country life · Family · Food · History · Hunting · Vacation

Hunting We Will Go

 

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Howling Game

It’s hunting season here. That means my wonderful husband will be off for a 3-week elk hunting trip with his friends. Once upon a time I was more into the hunting but not anymore. I thoroughly enjoy the enthusiasm and excitement hunting brings to Jimmy. He is the best!
Many, many years ago (warning, memory lane and ex-husband Dale story happening) we were on a lease at Travis Marks ranch in Fannin/Goliad Texas. He was an incredible man and the most fun to hunt with. Hunting on a working ranch is always fascinating to me. I love watching the ranch being worked and this family, including his wife was out working the cattle. I remember the 1st time I saw her in full face makeup and beautiful clothes on her horse working the cows. She sparkled and shined as she made it look like child’s play wrangling the cattle to be worked. The sight of her big convertible Cadillac with horns on the grill coming at you down the dark country road would bring a smile to my face, after it scared the daylights out of me. That woman could drive!

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Doe for Deer 1993 Travis Marks Ranch. Three layers of clothes in the morning!

On the ranch was a little museum that memorialized his family’s history. His father was one of the founding members of the Salt Grass Trail Ride. What an honor to have been able to see this memorial he had. He raised long horn that were used in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo at the beginning of each rodeo performance. I learned a great deal about Texas history from Travis and his wife Linda. Dinner at the Empresario with them was exciting. Listening to the stories of not just Travis but his friends and neighbors made for an entertaining experience.

 
When Travis got a chance to hunt with us it was always entertaining. We once stalked geese on a pond, crawling on our bellies with our guns in hand as we came over the little hill trying not to spook them. He made sure my hunting partners always put me in the blind of the front pasture (Linda’s pasture). It backs up to the river behind the trees. Guaranteed to get a deer and since I hunted only for meat, I went for the does when it was the season. I would sit in the blind, wearing vanilla perfume, reading a book by a little light waiting for the sun to come up. Some days I just sat and watch the deer as they came out to eat in the early light. The smell of musk was incredibly strong on the ranch as the bucks marked their territory. And nothing made me crazier than being able to track deer for the guys, so they knew where the deer were crossing. Many memories were made on his ranches in the area. I shot my first turkey on his ranch. Dove season and quail was always incredible. Rabbits were not my thing, but the guys killed a lot. Those things can take over a field so quickly and eat the young sprouts. Once a little rabbit was just stunned and not shot. I took it and set it free while the guys were cleaning the dead ones.

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First turkey and pregnant in 1994.

And nothing like driving the jeep into town and forgetting about the rack on top as we drove through Dairy Queen for lunch one day. I don’t the think guys liked when the wives got together and headed to town. Always mischief to be had. I learned that rattle snaked jump straight up! First time I ever heard Dale yell. We chased turkey all over the Fannin property in the jeep. They are fast! Every year we had to take back the blinds from the owls who nested in them. Nothing like 6 inches of dead mice, rabbits and owl manure having to be cleaned out. Yuck! If you hunted you worked to maintain it just like the guys so we helped clear the blinds, fill feeders and mow the trails.

 

I hunted on Travis’s properties until I was too big and pregnant to get up and down the blinds. Then the vertigo set in and there is nothing worse than trying to get a big pregnant hot angry woman with vertigo out of a blind. I was so fortunate that we had a lot of game and fresh fish. We ate what we caught and killed. Dale would make venison sausage that was to die for. My family always wanted some when he had a chance to make it. I love fresh turkey cooked on the grill and loved waterfowl until I got pregnant. Made him cook duck gumbo outside that year. He is still a great cook. I learned a lot from him.

 

The first time I went duck hunting was not a great day. We were to hunt down in the Anahuac area there in east Texas. Dale of course had the proper gear and knew what he was doing. I did not! After an air boat ride we hopped out with the dog (named Trouble)and I was to follow him to where we were going to hunt. Yeah, well I stepped into a coypu (nutria rat) hole and sank clean up to hips. As I struggled to get myself out of the hole (he was putting out the decoys and Trouble ran around) the light was coming up and I heard him yell ‘duck’. So I ducked my head down thinking he was shooting. No, the ducks were coming in to the decoys around me and as I looked up all I could see was duck feet in my face. Scared the living daylights out of me. And Dale laughed. Yeah, I haven’t hunted ducks since except with Travis.

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Unhappy 1st duck hunt

And a little side note here, I was always told you shouldn’t wear make-up or hair products to hunt let alone scented anything. Honey, I wore make-up when I wanted. Vanilla perfume attracts the deer. I would hunt in high heel wedge boots too! Oh yes, when I wasn’t roughing it with the guys I dressed to the top for my deer. And I always got a deer when I wanted to shoot one. So, take that y’all!!

 
After my little walk down memory lane, I watch as my husband Jimmy packs his gear and prepares the trailer for his trip. This year they are heading to Colorado. I will miss the dickens out of him. But he deserves this trip and the break from work. Jimmy checks on me regularly and shares his adventures when he has cell service, so I get to enjoy in his escapades.

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Dead and gone

Jimmy brings home the bacon, the venison, the fish and anything else he kills or catches. Yep, still a lucky lady here. Jimmy and my step-son Nick fill our freezer with fresh fish and lobster each year.

 

And it is that time of year where I am down to just barely any meat left so Jimmy better get to work on filling it. Hopefully it will be some elk but if not, he always gets the deer and venison is our main meat around here. Jimmy is better at the hunting than I am as you can see and enjoys his time with the Texas boys, Jeff, Robert and Josh. Once he is back, I get to share his latest adventure with you. Then we will be off to Texas for the wedding and bow season. I love hearing Jimmy’s stories and the mounts on the wall of the Mancave. But for now, my heart aches that he is going to be gone.

 

 

Good luck to you, Donny and Mike! Love you, be safe and have a great time!

West Tx Buck Jimmy
West Texas Buck Baby
country life · flowers · Gardening

How Does Your Garden Grow

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I was worried about how my potted garden was going to make out. I have tried to grow things in the ground here before to no luck. I had roses bushes that were over 6 feet tall that had very little branching and maybe one or two flowers a year. My rosemary I planted a few years ago never took root and died. I had potted Indonesian peppers from my sister-in-law that did great for a while and then got a bug that just demolished them. My yard is primarily Bahia grass because of the heat and sandy soil.

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To my surprise my tomato plants are about 5 feet high with lots of incredible blooms on them. I have a beef steak tomato and I forgot the other one that I planted. Can’t wait to see how they produce. My okra has done amazingly well. I will be cutting a few of those tasty treats today to put on the grill for my dinner tonight. How exciting is that!

 


My lemon trees are growing well, and I have 2 lemons on each tree already. One tree came with a lemon but to see new ones growing already is surprising.

 


I have been clipping my herbs and using them for cooking. They did great and I have new basil already growing after it has gone to seed. My lavender and mint got a little beaten up the past few storms we have had but they are hanging in there.

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It is a sauna here most days and with the fierce rain storms we have been having I am just happy everything is still alive. While my sister struggles with lack of rain for weeks at a time, I am here hoping not to drown the roots of my little garden. We are expecting very little rain for the next few days, so I will be having to water. All in all, just the few months I have had my garden we are doing pretty good. I will be prepping for fall planting in a few weeks. I am excited to see if we can keep this thing going.

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Part of me would like to have a green house so that I can protect my garden. My sister is going to have one built since they freeze for long periods of time. She has A LOT of plants in pots too! I can’t wait to see when she gets that built. Oh and the changes to the ranch, I will take lots of pictures for you when I visit so you can see what she has been up to. She is so busy she hasn’t had a chance to share anything. Don’t worry, she will be back soon to show you what is happening!

We ate the pineapple already!!!!

Cooking · country life · Family · Food · Party · summer

Grandma Treva’s Potato Salad

Potato salad is one of my favorite foods to make when you have a cookout or large gathering. It brings back such great memories of watching my grandmother make it. She would make it for church functions and to go with fried chicken. I have not tasted potato salad like hers anywhere else. It is very refreshing and different.

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Grandma Treva’s Potato Salad

It has been a while since I have made it. I had to pare it down for just the two of us this time. I think it is pretty good even if I say so myself. There are no true measurements, so you will kind of have to take a light hand and add more if needed. But give it a try and let me know what you think.

Grandma Treva’s Potato Salad

5 lbs of potatoes cleaned, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
½ a large onion finely chopped
1 large bell pepper finely chopped
1 apple peeled and finely chopped
2 celery stalks cleaned and finely chopped
2 eggs boiled and finely chopped
1 tbsp prepared mustard
½ cup to 1 cup of mayonnaise
1/3 cup to ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp of salt or more to taste
Paprika

Put potatoes and salt in large pot with water covering potatoes by 2 inches. Boil until just done so a fork can easily pierce through the potatoes. This should take about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes into strainer and sprinkle vinegar on potatoes making sure to cover all and let drain. Put potatoes in a large bowl with onion, bell pepper, apple, celery and eggs. Add mayonnaise, mustard and gently combine. Add more salt if needed but taste it first. Place in serving bowl and sprinkle gently with paprika.


** I switched out the usual vinegar with an apple balsamic vinegar. It gives it a deeper flavor. The sweetness of the apples and the tart of the vinegar makes this such a light salad. No sugar, pickles or relish is added!! You don’t need it. I have used granny smith apples and even ambrosia apples so use the one that you like the most. And being from the south, I have also been know to use Miracle Whip/Mayonnaise combo if I don’t have enough mayo.

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New vinegar for my potato salad. Unbelievably wonderful!
country life · Family · graduation · Party · Shopping · summer

May in Texas

Ranch Mornings 2018 May
Sunrise on the Ranch

Our trip to Texas the end of May was amazing. I love the ranch! My nephew Belvy graduated. My sister’s construction is almost complete. We threw the graduates a great party. And we got to spend time with friends and family.

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Belvy game Mimi a rose at graduation.

My darling husband unfortunately said he caught a cold. We all say it is allergies, but he is adamant that it was a cold. It was his first time to be at the ranch in the spring. So, he had a few days where he wasn’t himself. Otherwise, he was working fences and having fun. He loves working on the ranch and sweating it up.

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Viking Jeff

Marie and I dragged our husbands for a little couple’s time to Grandbury. It was early in the week so unfortunately the brewery wasn’t open, and neither were the museums. But we had a great day of shopping around the square and lunch at Fuzzy’s. One of our favorite shops is The Wagon Yard. It has incredible furniture and décor. Jeff tried on a Viking hat. It didn’t fit his Cro-Magnon head…hee hee hee. We stopped at the Panhandle Gourmet Kitchen Shop. Oh, the smell of fresh coffee just takes you over. I love all the kitchen gadgets and cookie cutters. I really should have bought the coffee! The Paisley Buffalo has really cute clothes. Marie had me try on a little romper. Wish it had fit me. Mimi & B’s is an eclectic array of wonderful. Marie got quite a few things and so did I. Had to get a little sass for my kitchen. But one of my favorites is Brazos Moon Antiques. If the hubby had not been with me, I would have gone crazy in there. It was a wonderful day with our hubby’s.

Waking up on the ranch to me is so peaceful. The little white house is now known as Mimi’s house. Yes, I named it after myself and yes, that is where my husband and I stay when we visit. It gives us a little privacy and gives Marie’s family time for themselves. Not that we are at the house long other than to sleep. Jimmy is either working with the boys of hunting. I make my way up to my sister’s house as soon as I am dressed so we can start our day. But Marie decorated it so nice for us at Christmas. Next year they should be doing some updating on it, so we can’t wait to see what Marie does with it. We have been pinning for a while ideas to decorate it.

 

 

After all the work and adventures of the week, Sunday before we left was spent relaxing by the pool. Sammy finally got in the pool with me. We floated around with him on my shoulder. A few crazy trips down the pool slide and some rest on the chaise made it a great ending to a wonderful week. I miss the morning sun and sitting on the porch swing. The view of the cows in the pasture and sweet Charlotte in her pen. There is nothing like Texas and there is nothing like going home.

Sam Car Seat Grad 2018 Trip
Sam sleeping in his new car seat!

 

 

country life · flowers · summer

Beauty in the Heat of Summer

Even though this is only the first part of June, North Texas started off summer with a bang.  The heat has been a scorcher with temps already into the 100’s.  Last Saturday we topped of the day with a temp of 102.  The pool was calling my name all day.

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Yes in Texas you even have to have a bucking bull in the pool. And you can’t leave out a fun unicorn float. Look at that glorious view God gave us to enjoy while swimming!

God has a way of reminding us of his glorious beauty.  In the midst of the heat, we are given beauty all around.  The birds flying through the water sprinkler to cool off, the cattle grazing in the pasture, fresh hay bales that lie in the field, and even the flowers are still putting on a little show of color for us.

 

So as summer begins and the heat beats down on us, I will praise God for the beauty of summer.  Thank you Lord for the blessings of summer.  Let us all enjoy the lazy days of summer, swimming, canoeing, fishing, a nap in the hammock under a nice oak tree, and a big ole glass of sweet tea.

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Me and My Grandma. Yes I’m holding a glass of good ole sweet tea. I miss you Grandma and your sweet tea!