Dallas Tales – Feeling Chipper

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It’s been awhile but I’m back! I have learned so many new things since we last talked. I developed a taste for table food. Now Mama says boo hiss on that stuff for me. But my favorite Daddy sneaks me a little morsel when we catch Mama gone. I love love love peanut butter too! Dad usually lets me lick the old butter knife when he makes a peanut butter sandwich or better yet when he cuts an apple and dips his apple in the peanut butter. I am in love with apples. They’re good for you right? One a day keeps the doctor away and all that stuff.  Then I found these little flakes on the floor a few days ago. They tasted a little bit salty and very crisp. I’m in love with potato chips now. When Dad opens that big ole bag of chips you can hear it next door. I learned the sound of a chip bag opening very quickly in my young life. When that happens I am front and center in the kitchen with the most pitiful look on my face I can muster. Sad eyes, tail wagging but of course I am too classy to beg. I would never stoop that low, well unless it was apples, chips or peanut butter.

Tonight I am riding out my first hurricane, well ok, it’s a tropical storm. Lot’s of rain, thunder and lightning. I am all snug in my little bed and have the covers pulled up. I’ll see ya’ll in the morning! Nite nite!

Love ya,

Miss Dallas Jones

 

Dallas Tales…My Favorite Daddy

I’ve been missin’ ya’ll! I have a lot of catchin’ up to do. I went for Thanksgiving holidays to my cousin’s in The Woodlands. Thanksgiving night my Favorite Daddy had a heart attack. Everything was just crazy for a while. I didn’t know what was going on for days. But thank heavens I had my cousin dogs and cat to help me. Max, Luke, Bear (he’s so big you’d think he was a real bear), and Lacy the cat. Berkley and Aunt Shannon spoiled me rotten. I learned to climb stairs to Berkley’s room. Luke wasn’t too keen on that plan but he shared the space in Berkley’s bed. Luke sleeps there every night on the foot of her bed.

Mealtime at my cousin’s house is a real fiasco. But Aunt Shannon figured out that she could fence me in the hallway by the pantry and I wouldn’t have my food scooped up by the other dogs. I was pretty picky when I got there. Mom buys me this really high quality food. Truth is I don’t really like it so I just graze and nibble. Whelp, have you ever tried to graze and nibble when 4 sets of eyes were staring you down, one of which was a giant German shepherd named Bear. He’s really sweet and we talked thru the little fence Aunt Shannon erected. Pretty soon I began eating the same dog food my cousins were eating and I loved it. I learned when the food is put out I had better eat. I am a changed pup. I was there about 2 ½ weeks before my Favorite Daddy was able to come home. I had a wonderful vacation.

We came home just before Christmas. I spent lots of time lying in Daddy’s lap. I am pretty certain I could be one of those therapy dogs. I love him so much. I would lie real still and be careful to not jump around. If he wasn’t feeling too good, I’d just lay at his feet. Mama was real proud of how I took such good care of Daddy. He’s doing really well. He’s getting better every day.

Mama says she knows why the good Lord sent me to live here now. It was so I could doctor Daddy back to health.

Well, bye bye. I’ll see ya real soon.

 

 

Dallas Tales…My Favorite Daddy

I’ve been missin’ ya’ll! I have a lot of catchin’ up to do. I went for Thanksgiving holidays to my cousin’s in The Woodlands. Thanksgiving night my Favorite Daddy had a heart attack. He had to have a big surgery. But the doctors there were great. Well, everything was just crazy for a while. I didn’t know what was going on for days. But thank heavens I had my cousin dogs and cat to help me. Max, Luke, Bear (he’s so big you’d think he was a real bear), and Lacy the cat. Berkley and Aunt Shannon spoiled me rotten. I learned to climb stairs to Berkley’s room. Luke wasn’t too keen on that plan but he shared the space in Berkley’s bed. Luke sleeps there every night on the foot of her bed.

Mealtime at my cousin’s house is a real fiasco. But Aunt Shannon figured out that she could fence me in the hallway by the pantry and I wouldn’t have my food scooped up by the other dogs. I was pretty picky when I got there. Mom buys me this really high quality food. Truth is I don’t really like it so I just graze and nibble. Whelp, have you ever tried to graze and nibble when 4 sets of eyes are staring you down, one of which was a giant German shepherd named Bear. He’s really sweet and we talked thru the little fence Aunt Shannon erected. Pretty soon I began eating the same dog food my cousins were eating and I loved it. I learned when the food is put out I had better eat. I am a changed pup. I was there about 2 ½ weeks before my Favorite Daddy was able to come home. I had a wonderful vacation.

We came home just before Christmas. When we got settled back at home I spent lots of time lying in Daddy’s lap. I am pretty certain I could be one of those therapy dogs. I love him so much. I would lie real still and be careful to not jump around. If he wasn’t feeling too good, I’d just lay at his feet. Mama was real proud of how I took such good care of Daddy. He’s doing really well. He’s getting better every day.

Mama says she knows why the good Lord sent me to live here now. It was so I could doctor Daddy back to health.

Well, bye bye. I’ll see ya real soon.

 

 

Heard It Through The Grapevine: Tales From The Kitchen and Beyond

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Heard It Through The Grapevine: Tales From The Kitchen and John 15:5,6

OK, I’m not talking about the song today. I have long pondered over grapevines as I’ve devoured cluster after cluster of delicious grapes. When grapes are first picked their vines are green, supple, smooth and almost impossible to break. Left on the vine the grapes seem to last longer and stay plump and juicy. After a stay in the fridge each day the vines seem to become just a little harder and prickly. The grapes that fall from the vine don’t last as long as the ones that remain attached. So here’s what I heard from the grapevine…..First of all I am reminded of John 15:5,6 which is Jesus’ words and says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers;” and it goes on.

So that old grapevine just gets harder and harder the longer it’s off the vine. Just like a Christian that decides he doesn’t have to attend church with other believers. The further away from church he roams the harder he gets, forgetting his first love, Jesus. He becomes so prickly he can draw blood with his words, attitude and actions. Hebrews 10:24,25 says…”And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” I think the Bible makes it pretty clear why we are to remain in fellowship (attached) with one another. There are many other verses that make this abundantly clear.

I hope when you hear that song, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, you will be reminded why you need to remain in church with other believers. And if you don’t have a church, find one. Make certain it is Christ centered, Bible believing and you can’t go wrong with your choice. Oh, and the watercolor above is mine.

A Texas Thanksgiving…Deer Camp Style

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A Texas Thanksgiving…….Deer Camp Style
By Gayle Jones

Thanksgiving deep in the heart of Texas can sometimes include things other than the customary Turkey, dressing, green beans and yams. Depending on your geographic location and expendable income it could mean venison tenderloin (aka deer back strap), wild pig roast (aka feral hogs), a token turkey (deep fried) I mean it is Thanksgiving. Turnip greens, smother fried potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, pinto beans, biscuits and cornbread. If you’ve never had Thanksgiving at a deer camp you’ve really missed an event. Those guys put their food on to cook well before daylight and maybe even the night before. They have to be out on the deer stand before the sun comes up. Mid-morning they return to camp to feast on bacon with the rind, biscuits, sawmill gravy, ribbon cane syrup and scrambled eggs. They wash this morning feast down with lots of coffee and ice cold milk. Now that’s just the beginning of Thanksgiving Day. They will have already begun to smoke just about any kind of meat the law allows. There’s always smoked meat at the deer camp! Everyone at camp pitches in and makes their favorite dishes. Turnip greens were most likely planted at camp during the preseason camp clean up. Do you have any idea how many turnip greens it takes to make a ‘mess of greens’ for a deer camp? A 30-gallon garbage bag would probably be needed to hold the raw turnip greens just to have enough to satisfy a few campers. Those greens are washed, put into a huge pot along with a Texas size ham hock, a glob of bacon grease, sugar and allowed to simmer until nice and tender. Sweet potatoes are greased and put on the side of a smoker to be baked. The women from back at home begin arriving at camp bringing all the side dishes and desserts. Camp is pretty primitive but somehow these guys and a few gals manage to put on quite a feast. Their campers are circled just like in the wagon train days. A huge fire pit in the center of camp provides the setting for the biggest tales ever told under a moonlit Texas night.

When all at camp gather to say grace before this incredible meal, the quietness of the woods beckons back to a time long past.

October Sun

IMG_0059.JPGOctober sun shines through the pines

Makes one giddy, soon there’ll be eggnog

Yellow, red, gold leaves are mine

Looking at my woods, I’m all agog

 

Most magical time of the year

Hawks circling on currents up high

No need to flap their wings in fear

They soar with ease, winter is nigh

 

My woods are amazing and still

Wind stirs the leaves and I can see

Tiny creatures are getting their fill

Acorns, nuts, it’s apparent to me

 

They’re shuffling off to beds made of straw

Moss, string, sticks, feathers and such

The comforts of home, I’m in awe

They don’t ask for very much

 

 

 

The Big Chicken Knows Dumplings!

Whelp, Thanksgiving is right around the corner and you may as well start thinkin’ about that menu! Dumplings…..yep, those awesome little bits of broth-laden dough just like Grandma makes. Well, guess what….you can make them too. And I can show you how. So come along with The Big Chicken Blog. The dumpling recipe courtesy of my late Mother In Law, Helen Jones.

Mrs Jones’ Dumplings

1 glass of water (8oz)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon soda

Flour

Measure salt and soda into a bowl. Add water and stir. Then add enough flour to make a dough similar to biscuit dough. Taking about a fourth of this mixture at a time, work in enough flour until the dough is not too sticky, and then roll out on a generously floured surface (I use the waxy side of freezer paper). The thickness should be about like piecrust and maybe a little thinner. Cut into 2-inch strips, then cut in whatever lengths you like maybe 3 inches. When you drop them into the boiling broth they will puff up so you don’t want to end up with too thick of a dumpling, at least I don’t like them so thick.

Now you are ready to cook the dumplings. Heat the chicken broth to a low boil and begin dropping the dumplings into the broth. Take a large spoon and gently immerse them into the broth. Add black pepper to taste. Continue adding strips until all dumplings are in the broth and the mixture is bubbling. You can stir to be sure they are not sticking on the bottom but stir very gently. I suggest you use a heavy gauge pot so the dumplings will not stick or scorch too easily. Then reduce the heat and cover and cook about 45 minutes or until done. When dumplings are almost done add some boiled chicken and stir carefully. This will give the dumplings a great taste. I don’t add until the end since I don’t like the chicken to get stringy. If the mixture is becoming too thick you can thin out by adding a little water, more broth or milk. The dumplings are best served right when they get done. After you turn off the heat and let them sit they will begin to thicken up. Again you can thin the juice by using the above method. Very important, you don’t want to let them sit out too long after turning them off. As soon as they have cooled get them in the fridge if you intend to keep them. They can actually spoil very quickly if the day is extremely warm.

Cooking the ole sister Hen for the broth………………..

Purchase a chicken, which is now probably called a roasting chicken. They can be found frozen or sometimes fresh. Wash thoroughly and check for any pin feathers……. little black spots mostly found on the back in the skin. Get these out however you can, cutting or forcing with the round tip of a knife. I cut off the wing tips and the tail, last part over the fence. Look inside to see what needs to be cleaned out and then give another wash all over. Place in a very large pot and cover with water. Add salt and pepper, 2 onions, several stalks of celery, a couple of carrots and a few bay leaves if you have them. Boil until the meat is tender. Turn off heat and carefully remove the chicken to a large cookie sheet to cool. Strain the broth and discard all the veggies. After chicken is cooled enough to handle debone and discard all the bones and skin.

A chicken fryer can be used, as well as boneless skinless chicken breast or chicken tenderloins. The only downside to all this convenience is taste. The best taste for dumplings in my opinion is the use of a hen/chicken roaster. The absolute best is if you can find someone who raises his or her own hens out in the yard. Incredible taste. Or you may spring for an organic roaster chicken, again if it can be found. The taste is unmatched!! Some people strain off the fat. I don’t. I just let all that good chicken fat stay right where it belongs!! Just keep in mind if you use a roaster/hen it may take 3-5 hours to boil until tender.

When there’s flour all over your kitchen just laugh and wonder how I made my dumplings in a black apron and managed to stay clean. Miracles happen!

 

Dallas Tales….National Dog Day

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Well, I might have qualified for the poster child for National Dog Day except for the fact that my Mama posted a most horrible picture of me last night! I mean my coat was a mess. Looked like rats had set up shop looking for rat cheese. Seriously woman, before you post these pictures you need to at least let me proof the photo. I was so embarrassed when I spoke with the Doberman next door. He came to the fence laughing his head off. Yeah, Mama thought it was cute and everything. I mean I am about to be a year old! I have my image to uphold. So please accept my sincere apologies for my unkempt coat! So to all my doggie friends and doggie cousins out there, I hope you had a great National Dog Day.

Dallas Tales….Bear!

 

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Bear, did someone say bear? Mercy me, I’m outta here. Run for your lives, curl into a ball, isn’t that what they say when a bear is chasing you? Ok, so where am I gonna hide? No cover anywhere. What’s a pup to do? Wait a minute, what? Bear is a dog? Well you could’ve fooled me! Mama told me I had a new cousin and she did say he was kinda big, but this dude is huge and he’s only 4 months old. Just one of his feet are larger than all four of mine combined. He is sort of cute. I’ll go outside and meet him, let him get used to me cause we are cousins after all. Oh, my, here he comes galloping towards me. Whew, he only brushes beside me, thank goodness. Thought he was gonna knock me in the pool. So this is Bear. Well, he actually looks like a little bear, beautiful brown and black coat. He is an amazing german shepherd. I need to get in his good graces somehow. I decided to tell Mama to buy him a big ole box of large milk bones. I gave him one, tossed it in his kennel really quick. Mmmmmmmm……he’s just playing with it. Wait, he doesn’t have enough big teeth yet to chew it up. Oh well, at least now he thinks I’m swell! I think I’ve made a friend forever. So, I’ll see ya around Bear!  So my cousin count is growing quickly. Lacy the cat, Max the schnauzer, his brother Luke, also a schnauzer with new pup Bear in one house. Jack, a big golden retriever and his brother Felix, a big Irish Cream retriever who live in Dallas, not to be confused with little ole me.

They need to come visit me and help run these crazy birds outta my yard. I found a dead turtledove yesterday and wanted really bad to eat it, had it in my mouth when Mama caught me. Mercy that woman drives me crazy. I’m a yard dog woman! I mean I’m from the country! See ya round.

One Little Dandelion

Date of Birth March 31, 2008

Little Dandelion, what a brief life you have. You are open early to watch the sun rise and spend part of your day looking upward. You willow about on your delicate stem blowing where the wind sends your little face. How did you get here, where did you come from, who sent you to cheer me so?

Once in a while your seeds blow into the crack of the dry desolate concrete. And if just the right amount of dirt happens to be in place you find a home for that short life of yours. Today is the day for one such life to take root. A miracle. Arriving at work today you were there to greet all those who would observe your beauty in the crack of the hot desolate concrete. Bright and cheery yellow, you beckon me to look at you. Too busy to notice, too much on my mind, I don’t ever see flowers anywhere, I am not in a good mood today, I, I, I. Is this God’s way of saying HELLO????????? Here I am. I want to talk to you. Do you see my world exploding around you with wonder and beauty! I have provided this miracle for you just for today. Will you look and wonder how it happened or will you step on this little wild flower and never look back.

We’re all here only for a short moment in time, just like the dandelion. Most of us will thankfully have more than one day. We can choose to be planted in shallow dirt or deep rich soil. The shallow dirt will only provide a brief moment with God, just like the brief life of the dandelion in that hard concrete. If we allow ourselves to enjoy the deep rich soil that God provides it will allow for our development to know God more and more.

As a gardener I always expect everything I plant to grow and flourish. I rarely consider that one of my plants could die when I plant it in the ground. I know from experience it takes good soil for this to happen. The richer the soil, the more beautiful the flower or plant. It’s just like that walking with God. He can do more that you can ever dream possible in your life if you just let him. All you can ask or imagine…Ephesians 3:20

Consider this parable from Jesus in Matthew Chapter 13. 

The Meaning of the Harvest Story – Matthew 13:18-23

 18-19 “Study this story of the farmer planting seed. When anyone hears news of the kingdom and doesn’t take it in, it just remains on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it right out of that person’s heart. This is the seed the farmer scatters on the road.  

20-21 “The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.

 22 “The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.

 23 “The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.”  

The Dandelion will only live for one day or a few at most, but you can live forever.   1 John 5:11 And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.  

I have an acronym for one little dandelion…OLD. Just remember you’re never too old to begin something new. You have more than one day unlike the dandelion. Another day to do something you’ve always wanted to do. A second chance to make amends. So get out there and dream some dreams, have some fun. And remember keep smiling.