a picture of his sweet Stacy Mae. She is my wonderful and beautiful granddaughter.  Have a nice day Mark, we are thinking of you, you are the peach today. Happy Birthday this month. The ultimate birthday party was the one Stacy surprised you with a few years ago, you were suspecting there would be some kind of ‘something’ in the works  and then you walked in to Miss Hatties and all your friends were there and your brothers and sisters had flown in from all parts of the country to surprise you, WOW, I get chills remembering the thrill. You have a mighty fine girl ~Grammy

Eldorado Volunteer Fire Department

the truck on the right was Eldorado’s first fire truck, it was a 1939 Ford. At one time the  fire hall burned after a coffee maker overheated~

The picture today shows Eldorado’s first fire truck, it was a 1939 Ford with a Seagraves 500 pump. Before this the merchants of Eldorado had set up a forerunner of the Fire Department when they bought a 40 gallon chemical extinguisher which was hand drawn. When needed,  people turned out to help fight the fire. In the summer of 1939 there was the first recorded meeting of the Eldorado Fire Department. Palmer West was elected Chief. All the early men are gone now, in the last 77 years the faces have changed but what they started has grown and stayed strong.  They are always ready to jump out of bed in the middle of the night, leave their jobs, or leave their dinner tables to answer the call. Not only to fight fires in our community and county, but to go help fight big fires in surrounding counties  when needed. There is a lot of pride in this organization, they are the best of the best.

the  38, parked behind the fire station, fire trucks are beautiful, the fire boys keep them clean and polished.

a picture from a parade in the 1960’s with Bob McWhorter and two little kids, can you imagine the thrill for a child to get to take a ride in a real fire truck

This is a modern truck of the mid-century, it is over 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.

you have to stand beside this one to really appreciate it’s size, its a four door and takes two giant steps to crawl inside~

a front view, the station is filled with all kinds of trucks and rescue vehicles, there is even a  sandwich truck~

this one was an old army truck that was converted into a water truck, like all the others, it is massive

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~

Uganda and the ancient Bow Harp

Meet Austin, one of our friends who spent much of the summer in Jinja, Uganda at the head of the Nile doing mission work.

Meet Austin, one of our friends who spent much of the summer in Jinja, Uganda at the head of the Nile doing missionary  work.

Today I am going to introduce you to the Bow Harp. It is patterned after the ancient Egyptian arched harp. Africa is known for it’s unusual music and even more for it’s musical instruments.  It is a 7 to 10 or 12 string instrument made from simple materials, a hollowed out piece of wood covered in animal hide and has a long neck that holds the strings, the pegs are used for tuning. I was thrilled when the three travelers brought me this beautiful bow harp from their trip to Africa. I had no idea how to tune it or if I could even learn to play it.  If not  it would make a nice decoration. I watched videos from their trip, a man playing the harp and singing Christian music. Their songs are long and the music gets stuck in your mind, it’s addictive. Anyway, I have managed to play “Catch a Falling Star” in the three months since I got it. I love this thing! I will show you other some other instruments they saw in Soroti, Uganda.

This is my harp, they bought it from the man who was playing it that day. They had to explain that it was going to someone who would treasure it.

This is my harp, they bought it from the man who was playing it that day. They had to explain that it was going to someone who would treasure it.

There were several of these harps where they were having a get together.

There were several of these harps where they were having a get together.

This is actually an instrument that is sat on and played like a drum.

This is actually an instrument that is sat on and played like a drum.

Tomorrow I will post another group of instruments on my blog. I had one more surprise! If you would like to watch a video of the group enjoying fellowship and music that day, you can click on the address. This is the day my family met their new in-laws. A real celebration of happy times to come~

Deviled Eggs

this is a popular dish at pot-lucks, usually several people bring them and everyone likes them. I make them to keep in the refrigerator to enjoy for several days. These today are from a dinner at Debbie’s not long ago.

Living in a small town in West Texas, we will use any excuse to have  get-togethers. The church is a big part of our lives and we like to have pot luck dinners often. Everything is homemade and delicious. There are always wonderful vegetables dishes, can you imagine five different kinds of squash dishes~beautiful salads, and always hot rolls. We usually have a smoked brisket from HEB and that is the only thing bought-and-brought, the rest of the meal is built around this. The dessert table will have everything from cherry cheese cake, to pies and cobblers, and cookies, everyone brings their favorite recipe. ( the Women of the Church published a cookbook a few years ago ‘Passed and Present 1903-2003′. First Presbyterian Church of Eldorado, Texas) The dinning tables are covered with linen cloths and there will be a beautiful centerpiece on each table. We make dinners for family funerals, or when the kids graduate from school, Thanksgiving and Christmas, then dinners for no special reason. There are big hamburger picnics at ‘Church on the Waters’ at Clear Creek on the Powell Ranch to end the summer. (sometime a baptism too) When it is announced that we are having a pot luck luncheon, I get my ire up, it is not a luncheon, it is a full fledged dinner. Eldorado has the finest cooks in the world, we celebrate every occasion with our very best. And as always “Thank You Lord for our church family”.

Today I have a simple recipe for deviled eggs, you will find them at every dinner. They are one of the most popular dishes.
Deviled Eggs
Hard boil 6 or 8 eggs. It is best to use eggs after you have had
them for a couple of weeks, too fresh eggs are hard to peel.
Cover eggs with cold water and bring to a good rolling boil, then 
put the lid on pan, turn off burner and let the eggs sit in the hot
water for about 15 minutes. Drain and cover with cold water to cool.
In the meantime, you can  chop  pickles and onions, mix in with
mayonnaise, mustard and seasoning.
2 T finely chopped sweet pickles
3 T chopped onions
4 T mayonnaise
2 T mustard
small pinch of celery seeds
pinch of salt
Crack eggs and remove shell, cut in halves (if you cut them slowly with a sharp knife, they won’t tear)
Mash the yolks on a plate with a fork until they are smooth.
Add everything together and load each egg with this stuffing. Be generous, even if you end up with a coupe of extra egg whites, it needs to be full and don’t smooth the tops.
You can sprinkle a tiny bit of paprika on top~

Cat Lady

this is Buttermilk, staying cool on the porch when it was so hot a few weeks ago.

Meet Buttermilk, she is a kitty that came up when she was a little thing and would not leave. I would see her out by the windmill and she would stay still so I wouldn’t notice her. (every time I walked by, I would tell her to Go Home!) Well, she liked it here and wasn’t afraid of me. 

she likes the little chair on the porch, I like her~she is a fine cat

She had kittens somewhere, I only got to know one. He was black and white, marked almost identically on each side, I named him Domino. 

Domino is a beautiful cat, he won’t let me hold him but he will let me touch his nose and that is our bonding each day~

I caught him in a live trap and took them both to have them fixed. Then they stayed on the screened porch for several weeks while they recovered and he got more tame.

here is Mamie cooling off in the bird bath, she was a sweet one.

I also had Mammie, the garage kitty who came up and had her kittens in the Model T. She was gentle to start with. When I found homes for her five babies, I had her fixed. I didn’t need any more cats.

she is named Squaline because she has the loudest and scratchiest meow you can imagine. There is a black cat and a Siamese that come to eat with her now~

There are several in the pasture and I take food down to them, away from the house at 5:30 every day. This is Squaline, half her tail is gone, from something that happened before I knew her. She is a feisty little thing and will hiss and scratch me if I try to pet her, but she comes running toward the car when she sees me. Dan was the one who loved cats, I was strictly a dog lover. Cats liked him because he sat in the yard and smoked his cigar and they would stay in his lap. Since he has been gone, I have learned to love cats too, probably since I am responsible for them. I have gotten to really know them. They are beautiful animals, they come in all colors and designs. They can live to an age of 20 or more years.  

Schlotzsky’s Type Sandwich

don’t take orders, make them and serve them, if someone doesn’t like the cucumbers, they can pull them out themselves~

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.  

these are 6 inch cast iron skillets, you can find them on the internet for under $10 each. They will last a lifetime~

Years ago, I bought a dozen 6″ cast iron skillets to bake these buns in and also for  my hamburger buns. I live 45 miles from the nearest real Schlotzsky’s place so this recipe works for me. It is a great meal even when you are having company. They will remember it~ 

these make a big sandwich, it is a full size meal~

you can cut them in quarters and serve as company snacks~

 Schlotzsky’s Buns  (copycat)
note: this is the easiest of all yeast breads to make!
1/2 c warm water
2 tsp sugar
2  1/4 tsp dry yeast (or one package)
1/4 tsp soda (dissolved in 2 tsp warm water)
3/4 c warm milk
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 c bread flour
2 T cornmeal
Stir together the warm water, sugar and yeast,
let sit for a few minutes.
In large bowl, combine dissolved soda, warm milk, salt
and one cup of the flour. Beat until smooth. Beat in the
yeast mixture and remaining flour, Batter will be sticky and
Prepare six little 6″ skillets by spraying with Pam, then sprinkle
bottoms with cornmeal. Divide dough  between pans, it
will spread during rising time. Spray tops with Pam
and let rise for one hour. Again spray tops with Pam,
bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Split buns with knife when cool.
You can use two cake pans if you don’t have the 6″ pans
and after making the sandwiches, cut them into thirds
for 6 sandwiches.
mozzarella cheese, grated
cheddar cheese, grated
parmesan cheese, good sprinkle of it
onion slices
tomatoes, sliced
cucumbers sliced thin
lettuce shredded
black olives, sliced in half
creamy garlic dressing, about like spreading mayonnaise on bun
salami  (it makes the sandwich~
2 slices of boiled or smoked ham for each sandwich
Assemble the sandwich~ 
1. spread garlic dressing on both halves of bun
2. sprinkle top bun with parmesan cheese
3. spread mustard and mozzarella on top bun
4. spread cheddar cheese on bottom bun
5. toast to melt cheeses
6. heat meats and place on buns, ham on bottom, salami on top
build with olives, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and cucumbers
Enjoy the Schlotzsky’s (copycat) Sandwich with a few chips~

Angelo State University Folk Festival


this is a special photograph for me, sitting behind me were my mother Elizabeth Elder and my little cousin Carroll Morgan, both flew away to heaven within a year~

I was invited to exhibit and demonstrate oil painting at the ASU Folk Festival in February of 1973. I met a lot of people and also saw many familiar faces. I liked the demonstrations, everyone was happy and full of chatter, they enjoyed watching and many of them were also painters. I had my miniature covered wagon and all the little rooms on display so if anyone wasn’t interested in painting, they liked to look at the little things. The famous wood carver, Gene Zesch was also exhibiting his wonderful carvings, he carves old cowboys and anything to do with ranch life, with much skill and unbelievable humor.  I was in good company that day, it is a sweet memory for me~

Miss Piggy and Kermit

she looked pretty happy with him today, it was either lavishing him with kisses or throwing him across the room

When I bought Miss Piggy and Kermit in 1977, she was a hand puppet. She had a big vinyl hollow head, (no body) and the famous elbow length lavender gloves with matching dress.  I had planned from the start to make her into a doll. I made her a soft body, she felt cuddly and nice to hold.

it was fun making the shoes, they were pretty tall wedges.


I carved some platform wedge sandals and added satin straps. (They are in style now) Then I made her a long formal satin evening jacket.

A girl likes some bling

Of course she needed jewels so she had  several stands of pearls, a pearl and gold filigree broach and a tiara for her hair.

here he is in his tux, his character seemed to be a happy go lucky guy



Kermit was just a green frog so I made him a Tuxedo with a pleated shirt, pearl buttons and a cummerbund. I knew it would be what Miss Piggy would want. These two characters have lived at my house, and lived in Sonora, then San Angelo and finally are back with me. (They were Christmas presents that we passed back and forth). They are both in perfect shape, even after 35 years.  We watched the Muppet Shows on TV for several years~ Miss Piggy and Kermit were our favorite characters. I loved those shows. Jim Henson, the famous puppeteer who created the Muppets died in 1990 at age 53.

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.