Shih Tzu Baby

Dogs I have Loved

This is Missy

Thank You for my Blessings~

At some time when the Lord was creating this earth He must have noticed there was something missing.There was a need to fill the emptiness in a mother’s heart once her children were all grown up.
If she could only have a special little creature to love and cherish and to nurture, then she could have a baby all her life. And so God created a most treasured gift for the world, a sweet, loving and faithful little dog. It would never go away to first grade, or summer camp, or college. It would be beside her in the car, in the kitchen, on her bed, always right there for her hand to reach out and touch when she needed a baby to love.
Thank you Lord
Rita 
Babies I have loved~ Puddles,Big Spook, Suzy, Spook, Schatzie Kay, Lucy, Little Sweet, Kate, Missy, Kobi, Molly, Ginger, Little Elmo, Marci and Jitter Joe.

Chinese Chicken Shun-Goi

 
This is a recipe you should try.  It is absolutely my favorite Chinese dish of all of the wonderful ones out there. It has a little sour-sweet flavor, crunchy cashew nuts, dredged and fried chicken pieces, and all the vegetables are still crisp . Served on steamed rice, it will be one you will remember ~and the chopsticks are not just for decorations, that is what I use and never drop a bite in my lap!

chop sticks add a lot of fun to this meal, offer them to everyone, and also a fork for those who are in a big hurry to eat~.

This is a wonderful Chinese dinner, perfect for company, everyone will love it. Any left overs can be put on  plates for the freezer to be enjoyed later.  It is colorful and simply delicious. My favorite Chinese Food.
Grocery list:
1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
2 bell peppers
celery
water chestnuts
onion
large can pineapple chunks
3 Roma tomatoes
cashew nuts
6 cups chicken broth
Soy Sauce
~
Chicken Shun-Goi

Sauce   ( you can make this ahead of time)

1/2 c soy sauce
4 heaping T. corn starch
2 c chicken broth ( I make my own any time I am boiling chicken, then freeze it)
1/2 c vinegar
3 T sugar
Pineapple juice from drained chunks
Stir (constantly) together and cook until thickened, it is slightly thinner than gravy

Fried chicken breast chunks  (this can be done an hour or so before dinner, like before church)

Cut breasts into small cubes (the size of pineapple chunks)
1 egg & 1/2 c. water  Mix together in med size bowl)
2 c flour seasoned with salt and pepper and put in large mixing bowl
Dip chicken cubes in egg mixture, then into  flour and coat completely, only do about 1/4th at a time so they will be well covered.
Heat 2 c. corn oil hot in wok or skillet, drop in chicken and stir while it fries until done, it only takes a few minutes . Put on paper towels and get all the grease off. Then do the rest of the chicken the same way until it is all cooked.

Rice
2 c rice
2 tsp salt
4 1/2 c chicken broth
Put it all in a large pant, bring to a boil, stir, reduce heat and cook 25 minutes or until tender. (you can do this before church too)

Cut up vegetables, even the day before is fine
Stir fry in hot wok or big skillet with 1/4 c. corn oil:
2 bell peppers (big chunks)
1 onion, quartered and separated
4 stalks celery cut into 1/2 in. chunks
(Only cook for a few minutes!  you want them crunchy)

Add drained pineapple chunks,
can of water chestnuts drained
Roma tomatoes, (quartered)
cashew nuts
fried chicken chunks

toss together with vegetables and sauce on heat for
about 30 seconds more.
Serve the Shun-Goi on rice in each individual plate, this recipe is generous for 6 people~

This is such an easy recipe, it sounds complicated but once you make it, you will see
it is fast and simple. When I cut up the vegetables, I put each in a plastic bag and don’t
mix them until I cook them.
It is one, two, three, four:
1. fry the chicken chunks
2. make the rice
3. stir fry the vegetables~ and 4. make the sauce

Green Pastures

This was a place between Llano and Burnet Texas, I have seen this same spot covered in wild flowers

Today I am showing a green scene. We are pretty green here right now because of wonderful rains in the past month. The great thing about this part of the state, if we get a little rain, everything turns green in a few days. The pastures have buffalo or mesquite grass, it can survive almost any drought and come right back with a rain. I painted this picture from down around Llano. I like a road in a picture, or a trail, something to let you imagine being able to get into it. A gate needs to always be open or it stops you dead in your tracks. Now in real life you would never leave a gate open. If you find it closed, you close it behind you. An Eldorado character (Jim Runge) who has a ranch north of town had a gate standing beside a country road, not connected to a fence but just a gate standing there. He had put a sign that read, “Keep Gate Closed”. Pretty funny~ Have a nice weekend~

Old Bumper Gates

these gates were a great improvement, I wonder if this is what you bought after your kids were all grown and gone~(whose turn is it?)

My nephew Earl sent me this picture a while back. It is of an old bumper gate near Del Rio. For many years, the bumper gate was a modern luxury, no one had to get out and open a gate, drive through and then get back out and close it. Sometimes there might be 7 or more gates between town and home, some gates no more than wire mesh stretched between two post and you had to hook them with a wire loop to the fence posts.  No fun~ My friends who lived north of Eldorado had a bumper gate, it was a little scary to drive through, you had to hit it just right to push it open and then go through in a hurry so it wouldn’t swing around and  hit your back fender, (then watch that it closed before a goat could follow you through). For Father’s Day a few years ago, their kids gave them new automatic solar operating gate to replace the bumper gate. You drove up, waited and in a few seconds a sensor would make the gate open. (modern wonders). They had a man who worked for them for years, and his daughter would often come for a visit. The first time she came after the new gate was installed, she drove up like always, and went right on through with her car~oops! there went the new gate, off it’s hinges, flat on the ground, gears and arms twisted and broken. So they had to get their second  fancy automatic gate in less than a month. 

Men and Hats

this hat took first priority over everything, I despised it~

When I was growing up, I learned first hand about men and  hats. This is a picture Granddad Jack’s old Stetson. Let me see, I think it was the Silver Beaver XXX and cost $15~ a huge amount back 75 years ago. He only wore it when he went to lodge. He had another one he used for every day. If we were in the car, it blocked the view from the back seat,  more than once it blew out the window, and often blew into the back seat and into someone’s face. We were constantly reminded to “watch out for my hat!”. When we got somewhere,  he had to find a place to put it, men did not wear their  hats inside! Later, Dan and I married and he liked hats too. He had lots of them, I had to go shopping with him and he would try one on, hold the brim in front and give it a shake. (this was a test or something) It took  forever for him to decided since not many fit just right. (Someone once told him  that he had a ‘well shaped head’ and he liked to remember  that compliment). I hated the hats. They were trouble! We were in Luby’s eating one day and someone took Dan’s hat and left him theirs. He never forgot it and from then on we would have to sit where he could watch his hat like a hawk. When my first  little boy was four, Granddad Jack gave him a Stetson  for Easter and I thought, ‘Oh No, Here We Go Again!’ It went through lots of wear and tear with  stick horses and cowboys and Indians. Sometimes it ended up on the closet floor, under a pile of toys. It was recycled on down to his little brother. I found it in the cedar chest not long ago and was overcome with  feelings, I realized how much I loved this one.

Mias Amigas Reunion Eldorado Texas

 These pictures are from last year’s Mias Amigas celebration. The end of June we will be coming back for another round of fun. Invitations have been sent out and I hope everyone will plan to come. It is always a great time for visiting and there is a fantastic Bar B Que dinner. I love these people! Ann & Suzie MEvery year we celebrate Mias Amigas in our hometown. Anyone who graduated from Eldorado High School at least 20 years ago is invited to come to this time honored reunion, held the last weekend in June. This tradition started almost 90 years ago and is still going strong. Each year, the class that graduated 20 years ago is recognized and also the class from 50 years ago. It is fun hearing all the stories about their old school days. They were a pretty good bunch and if they got in trouble at school, they were going home to face worst than the principal’s paddle. It is interesting to hear what they have done with their lives since they left Eldorado. Here are a few pictures from that 2016 weekend.
Dean & Vickie, Salley DeLongAngela & Ray13529199_10209511708964579_1755157665415040920_nIMG_6273Linda, Christabel, Rob, Paula, & PhyllisMeador bunch & Rita13528763_10209511707964554_6844678213930887435_nErin's familyKirk JonesDorthy & RitaMadeline & SharonRob & TellyMickey & Scott13501612_10209511744005455_9217082272328468075_n

Bald-Faced Cow

cattle are fun to paint, ZZ was able to paint this one in two days, and then put in a little more detail after the paint dried.

This is a picture ZZ painted of a cow. We took lots of cow pictures in Buscher’s pasture, they were strange looking but probably good ones since they  all had ear tags.  ZZ was 9 years old on this one. I helped her sketch it off on a 9×12″ canvas. (paint the eyes in first, then it will watch you while you paint in everything else.) To show her how, I would write in b for brown, w for white, etc. and she would paint in the different colors. She learned to mix paint from an early age, we used very few colors,  white,  blue, yellow, red, and brown. Nearly any color can be mixed  from these. She learned early not to mix a big pile of color, if you mix small amounts, each one will be different and make  the picture more realistic. One time when ZZ was about 5 years old, we were buying brushes at the art store and an older man and his wife were shopping. From what we understood, he had decided to start painting. He was saying, ‘let me see, I need some purple and some green, and some black’~ I could tell ZZ was having a fit. She finally told me, ‘that man is not obeying’. She knew blue and red made purple, and yellow and blue made green. She was beside herself wanting to go help him. She painted several parrot pictures and sold them on e-bay. Children like bright colors. She painted a lot of adobe houses. They are easy to do and when you are finished, you have something worthy of a nice frame. They have a 3-D effect with shadows and sunlight hitting the walls. The great thing about her is she never got tired, she was never ready to quit. I love this old cow. I love that sweet girl~

Texas Country Roads

this would be such nice road leading up to your home place, some people do have roads just like this~

This is a scene  near Mason. I would love to drive down this road on the way home every day, a winding road with trees making a canopy overhead. We used to visit relatives in East Texas and  between Douglasville and Atlanta, there were roads like this that went to the farm houses. It was magical, mystical, and maybe a little bit spooky at night. Dan’s ‘McWhorter cousins’ lived in East Texas and I liked going there, it was so different. The people were soft spoken and no one ever got in a hurry. Their voices had such a sweet, kind sound. (Dan always came home with an East Texas accent and it took a few days for it to wear off). I was amazed at how green it was back there, very hot and humid too. Ben took us  fishing in his boat, we got out in the middle of Caddo Lake, anchor in the water, hooks baited, then he had to turn around and take Cousin Lilla all the way back to the bait stand because she was afraid of the water. We fished all day while she sat on the dock beside the picnic basket with the food,  I wished I had stayed with her. We loved our East Texas people.

Miniature Swing Set

The real barn had a child size bed, table and small refrigerator  for ZZ’s playhouse. (this miniature swing set is 4″ tall)

I made the real table, which washed away in the same flood that took the River Mouse. It would seat 8 people, with two stumps on the end to use as seats. This miniature is 1 3/4″ tall~

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~

 

The Card Game

I can either stop posting for a month, or show some re-runs since I am taking care of some business this summer. (like 40 chickens, three dogs and fighting coons every night to keep them out of the fruit trees). Maybe by the end of June I will have some new and interesting fresh material to write about. Good things are happening right now in Uganda!

The dress was wonderful to paint, her wrap too, it looks like ‘someone’ won her away from the card game~I painted this picture in 1965, it was  large and took two months to complete.

Dan’s mother saw this painting and mentioned it several times, it hangs in the Hermitage in Russia. It was an old world painting, ‘The Stolen Kiss’ by Fragonard. I found a photograph of the painting and was overwhelmed by the beautiful detail in the woman’s dress, I decided to try to copy it. It took several weeks to sketch it off on canvas and once I started painting I was terribly excited to be doing it. Painting the folds in the woman’s dress was a great experience, it was like reading a good book~ hard to put down. When it was finished Dan gave it to his mother on Mother’s Day, she loved it. She had a beautiful formal living room and the perfect place for it. It has been in the family for 49 years, it now hangs in her grandson’s home. 

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”
              She brought down the house!  Lots of clapping and laughing~
                                     They gave her all their fish~

Texas Pecan Pralines

This is a recipe you will want to make often, these pralines will melt in your mouth. (there is another recipe for the creamy, chewy kind that I will post later) The secret to making wonderful pralines is to toast the pecans first. I always toast pecans that are going into any candy recipe. This was my Grandmother Montgomery’s favorite candy to cook~

                        PECAN   PRALINES
1-Cup Sugar
½ Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Light Karo
1 Tablespoon Vinegar
Pinch of Salt
1 Tablespoon Butter
3 to 4 Cups toasted pecans
(toast pecans in  microwave for about 2 or 2 1/2 minutes
two cups at a time. Stir every 30 seconds so they
don’t overcook.) Generiously butter a cookie sheet.
Combine the sugars, water, Karo, salt, and vinegar. Stir to mix well.  Wipe
down the sides of the pan with moist paper towel to prevent sugar crystals
from forming.  Cook to 234 degrees on candy thermometer.
Remove from stove, add butter and nuts and beat until the mixture starts
to thicken and loose its shine. Quickly drop from spoon to the buttered cookie sheet, using
a second spoon to scrape it off. If it should get too thick and sugary, just add a
few drops of water and beat. Cool, and wrap in wax paper, store for any length of time.
As with any candy, don’t double recipe and cook in a very heavy pan.
Makes about 20 pralines.