Dinner Rolls

this is a wonderful meal, the hot homemade rolls make it extra special

This is one of Anna’s Sunday dinners. It is shish-k-bobs, Armenian rice, stir-fry vegetables right out of the green house, and the great homemade hot rolls. Today I am showing the recipe for the rolls, they are easy to make and always perfect. Whether we are eating at the river or at home, there is always hot bread. It makes every meal special. Debbie, Anna, Elizabeth, Stacy Mae and I have used this same recipe for as long as we have been cooking. Try it and then keep the recipe handy, you can keep yeast fresh in your refrigerator for months so you will always be ready. You can easily double or triple the recipe, sometimes Debbie ‘4 times it’~

Hot Rolls
1/4 c warm water
1 pkg active yeast (not Rapid-Rise yeast)
2 T sugar
Mix together in small bowl and let sit a few minutes
1/2 c milk
2 T real butter
1 egg
1 tsp salt
2 c flour (scant)
Heat milk and butter, let cool to lukewarm warm and
add yeast mixture, egg and salt.
Stir in flour and beat for several minutes.
Cover and let rise for 30 minutes, then knead
it on floured board. (try to use as little flour as possible)
Put flour on your hands, pinch off golf ball size pieces of  dough
and lay on greased baking sheet, about an inch apart
Let rise again for about 30 minutes in warm place.
Bake for 15 minutes until slightly golden in preheated 375 degree oven.

Tree House

this tree house is about 8 feet from the ground, beautiful job. I will be showing other tree houses in later blogs.

One morning a few years ago, I heard interesting noises from across the road, not a chain saw, a weed eater, not a mower, but something better. I knew the sound of a circular saw and it was buzzing away. This went on all day and when I went for my walk I saw what was going on with my neighbors. In an oak grove in the back there was some framing going up the biggest tree and legs down to the ground.  I could see Jim  was building a real tree house for their  girls. It was fun watching the progress. It took about a week and was perfect and wonderful. It had a nice sized room, a porch and  real stairs with hand rails. I thought how lucky those two kids were, it is every child’s dream to have a tree house, a play house or a cave. I always look when I drive by, it is a mighty fine house and a fine daddy who built it~

Happy Birthday Miss Nancy

Happy Birthday Nancy Jo

Happy Birthday Nancy Jo

Today I would like to wish my sweet little sister a Happy 79th birthday. One cold November night in 1937, my mother and daddy came home with this tiny bundle, a  new baby sister. We had stayed with Grandmother and Granddad Christian for a couple of days and had no idea there was going to be this surprise.  She was probably the first baby we had ever seen. She seemed to fit right in though. We have been friends for a lifetime. She has brought so much joy to our lives. Happy Birthday Nancy, I am glad you were born~

Texas Creamy Pecan Pralines

Delicious chewy pecan pralines

this candy is not hard to make, it just takes a little while, Texans know how to make good candy. I have run this blog before and it has been one of the most popular so I am putting it up again. It is worth it~

 

 

This is the recipe for the soft, creamy, chewy pecan pralines. It takes a little longer to make then than the sugary ones. I like all kinds of pralines so these are are worth it. You need a candy thermometer if you are going to have success every time. Wal Mart has them and they are not expensive. This is another one of Grandmother Montgomery’s candy recipes, she made a date loaf candy that was wonderful and something she called ‘fork candy’. She made  pot of clear syrupy candy and poured it over pecans in a platter. Then the kids each got a fork to scoop it up and enjoy. Candy making isn’t just for Christmas time, you can make it all year and it might be even better when there aren’t so many sweets at once. Try this one, you will love it~

Texas Creamy Pecan Pralines
1 cup sugar
1 cup white Karo syrup
pinch of salt
1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
1 cup  milk
2 cups toasted pecan halves
1/2 tsp. vanilla
In heavy saucepan, mix sugar, Karo, and salt,
 cook and stir over medium heat until temperature
reaches 245 degrees on candy thermometer.
Add milk, butter and pecans slowly so candy keeps boiling,
continuing to stir. When the temperature again reaches 245
degrees, remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Let stand until candy stops
bubbling. Drop by spoonfuls onto well buttered cookie sheet.
Cool completely, then put in refrigerator for an hour or so, this
way the candy will be easy to pop off the cookie sheet, wrap
each piece in plastic warp and store in cool dry place.
(butter the cookie sheet before you start, also toast the pecan by putting in the microwave on a paper plate, one cup at a time for one minute for each cup. All candy tastes best if the pecans are toasted~

Tres Vaqueros Mexicanos

Three Mexican Cowboys

even in the most remote places of Mexico, we would see vaqueros riding their caballos, the ranches were huge, they had a long ride each day

The year was 1965 on a trip to Mexico. Tres vaqueros mexicanos. They were proud men. It is hard to believe anyone could carve out a living on land like this, not much growing here except scrub brush and cactus. A little further down into the interior of Mexico, the lush beauty begins. Back in the years when we traveled there, we found the people to be genuinely fine in every way. They were hard workers and they took care of their families. On Sundays, everyone brought their children to town and it was like a celebration,  there were parks everywhere, lots of fountains that were built to honor  someone. It only cost a few centavos to have a day of fun. There was the  music of Mariachi bands or maybe just one man with his homemade harp, ready to entertain. Even riding on a city bus, there was usually someone with a guitar singing his heart out. I am thankful that my family got to know Mexico back when it was such a wonderful country. It was like another world, and right in our own back door~

Pecan Pie (s)

Pecan Pie

simply delicious,  It is  one of the all time great pies~

 I was making this pie last year for Thanksgiving dinner. We were going to Steve and Linda’s to be with Debbie’s family. I made the pie and while it was baking I went out to cut some juniper for Debbie’s Christmas decorations. I sacked up a garbage bag full, then walked around the yard and enjoyed the nice weather. I went inside  and remembered the pie. It was smelling ‘pretty done’ and the timer was blaring. After it cooled, I cut a tiny slice to see if it was going to be good enough to use. Not bad but the crust was hard and tough. I thought for a minute and I knew I should start over. So, I whipped up another one and got to the place where the custard is poured into the pie shell, reached over to get the bag of toasted pecans and just as I was fixing to dump them, saw I had the bag of Kibbles & Bits I had measured out for the pasture kitties. I saved it just in time! I was so happy, the rest of the day I was feeling good. Instead of having to make a third pie, it only took two tries. This one was perfect. It is an easily pie to make, you just have to use your head and not wander off out in the yard or get distracted. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It ia a beautiful day. We all have so much to be thankful for~

PECAN PIE

1 C WHITE CORN SYRUP
1 C BROWN SUGAR
1/3 tsp SALT
1/3 C MELTED BUTTER
1 tsp VANILLA
3 EGGS
2 CUPS PECANS (toast in microwave for 2 minutes, stirring twice)
Mix syrup, sugar, salt, butter, and vanilla.
Add slightly beaten eggs. Pour into 9 in. unbaked pie
shell. Sprinkle pecans on top. Bake at 350 for
1 hour. Watch carefully the last 20 minutes. You can lay a piece of foil over the top during the last 15 minutes so the crust doesn’t brown. It should be golden.
Crust
1 ½ c flour
1 tsp salt
½ c shortning
Water
Mix flour and salt, cut in shortning with pastry blender
Slowly add a few teaspoons of cool water while stirring to make a ball of dough that is firm and not sticky. Don’t over work it, the less you fool with it, the more tender it will be.
Roll it out thin on floured wax paper,( put a few drops of water under the paper so it won’t slip and slide). Now carefully fold it around the rolling pin and place it in the pie pan. Cut excess crust off around edge, leaving 1/2 in. overhang, which you can tuck under and make a pretty fluted edge.

 

Thanksgiving 2013

here are Anna, Tricia and me, we loaded up our plates and ate out in the new sun room

I wanted to show our Thanksgiving dinner from a few years ago. There were just the four of us since everyone else was out of pocket. It was a great meal at Tricia’s in her sun room. The weather was beautiful, the food was delicious and the company was great. We had ham, smoked turkey from Anna’s smoker, dressing, cranberry salad, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, steamed broccoli from the green house, hot rolls, pecan pie and ice cream. It is my favorite of all meals. 

Anna brought the delicious smoked turkey~

The new sun room was christened with tall glasses of iced tea

home-made all the way

pecan pie~ number two

Afterwards, Tricia showed Anna how to make roses for decorating cakes. We had a wonderful day. I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving too. 

making roses

Jitter Joe and Marci had chicken, then JJ stretched out on the rug and Marci found a lap somewhere~

Chickie Town

 

A lot of singing and chit chat going on. Nothing like pet chickies

Here are seven of Anna’s first pet chickies. When they got them eight years ago, they were one day old. They put them in a kiddy swimming pool in the garage with a screen wire around it to make a cage. This was their brooder for several weeks with a heat light to keep them cozy.  I made a play house from a small box, with windows and doors, and they liked it. There was a chickie head sticking out of every window. When they outgrew it, they just stood on top. They all have names, Miss Lilla, Ellie Mae, Honey, Ivy June, and the Three Girls. When they were bigger they moved to the chickie coop condo. Anna had it built and it has six laying boxes, roosts, even two insulated windows. It has a screened porch attached, made of hail screen covering the bottom, walls and top to make it snake and varmint proof. They roam around outside until evening, then go to bed on their own. Someone printed a production sheet with grafts and charts and hung it in the chickie house so they would know what was expected of them. They have done great, their eggs are too big to fit in an egg carton, each chickie lays a certain kind of egg, a certain color, a distinctive shape.When I drive up, they come running down the road to meet me, their wings spread out, looking like fat little airplanes, not being able to get airborne.  When we are working in the yard or the pasture, they are right there singing and talking. They are just the most wonderful pets. There were about 40 new chickies to add to these who are older now. Also there is a new chicken condo which is a larger coop. They will live their whole lives there, and their only purpose is to enjoy themselves and lay a few eggs. Chickie Town is sweet place. Who knew! 

Young Mexican Girl

this young girl was selling bread at the big market in Guadalajara

We found this pretty little Mexican girl selling bread at a market in Guadalajara, Mexico. Dan took her picture, bought all of her bread and a few weeks later when we came home, I put her on canvas. This was in the summer of 1966. Since then, she has held a special place in the study over his desk. Dan could speak Spanish well, and liked to visit with people. (I understood enough of the language to know when someone told me how pretty and clean my little boys were). We traveled in a tiny 17′ Airstream trailer, I will have more stories about that later. One of the nicest things I can think of is when we bought the trailer, I finally had my playhouse. Always a good bed, good bathroom and a wonderful meal. I go out in that little trailer often just to smell the nice smells and remember those wonderful times with my family. 

Surprise Gifts

This little sewing machine was made by the Singer Company in Turkey and is a smaller version of a real antique machine~

One of the Good Gifts

I was visiting with a friend before church started and we were talking about Christmas gifts that our husbands had given us in the past. She said once hers gave her a Concho pearl on a gold chain, it looked just like a big old tooth. She did not like it!  Her little boy told her that when they went to buy it, “we got that one because it was cheaper than the other ones”. I could hardly stop laughing all through church. I have received gifts I didn’t like also. Dan would find something from the Army Surplus Store, like asbestos fire proof  gloves to protect my hands ( and up to my elbows) when I was cooking on the barbeque. Once it was a full set of silver dinnerware  in a really  ugly pattern. I finally told him  I didn’t want  gifts, I would rather buy what I needed. He did surprise me with  a Singer 10 Overlock 5 spool serger one time. I had never seen one before and I don’t know how he came up with the idea, but it was an absolute dream gift. I sewed a lot and don’t know how I ever got along without it. One other time, he was in a coin shop in Midland and found something he thought I would want since I liked little things. It was a 7″ tall  miniature Singer Sewing Machine with a crank and it could really sew a chain stitch. I was so surprised and happy, I don’t think I laid down for a week. The sales slip is still in the box, it was a birthday gift in 1988. Two wins in 57 years~that must be a record~

Horned Toads

 

the horney toads don’t have many predators, they puff up, their eyes get blood red and they lie flat to the ground, whatever is after them gives up and leaves them alone

When I was growing up, there were lots of horned toads, those I knew about were mostly around San Angelo where my grandparents lived. The soil was sandy and I could always find them in their yard. There were lots of red ant beds and that was their favorite meal. I liked them, you could hold them in your hand and they didn’t sting or bite or try to run away, they stayed still and let you pet them. We called them horned toads or horney toads, but they are actually a kind of lizard. They lay their eggs in a hole in the sand and the babies dig themselves out when they hatch.

when they hatch, they are the size of a quarter, pale colored and ready to take care of themselves.

It seems like all of a sudden, they were gone. People caught them and kept  them for pets or shipped them off to other places as novelties.  The  tiny ones were frozen and a cast was made and turned into 18 ct. gold men’s tie tacks or pins. It took one horned toad for each pin. Then insecticides were used for killing the harvester ants so their main source of food was depleted. For whatever the reason, they are virtually gone. They are now on Texas’ Endangered Species list. I was opening the gate at my friend Pat Frye’s place one day and saw one beside the road. I picked him up and enjoy holding him for a few seconds then  put him down and let  him to go on his way. I thought how nice it would be if they got a new start again. Nice little creatures~

One last picture. Nature is amazing, every thing on this earth has a purpose and was made by our mighty Creator. We are all part of His plan~

Dorper Sheep

Here they are greeting everyone on the front porch

Here they are greeting everyone on the front porch

Meet the newest members of the family, the Dorper Girls. I recently I went up to their house and there were four beautiful white Dorper sheep in the pasture by the barn. When I got to the gate, they were there to check me out, and then met me in the front  yard. It was love at first sight. They had taken over the chickie pens, they ate all the chicken feed, and were on the big front porch, fertilizing it. Then they were at the back porch looking in the windows. Someone is always thinking of ways to make life more interesting and keep me busy. Here are some of the partnership schemes I was offered.
A longhorn steer is an enormous animal, you need someone to stand beside him to appreciate his size.

A longhorn steer is an enormous animal, you need someone to stand beside him to appreciate his size.

 First it was trying to talk me into going into halves on a longhorn steer, it would look so good on my place. It would need a good fence (and I already have a falling down fence).
This is a precious little goat, who could resist. She would be playful and a perfect pet

This is a precious little goat, it grabbed my heart. She would be playful, a perfect pet and grow into a productive milk goat.

Then milk goats, they sent me pictures of the cutest little goat I have ever seen, how could I resist!
Goat grow up to make milk goats. I am glad I checked it out before agreeing to take on the baby.

Goats grow up to make milk goats. I am glad I checked it out before agreeing to take on the baby.

I looked it up online and there was this site that had a big old ugly goat standing up on a box being milked with a milking machine. There was an old lady (that would be me) holding her while the old man (which I don’t have) was explaining how the machine worked. He got kicked a few times. He talked about the importance of cleanliness. He carefully washed her bag and went on talking while she relieved  herself and promptly sat in it. He never noticed but I did! The machine cost a bunch of money but she did produce two pints a day. No, I didn’t need a milk goat.

There was a choice of one of these, both grown and already giving milk~

There was a choice of one of these, both grown and already giving milk~

Next came the cow, we could name her Daisy, they would keep her at their house so I could run to run up there and help with the milking and get half the milk! She would need to be milked every morning by 6:30 but in the evening, it could be any time. Since she would be grass fed, she would be free of artificial hormones and steroids. She would need a fresh calf every year to keep her milk coming. That would involve a neighbor with a bull. “X that idea”.
During Friday night Bible Study; the stand around looking in the windows of the sun room. Um, I don''t know what they are doing but I think it must have something to do with the water trough'.

During Friday night Bible Study; they stand around looking in the windows of the sun room. Um, I don’t know what those folks are doing but I think it must have something to do with the water trough’. Amen

 I guess they are pretty perfect pets. Dorpers are from South Africa and are hair sheep, they don’t need to be sheared. (They shed by rubbing against the screen doors, porch furniture, fences and fruit trees). They can thrive on grass and a little hay. Any more than that and they get too fat. I am happy to have my  two little dogs, kitties, wild turkeys and deer. They are easy to care for and I can enjoy the Dorpers when I go visiting.