Pinto Beans for Supper

we like our red beans in Texas, leftover’s can go in the freezer or can be used for re-fried beans or burritos

I like pinto beans, people usually bring a big pot of them to church dinners and I could make a meal out of them. Today I had my crock pot going and the house smelled wonderful, I like lots of garlic~  My recipe is simple, I try to keep packages of beans in the freezer for when I get desperate, then I can have a bowl of them in 4 minutes.

Pinto Beans
4 c dry pinto beans
2 tsp salt
several cloves of garlic
3 slices of bacon
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed
Spread beans out on the counter  to look for rocks
Put in 4 qt pan and cover with water. Bring boil for 5 minutes.
Pour water off, put them the crock pot and cover with more
boiling water, salt, bacon , jalapeño and garlic. Cook on high for
about 4 hours or until done.
You can make a summer supper with beans, flour tortillas and fresh vegetables. Ice cold buttermilk is perfect.
If you need a little meat with this meal, Summer Sausage is great. 

Helmer’s Ranch Oak Tree

this is a wonderful old live oak tree ~ to stand under a tree like this is to feel a connection with our Creator~

This beautiful old live oak tree is a landmark between Christoval and Eldorado on the Helmer’s Ranch. There no way to guess it’s age. It has even been larger than this but it has been trimmed of many massive limbs that bowed over and touched the ground. Goats could walk up a limb and over the fence into the road so it had to be cut back. It is very near the highway on the west side. This is a favorite place for people to pull over and stop in the shade and take a rest. There is a gate on the right that leads  to Sarah Hall’s old rock ranch house. It is one of the two most beautiful oak trees in Schleicher County.

Young Girl Painting

she started working on the clouds and had the first coat on in a couple of hours

When ZZ was eleven years old, she decided she wanted to paint a big picture. She had been painting since she was a little girl, mostly 9X12  scenes of adobe houses, parrots, and cow’s portraits. I told her it would take a long time on a large one since she could only paint a couple of weeks every so often when she came to Texas.

she is taking a break, that didn’t last long and she was back at it again

She picked a bluebonnet to copy, looking at another painting is a great way to learn, you can see the brush strokes and mix the colors to match. The first day she had the sky pretty well done, start at the top of the canvas, that way you don’t get your hand in wet paint while you come toward the bottom. She started painting the dark green where the tree would go. Later when it had dried for a couple of days she put some of the highlights on the big tree and the lighter bushes and trees in the background.

this was almost a year later, here she is putting in the finial touches, the details are the most fun of all~

 She had the first coat on the whole canvas in about a week, then let it dry and worked more on the clouds, pretty well finishing those up. If she was having a problem, I would paint a clump of bluebonnets, or a rock or grass on a pallet and she watched, then did what I did. When she came back to see us, she went back to work on it. It took her several trips to finish. Dan put it in a beautiful frame and it has been hanging at home since 2001. 

all done, she was excited and ready to start on another one~ these are the favorite times , doing things with ZZ.   She cooked, sewed, drove the pickup and played cards with Granddad~

Culberson County Ranch Hands

here is my rendering of  several old ranch hands, hanging out by the chuck wagon before their morning ride. There was Joe and Henry Rounsaville , and Cal Jones

Today’s picture is one from Culberson County, with a chuck wagon and  ranch hands having their morning coffee. It is a large 24X36 I painted in 1982. That is Guadalupe Peek in the background. Joe and Henry Rounsaville were brothers. Joe was a ranch hand for the big KC Ranch and married Velma Casey. Henry worked on the ranch  for as long as I can remember. Henry was  quite a character. The story goes that Henry had been in some ‘trouble with the law’ and that the State allowed him to go and live on the ranch while serving probation. (He reminded me of Slim Pickens, who was in the movie Dr. Strangelove.) A part of the interesting things about this ranch had to do with him, he had a different take of life. He was killed in a rollover in his truck, swerving to avoid hitting two horses. I have painted several scenes from this remote part of Texas. It is a mystical place with a great family history that could fill volumes. For all the years since the 1930’s, it has been a hunter’s paradise  for family and friends. I call this the ‘Grand Canyon of Texas’. Unbelievably beautiful, another of the Lord’s masterpieces~

Miniature Covered Wagon~Goodbye

Miss Blossom tries out the front seat, she is wondering if she was a little too hasty~

It looks like it is going to happen, Thomas’ letters won  Miss Blossom’s heart  and she is gathering up her belongings and waiting for him to come and take her away. Aunt Edith has been on her bed bawling her eyes out for days~
A young lady needs her things

sewing basket, books, chamber pot, pitcher and basin, all those letters from her sweetie~

the pinto beans are loaded onto the mule, those keep for a long time

the china is made of clay and then baked, the silverware is from copper wire, flattened and shaped~pretty crude but the best I could come up with~

wash board, oak buckets and tub, ironing board and iron, clothes pins, and everything a woman could ask for~I like washing clothes~ put them in and push the button~

everything from coffee grinder to butter mold. The knives have oak handles and all the metal parts are cut from a tin can~

the pans are made from lids, the cast iron skillet is carved from wood, the spoons were copper wire, flattened and shaped

Off to Oregon and their new life together~

~as Blossom was saying~ “and when I was four my daddy got me a pony for my birthday and mama said he had been foundered because his hooves grew too long and he was too fat, but thin ponies got it too, so Daddy sold him and I remember how much I cried, but they said they would find me another one, but they never did, then when I was six~ ~ ~” 
This was going to be a long long journey, Thomas wondered if he might have made a mistake~

I have enjoyed doing this blog on the wagon. Time to take it back to the Schleicher County Museum where they are kind enough to keep it for me.

The Bridge Party

Wedding Cake

this cake was almost 3′ tall, it had a coconut and pineapple filling~it took me four days to make~

I had a Bridge party about 40 years ago for our little group and everyone came in their wedding dresses or something pertaining to their weddings. Nancy Powell had on her bridal nightgown and veil, Sandra Helmers was dressed in her wedding gown but could only button it up so far because she had just had Stacy, Sharon Mittel’s gown fit beautifully, Becky Moore and Dixie Bell wore bridesmaid’s dresses, Holly Brame was dressed in a wedding suit and hat, Tooter Dunham wore a black maternity dress, (she’s always full of fun) Madolyn Mertz was a mother of the bride, Lucille, Geneva McWhorter and Susan Stark were wedding guests. I served shish kabobs and Armenian rice. I made the wedding cake, it was the prize for high score, then another one for our dessert. We even had a bottle of Champagne. ( I didn’t have one of those cork screws but finally found a hook that holds a porch swing up and screwed that in the cork to get that thing out. We had several people come out to see what was going on, I remember County Judge Dick Bearce was there to check on us. Nancy won high and Jimmie came in the SUV to take it home. Here are some of the pictures~ since I was the camera lady, I am not in them. These are some of the nicest and most beautiful people I know, friendships are forever~This is a blog from last year but it got the most lookers so I thought it was worth doing again. It is one of my favorites~

Sandra Helmers

Sandra just had a new baby girl

Holly Brame

Holly looked quite happy

Lucille & Geneva McWhorter

Lucille and Geneva came to watch

Sharon Mittel

Sharon sipping tea

Sharon Mittel

another shot of Sharon~

Nancy Powell

Nancy, the sweet smiling one~

Holly Brame

a dignified Holly

Dixie Bell

Dixie was a beauitful bridesmaid

Tooter Dunham

Tooter wore a black dress and got the most laughs!

Nancy Powell

Nancy wore her wedding ‘gown’~

Becky Moore

Becky was the sweet bridesmaid

Madolyn Mertz

Madolyn came as a bride’s mother~she knew how to play Bridge~



Sandra Helmers

Sandra was having a great time, she was one of our younger ones


Susan Stark was a guest
























































Sharon Mittel

Sharon was another good player


Beautiful Crepe Myrtle

this was a hand-me-down from the cemetery when they were doing a make over on a lot out there~what a wonderful gift~

these are showy mass from the road and a beautiful bouquet close up

every cluster is perfect, the color is unbelievable, thank you Lord and thank you Fred~for this wonderful gift

My grandmother had a large bushy bush in her yard that had beautiful lacy flowers all summer. It was a Crepe Myrtle and was the oldest plant she had. I can still picture her standing out there in the evening with her garden hose, watering it. The blossoms were a deep pink color. About 35 years ago, my neighbor Fred, who did cement work at the cemetery (as a job after retiring), called and ask me if I would like a Crepe Myrtle tree he had just dug up. It was very old and he said it was big but would be fine to transplant. His wife Marie didn’t need another tree, her yard was full to the brim. Fred brought it and put it in the ground for me out near the water trough. It never knew it had been moved, it took hold in a few weeks and was blooming when the weather warmed up. It has bloomed every year since. It takes no care, only needs watering when we are in a dry spell. Mine is about 18 feet tall now. These can be trimmed to make a tree or left as a big shrub. Absolutely stunning~and by the way, I have always had wonderful neighbors out on my road. I think of Fred every time I am watering my plants~he never knew what richness he added to my life~

Runners and Joggers

Calienta Classic 1984 , some of the winners: Monty Montgomery, Jim Hardy, Richard Sterling, Lynn Meador, Rita McWhorter, Pat Elder, Lindy Hardy  and Katy Hardy-cheerleader

In the early part of 1980, my uncle Monty was visiting and he told me I should start running, he had run in races for years~the big ones~ even the Boston Marathon several times. After he left, I decided to run to the gate and back, 200 yards or so. When I got back, I came in and fell on the sofa, (collapsed) and it took a while to recover. OK, so I wasn’t in good shape after all. That was the day I started jogging. It took me one year to run a mile without stopping to rest. (I was almost 50 years old). When I could do two miles, I joined the Road Lizards in San Angelo and ran my first race out on Gun Club Road by Lake Nasworthy. I had no idea what to expect, I wondered if I would get swept up in the crowd of runners and do OK. I was running in the two mile race and before I got to the turn around, the 10-K runners were on their way back. When I was almost to the finish line I started feeling like I would throw up. I made it though and got a medal for 2nd place in my age category. (there were three of us in that group). There were races several times a month and I went to all of them. Soon I was running the 10 Ks, not fast but always back to the finish line before they packed up the barriers and went home. That was my favorite distance, it felt good after those. I got my sister Tricia interested in running too, she was hooked like I was. We received lots of medals in our age groups. There were big races like Run In The Sun, Stroh’s Run For Liberty with over 600 runners, Texas Rattlesnake Run in Sweetwater, and then all the many fun runs. I jogged every single day just a few weeks shy of 10 years, then one day when Dan said I was compulsive, I didn’t run the next day to prove him wrong. These were some of the most fun years. 

Alan and Harriett Borger, Tom Mayfield, Pat Elder, David Herreman

 Runners are nice people, they run to win but they are friends getting together to have a good time.  

National First Class Runners, Brenda and John Stukey,   first place over all in every race


This beautiful lizard was carved by Masters National Running Champion, Tom Mayfield. It was named the ‘Fighting Monty Montgomery Award’. (I am sure I received it because I always took peanut butter cookies)

here are some of the runners getting ready for the gun

We all recognized and appreciated the real talent, some were really top athletes  and it was an honor to run behind them~

Candi was five years old and ran in a 5 mile race in Ozona

10 year old Justin Edmiston won first all around in the youth category at Wink Hill, the hardest of all races. Shanna  just watched~



Old San Angelo Home

the photograph isn’t good but you can get an idea~

Here is a painting of the Hughes home in San Angelo. My friend Kitty Trigg grew up there and asked me to paint it for her. Later she decided she would like one for her sister, Mrs. Crews. The second one was a spring time scene so it was different.  The house sits on Beauregard Avenue and used to be in a quiet neighborhood at the edge of town but San Angelo has grown until it is now a very busy street.  It is an old home that has been well cared for and loved by this family. It should be there forever. I have noticed that the house has recently been repainted in a beautiful soft gray green color. I also painted Mrs. Crew’s rock house in Mertzon and later their camp house on Spring Creek. There was a little log cabin there that was a play house for all the Hughes children. I loved these projects, I can just imagine what fun those kids had growing up. 

Texas Hill Country Bluebonnets


the red grit road is a beautiful contrast to the bluebonnets

Another bluebonnet scene, this one between Mason and Fredericksburg a couple of months ago. The Hill Country is alive with color right now with beautiful Indian Blankets. The bluebonnets are gone for this year. Make it a day trip and be sure to take friends with you. It is something to be shared with others, it is that good! Then Fredericksburg is a great place to walk around and mingle, have a nice meal, shop in the antique stores or just sit on a sidewalk bench and rest. We were there last week and with the nice rains, the countryside is lush and green. This is some of the best Texas has to offer. It is an experience you will remember and want to come back to again. 

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 (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~

Mexican Farmer~1968

they did it the hard way, but it looks like it was a good crop~

Farming in Old Mexico, no fancy tractor with enclosed cab, stereo, air-conditioning, or comfortable leather seats, (no 6 year loan either). I can’t remember where in Mexico this picture was taken.  We saw scenes like this many times. On one trip we spent several days in Saltillo and  noticed there weren’t any lawn mowers, the yard man was cutting the grass with a machete, just skimming over the top of the grass and the results were perfect. A machete was a handy tool, it could cut down a tree just as easily as mowing grass. When we were at the trailer park early one morning, we heard that Robert Kennedy had been shot. This was early June of 1968. The Mexicans were concerned and everyone ask us if we had heard the news. They kept saying, ‘Él está triste y aburrido’, or this is a sad day. Anyway, back to the subject of farming, they did it the hard way. I know what hard work feels like and also the rewards. Nothing better than feeling  you have almost earned your place on earth at least for today. I hope this man felt proud of his job.