Angel Food Cake

 

I call this my ‘cheating cake’, it comes from a box

When I was at UT in the early 50′s, I took an extra course ‘Home Economics for non Home Ec. majors’. I was wanting to learn the finer aspects of food preparation.  For one assignment, we drew a recipe out of a bowl for what we would  make that day. Mine was ‘Angel Food Cake’.  Hum, I had made that cake many times, so ‘with a little attitude’ I told Mrs. Armstrong  I would like to  trade for something else, I wanted to learn something new~ not the same old cake I already knew how to make. No, she said I would need to make the recipe I had drawn. OK, I was pretty hacked but whipped it up, while I   complained bitterly  to my cooking partner. When we were all done we had to line our food up on a table for everyone to sample and critique. The Angel Food Cake just squatted there, barely three inches tall, a total failure. I was completely humiliated. (I could fill a page with times like these).  Now skip to 60 years later. I never use a box cake mix with one exception~ Angel Food Cake. It comes out tall,   and perfect every time. It makes a beautiful birthday cake, or delicious dessert  with strawberries and (real) whipped cream. (for my famous old family recipe~look on the box)

Texas Cowboy

 

Cowboy at Hulldale barn

always nice to hang out around the barn at Hulldale, the only sounds you hear are the birds and the windmill pumping.

The boys posed for me when I was painting a lot of cowboy pictures. PJ and his friend Matt were always good to let me use them as my subjects. There is an old barn on the place at Hulldale, a good background for all kinds of western scenes. Here is one of them holding a Winchester 30-30 rifle, and of course had a pistol in his holster. They did some target practice out there, it is several miles from neighbors so the perfect place. They usually found a rattle snake around the barn so the guns were put to good use. I liked painting the guns, boots, and cowboy hats. I liked to add a little humor to the paintings, this one had wasp nests on the studs. They are a fact of life around barns and out buildings. If disturbed, they can sting the daylights out of you, ‘you gotta run fast’.

Junior Monkey

 

Port Aransas  Pier

My day to watch Junior Monkey, everyone liked him~

In the summer of 1952, I was in Port Aransas, Texas (on the Gulf of Mexico) with my parents and two sisters. The monkey belonged to Daddy, some friends gave it to him as a prank. Junior was sweet but then he had another side~he could bite! (no one got bit that time though). Everyone was fishing from the pier, Mother and Daddy fished for Tarpon and we fished for supper.That day I was in charge of Junior. I put on an old swim suit and shower cap and spent the day entertaining everyone, Junior could draw a crowd. He was wearing his swimming trunks but he took them off after they got wet, or should I say, he wet them~ Every day he would get in the water with us and  run on the beach trying to beat the waves. He was curious about everything, he picked up every shell he found and worked on it to see if anything was inside.  Several weeks after we came back home, a big brown envelope came in the mail. A photographer from the San Antonio Express newspaper had snapped the picture and they ran it  in their magazine. Someone recognized me and Junior and sent it to us. What a fun time to remember. A few years later, Junior went to live at the Zoo in San Antonio. I will have other stories about Junior later. Don’t get a monkey, get a sweet puppy instead.

Angel Wings

 

this is the truck Daddy took the crew to work in at Cooper Gas Company

When it is someone’s turn to drive a crew to work, they show up in a big four door truck with leather seats, air conditioning, everyone even has his own cup holder. (how’s about getting 10 mpg) Today I want to introduce you to my daddy’s truck, ‘Angel Wings’. He carried his crew of four out to work at Cooper Gas Company in the early 1940′s. He painted it silver, (the paint smelled like bananas) he built a wooden frame for the back and covered it with water proof canvas. Always thinking of his men’s comfort, he fitted the back with a seat from an old car. To add a little fun, he rigged  the seat springs up to a wire connected to the battery and with the push of a button, he could make them come alive back there! They didn’t like it but were anxious to pull the prank on any new guy. This  picture shows Daddy pulling Nancy and Tricia on a sled behind Angel Wings after one of our rare snow storms. This was 72 years ago, I still remember this fine little truck, and snow  that day. (someone who would also remember this crew truck is a fine San Angelo Attorney, George Stanley Finley).

Hot Chicken Salad

This is Pat Pfluger’s recipe, it is a great meal for company, they will remember it~I know I did!

Hot Chicken Salad is a main course meal, all you need to add is a fresh vegetable salad  or fruit salad and hot rolls for a fantastic company dinner. It is one of Pat Pfluger’s great recipes, and she has many. It can be put together the day before and then topped with the cheese and potato chips just before heating.

Hot Chicken Salad
2 c. cubed chicken cooked
1 c. frozen peas
1 c. thinly sliced celery
1 can water chestnuts
1 small jar pimentos
1/2 c. real mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
1/2 c. slivered almonds
Season with salt and pepper to taste
Mix together in casserole.
Then top with:
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese 
2 c. potato chips (or more)
Heat in 350 degree oven uncovered for 20 minutes or until bubbling hot
(you can make this ahead of time~then when ready to heat,
add the cheese and potato chips) This recipe can be doubled
or tripled.

Baklava Greek Pastry

this dessert makes all the sparks fly, it is unbelievable

My niece Linda,  took me to a Greek restaurant in Dallas about 50 years ago and I had my first  taste of Baklava. I  had never tasted anything like it before. I like honey, I  like lemon, I like  nuts, I  like  real  butter, but  the tender  crisp  pastry  leaves  were  what  made  it  an unbelievable  dessert. Several  years  later I  found  the  recipe, tried  it  and  found  it easy enough to make.(Finding a place to buy the phyllo leaves was the hard part, now most big food stores carry them in the  frozen  pastry  section,  ask  someone for  help.)  Read  the recipe through and you will see it is simple to make. 
BAKLAVA (Greek Pastry)
6 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (toast slightly in microwave, 2 cups at a time)
1 tsp. powdered cinnamon
½ tsp. powdered cloves
1 ½ sticks of butter
1 lb. pkg. pastry sheets (FILLO /PHYLLO) dough (you can find these at HEB in the frozen food section, thaw them before you start to assemble, unfold them but keep them covered with a towel so they don’t dry out)
Combine  walnuts and spices in a bowl. Melt  butter, use pastry  bush to brush bottom of 10×14  pan with melted  butter, and   place 1 pastry  sheet over  this. Brush  with  melted  butter. Repeat  this  process until   4  pastry  sheets  line  the  bottom of  the  baking  pan.  Sprinkle with some of the nut mixture. Repeat this until nut and spice mixture  is  all used. End with 4 top  layers of pastry, brush with  butter between each sheet. Cut into diamond shapes with  heavy sharp knife. Bake at 300 degrees until golden, don’t over cook.
Syrup:
1 c honey
¼ tsp. lemon extract
2 c sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
Grated rind of lemon
While pastry is baking boil syrup ingredients together for a few minutes. Cool, and pour very slowly over baked Baklava. Separate diamond shaped bars, then serve or wrap in Saran wrap. You can then put in bag and freeze any leftovers.
Baklava Greek Pastry

pour syrup over cooled pastry

Abe Lincoln

this took several weeks to paint, I loved every minute of it

I painted this picture from a black and white Mathew Brady sketch. I was not excited to do it but someone wanted it. Since the sketch had very little detail, I painted in faces that were not there. I ended up with people I knew, members of the family,  I had to improvised. When I thought it was finished, I had to go back and take out the 30.30 rifles, they didn’t have any of those in the Civil War, and replace them with muzzle loaders. I also had to repaint the Mexican people with black people. There was a lot of painting going on with this one. It was a huge challenge, all the faces are the size of a postage stamp .I was loving it by the time I finished. The guy I painted it for traded it for something else. (Some day it will be his again).

Chickie Town

 

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

Here are seven of Anna’s pet chickies. When they got them four 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 are going to be more little ones  coming soon. 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!

Miniature John Townsend Secretary

little things are fun to make, and filling the shelves up with pretty things is the best.

Today’s blog is one I originally I posted  last year. I would like to post it again since at that time I had just started my texasmornings  and had very few people looking. I was feeling pretty good when I was up to 9 lookers until someone told me that by the information on the my stat counter, 5 of those were me. So after a couple of weeks, I was up to 4 real people looking. One more thing that confused me was the time, instead of regular time,  it used Military time so it ended up going on in the middle of the afternoon instead of early morning. Someone told me Military time ran from 12:00 midnight to 24 hours later and then started over at 1:00 AM. I would throw that system out but maybe we would have lost a war or something if we had done it my way.

This is a John Townsend secretary I copied from a real one I have in my living room. It is 23″ tall and made of mahogany.  I found a place that made skis from thin strips of wood and they gave me enough scraps for years of projects.  Unlike the smaller miniature furniture, the drawers and doors need work on the larger pieces. It took a while to make it, all the drawer pulls were made from copper wire that I hammered flat, then cut into shape with a scroll saw, probably something like making jewelry.  Dowel pins are great for carving figurines, vases and all the pretty things we like. I found a  jewelry place in Bryan going out of business and bought a box full of stuff. I took the stones out of the earrings and used the bezels to frame tiny photographs. Crystal beads and chains made great  chandeliers. It was always fun making the furniture pieces but the best part was making all fancy things to fill the shelves. There are envelopes the size of a fingernail, addressed and stamped,  inside each one is a two page letter. It only takes simple tools to build and carve these things. I used a coping saw, Diamond Deb fingernail file, emery boards and carpet knife. Later I bought a small scroll saw, it has a round sanding disc to shape the turned pieces. Finding good glue was always a problem, it had to be sticky to start with and then be really strong when it dried. This was always happy work.

Shih Tzu Puppies _ TEN Years Old

Beautiful Miracle

the announcement~ joy, happiness and thankfulness for these precious gifts

proud mama with her five little miracles. They all started out black and white but after a few weeks, two were back and white, two almost completely white and one looked like a kitty .

This morning ten years ago, I woke to the cries of a new puppy, Marci was was having her babies! I turned on the light and there was this so very tiny little thing squirming on the floor beside my bed, Marci was already washing it and instinct told her she was a new mother. In the next hour, she had finished having  five perfect babies. The x-ray had shown only four so  the last one was a big surprise. I have never been so excited or happy,  I was crying and thankful and so proud of Marci.  From that moment on to many weeks later, I had the time of my life with  these precious babies. I treasure this time I had with them and watched them grow into wonderful puppies with their own personalities. When it was time for them to go to their new homes, it was  hard for me. Two were going to Albuquerque with Paul and Anna, one was going to White Oak with the Cravens, my sweet friend Pat would take one to the Pfluger Ranch, and I was going to sell the last one to help pay all the expenses. One morning I was going for my jog, feeling so depressed when the thought hit me! There was no reason I couldn’t  keep one for myself! I already had Marci and Missy but I could have this sweet little puppy that  I had known since his first breath. By the time I got home my mind was made up, he was going to be the old bachelor who would stay home with his mama forever. I was terribly happy that day. I can still feel the joy inside right now when I remember. ( I will be continuing with this blog tomorrow) Thank you  Lord for these Blessings~

                                          Happy Birthday to all The Babies

                                   With Love from Marci Mama & Grammy

 

Tootsie was the first born ~just a little doll

Little Elmo is show dog pretty

Ginger, beautiful and sweet as honey

Daisy was the big surprise and so precious

Jitter Joe, he is my love, sweet and beautiful                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Free Shih Tzu

this is our beautiful little Marci and her story

Dogs are a huge part of our family. Several came from the pound, one we found on the road, two were Give Away’s. Early one  morning I was reading the paper and saw the ad, ‘Free Shih Tzu to a good home only’ . I waited until 6:00 to call, but I wanted to be the first on the list. Thomas Mallow answered the phone. I told him I wanted that puppy, that we had recently  lost Spook who lived to be almost 19 years old and  we needed a new baby. He asked a lot of questions and said they would hold her  until I could get to San Angelo at 10:00 to be interviewed. When I rang their doorbell, I heard barking and when I was inside, there was this precious little black and white dog, all happy to see me.( I also noticed a beautiful little baby boy in a jumper seat on the floor.) So the story unfolded, Pamela and Thomas got Marsha when she was a few weeks old and she had been their only baby.  Then 18 months later, Blake was born.  Marsha did not like him, he was taking her place in her mama’s lap. She would just look at him and growl, they knew that wasn’t going to work so decided they had to find another home for her. They chose us. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. Coming home she  rode in Dan’s lap and that was the beginning of great times for us.  Pamula and Thomas saw Marci several times after that and she still growled when she saw Blake. We have kept in touch  and I get pictures of Blake often, he is a big fine handsome  boy now. Marci was one of our most wonderful gifts ever! Thank you again a  hundred times  sweet friends!

Indian Mounds

I found this stone the first day in the first mound where we looked. The design is chiseled in a perfect groove and the surface is honed smooth.

For hundreds of years Indian tribes lived in this area but no one knows what ancient people built the thousands of rock mounds that are found in Schleicher County, Texas. Around them you can find flint, scrapers and arrow heads. The mounds are large piles of rocks, shaped in a circle with an opening on one side. All the rocks are burned. There may be as many as 20 mounds in one small area. Dan started looking in mounds in the 1950′s, the first time I went with him we were in the middle of a small oak grove and he was 

I found this stone soon after the first one, it was buried and all the grooves were filled roots and dirt. This one is in perfect condition.

turning over rocks with his prospectors pick. I turned up a flat rock and on the under side was a carving. At first I thought it was something a boy scout had carved into a piece of wood but it was was a rock. I got excited and called for Dan to come look. He thought I had just found some chigger toes, those pepper shaped berries on the round cactus. When he saw the rock, he couldn’t believe it, he thought it was a trick. Then we really got busy and within 30 minutes I had found the second  carved stone.

Dan found this one 6 months later, it is the smallest and the most burned one. It has one small symbol on on the side edge that matches the + on the on the rock above.

We looked until dark and didn’t find anything else except some flint scrapers. I went with him a few more times  but soon he was going every day and staying several hours. Then six months later he found the third rock on a mound about half a mile from where I found the first two. He looked for over 30 years after that and only found arrow heads and scrapers. In researching these rocks he learned the designs on the first two marked stones  are identical in their engraved detail with two historic archeological engravings, one found in crumbling ruins in ancient India and the other deep in the old Mayan country of Mexico.  Someone told Dan about three books by James Churchward written in 1931 that might be of interest to him.   One of them, ‘Children Of Mu’  pictured drawings of artifacts that are identical in character to the two rocks I found.  Dan sent pictures to Smithsonian in Washington, DC,  and Universities of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. No one had a clue (or the money to pursue this). The mounds and the carved stones remain a mystery.