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Merry Christmas a day late!


I hope you all have had a very, merry Christmas!  We surely did here at the Mountain Pasture!  The full moon was gorgeous, gorgeous!   Christmas Eve the temperature broke all records for a high.  I think it was 77 degrees here, and we picked fresh, pink roses from my rose bush.  That was a first in my lifetime.  As my son said,  “Mom this centerpiece looks like Easter, not Christmas!” We also had fresh tomatoes from Grampaw Grant’s garden for our salad!

As we walked through the pasture, we saw tall, native grasses and mesquite trees that still had green leaves on them.  It is unnaturally warm here in Central Texas this winter.  We do have many red cardinals and many white-tailed deer though.  Our dog, Houdini, enjoys the walks as much as we do, and he always manages to scare up some rabbits and quail.  He and Mike, out cat, are quite the mighty hunters.   The three fat squirrels keep a sharp eye out for both the dog and the cat.

We tried some new recipes for Christmas this year including,  roasted Brussels sprouts with toasted pecans, roasted broccoli with a lemon/Parmesan sauce, a standing crown rib roast, and a gluten-free raspberry cheesecake!  Yummy!  Of course, Stephanie made her outstanding Scalloped Potatoes with Gruyere cheese (heavenly delights) as well as the cheesecake, and I made my usual homemade rolls, Mama’s chocolate cream pie with meringue, Mama’s pecan pie, and Clara Wash’s lemon chess pie!  Joe III created the Brussels sprouts and the roast, and Uncle Bob Close provided the baked ham.  Joe and Stephanie made the green bean casserole on the box recipe, and Grampaw Grant provided the fresh tomatoes for a beautiful green salad.  All together it was toooooooooooooo much, too much, too much, but oh, so good!

Grampaw, Chase, Jay, Kat, and Cousin Henry kept the grandchildren entertained inside and outside, and Grampaw even built a fire outside, just for fun!

We are so thankful for family and friends, and we hope that you all have found some peace and happiness during the holidays and will experience much happiness in the coming new year.  We are looking forward to the celebration of E.G. (Sandy) Hall’s 90th birthday shortly after the New Year!   What a beautiful example he has set for all of us on how to live and how to age gracefully.

Cheers to all of you for a prosperous, happy 2016!





Gardening–Intensive Care Unit


I think I’m a failure at growing early tomato plants from seeds.  I finally took my two trays of spindly plants into town to the school.  The agriculture teacher has a green-house full of many beautiful plants.  The 5th and 6th graders have beautiful, large tomato plants growing out there.  Yes, 5th and 6th graders!  Today at lunch, the Ag teacher told me he had my plants in the “plant intensive care unit” of the green-house!  Oh No!!!  I knew they looked sickly, but that bad?!  My son will be most aggravated if I waste those seeds from his League of Nations garden!

Today was one of those days when I wonder why so many little things that go wrong get me down!  Ever have those days?  I’m a school teacher.  One of the play’s important props went missing, students wanted their grade averages and I don’t have them ready, the cast forgot their lines tonight at the dress rehearsal, some students were disrespectful and wanted to show their “power” and “bullyness”, and the furniture store who owes me a new, matching sofa and loveseat that are already paid for emailed that they are closing.  Well!  what an end to a perfect day!  Whine, whine, whine.  Spring break can’t come fast enough for students and teachers alike!  For sure I can’t go into full-time gardening for a living since my plants are in intensive care, so I guess I’ll suck it up and go forward as a teacher.

How lucky and fortunate I am to know an Ag teacher who will take in my ailing plants and nurture them and to know I have students who will rise to the occasion tomorrow when they perform for a critic in Bandera, Texas.


More About Texas Bluebonnets


The bluebonnet is the state flower of Texas.  The blossoms resemble the bonnets of pioneer women.  We have an abundance of the plants here at the Mountain Pasture.  Summer before last, a friend gathered some seeds from our prolific plants.  She planted them.  They haven’t come up.  She is distressed.

I was reading about bluebonnets today, and the success rate in planting seeds is 60%, and sometimes they don’t produce blooms for two years if they do come up.  The plants are survivors, and they are very careful about protecting themselves.  It is best to plant the seeds in the fall in soil that has good drainage.  Some recommend that a person scar the seeds before planting them and barely cover them with soil. There are many recommendations on the Internet for planting bluebonnet seeds.

Sheep and goats eat bluebonnet plants as quickly as they poke their heads out, but cattle don’t care for the plants.  I think we’ll have a fairly good crop this year.  Below are some photos of the current state of the plants at the Mountain Pasture.  Can’t wait to see them in bloom!

A Year’s Growth in Gardening


Here is a photo of a blackberry plant that my husband planted a few weeks ago, and the next photo is of a blackberry plant planted last year about this same time.  It is amazing what a year’s growth amounts to!  Wow!  Maybe, we’ll get a handful of berries this year!  I can’t wait until I can make a fresh, blackberry cobbler!  mmmmmm, good!

Here is a photo of a fruit tree planted a year ago, and the next photo is of a fruit tree planted this year.  I just can’t believe they have grown this much in a year, especially with the Texas drought going on.  Due to the dedication of my husband to keeping the trees alive, he watered them twice a day, every day last summer, and he did it by hand with a water hose, the trees grew by leaps and bounds.



Please help the high school drama club spread the word that Elvis is coming back to Richland Springs this coming Saturday night, February 25th at 7:00 p.m. in the RSHS Cafetorium.  Adults:  $5.00 minimum donation; Students:  $2.00 minimum donation.  Harvey McSpadden will once again entertain with his deep, resonant voice.  Grab a friend and “come on down” to Richland Springs for an evening of great musical entertainment.  Harvey also sings gospel and country music and performs a nice tribute to our veterans.  This is a fund raiser for the Richland Springs Drama Club.

Elvis Presley, 1973 Aloha From Hawaii televisi...

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Talents and Life

This was long thought to be the only portrait ...

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English: American singer Whitney Houston perfo...

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Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
     Yesterday, I tuned in to the last few minutes of Whitney Houston’s 3 hour and 45 minute funeral service.  The main preacher was about to begin.  He preached on the above verse from the Bible.  It really is so true, that we all get caught up way too much in what we are going to eat and what we are going to wear.  The man did a good job in my opinion, and not only did he preach, but he played the piano and sang and asked his twin brother to sing.  I can’t even being to imagine being the mother of children like that who have talent beyond measure.
     In my English IV class on Thursday, we were discussing iambic pentameter and the fact that Shakespeare wrote his plays in iambic pentameter.  I commented that students were allowed to say they didn’t care for Shakespeare’s style or his works, but that they were not allowed to say that Shakespeare was dumb.  That class discussion and Whitney Houston’s funeral led my husband and I to discuss the God-given talents that people are born with and what raising children with great talents entails.
     My brain is so small that I can’t even imagine hearing a song in my head that has not been written yet or hearing a play in iambic pentameter as I wrote it.  I can’t even imagine having a talent like that.
     Take a moment to consider what you will eat and what you will wear, but put the emphasis of your thoughts on the more important things in life.   It’s a good idea whether you are a Christian or not, and that’s my sermon for the week.  Have a great week!

Summer in the Winter


Yum, yum!  Can’t wait for supper tonight!  How nice it is to have electricity and a freezer and be able to preserve those yellow, summer squash from the garden.  I just got some out to thaw for supper tonight.  The package states the amount, but actually I have used out of this package before, so if that doesn’t look like 2 1/2 cups, it’s probably not!  These will simmer for a while with salt, pepper and butter and will taste nearly as delicious as when they were first picked from Grant’s garden last July.

It’s time to get your seedlings started and begin tilling your garden space if you live in Central Texas.  My father-in-law, who lives down in the Texas Valley, reports that he already has some nice-sized tomato plants that he is anxious to set out.  He, too, must worry about a freeze, but I’m guessing our freeze here in the Central part of the state will come much later than his freeze.  I was out and about this morning in the country, and I can hardly believe how green the landscape is.  The winter grasses and weeds seemed to have turned green overnight, but we are expecting temperature in the low to mid twenties tonight, so don’t put those plants out yet!

Steel Magnolias


My husband and I took my high school cast for Steel Magnolias to San Antonio, Texas, to see a college production of  the show.  It was a good trip, but my girls are well on their way to a fine production of their own!  Can’t wait to perform it for the public in March, probably March 18th, a Sunday afternoon.  We are still looking for a few items such as a wig for Clairee and a small area rug, but we are making progress.

Coyotes for Christ


Coyotes for Christ is a youth group started in the spring of 2011 by Michael and Amanda Brand. Michael is a coach here at Richland Springs, and Amanda is the 6th and 7th grade Reading and English teacher. They started Coyotes for Christ because none of the local churches had any youth groups, and they felt that the youth in our community needed to be more involved with the word of Christ. Coyotes for Christ is held on Sunday evenings at 6:00 pm in the Band Hall at Richland Springs School. Everyone in grades 6th-12th are welcome to join in on the games, food, fun, and worship. Coyotes for Christ is a great way to learn the word of God with your friends. Local churches support Coyotes for Christ by providing food and necessities needed for the service. Michael and Amanda have made such an outstanding difference in our school and community and we are blessed to have them here.
Be sure to check out Coyotes for Christ Facebook page by adding Michael N Amanda Brand! Coach and Mrs. Brand would like to remind everyone that Coyotes for Christ will not meet this Sunday February 5, 2012, or during Spring Break.
Cheyenne and Brooklyn