If I can wake up with a project every morning, I am happy. I hope it will be the same all of my life. When my first baby boy was born, one of the greatest things was to realize I would be totally committed to taking care of him for years. Having two babies was the best of all projects~ Today is about a sunflower afghan, it took longer than most things, in fact I made two of them, each taking about 3 months. It was so much fun working with all the beautiful colors. I made them in 1969. My friend Billy had showed me how to do the afghan stitch, using a long crochete needle, it was easy to do and made a good background for the embroidery work on the flowers. Once when we were at a school picnic, a teacher saw the one I was working on and wanted to know where to get the thread and pattern. Billy wanted to show her the simple afghan stitch but she was not interested, she said she “already knew how to do it”. So Billy didn’t insist, even though there was a trick to doing it right. Later at the end of school, we saw her handiwork, it looked like a big loosely made fish net and was about 10 feet long. She told us she realized it was not right but she liked it anyway. It was sure something different~ The two I made were for my boys and stayed on their beds while they were growing up, I liked the bright colors, it was a decorated place in our house. Much later I showed each of my two little left handed granddaughters, (Stacy Mae and ZZ) how to crochet. I showed them the ball of yarn that was no more than a colored string, then had them hold an afghan and see how that string could turn into something beautiful and warm and wonderful. They learned quickly.
Here are a some pictures from the green house at Christoval. Anna and I had been left in charge of it last year (with lots of instructions) when her husband was out of the country for a few weeks. We were growing tomatoes, European cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli and all kinds of greens. She called me one Monday afternoon and said the pump had gone out on the big floor tank and she had called the plumber~ but he couldn’t get there until the next morning. So I loaded the dogs up and went up there and we installed a new pump ourselves and it was working in a matter of minutes. Women can do things, we always read the directions. (canceled the plumber) I will be in charge of the green house for a while this summer, big job. I will also be taking care of chickie town and the peacocks and one sweet little dog. I think I will set up a roadside stand and sell fruit from the orchard, eggs from the chickens and all those fresh vegetables. Or maybe I won’t~
Sunday dinner today was an easy one to put together because most of it was ready to go last night. The only thing this morning was stir frying the vegetables, making rice and frying the little chunks of chicken. It all went on the table in about 15 minutes when we got home from church. Easy recipe and a delicious meal with plenty left to take home to enjoy again on Labor Day~
Chicken Shun Gai
Cut up about 3 chicken breasts into small pieces, dip them in a mixture of 1 egg beaten with 1/2 cup of water and then dredged in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Fry without crowding in a skillet with just enough canola oil to half cover them. You stir to keep them turning over in the oil. Drain on paper towels.
At the same time you can make a simple sauce with 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, 1/3 cup vinegar, 1/3 cup soy sauce.1 T sugar 1 1/2 T corn starch. Just mix this up and have it ready.
Chop the following vegetable is nice size pieces: 2 green and 2 red bell peppers, 3 ribs of celery sliced, 1 medium size onion, quartered and broken apart, then 1 can of pineapple chunks, a can of water chestnuts and 1 cup of cashew nuts. 4 roma tomatoes quartered. (You don’t stir fry tomatoes, just add at the end to warm them). To stir fry put into a wop or large skillet with 3 T canola oil and cook while you stir until the vegetables are tender but crunchy. They need to be crisp~ Now add the chicken, tomatoes and sauce which you have given a big stir with a spoon before adding it. It will thicken in just a minute or two and your are done.
I cook about 3 cups of rice and use chicken broth for half of the liquid.
Please excuse the mistakes on this blog, I couldn’t get the strange letters between pictures to disappear. Maybe it didn’t like the toilet pictures~
There are shops all over Kitale, if you want produce you will need to find a different store for each item. The egg place sells eggs, it is usually right beside several other egg places. The eggs we bought were always fresh and the shells were hard, no cracked eggs~then the meat market might be by the tattoo parlor, barber shop, or even beside the choo (public toilet).
few if any refri
Since there are no refrigerators or ice boxes food must be bought daily. and in small quantities. There was a place that sold dry beans, seeds and maize. They had big sacks with the tops rolled open to scoop the grain out and weigh it. That day there was a roaming street chicken in one of the sacks, scratching and eating, she had found the meal of a lifetime. The store owner didn’t even shoo her away, he just kept sweeping the sidewalk. I shivered and kept walking.
This next little shop was on the street near Mili Mani, the man carried a variety of things from eggs, to batteries, phone minutes, sugar cane, jars of nuts and soda pops. (I wondered about tobacco, I never saw anyone smoking the whole time we were there).
Today I am showing the miniature attic room. It is also the painting room. I never had an art studio even though Dan wanted me to have one when we were building our house. I liked to paint on the kitchen table in the middle of family life. I would work for several hours after the boys went off to school, then put everything away to cook dinner. It was always nice to start out with a clean space again.
Back to the attic room, there is a real card game going on, and place for someone to have a ham sandwich, bag of Fritos and a Coke.
Then a place with all the things I needed to paint pictures. The paint box has lots of tiny tubes of paint, brushes, turpentine, and yes it is a mess just like in real life. A stool, paint rag, pallet, and easel with a work in progress.
Finally a cozy bed, I like beds. I had lots of good feelings when I was restoring this room~
Another place to hang out was in the Delaware Mountains in West Texas. Dan was welcome to come too, he brought his own car in case Matt’s pickup had a problem. (and it did). There were no cell phones or mobile phones back in the 1980’s. Bad to be 70 miles from the nearest town, which was Van Horn. Several times the truck got stuck in a ravine.
The really bad time was being stranded for 5 days in one of the worst snow storms ever, so bad the interstate between Fort Stockton and El Paso was closed. There was no way to get them out during the storm, it was a scary time for those of us back home.(my worst nightmare) The former Sheriff (Mr.Upchurch) from Van Horn flew his plane out to look for them but couldn’t locate the camp. Our sheriff here in Eldorado got two other men and they headed out to Culberson County to see what they could do. Finally after trying for several days, the old ranch foreman was able to drive his bulldozer through miles of snow to reach them. They said when they heard him coming, they were yelling and celebrating. Cabin fever had almost done them in~
This is a miniature copy of the swing set at Camp Rock. (I didn’t make the trailer, it was a gift from Dan and Debbie). The barn is a copy of one Dan built, ZZ helped him by handing him each nail, one by one that went on the roof. There is the picnic table like the one I built that washed away. I bought the real swing set at Lowe’s and put it together. It came in several heavy cartons full of pipes, seats, chains and a thousand nuts and bolts. I laid it all out on the ground, opened up the instructions and it said, ‘have your helper hold the first leg steady as you connect it to the horizontal top bar’. Well,the only helper around was my little dog Spook. One of these things can be assembled by one person because I did it that day. (a hard job) When it was finished, it was worth it. Our kids came for vacation from Albuquerque the next day, and ZZ had stars in her eyes when she saw it. She spent the next two weeks on the slide or a swing or sitting in the glider with her dog and her stuffed toys, she was three years old. I see swing sets in people’s back yards that are a piece of work. They have climbing walls and bridges, curved slides, ladders up to a landing on top with a flag flying. They are made of redwood and and likely very expensive. I know it would take more than your dog to help put one together. But what a nice thing to have when your kids are growing up, it should last forever. When I grew up, we were lucky if we had a tree big enough to hang a rope swing. Ours was across the street in Grandmother’s yard. You could sit in it and have someone wind you up and spin until you were sick. You staggered out of that swing drunk as a skunk~
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.
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.
(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.)
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~
Hello, for the next few days I am going to be busy and will just take a break from texasmornings while I catch up on work. I will try to be back with something new and interesting later. I will be posting some re-runs until then. Thank you always for clicking on my blog. Prayers for all of those who have been wiped out by the hurricane. It has touched us all.
Here are three of my dogs, this picture was taken in 2006 in the world’s smallest office. I got T4C to build me a little 6′ X 8′ building, I painted it barn red, trimmed it in taupe and the roof was hunter green. It was an exciting project. I built two desks out of 1″ birch plywood and it had insulated windows, a ceiling fan, and also an air-conditioner. It had a small heater but didn’t need one since the computers kept it warm.
When it was finished, there was space for two people working in there with two computers, printers, scanners and 19 feet of shelving on the walls, enough storage room for all their business.This project took about two months but was one of my favorites. It was like building a play house. My dogs liked it too.
What a thrill the day my kids moved home and saw it for the first time. It was sitting at our camp on the South Concho River near Christoval, they used it until they were able to build their new home. Now it has been moved to it’s permanent place in the middle of Chickie Town and the Peacock Palace and the Bean Barn and the orchard. I never get over the feeling of excitement going inside that fine little place. Wonderful memories live here.
I can just think of a cup of coffee and a slice of cake and I want to start singing~ It is good to have something sweet in the freezer when the cravings hit you. This cake is easy to make and easy to eat, you don’t even need a plate and fork.
Carrot cake is one of the best cakes around. It is moist and full of flavors. The lemon icing makes it extra special. It is one of the easiest cakes since you dump it all in the bowl and mix it up. When you are taking it out of the pan, run a sharp knife around the edges and then shake it loose from the sides before you flip it out on to a rack. Put wax paper under the rack to catch any icing that drips.
Heat oven to 350 degrees
2 c sugar
1 c Canola oil
1 flat can crushed pineapple (drained)
2 c grated carrots
1 c white raisins
1 tsp vanilla
2 c coarsely chopped pecans (toast in microwave about 2 minutes, stir after a minute)
1 c shredded cocoanut
Beat this all together in mixer
Mix next 5 ingredients together and then pour into first mixture..
3 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp soda
Spray bundt or tube pan with Pam. Pour in batter. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, test with a tooth pick for doneness .
Cool for about 10 minutes then carefully remove from pan onto wire rack.
Grate lemon peel,
squeeze juice from one lemon into small bowl
¼ tsp lemon extract
1/8 tsp vanilla
Mix with 2 c powdered sugar.
Drizzle or spread on top and sides of warm cake
(this cake freezes well)
I grew up with Jujubees. The kids called them ‘chu chus’ and that was the name that stuck. Granddad Christian had an orchard in his yard and it was like the Garden of Eden. Every kind of tree you could imagine and vines with grapes and lots of berries. It was almost like he found a nursery catalog and bought one of everything. The favorite of mine was the chu chu tree. It was easy to climb and I could even get up on the roof of the house from there. It produced fruit every year and lots of it. You could eat a sack full and not get sick.
Jujubees are small fruit and are crisp and sweet. They have a seed like a date except it is not split. It is one of the oldest trees and grows all over the world. It originated in Asia. A tree is easy to grow and produces fruit after about five years. They are hardy, they grow in almost all climates except for extreme cold. Seeds that drop on the ground sprout and make more trees so soon there is a thicket. Mine are in the yard and that is not a problem because the sprouts get mowed down with the grass.
I have managed to have chu chu trees for most of my life, planting them wherever I lived. Now what to do with them except eat them fresh, they can be dried like a date and canned and all sorts of things people try but I think they are better for eating fresh.
They can make a mess when they fall from the tree but the deer come in the yard at night and eat every single one, seed and all. They love them! I love the deer, there was a mother and a small fawn out there today enjoying the fruit.
Thank you for clicking on my blog. It is fun when I see that someone from the Ukraine is following it, also Kenya and especially from San Angelo~
This is about a new peach orchard in Christoval, it is small, only 12 trees that they put in five years ago. (remember, 2011 was the year of one of Texas’ worst droughts, no rain at all, hard time to start this venture) There are two apples, two apricots and the rest are different varieties of peaches. Since it is on a rocky hill up there, dump truck loads of dirt had to be brought in, it is about two and a half feet in new dirt, and the whole orchard is 40×50 feet. The new dirt was fluffy with no rocks and digging the holes was easy. Everything had to be watered daily and every tree has survived except one apple tree is having a problem.
This year is turning into a great year for the orchard, the first year the trees rest, the second they come alive and the third year they flourish. We call this Anna’s Orchard~They have had a bumper crop of apricots and the peach trees are loaded. The project this year is to improve the soil with compost. I have another batch of peach and apricot seeds sprouting in my refrigerator and will be moving them to small buckets to grow until next spring. I ended up giving away about 50 little trees last year. Those trees will have a little sample of fruit next spring so they can see what they have. The first year they bloom you thin out all the peaches except maybe three or four, it will stress the young tree too much if you leave more. After that, you just enjoy a good fruit crop every year~ I have started another bunch of seeds and they are cooling in the ice box. They should be sprouting right away and ready to put in the small pots. They will be ready to give away next spring.