Monthly Archives: January 2012

Mama’s Pound Cake Story

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Mama told the story all my life.  It went something like this. 

When her first grandchild was born in Lubbock, TX., she went to “help out”.  She stayed a few days to help my sister, and as she got ready to leave for the 4.5 to 5 hour trip home, she asked my sister and her husband if there was anything else she could do for them.  One of them said,  “You could bake us one of your pound cakes.”  So….she did.

When my brother had his first child, mother went out to Whitharral, even farther away than Lubbock.  She helped with some chores, and when she went to leave, she asked if there was anything else that she could do.  My brother said he surely would like one of her delicious pound cakes.  She baked one.

When I gave birth to my first child, Stephanie, Mama came out to Sonora to help me out and teach me the ropes.  As she went to leave, she asked if there was anything else she could do to help out.  I knew the story.  I was obligated to ask, wasn’t I?  Sooooo, I said it surely would be nice if she would bake us one of her pound cakes.  She did.

Years later, I asked her to write down the recipe.  She had always made the cake from memory.  Mama wrote the recipe down.  I continue to make this cake, and my family continues to love  and enjoy the cake.  Now, I make the cake and take it when there has been a death in a family.  I often attach a note that says this cake will freeze well and can be used at a later date.  This cake is good with chocolate, strawberries, berry sauce, ice cream, or plain.  It is a “feel better” cake.

When my daughter, Stephanie, had her first baby, I went to help.  I didn’t wait to be asked.  I made the cake and took it with me and left it in their freezer.

Will Rogers said he’d never met a man he didn’t like.  I’ve never met a man who didn’t like Mama’s Pound Cake.  Here it is:

MAMA’S POUND CAKE

5 eggs at room temperature

2 sticks butter or margarine

1 cup Crisco

3 cups sugar

Blend the butter and sugar.  Then, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups flour

1 cup milk

Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Add alternately with the milk.

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Grease and flour an angel food (tube) cake pan.  Bake the cake for 60 to 90 minutes at 325 degrees or until it pulls away from the sides.

Freezes well.

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Creative students!

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I’ve been away from blogging because I’ve been on the road hunting set pieces and costumes for the one act play at school!  I’m so tired “I could spit” as Ouiser says in Steel Magnolias.

Preacher, John, was the first to identify the play, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams in which Amanda said the line, “Where was Moses when the lights went out?”  during a dinner party.  Then, Grace also identified it!

Some days teaching makes me laugh out loud.  Last Friday, one of the juniors presented me with a note.  It was a ransom note for his favorite cap.  It went something like this.  “If you ever want your cap back, you will go into science class and tell the teacher that you love his hair style and that you want to wear yours just like his.  Then, you will ask to go to the bathroom, and you will take money with you.  While on your way to the restroom, you will sneak over to the chip machine and buy some chips, make that Fritos, and put them underneath the snack machine.  When, the chips are there, they will then be replaced  by your cap.”

The student wanted to know whose handwriting it might be.  I didn’t know, but I was wishing that the writer would spend half that much effort writing his/her English essays.

A few minutes after the class got quiet and all were working diligently,  the same student blurted out,  “My cap’s been missing for three days!”

The whole class erupted into laughter.

Now,  don’t ever try to tell this teacher that kids are not creative!

Where Was Moses When the Lights Went Out????

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Are you prepared in case your electricity goes out?  It always happens when you never expect it!  Last night at play rehearsal, the electricity went out.  Who would have thought it?  Our little school had emergency lights in the cafetorium, behind the stage, and in the boys bathroom!  Then, our cell phones went dead, and we were using them for light in the girls’ bathroom!  You can probably guess what happened next since the boys bathroom had an emergency light.   We dismissed, and I came home to discover no electricity here either.  It was out for miles and miles.

When we lived in the cabin, we were totally prepared, but now that we are on top of the hill in a nice house that is all-electric, we were not prepared at all for the electricity to stay off until 2:30 a.m.!   Of course, that meant we had very little water either.  Some people had none.  A cup of hot tea surely would have tasted good!

We threw on another wool blanket and were in bed by 8:20!

Today, we purchased more candles, and  Coleman fuel, and we will bring the Coleman camp stove and portable heater up to the new house.  To heck with depending on the electric company.

By the way, can you name the famous play that had the line in it,  “Where Was Moses When the Lights Went Out” ?   My family always said this line when the electricity went off, but these days, we just don’t expect it to go off.

Glorious RAIN!

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The parched heart of Texas is currently receiving some rain.  It is raining right at this moment at the “Mountain Pasture”.  Hallelujah!  Amen!!  We are so thankful for the much needed rain.  Our past summer and fall were so hot and dry that we welcome all moisture.  We may have a bluebonnet crop after all! Fingers are crossed!  Come on spring flowers!

Country Baking–Lemon Chess Bars

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Lemon anything has always been a favorite of mine!  Aunt Ernie made a wonderful Lemon Water Pie with meringue.  She brought it to church dinners, and people would fight over who got a piece of her pie.  Mother made a delicious lemon cream pie which couldn’t be topped.  The following recipe I got from a friend when I lived in Throckmorton, Texas.  I remember visiting her, and she had just made these dreamy, from-scratch, lemon bars.  I barely knew Caryl, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself, but I wanted to eat half the plate or the whole plate of her Lemon Chess Bars.  These bars are easy and will make everyone come back for seconds.  Lemon lovers will want this recipe!

Lemon Chess Bars

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar (white-powdered)

1 cup butter or margarine

Lemon Filling

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First, sift together the flour and confectioner’s sugar.  Cut the butter or margarine into that mixture.  Knead and press into a pan about 16″X11″X2″.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking, prepare the lemon filling.

Lemon Filling:

4 beaten eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Combine beaten eggs, sugar, and lemon juice; beat well.  Mix together the flour and baking powder and add to the egg mixture.

Pour lemon filling over the hot pastry and continue baking for 25 more minutes.

DEEEEELICIOUS!!!!!!!

And You Thought Sputnik Was A Satellite

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My sophomores and juniors finally finished decorating their weave poems for the county fair.  After writing some prose text about a person they remembered from their childhood and writing down the words of a song they remember being sung, they wove the two pieces together with some great results.

One of my students is the son of a local man who recently lost his battle with cancer.  Everyone called him “Sputnik”.   The name fit him.  In Russian, the term, “sputnik” is used to refer to a companion.  The word “sputnik” represented something new, a new beginning, the space age.  The Sputnik that we all knew was certainly a companion to many and was always trying something new or different.  In a way, he represented new beginnings.

His son wrote a great story in English class about the time that Sputnik and his brothers decided to go Christmas Caroling as adults while visiting Sputnik’s mother.  The story would be enhanced if I had a photo of Sputnik and his brothers to share.  There is no telling whether these guys had their hair combed, if they were clean shaven, or if they had on any nicer clothes than their work jeans and work boots.  These brothers were known as being a bunch of “characters.”  They told the family whose door they knocked upon that they would sing “Joy to the World”.  Then, they broke into Credence Clearwater Revival’s version of “Joy to the World”.  You may remember this song  if you’re a baby boomer.

Jeremiah was a bullfrog

Was a good friend of mine

I never understood a single word he said

But I helped him drink his wine

And he always had some mighty fine wine

Joy to the world, all the boys and girls

Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea

Joy to you and me.

Well, the story ends with the family who received the gift of Sputnik and his brothers singing a Christmas carol not only laughing but also inviting the guys in for some wine.

The story doesn’t really end there because Sputnik left his son and many others hundreds of wonderful memories that bring a smile to our faces.  To bring a smile to someone’s face, now THAT is a gift!

With his permission, here’s Junior, Chance Bush’s poem:

BULLFROG                                                                                                                              

by Chance Bush

Remember When

Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog

Decided to Go

Was a Good Friend of Mine

Went Over To

I Never Understood a Single Word He Said

Were Close Friends

But I helped Him Drink His Wine

And they sang “Joy to the World”

Joy to You and Me!

Country Living and Church

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Above is a photo of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Richland Springs.  The latest census has caused the town’s population sign to be lowered to 336 people.  Obviously, they didn’t count cows, chickens, sheep, and goats!  We still have four churches in our community, and this church is the one I attended as a youngster.  When I moved back here to Richland Springs about 3 and half years ago, I was taken with how the smell inside the old church affected me.  The old wood wainscot, the wooden doors and wooden pillars all exude a unique smell which reminds me of my childhood.  I have so many memories of fond times in this old church.  My maternal grandmother, my parents, and my siblings were all members and in regular attendance.  Today, one of my childhood friends, who is a pianist extraordinaire, plays the piano.  Her music is a real ministry, and hearing her play is always a blessing.

Have a blessed Sunday.  “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

Country Living and Sandhill Cranes

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Country Living and Sandhill Cranes

We have had some beautiful days here in Central Texas this week, many of them unseasonably warm.   Most of them I had to spend inside a classroom attempting to teach young people the ins and outs of the English language and preparing them for state testing which is coming up in about a month.  Thursday evening, my husband and I made it outside to sit at our outdoor table just in time to witness the most incredible sight.  Three flocks of Sandhill Cranes flew right over us!   These are BIG birds!  Their wingspan is between 5 and 7 feet, and they weigh between 4 and 4.5 pounds.  They soar through the sky, much like hawks and eagles.  They flap, flap, flap and then soar, beautiful sight and makes one want to join them and try out flying.  It’s no wonder someone wanted to invent a “flying machine”!  These birds migrate south during the winter months, and Texas is south for them, so we have them here around us every winter.  They like to land in fields and scavenge for insects and grains.  Of course, farmers don’t like the birds if they have already planted something, but most of the fields are “resting” at the moment.

Sandhill Cranes are the oldest known bird species still surviving.  They are large with long necks and a gray body.  The sound they make is what immediately catches a person’s attention.  As soon as we had sat down, we heard this racket.  It was a loud, rattling sound coming from the sky–difficult to describe.  Heavy on the rattling, the sound went kar-r-r-o-o-o or something like that.  We heard them first.  Then, we looked up and there they were.  Then, another flock and then another!   Living in the country is the best!

County Youth Fair and Livestock Show

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Today, I went to the County Youth Fair and discovered that Remy Wood, a junior at RSHS, had won 1st Place with her Weave Poem from English class.  Hooray and Congrats to Remy!   The students from Richland Springs just took the Livestock Show.  They had so many trophies they were going to need a trailer to cart them all home.  The students were showing their goats when I was there, and Richland Springs appeared to be taking the top spots in those events also.  I know the Mann brothers won big earlier in the day with their steers and received large trophies.   Thanks to our agriculture teacher, Gerald McKee, for doing such a great job with our students.

Country Living: Fat Stock Show vs Livestock Show

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The San Saba County Livestock Show began Thursday, January 19, 2012, with the check-in of all show animals.  Friday and Saturday will see the showing of sheep, goats,pigs, and steers.  The show has made a few changes since I showed my first lamb in 1956.  That’s me in the above photo.  I was five years old, I won a ribbon, I beat my brother, and my lamb sold for the highest price a lamb had ever sold for at the county show.  The next year the rules changed.  Five-year-olds could no longer participate.  Participants had to be in at least the 3rd grade in school.  As a matter of fact, lots of things have changed about the show.   When I began raising lambs for show, all judges wanted to see a fat lamb, the fatter the better.  Now, they want the lambs lean and muscled.  In the 1950’s, we did not shear the lambs.  Later, we sheared a strip down their backs so that the judge could “feel” the muscles and not have to feel through the wool.  Finally, we began shearing the entire lamb before the show and washing them.  Gone were the days of spending hours carding the wool and trimming it to make it perfectly even.  Today, students shear all but the legs of their lambs and wash them until they are sparkling white.

To the right is a photo taken yesterday of one of my students and the Agriculture teacher.  they are shearing her Boer goat.  When I was a kid, the only goats in the county show were “hair” (mohair) goats, and there weren’t very many.  Now, there are no “hair” goats, but many Boer goats.  There are also breeds of sheep that produce a long “hair” rather than wool.

I haven’t been to a show in a while, so tomorrow, I hope to catch up with the latest goings on at the County Livestock Show and Youth Fair.  Many of my students are entered in both.  Some of the students entered their weave poems; others have a goat, a pig, a steer, or a lamb.  If you’ve never visited a local show, you would be amazed at the expertise of these young people.  They are trained in how to raise the animal, train the animal, and show the animal, and show they do!