Bits & Pieces

 

pretty prickly pear~has nothing to do with the story, it is pretty though

Dan and I used to go to Johnson City often where he visited with Harold Wood who was in charge of the LBJ Park . One day we finished early and Dan asked Harold where was a good place to eat. He told us he liked the City Cafe  that had pretty good old German food in Fredericksburg. We stopped there and ordered our lunch. Dan was eating his salad and found some shrimp shells in it. I said, “Don’t Eat It and Just Don’t Make a Scene!”  In a little while the bus boy was cleaning off the table next to us and held up a bowl of half eaten jello, he yelled to the back, ‘Hey Erna, Do We Save This?’

Once when I was invited to the Country Club in a nearby town for a Bridge party luncheon, the meal was just OK, nothing special. While my table was lively with conversation, I was concentrating on my food. The broccoli was bright green except for one long fat white worm. He was well done. I just moved him over to the side and didn’t say anything. I have raised gardens and know that a worm can get on the vegetables, you just knock them off and forget it. Anyway, someone at the table asked me a question and I lack some of the social graces and my nerves took over while I tried to think of something to say. After the talk moved on to another person, I relaxed but the next thing I noticed was the worm was gone. Yes, I had eaten it. 

Missing the Mark

Everyone who knows me knows I have two dogs, Marci (the mama) and Jitter Joe (her son). She is getting old now~ she is 13 and he is 11.

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 the 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.

My blog today is about cleaning carpets and rugs. I started the day off with the Bingo singers at the Nursing Home. I had planned to come home and spend the day cleaning carpets. I have potty pads down all over the house in case anyone has an accident. (oh and they do!) Jitter is careful to go mark every single clean pad as soon as it goes down. That is about 9 pads each with one little round yellow spot. Marci is careful too, she stands with her front feet on the edge of the potty pad and makes sure she doesn’t get any pee on it, it goes on the floor. Marci does go to the back door when she needs to go out but lately she just walks to the back of the car and goes there in the garage. Jitter goes outside with her and will walk around for a long time, then come in and use the potty pad, he uses the cleanest not  the dirty ones. So back to the carpet cleaning job this morning.

The round rug is under the table in the utility room and a favorite spot for Marci~

The round rug is under the table in the utility room and a favorite spot for Marci~

 I started with the round rug under the dinning table, I took it outside on the driveway and started shampooing. It was hot out there since it was around noon. Then the man drove up to put a new tire on my lawn mower so by the time I could go back with my job it was blazing hot and my shade was gone. As of now, I only have one rug done and the whole rest of the  house left. I will try to get it done tomorrow and get ready for Sunday company dinner. One more thing, I don’t know why they leave that little wing tip on chicken wings, I have to cut them off (34 of them) and get everything ready for Buffalo Chicken Wings. It took me an hour and I was  tired but it had to be done. I could show you  the Chicken Wings but they aren’t cooked. No maybe you would rather see the exciting thing for me this week~ I found two nice figs on the tree I panted in February. It has been a dream of mine to grow a fig tree, I have tried every few years but not one fig until now. 

Beautiful figs, these came from the same kind of tree Adam and Eve covered themselves with when they were in thrown out of the Garden of Eden.

Beautiful figs, these came from the same kind of tree Adam and Eve covered themselves with when they were in thrown out of the Garden of Eden.

Chicken Pasta

A good summer time dinner

This dish is bursting with flavor, you can spread garlic butter on the bread and toast it, everything just goes together~

I got this recipe from my friend Christy Brown. It is one of the very best. She told me later that she only made it once but it is listed in my recipes as Christy Brown’s Famous Chicken Pasta.  I serve it with hot rolls or French Bread and a big vegetable salad, it is all you need for a great company meal. Make a list of the ingredients and pick them up at the store so you will always be ready. This recipe serves six or more~

CHICKEN PASTA

6 oz. cooked egg noodles (med. size)
3 c cooked chicken
1 can Cream of Celery Soup
1 can Pet Milk
½ tsp salt  (or to taste)
½ can black olives, cut in halves
1 c diced celery
1 c Longhorn Cheddar cheese
¼ c pimentos
1 small can green chilies
1 small can water chestnuts
1 c toasted slivered almonds (save half for topping)
Mix these ingredients and put in a Pyrex baking dish
that has been sprayed with Pam.
Top with remaining almonds and some buttered breadcrumbs.
Heat in 325 oven, loosely covered with foil for 15 min.
then remove foil and heat another 15 minutes or until it is bubbling hot.

Steak Fingers

It is fine to eat these with your fingers, one thing I almost always serve at ever meal is cantaloupe, to me it just says ‘summer time’~

Steak Fingers  are a good summer time meal. They are easy to fix, easy to eat and everyone likes them. Today I served them with gravy, fried okra salad, mashed potatoes, hot biscuits, cantaloupe and red, yellow and orange peppers and radishes. I made a chocolate cake last night so that with ice cream and coffee was dessert. I have the recipes for the cake, the fried okra salad and biscuits in earlier blogs~

Steak Fingers
1 1/2 lbs tenderized round steak, cut it in 3/4 inch strips
1 c flour, seasoned with salt, garlic powder and pepper
Roll the strips in flour and lay on a sheet of wax paper
let sit a little while until meat absorbs the flower, then roll
it again in more flour.
Heat canola oil in skillet,(about 1 inch deep) set on Med.
When hot, add the steak fingers and turn after a few minutes
It doesn’t take long to cook them, don’t overcook, you want them
just crunchy on the outside and soft and tender inside.
To make cream gravy, pour off all but about 3 T of the oil
add 3 T flour, cook for a minute, then add 1 1/2 c milk. Cook
until thickened, salt and pepper to taste.  

Homemade Corn Tortillas

there is no end to the things that can go into a taco, scrambled eggs,cheese,lettuce,alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, cottage cheese or sour cream~

This recipe for homemade corn tortillas is fast and easy. You mix the batter, pour it in a small 8″ skillet, much like making a crepe or pancake, and cook it in a minute. Repeat until you have used all the batter, It should make 12 nice size corn tortillas. You cook the tortilla twice, once to make it and then the second time is to soft fry it in oil to cook it and make it a little crisp around the edges, it gives it a wonderful flavor. You can roll up whatever you like inside, here I have grated cheese, cottage cheese, shredded lettuce, scrambled eggs and tomatoes. Everyone can build their own. Since the batter has an egg in it, don’t heat it in the microwave or it will taste “fishy”. ( I sent this recipe to Elizabeth since she likes Mexican Food and there are no tortillas in Africa, and no masa flour to make them. They do have corn meal so she will be able to make enchiladas and tacos now).

Homemade Corn Tortillas
1 1/2 c water
1 c flour
1/2 c yellow corn meal
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
Beat all of this in a blender until it is completely mixed.
Heat small 8″ skillet that has been sprayed with a little Pam
Pour 1/4 c batter (measure, no more than this) in heated skillet and tilt pan to cover whole bottom of pan with the batter, it needs to be thin.
Cook about 15 or 20 seconds on each side, take out and do another one
until all the batter is used. Stack the tortillas as you cook them.
Now, add about 1/2″ corn oil to skillet and one by one, cook
the tortillas (med heat) 30 seconds on each side. Lay each one’
on several thickness of paper towels, patting tops to get the
grease off. Stack and keep warm.
 You will have the platter of scrambled eggs, lettuce and stuffing
done ahead of time so you are ready to eat when you finish the
tortillas. My favorite is a little bit of scrambled eggs, lots of lettuce
and some cottage cheese. Sour cream is good, alfalfa sprouts are good,
but I always want the scrambled egg too. One scrambled egg is enough for about three tacos.

New Girl in Town

Here is Nancy leading the exercise class at the wellness center. She and Bob are into just about everything in town~

Here is Nancy leading the exercise class at the wellness center. She and Bob are into just about everything in town~

Mother used to can fruit cake. It had pineapple, maraschino cherries, raisins, some dried fruit and loaded down with lots of pecans. She cut pieces of wax paper which she lined the cans with after greasing and flouring them. In went the cake dough up about 2/3 rd full, sealed the cans and into the pressure cooker. That is all I remember. When we wanted fruit cake we only had to open both ends of the can, slide the cake out and cut it  in nice round slices. Delicious.

I canned things but didn’t know the time and temperature for fruit cake.I called Nancy Baumann, our new Schleicher County Home Demonstration Agent to find out if she had a canning recipe for cake. No, but she got in touch with A&M Extension Service and they sent her a whole packet of information. So that is when I met Nancy, she came to my door with the answers. There she was, so so young, so enthusiastic, all bubbly and happy and excited. She invited me to a demonstration she was having so she could meet with the ladies in town. There was a nice gathering of women who came, young and mostly old, (you know those who already knew everything). I sat between Ola Ruth and Mrs. Jeffery. Nancy starts out explaining basic rules of canning and equipment needed. She was holding a long thermometer and said it was very expensive but we could borrow it if we needed to. (she was being animated with it as she stressed her points).  Mrs Jeffery leaned over and said, “she’s gonna break it”  and that is exactly what happened, she hit the pan with it and it shattered. Mrs. Jeffery whispered to me, “see I told you!” Then for most of the next hour, everyone was telling her how they did things. Nancy was explaining how important it was to know how to can properly so you wouldn’t make anyone sick. Water bath was for things like tomatoes with their high acid content, and most everything else needed to be canned in a pressure cooker. Now Ola  Ruth ‘took over’  to tell how SHE canned her green beans. It called for 8 lbs of pressure so she weighed 8 lbs of bricks and put them in the oven, put the lids on the cans, put them in a pan of water and and after the right amount of time she set them in cold water to cool. The lids popped down and sealed but it was just a perfect recipe for killing someone. All l could think was poor Nancy, she had her work cut out for her. She stuck it out and worked at this job for years. She especially liked working with children in 4 H, teaching them to cook and sew.  Everyone loves Nancy. She married a great hometown guy named Bob (Elvis) Lester. Thank you Nancy!

Picture Worth a Thousand Words

Everyone busy getting dinner ready, someone is already on the table~

Everyone busy getting dinner ready, someone is already on the table~

Several days ago I had a blog about Our Secret Forever and could never put the blame on Kobi Joe for knocking the music box in the floor that day. When I was going through other Kobi pictures, just enjoying remembering that little fellow, I came across this one which we must have all missed. Anna and Debbie busy getting dinner ready to serve and there was Kobi in the utility room up in a chair and going through the stuff on the table. Miss Molly was being a good girl, just trying to tell us something was going on. One of my favorite Kobi stories is when someone gave him a treat and he took it in the den on the carpet. His papa told him he had to go get on this bed in the kitchen, so he dragged the bed in the den~ got on it and ate his treat. He was so smart.

Missy Baby

Missy with Mrs. Mendoza, they loved bingo day

For 12 years Missy went to the nursing home with me twice a week for Bingo, and an hour of singing and playing the guitar. She loved everyone. She made her rounds to see who had  bacon for her. She finally developed bladder stones and had to have surgery. No more bacon after that!  Delfina still brought her a week’s worth of bacon wrapped up in a towel, I would pretend to give Missy a  bite and tell Delfina I would take the rest home for later. I have so many great pictures of the friends who lived there, the best ones were always the ones where they were holding Spook or Missy or Marci. After I got Marci, I would put their leashes on and when we went in the door, Marci would grab the end of Missy’s leash and head for the dinning room. She sort of took over. There are so many wonderful stories about my friends.  I have been volunteering  for 24 years, I have always said, ‘it’s the best party in town’. 

Refinishing Old Teak Deck Chair

I refinished a teak wood deck chair years ago and once again it was needing some real work. The bottom of the legs had started rotting from sitting on a wet patio while the rest of the chair was in good shape. This was a special chair because they got it about the same time they got Schatzie~ their sweet wonderful little pound dog in 1989.. She loved to sit out in her chair.

Here are Marcus and Stacy Mae with their new pound puppy, Schatzie Kay. She loved her chair!

Here are Marcus and Stacy Mae with their new pound puppy, Schatzie Kay. She loved her chair, we all loved her~

Teak wood comes from Indonesia, it is great for using on boats and for making outdoor furniture. When new it has a beautiful golden brown finish and after about 6 months, it starts to turn a sliver grey color. Some people don’t mind it being grey but to keep it looking new you can do one of two things. Either use a teak oil and rub it on once a year or use a polyerethane varnish, which will have to be removed and and refinished after about 8 or 10 years.

This is the fun part, you start seeing some real results.  I am using Crown Handi_Strip from Lowe's and thnk it is the best  I have ever tried.

This is the fun part, you start seeing some real results. I am using Crown Handi-Strip from Lowe’s and  think it is the best I have ever tried.

Since I had used the varnish the other two times, I am doing it again this way. It is a big project since there are so many parts (46  pieces of wood)  and every single piece has to be striped, scraped and sanded.

Ready to begin taking apart, I made sketches to help remember how it goes back together later~

Ready to begin taking apart, I made sketches to help remember how it goes back together~

I worked on this chair for over a week to get to where I could see that it was going to turn out. The good thing is when you get tired, you go get a Dr. Pepper and rest a few minutes, then it calls you back. It is a wonderful  thing for someone who has a compulsive disorder, or maybe it is a blessing for someone who just loves to work.

All the parts that have to come off need a strong screw driver and lots of arm power. I have been spraying them with WD-40 and letting them soak  for a while and so far, I have  not  to drill any screws out. All the metal parts, screws and bolts are brass.

All the parts that have to come off need a strong screw driver and lots of arm power. I have been spraying the screws and bolts with WD-40 and letting them soak for a while and so far, I have not had to drill any screws out. All the metal parts, screws and bolts are solid  brass.

This was the most damaged of all the wood, it  was the leg on the leg rest.  All of this had to be sanded so we could make an accurate pattern for the new legs.

This was the most damaged of all the wood, it was the big leg on the right side, so rotten it was two inches shorter than the left leg.  All of this had to be sanded so we could make an accurate pattern for the new legs. I will put little gliders on the bottom of the new legs to keep the wood up off the patio.

The leg rest had to be taken completely apart part and morties & tenons  cleaned inside and out.

The leg rest had to be taken completely apart and morties & tenons cleaned inside and out.

You can see how nicely this leg rest cleaned up, all of the rungs had to be taken out and cleaned. When I put it back together, there will be a little dab of Elmers Wood Glue to hold them in place.

This one last leg  is the only thing that hasn't been removed.  After it is off, all the damaged parts will go to Dan's since he has a  Shop Smith and the drill press. Oh yes and the router.

This one last leg is the only thing that hasn’t been removed. After it is off, all the damaged parts will go to Dan’s since he has a Shop Smith and the drill press. Oh yes and the router.

 

Damaged legs and pieces, ready to copy and cut~

Four new legs and three cross pieces have to be cut now. Every screw hole and channel has to be exact. There are holes for the dowel pins, it takes real equipment to do this work or it won’t go back together. Fingers crossed and it is his chair and he will be responsible.

My part is done up to this point. After the legs come back, I can start staining and varnishing. It is looking pretty nice right now. I have been protecting the head rest with Schatzie’s name on it.

I am being careful to keep the head rest original. I don't want to try to paint in the name again.  It has stayed in good condition for 28. years.

I am being careful to keep the head rest original. I don’t want to try to paint in the name again. It has stayed in good condition for 28. years.

 

Cleaned, striped and sanded, top to bottom and underneath, just waiting for the new legs~

Cleaned, striped and sanded, top to bottom and underneath, just waiting for the new legs~The head rest is covered in heavy plastic until the the staining and varnishing starts. 

The last part of this blog will be posted when the job is completed.

Breakfast Tacos

Today is Friday so you have time to go to the grocery store for avocado, sour cream dressing, tortillas and cilantro and be ready to fix everyone a nice weekend breakfast. They will love you for it!

fry a few extra tortillas to finish up on, you’re going to love this! Break off chunks and eat with your fingers, that’s how it is done ~

These crisp breakfast tacos are a real treat. I always keep small packages of pinto beans cooked and in the freezer. I also freeze packages of corn tortillas and when I need them, I can just slip a knife between them and pop out however many I want. This is a good supper time meal too. Forget the fork, break them apart and eat them with your fingers, a little messy  but just don’t look~

Breakfast Taco
Hard fry corn tortillas, (two per serving) 
1 c cooked pinto beans, mashed and seasoned with garlic powder & salt
2 scrambled eggs (add slice of American Cheese while cooking)
1 large avocado mashed and seasoned with garlic powder & salt
shredded cheddar cheese
1 c  shredded lettuce
1 chopped tomato
sour cream dressing
Fry the tortillas in half an inch of oil until crisp (not browned), drain well
Spread the mashed beans on tortilla, lay another tortilla on top
put 2 T scrambled eggs on next, sprinkle on some shredded cheese , then
lettuce and tomatoes,scoop some avocado on and then top it all off with a spoon
of sour cream dressing.  A sprig of cilantro for a grand finish~

Our Forever Secret

KOBI JOE  Mr. Innocent

KOBI JOE    Mr. Innocent 

No one really knows what happened that day, Kobi and Miss Molly were at Grammy’s house for the weekend. She wasn’t taking very good  care of them, she was reading or something, maybe watching a movie or painting her nails. She just told this story a long  long time afterwards as she remembered. She heard a LOUD CRASH, and then sweet music drifting through the hall way. She ran to see what had happened and there was the music box on the floor and not a soul around except for Jitter who came to see what all the commotion was about.  She found Molly asleep on the sofa and Kobi was ‘no where to be found’. He often disappeared when someone had an accident on the carpet or anything else he might be blamed for. So this mystery was never solved, no one was accused and no one got in trouble.

Musical Mystery                       ~ and some day it will have it’s lid re-attached
Kobi's music box 2                                              Your secrets are safe