Mertzon Road

This is a simple little 11 x 14 scene I painted 46 years ago.  I was driving over to Mertzon one day and when I saw it the tree, I turned around and went back to get a picture of it. I have had it hanging in the same spot all these years.  If it had been bigger, I would have had a windmill and rock tank in it.

This is a simple little 11 x 14 scene I painted 46 years ago. I was driving over to Mertzon one day and when I saw  the tree, I turned around and went back to get a picture of it. I have had it hanging in the same spot all these years. If it had been bigger, I would have had a windmill and rock tank in it.

Here is another place between Eldorado and Mertzon. I think I painted every scene from here to there at some time. There are a few pretty live oaks, some windmills and rock tanks, and only about three houses in the 32 miles.  A woman who lived on a ranch out there was at a bridge party one time and we were all telling funny stories, she told us that one freezing day she went out to see if ice was forming on the water in the tank and dropped her car keys in. She had to do what was necessary so she ran to the house. put on her bathing suit and went back and jumped in the freezing water. She found the keys and was climbing out when Mr. Halbert drove up in his butane truck to deliver gas. She said she headed straight for the house like nothing had happened. She was sure he must have thought she had lost her mind. It was a good story and I know none of us ever forgot it. When I look at the paintings from Mertzon, I think of her.

Hydroponic Greenhouse

European cucumbers  are also called burpless cucumbers, they grow 18 or more inches long and are still tender and sweet.

There are several kinds of lettuce   like romaine and butter head, you can pull them out of the trays and put the roots in a glass of water and keep them fresh on the  counter for several days.

Tomatoes and cucumbers grow well in buckets of perlite, there is no dirt or soil involved

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~

Borrowed Ford F10 Pickup Truck

I was writing on my blog yesterday about borrowing a Ford pickup truck to move some stuff to New Mexico. I thought I would show you a picture of almost that same truck.

Well, you get the idea~

Well, you get the idea~His had a long bed and small tires.  

Now his was not red but navy blue, it had 3 seat belt, lots of speakers and a tape player playing, ‘Take a good look at my face’. It  was great. I borrowed it once before the New Mexico trip and also that time before when it was a few days old and I got to drive it around the block. Just me and my sweet dog Spook and she wet a big round circle on the new seat. We were both sorry but things happen~ The second time I needed to move a piano to my house and promised I would be careful. I was able to find a guy who had a real piano dolly and he met me in front of the Army Salvage store. I was impressed with the dolly, I was taking every precaution to get the piano safely moved to my house and not wreck the truck or lose the piano. I did smell a little beer breath  when I paid him the rental fee and he explained how you loaded a piano. Then he threw the dolly over the tail gate and I heard the crunch as it slid in. I  could see the damage and so could he. He just said, “oh a little touch up paint will fix it just fine”. I started crying and explaining that SOMEONE  was going to kill me!  When he walked off, I am sure I heard him say,”tough!”.  I almost rolled the piano off my porch before I got it in the house. I still had to return the truck and face the music. Someone was MAD~

Finally Got a Shop Smith

I borrowed a pick up truck to haul some furniture to New Mexico one year. It was a nice new Ford 150, navy blue and had a real phone that came with it. Feeling mighty good about then. I delivered my stuff and stayed for a few day to visit. Now the thing that always got me excited was they had a Shop Smith in their garage that had been turned into a work shop. There was a huge work bench, hand made out of fine wood, it even had a vice made out of wood. Beautiful piece of work.. The walls were lined with cabinets with dove tailed drawers, every size to hold anything from screws and bolts to measuring instruments of every kind made. Long drawers to store saws with rose wood handles. These people had a major hobby going on. I just dreamed of having something like the Shop Smith, it had every kind of big tool to build anything you could dream of. Nice thing was when you were finished with a project, you just rolled it over to  the wall of the garage out of the way.

this was not the actual Shop Smith, I borrowed a picture from the internet. I never did get a picture of the real one~

this was not the actual Shop Smith, I borrowed a picture from the internet. I never did  get a picture of mine.

The day before I was leaving for home, they told me they wanted me to have their Shop Smith. They were down sizing and knew I had always wanted one. They were not teasing me, it was mine! So for the next several hours we were loading it in the pickup, tying it down with all kinds of straps with ratchets and ropes, and the whole time I was getting a lecture about what I could and could NOT do. I had to promise never to use the lathe and heard about incidents where people had been killed while using one. Hook the heavy board up wrong and it could jump loose and cut your head off. ( I was thinking I could be extra careful and be able to use it OK.)  Anyway it was all finally loaded and after I went to bed I started to worry. I could not sleep and had a panic attack. It seemed like it was top heavy in the bed of the truck, there was a lot of weight up on top of those four legs. I was going to be driving through the Sandia Mountains, lots of dangerous curves and heavy traffic. There was just one thing I could think of and that was to try to unload it before anyone was up the next morning. Anything that I could lift, I had it on it’s way~ piece by piece back into the garage. Then I saw the PERSON standing there and he yelled at me, “Are you crazy, have you lost your mind completely?”  So this is the story of my wonderful Shop Smith that I hardly knew, it was mine and I did own it for a little over twelve hours.

Shopping in Kenya

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~

As you can see, there are a few chickens in the cages. I saw several people carrying chickens in town, they just held their legs and they stayed calm.

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).

The men’s toilet was  more simple than the lady’s. Two things that desperately  need fixing in Kenya are lack of sewer systems and the roads. I feel for them~

 

I

here is a typical ladies toilet. The blocks are  to stand on, not  sit, you figure it out. Only once did I need to use such a facility and that was a disaster.

few if any refri

Si

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).

This man’s little shed was a going business. He always had customers. I noticed people adding minutes to their cell phone. Nearly every store in town sold phone minutes.

 

these girls were all fixed up. I saw a woman in the clothing market sitting on the floor behind a bench and she was not happy at all. I passed by later in the afternoon and she was still there, and still very upset. Then I noticed that she was having her hair braided in tiny dreadlocks and I am sure it was very painful.

Here is a beauty parlor, there were a lot of these. In the slums, most people have their head shaved, it is hard to tell if the children are boys or girls, except the girls wear dresses. The more affluent women have longer beautiful hair or wear a wig, whether or not they have hair they are all pretty, tall and slender, and have beautiful smiles. A surprise was the car dealerships, mostly Toyota and Nissan, their lots were filled with a big inventory of vehicles. There were a lot of motor bikes for sale. I liked them, they were whisper quite.  I thought the people were quiet too, they spoke softly and were friendly and pleasant. I am just about to the end of my adventure in Kenya , thank you for staying with me. I will have to find something else to write about now. 

Miniature Attic Room Restored

this room is for relaxing, snacking, and painting. It was one of the most fun to make and to restore, it had everything except my sewing machine~

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.

The sandwich here is 40 years old. (I have since made a fresh one), my favorite~ham, cheese, tomato and lettuce on soft bread~

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.

In real life, I never used an easel or stool, I propped the canvas on my lap and painted at the kitchen table, I usually had a Dr. Pepper that lasted me all day~

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~

Hanging Out With The Boys

The boys were always nice to have Dan go along with them, here they are at Hulldale, one of ther favorite spots~ just 14 miles north of town~ 

These two young friends liked to stomp around out at Hulldale in the summer between college semesters. Dan was always welcome to go along, he had the pickup, he knew the combinations on the gates, and he always carried plenty of cold water.

On the top of the Delaware Mountains,  you could walk half a mile and stand on the rim, and see a hundred miles into the valley~beautiful and awesome place. That is the  magnificent Guadeloupe Peek in the distance

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.

Here is Matt, digging himself out of a hole, just know he was getting plenty of advice~

this was a bad place to have a blowout, Dan drove to Van Horn for a new tire. these were summer time troubles, during Christmas Holidays one year it was almost a disaster~

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~

Spaying and Neutering Pets

Getting a dog spayed is what a responsible person does. The world doesn’t need two litters of puppies from their dog every year to add to the pet population. So many precious dogs end up in the pound and don’t find a home. Most of our pets have either come from the pound or were abandoned on our road.

this was the day after Spook got fixed, she was in pain and miserable, I felt terrible for her, it made me cry~

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. 

Spook turned into the sweetest and happiest little dog ever, she was the perfect one

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.

Schatzie was a baby girl from the pound, she helped drive home after her surgery

 

(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.) 

 

 

here is Kobi with Missy, he was straight out of the pound that day, what a little prize!

the only trama with Jitter Joe was my fault, I am so so sorry Sweetie~

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~  

World’s Smallest Office

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.

These were my helpers Jitter Joe Marci and Missy

These were my helpers Jitter Joe Marci and Missy

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. 

Almost finished except for the screened door and the deck, three more days and all done

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. 

I get tired sometimes, this was that time. And it was worth it~

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.

Trip to Uganda

My favorite thing on the computer is Adobe Photoshop Elements, it is the miracle worker. It clones things in and takes things out of a picture or does a big job like  this picture. I cloned that great grand baby right into my arms (from a picture of Caroline holding her). So I do get to hold that sweet baby.

Gavreilla Joy and Grammy Rita, this is not real but thanks to Adobe, the next thing to it~

Gavreilla Joy and Grammy Rita, this is not real but thanks to Adobe, the next thing to it~

My family went to Uganda to see the newest member of our family while I stayed home and kept everyone’s places running. That included 40 pet chickens, two peacocks, an orchard, trapping varmints, and taking care of three dogs and two kitties. I came home every morning to take care of my place and that was a full time job.

The family, Elizabeth, John and Gavriella

The Oriokot family, Elizabeth, John and Gavriella

I got up at 3:00 AM each morning to see the latest pictures and videos streaming in live from Soroti, I even saw the video of the big celebration at the airport when they got to meet their new granddaughter. It was wonderful, I could sit and watch and cry and it was just me and the dogs, no one to interfere with my emotions. A happy time!

Grandparents ~seeing the baby for the first time

~seeing the baby for the first time

The happy moment

The happy moment

Right about here is when everything quit for me, the internet service went out in Christoval and I couldn’t re-connect the router because I didn’t have the ‘secret code’ so I was stuck there for three weeks, no internet, no TV and a phone that I didn’t know how to work. I didn’t get to see the rest of the pictures until much later. The nights were long~they did have a wedding at the vineyard and I could hear the boom boom boom music until 1:00 in the morning. Then there were several lightning storms that came through every few days. I caught several coons in the live trap and one fox.

Anna with baby cousins

Anna with baby cousins

Gavriella and her Granddaddy, I love this picture

Gavriella and her Granddaddy, I love this picture

This was Austin Albin’s third trip to Africa with them and his first time to hold a baby. He took most of the photographs and I am thankful for all the nice pictures. Praise the Lord for the great mission work they all do.

Austin, Godwin & Gavriella

Next trip will be my turn~

Moist Rich Carrot Cake

with pineapple, raisins and toasted pecans, then the tart lemon icing, this cake is wonderful~

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.

CARROT CAKE

Heat oven to 350 degrees

2 c sugar
1 c Canola oil
3 eggs
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.

Lemon Icing
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)

The Wonderful Jujubee

Every seed will sprout that is left on the ground

The leaves are a bright shiny green and almost look lacy. These three trees are over 40 years old and about 35 feet tall. Before I got them started, I noticed someone down the road had them in their back yard and they shared with me until mine were producing.  I found where they kept their leaf rake and would clean up the stuff on the ground before I left~

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.

whatever falls on the ground the deer eat, seed and all~

I can eat them when they are small and green, then they get sweeter as they get speckled. They  are ripe when they turn brown. That is when they are really sweet but they will only be at their best for a few days  after that.

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.

The limbs are gnarled and rough. The younger trees have thorns`

The limbs are gnarled and rough. The younger trees have thorns. When I mow the grass and go under the tree, I grab a few and reward myself as I make another round. (I have a friend Becky who rewards herself with a can of cold beer when she mows~)

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.

nice

After a couple of days on the counter, they start to get soft and are not as good. Four or five days and they start to shrivel up like an old lady. I throw them back under the tree for the deer that night.

this is the size of the fruit

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.

This mother has been coming with her baby for several weeks. I put corn out for the deer and turkeys every day and then birdseed for the quail, doves and small birds.

This mother has been coming with her baby for several weeks. I put corn out for the deer and turkeys every day and then birdseed for the quail, doves and small birds. 

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~