Old Mexico in Airstream Trailer

Our little trailer

this was a great way to travel, always a good bed, warm bath and great meal, a real home away from home

This is a picture of our little 1964 Airstream trailer, 17′ from hitch to bumper. It  had everything we could possibly need and was completely self-contained. Even with the small space, it had a nice bathroom in the back with shower, commode and lavatory and a big window. The kitchen had a three burner stove, oven, sink and refrigerator. One sofa made into a queen size bed and the other, into a full size. For ten years we traveled to Mexico every summer with our two little boys, most often to Guadalajara, staying at the Paradise Trailer Park.  We would stop on the road along the way to eat our meals, and no matter how remote the area was, in a few minutes there would be a group of people standing outside. (after the first trip, we took cartons  of candy, gum, crackers, and whatever we could cram into the space) What they asked for most was ‘pan’. When we got to the first large town, we went to the bakery and bought burlap sacks full of bolillos, which are small loaves of hard crusted, wonderful tasting bread and only cost a few centavos apiece. We did this every year afterwards to give to our new found friends. We ate all our meals from the trailer, I could slice an onion and it filled the space with a wonderful aroma. Those were great meals.

The pool

beautiful place with huge banana trees, a warm sand bottomed pool, and the nice Mexican people

During Christmas vacation, we picked the boys up from school and headed for Cuidad Valles, over 500 miles away. It is in a beautiful tropical area in the eastern part of Mexico. The trailer park ($3 a day) had lush trees, two swimming pools with sandy bottoms that bubbled up warm spring water from the earth.  We usually took a day trip to Tampico, on the Gulf of Mexico for fun on the white sandy beaches.The only problems with Mexico during these years were the terrible wrecks on the roads. The last time we went there, two trucks loaded with sugar cane crashed head on. Mexicans did not know how to drive. When I think back to the best times I can ever remember, it was in that little trailer with Daddy and our two boys. I am thankful that we could experience it~

Miniature Den

A place I dreamed of having some day

This was one of the most fun rooms to make, the boat is like a larger one the boys had in their room. It is two inches tall but has all the detail~

I have been posting my little things on face book, but now I will be bringing them to my blog, the one today is the den. When I made it in 1972, we lived over at the  farm house with no den so it  was fun to dream of ‘some day’ as I made it. On the desk there is a typewriter, world globe, pens and pencils, and letters etc. The book case has framed pictures of the kids, carved figures, books and a little sailing ship on top. There is a checker board on the coffee table with a heated game going . My miniature rooms never have dolls in them, once you put a doll in the magic is gone. In your mind you can be the one in the room and own the space without being an intruder.

Art Exhibit

 

they wanted to learn how to paint bluebonnets, rocks and clouds~

I was having an art show in Dallas in the 1970′s, I painted while people browsed and watched the demonstration. I loved doing this, so many people either painted or wanted to paint.  There was a young man  who came every day and sat and watched and asked questions. He just knew he could do it and was serious about trying. I gave him a list of  paints,  brushes, canvas sizes and told him to buy a ‘How To Paint’ book. All of this would cost him about $25. I painted a couple of fast sketches on a pad for him to follow when he got started. He was on fire, he couldn’t wait to get going. Several months later I was in Dallas again for a show, I wondered if I would see him. Sure enough, here he came all happy and excited. When I asked him how the painting was going, he said he had put it off for a while. Right after he bought the art supplies, he came to watch a man demonstrate guitar playing and had always wanted to play guitar so bought one and was taking lessons! I love this story, it just shows that we all have the urge to do something creative, it doesn’t matter what it is, just so when we hear that voice inside, we know we must do it.

Supper Time Hash

Homemade, hearty and delicious meal from left over roast~

Hash is one of my favorite comfort foods. You can make it using left over roast cut in bite size pieces,  and adding onions and potatoes. Put a little oil in a sauce pan and  cook the onions until they are golden. Now  add the potatoes, meat, and any left over gravy with enough water to make a cup of liquid. Cook until the potatoes are done. Season to taste. Sometimes I make a big pot of hash and put it in individual bowls for the freezer, then take one out at a time for supper when I am starving. This is great meal with cornbread.

Debbie Pina

Sweet little Debbie

Here is a painting of Debbie with two kid goats.

This is Debbie Pina, she grew up on the farm where we lived. She was one of the sweetest children I ever knew and simply adored by her grandmother Goya. Her mother was a nurse and her daddy worked for the city, her parents were tragically killed in a bus accident a few years ago while on a tour with a group from the First Baptist Church in Eldorado. Debbie lived with her brother Danny and his family after that. She and Danny were often the subjects in my paintings. A farm is a wonderful place for children, always something interesting going on. There was a storm cellar, tractor, barns, two ponies and a goat. We had a tree house, there was the ‘Peacock Club’ in the garage room,  and there was a cave in the pasture. (Even after my boys were in college, their friends, several from other countries, came to spend the weekends and savor the country life). Those are sweet memories

Buttermilk Biscuits

 

These are great hot out of the oven but also later in the garden with a fresh green onion. My all time favorite is homemade apricot preserves~to go with a fresh hot biscuit

Biscuits are easy to make, my grandmother Montgomery made them every single morning for breakfast for her family. One of the sweetest things I remember about my childhood is waking up at her house with the smell her biscuits baking. She always had homemade fruit preserves,  back then everyone made their own preserves and jellies. I got to have a little coffee with cream and sugar too. (I poured it my saucer just like Granddad and let it cool and drank it from there). I liked being at their house, it just wrapped itself around you with good smells, soft cuddly beds, the sound of the train whistle, and all of that sweet love from Grandmother and Granddad. 

Buttermilk Biscuits  (preheat oven to 375 degrees)
2 c flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. soda
2 tsp. baking powder
4 T. Crisco
3/4 c. buttermilk

mix dry ingredients well, then using a pastry blender
or two knives, cut in the shortening until it resembles                                                coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir only until mixed.

Form dough into a ball, roll out on a floured board 1/2″
thick and cut with biscuit cutter.  (I sprinkle a few drops
of water on counter, place a piece of wax paper down,
flour it and roll my dough out on that. It is easy to clean up.
Place biscuits on pan that has been lightly greased with
Canola oil. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden.

My Pen Pal

China plater

these seven pieces were all that survived the trip from Germany

When I was in seventh grade, our teacher gave us a list of names and addresses of kids from other countries who we could have as ‘Pen Pals’. It was right after WW ll and I chose a boy from Germany. He sent me a picture of himself, standing on a rock ledge with beautiful mountains in the background, wearing leather shorts with colorful suspenders. It didn’t hurt one bit that he was fine looking with blond curley hair and a nice smile. His name was Freider Schmidt but nicknamed Bio. His father taught at  Baden-Baden Württemberg University. I wrote him a letter and sent a picture (not of myself but of the prettiest girl in school). He wrote back and for several years we corosponded. Mother often sent his family care packages with things like chocolate and coffee,  things they didn’t have available at this post war time . She even sent a woolen  blanket from the Eldorado Woolen Mill. Bio asked if there was anything he could send me and since Mother was a china painter I told him she would like a tea pot or something in undecorated china. A few months later a wooden crate arrived on the train and it was (had been) a complete set of Bavarian china. Every single piece was broken except for a cream pitcher  and six dessert plates. I never told him about the disaster.  Mother painted the the plates, and trimed the pitcher with pure Roman gold, fired it and it has been my treasure for 67 years. Some of my friends didn’t fair so well with their Pen Pals, but I always remembered my handsome friend and wondered what happened to him. Many years later I told my children about him and the picture I sent  him of that pretty girl who was ‘not me’, and they told me that the picture I had kept of him all those years was probably ‘not him’ either. 

Mexican Mariachi Band

Mariachi band in Valles

these men were playing wonderful music,  and they were good singers

Here is a picture of a Mariachi band in a park in Valles Mexico. We  found  groups of musicians everywhere we went. They were quite good, sometimes they had only a few players and other times there were six or more. Their instruments were interesting and different and each  added it’s own rich unique sound.

Mariachi Maximo from San Antonio

this group came from San Antonio for a celebration in honor of Dan

The River Walk in San Antonio is a great place to hear Mariachis, it is festive and the music is beautiful, it is as close as you can get to being in Mexico. My favorite song is ‘Solamente Una Vez’, I have read that it is the the greatest love song ever written. The tune is the same as ‘You Belong to my Heart’. Mariachis really put their hearts into their music, these are ‘Maraichi Maximo’ from San Antonio, they were great~

Miniature Violin

 

The little violin

I love music and like all kinds of musical instruments, even the tiny ones~

This 9″ miniature violin was a model kit from a Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog years ago and was a gift from my son Dan. It was a wonderful project and I enjoyed putting it together, every piece was machine perfect, exactly to scale, there was no detail left out. I almost hated to stain and varnish it, it looked so good in the natural wood. Since I like music, I like instruments. It sits on my piano and I look at it every time I am playing. Wonder if I have enough space to talk about my piano lessons~ I took music from Miss Ellington for 6 years, she didn’t like me and I didn’t like her. I hated those lessons! Recitals were the worst, it meant a new dress and a corsage, but the humiliation of playing ‘Birdie in the Treetops’ while my little sister (who was 4 years younger) was playing ‘Moonlight Serenade. I just could not read music.  One day I told Mother that I was not going to take lessons any more, and she  couldn’t make me, I was quitting! She said that was fine, I didn’t have to but I was going to go sit on Miss Ellington’s piano bench  for 30 minutes twice a week. Finally a couple of years later, she let me quit. About that time, the movie ‘The Third Man ‘ came out and it had that most beautiful and haunting song  played on a zither. Somehow I picked it out on the piano and soon was able to play it. I drove everyone crazy with it, I opened the windows so the neighbors could hear,  I was hooked on the piano after I found I could play by ear. Years later at a Bridge party Sharon  was telling us about her sister Joan who use to play ‘Third Man Theme’  over and over until she was ready to scream, she said she ‘just wanted to hang Joan on the wall and beat her ’til she bled’. I am laughing when I think about it, I still love that song.

Devils Food Cake

this cake is moist and slightly chewy, the icing is smooth and creamy

This is my one and only chocolate cake recipe. I never needed another one. It is easy to make, it is moist and slightly chewy, the icing is smooth and not grainy, and the toasted pecan on top is the prize. I always took this to the nursing home birthday parties, for those who couldn’t eat nuts, all they had to do was offer their pecan to someone else.

Devil’s Food Cake

2 c. sugar
½ c. shortening
½ c. cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. boiling coffee
½ c. buttermilk
2 eggs
2 c. flour
¼ tsp. Salt
1 ½ tsp soda
Cream sugar, shortening, cocoa well, then add the vanilla.
Add the hot coffee and then the buttermilk. Let cool slightly, then add the eggs and beat until mixed.

Mix dry ingredients and sift half into the
wet mixture, beat a few seconds, then add
remaining flour mixture. Mix until all is well
blended.
Use either sheet cake pan or two 8’ or 9’ round, cut wax paper to fit bottom of pan.(You can use two cupcake pans to make 24 cupcakes)
Grease pan lightly, then line bottom of pan with the wax paper and grease that. (don’t flour pans)
Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes, test with toothpick, when it comes out clean, cake is done. (cup cakes take less time)
Turn out on towel to cool.Remember to remove the wax paper~ Frost when completely cool.
Fudge Mocha Icing
1 box powdered sugar or 3 1/2 cups
½ cup cocoa
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
6 T boiling coffee
6 T soft butter
Pecans~(microwave pecans on a paper plate for 1 minute, stir well and cook 1 more minute)
Mix sugar, cocoa and salt. Add vanilla
and hot coffee, stir until smooth. Add soft (not melted)
butter and beat until smooth and stiff enough to spread.
If too thick, add a few more drops of coffee. Remember,
It is better to have it too thick to start with than too
thin. Place one pecan half on top of each piece.

Paper Doll

 

Nancy, Tricia and Rita on the beach at Port Aransas

In the summer of 1941 our family went to Port Aransas on vacation. Mother and Daddy fished off the pier while we played in the water. My little three year old sister Nancy was a beautiful child with long honey blond hair, big blue eyes and skin like porcelain, everyone always noticed her. (Now Tricia and I had a zillion freckles, which came from our red headed daddy and not within ten miles of pretty.) One morning on the pier, Mother and Daddy were fishing for tarpon and there were several servicemen  fishing with rented poles (it was during the war.) They had a big pile of angel fish they had caught. Of course, they noticed Nancy, she was really eyeing those fish. Then out of the blue, she started singing, never missing a note~

” I’m gonna buy a paper doll that I can call my own
a doll that other fellows cannot steal
And all those flirty flirty guys with their flirty flirty eyes
will have to flirt with dollies that are real
When I come home at night she will be waiting
She’ll be the truest doll in all the world
I’d rather have  a paper doll to call my own
Than have a fickle minded real life girl”.
              She brought down the house!  Lots of clapping and laughing~
                                     They gave her all their fish~

Brilliant Bluebonnets

Stunning bluebonnets

this rich sandy soil can grow anything

more wild flowers

there is no end to the colorful wildflowers, they are in the pastures and along the roadways all over Texas

Here is another beautiful scene with brilliant bluebonnets and wild flowers. Soon the Indian Blankets and Mexican Hats will be blooming, something to see all summer.  I think what makes them so stunning in the Hill Country of Texas is the contrasting rich red sandy soil. Next it will be peach season and that is something else you won’t want to miss. It is hard to compare the fruit from this area with anywhere else, there is just none like it. Before long the fruit stands will be opening up all along the roads. Texas peaches are just the best. Make plans~