Tag Archives: Country Living

A Year’s Growth in Gardening

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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.

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Rain & Green Thumbs

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I’ve been neglecting my blog because I am caught up in the web of One Act Play at the high school.  I’m the director, and that position takes the time of a football coach, but the extra money for all the hours is not there, of course.  I accepted long ago that the great state of Texas values football more than just about anything!  I like it too, so I do what I do because I love theatre.

Today, on the mountain, it is raining, a heavy but slow, soaking rain.  After last year’s drought in Texas, we are more appreciative of any rain.  I suspect that this rain will make the Texas Bluebonnets, the state flower, come on strong, and we will have some great bluebonnet photos to show you in about a month.  Today, water is running away from the house and into the tanks.  We are praising God!

I was hoping that one could inherit a green thumb, but I don’t think I got my mother’s.  She could make anything grow, and it would be the biggest, most beautiful plant you’ve ever seen.  Did I mention her ivy plants?  She got two little ivy plants from someone.  In a blink, they were climbing up peat posts inserted into the flower-pots, and soon they were about 5 feet tall.  We named them “Beowulf” and “Grendel”, names from the famous Anglo-Saxon poem.

My little tomato plants look rather pathetic.  Someone commented on my blog that I should move them to a south window asap!  I’m directionally challenged!  When I was a kid, Daddy would make us all ride horses when he wanted to round-up the cattle or sheep or goats.  He would tell each person which direction to go and where to bring the animals back to.  He would often say something like, “Patsy, ride to the south fence and push everything toward the north corner.”  He soon learned I had NO idea which fence was the south fence or where the north corner was.  I would usually run into my brother or one of the hands because I was lost.  I was useless.  I always wondered why he kept me riding, but perhaps, he was a teacher at heart, and he didn’t want to give up trying to teach me.

I digress.  I put the tomato plants in the kitchen window, thinking they were in a south window.  Nope, that’s a west window!  My son came over and said,  “Mom!  get your plants to a south window!”  Bingo!  It dawned on me.  Now, they are in a south window, but they are still spindly.  They have turned a darker green, and the stems have turned a reddish color.  I don’t have a grow-light, and we’ve had very little sunshine this week, and I’m not home during the day to move them around.  Perhaps I should invest in a grow light.

Those plants above are the seedlings from the seeds I planted 3 weeks ago tomorrow, Sunday.  They are finally making the “real” tomato leaves.  What do you tomato experts think?

Below are my new seedlings my son and I planted a week ago tomorrow.  He gave me some of his seeds from his “League of Nations” garden.  They just sprouted this week.  It should be fun to see how these “different” tomato plants fare here at the Mountain Pasture.  You can check out tomato seeds with “stories” behind them and tomato seeds that do well in foreign countries at the tomato man’s website:  http://tomatofest.com/

Tree Planting Time!

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If you’re in Central Texas, it’s time to plant new trees!  My hubby traveled over to Womack’s nursery near Comanche, Texas, today and brought back some oak trees, pecan trees, and apple trees.  Thanks to Mama and Father Hall for a nice gift certificate!   Below you see the oak trees going into the ground up on top of the mountain.  The apple and pecan trees will go in the ground at the bottom of the hill, or at least, I’m assuming they will, but I don’t really know because I’ve been off all day thrift store shopping for the school play.

These are bare root trees, so they are easy to handle and transport.  Last year, Hubby planted 14 bare root fruit and pecan trees, and they all survived even during the severe Texas drought, so we are sold!

Have You Planted Your Seeds?!

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First of all, my last blog post was intended for the student blog that my junior English class is writing at school.  Cheyenne and Brooklyn wrote the piece, and somehow, their dingbat teacher posted it on her personal blog, instead of their blog!  Oh well, it’s so good that I decided to leave it!

If you live in Central Texas, it’s time to get your seeds planted so that you will have plants to transfer to your garden after the last frost.  You still have time to grow plants from seeds.  I took the lazy man’s way out for a few plants and bought one of those nifty little containers at Wal-Mart that come with “dirt” that expands/grows when you add the water!  What will they think of next?  Absolutely anyone can handle planting seeds with these containers.

I started with two kinds of tomato seeds, Cherry and Beefsteak, but I plan to try some different varieties when my son brings some of his seeds to share with me.  He has ordered a variety of different seeds that are grown in different countries around the world.  He’ll call his garden “The League of Nations”.  Our garden doesn’t have a name yet, other than, “Grant’s Garden”.  That’s because he actually does all of the work.

I must admit though that I felt like a first grader watching the container every day to see if my seeds had sprouted.  It took 4 days!  Sooo exciting.

  This is the fancy/smancy container!  Plastic, no less.  

That second photo is when I just had to take the lid off to “see” for myself what was going on in there!   I planted 3 seeds to each little “pod” of soil.

  Sure enough, they were sprouting!                   

…and on the 5th day, they looked like this:

  Yea, Buddy, is this cool or what?  See those water droplets on the end of that sprout?!  Way cool!

  Our future tomato garden!!

Oh yeah, there were no sunrise photos this morning because the sky was full of beautiful clouds which looked as if they were going to dump a truck load of rain on us, but they fizzled out as the day progressed.  Hoping for some rain tonight!

Remember these?

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  Anybody know what this is?  You guessed it if you guessed the center of a merry-go-round.  I have no idea how old this merry-go-round is exactly, but I do know that it is the same one that was on the playground when I started school in 1957.  Of course, it was just a plain rusty metal color with plain wooden/board seats.  There was no red, blue, yellow, green or red to it.  This nice paint job makes the old merry-go-round look almost new.                                                             

This particular merry-go-round was for the “big” kids.  You had to pump those metal handle bars to make it go faster.  You did not have to run around and around to get it going and jump on.  The more you pumped, the faster it went, but if you fell off, it was farther to the ground than the “little kids’ ” merry-go-round.  The merry-go-round shown below is on the same playground, and it, too, has been there since 1957, at least.  It was for the “little kids”.  As the gravel and dirt show today, kids had to run around to get it going and then hop up on the benches, but it wasn’t far to the ground if you fell!

Both of these playground attractions bring back fond memories.  The merry-go-rounds were probably purchased by the PTA of which my mother was president at one time.  The PTA raised funds for their projects through the Halloween Carnival and Coronation of the King and Queen.  Both events were looked forward to by the whole community.

Hooray to those who didn’t throw out the old merry-go-rounds!

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.

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!

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: 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!