.30 30 Rifle

.22 rifles were what most people used  for target  practice because the shells were cheap.  You can still find old rusted out cans  full of holes  in the pastures. This kid was sighting in the .30 30 Winchester.

I painted quite a few pictures with guns in them. They made the painting more interesting. Here is one of the boys sighting in a .30 30 rifle. The gun was like one my daddy owned that had belonged to his grandfather, one of the original 1894 Winchester lever action models and a good gun for deer hunting. It had a soft recoil and a range of 200 yards. It got it’s name from the shell that held 30 grains of smokeless powder. When I grew up, everyone who had a pickup truck had a gun rack above the back seat. Their rifles were within easy reach and didn’t get all scratched up,(they usually had a .22 and maybe a shotgun).  My mother loved to hunt and every deer she ever killed was with this .30 30.  She didn’t have a gun rack or a pickup but she always had that gun in the back floorboard of her car. This was back in the time when no one locked their car doors, they didn’t need to. 

Surprise Gifts

This little sewing machine was made by the Singer Company in Turkey and is a smaller version of a real antique machine~

One of the Good Gifts

I was visiting with a friend before church started and we were talking about Christmas gifts that our husbands had given us in the past. She said once hers gave her a Concho pearl on a gold chain, it looked just like a big old tooth. She did not like it!  Her little boy told her that when they went to buy it, “we got that one because it was cheaper than the other ones”. I could hardly stop laughing all through church. I have received gifts I didn’t like also. Dan would find something from the Army Surplus Store, like asbestos fire proof  gloves to protect my hands ( and up to my elbows) when I was cooking on the barbeque. Once it was a full set of silver dinnerware  in a really  ugly pattern. I finally told him  I didn’t want  gifts, I would rather buy what I needed. He did surprise me with  a Singer 10 Overlock 5 spool serger one Christmas. I had never seen one before and I don’t know how he came up with the idea, but it was an absolute dream gift. I sewed a lot and don’t know how I ever got along without it. One other time, he was in a coin shop in Midland and found something he thought I would want since I liked little things. It was a 7″ tall  miniature Singer Sewing Machine with a crank and it could really sew a chain stitch. I was so surprised and happy, I don’t think I laid down for a week. The sales slip is still in the box, it was a birthday gift in 1988. Two wins in 57 years~that must be a record~

Christmas Picture

we were getting ready to leave for church and someone grabbed the camera and took this picture.

 Another re-run from this time last year. I never get tired of Christmas stories and remembering exciting times to come.

Our family has almost always been able to be together for Christmas, it goes  on for  a week or more, some of it here and some in San Angelo. Our times together were always a special blessing for me and Dan. There was a lot of visiting, eating great meals and music. This picture is one someone took just as we were leaving for church one morning and I didn’t see it until everyone had gone home and later I had the film developed. Most of our pictures were on video and I enjoyed watching those and reliving the fun of our Christmas but this is the one I liked the most. ZZ stayed with us another week or two after the others went home, that is when we got down to serious fun. Then I would load her up with Little Sweet, Spook and Blue Boy and we would head out for New Mexico. This week I  am packing bags again, this time to go half way around the world to spend Christmas with her in Kenya. I am beyond happy!

I bought this tree at Hobby Lobby and it was easy to put up and decorate, I was even able to get it back in the big box . I never imagined  I could settle for an artificial tree, I liked it though~

Thank you Lord Jesus for being in our lives. Merry Christmas to all~

Mexican Beef Enchiladas

Mexican Enchiladas

may be the favorite of all Mexican food

Chili

1 lb. very lean ground meat
2 T. Gephardt chill powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp oregano
3 c. water
Brown meat in skillet with spices; then add water. Cover and cook on med. for about 25 minutes. Skim all the grease off.

Enchilada Sauce
2 T. Gephardt chili powder
3 T. corn oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
4 T. flour
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp red pepper if you like it hot
Heat together in saucepan, then add 3 cups water. Stir until thickened (like slightly thin gravy).
Soft Fried Tortillas: In a small skillet, add about 1/2 cup corn oil and, one at a time, soft fry 12 corn tortillas, just 4 or 5 seconds on each side. Drain each one on a paper towel, pat to be sure to get the grease off. Keep warm.
Shred 2 cups longhorn cheddar cheese. Chop 1 onion.
To keep it neat, assemble enchilada on a plate, then slide it onto a dinner plate.
Assembling: Dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce; lay on plate and spoon on some chili, cheese and onions. Repeat until you have a stack of 3. As you finish, put each plate in microwave for 1 minute so it will be really hot. Top each enchilada with a soft fried egg and pour remaining sauce on each stack. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro.   (Chili, enchilada sauce, cheese and onions can be prepared day before.) Serves 4

Another Merry Christmas

 

This tree was perfect, it smelled good, it was big and it had a ‘good side.’ We had one string of lights, but some were burned out and we saved the ice cycles from year to year.

Daddy took us out to the country every year and chopped down a cedar bush and it was our Christmas tree. Then he came home and asked, “Liz, where is the Christmas tree stand?” Who knew, it had been a year, it was just two boards he crisscrossed and put a nail in the the bottom and into the tree trunk.  It had to be propped up with strings to the base boards, and a few bricks with strings up into the branches. Mother put the lights on and we decorated the rest of it. Nothing like the elaborate trees now. We got to hear the stories of who’s house burned down when Daddy was a boy, back when they used live candles on the trees. Everyone had someone in their family who died in a fire at Christmas time, and yes even Cousin Nora, (she had a twin sister named Cora). Daddy had other disturbing stories to tell his three little girls. One year he said there wasn’t going to be Christmas because Santa Claus was in a motorcycle wreck. He was a jolly old daddy~It seemed every Christmas Day, while Mother was cooking the big dinner, he would say, “Liz, what did you do with Grandpa Elder’s old razor”? (an antique safety razor that Daddy ended up with after Grandpa died). Mother just kept cooking and we all knew he was fixing to get railed up. Finally he would go in the bedroom and empty the whole top of the closet onto the floor, looking for the razor. (I hated that thing! Later I gave it to the Museum). He told us about how he got an orange or apple for Christmas every year, that really is what kids got. Since we grew up during the WW II, there wasn’t anything to buy, it all went to the war effort. So our gifts were used things mother found or bought and fixed up for us. Wonderful gifts that we loved and enjoyed. One year Mother bought a small used table radio and refinished the wooden case to make it like new. We listened to programs every night after we went to bed. There was The Shadow, Inner Sanctum~with it’s scary organ music~Everyone Loves a Mystery, George Burns & Gracie Allan, and Abbott & Costello. It was these simple things that made us happy. Getting that radio was one of the best,  just another wonderful Christmas. 

Young Mexican Girl

this young girl was selling bread at the big market in Guadalajara

We found this pretty little Mexican girl selling bread at a market in Guadalajara, Mexico. Dan took her picture, bought all of her bread, and a few weeks later when we came home, I put her on canvas. This was in the summer of 1966. Since then, she has held a special place in the study over his desk. Dan could speak Spanish well, and liked to visit with people. (I understood enough of the language to know when someone told me how pretty and clean my little boys were). We traveled in a tiny 17′ Airstream trailer, I will have more stories about that later. One of the nicest things I can think of is when we bought the trailer, I finally had my playhouse.

Christmas Fruit Cake

I realize that not  everyone likes fruit cakes. There are lots of jokes out there about them. My family is the exception, we love them. It may be because we had Grandmother Montgomery’s old recipe with real fruit and none of the bitter citron and dried stuff. It had canned pineapple, maraschino cherries, apple sauce, raisins and a lot of pecans. It was delicious and would stay fresh in the refrigerator until the last piece was gone. Tricia started making fruit cakes as Christmas gifts for all of us and soon she was the one we depended on. Dan especially liked them, he would cut a thin slice and have it with his coffee every afternoon. One year Tricia was going to spend Christmas with Nancy’s family and she brought my pretty package a week early.  It was heavy, of course I knew what it was and put it in the refrigerator to keep until Christmas. Then on Christmas Eve, I whipped some cream and folded in pineapple chunks to serve on the slices for everone. I opened my package and you can imagine my surprise when I found, instead of a fruit cake, a beautiful heavy cut crystal bowl~ nice and cold.

this is the large hand cut crystal serving bowl, not the Christmas fruit cake I was expecting. The cake would have been gone in a month, the bowl is forever~

 Another one of those Christmas surprises, and one that I have enjoyed all these years. It is a beautiful bowl and I always use it for fruit salads when I have company. I am hoping I get my fruit cake this year, I am hungry just writing about it.

Christmas Surprise

Christmas with our family is always full of surprises. I will be having Christmas stories on my blog off and on until Christmas. Today’s was from 15 years ago. We always go to Dan’s and Debbie’s house in San Angelo for Christmas. Debbie has a wonderful Christmas Eve super and she also makes a huge Christmas dinner the next day. There is a lot of fun going on up there.  That year, there was a big gift under the tree, all wrapped up with ribbons and bows, it was an odd shape.  I was in on the ‘secret’, Debbie told me it was a new headboard for Stacy’s bed and it was exciting because I knew she would be SO surprised. Opening gifts got going and finally everyone had opened their things, except for Stacy’s present. Then they brought it to ME!  I was puzzled I thought they had made a mistake. When I opened it, it wasn’t a headboard at all, instead it was this beautiful sign with MCWHORTER carved on it. 

it was four feet long and two inches thick and absolutely beauriful

Dan had made it out of special ordered redwood that had  no knots or flaws. He hand carved it with a hammer and a chisel, (not a router),  every letter was perfect. Then he carved the  beautiful pineapple for the top.

a pineapple is the sign of hospitality Dan carved it out of bass wood, it is thick and stands out from the sign itself. No way was I going to put this sign outdoors~

 I was overwhelmed. I never owned anything so nice, not ever~ There were also 4 X 4 redwood posts with hand carved gold leaf finials on top. It was painted in hunter green marine paint and the lettering was 18 ct gold leaf. They meant for me to put it in the orchard by the flag pole. I wouldn’t even consider that, it was too fine to be put out in the weather. I hung it over the bar in the den and I enjoy it every day. I made another sign for the road, no pineapple on it but people can find my house.  ZZ carved a sign for their house and also made a CAMP ROCK sign for the river). We all had so much fun carving. This was my nicest surprise gift ever, it is a beautiful work of art. Proud Mama~

Designer Bedroom

I learned to sew at a young age and it has been one of my great pleasures. If you can sew, you are never more than a few hours away from a new dress or a new room.

I was visiting with a friend on my blog about buying ready made draperies and using the fabric for all kinds of projects, since they are wide there is  lot of material to work with. Another great buy is sheets, the best bargain is a twin flat sheet, and sometimes a larger size when necessary. They are made of a good quality fabric, they last a long time and aren’t bad about fading. I have bought those with designs, lined them with another white sheet and made draperies. The picture today is a matching bedroom set I made for my granddaughter Stacy when she was 11 years old. I started with several sheets from Wal-Mart.  For the comforter I used a full size sheet, quilted and ruffled it, then for all the pillows and shams I used twin size sheets. The draw draperies were pleated full to cover an extra large window. She liked her room and always kept it neat as a pin. The bed had a trundle underneath to pull out and use for company (which was sometimes me). That was back when we had Schatzie and Spook~ big slumber party timesThis whole project cost less than $100 and was more than ten times that much fun. 

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple-Upside-Down-Cake

this is a happy cake, it reminds me of my sweet grandmother

 I have been looking though some of my favorite recipes and I hope you will like this one as much as I do. It makes a fast and easy company cake. You want easy, this is it. A wonderful, flavorful cake that you will remember after the last  juicy crumb is gone. The best cakes have buttermilk as an ingredient. (I always keep buttermilk, my motto is “one cup for the cake, one cup to drink”~sort of like people who cook with wine~) I always use real butter for everything, I haven’t bought the other stuff for as long as I can remember.

PINEAPPLE UPSIDEDOWN CAKE
Cream together:
½ c soft butter (1 stick) (don’t melt)
1 c sugar
Add:
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Mix the following together and add to first ingredients,
alternating with the buttermilk:
2 c. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
2/3 tsp salt
1 c buttermilk
Spray large 10″ skillet or 9″ x 13″ cake pan with Pam, put on burner and
warm a large drained can crushed pineapple with
3 T butter
¾ c. brown sugar
Juice from ½ lemon
Spoon cake batter over this and bake at 350 for 35 min to 45 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, then run knife around edge and carefully turn onto large plate to cool. (lay plate on top of skillet, then flip over to drop the cake onto the plate. If any pineapple is left in pan, scoop it up and put it back on the cake). Any left overs can be sliced, wrapped and put in the freezer.
This is an easy one to make and absolutely delicious.

                                                                                                                                          

Christmas Carolers

this is what I opened my door to last Sunday, what a wonderful surprise~

Someone knocked on my door one Sunday afternoon and when I opened it, there were about 30 people loaded on two trailers and others standing in the yard! They were ready to serenade me with wonderful Christmas music. There was even a guitar player! This was a huge surprise. This was a huge thrill. It was the youth group from the First Methodist Church  in Eldorado, I recognized so many of my little friends. It was a beautiful evening, nice and warm, just perfect for caroling. I know they took their music all over town and brought so much Christmas Spirit and Joy to others, but it would be hard to imagine anyone more happy than I was. I even got some hugs! Thank you all for this special blessing~Warmest Love and Merry Christmas 

they sang  beautiful Christmas music

perfect day, warm and no wind

everyone was having a good time

then off they went to their next gig~

time to say goodbye, it was truly wonderful

Pueblo Paintings

a simple painting with a pueblo in a distance, desert scenes are easy to paint. This one was on a 9 x12 canvas, ZZ was ll years old when she painted these

a desert scene is easy to paint, you need a cloud in a blue sky,sandy ground and a subject  to make it interesting.

 We were always looking for simple subjects ZZ could paint when she came to visit. Desert scenes were simple enough, blue sky with one cloud, sandy ground with a few patches of scrub brush. Then we needed a subject, like a yucca plant or as in this case, a group of adobe houses connected with each other to make a small pueblo. Starting with a few ‘boxes’ and adding ladders to get to the upper levels, vigas~or wooden beams~ then doors and windows. Shadows were the fun part, they made the different rooms stand out from one another.  ZZ painted several of these scenes when she was around 11 years old. Some she gave away, some she sold on e-bay and others she kept. (when you paint, pretty soon you have a lot of pictures). New Mexico is rich in ancient history and these kinds of pueblos are scattered throughout the state. These that she painted were made up, no real places, just remembering those we had seen.