Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Twins, library, books, nature, recipe

Monday, June 28, 2010
Drove to the Weatherford Library this morning and shelved books and various other chores for two hours. Also took the Dewey Decimal System training on the computer. I got an 80 and two 90's on my test score so that's not too bad. I think I'll get better at it just doing it.

We drove to Taylor and Jennifer's ( see photo) for pizza and cookie cake dessert in celebration of finally finding out that the expected great grand twins are boys. Well, we were sort of hoping for one of each, but we'll take what God has decreed and be happy. At this point they weigh about one-half pound each and are very healthy according to the doctor. We haven't had any babies in the family for a while so this is very exciting for everyone. By the way, they are not identical so it will be amazing to see the finished product come early November. When we got home, I discovered the yard man, Marco, had finished putting our big bird fountain together. Just a few finishing touches and it will be in operation again. I'm thrilled, but I know the birds will be happy to have a place to cool off in the heat all summer.

Update: The swallows appear to be refurbishing their nest so we will probably get one more setting this year.

Today is Tuesday, June 29 and I drove to the library and gave my two hours of volunteer work. Mostly, I shelved DVD's and CD's. It started raining just as I was going to my car to come home. This is good because we really need the rain. When I got home, I noticed a branch of one of the butterfly bushes in the front flower garden on the lawn. I walked over and bent to pick it up when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a garter snake about 4 feet long. He was beautifully colored in green with yellow stripes running the length of his body. Needless to say I was somewhat unnerved by his appearance. He slithered off under the shrubbery so guess he'll hang around to eat bugs and mice. I resolve to be more alert when weeding in my flower garden from now on.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Since I'm about 60 pages into this new book I'm writing, I thought it would be beneficial to read a book that came to my attention. It is "The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction" by James Alexander Thom, author of "Follow the River". For anyone now writing or planning to write historical fiction, I highly recommend this book. Mr. Thom writes in a wonderful way that makes you want to learn. Now that I have this information in my brain, I find I must go back to what I've written thus far and make some major changes. Mr. Thom's book can be found on Amazon.com.

I am currently reading "Ride the Wind" by Lucia St. Clair Robson. This is a 600 page paperback in small print about Cynthia Ann Parker and the Last Days of the Comanche. I'm a little over 400 pages into it and hate to put it down, but even with my new eyesight after the cataract surgery, the small print wearies my eyes. This is a marvelous work of historical fiction based on the kidnapping of Cynthia Ann Parker in Texas by the Comanche Indians and the final days of this tribe as a free people. Every time I pick it up to read a few chapters, I'm immediately transported to that place in time because Ms. Robson is such a delicious writer. She puts one right into the thick of tribal life and I find it difficult to pull myself back to reality when I must do other things. There are hardbound copies of this book (it was actually published in 1982), which I haven't investigated as to print size so, if you decide to look for it on Amazon.com, you might want to look into this. Do get this book. You won't be sorry.

Friday, July 2, 2010
I spent the day cooking for Russ' 4th of July party, which actually happens on July 3rd. I made a quadruple recipe of Confetti Salad and a triple recipe of Texas Beans. Below is the recipe for the beans. They are quite tasty.

Texas Beans recipe by Gloria Palmer of The Palmerosa Ranch

1 lb pinto beans
1 lb thin sliced bacon, cut into 1" pieces
1 package taco seasoning
1 large cooking spoon catsup
1 large cooking spoon barcecue sauce
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 8 oz can tomato sauce

Soak beans overnight in water. Drain, combine with all ingredients and add water to cover. Cook until tender.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Swallows, Red Hatters, Game Daze, Restaurant

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Before I forget it again, for those of you not very familiar with blogs, if you click on a photo it will become larger on another screen for easier viewing and you can just hit the back button when you want to return to the blog.

The swallows are all doing well with the one baby still in the nest, but he'll soon join the rest. We had a little rain shower this week and they all flew back to roost on the patio until it was over. When the sun came out they all began to put on an aerial show in the backyard. They were soaring high and swooping low while chasing each other. Our dog, Daisy, was diligently searching for a place to hide until the birds settled down. Apparently all the swooping and diving disturbs her.

The Wild West Women of Weatherford Red Hat Chapter gathered at our Queen's ranch for lunch and band practice. Queen Gabigail has a room over her garage that is the Red Hat gathering room for planning events, luncheons and arts and crafts get-togethers. We are presenting a redneck charity fundraiser event for July 24th at Couts Methodist Church Gym. It is a costume event in that people are asked to come dressed redneck or in Red Hat regalia. We have formed the Red Hat Redneck Band and will be playing and singing some well known songs with Red Hat words. We have an entertainer booked, Cuzzin Jelvis, who advertises himself as the Elvis' sixth cousin once removed who sings Elvis songs and uses the Karaoke machine as well. We have many other redneck plans for this event and the recipient of a portion of the funds is Freedom House, a refuge for battered spouses and their children. Stay tuned.

On Friday, June 25th, eighteen members of PCWNC drove to Sue Coleman's home to enjoy a covered dish luncheon and Game Daze. Each month someone in the club hosts this event where we get together and play different games. We played Canasta, Skip-Bo and Polish Rummy, did a lot of conversing and dining. These activities are surely helpful in keeping our minds supple and the gears turning besides just being a ton of fun.

We met Russ and Kelley at La Choza (The Shack) Mexican Restaurant on Highway 730 in Azle, Texas for lunch on Saturday, June 26th. As we were entering the front door, we noticed plastic bags filled with water with a couple of copper pennies in each hanging from the roof of the entrance. We, of course, asked what these were for. It seems these scare flies away, but no one seems to know exactly why. See photo.

Doug ordered chile relleno and I ordered chicken enchiladas. Russ and Kelley had chicken fajitas. The food was absolutely delicious as always. We caught up with ongoing events in the family, one of which was that Russ was T-boned in an intersection in his truck. We are thankful he wasn't injured nor was the other guy.

Also, Russ was going though a gate to his property next door when he noticed a rustling in the leaves on the ground. When he looked down, there was a copperhead snake looking mighty angry. While Russ was looking for his hoe, the snake went back into the garage. Russ owns a pest control company so he fogged the garage, which resulted in driving the snake out. Needless to say, he did kill him. Russ did say the snake was beautifully colored and they do eat mice and rats, but having a poisonous snake that close is just too dangerous.

The flat screen TV in my office quit so when we got home from lunch, Doug took the TV apart and determined it needed some new capacitors. He drove to Radio Shack where he found exactly what he needed, came home and began the repair. My TV is now working like new for $6.00 worth of capacitors and Doug's labor as opposed to $250 for a new TV. That man of mine is truly a genius and if it can be repaired, he's the one to do it. I am truly grateful for him in my life.

I continue to write about the Cherokee Indians and research as I go along. Have decided to use two of my granddaughters as critics when I get to a good point. They are both avid readers and I know they will give me an honest opinion as to whether I'm on the right track with this book for children their ages.

In the meantime, I've read "Grace & Gumption", edited by Katie Sherrod, our book club choice for June. It is the size of a coffee table book and reads like a coffee table book. This is a compilation of stories about Fort Worth women (mostly club women) written by a number of writers. They all run together with not much changed but the names of the women being written about. I was disappointed not to learn more about these Fort Worth women personally. The writers concentrate on the women's club activities and offices held. I actually began to skip-read after the first half. It was just too boring for me.

Update: Two cases of Girard's Original French Dressing arrived on Friday via UPS and I'm one happy cook now.

This is all I have to say for now.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Newsletters, Swallows, Library, Eye Doctor, Recipe

Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Monday was a busy day in that I had volunteer training at the Weatherford Public Library. Went from there to the post office to bulk mail the PCWNC newsletters of which I am editor and publisher. From there I drove to the College Park care facility to take a newsletter to Faye Ure, one of our staunch supporters in the women's club. By the time I got home one of the swallows had already flown from the nest and two more followed thereafter. However, they all came back to the nest for the night. Today, four of them ventured out, but not too far. As you can see in the photos, three of them stayed most of the day on the patio on the cow head horns and a potted plant. They are just so incredibly beautiful and we have truly enjoyed watching them mature. I'm sure there will be another setting before long.

Doug and I spent the afternoon creating a video for my book campaign. This is in a question and answer type forum with Doug asking the questions off camera to me. I think it went very well and we wait now to hear from my publicist, Mary Stoddard, with her opinion(s) of how it might be improved.

Today I had an early appointment with Dr. Sholdra, my eye doctor for one last check-up on my right eye. All is well. While there, I finally remembered to take a photo of this character in his waiting room. Isn't this a stitch?

From here I went to the library for my first day of volunteering. I shelved books, videos, and CD's. A lovely lady named Harriet was most helpful in getting me started and she had me doing other small jobs as well for my two hours there. I also presented Dale Fleeger, Director of Library Services, an autographed copy of "The Cherokee Advantage" for the library. I absorbed a myriad of information and I'm looking forward to next Monday when I go again. It was fun!

In the background of all the above was my ongoing search for Girard's Original French Dressing. My son, Russ asked me to make a large amount of this particular recipe for his 4th of July party, called "Confetti Salad" and one necessary ingredient is this dressing. Suddenly, no one in this area has it in stock. I've tried to make this recipe with other salad dressings and it just isn't good. My darling Doug got on the Internet and ordered two cases from the manufacturer so all is not lost. Below is the recipe and you should be able to buy the dressing at Kroger's, Brookshire's or Albertson's.

Confetti Salad

One 12 oz. box vermicelli pasta
One 12 oz. bottle Girard's Original French Dressing (use only 6 ozs. for this recipe)
1/2 cup sweet pickle juice
Two cloves garlic, minced
Two tablespoons poppyseeds
One teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed
One bundle green onions, chopped, including tops
One small jar pimentos
Cayenne pepper and salt to taste

Cook vermicelli according to directions on box. Rinse in cold water. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until well chilled. This is even better the next day when everything has had a chance to blend together.

This is all I have to say for now.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Local Play, Swallows, Father's Day, Russ' Ranch

Sunday, June 20, 2010
Doug and I were treated to tickets for the production of "West of the Pecos" by good friend, Barbara Farley on Saturday, June 19th for our recent anniversary. The play takes place in the Theater off the Square on North Denton Street in Weatherford, formerly a church building. It had a huge cast and was wonderful entertainment. We plan to buy season tickets so we won't miss any of their productions. In the photo are, Barbara, her friend, Jo Ann (who just happens to be a card carrying Chickasaw Indian) and Carla.

The swallows are truly beginning to look like their parents now. It's difficult to get a shot of all six at one time, but the three above are just adorable. In the second photo, notice the little one in the middle looks much younger than the others. He was the last one to hatch so will probably be the last one to fly. Also, in the photo is one with his back end hovering over the edge of the nest. At a very early age, the parents teach them to back up to the edge and send their excrement below. I go out every day and put fresh newsprint down to protect the patio floor from stain.

Ten of us gathered at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Benbrook, Texas for brunch today to celebrate Father's Day. Feted were my son Russ , Doug and grandson expectant father of twins, Taylor. The place was packed and we had to wait about 30 minutes, but they have an interesting store adjoining and we passed the time browsing. After we had an excellent meal, gifts and cards were opened. I couldn't find a card for an expectant father so I improvised with one in Spanish (knowing none of us could interpret) and wrote on the card that the lady at the card shop explained that this is what Taylor will be doing when the twins are born. He definitely will get that card translated! The first photo below is of Jennifer (obviously expectant), Carla and Taylor. His mother, Kelley, has her back to the camera. In the second photo, we all left the restaurant and went to Russ & Kelley's to see the improvements on their ranch and I am petting Two Socks with the other horse, Shadow in the background.

This is all I have to say for now.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cataract Surgery, Swallows, Weatherford Democrat Reception

June 17, 2010

It has been a busy week so far. I continue to write about Cherokee Wanderings and find I must do more research as I go along. On Wednesday, June 16th, we drove into Ft. Worth where I underwent cataract surgery on my right eye. Needless to say, the rest of the day was spent in lala land. I'm so thankful I only have two eyes because I am now whole again and am seeing very well.

The swallows continue to grow and develop and the parents are a constant threat when we try to photograph their children. Perhaps they feel we should have signed a modeling contract first. They look like cartoon characters at first, but become absolutely beautiful as they mature. Stay tuned.

Doug and I attended a reception for Margarita Venegas, new editor of the Weatherford Democrat newspaper. Shown above is myself with Margarita on the right. She is a native of Weatherford, but comes to us by way of New Jersey. She appears to be a very bright young woman and we believe she will give this newspaper a much needed new horizon to shoot for. The publisher, Steve Boggs, graciously took Doug on a behind the scenes tour into the printing press room, which Doug thoroughly enjoyed. Welcome, Margarita. Make us proud!

This is all I have to say for now.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Swallows, Book Store, Murder Mystery Dinner

June 13, 2010
The swallows still do not have their eyes open. Here they look as though they are singing to the top of their lungs. The parents were especially protective today making it difficult to get good shots. Stay tuned.

This was a busy weekend. Saturday was our 11 wedding anniversary and a happy one, indeed. The first thing on the agenda was to visit Winding Roads Books and More in Joshua, Texas where they were having a book and craft fair. The owner, Lori Kinnard, is a highly respected book reviewer and I left "The Cherokee Advantage" with her for review. Shown in the photo below are Emily (Lori's Media Asst.), Lori and Carla.

We bought two books and a lovely piece of pottery before we left. I did not buy the book I'm holding in the photo below, but I was sorely tempted by the title.

We drove home, ate lunch and packed up the car for our trip to Wills Point, Texas where we met three couples from Dallas for participation in a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater. My role was as a spoiled rich girl head cheer leader and Doug was a successful rancher. In the group photo below, Doug is far left and I am left front holding the megaphone with a blond wig on my head.

The theme for the mystery is the 45th reunion of the 1965 Bulldogs. This all takes place in the Rose Manor Inn Bed & Breakfast. This was a most interesting experience in and of itself. One could say this is bed and breakfast on a shoestring because it is like no other most of us had stayed in before. It was rustic and quaint with no frills in sight. I must say the bed was absolutely marvelous to sleep on, a large queen four poster that I needed a ladder just to climb into it.

Suffice to say, this could have been a disaster, but for the fourteen people in attendance who know how to make lemonade out of lemons. We had an absolute blast, never to be forgotten 11th anniversary as did another couple Ralph and Marjan celebrating 28 years. We played Canasta and Apples to Apples until midnight. The cost was extremely reasonable and the company exquisite. If one goes to this place without any preconceived notions or expectations, I believe they'll have a great time. The proprietor, Laura Kelley, is gracious and accommodating.

Above is Ralph (victim), Carla (head cheerleader), Geri (cheerleader) and the murderer, George.

This is all I have to say for now.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Barn Swallows, Book Club

June 10, 2010
The birds continue to progress as you can see in the photos. We discovered there are six, not five as we first counted. The way we take the photos is that Doug has our Canon SX110 camera mounted on a monopod. This is connected to a laptop computer. He hoists the camera up over the nest and I push the space bar on the computer to take the photo. The parent birds are still not too accepting, but not quite as fierce towards us as they were at first. In this first photo, the little guy looks like he's saying, "Feed me! Feed me!" Stay tuned.

I attended the PCWNC Book Club here in Weatherford, which met in Loretta Hale's home at 1:00 o'clock this afternoon. We read "My Life in France" by Julia Child this past month and had quite a lively discussion today. Some were of the opinion that she didn't reveal much of herself in her book and the French expressions, of which there were many, were somewhat distracting if one doesn't speak French. Ms. Child rarely interprets for the reader. There were certainly areas that were exciting, but one can only read about gourmet dinners and wines with each course so many times before getting bored. Our new assignment is to read "Grace and Gumption" by Katie Sherrod, a book about Fort Worth women.

This is all I have to say for now.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Baby Swallows, Wild West Women of Weatherford Red Hatters

June 9, 2010
Here I am back with the latest photo of the baby barn swallows. If you look at yesterday's blog with their photos and look at this one you will see that in just two days a lot of changes are already taking place on their little bodies. Soft feathers are beginning to cover their skin. Stay tuned.

Today was a terrifically fun day for fourteen Red Hatters of the Wild West Women of Weatherford Red Hat Chapter of which, Gail Box aka Queen Gabigail is the Queen. We carpooled to Mineral Wells, Texas for lunch at a charming restaurant called The Black Horse. The bill of fare is primarily Italian and it is well prepared. I had stuffed shells, a side of spaghetti with a giant meatball and a salad, the day's special for $5.50. Also enjoyed peach/mango ice tea and never to be forgotten, derby pie.

We arrived in Mineral Wells before the restaurant was open for business so we visited Sister's Quilt Shop on the corner. A couple of the gals bought purple tulle to decorate hats. The rest of us just nosed around. She has beautiful fabrics and numerous sewing notions. As we were leaving, she said, "Be sure to get your dessert first. It doesn't last long around here." Since Red Hatters are famous for eating dessert first, we took her up on her suggestion and many of us thoroughly enjoyed our desserts while waiting for lunch to be served.

We rarely ever just dine out. There is always something to see or somewhere to shop. We all drove over to the Outlet Mall to visit a couple of stores, mainly looking for purple and red clothing (our Red Hat colors). The main store we shopped in was Bonworth and we were happy to find a lot of red and purple on sale. I came home with several pieces of clothing as did most of the other gals. When we were ready to leave, we prevailed upon a gentleman, wandering through the mall, to take our picture. He was so gracious, had just gotten out of the hospital and still had the bandage on his hand where the IV tube had been inserted. We believe his wife was probably shopping in one of the stores. Look at all those bags of loot in that photo!

This is all I have to say for now.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Barn Swallows, Day of Beauty, Recipe

June 8, 2010
The barn swallows made their way back from Argentina. We left their nest untouched from last year so they started right away on their reproduction plan. The first setting only produced one egg and one large baby bird. We witnessed his solo flight as did many area barn swallows, a scissor tail sitting on one of the patio chairs and a wren standing on the patio table. Apparently, the word was out that Junior was making a break for it and everyone came for the show.

Mr. & Mrs. Barn Swallow evidently couldn't handle the empty nest syndrome and as you see in the photos, they really got serious this second time around because there are five babies in that nest. We will take photos periodically to keep you updated on their progress although, every time we take photos we are dive bombed. Momma is especially irritated at the camera being aimed over her nest.

Their nest is made of mud and they've added three layers of mud to the old nest already. See how beautifully lined it is with soft feathers? We have decided to take photos every couple of days and these were taken June 6.

Today was my "day of beauty" and I spent several hours getting my hair cut and styled and my nails done. My hairdresser is Michelle and she hangs her shingle at The Havens Spa on Otto Road in Weatherford, Texas. Otto Road is the first street to the left on Highway 180 after you pass Highway 730 going toward Hudson Oaks, Texas. You must make a u-turn to get to it. If you need someone to cut and style your hair to your liking, I recommend Michelle, a widow with two teenagers, and a great sense of humor. My manicurist there is Megan. She is young, a single mother of four children, an aspiring writer, and an excellent manicurist. I promise you won't be disappointed and you'll feel beautiful when you leave there.

This is a recipe I discovered in Doug's Diabetes Forecast Magazine. This only thing is trying to find the exact types of mushrooms they recommend. May one possibly assume a mushroom is a mushroom is a mushroom?

Four-Mushroom Salad
Serving size: about 1 cup
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes plus cooling time

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1-1/2 lbs. mixed fresh mushrooms (at lease four varieties , such as button, cremini, shitake and trumpet) quartered or roughly chopped (I quartered mine).
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan on high heat.
Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes or until they begin to brown. Stir in white wine, cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes.
Remove pan cover and cook until liquid is reduced by half.
Transfer mushrooms and their juices to a bowl and stir in rest of ingredients except for cheese.
Let mushrooms cool to room temperature. Divide among 4 salad plates and sprinkle with cheese.

We had these mushrooms with spaghetti tonight and they were delicious. I was unable to find trumpet mushrooms so I used more of the others to make it come out the same weight.

This is all I have to say for now.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dining, Yucca plants

Yesterday. June 4, 2010 Doug and I met our friends from Arlington, Texas, Sally and Ted Dysart for lunch in a darling restaurant called Bistro Louise. Louise is a cute tiny French woman who is a fabulous gourmet cook in the Mediterranean style. We all chose vegetable lasagna along with various salads and it was exquisite. I highly recommend Bistro Louise.

Sally and Ted are two quite fascinating people. Sally is originally from Mexico and was employed by the Dallas Independent School District in Dallas, Texas for many years, now retired. Ted was born in Cuba of Scottish parents. Both of them have marvelous stories to relate and it's never boring in their company.

Today, June 5, 2010, Doug and I discussed the over abundance of the yucca plant in our area and the fact that we've never seen so many blooming at once. Evidently, the heavy rain we had this year caused them to blossom profusely. We drove down Azle Highway 730 until we came to a field of the lovely plants and Doug took photos to share with you.

In the field of yuccas was a darling little pony who was having a bad hair day and I just loved the way she looked so Doug took a photo of her as well.

If you are not familiar with this plant, there is much information about it on the Internet. There are around 40 species of yucca, but the one most prevalent here in North Texas is the yucca glauca. The yucca plant has long fibrous stalks at the tips of which its pale cream-colored flowers bloom during late spring and early summer. The flower clusters are up to 6 feet long. The plant has wide leaves with sharp edges at its base. Some yucca plants can reach the height of a small tree.

The yucca has a symbiotic relationship with the yucca moth. Each spring, male and female yucca moths emerge from their underground homes and fly to the nearest yucca plants. The pregnant female collects pollen grains within the yucca flowers and assembles them into a pollen mass which she tucks under her chin. She then crawls into flower and lays a single egg into the ovule chamber. After this, the female moth, still carrying the pollen mass, climbs to the top of the ovary and puts the pollen into the flowr stigma by moving her sensory organs back and forth above it. This pollinates the flower in which she has inserted her egg. The germination of the pollen sends many sperm-bearing tubes inside the flower ovary which fertilize hundreds of immature seeds.

This not only insures the perpetuity of the yucca flower but, the relationship is equally vital to the yucca moth. The moth larva hatches within the developing flower ovary and starts feeding on the maturing seeds. This is an important stage in the life cycle of the moth as it later develops from the larva; in the fall the larva comes out of the capsule and lowers itself to the ground where it burrows into the soil and assembles a cocoon. It hibernates over winter and emerges in spring as an adult moth, thus starting the whole cycle all over.

The yucca glauca is the state flower of New Mexico. It is sometimes called Spanish bayonet for its long sharp leaves. Other nicknames are beargrass and soapgrass. Yuccas are native to the West Indies and the word yucca comes from the island of Haiti.

The yucca has a long history of use as a folk remedy employed for treatment of arthritis and rheumatism and is cultivated as an important medicine plant and staple food in South America. Native Americans used the soapy leaves as poultices or for baths for skin sores and sprains as well as to treat burns and abrasions. It has been reported that Native Americans washed their hair with yucca to fight dandruff and hair loss. The stalk, root and leaves are commonly used to make medicines.

I must thank my darling husband, Doug, for all his photography work in my behalf.

Thanks also in order to Sherry Dell, Claire Jeffreys and Kimberly Johnson for their contributions on the Internet to this information on the yucca plant.

This is all I have to say for now.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Eye Doctor, Doss Heritage Center, Laverne Pritchard

Had an appointment with my eye doctor today to check my left eye for the second time after having cataract surgery. My eye is so well that I can wear eye makeup again until I go to have my right eye done on June 16th. Being able to wear eye makeup means a lot to me.

This afternoon, Doug and I went to the Doss Heritage Center (a lovely history museum here in Weatherford) to meet Jamie Bodiford. She is the facilitator of Discover Parker County, an activity of PCWNC. Today we went through the Parker County Sheriff's Posse Historical Exhibit. This group was formed in 1947 and I get the idea that belonging to it is quite prestigious. They have a rodeo every year and this exhibit is a forerunner to the rodeo.

Carol, the docent, also related the story of the chuckwagon in early-day Texas. The first chuckwagon was developed by cowboys working for Col. Charles Goodnight, co-founder of the Goodnight-Loving cattle trail. Cattle drives were started up the Chisholm trail in 1867 with over nine million head of cattle driven from Texas to points north. Cowboys were scarce and Goodnight decided he'd have a hiring advantage by serving quality meals along the trail. Remember that old adage - The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. So, what he really needed was a good cook and a mobile kitchen.

Goodnight purchased a Studebaker war-surplus munitions wagon. He outfitted the wagon with a kitchen on the back and, with the help of his cook, developed an efficient layout that was soon adopted by trail drovers across the west. It was soon realized that the wagon was much too long and heavy. It also carried munitions and about 2,700 pounds of food supplies. As a result, it was killing the animals pulling it. You will note in the photo here that this is a short chuckwagon. They built a shorter chuckwagon and used another wagon behind it to carry munitions, bedrolls and tools. This was a more satisfactory arrangement for the oxen or mules to last through a cattle drive of 1,000 miles.

Many behavioral rules were in place for the cowhands and woe to the one who broke a rule. He didn't eat. Most of the rules were just common sense and courtesy. The cook ruled and the wagon boss even stepped gingerly around him.

They have several ongoing exhibits and I highly recommend visiting the Doss. If you don't live in Weatherford, but happen to be driving through, make a point to visit this fine museum. You'll learn a lot about the history of Parker County and the West.

As it was already 3:30 p.m. and Doug and I hadn't eaten lunch, we decided to dine out. We went to a great restaurant called Booray's in Hudson Oaks. They primarily serve Cajun food and it's always delicious.

We came home long enough to catch the news on TV and headed out again to the Galbraith/Pickard Funeral Home for visitation for Laverne Pritchard. She had a bad fall in her back yard which she didn't recover from. She was a nice lady who had a lifelong love of politics and worked very hard for her favorite candidates. Rest in peace, my friend.

This is all I have to say for now.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Newspaper Quiz, Recommendations

June 1, 2010

Every Tuesday morning in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram is a column titled “Issac Asimov’s Super Quiz”. One is challenged to determine just how brainy one is. Sometimes I do well, but today I did not. The subject is authors and it is a fill-in-the-blanks exercise. I share this obscure information about these authors because one never knows when it will come in handy on Jeopardy or Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The answers are in red.

1. Edgar Allan Poe is considered the first writer of detective fiction. 2. Mark Twain was born and died during Halley’s Comet events. 3. Ezra Pound spent 1946-1958 in the asylum of St. Elizabeths. 4. Ben Johnson was branded for killing a man in a duel. 5. Dante Alighieri spent the last 20 years of his life in exile. 6. Miguel de Cervantes was captured by pirates, enslaved, then ransomed. 7. Geoffrey Chaucer was the first person to be buried in Poets’ Corner (Westminster Abbey). 8. Beatrix Potter was a noted botanist. 9. At college, Lord Byron kept a bear as a pet.

Joe Horner from Little Jack Horner’s Furniture Refinishing in Willow Park, Texas came by this morning and took our game table top to refinish. It has a motley brown finish marred by many nicks and scratches. We’ve decided to have it done in a black satin because the table base and chair frames are made of a gray metal that will look marvelous with the black color. They refinished our dining table two weeks ago and it is beautiful. We highly recommend this company should you need this service.

While I’m in the recommendation mode, I want to tell you about a highly touted book for children that I recently purchased. It is titled “How to Clean a Hippopotamus” written by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. The book is about unusual animal relationships. I believe this is called ‘symbiotic’ in some circles. The illustrations are stunning and the information is beautifully presented. Now, I’m not a kid, but I am young at heart and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this little book. I plan to send it to my grandson, Joshua, who is 6 years old and he is reading quite well. If you have children or grandchildren, please consider this book for them. I ordered mine from Amazon.com.

We are thankful this is not another 95 degree day in Texas. We woke up this morning with our air conditioner running constantly and it is apparently low on refrigerant. The serviceman came, cleaned the unit and brought the refrigerant up to par and $224.00 later we have proper air conditioning again. As Gilda Radner said, “It’s always something.”

Have spent another part of this day doing research for “Cherokee Wanderings”. Even though it is historical fiction, one must have the facts of the particular place and time correctly depicted. My research includes the middle 1800’s right after the Civil War and the Missouri/Indian Nation area of the country during this time. Successful authors tell me I must protect the credibility of the story at all times or it will lead to loss of readers.

This is all I have to say for now.