West Texas Sky

I love clouds and I love stars. Since we have clear skies at night, the stars are always out, it is one thing that has never changed in all my life.

We had a nice rain last week, it is clear today and feeling like fall. I have a busy weekend so this is the blog for today, either this or another doll story~this may be what is known as “coasting”. Anyway, we are happy for the cool rainy weather. Several deer have been coming in the yard for a while. They ate the jujubees that fell on the ground, seeds and all. It kept it nice and clean under the trees. Now it is acorn time and there are lots of those under the oak trees. The deer love those. Now the mesquite beans are dropping. As for me, I have a friend who has given me okra and that is my favorite, so everything around here eats well! Thank you for checking out my blog~Most of all, Thank you Lord for the fine rains this year.

Cat Lady

this is Buttermilk, staying cool on the porch when it was so hot a few weeks ago.

Meet Buttermilk, she is a kitty that came up when she was a little thing and would not leave. I would see her out by the windmill and she would stay still so I wouldn’t notice her. (every time I walked by, I would tell her to Go Home!) Well, she liked it here and wasn’t afraid of me. 

she likes the little chair on the porch, I like her~she is a fine cat

She had kittens somewhere, I only got to know one. He was black and white, marked almost identically on each side, I named him Domino. 

Domino is a beautiful cat, he won’t let me hold him but he will let me touch his nose and that is our bonding each day~

I caught him in a live trap and took them both to have them fixed. Then they stayed on the screened porch for several weeks while they recovered and he got more tame.

here is Mamie cooling off in the bird bath, she was a sweet one.

I also had Mammie, the garage kitty who came up and had her kittens in the Model T. She was gentle to start with. When I found homes for her five babies, I had her fixed. I didn’t need any more cats.

she is named Squaline because she has the loudest and scratchiest meow you can imagine. There is a black cat and a Siamese that come to eat with her now~

There are several in the pasture and I take food down to them, away from the house at 5:30 every day. This is Squaline, half her tail is gone, from something that happened before I knew her. She is a feisty little thing and will hiss and scratch me if I try to pet her, but she comes running toward the car when she sees me. Dan was the one who loved cats, I was strictly a dog lover. Cats liked him because he sat in the yard and smoked his cigar and they would stay in his lap. Since he has been gone, I have learned to love cats too, probably since I am responsible for them. I have gotten to really know them. They are beautiful animals, they come in all colors and designs. They can live to an age of 20 or more years.  

Schlotzsky’s Type Sandwich

don’t take orders, make them and serve them, if someone doesn’t like the cucumbers, they can pull them out themselves~

This is a great sandwich. It looks complicated but is easy and fun to make. The bread recipe is the easiest of all yeast breads. You just need to go through the list of ingredients and have everything sliced, laid out and ready, then it goes together fast.  

these are 6 inch cast iron skillets, you can find them on the internet for under $10 each. They will last a lifetime~

Years ago, I bought a dozen 6″ cast iron skillets to bake these buns in and also for  my hamburger buns. I live 45 miles from the nearest real Schlotzsky’s place so this recipe works for me. It is a great meal even when you are having company. They will remember it~ 

these make a big sandwich, it is a full size meal~

you can cut them in quarters and serve as company snacks~

 Schlotzsky’s Buns  (copycat)
note: this is the easiest of all yeast breads to make!
1/2 c warm water
2 tsp sugar
2  1/4 tsp dry yeast (or one package)
1/4 tsp soda (dissolved in 2 tsp warm water)
3/4 c warm milk
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 c bread flour
2 T cornmeal
Stir together the warm water, sugar and yeast,
let sit for a few minutes.
In large bowl, combine dissolved soda, warm milk, salt
and one cup of the flour. Beat until smooth. Beat in the
yeast mixture and remaining flour, Batter will be sticky and
smooth.
Prepare six little 6″ skillets by spraying with Pam, then sprinkle
bottoms with cornmeal. Divide dough  between pans, it
will spread during rising time. Spray tops with Pam
and let rise for one hour. Again spray tops with Pam,
bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Split buns with knife when cool.
You can use two cake pans if you don’t have the 6″ pans
and after making the sandwiches, cut them into thirds
for 6 sandwiches.
Filling
mozzarella cheese, grated
cheddar cheese, grated
parmesan cheese, good sprinkle of it
mustard,
onion slices
tomatoes, sliced
cucumbers sliced thin
lettuce shredded
black olives, sliced in half
creamy garlic dressing, about like spreading mayonnaise on bun
salami  (it makes the sandwich~
2 slices of boiled or smoked ham for each sandwich
Assemble the sandwich~ 
1. spread garlic dressing on both halves of bun
2. sprinkle top bun with parmesan cheese
3. spread mustard and mozzarella on top bun
4. spread cheddar cheese on bottom bun
5. toast to melt cheeses
6. heat meats and place on buns, ham on bottom, salami on top
build with olives, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and cucumbers
Enjoy the Schlotzsky’s (copycat) Sandwich with a few chips~

Barns and Snakes

this scene was just right for painting, I didn’t have to change a thing in the one I painted.

I have several beautiful photographs of old barns in West Virginia to show you today. Every one would make a good subject for a painting. All of these barns look like they have been here forever. You wonder how they survived termites and weather.  Barns immediately remind me of snakes, there are many varieties in this area but only two are venomous  and dangerous to humans, the Timber Rattlesnake and  the Northern Copperhead. I couldn’t believe the green pastures. everything was lush with vegetation, a refreshing sight. Just a beautiful part of the country. Here in West Texas, a barn is a perfect place for rattlesnakes, some barns are out on remote ranches and no one goes around them for months at a time, so there is nothing to disturbed the snakes. We could almost always find one at Hulldale. It is interesting to look in a barn, there is a feel to them, especially an old one, a little scary too~

this barn had a lot of interesting fences and lush pasture around it, it was another big one. The countryside in West Virginia had lots of barn, most of them were old.

a barn built on the side of a hill, you wonder how they got it level

this was an interesting old gate, it looks like the path had washed away, there is a small barn up there somewhere.

this one is in good shape, it is a little different from most of them and  it was huge

this barn needed a little work

 

Angelo State University Folk Festival

 

this is a special photograph for me, sitting behind me were my mother Elizabeth Elder and my little cousin Carroll Morgan, both flew away to heaven within a year~

I was invited to exhibit and demonstrate oil painting at the ASU Folk Festival in February of 1973. I met a lot of people and also saw many familiar faces. I liked the demonstrations, everyone was happy and full of chatter, they enjoyed watching and many of them were also painters. I had my miniature covered wagon and all the little rooms on display so if anyone wasn’t interested in painting, they liked to look at the little things. The famous wood carver, Gene Zesch was also exhibiting his wonderful carvings, he carves old cowboys and anything to do with ranch life, with much skill and unbelievable humor.  I was in good company that day, it is a sweet memory for me~

Miss Piggy and Kermit

she looked pretty happy with him today, it was either lavishing him with kisses or throwing him across the room

When I bought Miss Piggy and Kermit in 1977, she was a hand puppet. She had a big vinyl hollow head, (no body) and the famous elbow length lavender gloves with matching dress.  I had planned from the start to make her into a doll. I made her a soft body, she felt cuddly and nice to hold.

it was fun making the shoes, they were pretty tall wedges.

 

I carved some platform wedge sandals and added satin straps. (They are in style now) Then I made her a long formal satin evening jacket.

A girl likes some bling

Of course she needed jewels so she had  several stands of pearls, a pearl and gold filigree broach and a tiara for her hair.

here he is in his tux, his character seemed to be a happy go lucky guy

 

 

Kermit was just a green frog so I made him a Tuxedo with a pleated shirt, pearl buttons and a cummerbund. I knew it would be what Miss Piggy would want. These two characters have lived at my house, and lived in Sonora, then San Angelo and finally are back with me. (They were Christmas presents that we passed back and forth). They are both in perfect shape, even after 35 years.  We watched the Muppet Shows on TV for several years~ Miss Piggy and Kermit were our favorite characters. I loved those shows. Jim Henson, the famous puppeteer who created the Muppets died in 1990 at age 53.

Wild Turkeys

the mother turkey and one of her babies sitting on the bird bath, I hang the hose in the tree and let the water drip

here is one of the mothers of the two mothers who came this week, they will keep coming back for the food and water~

 

all kinds of birds like the bird bath. Last year a deer laid her head in the water to cool off~

Some of us had been wondering if there were going to be any wild turkeys after the terrible drought in 2011. They won’t nest unless the condition  is just right for them to at least have a chance. Two hens had been coming up to the water trough and I had been throwing corn and chick feed out for them. One week, they both walked in with 15 babies.They were on the driveway by the garage. I managed to get a picture and then today I got  some of a hen and her baby sitting on the bird bath. What a thrill, I like the wildlife. I can enjoy them and as with the deer, if one in the bunch doesn’t show up that day, I don’t worry, I just suppose it is over at the farm eating at the deer feeders. Not like if a chicken or peacock goes missing and you look until you find it. I am keeping the windmill running to wet down the oak grove, the turkeys like to get in that cool wet place.

Spaying and Neutering Pets

Getting a dog spayed is what a responsible person does. The world doesn’t need two litters of puppies from their dog every year to add to the pet population. So many precious dogs end up in the pound and don’t find a home. Most of our pets have either come from the pound or were abandoned on our road.

this was the day after Spook got fixed, she was in pain and miserable, I felt terrible for her, it made me cry~

This is Spook, I have written about her before because she was such a fine little dog, she made me happy for almost 19 years. The day we found her on the Mertzon road was in early 1980. The following week I took her to Sonora to have her fixed. It was a horrible experience, she was miserable for several days, she was in so much pain. 

Spook turned into the sweetest and happiest little dog ever, she was the perfect one

She recovered and didn’t seem to dwell on her first days at her new home. Later, when we took our dogs  to have them fixed, the procedure was easy and they didn’t seem to suffer any pain.

Schatzie was a baby girl from the pound, she helped drive home after her surgery

 

(Dan and Debbie had Schatzie fixed at Ronnie’s and she sat up in his lap going home and helped him drive the pickup, same with Kobi, he helped with the driving.) 

 

 

here is Kobi with Missy, he was straight out of the pound that day, what a little prize!

the only trama with Jitter Joe was my fault, I am so so sorry Sweetie~

Now with Jitter Joe, it was 11 years ago and I had an appointment with Ronnie to get him fixed and decided to ‘shave’ him myself because he was used to me and didn’t mind me grooming or working on him. In a little while, he started scooting on the carpet and licking himself and I saw that he was all red and irritated where I had done my thing. It got so bad, I called Ronnie’s office to see what I should do and they said to put antibiotic cream on him. Poor baby! I took him the next day to get fixed and they were rolling their eyes up there, inside his whole hindquarter, shaved slick. When I brought him home, I saw that they only had to make a tiny half inch incision in his abdomen and all the shaving I had done was for nothing. Anyway, the good thing is that spaying and neutering doesn’t cause our pets any distress, they are just a little sleepy  afterwards. At church the next Sunday, Scott McGregor told me he had heard the story about ‘my dog’~  word got around~  

Madam Alexander Baby Doll

what a sweet little baby doll, just the right size for a little girl to be a ‘mama’ to
~

I am showing you another Madam Alexander doll, this one has a story behind her. After Christmas in about 1968, I found a mangled baby doll in the street near Mother’s house. I am sure a dog had had a field day with it, the whole body was in shreds and only parts of it’s dress were left, but there was still a perfect little head and hands and feet. I thought it must have been a doll a little girl had received for Christmas. It was a Madam Alexander so it had been a fine doll. I knocked on doors, left notes and ran an ad in the paper. No one called me. I kept her for several months and then decided to try and restore her. I made her a new body, all soft and limber like a real baby. Then I made a sweet ecru eyelet dress and bonnet , petticoat and panties. Her feet were so cute, I didn’t bother with finding new shoes.  She has been to every tea party that has gone on around here since then, she has been rocked and well loved, but still looks brand new. Everything we have needs to be played with and enjoyed and not just put away for safe keeping. (all the time we still keep an eye out to protect them from harm).  These things take on a real life when they make memories along the way. I love this little doll. I love the little doll who played with her~ 

I always wondered where she came from and what the story was, I am happy to have found her though, she has been a treasure

Fitness and Fun

there are stair climbers and treadmills, bicycles, and machines for upper body strength

One December morning it was wet and cold and I was getting my exercise, doing my usual jogging/walking down the road, not too bad until I turned around and started home facing the wind. There was a little sleet hitting my face and my hands were cold.  Before I got back home I decided I could go to the wellness center and sign up for a month or two and try that, and ended up going every day for 4 years.  I went for 45 minutes, the temperature was always just right.  I could close my eyes and plan my day, it was perfect. 

This room is for weight training and the zumba dancing, they get pretty noisy in here~

They also have Zumba classes and I tried those a couple of times, even bought me one of those blingy things you tie around your hips. It was an hour of intense exercise~ the best part was the last five minutes when the lights went down low and we swayed to the sweet sound of Amazing Grace. Anyway, I didn’t feel too good the next day so I gave my blingie away and stuck with the treadmill. Now, I just walk down my road to get exercise.  

running hard, jogging, walking, you pick your speed.

This is more intense than the treadmill, it makes you huff and puff~

 

Creamy Cilantro Soup

this is a delicious and satisfying meal~and you don’t feel like you ‘ate the cow’~

Soup is good any day of the year, it is a light but filling. This one is Debbie’s wonderful Creamy Cilantro Soup. It is a good summer time meal, she sometimes brings soup for  dinner when they come for church on Sundays. I make the dessert, Tricia brings the cantaloupe  and Debbie bakes the corn bread just before we eat.  A lovely meal with our family. Sometimes there are four of us, sometimes seven or eight, but always a great meal and time to get together once a week. Most of the meals I have been posting on my blog are our Sunday dinners. We treasure these times together~

                    Cream of Cilantro Soup
                         Debbie McWhorter
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 32 oz packaged fat free chicken broth-divided
2 T butter
2 T flour
8 oz package fat free cream cheese
8 oz container light sour cream (save some for garnish)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Remove stems from cilantro and chop
Process cilantro and 1 cup chicken broth
in food processor or blender
Melt butter in large pot over medium heat,
stir in flour. Gradually add remaining 3 cups
broth, stiring constantly until it is smooth. Boil
for one minute. Stir in cilantro mixture, cream
cheese and next 5 ingredients. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs and a spoon full of sour cream.

  Are you still there? I need to tell you my story about the soup. I have a new blender and filled it pretty full  with the soup, put the lid on TIGHT, turned on the pulse switch and it blew the lid off, blew soup all over the kitchen, under the upper cabinets, the cabinet doors were open so it even filled up the bowl on the shelf where I keep my vitamins. There was just enough soup left to take a picture for the blog. Don’t you do this!   I sat down and enjoyed the soup and left the mess for ‘Rita’ to clean up later~                 

New Pet Dorper Sheep

Pet chickens, the flock has grown to over 40, peacocks have gone down from 21 to 3, they were too noisy for the neighborhood, and now the four new Dorper sheep have been added to the the family. They will be expected to mow almost 10 acres of pasture grass~It is a lively and happy place. (just watch where you step, they all love the front porch)

These girls came to stare at us through the windows during Bible Study Friday night. It was something like the movie 'Babe'. I kept feeling like they were whispering to each other, "I don't know, I think it has something to do with getting dunked in the water trough"..

These girls came to stare at us through the windows during Bible Study Friday night. It was something like the movie ‘Babe’. I kept feeling like they were whispering to each other, “I don’t know, I think it has something to do with getting dunked in the water trough”..