Bits & Pieces

 

pretty prickly pear~has nothing to do with the story, it is pretty though

Dan and I used to go to Johnson City often where he visited with Harold Wood who was in charge of the LBJ Park . One day we finished early and Dan asked Harold where was a good place to eat. He told us he liked the City Cafe  that had pretty good old German food in Fredericksburg. We stopped there and ordered our lunch. Dan was eating his salad and found some shrimp shells in it. I said, “Don’t Eat It and Just Don’t Make a Scene!”  In a little while the bus boy was cleaning off the table next to us and held up a bowl of half eaten jello, he yelled to the back, ‘Hey Erna, Do We Save This?’

Once when I was invited to the Country Club in a nearby town for a Bridge party luncheon, the meal was just OK, nothing special. While my table was lively with conversation, I was concentrating on my food. The broccoli was bright green except for one long fat white worm. He was well done. I just moved him over to the side and didn’t say anything. I have raised gardens and know that a worm can get on the vegetables, you just knock them off and forget it. Anyway, someone at the table asked me a question and I lack some of the social graces and my nerves took over while I tried to think of something to say. After the talk moved on to another person, I relaxed but the next thing I noticed was the worm was gone. Yes, I had eaten it. 

Missing the Mark

Everyone who knows me knows I have two dogs, Marci (the mama) and Jitter Joe (her son). She is getting old now~ she is 13 and he is 11.

Marci and Jitter Joe on their bed. I put pillows around the room in front of door facings and furniture to protect Jitter from hitting something when he has a spell.

Marci and Jitter Joe on the bed. I put pillows around the room in front of door facings and furniture to protect Jitter from hitting something when he has a spell.

My blog today is about cleaning carpets and rugs. I started the day off with the Bingo singers at the Nursing Home. I had planned to come home and spend the day cleaning carpets. I have potty pads down all over the house in case anyone has an accident. (oh and they do!) Jitter is careful to go mark every single clean pad as soon as it goes down. That is about 9 pads each with one little round yellow spot. Marci is careful too, she stands with her front feet on the edge of the potty pad and makes sure she doesn’t get any pee on it, it goes on the floor. Marci does go to the back door when she needs to go out but lately she just walks to the back of the car and goes there in the garage. Jitter goes outside with her and will walk around for a long time, then come in and use the potty pad, he uses the cleanest not  the dirty ones. So back to the carpet cleaning job this morning.

The round rug is under the table in the utility room and a favorite spot for Marci~

The round rug is under the table in the utility room and a favorite spot for Marci~

 I started with the round rug under the dinning table, I took it outside on the driveway and started shampooing. It was hot out there since it was around noon. Then the man drove up to put a new tire on my lawn mower so by the time I could go back with my job it was blazing hot and my shade was gone. As of now, I only have one rug done and the whole rest of the  house left. I will try to get it done tomorrow and get ready for Sunday company dinner. One more thing, I don’t know why they leave that little wing tip on chicken wings, I have to cut them off (34 of them) and get everything ready for Buffalo Chicken Wings. It took me an hour and I was  tired but it had to be done. I could show you  the Chicken Wings but they aren’t cooked. No maybe you would rather see the exciting thing for me this week~ I found two nice figs on the tree I panted in February. It has been a dream of mine to grow a fig tree, I have tried every few years but not one fig until now. 

Beautiful figs, these came from the same kind of tree Adam and Eve covered themselves with when they were in thrown out of the Garden of Eden.

Beautiful figs, these came from the same kind of tree Adam and Eve covered themselves with when they were in thrown out of the Garden of Eden.

New Girl in Town

Here is Nancy leading the exercise class at the wellness center. She and Bob are into just about everything in town~

Here is Nancy leading the exercise class at the wellness center. She and Bob are into just about everything in town~

Mother used to can fruit cake. It had pineapple, maraschino cherries, raisins, some dried fruit and loaded down with lots of pecans. She cut pieces of wax paper which she lined the cans with after greasing and flouring them. In went the cake dough up about 2/3 rd full, sealed the cans and into the pressure cooker. That is all I remember. When we wanted fruit cake we only had to open both ends of the can, slide the cake out and cut it  in nice round slices. Delicious.

I canned things but didn’t know the time and temperature for fruit cake.I called Nancy Baumann, our new Schleicher County Home Demonstration Agent to find out if she had a canning recipe for cake. No, but she got in touch with A&M Extension Service and they sent her a whole packet of information. So that is when I met Nancy, she came to my door with the answers. There she was, so so young, so enthusiastic, all bubbly and happy and excited. She invited me to a demonstration she was having so she could meet with the ladies in town. There was a nice gathering of women who came, young and mostly old, (you know those who already knew everything). I sat between Ola Ruth and Mrs. Jeffery. Nancy starts out explaining basic rules of canning and equipment needed. She was holding a long thermometer and said it was very expensive but we could borrow it if we needed to. (she was being animated with it as she stressed her points).  Mrs Jeffery leaned over and said, “she’s gonna break it”  and that is exactly what happened, she hit the pan with it and it shattered. Mrs. Jeffery whispered to me, “see I told you!” Then for most of the next hour, everyone was telling her how they did things. Nancy was explaining how important it was to know how to can properly so you wouldn’t make anyone sick. Water bath was for things like tomatoes with their high acid content, and most everything else needed to be canned in a pressure cooker. Now Ola  Ruth ‘took over’  to tell how SHE canned her green beans. It called for 8 lbs of pressure so she weighed 8 lbs of bricks and put them in the oven, put the lids on the cans, put them in a pan of water and and after the right amount of time she set them in cold water to cool. The lids popped down and sealed but it was just a perfect recipe for killing someone. All l could think was poor Nancy, she had her work cut out for her. She stuck it out and worked at this job for years. She especially liked working with children in 4 H, teaching them to cook and sew.  Everyone loves Nancy. She married a great hometown guy named Bob (Elvis) Lester. Thank you Nancy!

Missy Baby

Missy with Mrs. Mendoza, they loved bingo day

For 12 years Missy went to the nursing home with me twice a week for Bingo, and an hour of singing and playing the guitar. She loved everyone. She made her rounds to see who had  bacon for her. She finally developed bladder stones and had to have surgery. No more bacon after that!  Delfina still brought her a week’s worth of bacon wrapped up in a towel, I would pretend to give Missy a  bite and tell Delfina I would take the rest home for later. I have so many great pictures of the friends who lived there, the best ones were always the ones where they were holding Spook or Missy or Marci. After I got Marci, I would put their leashes on and when we went in the door, Marci would grab the end of Missy’s leash and head for the dinning room. She sort of took over. There are so many wonderful stories about my friends.  I have been volunteering  for 24 years, I have always said, ‘it’s the best party in town’. 

Refinishing Old Teak Deck Chair

I refinished a teak wood deck chair years ago and once again it was needing some real work. The bottom of the legs had started rotting from sitting on a wet patio while the rest of the chair was in good shape. This was a special chair because they got it about the same time they got Schatzie~ their sweet wonderful little pound dog in 1989.. She loved to sit out in her chair.

Here are Marcus and Stacy Mae with their new pound puppy, Schatzie Kay. She loved her chair!

Here are Marcus and Stacy Mae with their new pound puppy, Schatzie Kay. She loved her chair, we all loved her~

Teak wood comes from Indonesia, it is great for using on boats and for making outdoor furniture. When new it has a beautiful golden brown finish and after about 6 months, it starts to turn a sliver grey color. Some people don’t mind it being grey but to keep it looking new you can do one of two things. Either use a teak oil and rub it on once a year or use a polyerethane varnish, which will have to be removed and and refinished after about 8 or 10 years.

This is the fun part, you start seeing some real results.  I am using Crown Handi_Strip from Lowe's and thnk it is the best  I have ever tried.

This is the fun part, you start seeing some real results. I am using Crown Handi-Strip from Lowe’s and  think it is the best I have ever tried.

Since I had used the varnish the other two times, I am doing it again this way. It is a big project since there are so many parts (46  pieces of wood)  and every single piece has to be striped, scraped and sanded.

Ready to begin taking apart, I made sketches to help remember how it goes back together later~

Ready to begin taking apart, I made sketches to help remember how it goes back together~

I worked on this chair for over a week to get to where I could see that it was going to turn out. The good thing is when you get tired, you go get a Dr. Pepper and rest a few minutes, then it calls you back. It is a wonderful  thing for someone who has a compulsive disorder, or maybe it is a blessing for someone who just loves to work.

All the parts that have to come off need a strong screw driver and lots of arm power. I have been spraying them with WD-40 and letting them soak  for a while and so far, I have  not  to drill any screws out. All the metal parts, screws and bolts are brass.

All the parts that have to come off need a strong screw driver and lots of arm power. I have been spraying the screws and bolts with WD-40 and letting them soak for a while and so far, I have not had to drill any screws out. All the metal parts, screws and bolts are solid  brass.

This was the most damaged of all the wood, it  was the leg on the leg rest.  All of this had to be sanded so we could make an accurate pattern for the new legs.

This was the most damaged of all the wood, it was the big leg on the right side, so rotten it was two inches shorter than the left leg.  All of this had to be sanded so we could make an accurate pattern for the new legs. I will put little gliders on the bottom of the new legs to keep the wood up off the patio.

The leg rest had to be taken completely apart part and morties & tenons  cleaned inside and out.

The leg rest had to be taken completely apart and morties & tenons cleaned inside and out.

You can see how nicely this leg rest cleaned up, all of the rungs had to be taken out and cleaned. When I put it back together, there will be a little dab of Elmers Wood Glue to hold them in place.

This one last leg  is the only thing that hasn't been removed.  After it is off, all the damaged parts will go to Dan's since he has a  Shop Smith and the drill press. Oh yes and the router.

This one last leg is the only thing that hasn’t been removed. After it is off, all the damaged parts will go to Dan’s since he has a Shop Smith and the drill press. Oh yes and the router.

 

Damaged legs and pieces, ready to copy and cut~

Four new legs and three cross pieces have to be cut now. Every screw hole and channel has to be exact. There are holes for the dowel pins, it takes real equipment to do this work or it won’t go back together. Fingers crossed and it is his chair and he will be responsible.

My part is done up to this point. After the legs come back, I can start staining and varnishing. It is looking pretty nice right now. I have been protecting the head rest with Schatzie’s name on it.

I am being careful to keep the head rest original. I don't want to try to paint in the name again.  It has stayed in good condition for 28. years.

I am being careful to keep the head rest original. I don’t want to try to paint in the name again. It has stayed in good condition for 28. years.

 

Cleaned, striped and sanded, top to bottom and underneath, just waiting for the new legs~

Cleaned, striped and sanded, top to bottom and underneath, just waiting for the new legs~The head rest is covered in heavy plastic until the the staining and varnishing starts. 

The last part of this blog will be posted when the job is completed.

Our Forever Secret

KOBI JOE  Mr. Innocent

KOBI JOE    Mr. Innocent 

No one really knows what happened that day, Kobi and Miss Molly were at Grammy’s house for the weekend. She wasn’t taking very good  care of them, she was reading or something, maybe watching a movie or painting her nails. She just told this story a long  long time afterwards as she remembered. She heard a LOUD CRASH, and then sweet music drifting through the hall way. She ran to see what had happened and there was the music box on the floor and not a soul around except for Jitter who came to see what all the commotion was about.  She found Molly asleep on the sofa and Kobi was ‘no where to be found’. He often disappeared when someone had an accident on the carpet or anything else he might be blamed for. So this mystery was never solved, no one was accused and no one got in trouble.

Musical Mystery                       ~ and some day it will have it’s lid re-attached
Kobi's music box 2                                              Your secrets are safe

Growing Fruit Trees From seeds

Beautiful Loring peaches from a tree that was started with a seed from a neighbors tree. They do not need to be grafted. The seedlings from peach, apricot and nectarine trees produce fruit same as the mother tree,  If some fruit is left on the ground, the next spring you will see little seedlings coming up. Those can also be replanted and will grow into nice trees.

Loring peaches  from Anna's orchard. She gathered these for me this morning. The tree is 6 years old and loaded~

Loring peaches from Anna’s orchard. She gathered these for me this morning. The tree is 6 years old and loaded~

Here are the apricot seeds that I sprouted two years ago. I ended up with about 60 trees which I gave away. Now I am starting another batch.

Using seeds from a native tree in your area to grow a peach or apricot tree. (no store bought fruit)

Using seeds from a native tree in your area to grow a peach or apricot tree. (no store bought fruit) All of the kernels resemble almonds~

1. Save seed from a good native tree,
2. Remove little kernel inside the outer hard seed with a hammer, don’t damage it.
3 Wrap kernels in a wet paper towel and put in refrigerator for 6 to 10 weeks, until a little root starts to pop out. (be very patient) This cooling period is necessary.

I liked to use plastic shower caps, those are easy and can be reused for later batches

I liked to use plastic shower caps, those are easy and can be reused for later batches

4. Plant kernels in small buckets filled with potting soil, cover with plastic bags. Set on a warm porch and check often to keep moist but not too wet. When green sprouts pop up, set in a place with morning and late afternoon sun.
5. After about 3 months or more transplant into gal. size buckets.
6. I keep them for a year before I give them away so they will have a good start. I still have Indian peach seeds that started from my daddy’s trees 50 years ago. I have Indian, Loring, Princess, and seeds from the FLDS orchard, chilling in the refrigerator. They will be ready to plant in another few weeks.

 

Some of the seedlings three days after they sprout. They grow fast.

Some of the seedlings three days after they sprout. They grow fast.

After they are about a foot tall, re-pot them into gallon size buckets. I like to keep them for about year in buckets, they are easier to take care of as they grow. When they are three feet tall, you can plant them in the ground. If you wait until December or January, they will be dormant and will have lost their leaves, that is a good time. Then in a few weeks when the weather warms up, they will put on new leaves and flourish.

When planting in the ground, dig a hole about t feet across and no deeper than the depth of the bucket. You want it at the same depth as it was planted in the bucket.

When planting in the ground, dig a hole about two feet across and no deeper than the depth of the bucket. You want it at the same depth as it was planted in the bucket.

Sprouting Mango Seeds

;This is a mango seed after ten days of being wrapped in a damp paper towel and sealed in a plastic bag

This is a mango seed after being wrapped in a damp paper towel and sealed in a plastic bag for ten days. It is ready to be planted in a bucket of potting soil.

After having good luck sprouting peach and apricot seeds last summer, I decided to try a mango seed. First you cut around outside of the husk then remove the seed from inside. Wrap it in a wet paper towel and place it in a quart size plastic storage bag. Put it in a warm place for about ten days or until a little green shoot shows up at one end. Then it is ready to plant in a bucket of potting soil. It will grow fast
this one didn't look like it would make it but popped up in a few days

this one didn’t look like it would make it but popped up in a few days

I sprouted two seeds and one flourished while the other looked like it would not make it. I had a little talk with it and promised I wouldn’t give up if it would try real hard and it looks like we made it! I will keep these plants in my sun room and hope to enjoy them for many years.
Here is this sweet baby at five weeks old.

Here is this sweet baby at five weeks old. It is already eight inches tall.

  It takes mango trees several years to produce fruit and needs a year round warm climate, like banana trees, they will not survive a hard winter freeze. However it makes a nice lush pretty house plant and can be set outside on a porch in the summer.

 

These are Cherokee Indian Peach seedling  and are 3 weeks old.

These are Cherokee Indian Peach seedling and are 3 weeks old.

Of all the trees I have grown, the peach and apricots are my favorite. These three little trees are from some seeds I saved last August and planted three weeks ago. They are growing fast and are over 10 inches tall, I will re-pot them into three gallon size buckets in a few weeks and grow them in the sun room until Spring. Sprouting seeds is addictive, you get fast results and it is fun watching a miracle of nature. I gave away over 20 peach and apricot trees last year and the friends who took them will be having fruit in three years or so. Tomorrow I will give you a favorite cobbler recipe of mine, it is easy and delicious, you don’t even have to get out your rolling pin~

Our Most Lovely Nancy

My lovely little sister Nancy and her granddaughter 'Nancy'. She was my partner in the  R&N Cafe I wrote about a couple of days ago. I just wanted to share this sweet picture, she was a wonderful grandmother to her five grandchildren. We shared our stories, there is enough to write a book about our growing up together where we made our own fun. The only entertainment was a picture show and a radio.

My lovely little sister Nancy and her granddaughter ‘Nancy’ .She was 72 years old when this picture was taken, forever young and full of life.  She was my partner in the R&N Cafe I wrote about a couple of days ago. I just wanted to share this sweet picture, she was a wonderful grandmother to her five grandchildren. We shared our stories, there is enough to write a book about our growing up together where we made our own fun. The only entertainment was a picture show, a radio and big imaginations.

This picture was of Nancy and her little granddaughter (nancy) down at the river with us eight years ago. I am missing her terribly. This is at about the same time she started getting dementia and had trouble remembering things. What a terrible thing to happen to someone so precious. All of the things that meant so much to her were striped away. We spent a lot of time of the phone talking about our childhood and things that she did remember, and up until my birthday last November when she couldn’t remember me. The last thing she said that night was, “I love you”.

My Favorite Water Scene

My favorite water scene is from a real place somewhere in Sutton County~

My favorite water scene is from a real place somewhere in Sutton County~

One of my mother’s friends invited us to her ranch on a river down below Sonora and even though it was many years ago, I remember what a special place it was. I came home and painted this picture and it belongs to someone in my family. We fished for a while that day and then went up to the house for a great  country meal of red beans, corn bread and slaw.  It was cooked on a wood stove so the the aroma was wonderful. This is a place where anyone one would love to live, just perfect peace and tranquility.

Oil Painting

A painting of a scene from Mason County

A painting of a scene from Mason County, this one I have kept because it was one I liked. It just went together with no effort. I always had a place in my heart for Mason and especially Grit, where my grandparents had a farm. Lots of nice summers there growing up.

This landscape is 24″x36″ and has always been my favorite size to paint, it is the right proportion. It works well on a wall above a fireplace or over a large piece of furniture. This size canvas takes about four days to paint, with a couple of days drying time in between. I always kept three paintings going at once, that way when I had gone as far as I need to on one, I let it dry while I worked on another one. Painting  wet on wet ends up a dull grey picture, bright highlights will pop out if the paint under it is dry.  I have never used an easel, it  is awkward and makes my arm tired. I had rather stand over the canvas with it lying flat on the table or sit with it propped up in my lap. When paintings were finished, Dan framed them for me. A salesman came twice a year from  Brownwood to show me the samples. They have beautiful ready made frames with elaborately finished corners. Even a small 5″x7″ painting in one of these frames turns it into something special.