Monday, March 10, 2014

Ice and No Power

Some of the old-timers drinking coffee and sittin' around on the turned up cold drink cartons, visitin' and comin' in out of the cold the other mornin', reminded Andy that Caldwell and Orange County had not had an ice storm like this in a long time.

Charles said the ice was getting rid of the dead and brittle wood that was in their forests. Now for the clean-up! He and granddaughter Shelby rode 4-wheelers checking fences yesterday after most of the ice had melted. They had to replace a lot of plastic clips on the electric fences and spent quite a while removing a tree or tree limb that had fallen over the fence near our house and the old store. Shelby really enjoys helping Pop and her dad around the place and they have come to rely on her. But as Brenda said, there is enough debris this time, that it will take all of us doing our part to clean up the place!

Shubert has been out early picking up fallen branches over here at Gail and Troy's. He was getting house happy!

We have all shared the warmth and the cooking made possible by Charles's generator and enjoyed the hot coffee, banana bread, ice cream sandwiches, hot dogs, laughter, and love shared in a time like this. Brenda shared Maw-Maw's chili recipe with me because Shubert loved it so, and we told stories of the past. But we never did get around to any of those games the kids like to play. I have been having trouble with my eyes so I couldn't look through the camera lens for long. I didn't get any pictures of the damage the ice did, just a few icicles here and there. I'm sure there are plenty of pictures on Facebook and on the web that represent the same week of ice, sleet and snow we had here in Orange County, North Carolina, this week.

Piedmont Electric and Duke Power, with the assistance of several out-of-town power companies, have restored power to thousands of their customers. The Blalock's have power, we don't. But we all have our family around and they have been fantastic. 

Welcome back to North Carolina, Bob and Judy!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Our Big Snow of Valentine's Day Week 2014

 Sisters Angie and Judy at RDU ~ February 12, 2014
Angie Ready to Board Flight Back to DFW and Home
Leaving Just Before the Big Snow

 On Hwy. 70 in Hillsborough

On Hwy. 57 Headed to Caldwell

Home Sweet Home in Caldwell

Some Digitally Enhanced Water-colored Photos
of Home in Caldwell

Before long we can get back to good food and sunny days! 
By Valentine's Day afternoon the snow was melting and 
we are getting ready for freezing temperatures again tonight.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sister Sue's Pecan Pie Bars

Sister Sue's Pecan Pie Bars


2 cups plain flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 stick cold butter

In a large mixing bowl sift together the dry ingredients. With a pastry cutter or two knives, cut cold butter into the flour mixture until it is crumbly.

Place into 13 x 9-inch glass pan such as a Pyrex dish sprayed with non-stick spray (I use Pam.) With hands, press crust out on the bottom and up onto sides of pan.

Cook in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes until light golden.

While crust is baking, prepare the filling.


2 eggs
3/4 cup white Karo syrup
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/4 chopped pecans

Have filling ready to pour over hot crust and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees until the edges are firm.

This is a delicious alternative to the traditional pecan pie. It is so easy to grab one and go, the kids will eat them when they might not slow down for a piece of pie! I also like to eat one when I'm having a cup of coffee or a glass of milk. Try them this holiday season and next holiday season you'll find yourself baking both pecan pies and pecan pie bars!

Photo digital format by Judith Richards Shubert using Raspberry Road Designs Secret Family Recipe Cluster Freebie

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pecan Pie

Sue's Pecan Pies
and Pecan Bars
Thanksgiving is normally when my family starts thinking of serving pecan pie, but any time is really a good time to serve pecan pie. My sister, Sue, began baking pecan bars several years ago, in additional to her traditional pecan pies and they were a hit. So easy to grab and run, crunchy and sweet, I have noticed them  more and more recently on cooking shows and recipe blogs.
My favorite is still her Pecan Pie. She told me our mother, Mildred, always used Granny Pruett's recipe. Mildred loved Granny Pruett's pie so much after tasting it years ago, she never went back to her own recipe. Now, after a couple of tweaks, Sue does the same thing. She uses Granny Pruett's basic Pecan Pie recipe.
I will miss being at her Thanksgiving table this year. I will have to use her recipe and North Carolina pecans instead of the Texas pecans she always uses! I can only cross my fingers that my oven cooks my pies to half the perfection that hers and Grandma Mildred's has always done.
Sister Sue's Pecan Pie
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups Karo syrup
6 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups chopped pecans
Mix all ingredients well and fill 2 unbaked pie shells. Bake at 300 degrees for 50-60 minutes.
The only difference in our brother-in-law, Gene's, mother, Granny Pruett's pie: 1 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, bake at 350 degrees.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mineral Wells Pecans

October and November is truly the time for pecan harvesting in the south, and that includes my beloved Texas. There are more memories tied up with my Aunt Irene and Uncle Raymond Stone's pecan trees than I can even bring to mind. Children from every generation played and worked under the beautiful branches of the pecan trees that they cared for over 50 years - from the early 1950s until the mid 2000s - they were a source of income as well as pride and joy!
Irene Checking the Pecan Trees

As little kids, we played games under the trees and then helped pick up the pecans when we could. Later it became a serious job. My sister even had to have a fella with whom she was having a first date take her to Irene and Raymond's as soon as they got through eating burgers, probably at the Dairy Queen, because she had to help shell pecans! I wonder who that date was, and IF he ever showed up again? Hmmm?

Every Easter there were colorful bonnets and dresses and dress shirts running around every which way looking for the eggs hidden by the Easter rabbit or the adults after the family got finished with the Easter Sunday meal. The pecan trees held many secret places where you might later find a pink or yellow egg that a grandchild had missed.

Raymond's knowledge of his pecans was enviable. He entered them in shows and competitions held around the county and the Texas Fair. I remember he had a large display of different types of pecans found in Texas and it was very impressive. It always hung in the hallway between the dining room and their bedroom.

Raymond Checking the Pecans Gathered
and Put Into Bed of His Pick-Up

He and Irene worked hard seeing that their pecan trees were healthy and produced a good crop each year. Some years were not as good as others, but that is just the way it is, isn't it? It is sad now when we drive by the old homeplace, the trees were taken by fire shortly after they had both died. The Texas heat and summer fires are unrelenting. We are all just glad they were not here to see the devastation. I believe they know and see from where they are, but it would be hard for us to see the hurt in their eyes.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pecans in Caldwell

When I looked out the kitchen window this morning and saw Shubert on his hands and knees under the pecan tree, I wondered if he was picking up scattered broken limbs. I went back to my dishes and when he opened the storm door and asked me to hand him a bowl, I realized he had his shirt-tail full of pecans!
It has been a peculiar Fall here. There was so much rain this summer and early Fall, the growing season seems to have been affected. Pecans usually do not fall until most of the leaves are on the ground. But I followed him outside and realized if we didn't gather the pecans soon the squirrels would beat us to them. I called Brenda, telling her how many pecans were already down, and asked her if our granddaughters would like to help gather them up.

The largest pecan tree in August of this year.
Shelby and Paige quickly picked up pecans that have fallen from the two trees in their great-grandmother, Lois Blalock's, yard. They shared stories with me that they remembered about the past when Lois, "Maw Maw", was still alive. 
Paige remembered Maw Maw teaching her about pecans. She and Shelby were chattering along, competing with the squirrels! But they got the job done ~ before the squirrels could come back! Payton couldn't help today, but maybe next time she will be able to come, too.
"Maw Maw taught us how to pick up the pecans," one of the girls told me. "She told us to begin under the tree and go in a circle picking up the pecans as we went out toward the edges." Paige showed me how there were more directly under the tree by the trunk, so she said Maw Maw must have known what she was talking about.
Papa Shubert added a few more to the girls' box of pecans, but he had already worked enough for the morning, so quickly left the rest for them.
Shelby and Paige both said that this year is not like other years. The leaves are not covering the pecans. They remember having to hunt for the pecans. Shelby told me that she remembers when Maw Maw was alive and still able to pick up pecans, she loved to show them the ones hiding under the leaves. Paige said that when they pushed away the leaves, Maw Maw always made them put the leaves back because she loved how they looked on the ground. She loved how the ground looked like Fall.
Maw Maw would sit on the front porch after she got to the point where she was unable to pick up pecans and crack some of the ones the family picked up. All of the family helped. Shelby said she would pick up a bowl full and take them to her and she would crack those, watching the girls pick up more, calling out to them, telling them to make sure they looked carefully and not miss the ones hiding under the leaves! Paige and Shelby both agreed that it was sad when she was not strong enough to crack the pecans any longer.
They have both learned life-long lessons from their great-grandmother. It was heart-warming to listen to them talk about her, remembering her with such love and respect while working under the same trees that she had labored under for many years. I could imagine them all together in my mind's eye having such fun gathering up the pecans. I believe Mrs. Blalock is smiling tonight remembering those times, as well.


Taken by Judith Richards Shubert, Digital Format, October 28, 2013


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When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.

--Chief Tecumseh

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