Country Living: Fat Stock Show vs Livestock Show


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!


Country Living, Fog and Gardening!


                                                                                                  Tuesday morning as I headed to school from our house in the country, I saw the most beautiful fog I think I’ve ever seen.  I had my little camera with me, but the photos I got really don’t do it justice.  As my husband said,  “The hills looked like islands, floating on a sea of fog.” Driving ten miles in to the school where I teach isn’t any fun in fog, but it really wasn’t too bad.  How and why did I get to be so lucky to see such beautiful sights every day?!

If you live in the country, your mind should be turning toward gardening and planting because spring will soon be upon us.  My cousin has already tilled the soil in preparation for his spring vegetable garden.  We will garden in a small way, but we are still eating yellow and zucchini squash out of our freezer that I put up last summer, as well as okra.  All vegetables taste so much better fresh from the garden!

Daughter Stephanie gave me an herb garden for Christmas, but I haven’t gotten it planted yet.  This will be my very first herb garden, so I’ll keep you informed as to all I learn about herb gardening.

Then, we also have to get some flower and shrub gardens going.  This past week we got some flower beds trimmed out with large pieces of stone.  Some of the stones weighed about 100 pounds each.  Good thing we had some strong men to lift those rocks!  Now, to get dirt in the beds and plants in the dirt.  So, so ready for spring!

We will also head over to Womack’s nursery, near Comanche, Texas, and purchase some more fruit trees with Grant’s Christmas gift certificate.  We are thinking of trying some apple trees.  Has anyone ever grown apples here in Central Texas?  Last winter we planted pecan, plum, pear, peach, and apricot trees, as well as antique blackberry vines and spineless blackberry vines.  I’m getting hungry just thinking about all the fruit we’ll have one day!  Maybe the  grand-kids will be old enough to pick by the time the trees make fruit!

Country Baking—-Cookies


I’m trying to get organized enough to post something about cooking or baking or just sweet things on a certain day of the week, such as Tuesdays, but my organization skills have failed me so far.  I’ll keep trying, so I’m starting over today.  This past weekend some of our children were coming, and I was searching my brain for something sweet to bake.  We were tired of the many rich pies and cakes of the holidays.  Cookies sounded more like it.  I pulled out my old recipe box and came across two of my favorites.  The Chocolate Krinkle Cookies recipe brought back a fond memory.

When I was a kid, I belonged to the 4-H club.  The group had a picnic down at Mill Pond Park in San Saba.  A lady from Richland Springs by the name of Mattie Ware brought these cookies.  I thought I was in heaven when I bit into one of her cookies.  It tasted very much like a brownie, but it was a beautiful little cookie, yet so soft and fluffy.  My mother suggested I tell Mattie how much I liked the cookies.  I did.  Mattie said,  “I’ll bring you the recipe the next time I’m in town.  You’re old enough to bake some.”  I was shocked.  I must have been about ten years old, and I didn’t think I could really bake these cookies by myself.  Mattie brought her recipe by our house one morning when she delivered the fresh churned butter and eggs she sold Mama every week.  I’ve been baking these cookies ever since.  Yummmmmmmmmy!!!!!!!

Chocolate Krinkle Cookies

1/2 cup Mazola Corn Oil

4 squares unsweetened chocolate-melted

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups sifted flour

Mix all at one time.  Then, place in the freezing unit of the refrigerator for at least one hour or refrigerate for several hours.  Then, drop by teaspoons into confectioner’s sugar (white powdered) and roll into balls.  Place on cookie sheet in balls and bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Teaching, Researching, and Libraries


Every Monday I was planning to write about teaching and teaching tips.  hmmmmm  I had planned to include one of my student’s weave poems today, but I forgot to ask him permission.  Last Friday, I went to Wal-Mart and bought art supplies (with my own money, of course), and today we began the attempt to make our poems look “cute”, “nice”, “good”, “artistic”, ….well, to look like they would be worthy of entering the San Saba County Youth Fair which begins this Thursday.  The 10th and 11th graders really got in the spirit of decorating the poems.  Some of the students are going to save their decorated poems as Valentine gifts for their moms or dads; others will save them for a Mother’s Day present.  I’m really pleased with the result. I hope to have a photo for you in the near future.

I also graded sources that the seniors have found for their research papers.  I’m actually quite proud of their research.  They’ve done a decent job.  When our Region XV Service Center told us that they could no longer afford the Ebsco Data Base we used to find all of our articles online, I panicked last year.  What to do?  Having been a county librarian, I was familiar with the library network and set to work to get all of my students a library card from the Tom Green County Library in San Angelo, Texas.  We got that accomplished during the first semester.  Now, each student is able to get on a laptop and use the online resources of that library which is a two hour drive from us.  Sometimes, I think technology is just the greatest invention ever!  Our school is so small that our reference section is near to none although we have the best librarian ever!  Mrs. Gossett has created a comfy, cozy learning area and has used all of her creativity to raise funds to have adequate books for grades K-12.  Anything that a person requests, Mrs. Gossett finds a way to get it.  More on our wonderful library in another entry.  Stay tuned!

Sunday Sunrise


     Rise and shine/ And give God the glory, glory/Rise and shine/ And give God the glory, glory/Rise and Shine/And/Give God the glory, glory/Children of the Lord.    Did you ever sing this little song as a child or did you ever hear someone else singing it?  I used to sing this to wake my children in the mornings.  I doubt they remember it, or if they do, they probably would say how it drove them crazy, but I love this little song. According to the Internet, the writer of the song is unknown,  and evidently, it has various titles such as “Children of the Lord” and “The Arky Arky Song”.

Here in Central Texas, we have some mighty impressive sunrises, but they barely last long enough for you to grab your camera!

Favorite verse:

It rained and poured/For forty daysie, daysies/It rained and poured?For forty daysie, daysies/Nearly drove those animals crazy, crazies/Children of the Lord.

Have a blessed and glorious Sunday!

Country Living Bathtub


   Currently the object holding water in the photo is serving as a water trough for wild animals such as deer and turkeys and for many birds.  A water trough has not always been this metal object’s purpose.  When Grant and I were living in the 7.5 feet by 15 feet, one room “cabin” with no running water and electricity, this was my bathtub in the winter.  Grant chose to bathe in a children’s plastic swimming pool outside.  During the summer, when the sun was strong enough to heat up the water and the air was warm, this was fine with me, but during the winter, I lost my courage and stamina!  That is when I had an idea as I waited on Grant one day at a hardware store.  I saw this nifty tub and thought to myself, using my creative drama teacher mind-set of course, there must be a million uses for these kinds of tubs.  We bought the tub and brought it “home”.  Of course it had to stay outside except for when I was bathing because there was no room for it inside the cabin except in the small, very small empty space.  When it grew dark, Grant would bring the tub inside, and I would heat two metal coffee pots of water on the Coleman camp stove.  We would haul in additional water.  One would be amazed at how very little water it actually takes to bathe and get perfectly clean when you have to haul the water and bring it inside from the outside and heat it on a Coleman camp stove!

Sunrise in the Texas Hill Country


Wow!  What an amazing beginning to a Friday in the Texas Hill Country.  As I got in my car and headed east off the “mountain”, this photo is what I saw this morning.  I  had to stop and take a photo and give thanks to God for such an opportunity.  We can see the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets from our home.  I can barely drag myself away to go to work at the school.  It was a great day with Cheyenne Tharp winning first place in the essay contest and a trip to Washington D.C.!

Exciting Teaching News


Okay, this blogging thingy is more work than I thought!  I’ve really fallen behind as I got busier and busier at school this week. I did want to share with the world my big news at school.  An assignment for my junior English class was to enter the Central Texas Telephone Cooperative’s essay contest.  The contest includes around 15 schools.  The first place prize is a free trip to Washington, D.C. in the summer with 100 other students.  The prize even includes spending money.  The other places receive cash or savings bonds.  Tomorrow morning, a CTTC representative will be at our school to announce to my junior English class the winners, and the tiny school of Richland Springs has won 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th places!!!!!  Woo!  Hoo!!!  I am so, so, so excited.  I can’t wait to find out WHO has won!

Our “weave” poems are coming along, slowly but nicely.  The juniors and the sophomores are both creating weave poems in our English classes.  We hope to enter some of them in the county youth fair.

Finally, our contest play, the One Act Play, is coming together.  We  are doing Steel Magnolias, and I’m enjoying the 6 young actresses so much!  They are fun and funny!

A Tip for English teachers


Perhaps one day a week,  say Mondays, I’ll write about a teaching tip that I have picked up through the years.  One tip that has kept me enjoying teaching is to always keep trying something new and different.  This year I was determined to teach myself and one of my classes how to blog.  We are just getting it going, but both blogs are up and running. The blogs are fun and exciting.  TAKS test review they are not!

Today, I received some information from a much younger teaching friend about teaching a form of poetry called a lullaby poem.  I had seen her talk about this idea several years ago, but I couldn’t remember exactly how the process worked.  The student thinks of a lullaby, song, nursery rhyme, saying or something that he/she can remember someone singing or saying to him in his very early childhood.  The song could be something like the Itsy Bitsy Spider.  The student writes that down and numbers the lines with even numbers only.  The student then writes in prose a description of the person who sang it and the circumstances.  After underlining phrases that stand out in the prose, the phrases are numbered with odd numbers.

The two are then combined to create a poem.  The lines are written in numerical order; thus, alternating the song and the prose  creates a poem.  The project makes a great gift for a mother or grandmother or father.  I’m very excited about trying this tomorrow with some of my classes.  Maybe I’ll share one with you if I can get permission!