Deck Chair Finished

I was able to save the name I painted on it when it was new.

I was able to save the name I painted on it when it was new.

One month ago I showed a project I was working on and have completed the job. It seems like it was a lot longer than a month but that was 30 blogs ago so that is a long time. This chair was one that Dan & Debbie called the Schatzie Kay chair because their little dog claimed it for her own. The legs finally rotted from sitting outside for  25 years and it either had to be restored or thrown away. old leg

Bad legs, ready to be sent to Dan's Shop Smith

Bad legs, ready to be sent to Dan’s Shop Smith for copying duplicates in new wood

All striped and sanded, waiting for the new legs~

All striped and sanded, waiting for the new legs~

All finished and smooth as silk.  Deck chairs have solid brass screws and hinges so those have stayed like new.

Finished and smooth as silk. The  chair  has solid brass screws and fittings so those have stayed like new. To find if fittings are brass plated or solid brass, try a magnet test, if it sticks to the piece it is solid brass.

This was the second time I restored it. The bottoms of the legs get wet and the water wicks up into the wood, the rest of the wood is fine but wet legs rot. Dan copied the old legs perfectly, cutting and matching everything down to the last screw hole. Now it is like a new chair. This time I bought some epoxy after reading about it on the internet. It is like putty, two parts mixed together and put on the bottom of the legs. It dried in two days and should take care of the water problem. I also put gliders on the bottom to hold the leg up off the patio. This was a good project, I like working with wood and I like to save things.

 

Cast aluminum chairs were nice ones but the finish developed a problem.

Cast aluminum chairs were nice ones but the factory  finish developed a problem.

The patio chairs were good ones and comfortable. However the finish on them had started cracking and chipping off.. Debbie sanded them down to the bare cast aluminum, ready for primer and then deep hunter green paint. These pieces  all sat in my garage for a couple of weeks after I finished them and I was growing attached. They came and got them today and sent the pictures. I am going to be looking for another project that is fun to do. This was one of those.

My Ranching Experience

this is a picture of an angora goat, they are smart, cunning and playful. This picture was borrowed from Wikipedia, looks a lot like that other goat~I just noticed this onet had a little blood on his nose, maybe he got in a fence~

these are two of the Pfluger’s goats from last year. They were shearing today and will be busy with that job for another several days. Ranching is hard work~

Sometimes I feel like a ranch hand except I have never ranched~unless you count taking care of pasture cats and wild life. But many times I have had to stop on the road and get a goat out of the fence and I felt like a real rancher woman. Reciently I had to do that job, I was on my way to San Angelo to see the tax man and do some banking business. The wind was blowing a gale, I didn’t have my head scarf so my hair got really big~ you know like having to walk through a door sideways.  Not good at all. There is a trick to getting a goat out of a fence, they all want to stick their heads through the wire to eat the same stuff that is on their side, it works fine until they try to pull back, then their horns hang and they are stuck. They will bleat and fight all day until someone finds them.  To help them get lose, you have to pull their head toward you as far as you can and twist it around and poke their nose back through (nose first~if you manage that, then the horns will follow). It looks like it would hurt and sometimes there is a little blood but you keep talking to them and telling them you like them and they are going to be fine. When they are finally free, they take off running. My ‘used to be neighbor Joe Max’ had Spanish goats and he solved the problem by cutting a broom stick wider than the head and wiring it across the horns, there was no way they could get that new head gear through the wire fence. I thought it was ingenious, it didn’t hurt the goat at all and it kept it out of trouble. I love goats, especially the little kids. They have boundless energy and are the most entertaining creatures, maybe something like the pasture kittens~ By the way, a man in a pickup stopped to help with the goat that day, that is usually what happens.  

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.

Sunflower Afghan

the panels are crocheted in the afghan stitch, then the flowers are embroidered in a cross stitch. It feels good to be working with yarn~

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. 

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.

Chicken Shun Gai

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~

I found a wonderful Chinese cook book (with pictures!) years ago and have tried almost all the recipes in it. This is one of my favorites, in fact all of them are my favorites~

I found a wonderful Chinese cook book (with pictures!) years ago and have tried almost all the recipes in it. This is one of my favorites, in fact all of them are my favorites~

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.

 

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~

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~