Apple Pie

Today I am showing you a great dessert that we serve often.  

I like to cut strips of pie dough and lattice it over the top.

Apple Pie is one that everyone likes, it is good with a scoop of ice cream and coffee or milk. I took it from Elizabeth’s web site which she put together ten years ago and has been adding to ever since. She goes into great detail on each recipe, for those wanting step by step instructions, everything from Mexican Food to desserts. You can paste this address into your browser  if you like.
 Apple Pie

6 Granny Smith tart apples , peel and slice thin
1 c. sugar
3 T flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon (scant)
1/4 tsp salt
1 T vinegar
Put apple slices in a bowl and cover with water, then drain
Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl, add
apple slices and vinegar and mix really well
Pie Crust
2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 T sugar
5 T butter
5 T shortening
6 to 8 T cold water
Mix dry ingredients, then cut shortening and butter in
with a pastry blender until it resembles course corn meal
Roll into ball and cool in refrigerator while you do the apples etc.
Divide dough in half, roll out one ball on floured wax paper on counter
Carefully lay it into pie pan. Add the apple mixture.
Roll out second ball and lay on top of apples in pie pan. Cut excess
dough from around edges of pan, leaving half an inch or so, then tuck this
under and crimp. Now put several thin pats of butter on top crust,
and sprinkle 2 T sugar over pie and a small dusting of cinnamon. Cut several vent holes in top crust. (If you like, you can cut strips of dough and weave a lattice across the top of the pie instead of using a solid top) Cut some strips of foil and lay around outer edge to keep it from getting too brown, the outside edges cooks the fastest.
Bake for 50 or 60 minutes in preheated 400 degree oven~

Wheels in Africa

This one was carrying the driver, two riders, a child, and a lawn chair. If they needed room for one more, the driver would scoot up under the handlebars and make more room.

Today I am sharing with you my blog from 4 years ago.
There are several ways to get from one place to another in Kenya, walking is one of the most popular. There are bicycle rides for a small charge, or a ride on a pickie pickie (motor scooter) with a driver~ but four or more people can load onto one. Then there is the taxi which is expensive, and the matatu, a nine seated van which can be loaded with more than nine people with their bags and boxes tied on top. (One of these matatus was involved in an accident soon after midnight on New Years between Kitale and Eldoret, killing all eleven passengers, such a tragedy). There are also large buses like those in the US. The  pickie pickies are what many people use for transportation, lots of men in business suits, going to and from work. There can be several riders, women occasionally ride side saddle but most straddle the seat wearing skirts. I saw a blind man with a cane, paying a driver and his seeing eye dog had just hopped off. We saw people carrying babies and several family members at once, and the man with a goat on his back with it’s feet tied around his shoulders. The drivers are careful, there are lots of pot holes that they have to manuver around. My group rode two motor scooters down Mili Mani to where we were staying~just to say we did it.  Later when we were in a taxi,  in Nairobi, we were stuck in a traffic jam for a long time and the only things moving were the motor scooters. (I didn’t mind the traffic jam, I enjoyed looking at the beautiful and interesting buildings, it is a great city). 

Elizabeth and I rode together on this one. Out of respect for my age, the driver was careful and only drove 20 mph. It was fun~

Pet Java Monkey

Junior was part of our family for several years. It was an experience to say the least~

I told you about Junior Monkey in an earlier blog,  he was more than a one trick pony. It was something new every day. He was a Java monkey and had a long straight tail and his hands had prehensile thumbs, just like a human hand. (some monkeys just have five fingers and no thmb) He used his tail for balance only. He was able to do everything with his hands and do it well. When he had grapes, he would carefully peel each one, remove the seeds and fill his jaws up, then take them out and eat them. He liked grasshoppers and crickets. Whatever he ate, he worked on it quite a bit, he enjoyed playing with his food. It was  easy to read his moods. If he was happy, his hair went flat on the top of his head, he tilted his head back, half closed his eyes and made a sweet chattering sound with his teeth. Sometimes he got mad, when he had your car keys or sun glasses, and knew he was in trouble, that hair on his head went straight up, eyes wide open, pupils tiny as pinholes, screeching and showing his teeth. Pretty scary, you didn’t make eye contact, just looked away and started ‘talking to someone’ who wasn’t there. Once I brought  him to Austin to be in the water carnival at UT and afterward took him to a vet clinic to spend the night. The next morning when I went to pick him up, that guy was SO mad! Junior had opened the latch on his cage, then opened doors  on several other cages. The room was destroyed. (I wasn’t the one responsible for locking him up) Once he ruined Mother’s kitchen with a sack of flour. The room was white and he was white. Junior liked his clothes and sat still while I painted his nails. He was interested in those nails, he would work all day on a hangnail. Monkeys like to groom each other (or anyone who is holding them). They are not looking for fleas, they don’t have those, but are picking tiny flecks of salt. This was always a loving time. When Junior went with Daddy to deliver fuel to the oil rigs, he wore green Phillip 66 overalls, and sat in the truck while Daddy was busy. He rolled the windows up and down,  locked the doors, pushed all the buttons, (pulled the buttons off the radio) and sat on the steering wheel to watch and wait. He tore the rubber blades off the windshield wipers more than once. He was sweet and fun and we loved him, but as I said before, don’t ever consider getting a monkey. A puppy is a better choice~

Shih Tzu Puppies


Daisy, Tootsie, Little Elmo,Ginger, Jitter Joe

                                        Marci’s & Gizmo’s Love Song
                                       When Marci and Gizmo found each other,
                                        it was made was made in heaven above,
                                        For she loved him and he love her
                                        The greatest love of them all
                                        Then there was Little Tootsie, and Jitter Joe,
                                         Daisy, and Ginger,  and Little Elmo
                                         Put them together and what do you see
                                         A real fine family        (and sometimes a fight)        Rita

Jitter Joe, Daisy, Tootsie, Little Elmo and Ginger

Jitter stayed home with his mama. He is my sweet little prize

Marci was a wonderful mother, she took good care of her babies and missed them terribly when they left. ~me too~

There are  many pictures of these babies, they were each one so special. I used one of the Kiddie Pools for their play pen. It was great, they had lots of room to play  and couldn’t get out to roam around and get in trouble. Marci could jump in and nurse them and take care of them, then get out and take a rest without having five little crawly things all over her. I took them out  two at a time to hold in my lap and tell them the story of their life and how much I loved them. We talked a lot. Dan held each one of them every day. Lots of people came to see them, even relatives from Dallas.These  are some of my favorite pictures.

jitter Joe McWhorter

Jitter Joe loves everybody, he is smart, he is gorgeous and he is my sweet prize~there are just not enough words~


Tootsie Pfluger is a beautiful little show girl, her mama loves her terribly.She goes to help her Papa feed. She is a real sweetheart~she comes to play with Jitter Joe.


Ginger and Little Elmo. Ginger lives in a home out of Christoval with the chickies and 3 peacocks. Anna adores her and Paul tolerates her, She is precious. Little Elmo passed away two summers ago after a bout with food poisoning. It was heartbreaking for all of us. He was a beautiful member of the family for over 9 years.

Miss Daisy Maisy Craven, the girl with the long flowing hair, she is an East Texas beauty and gets lots of loving. She is happy, her smile says it all~

This has been  my favorite blog to put together. It has been wonderful going through all the pictures and remembering all of these sweet times. I hope you like it too~

River Mouse

Abandoned Boat

In 1992, one of my boys and I were out at the place at Hulldale taking pictures and we found several old boats in the barn. He told me I should restore one. One look and I knew I didn’t want to get into such a big project. He persuaded me, he told me how much fun it would be for my tiny granddaughter at the river. Oh my goodness, what a mess~ there were, gaping holes and gashes and they were buried in dirt and silt. I was dragging my feet but finally decided I would try, I picked the best one of the bunch. I had to learn to fiberglass, make the electrical harness, find all the hardware, bumpers, rails, make the seat cover, make a template for a windshield, and I found a place in San Angelo to rebuild the electric motor. Nine months later, the deed was done. The RIVER MOUSE was born.     This was the hardest and most wonderful project ever.

ZZ driving the boat


Stacy and Dan at Shady Lane

Stacy Mae, Schatzie Kay and Dan going for a spin at Shady Lane

ZZ and her granddad

Granddad and ZZ, making plans

Ready to roll

I bought an old wielding trailer and restored it to use to haul the boat

ZZ loving the flag

the flag was the final touch, it flew proudly any time the River Mouse sailed, there is a light at the top of the flagstaff.

Bingo Singers

Gig at the court house

Here are Dale, Leonard, Rita and Jim  singing at the court house square, our group changes often, just who ever is available and willing~

The Bingo Singers~this little group has been active for at least 26 years. It started at the nursing home when I was helping with the Bingo games. Willie Johnson was singing one day and I told her I had a guitar and brought it the next time and we were off and running. She knew every song there was, I  made copies of the lyrics for everyone and we sang for an hour before Bingo twice a week. We sang everything from old ‘he done her wrong songs to hymns’. Through the years we have had some great singers, some of the guys like Jack , George , Claudie , and Wally  to name a few, and volunteers  like Jim , James , Mary , Norma Lynn  and a group of women who love to sing . We’ve played a few gigs at socials on the court house lawn. A nice comment was, “you don’t mess around tuning guitars or warming up, you just get up and sing“.  It has been fun being a part of this sweet nursing home family, some of my best friends ever, it is nice having a good audience~We meet every Friday at 9:00 and sing our hearts out for an hour. Everyone is invited.

Grist Mill in Glen Rose Texas

Charles Barnard built this grist mill in 1860, it is now an art gallery~

My friend Pat brought me an snap shot of an old grist mill in Glen Rose, it was built back in 1860  and at one time owned by her Great Grandfather Price. She wanted me to paint it for her. She told me the story behind it and I found more information on the internet, so while I was painting, it was interesting to know the history. She remembered visiting her grandmother there when she was growing up so it was part of her young life. Once when she was six years old, her mother put her on a bus in Ballinger, sat her behind the driver and told him not to let her off until she got to Glen Rose where her grandparents were waiting to pick her up. Times were different back then. After I finished the painting and she had it for a few days and came back and wondered if I could add some children playing in the yard.  I asked my little Edmiston neighbors to come over and pose under my oak tree, with a wagon and the swing, then  painted them in the picture. It brought it to life. This old building still stands in Glen Rose, it has been a grist mill, cotton gin, hospital and now an art gallery, many changes in a century and a half.  Pat has this little bit of history hanging on her wall. I enjoyed painting it~

My Pen Pal

China plater

these seven pieces were all that survived the trip from Germany

When I was in seventh grade, our teacher gave us a list of names and addresses of kids from other countries who we could have as ‘Pen Pals’. It was right after WW ll and I chose a boy from Germany. He sent me a picture of himself, standing on a rock ledge with beautiful mountains in the background, wearing leather shorts with colorful suspenders. It didn’t hurt one bit that he was fine looking with blond curley hair and a nice smile. His name was Freider Schmidt but nicknamed Bio. His father taught at  Baden-Baden Württemberg University. I wrote him a letter and sent a picture (not of myself but of the prettiest girl in school). He wrote back and for several years we corosponded. Mother often sent his family care packages with things like chocolate and coffee,  things they didn’t have available at this post war time . She even sent a woolen  blanket from the Eldorado Woolen Mill. Bio asked if there was anything he could send me and since Mother was a china painter I told him she would like a tea pot or something in undecorated china. A few months later a wooden crate arrived on the train and it was (had been) a complete set of Bavarian china. Every single piece was broken except for a cream pitcher  and six dessert plates. I never told him about the disaster.  Mother painted the the plates, and trimed the pitcher with pure Roman gold, fired it and it has been my treasure for 70 years. Some of my friends didn’t fair so well with their Pen Pals, but I always remembered my handsome friend and wondered what happened to him. Many years later I told my children about him and the picture I sent  him of that pretty girl who was ‘not me’, and they told me that the picture I had kept of him all those years was probably ‘not him’ either. 

Unexpected Visitors in Kitale, Kenya

this paper was packed with news, from local and some world news, it reminded me of the Eldorado Success, where real people go out and take real pictures and write the real articles first hand. They don’t get all their stories off  the AP and just copy what came from a thousand miles away~

I bought a newspaper ‘Daily Nation’, in Kitale the day after New Years, in 2013, this must be the main source of news in Kitale since few people have access to television or radio and I saw lots of people buying the paper. It cost about 50 cents and the 44 pages were packed with colored photographs and varied and interesting articles. I was impressed with the obituaries, beautiful stories with headings; Celebration of a Life Well Lived, Promotion to Glory, Our Hero has Rested~ since life expectancy in Kenya is around 58 years, only one person was listed who lived into  her nineties, many were in their thirties. Another thing that I liked about the paper is the lack of outlandish advertisements, you know the kind we get here with the full page hearing aid ads. (a huge ear with a person’s body stuck halfway inside) I cringe when I think of that one! Anyway, I took my paper to Elizabeth’s house where we were staying, the others had all walked down the road to Mount Elgon. I was lying on the sofa enjoying my paper when I heard someone come in the door and thinking it was Elizabeth,I glanced up to see a big monkey. He was staring me straight in the eye and never looked away as he reached over and grabbed the bunch of bananas on the coffee table, then was out the door and gone! I sat up and tried to think what had just happened, when I went outside to look there was one little banana left on the sidewalk. Then here came another monkey who grabbed it and took off. It was terribly funny, I could hardly wait for everyone to come back and hear about my visitor. Since I grew up with a monkey in my family I like them, but as I have told anyone who ever thought of getting one, ‘DON’T!’ ( just get a puppy or kitty instead)

I got a picture of this one later in the week, It could be he was coming back for seconds.  He was big, about like  a  medium size dog with really long  arms and legs.

these monkeys were on the fence out back, they came through every night and the four guard dogs barked ALL  night.  (The dogs slept in the flower bed during the day)

they didn’t chatter a lot, they just moved through the trees once a day and in the night, there were a lot of babies too.  No bird’s nest could survive~

Old Fort McKavett Texas

Frankie  is great with her camera, she shares some of her pictures with me. She has some good subject matter too~

Fort McKavett, population 45, is set in a beautiful area of Menard County with the San Saba River running near by and the restored Fort McKavett State Historic Park is within a mile. It served as a post (Buffalo Soldiers) protecting settlers from Apache and Comanche Indians raiders in the 1800’s. It is an interesting place to visit and a hunter’s paradise with all the wildlife, wild turkeys and white tail trophy deer. We used to go fishing under the huge trees at the river and gathered water cress at the low water crossing. Today I am showing pictures my friend Frankie Lively sent of her family enjoying an afternoon at the ‘Fort’, which is a little hamburger joint in town. A great way to spend a few hours seeing the sites. It is pretty part of the country. 

this hamburger/beer joint has been the town’s main business for 60 or 70 years. It has had a reputation for being pretty wild sometimes~ 

Miniature John Townsend Secretary

little things are fun to make, and filling the shelves up with pretty things is the best.

Today’s blog is one I originally I posted  last year. I would like to post it again since at that time I had just started my texasmornings  and had very few people looking. I was feeling pretty good when I was up to 9 lookers until someone told me that by the information on the my stat counter, 5 of those were me. So after a couple of weeks, I was up to 4 real people looking. One more thing that confused me was the time, instead of regular time,  it used Military time so it ended up going on in the middle of the afternoon instead of early morning. Someone told me Military time ran from 12:00 midnight to 24 hours later and then started over at 1:00 AM. I would throw that system out but maybe we would have lost a war or something if we had done it my way.

This is a John Townsend secretary I copied from a real one I have in my living room. It is 23″ tall and made of mahogany.  I found a place that made skis from thin strips of wood and they gave me enough scraps for years of projects.  Unlike the smaller miniature furniture, the drawers and doors need work on the larger pieces. It took a while to make it, all the drawer pulls were made from copper wire that I hammered flat, then cut into shape with a scroll saw, probably something like making jewelry.  Dowel pins are great for carving figurines, vases and all the pretty things we like. I found a  jewelry place in Bryan going out of business and bought a box full of stuff. I took the stones out of the earrings and used the bezels to frame tiny photographs. Crystal beads and chains made great  chandeliers. It was always fun making the furniture pieces but the best part was making all fancy things to fill the shelves. There are envelopes the size of a fingernail, addressed and stamped,  inside each one is a two page letter. It only takes simple tools to build and carve these things. I used a coping saw, Diamond Deb fingernail file, emery boards and carpet knife. Later I bought a small scroll saw, it has a round sanding disc to shape the turned pieces. Finding good glue was always a problem, it had to be sticky to start with and then be really strong when it dried. This was always happy work.