Our Tree House

When it was starting to come together~ paint works miracles and with a lot of ‘pretend and imagination’ it turned into something wonderful~

Another tree house for you today. This one was when we lived over on the farm, there was one mesquite tree big enough for a tree house ~ just barely~It was about 9 feet above the ground, there was a ladder up to  a 5′ X 5′ landing with side rails. To be sure it was safe for the kids, I strung wire fencing underneath, sort of like a safety net. It was the fun place to be.  It was still standing and in good shape years later when we moved.

we always had kittens, they were tame and wherever we were, they were right  in the middle of things, they all loved the tree house~

All the kitties liked it up there. We had a slumber party more than once, I was there to be sure no one fell out. 

there was a ‘captain’s chair’ and several other places to climb up higher and sit. The Texas Flag flew from a pole that went up through the branches.


it was a fun place to have a picnic, no ants or flies, just an apple and a jar of Peter Pan~

The wonderful thing about having children is you finally get to have the things you wanted when you were little. Childhood can last a lifetime~

Dinner Rolls

this is a wonderful meal, the hot homemade rolls make it extra special

This is one of Anna’s Sunday dinners. It is shish-k-bobs, Armenian rice, stir-fry vegetables right out of the green house, and the great homemade hot rolls. Today I am showing the recipe for the rolls, they are easy to make and always perfect. Whether we are eating at the river or at home, there is always hot bread. It makes every meal special. Debbie, Anna, Elizabeth, Stacy Mae and I have used this same recipe for as long as we have been cooking. Try it and then keep the recipe handy, you can keep yeast fresh in your refrigerator for months so you will always be ready. You can easily double or triple the recipe, sometimes Debbie ‘4 times it’~

Hot Rolls
1/4 c warm water
1 pkg active yeast (not Rapid-Rise yeast)
2 T sugar
Mix together in small bowl and let sit a few minutes
1/2 c milk
2 T real butter
1 egg
1 tsp salt
2 c flour (scant)
Heat milk and butter, let cool to lukewarm warm and
add yeast mixture, egg and salt.
Stir in flour and beat for several minutes.
Cover and let rise for 30 minutes, then knead
it on floured board. (try to use as little flour as possible)
Put flour on your hands, pinch off golf ball size pieces of  dough
and lay on greased baking sheet, about an inch apart
Let rise again for about 30 minutes in warm place.
Bake for 15 minutes until slightly golden in preheated 375 degree oven.

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 it~

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.

Tree House

this tree house is about 8 feet from the ground, beautiful job. I will be showing other tree houses in later blogs.

One morning a few years ago, I heard interesting noises from across the road, not a chain saw, a weed eater, not a mower, but something better. I knew the sound of a circular saw and it was buzzing away. This went on all day and when I went for my walk I saw what was going on with my neighbors. In an oak grove in the back there was some framing going up the biggest tree and legs down to the ground.  I could see Jim  was building a real tree house for their  girls. It was fun watching the progress. It took about a week and was perfect and wonderful. It had a nice sized room, a porch and  real stairs with hand rails. I thought how lucky those two kids were, it is every child’s dream to have a tree house, a play house or a cave. I always look when I drive by, it is a mighty fine house and a fine daddy who built it~

Happy Birthday Miss Nancy

Happy Birthday Nancy Jo

Happy Birthday Nancy Jo

Today I would like to wish my sweet little sister a Happy 79th birthday. One cold November night in 1937, my mother and daddy came home with this tiny bundle, a  new baby sister. We had stayed with Grandmother and Granddad Christian for a couple of days and had no idea there was going to be this surprise.  She was probably the first baby we had ever seen. She seemed to fit right in though. We have been friends for a lifetime. She has brought so much joy to our lives. Happy Birthday Nancy, I am glad you were born~

Texas Creamy Pecan Pralines

Delicious chewy pecan pralines

this candy is not hard to make, it just takes a little while, Texans know how to make good candy. I have run this blog before and it has been one of the most popular so I am putting it up again. It is worth it~



This is the recipe for the soft, creamy, chewy pecan pralines. It takes a little longer to make then than the sugary ones. I like all kinds of pralines so these are are worth it. You need a candy thermometer if you are going to have success every time. Wal Mart has them and they are not expensive. This is another one of Grandmother Montgomery’s candy recipes, she made a date loaf candy that was wonderful and something she called ‘fork candy’. She made  pot of clear syrupy candy and poured it over pecans in a platter. Then the kids each got a fork to scoop it up and enjoy. Candy making isn’t just for Christmas time, you can make it all year and it might be even better when there aren’t so many sweets at once. Try this one, you will love it~

Texas Creamy Pecan Pralines
1 cup sugar
1 cup white Karo syrup
pinch of salt
1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
1 cup  milk
2 cups toasted pecan halves
1/2 tsp. vanilla
In heavy saucepan, mix sugar, Karo, and salt,
 cook and stir over medium heat until temperature
reaches 245 degrees on candy thermometer.
Add milk, butter and pecans slowly so candy keeps boiling,
continuing to stir. When the temperature again reaches 245
degrees, remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Let stand until candy stops
bubbling. Drop by spoonfuls onto well buttered cookie sheet.
Cool completely, then put in refrigerator for an hour or so, this
way the candy will be easy to pop off the cookie sheet, wrap
each piece in plastic warp and store in cool dry place.
(butter the cookie sheet before you start, also toast the pecan by putting in the microwave on a paper plate, one cup at a time for one minute for each cup. All candy tastes best if the pecans are toasted~

Tres Vaqueros Mexicanos

Three Mexican Cowboys

even in the most remote places of Mexico, we would see vaqueros riding their caballos, the ranches were huge, they had a long ride each day

The year was 1965 on a trip to Mexico. Tres vaqueros mexicanos. They were proud men. It is hard to believe anyone could carve out a living on land like this, not much growing here except scrub brush and cactus. A little further down into the interior of Mexico, the lush beauty begins. Back in the years when we traveled there, we found the people to be genuinely fine in every way. They were hard workers and they took care of their families. On Sundays, everyone brought their children to town and it was like a celebration,  there were parks everywhere, lots of fountains that were built to honor  someone. It only cost a few centavos to have a day of fun. There was the  music of Mariachi bands or maybe just one man with his homemade harp, ready to entertain. Even riding on a city bus, there was usually someone with a guitar singing his heart out. I am thankful that my family got to know Mexico back when it was such a wonderful country. It was like another world, and right in our own back door~

Mallard Ducks

this is a male mallard duck figurine, Andrea made thousands of these ducks and they are beautiful but not expensive~

we always named our ducks before we knew if they were boys or girls, we were usually wrong.

Here are some Mallard duck figurines I bought after I no longer had my real ducks. They are quite beautiful and realistic. I have had a love for ducks ever since I got two babies at a garage sale thirty five years ago. Stanley and Rose Olive lived with us for almost nine years. Later the kids had ducks when they were grown and married. There was Sarah Kate, Katy Mae and Algeritta, to name a few. No one knows how smart and loving these birds can be until they have them for pets.  They are unbelievably beautiful. All they wanted was a puddle of water. We always remember them at Christmas time and how much fun they were  when they got their special gift~a pint of earth worms~

This is a picture of Katie Mae begging for his Christmas worms. He got to come in the kitchen on special occasions.


Algeritta went to live in Santa Fe Park after he was a bad boy~


ducks are noisy, but those of us who owned them loved the sound of their ‘wak wak wak’  This is the handsome  Sarah Kate in the pond

Sarah Kate was a beautiful male mallard, he loved the pond with the fountain. It was fun to watch the ducks go upside down in the water to eat off the bottom. We had a wonderful time with all the ducks, what special little friends~

Just the Right Shoe

this is called the ‘I Do’ and is a little miniature shoe that is about 3 inches long. The detail is amazing.

My first miniature shoe was the ‘I Do’ shoe, a little old timey wedding slipper. Nancy gave it to me for my birthday one year. I couldn’t put it down, it was absolutely adorable.

this shoe looks like patient leather and the detail is exactly like a real one. The bow is not fabric but made from the same material as the shoe.

Then a couple of years later, she sent  another one, this time it was the ‘Toe Tapper’, a perfect to scale ‘patient leather’ tap dancing shoe. She and I took dancing lessons when we were kids (Gwen Eschew was our teacher).  
I had a skinny foot and had trouble finding narrow shoes.

the sole of the shoe has metal taps, it is completely realistic in ever way

My shoe flew off more than once in class. (heel toe, heel toe, fu-lap ball change). Anyway, this little tap shoe is darling.

again, the detail on this shoe is amazing,  the shoe strings look real but are made of the same material as the shoe itself.

the sole of the shoe is like the real rubber soles on running shoes

Then on another birthday here came the Raine Runner, this was during my jogging years and is a perfect replica of a running shoe. These shoes were all made by a company called Just the Right Shoe, they came in their own fancy box with only the shoe for the right foot.

this shoe was made by another company but is equally as fine as the others and is absolutely beautiful, it is quite blingy.

Later a friend in Canada sent me the pretty little blue mule slipper. It was encrusted in pearls and looked like blue satin leather. I just like things that are little, all the shoes remind of those special days and happy times.

I put several of the shoes with a large apple to show you how small they are. The blue jogging shoe was actually a leather key chain


Pecan Pie (s)

Pecan Pie

simply delicious,  It is  one of the all time great pies~

 I was making this pie last year for Thanksgiving dinner. We were going to Steve and Linda’s to be with Debbie’s family. I made the pie and while it was baking I went out to cut some juniper for Debbie’s Christmas decorations. I sacked up a garbage bag full, then walked around the yard and enjoyed the nice weather. I went inside  and remembered the pie. It was smelling ‘pretty done’ and the timer was blaring. After it cooled, I cut a tiny slice to see if it was going to be good enough to use. Not bad but the crust was hard and tough. I thought for a minute and I knew I should start over. So, I whipped up another one and got to the place where the custard is poured into the pie shell, reached over to get the bag of toasted pecans and just as I was fixing to dump them, saw I had the bag of Kibbles & Bits I had measured out for the pasture kitties. I saved it just in time! I was so happy, the rest of the day I was feeling good. Instead of having to make a third pie, it only took two tries. This one was perfect. It is an easily pie to make, you just have to use your head and not wander off out in the yard or get distracted. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It ia a beautiful day. We all have so much to be thankful for~


1/3 tsp SALT
2 CUPS PECANS (toast in microwave for 2 minutes, stirring twice)
Mix syrup, sugar, salt, butter, and vanilla.
Add slightly beaten eggs. Pour into 9 in. unbaked pie
shell. Sprinkle pecans on top. Bake at 350 for
1 hour. Watch carefully the last 20 minutes. You can lay a piece of foil over the top during the last 15 minutes so the crust doesn’t brown. It should be golden.
1 ½ c flour
1 tsp salt
½ c shortning
Mix flour and salt, cut in shortning with pastry blender
Slowly add a few teaspoons of cool water while stirring to make a ball of dough that is firm and not sticky. Don’t over work it, the less you fool with it, the more tender it will be.
Roll it out thin on floured wax paper,( put a few drops of water under the paper so it won’t slip and slide). Now carefully fold it around the rolling pin and place it in the pie pan. Cut excess crust off around edge, leaving 1/2 in. overhang, which you can tuck under and make a pretty fluted edge.


Thanksgiving 2013

here are Anna, Tricia and me, we loaded up our plates and ate out in the new sun room

I wanted to show our Thanksgiving dinner from a few years ago. There were just the four of us since everyone else was out of pocket. It was a great meal at Tricia’s in her sun room. The weather was beautiful, the food was delicious and the company was great. We had ham, smoked turkey from Anna’s smoker, dressing, cranberry salad, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, steamed broccoli from the green house, hot rolls, pecan pie and ice cream. It is my favorite of all meals. 

Anna brought the delicious smoked turkey~

The new sun room was christened with tall glasses of iced tea

home-made all the way

pecan pie~ number two

Afterwards, Tricia showed Anna how to make roses for decorating cakes. We had a wonderful day. I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving too. 

making roses

Jitter Joe and Marci had chicken, then JJ stretched out on the rug and Marci found a lap somewhere~

Chickie Town


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

Here are seven of Anna’s first pet chickies. When they got them eight 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 were about 40 new chickies to add to these who are older now. Also there is a new chicken condo which is a larger coop. 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!