Tag Archives: Country Living

Country Living, Fog and Gardening!

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                                                                                                  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!

Sunday Sunrise

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     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

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   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!

Taking down the 1st tree

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Today, the day after Epiphany, we took our first Christmas tree on top of the “Mountain” down.  Our first Christmas on top of the “Mountain” was spectacular and wonderful.  All but one of our five children were here to enjoy this special time of the year with us and both of our grandchildren were here, as well as Cousin Henry, Trish, and Jay.  The tree was a 9 or 10 feet tall pine.  Formerly we cut a live cedar (Juniper) tree in the pasture for our Christmas tree, but the girls and my husband are a bit allergic to cedar, so this year, we bought a traditional pine tree.  I must admit I miss the smell of a cedar tree brought in from the pasture.  The smell is so strong and so heavenly and reminds me of my childhood when Daddy and I would go in search of a tree for our house and for my grandmother’s house, and for my bedroom.  We would come back with three sizes of trees.  A giant one for our house, a medium-sized one for Granny’s, and a tiny one for my bedroom.  I have always loved cedar trees, but all of the ranchers in this rural area despise them because they soak up a tremendous amount of precious ground water, and apparently, they are good for nothing!  Nothing likes to eat them, and they grow like bad weeds.  Well, I guess they are bad weeds!

The second photo is of the last cedar tree we had when we still lived in the cabin, but had our Christmas in the barn.  Of course that was before the barn was full of “stuff”.  I must admit that making paper chains, hanging candy canes and bells, and wrapping our presents in brown mailing paper with twine tied around them was a blast!  The oil candles were fun, too.  It was a little chilly in the barn since we didn’t have much in the way of heat or light.  We did have some Coleman lanterns hanging from the ceiling.

I hope you have special memories of a special tree, and these two trees will always be very special to me!

“Apricot Bars”

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As promised, here is the recipe for the delicious “Apricot Bars” which will earn you many compliments, especially from the guys!

“Apricot Bars”

1 & 1/2 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup brown sugar

1 & 1/2 cups quick rolled oats

3/4 cup of butter

1 cup apricot jam or cooked, dried apricots (mashed)

Mix flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and oats.  Cut in butter till crumbly.  Pat 2/3 of the mixture into a 13X9 1/2 X 2″ baking dish.  Spread with jam.  Cover with remaining crumb mixture.  Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) for about 35 minutes.  Cool and cut into bars.  Makes about 2 dozen.

You won’t be disappointed in this recipe!

I didn’t rise at my usual 5 to 5:30 a.m. because we have a teacher work day today at our little rural school.  I am so glad for this day to get re-organized although I can’t help but wish we had 2 or 3 “work” days before the students come back.  I have so much to do!  Our little school is such a treasure.  We have about 115 students in grades K through 12.  One man serves as the principal for grades K -12, and the same man serves as the superintendent!  I teach English to grades 8-12 as well as speech and theatre arts.  I also direct the One Act Play for competition.  All of the adults have schedules that just wear us out, but the children are real treasures.  They are like sponges and just waiting to soak up all that one can offer them.  For the most part, they are co-operative and want to learn and very few of them are interested in cheating.  These children live in this rural, poverty-stricken area, and they don’t have much in the term of finances, but I’ve enjoyed working with them more than any group I’ve ever taught, and I’ve been teaching for a long, long time!

What a beautiful day and sunrise it is here in San Saba County, Texas!  The air is crisp, but there is no wind and beautiful light is shining on the Liveoak trees and reddish-brown rocks and the prickly pear cactus as I sit here writing on my laptop in my living room area.

New Year’s Eve in the country

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Tonight, we will drive 2 miles to the old schoolhouse at LakeView, Texas,  where my mother went to school as a young girl in the 1920’s when the school house was only one room.  Now the old, abandoned school house has two rooms.  The larger room will house a D.J. on one end and some benches on the opposite end, as well as benches around the perimeter.  The other room will host foods of all sorts, shapes, sizes, and kinds brought by people of the community, as well as a huge pot of black-eyed peas, boiling on the stove. I will take sausage rolls this year.

The larger room’s old hardwood floor makes a great dance floor, and young and old alike will twirl around the floor until well past midnight.  My husband and I will attend, dressed in our western boots and jeans.  There, we will visit with local friends that we have made here in the past three years, as well as the principal from the local school where I teach and his family, the athletic director and his family, and the Rodeo Association President and his family.  People will show up from Austin, Texas, 120 miles away.  Deer hunters will wander in as well as teenagers and people from the largest town in the county, San Saba, population 2666.  Babies and small children will come, and 5 year old boys will be asking 4 year old girls to dance.  If the Miller girl is there, she will win the limbo contest, as usual.

Inside the old schoolhouse, people will be visiting, reminiscing, tell tall tales, making new friends, dancing, playing dominoes, eating, drinking sweet tea and generally just having fun.  Outside the old schoolhouse, adults will be drinking a beer and checking their portable ice chest coolers to make sure that none of the teenagers have stolen any of the beer.

Hopefully, this year there will NOT be a skunk living under the old schoolhouse.  Last year, no one was aware that a skunk had made his home underneath the old structure, so every time the dancing picked up, the skunk would spray, and everyone would rush to open all of the many windows for a breath of fresh air.  Soon, the windows would slam shut because of the cold wind that soon permeated the room.

At midnight, everyone will hug, and guys will kiss their sweethearts and girlfriends and wives.  Some will go home to cook for tomorrow’s brunch, and some will, as the old song states, “stay a little longer.”