High Fashion Doll

her dress is peach velvet and organza, she has petty coats and pantaloons, Billy and I always enjoyed doing projects together~

This is a fashion doll or dresser doll. Billy had a catalog of china dolls, painted or unpainted, you could just buy heads, hands and feet and make your own doll.  We both ordered something. Mine was just the parts, unpainted and there was a pattern for the body.  

when you are working with a doll you get to know them, by the time you are done, you have bonded~

I used my oil paints to paint her features and hair color like I wanted. It was fun putting her together and then making her dress. This doll is almost 40 years old. When I was a little girl, there was a lady who lived across the street from my grandparent’s in San Angelo. Her name was Mrs. Bellings and I got to go to her house often. She had a beautiful fashion doll in her bedroom on the night table and  I never got tired of looking at it. She didn’t have any children but had a niece and we played together. ‘Nancy Ruth’ told me that her aunt said someday that doll would be hers. (I have a feeling that everything her aunt owned was going to be hers). Anyway, when Billy showed me her catalog, I was excited to make a doll and tried to copy the one Mrs. Bellings had, as I remembered it.  It took a while to make her, she had pantaloons, petty coats, and the dress had handmade roses. What a fun project, I enjoyed doing things with Billy, we had a lot in common, we both liked handwork.  And I certainly remember Mrs. Bellings, she was a petite woman with red hair, and a sweet voice, her husband was a happy man who always sat in his big chair and was bald headed. I hope Nancy Ruth got that beautiful doll.

Shearing Goats

the goats were calm and gentle, they were in the pen, waiting their turn

Texas is the largest producer of Angora goats in the US and third in the world. They are raised for their fine mohair. They are shorn twice a year, in February, just before kidding and then again in August.  It looked like they were penning about 50 goats at a time, while a large number were in other pens near by. It took about 5 days to do the job.

he was unhappy~and making lots of noise, it wasn’t hurting him~in a few minutes, he is going to loving life again

The shearing crew showed up at the Pfluger Ranch early to set up and get started. It takes about 4 minutes to shear a goat, with lots of bleating and protesting, but then they calm down and and happy to be rid of all that hair. Temperatures have been triple digits this summer, in a few months when cold weather rolls around, their hair will have grown back.

the hair is taken to the grading table

Here is Sharon grading the hair, she is a real Texas rancher~

The hair is collected and graded, then stuffed  into large wool sacks. It was interesting to watch. Ranch work is hard work but no one would trade it for anything~

Pound Puppies

In the pound, Kobi had already won, he was going home with papa, no one knew what a prize he would be~

Our family has a long history with found puppies, pound puppies, and give away puppies. This is a picture of Kobi, One of my boys adopted him from the pound. He was looking for a little girl dog but Kobi was begging and jumping up and down, it was me me me! He couldn’t resist so he chose him. 

here is Kobi at about 6 months, he was beautiful, we wondered how he ever ended up in the pound~

He looked a little like a poodle, but when they groomed him, he looked like a bichon frise. Living with Kobi was all about and being loved and licked to death. Goodbye to any more afternoon naps after work.

Emily Molly was the real thing, a full blood bichon frise, absolutely adorable and always a happy girl~

 

 

 

About a year later, it was decided maybe Kobi got lonesome while the kids were at work, so they went to North Texas and brought Molly home. She is a real bichon frise, just the sweetest and most precious little thing you ever saw. She and Kobi looked exactly alike and they got along great. They slept together in a big kennel in the bedroom, it was a ritual when they went to bed or got up in the morning, Kobi had it planned who goes in first, who got out first, who was in charge of Molly’s little girly pillow, very complicated but he ran things and she went along with “what ever”.  Kobi was a worrier, you could see it in his face,  when someone walked out of the room, he listened and watched and whimpered until everyone was back together. They were both funny, precious and wonderful~
Kobi went to puppy heaven last summer, he was 13 years old. We are left with sweet memories. Miss Molly now has two new playmates, TJ and Abbie, who came from Fuzzy Pet Rescue Center in Waco Texas.

these are two of the most beautiful dogs ever, they have a good life and make the world a better place, they sure loved their mama and papa             (and Tricia)

Birthday Parties

 

we all went over to see the new house, then went to Shanda’s Cafe to have lunch~here are ZZ, Sandra, Pat, Stacy and Debbie

Here are pictures from my 74th birthday get together at Christoval  eight years ago in 2008. We ate at Shanda’s Cafe in town.  

this was a nice little cafe in Christoval but like many businesses, it was only there a short time~

here is Stacy with me, she threw me a wonderful birthday party when she was 13 years old

Elizabeth Ann and Sandra, we had a nice meal and an expensive meal~

Our family always has big birthday celebrations for everyone, even the dogs. One time I told Stacy I had only one birthday party when I was growing up and in the third grade and what a thrill that was. So when she was about 13 years old she wanted me to come and spend the night, she had a big slumber party for the two of us in their back yard. She had a record player playing the oldest songs she could find, banners and streamers, hot dogs, (she even baked me an angel food cake), and she had even moved the mattress’s outside. Our dogs, Spook and Schatzie Kay were there too. What a party, the one I will always remember, the best one ever! That was a special time, I love birthdays~  

we have been friends for almost 40 years, here with Sandra and Pat.

 

this was my 74th birthday, time flies~Sandra, me and Debbie

 

I like small parties, this was special, good family and good friends~Anna and Pat

 

Small Texas Landscapes in Oil

 

here again shows a road with an open gate, it invites you into the picture, remember in real life, if you find a gate closed, be sure to close it behind you.

 

a companion to the first one, both are landscapes, both are in the country and work well as a nice pair

These are a pair of landscapes that worked well together, just right for a small space. The paintings are 9×12’s  and I painted them in a few hours, with drying time in between. First coat is to pretty well to finish the sky and hill, then put in the dark green where the trees will go, and the calache colored ground, road, and brush. No details at this point. After the canvas is covered and it is time to let it dry, I pull my pallet knife over the wet paint to make it smooth. That way when I come back to do the finishing work,  the canvas is nice and easy to paint on. (If it is rough, it is like trying to paint on a cinder block). After it is completely dry, it’s time to paint in all the details, the heads on the grass, the gnarly limbs coming out of the tree, hit it with highlights, and don’t forget to sign your name~

Banana Milk Shake

 

this is thick and creamy tasting even though it is made with fat free milk. you can use low fat if you like but it tastes the same~

I like milk shakes, I mean I love banana milk shakes. This recipe is one we came up with years ago and it is my favorite.You can make if from “craving to drinking” in 5 minutes.

here is the blender, I have had a food processor but this tool is my favorite for everything~

You need to start yesterday though, the banana slices have to be frozen solid. I always keep sliced frozen bananas in my freezer ready for the drink or for banana nut ice cream. The great thing, besides being the best you ever tasted, is this 16 oz drink (enough for two people) has a total of around  200 calories while the small one at Dairy Queen or Sonic has over 500.

Slice bananas and spread on paper plates, cover in gallon size plastic bags and freeze. When time to use, break apart how ever many you need. Don’t let them thaw!

Start by slicing a bunch of ripe bananas, put them on paper plates and freeze them. (they need to be ripe, not over ripe and not even slightly green).

Banana Milk Shake
1 c skim or low fat milk
2 T sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla (scant)
 2 c frozen bananas (about 2 or 3 bananas) Don’t let them thaw, work fast~
Put milk, sugar and vanilla in blender and get it going, then break apart the frozen bananas into chunks and add to the milk.
 Blend on high speed until it is thick and creamy, less than a minute.  If you want it even ticker, add a few more slices of bananas.
This makes one huge milkshake, share it with someone~
I will have my famous banana nut ice cream recipe another time. It has almost the same ingredients, very low calorie and rich and creamy.   

The Art Lesson

Dan’s first painting was a small desert scene with blue sky, sand hill and yucca plant in the center, later he painted this larger one with more detail. Not bad at all~He was liking the art lessons and liking the girl~

This is one of several of Dan’s paintings while he was taking art lessons. He liked bight colors~

In the summer of 1953, I was home from UT, and working at Blake’s Electric. Not much happening. Mother kept books for my daddy’s business and gave art lessons twice a week. She said  ‘Dan’ came in the station one day and sat around for a while then asked her if she would teach him to paint. She was surprised, most of her students were women but she agreed to give him lessons in the evenings. After a few weeks, she couldn’t meet with him for a couple of sessions but told him that I might help him instead.  He was serious about learning to paint and he was doing a good job. That was the start of a whirlwind courtship.

We went to Garner State Park for the afternoon, it was a pretty place near Uvalde, I thought he was just pretty neat~

First real date was going to San Angelo to play miniature golf one afternoon, then to Garner State Park for a Sunday afternoon, every evening we painted or went to a movie. It was a fun summer. When it was getting time for me to go back to school he started trying to talk me out of leaving. I had pre-registered, my room at SRD was reserved and it was all set. I thought maybe he would come to Austin once in a while and we could see each other. One afternoon we went out to the farm on Rudd Road to shoot his new pistol. No shooting that day, instead he proposed to me. He went to meet with  Daddy and ask for ‘my hand’. Oh my goodness how very proper. Daddy told him all the reasons it would never work, too much age difference, (12 years), I was not going to be easy to live with, (a silly girl) and I wasn’t finished with college. (Daddy, will you please be quite!) But the stars were right and it happened and Daddy was wrong, ( a few times I had some doubts though)

we were married Sept. 20, 1953 in my Grandmother Christian’s home and went to New Orleans on our honeymoon. I love remembering all of this~

We were married for 57 years and had two wonderful little boys. Dan quit painting after a few years and just helped me haul my paintings to shows. He liked art just as much as I did. (he also liked music, food and cigars)

Delaware Mountains

here we are with more tire trouble, no matter that the tires were good, there was always something to ruin them. The ranch roads were terrible~

Today’s picture is another one from the ranch in Culberson County~in the Delaware Mountains in far West Texas. I was on this trip, it made me uneasy because the boys were already out there at the camp and Dan I were going to meet up with them. There ranch roads were no more than rough paths that Mr. Ronsaville scraped out with his bulldozer ever so often, and we had no real idea where we were on this 12 section ranch. Dan just sort of knew the general direction to the camp. On this day, we had a flat. Dan honked the horn to see if the boys were anywhere nearby and sure enough we could hear them honking back. They figured out which road we were on and found us after a while. Oh my! When they drove up I nearly had a fit, they had a three wheeler and the Kawasaki in the back of the pickup and I had no idea they had taken them out there, certainly not safe for ridding in the mountains.

not a mountain bike, it scares me to remember  seeing these things out there. One skid and you could end up in the bottom of a ravine~

 Matt fixed the flat, he was always the first to jump in there and help. There was a rule that no women were allowed out at the ranch, it was meant to keep wives and mothers from coming every year at hunting season and messing up the men’s fun. Dan told me for sure I could go, and I got to go several times after that. We never went during hunting season. It was just the four of us and of course I was the cook~ 

Mexican Boy Selling Peanuts

he had a big pile of peanuts, I notice he was wearing nice shoes. The kids in Mexico were nice and polite, friendly too. They seemed older than their years though~

On one of our trips to Mexico, we were in a market in Zacatecas and Dan was visiting with this young boy. Dan liked to speak Spanish, buy what they were selling, and then tip them well. He wanted to buy us some peanuts, he handed the boy a pack of pesos and waited for him to give us 4 bags. The boy got up, picked up his toe sack, put the money in his pocket and started to walk off. Dan said, “wait, I need my peanuts” and the boy pointed the big pile on the sidewalk and said, “escos son los cacahuete.” (those are your peanuts). One other time, he was going to buy oranges from a woman on the street. She had a neat  little pile stacked up on a towel. When he paid her, she tried to give him change. He said, “para usted”, so she pulled her towel out from under the stack,  thanked him. I always believed Dan would have moved to Mexico if I had said the word. What a wonderful country it was back then~

Texas Peach Orchard

In West Texas, a fruit tree does better on a hill than in the low spots. A  late frost in the spring, usually settles in the lower places and can kill many of the blooms ~

This is about a new peach orchard in Christoval, it is small, only 12 trees that they put in five years ago. (remember, 2011 was the year of one of Texas’ worst droughts, no rain at all, hard time to start this venture) There are two apples, two apricots and the rest are different varieties of peaches. Since it is on a rocky hill up there, dump truck loads of dirt had to be brought in, it is about two and a half feet in new dirt, and the whole orchard is 40×50 feet. The new dirt was fluffy with no rocks and digging the holes was easy. Everything had to be watered daily and every tree has survived except one apple tree is having a problem.  

this Loring peach was one of three that got ripe in June. It was the size of an orange, juicy,sweet and delicious~everyone got a taste

The first peach that year was from the Loring tree and got ripe in June. There were three peaches on that tree, simply delicious.
The Princess tree has lots of peaches which are going to ripen  in a couple more weeks. Anna thinned more than half of them out since the tree was young. It is a sweet white honey peach. Some of the trees were 3 year old bare root, some came in 5 gal buckets, and others were from seeds grown in buckets for 4 years. These seeds were from Granddad Jack’s original old Indian peach trees that he started in 1937, he was well known for his fine fruit trees. He would be happy to know the tradition is still going.  The Indian peach trees had quite a few peaches this year and they are wonderful.

the Princess is a sweet white honey peach, it is freestone. These trees can live for about 25 years, the apricots and apples live even longer.

This year is turning into a great year for the orchard, the first year the trees rest, the second they come alive and the third year they flourish. We call this Anna’s Orchard~They have had a bumper crop of apricots and the peach trees are loaded. The project this year is to improve the soil with compost. 

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.

Little Girls and Friends

every friend had a name, some of them were very old, all of them were her friends, she taught them everything she knew~

Little girls are sociable creatures, they can have a party any time  there is a dog or kitty or stuffed toys. They can have a school and be the teacher, and share everything they have learned themselves. It is fun listening to the conversations with their ‘friends’. Two chairs and some blankets and they have a wonderful little house for  their babies. Then when real live friends come, they know how to entertain them. What fun. Here is ZZ and Spook, then some of the stuffed toys, she danced for them and sang and put on a good show. No one left the room, she had a captive audience. This was our living room and we didn’t use it often, but when she was here, it was hers. She called it the blue room and she brought it to  life.  Little girls know how to have fun. This sweet girl and her husband John are expecting a real baby in December. She is going to be a wonderful, loving mama. Happy Times!