Beautiful Pyracantha

 

this plant has been trimmed to become a small tree, they can also be left as a bush. As with so many of the showy plants, they have lots of thorns~absolutely beautiful

The pyracantha bushes are covered in beautiful orange berries around town. The plants grow to 10 feet tall and are showy and beautiful. They tolerate heat and cold and even drought, in fact they like it dry and can live for many years.

in the spring they will be covered in beautiful fragrant white flowers. They liked to be pruned, that keeps them producing~

In the spring, they are covered in white blossoms and then the berries come on in later summer. Good food for the birds, they eat everything that falls on the ground. It is also a safe nesting place. The branches are a mass of thorns so they are considered a good barrier against predators. They bring lots of pretty color to the landscape with little effort. Now is a good time to plant them, start with a gallon size and it will grow into a nice plant in a hurry. This one I found in Tricia’s yard this afternoon and decided to show it off. She will be surprised to see it in tomorrow’s blog.

Buttermilk Pound Cake (Revised Version)

the lemon icing makes this cake extra tangy and special, it is an easy cake to make and is 12 or more servings~

I like a pound cake because you can slice it, pick it up and eat it, or you can have it with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk. It isn’t sticky, you don’t need a napkin or a fork. But of course you can sit down and eat it quite properly if you like. The slices can be wrapped and frozen and ready for drop in company. Real pound cake is made with real butter. I like the little bit of lemon icing on it too.  Pound Cake must be good, it is in every recipe book, and has been handed down for generations from good cooks~   Note! Since I first placed this on my blog, I had a failure on one cake so this recipe has been changed slightly. After testing it today, it turned out very nice~

   Buttermilk Pound Cake

1 c ~soft butter (2 sticks)
2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 c flour
1 c buttermilk
1/2 tsp soda
Cream butter and sugar together
Add eggs, one at at time, beating well
Add vanilla
Stir soda into the cup of buttermilk
Add flour alternately with buttermilk,
batter should be smooth.
Grease bottom of tube pan, (not sides)
Bake one hour and 15 minutes at 325 degrees, test with toothpick,
it sould come out clean when pushed into center of cake
Cool for 10 minutes, then run knife around the
sides to turn cake loose, Shake pan to loosen
cake, then remove to plate.
Lemon Icing
Mix grated lemon rind, juice from one lemon and
1 1/2 c powdered sugar. If icing is too stiff, add a
few drops of water. Drizzle over warm cake~, use only
this amount of icing, don’t overdo it~

                                                                                                               

 

Scarecrows

here she is in her last stages, she held up for years, guarding the garden and entertaining the deer

This is Miss Lilla, our scarecrow. She guarded our garden for many years, as you can see, she was just about finished. She had a sister Sarah who took care of the garden at the river. She faired much better, she went to the barn in the winter time. They were both life size dolls who wore size 8 clothes. Several times they got new outfits but the shoes held up for all those years. Miss Lilla’s arms would swing in the wind and when my neighbor drove down the road, she said she always waved back. It made me sad when I finally put them to rest, I felt like I was loosing an old friend. One of these days I will start over and make a new one, they were sculptured out of flesh colored sheer nylon fabric, with real wigs and stuffed with plastic bags filled with newspaper. It worked. The deer stayed out of the garden for a short time, until they caught on~

Deer, Turkeys and Quail

here are seven of the turkeys in the back yard yesterday. I keep corn and sunflower seeds out for them

all of the turkeys are hens, I don’t know why they stay together and the toms are seldom around, I have only seen a tom once or twice in all the years here~

It looks like the wild life is back in my yard again. I am happy! Yesterday there were ten turkeys eating the corn and making dust bowls in the dirt. They may be the same ones that were babies here in the spring. I love the turkeys, they don’t fly away in a panic if they see me, they just walk over the rock fence and out under the oak groves.

these were are few of a covey of about a dozen quail under the bird feeders this week. They move around a lot and it is not easy to get a good picture. They are darling~

The quail have been coming too, they eat the sunflower seeds under the bird feeders. They are such sweet birds, all fluffy and pretty and stay together in a covey. It is hard to understand how they survive since they have their nests on the ground, sitting ducks for snakes, cats and other varmints. Somehow they do.  

these are three young deer here this week. I keep a mineral block out for them and then always throw corn out every day. Everything likes the corn~

Then the deer have started coming back, there were three this week and several more last week. The great thing about wild life, you can enjoy them and if something happens to them, it is not like losing a pet, you can just believe they move on to another place and will come back later. It is always a thrill for me when I see them out in the back yard.

58 Years of Guitars

 

this is the Martin, acustic f-hole bow top guitar that I started with. It had steel strings that killed my fingers for a while

In 1953, after Dan and I were married, I missed having a piano but felt like that was too much to ask for. Our friend Raymond Schrank could play guitar so I told him I had thought about getting one but  wondered if I could ever learn. He said he could show me just two chords to start with and I could sing lots of songs with just those. The next week Dan and I were in San Angelo and went by the Houston-Clary Music Store and I picked out the prettiest guitar on the wall. It was an arch top f-hole acoustic. What a thrill! Later that day, Raymond showed me the two chords in the key of G. I could now play and sing ‘Down in the Valley’. (oh, and he told me there would have been  easier guitars to play, like the classical with nylon strings). In just short time I could play all the chords in the key of G. I bought a kaypo, it is clamp that fits on neck to squeeze the strings and change to any key while still using  the same fingering. I was in business. We used to stay at the river in the summer and Dan’s brother and his family were there, so at night I played the guitar and we sang. The song most requested was Marty Robbins’ ‘Devil Woman.  

this is the Yamaha classical guitar I bought at the pawn shop for $125. It is easy to play and sounds good, it has been my Bingo Singer guitar for 20 years

  Though the next 58 years I have had several guitars. Some from the pawn shop, that must be the first thing someone has to get rid of~my favorite one was an almost new Yamaha, someone had carved on the neck ‘True Love Is Forever’.

This guitar has a great sound but the fat bulge on the back gets in the way of my stomach~I almost sold it for $15 but the woman changed her mind~

Once Stacy and I were on our way to Albuquerque and saw a community garage sale in Lamesa . I saw a guitar with a case. We went back and I bought it for $25. We took turns playing it the rest of the way. I put it in a garage sale later, I didn’t need that many guitars. A woman kept looking at it, she thought her husband would like it, I finally told her she could have it for $15, and played it for her to help with the sale. She bought it, drove off and then I could hear her car backing up. She brought it back and said she decided not to get it after all. Just a few weeks ago I sole it for $35 so it is gone. When my granddaughter ZZ was 12 years old, I showed her how to play several chords that made made a pleasant tune, she learned it quickly. We named it ‘ZZ’s Ditty’. When I took her home to Albuquerque, I bought her a nice classical guitar and then she took lessons for several years. She learned the real way, it is exciting to listen to her play that beautiful music. 

this is my newest and first fine guitar, it is a Takamine and can be used with an amp system, it has a crisp, beautiful sound~

I love music, Dan loved music, he was a great audience. After every song, he would clap and yell, ‘Yee haw, more more!’  I didn’t even have to be good at it~;and one more thing, I did finally get my piano~

 

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.

Mexican Plowing with Oxen

fifty years ago, there were no modern machines for farming, everything was back breaking work, done the hard way.

In 1956, on a trip to Old Mexico, we were south of Saltillo where we got a picture of this man plowing with oxen. There were quite a few farms in this area. The field looked rocky but must have been good for growing a crop, the soil that had been turned up had deep rows. At least the fields were flat. On down in the interior toward Mexico City, there would be crops planted on the sides of the mountains, places dug out to form a little ledge with a rock to hold each plant so it wouldn’t slide off down the slope. It was lush and green, all they needed was something to hold the plant in place until it took root. The highway to Mexico City was miles and miles of narrow, winding roads with hairpin turns,  carved  out of the sides of mountains. It was scary and all I could think of was we were going to have to go over this road again on the way back home. Dan hired a driver for the trip back so it was much  better. This was an unbelievably beautiful part of Mexico. The people were kind and friendly.

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

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 at the Big Tree on the Joy’s Ranch and 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~

The Story Teller

 

I got this idea from a photograph in an old National Geographic magazine, I painted the woman in the likeness of Lizzie McAngus as I remembered her and the girl in the pigtails was one of the Bouie kids.

This is ‘The Story Teller’, companion painting to ‘The Old Ladies’ I posted a few days ago. I  painted them both the same week in 1963 and was excited, these were so different from the usual landscapes and river scenes. I loved that time in my life, we had our two little boys and that is the sweetest time of all. This painting has been at the Schleicher County Nursing home for many years. I like it, it reminds me of my grandmother Christian reading to me and my two sister. She always had time read to us and tell us stories, (the one story that always stands out is when her baby boy Jack was born and weighed eleven and a half pounds and it took three days). I am sure everyone has their own good memories of their grandmothers. And now we are the grandmothers~we are all blessed~

Dr. Bob~University of Texas

he was ‘Dr. Bob’ to all who knew him~ from presidents~ to a list that went on and on

Today’s blog is one I enjoyed posting. This was my great uncle Bob, Granddad Montgomery’s younger brother. He popped in and out of our lives when I was growing up and was quite a character. He had fly away hair, a big nose, big ears and a big smile. His wife Gladys was beautiful and vivacious, and always carried a tiny dog in her arms. We loved for them to visit, they were special and he had so many good stories.  One of my favorites was when a dignitary with the Government of India  gave Uncle Bob a beautiful hunting knife made of rosewood, inlaid with silver.  While hunting, Uncle Bob shot a deer and ran to cut it’s throat. Only stunned, the deer jumped up and ran off with his knife. He never found the deer or the knife. When I was at UT, I went by his office every week to say hello and talk a minute, always feeling welcome and leaving happy. You can read the story of his full and interesting life:   

  MONTGOMERY, ROBERT HARGROVE (1893–1978). Robert H. Montgomery, University of Texas economics professor, was born January 8, 1893, in Blanco County, Texas. He was the son of Charles G. and Georgia Montgomery who lived later in Menard County. He enrolled at Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State University–San Marcos), but dropped out of college during World War I to serve as an aviator in the U.S. Army. In 1923 he commenced a life-long marriage with Gladys Rupp. He attended the University of Kansas where he earned a B.A. degree, the University of Texas where he received an M.A. degree, and the Robert Brookings Graduate School in Washington, D.C. where in 1926 he was awarded a Ph.D. In 1922 Montgomery began teaching in the Department of Economics at the University of Texas where he rose to the rank of Professor of Economics and retired as Professor Emeritus in 1963. On various occasions he took leave to teach at the University of Kansas, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Pittsburgh, and to serve in the national administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in one instance, helping carry out relief programs of the New Deal.

In his long professorial career at the University, Montgomery taught a variety of courses, such as Agricultural Economics, Public Utility Economics, Corporation Finance, and Social Control of Industry, courses that attracted thousands of students who were fascinated by his colorful lectures and amused by his anecdotes and aphorisms. His reputation as a charismatic speaker earned him invitations to speak at conventions and other professional organization meetings across the United States. A liberal Democrat, he complained about the “colonial” status of Texas where large resources and industrial operations were controlled by “foreign” corporations in New York, and he advocated governmental regulation of industry, positions that won him the admiration of Texas New Dealers and the condemnation of conservatives in the Texas legislature and the University Board of Regents. Accused of teaching communism, Montgomery was called before an investigating committee of the state legislature in 1948 and asked if he belonged to any radical organizations. He answered famously, yes, that he belonged to the two most radical organizations in existence, “the Methodist Church and the Democratic Party.”

Montgomery’s publications included The Cooperative Pattern in Cotton (1929) and The Brimstone Game: Monopoly in Action (1949), as well as articles about the government ownership and control of railroads and electric utilities in The Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Science. During World War II, he served with the Economic Objectives Division, Board of Economic Warfare of the Foreign Economic Administration, where he helped select bombing targets in enemy territories. When he learned that American air forces had dropped atomic bombs on Japan, he reacted swiftly and famously, saying “Since there will be no more war; or only one more, I shall resign. We now have our choice. We can have millennium or Armageddon.” After his retirement from the University faculty in 1963, Montgomery and his wife, Gladys, moved to San Marcos where they lived until his death on June 6, 1978.

The Lemon Tree

 

this little tree was already blooming when I received it as a gift so I got to enjoy two lemons the very first year

Yes, you can grow lemons in West Texas. My kids gave me this dwarf lemon tree in a gallon bucket for Mother’s Day five years ago. I re-potted it into a 15 gallon container. It has had as many as 36 lemons at one time. They are wonderful lemons, full of juice and with few seeds.  

the lemons are huge, the skin is thin and it’s all juicy inside. The little tree is easy to take care of, it needs water every couple of days. The only bug problem would be if you have grasshoppers, they chew on the leaves.

You pick the fruit when it starts to turn yellow, then leave it on the counter for two weeks while it sweetens. Best fruit ever! Since a freeze will kill a citrus tree, and at times it gets down into the teens here,  I roll it into my garage on a dolly for the winter, I  have two big windows in there, it will not lose it’s leaves and even starts to bloom again in a couple of months. The fragrance is heavenly. This is one of those gifts that just keeps giving~absolutely love it~