Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday Trip to Town

When I need to make a quick trip into town, I have two options. The farm is exactly 7 miles from a town in both directions.

I have written some about the larger of the two towns, showing the Courthouse on the Square. This is another glimpse in the life of Small Town Texas.

Today, I'm going to the smaller town, population 2,500.

Saturday Before 3pm
There are several side streets, but the main strip is about 3 town blocks long.
Saturday After 3pm.
Small towns, like this, have all the necessities for everyday living. That list includes, a pharmacy, grocery store, hardware store, florist, greeting card shop, the thrifty store, police station and US Post Office.

Oh yes, and the all important Country Medical Clinic with our own special Country Doctor. Many mornings you can see her riding her bicycle to work.

The local hardware store, on the main street, is a place where you can buy all your hardware and farm supplies. At the same time, you can also take a look at the Brides Registry if you need to buy a gift for an upcoming wedding. Are you laughing?

That is how it is in small towns...stores usually have duel purposes.

The history of this town, started in 1831, when the Mexican government granted 4,428 acres to the first settlers.

The first train arrived on New Year's Eve of 1873. You can read about the train scheduled to stop last week end, if you click on Train.

Our town has some interesting brick patterns and building designs....

Unchanging over the years, except for the addition of an air conditioner or the occasional television antenna.

You will find doors painted in vivid colors.....

Wooden doors made to last over a century.

Patriotism is widely shown by flying both the American and the Texas State Flag.

It is a town where the shopkeepers, like Mr. B from the hardware store, calls me by my first name....

Enjoy your week end,
Meggie Mac

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday's Fences

Sobering Fence for a Serious Building...

There is nothing inviting about this 1884 iron fence. It surrounds the historic jail I wrote about a few weeks ago, called "Eye on the Prisoner".

Built 128 years  ago, it is still standing proudly around the jail.

Somehow it managed to survive the scrap drives of WWII.

The iron fence was ordered from Philadelphia for $2,074. That comes to $16.00 a year!

This rosette, on the gate, is the only frill I could find on the fence.

Today, I'm connecting with Jan n Jer's Friday sure and check their post.

Happy Friday
Meggie Mac

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hat Pin for Show and Tell

I must, first, thank Elaine at Pear Tree Log for her post on a family heirloom brooch. Her post gave me the idea for today's  Show and Tell . It is an old piece of costume jewelry I collected many years ago.

All these years I've referred to it as the Miriam Haskell Brooch. I have no idea of it's value, but it is a signed piece.

Today, as I was photographing, it dawned on me that it was not a brooch. It is, indeed, a hat pin. I came to that conclusion when I tried to insert the pin on a blouse. The pin is rather large...what is needed to drive through the fabric of a hat.

I'm not sure of it's age, but she opened her first boutique in 1927, when hats were in style. If you want to know more about her history, click on Miriam Haskell.

Now that I know it is a hat pin, the dilemma is, " Should I buy a new hat or  just go with my old gardening hat?"

Meggie Mac

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Vintage Necessary Room

Out of the Past...Blackland Prairie Style

One day, as I was driving the back road to the farmhouse, I happen to see this structure (outdoor toilet) in the distance. I have no idea of the age of this out-building, but it does look like it has been standing here many winters and summers. There appeared to have once been a farmhouse not too far away.

I've had the photo for several weeks, trying to decide on a clever way to present it to you.

Today, I decided to just put it out there and see if you like it.

Meggie Mac

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beauty....The Day After

In reality....the yellow dandelion bloom dries out for a day or two before the spent flower opens into the familiar, white, globular seed head.

Each seed has a tiny parachute, to spread easily in the wind.

The dandelion is well-adapted to a modern world. They now grow virtually worldwide.

From reading some of your blogs, I know you love the dandelion for it's edible greens. But, for most gardners, they are a pesty weed that continues to be a problem.

Petunias growing in the walkways as volunteers
I, for one, am a gardner that tries to balance nature. I love the wild of the countryside. I also love my landscape type flower gardens. So, I try to strike a balance with nature, leaving the wild-side on the outer perimeter of my lawn.

Volunteer Petunias after growing a few weeks...where is the walkway?
This means I'm constantly doing battle with the weeds, or in this case, enjoying the volunteers I allow to grow in the walkways........

Meggie Mac

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Little Engine That Could

"The little train went rousing on so fast it seemed to fly"...lyrics from the song, The Little Engine That Could

One of the most graceful locomotives in American history, #949. is now traveling as part of the "UP 150 Express Tour" to celebrate Union Pacific's 150 Anniversary.

It was scheduled to make a 15 minute "whistle stop" on Sunday, in our small town.

Luckily I arrived early, giving me time to decide where I would stand to get the best position to photograph.

I decided to move behind the fence line to get closer to the tracks. I wanted to photograph the engine from a distance, followed by closer shots as he approached. Then, one photograph as #949 was leaving town.

First, I heard the whistle.....then, I saw the lights of the train in the distance.

People hurriedly tried to get out of their cars and trucks...he was early by 20 minutes!

The locomotive blew the whistle again, "Toot, Toot"

And then, it became apparent. His speed was too fast. My camera couldn't reset quickly enough. I tried snapping another shot.

Sad to say, it was over in less than a couple of minutes.

The locomotive wasn't slowing down! He didn't STOP! People were still trying to get to the tracks.

We are a small community of about 2,500 people. The train was scheduled to stop at 11am, on Sunday morning, when most of us are in church. About 150 people, including children, were waiting for #949's arrival. Now they were in a state of confusion.

"What happened?" Maybe there is another train arriving later?" How could he not have stopped?" These were the questions I heard from the folks in our town. We were all in disbelief and very disappointed.

A town, about 30 minutes away, did get their scheduled whistle stop and posted this YouTube.

Choo, choo, choo, choo,
I feel so good today
Oh hear the track
Oh clickety clack
I'll go my merry way

Meggie Mac

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Apron in my Kitchen

If you recall, the first of this month, Susan, at My Mother's Apron Strings, chose me to receive her March apron.

Today, I will wear the apron for the last time, before sending it off to another recipient. If you click on Sisterhood of the Traveling Susan Apron, you can read how this wonderful gift I've received, will begin another journey.

This Morning, while having my breakfast tea, I decided the Lemon-Raspberry Coffee Cake would be the send-off recipe. The coffee cake recipe came from the April issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

I decided to use my two favorite bowls.  Then I checked my list of ingredients.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs (1 for each layer mixture)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
Powdered (confectioners) sugar (optional)

1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease bottom of pan with parchment. Grease and lightly flour pan; set aside. For cake, in a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2.     In medium mixing bowl beat 1 cup of the granulated sugar and the butter with mixer on medium to high until combined. Add 1 egg and the vanilla. Beat on low to medium 1 minute. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to sugar mixture, beating just until combined after each addition; set aside.

3.     For cheesecake filling, in small mixing bowl beat cream cheese and remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar on medium to high until combined. Add lemon peel and 1 egg. Beat until combined.

4.  Spoon half the cake batter into prepared pan, spreading to edges. Pour
      cream cheese layer, carefully spreading to edges of pan. Then top with remaining cake batter.

5. Bake 20 minutes or until puffed. Gently press raspberries into cake. Bake 25 to 30 minutes more or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Loosen edges of cake from pan; remove from pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Note: Layering the batters…..Keep the cheesecake filling from mixing into the cake layer. Spread half the cake batter into the pan and evenly top with the cheesecake filling. Using two spatulas, dollop remaining cake batter over the filling and carefully smooth top.
Still warm and smells so yummy!

I have to admit, I did fret over naming the first kitchen the apron would visit. I wanted to send each of you an apron. But, there is only one apron!

In the end, I decided to send the apron to Elaine at Pear Tree Log.

So look out UK, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Susan Apron will soon be on holiday, traveling to your beautiful country.

I will keep you up-to-date as it moves from kitchen to kitchen.

Enjoy your week end
Meggie Mac

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Fences

Future Fences.....roll after rolls of stacked new fencing at the local building supply.

waiting for a new home.......

I'm joining in with Jan and Jer's Friday's Fences. Be sure out check out all the wonderful fence photos.

Happy Friday
Meggie Mac

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Country Style Art & Sculpture

Photo enhanced with Picasa
On the day I stopped to talk to my neighbor, he had just finished raking hay. The vintage style hay rake was already loaded on his trailer to take home.

So... the, previously from the city, gal asked him if she could take a photograph. With a quizzical look at me, he said, "Sure". 

Now that I think about it......that was probably the only time anyone had asked to photograph his hay rake.....

Life is full of surprises

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

For the Love of Grandparents

My Maternal Grandparents on Their Wedding Day
This past week end, I found a treasure trove of family photos packed away in boxes I had neglected for a few years.

 I've always been a "keeper of the past". Lately my interest has intensified with the tracing of my father's Scottish heritage.

The photo is very old, but you can still see some of the intricate details on her headdress, made of flowers and a long veil. The front of the wedding dress is embellished with tiny buttons. It is complete with white gloves covering her hands.

Her story started with me posting More Than Just A Hat last month. After she died, my mother and I sorted through her treasures and I saved one of her hats. It reminded me of how she always loved beautiful lace blouses, decorated with either a bow or a brooch pinned at the neckline.

Extravagant was not a word to describe her. I believe she was a frugal person and would have enjoyed thrifting with the best of us.

My Great-Uncle & Great-Aunt on Their Wedding Day

Here is a surprise in her story....

My Great Uncle was my Grandmother's brother. And, my Great Aunt was my Grandfather's sister. This made for a very close family.

So, I sit here today, remembering holidays and summer school vacations, on the farm, with my grandparents....the gentle demeanor of my grandfather, the soft voice of my grandmother, speaking her native German language.

And, dinner grace being repeated by all...

Komm Herr Jesus. Sei unser Gast,
Und segne, was du uns bescheret hast! Amen

Thoughts of family
Meggie Mac

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Daylily Profusion

The beauty in daylilies comes from the endless variety of colors and also the ease in growing this magnificent flower. Check out my favorite catalog for ordering daylilies. You won't be disappointed in the photos and wonderful information on growing.

It's hard to believe that anything so beautiful, only last for one day. As the day gets brighter, the new lily bloom begins to open. By the end of day, the life of this particular flower is over.

But the good news is how prolific they are in growing flowers. As you can see in this photo, they have started blooming before I've had time to mulch for the season.

This particular variety is a bright tangerine color, with petals that curl back.

Many of the pink, reds and purples will be blooming later in May......

Happy Gardening

Monday, April 16, 2012

What's in a Reflection

So, what is in a reflection? In this case, from my stack of everyday plates and bowls, there is a reflection of the wood window frame.

Many years ago, following a Martha Stewart trend, I decided to use white for my everyday dishes. Only my plates, bowls, and cups are a collection of thrifted finds, not an expensive matching set. I'm always on the look-out for white bowls.

My kitchen, in the farmhouse, is quite small. When I decided not to have upper cabinets, to open up the view to the garden, I gave up some much needed storage space. The answer was to add shelving in two of the five windows. All the daily used dishes are just a arm reach away. And, the outside view still peeks through everything on the shelf.

Special Note: Susan's Traveling Apron on Table
The kitchen is part of one large room I refer to as the "Keeping Room". It is an old term, from America's Colonial Days, where the hearth was located. I just happen to have a hearth in this large room.

Would you believe the base for my sink was found in a "junk" store? Someone had cut a vintage armoire in half. Because it didn't have a bottom, I was able to purchase it for about $15.00. What a find...I knew it would make a focal point in my kitchen. I set the white tile myself, saving the installation money.

The kitchen was done on a very tight budget, as everything in the farmhouse. Cabinets were purchased as unfinished. A great spray paint job with added wooden knobs, give it the country vintage look.

Even the cabinet, installed above the vent hood, is a thrifted upper portion of a Hoosier cabinet.

Reflection is not the same as living in the past. a white bowl brought back fond memories of where the journey began with The Farmhouse.

Happy Monday
Meggie Mac
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