Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Keep Trying & Happy New Year!

Today has been great, even though we had no sunshine. This morning after Tony and I did our early morning chores outside, on the last day of the year, we came back inside so I could cook us breakfast.

Since tomorrow I am starting a 3 -5 day raw vegetables and fruits only fast, I decided to cook us homemade blueberry pancakes, thinking that the healthy blueberries and the organic maple syrup would reverse the bad effects of eating the unhealthy, but tasty stack of pancakes.

When I starting cooking the first two blueberry pancakes the phone rang—it was Kinky. "Good morning, Nance. Can you and Tony come over in a little while?"

"Sure. What's going on?" Then Kinky explained to me that he and Brian Molnar had discovered that there was a small six inch long by one inch wide hole, in the bottom of his fireplace and he was concerned about it. And after he had asked me to please bring along some tin, to patch the hole, I told him, "Sure, we can do that after we eat our homemade blueberry pancakes. I'm fixin' them right now. Would you and Brian like some? I've got plenty." That was my last dumb question I asked for 2014.

Twenty minutes later, Tony and I arrived, at the Lodge, bearing our gifts. I carried the foil-covered, hot pan with the delicious pancakes and Tony carried the cold scrap of tin we found by the barn.

Before Brian and Kinky helped themselves to my delicious, tall stack of pancakes, Kinky showed Tony the hole in the fireplace and then the three men went outside to check things out.

A few minutes later, they came back inside the Lodge. Then we went into the kitchen, so Kinky and Brian could sit down and eat their healthy/unhealthy breakfast, which they told me was delicious even though I already knew that.

Halfway through their meal, Kinky looked at me and said, "Tony told me that the fireplace is fine and for me not to worry about it."

I immediately laughed out loud, and shot back, "Famous last words." That made Kinky laugh and it caused him to nearly choke on a healthy blueberry. "When y'all get home tonight, after the show, the only thing left standing will be the fireplace with the six inch long hole, in the floor. Knock-on-wood. I am only kidding...."

This afternoon has been quiet. I cooked us leftovers for lunch. We ate a bowl of delicious, vegetarian chili and then Tony also ate the BBQ chicken breast, brussels sprouts and another baked sweet potato. Then I cleaned up the kitchen, took a short, sleepless nap, with our dogs and then I did some more paperwork.

Speaking of BBQ. This afternoon I got an e-mail from Eileen, my dear friend/volunteer. She wrote:

Her "dry onion soup mix" guess made me chuckle, because Jim's friend's secret BBQ sauce recipe does not have dry onion soup mix in it or any other of the stuff people have been guessing. So I am going to write Eileen back, in just a few minutes, and say, "Keep trying, Eileen! You'll never guess all of the healthy ingredients in the BBQ sauce recipe. It's Jim's friend's, Jim's and my little secret. And Happy New Year to you, too! See you next year!"

Y'all have a great New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

We Love The BBQ Sauce, Bill Hageman & The Chicago Tribune, Too!

Today has been great. This morning after I fixed Tony breakfast, I grabbed Jim's aka "The Mineral Man"secret BBQ sauce recipe and made it, but I halved the recipe, because I only had two quart jars to store it in.

It was easy to make and before I poured some of it into the crock pot with three chicken breast, Tony and I sampled it and IT WAS S0 DELICIOUS! Seriously, Tony and I agree that it is the best BBQ sauce that we've ever tasted. So, I need to do a shout out to Jim Bobbitt for sharing his friend's best kept secret recipe, because I promised that I will not share it and because I am going to enjoy Kinky and our friends trying to guess what the secret ingredients are—and not telling them. "Thank you, Jim! We totally love the BBQ sauce!" Here's a picture of the secret sauce if you think that you can figure out what the ingredients are.

This morning after we did the chores outside, we went over to Kinky's Lodge, because we saw Roy and Jonelle's pickup go by, towing a cord of wood, to deliver to Kinky. When we got over there, Kinky and Brian Molnar were finishing up, helping Roy & Jonelle, unload the last few pieces of wood from the trailer. "Tony!" Kinky jokingly half-hollered. "You need to take a picture of me working!"

"Sorry Kink, I forgot to bring my camera with me." Everyone laughed and then we had a fun visit with Roy and his sweet wife.

After our friends, from Utopia, adios-ed us and drove away, the four of us went into the Lodge for a fun visit. Then Tony and I came back home so we could eat lunch. Our lunch was baked sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts and the mouth-watering bbq chicken breasts.

I spent the rest of the day inside The Cabin, because it was gray and chilly outside. I did some paperwork, returned some phone calls and e-mails and then I took a short, sleepless nap with our sweet dogs.

This evening when I checked my e-mail, our dear friend Bill Hageman, the most popular columnist, for The Chicago Tribune, had sent me a note to let me know that he had written the story about that beautiful diamond ring that was donated to us and he sent me the newspaper's link to it. So now I want to do another shout out to Bill Hageman & The Chicago Tribune for helping out our rescue ranch once again. "Thank you, Bill and The Chicago Tribune! We love y'all!" Here's the link to Bill's story.

And that is about it for tonight, because I can't wait to sit down and watch, The 37th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, at 8:00, with our dogs. 

Y'all have a great evening!

Monday, December 29, 2014

One Giant Leap!

12:18 PM: Today has been great so far. As I am writing this the sun is shinning brightly outside and Tony and I are fixin' to go meet our dear friends Kris & Jim for lunch, at The Cracker Barrel, in Kerrville.

Early this morning, Tony did all of the chores outside while I stayed warm inside, The Cabin, doing a bunch of end-of-the-year paperwork.

When Tony and I took off, in Trigger, to go to Kerrville, a great idea popped into my head or so I thought. When we were going over the Kerrville pass, I asked Tony, "What was that famous quote that astronaut Neil Armstrong said, when he stepped on the moon?"

"I think he said, "This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." "Nance, why are you asking me this?" After I told him about my idea, he chuckled.

A little while later, when Tony and I arrived, at The Cracker Barrel, we found Kris and Jim, sitting in rocking chairs, on the restaurants front porch. And after I complimented Kris on her pretty, baby blue workout shoes we opened the doors to enter the crowded restaurant, located near IH-10.

As we walked inside, an older woman looked at Kris feet, and said,"I love your blue shoes." Kris thanked her and then she blushed all of the way to our table.

Our lunch was delicious and it was a lot of fun. Kris and I ordered the same thing: Grilled Apple Cider BBQ Chicken Breast with green beans and a baked sweet potato. While we ate our lunch Kris and Jim told us some funny stories and they showed Tony and me some really cool things to do with our cell phones.

When Kris and I started raving about how delicious the chicken was, Jim told us about his friend's delicious, secret BBQ sauce, "I think it is the best BBQ sauce ever made and the ingredients are a combination of Texas BBQ sauce, Kansas BBQ sauce and North Carolina BBQ sauce..." So of course, I begged for the recipe.

After the nice waiter had removed our dinner plates and had handed us our tickets Kris decided to order their apple cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, so I ordered their blackberry cobbler with ice cream too, since I am fixin' to start my 3 - 5 day raw fruits and vegetable fast, on New Year's Day.

Even though I felt guilty for ordering a dessert, which I never do and I certainly didn't need, I was pleasantly surprised when the waiter served Kris and me our delicious looking cobblers, so I grabbed my phone and took pictures before we enjoyed eating them.

After eating our delicious desserts and before we had paid for our lunch, Jim told us that he would take Kris home and print out a copy of the secret BBQ sauce recipe and then meet us, at the Big H-E-B, on Main Street, so I could buy the necessary ingredients to make his friend's secret BBQ sauce. Then we temporarily adios-ed each other and took off in different directions.

Twenty minutes later, after having filled up our grocery cart with mainly fruits and vegetables, Jim walked up to us, on Isle 13, and handed me a copy of his friend's secret Rub and BBQ sauce recipe. 

After we thanked Jim for getting the recipe to me so quickly, we adios-ed each other again and then I took off to go buy the secret rub and sauce ingredients, because tomorrow I am planning on grilling some chicken breasts and using the recipes for our lunch. "Thank you, Jim! I can't wait to make the rub and sauce tomorrow and I really do promise not to share this recipe. I know it is a first for me not to share stolen recipes from friends, but this time it will be our little BBQ secret."

This afternoon after we got back home I went to work on my project that I had earlier told Tony about. First, I took this picture of Little Debbie's darling crib that our friends/volunteers gave to me for my 63rd birthday, in October. (And please note that Eileen made the adorable, striped mattress.)

Then I grabbed a piece of scrapped bedspread that Beau, Alice and Little Debbie had enjoyed destroying, months ago and I covered the mattress and pad.

Then I put Little Debbie's crib next to our bed, in hopes that Little Debbie will use it as a step, to help her leap up on our bed, without our help.

Then I asked Roy, Belle, Beau and Alice to please go outside. Once they were gone I grabbed several tiny dog treats and took Little Debbie into our bedroom. With my camera ready to grab, I put little treats on top of the crib's bedspread. Little D. then jumped up and leaned on the crib to eat them, even though she needs "treats" like I needed that blackberry cobbler that I ate earlier today.

After giving Little Deb eight more treats, I started putting them on top of our torn and ragged bedspread, in hopes that she would jump all of the way up on our bed to eat more. And she almost did it, but couldn't, because she is overweight!

So as I finish writing this tonight, I realize that Little Debbie wanted to make one giant leap for Chihuahuas, but she just couldn't do it. And she gained two more ounces trying to accomplish her mission impossible, even though it was very obvious to me that she was really enjoying eating all of those bribery doggie treats that I was feeding her. 

And I confess that I tried to have the willpower not to eat that blackberry cobbler and I couldn't do it, too. So even though all this weighs heavy on my soul and hips—I must admit that I totally enjoyed eating every delicious bite of that blackberry cobbler, with the melting ice cream, even though I am sure that I've gained another pound. So starting New Year's Day, Little Debbie and I are both going on strict diets to shed our extra ounces and pounds. So wish us luck!

Y'all have a great evening!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Chocolate Raspberry Grand Mariner Mousse!

Friday, Saturday and today have been great, because they have been quiet and peaceful out here. I've needed the peace and quiet, because leading up to Christmas day it was a lot of fun, but was also pretty hectic to say the least.

Basically, I've spent the past few days resting, writing, taking long naps cuddling with our dogs, reading and listening to music, if I wasn't over at the Lodge visiting with Kinky and The Friedmans or over here making delicious, healthy juices for Chet, Tony and me to try.

Speaking of juicing, I pretty much "fell off of the wagon" this past week, because of all of the holiday treats presented to us. Seriously, Tony and I have had our fill of delicious sugary cookies, cakes and pies and my now tight-fitting 501 Levis can vouch for that, too.

I don't regret eating any of those tasty treats and desserts and I am glad that I did. But starting January 1st I plan to jump-start the new year by doing a 3 - 5 days raw fruits and vegetables only fast. And I am seriously looking forward to doing it, because it is so easy to do.

Last month when I did my very first fast ever, I did those 6 days of eating raw fruits and vegetables only and I was never hungry and I was so full of energy. The reason that I am waiting to start my super healthy fast on New Year's day is because New Year's Eve Tony and I are going to The Hunt Store's New Year's Eve dinner show, which includes entertainment by Kinky, Little Jewford, Chet O'Keefe and Sean Rima, with Big G being the host of the early dinner show.

After Kinky telling us several times how delicious the food will be at the dinner show and then reading Donna Hatch's great article, in The Kerrville Daily Times, about The Hunt Store's chef and his planned menu for New Year's Eve is the other reason that I am waiting to start my fast, because the menu already has my mouth watering.

In case you missed reading Donna's article, earlier this week, on the 24th, about Chef Blas Gonzalez, The Hunt Store Cafe's fabulous executive chef, I have cut and pasted it here for you to read. Or you can click here to read The Kerrville Daily Times.

The Hunt Store Café chef promises feast for the senses

Blas Gonzalez creates special New Year’s Eve buffet menu

By Donna Gable Hatch
Features Editor
HUNT — Chef Blas Gonzalez, executive chef at Hunt Store Café, said he’s created a menu for the restaurant’s New Year’s Eve celebration that brings to the table something for every taste and sensibility — from savory to sweet and everything in between.
     Gonzalez’s love of all things culinary — and all things Texas — sets the stage for a New Year’s Eve feast that includes wild axis fingers, wild boar longanisa stuffed pork tenderloin and more.
     The menu is part of an evening extravaganza that includes entertainment by singer-songwriters Kinky Friedman and Chet O’Keefe, Texas outlaw poet Sean Rima and Jeff Shelby — aka Little Jewford, an accomplished concert pianist and comedian who has been described as “a Liberace and Victor Borge cocktail, with a twist of the Marx Brothers.”
     The dinner concert, which is from 6 to 9:30 p.m., is hosted by radio host Gordon“Big G” Ames of radio station KERV-AM 1230. 
     A late show follows with entertainment by Josh Murley and Someone Like You.
     Tickets are $100 per person for the dinner and late shows or $35 per person for the late show only.
     “When I first me Blas, he turned me onto his fried axis tenders, and they are still my favorite,” owner John Dunn said. “We source our game locally from Broken Arrow Ranch, so it is the freshest available. We tenderize it and marinate overnight in Blas’ special buttermilk mixture, and it is always melt-in-your-mouth tender.”
     The evening begins with an hors d’oeuvres and cocktail reception.
     “The menu Chef Blas has created for New Year’s Eve offers a wonderful mix of his regional wild game classic,” Dunn said.

The buffet also includes:
• Lobster bisque
• Lolla rosa radicchio salad made with green and red butter lettuce mix, candy pecans, honey baked pears and balsamic reduction
• Chateaubriand with a béarnaise sauce served with garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables
• Wild boar longanisa stuffed pork tenderloin with mango jalapeno sauce served with wild rice and sauté fresh seasonal vegetables
•  Macadamia nut-crusted mahi mahi, served with wild rice and sautéed fresh vegetables, drizzled with pineapple sauce and dotted with fresno chili puree. 
The meal is topped off with chocolate raspberry grand mariner mousse.

Add ambition and stir
     Born and raised in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Gonzalez hadn’t planned to spend his life creating memorable meals, but it was in his blood.
     “I didn’t intend to be a chef, I just loved to cook,” Gonzalez said. “I came from a family where my mother and my grandmother loved to cook. One of the first food I remembered that I helped cook was the traditional Mexican mole sauce.”
     In 1980, Gonzalez emigrated from Mexico and found work at Olive’s Pizza Restaurant in Plano.
     Five years later, he relocated to Austin, where he worked at the Austin Courtyard Restaurant under the tutelage of chef-owner Guert Rush. There, he worked at nearly every station in the kitchen, from a steward to cooking on the line and pantry station. 
     “In the year 1989, I went to work at Hudson’s on the Bend, also in Austin, where I worked alongside chef-owner Jeff Blank. This is where I learned the art of cowboy cuisine.”
For 15 years, Gonzalez honed his skills and rose the kitchen ranks from pantry cook to executive sous chef. 
     “I started working first in the pantry making salads, dressings, plating up desserts, cold plate presentations and smoking of the entire specialty item that we had on the menu from lobster, shrimp, scallops, duck, quail, venison and buffalo,” Gonzalez said. “Then I moved to the sauté station, where I learned the art of sautéing, flambéing and cooking food in high heat with little oil and pan frying perfecting such food dishes as escargots with a lemon beurre blanc, pan seared ahi tuna with lime cilantro oil, wild boar schnitzel with apple presidente glaze and Southwest flavored seafood pasta.”
     In 2004, Gonzalez accepted the position of chef de cuisine at another Texas landmark, Ocotillo Restaurant at the Lajitas Resort and Spa. 
     In 2007, he was named executive chef. During his tenure, both Gonzalez and Ocotillo were recognized with the Four Diamond Award for three consecutive years.
     Four years later, prominent Houston businessman Tom Fatjo Jr. recruited Gonzalez to launch a new restaurant at his luxury development, Stablewood Springs Resort in Hunt. The resort’s Antler Grill restaurant closed in 2013, but Gonzalez quickly found a new home where  he could work his culinary magic — The Hunt Store Café, 1634 Texas 39.
     “I’ve known Chef Blas since he launched Antler Grill in 2011 and have been one of his biggest fans ever since,” Dunn said. “Bringing him to The Hunt Store was a no-brainer and allows us to continue to improve and grow our food service.  
     Dunn said bringing Gonzalez on board has allowed the café to  expand its menu, “as well as our event catering business. We have already done several large private events and look forward to growing this part of the business even more in 2015.”
     In addition, the café also packages and sells Gonzalez’s most popular sauces, including his Pecan Praline Sauce, Mango Serrano Sauce, among others.
     “These sauces will be available in the store and online at the beginning of the year,” Dunn said.
     For more information about the New Year’s Eve event and to make reservations, visit or call 830238-4410.

Chef Blas Gonzales shares his recipe for Southern hot-n-crunchy shrimp:

Southern hot-n-crunchy shrimp

3 jumbo Gulf shrimp (per serving)
6 ounces of The Hunt Store Mango Serrano Sauce
2 ounces ofTexas aioli
3 slices of green tomatoes (per serving)
1/2 ounces jicama, 1/2 ounce tomatillo, 1/2 ounce shredded carrot, 1/2 ounce cilantro
1 ounce of The Hunt Store Honey Ginger Lime Vinaigrette
4 cups of hot-n-crunchy mix
4 cups of regular flour
Egg wash
Ancho aiola, a provençal sauce made of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, usually egg yolks and seasonings.
Bread the tomatoes, shrimp and place in the fryer (oil temp at 360 degrees).
Make salad with jicama, cilantro, carrot, tomatillo tossed with The Hunt Store Honey Ginger Lime Vinaigrette. Serve the shrimp on top of The Hunt Store Mango Serrano Sauce and garnish with ancho aioli. Serve the tomatoes on top of Texas aioli sauce and garnish with ancho aioli.


And that is about it for tonight, because there is only one slice of leftover pecan pie, on the kitchen counter, with my name on it and if I don't eat it right now—Tony will, when he comes into the kitchen for a snack. And that's also why my fast starts next year.  :  )

Y'all have a great evening!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas! Our Best Christmas Ever!

Christmas has been great! This morning our dear friends friends/volunteers came out to help us prepare our rescued dogs annual Christmas dinner! Kris & Jim, Rob & Patti and their beautiful daughter Jessa, Eileen and Kinky came out early and helped us and it was so much fun. We loved it and our dogs loved it more—they ate all their vegetables and licked their bowls clean.

This evening I put together a short, slideshow video of our dog's Christmas dinner that Kris & Jim paid for. The photos were taken by Jessa, The Bobbitts and me and I hope y'all enjoy the video that I've titled, Just In Time.

It is late and I'll write more tomorrow.

Y'all have a great evening and thank you for making our holidays great at the rescue ranch!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Dear Friends!

Saturday was so great thanks to our wonderful dear friends: Linda Forse, Rachel Fitch, Donna Hatch and The Kerrville Times, for helping us with that beautiful, donated diamond ring. And also a very special thanks to Kris & Jim Bobbitt for sponsoring (paying the cost) the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch's rescued dog's annual Christmas dinner, with all of the trimmings! This year's delicious, trailer-cooked dinner will be the 16th rescue ranches' Christmas dinner for our super dogs!

Friday afternoon, the day before Donna's great article came out in the newspaper, about the stunning, 2.57 carat diamond ring to be sold as a fundraiser for our rescue ranch, Tony and I met Kris & Jim, at the Next Generation Produce, so we could treat them to their first Next Generation Produce's delicious juices. And so I could also pick up and pay them $100.00 cash for their new, still in the package, three, unused solar panels that came with an inverter and controller, because with Chet O'Keefe's help he is going to help me convert the Mother Ship to a completely solar RV and I can't wait for that to happen!

While we were sipping the delicious pink Dragon juice, we told our dear friends that we were fixin' to buy our dog's Christmas dinner, in the next few days, because The Bobbitts had told us that they wanted to pay for it. "Nancy," Jim said. "Here, you take this $100.00 back and use it towards the cost of the dog's dinner. Just let us know how much more we owe and we'll we'll write a check for it...." Then the four of us decided to go eat lunch together, at The Cracker Barrel. And that was a lot of fun and the food was delicious, too. Then we came back home and Tony and I put the heavy, solar panel box with its parts, inside the Mother Ship for safe keeping.

Late Saturday afternoon Tony and I went to Kerrville to do some late, last minute Christmas shopping and then we went to the big H-E-B, on Main Street and purchased our dog's tasty holiday dinner and the total cost was $167.19 and Kris & Jim saved $10.68!

Saturday night I was too tired to write anything, so instead I watched An Unfinished Life, a great movie starring Robert Redford and Jennifer Lopez. Then I went to bed and had weird dreams, all night long, about being in a big hurry, trying to make and serve hundreds of delicious, homemade juice drinks, to all of these strangers that had showed up, at the rescue ranch. And when I woke up Sunday morning—I was so totally exhausted, I drank a delicious cup of H-E-B's Texas Pecan coffee instead of a healthy juice, because I didn't want to go near our Cuisinart juicer until I was totally awake.

Today has been great, even though it has been a quiet day, because no unwanted strangers showed up wanting to drink my delicious juices—thank goodness. 

This afternoon, the cold front blew in and when the wind howled and the outside temperature began to drop, I dropped what I was doing and asked Tony to please help me put The Girls' sweaters on them, because Little Debbie was laying, on top of the floor vent, in the kitchen and she was refusing to share its warmth with Alice. 

A few minutes later The Girls were dressed—thanks to Tony. They both seemed happy to be wearing their winter outfits, even though Little Debbie's sweater was a little tight on her, because she has gained four ounces. Before I took this picture of her, I told Little Debbie, "After the holidays you're going on a diet, young lady." And she just closed her big eye and her little blind eye and pretended to be sleeping, on top of the floor vent.

Before I finish writing this tonight I want to tell Roy Rogers, my sweet, one-hundred-nine pound, four-legged soul mate, "Happy Belated Three Year Anniversary, Roy! We've been together since December 22, 2011! I love you so much and I am so grateful that you chose me to spend your life with and I am also so grateful that you don't like to wear clothes."

Y'all have a great evening!

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Today has been more than great, because of our dear friends: Linda Forse, Donna Hatch, The Kerrville Daily Times & Rachel Fitch for helping out our rescue ranch Big Time! This is my cut & paste version of what Donna wrote for The Kerrville Daily Times, in today's newspaper. To view the paper's article click here:  or read my cut & paste version below.

2.57 carat diamond to be sold as fundraiser for animal sanctuary

By Donna Gable Hatch
Features Editor

MEDINA — Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch has a special way to ring in the New Year — with a 2.57-carat diamond ring valued at nearly $20,000 retail.
     The sparkling gem is a gift to the ranch from Brownsville resident Linda Forse, an animal lover-rescuer and supporter of the nonprofit, no-kill animal sanctuary. The ring will be sold through Fitch Estate Sales to raise funds for the ranch. 
     Offers will be accepted through midnight Dec. 31 and will be sold to the highest offer. 
     A reserve price of $7,500 has been set. 
     “I’ve been to the ranch a few times, and I’ve made donations over the years, but I want to make a real a difference, and the dollar value of the ring will be, hopefully, enough to see the ranch through hard times,” said Forse, who rescues greyhounds. “Cousin Nancy and Tony are so dedicated and two of the nicest people you’d ever meet. What they do for the animals is what we all should be doing for humanity: Good hearts in the right places.”
     Cousin Nancy and Tony are Nancy Parker-Simons and her husband, Tony Simons, who founded Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch with their longtime friend, Kinky Friedman, in 1998.
     The five-acre sanctuary is tucked inside the 365-acre Echo Hill Ranch in Medina that has been in the Friedman family for more than 60 years.
     Throughout the years, the rescue ranch has provided sanctuary to thousands of animals, including dogs, cats, pigs, goats, horses, donkeys and turkeys — many of which would have been forgotten and euthanized. They’ve also found loving homes for countless animals.
     Friedman said the ring was unexpected and “very much appreciated.”
     Proceeds will be used to fund ongoing veterinary care and feed the animals. 
     “Cousin Nancy and Tony will be fed, too,” Friedman quipped. “Those two are our only staff, and they are paid a very nominal salary. Cousin Nancy and Tony have devoted their lives to this peaceful kingdom and happy orphanage, and Utopia couldn’t exist without them. Everybody else who helps out are probably the best set of volunteers in the world, along with the Salvation Army, which may be the greatest army in the world.”
     Parker-Simons said the ranch spends about $400 a month on dog food, “and our veterinary care, even with big discounts, fluctuates from month to month, because every dog that we rescue gets spayed or neutered, given all shots and treated for any ailments.”
     Last month, Parker-Simons received a call about a young female Labrador without tags that had limped onto the caller’s property.
     “He thought the dog had been hit by a car, because she didn’t walk right. He said he could not afford to keep her, because he is losing his battle with cancer,” she said. “The story pulled at my heartstrings.”
     The injured animal, which Parker-Simons had dubbed Bonnie Raitt, was taken to Hoegemeyer Animal Clinic, which works with the rescue ranch to provide affordable veterinary care.
     “The next morning, a vet from the clinic told me that Bonnie had a fractured pelvis and she needed surgery on both hips. In addition, both of her back legs had torn ACL’s needing surgery, too — and the surgeries would cost in the thousands of dollars.”
     With limited funds, Parker-Simons arranged to pay the fee over time.
     “Bonnie has had her first side done, and the surgery was successful on her hip and ACL.”
The dog will recuperate for another month or so and then have the additional surgery. 
     “Bonnie Raitt’s rescue is the most expensive dog rescue that we’ve had in over 16 years of rescuing animals,” Parker-Simons said. “Every time that we rescue a dog, we seldom know in advance what the veterinary cost will be, so we are very grateful that this beautiful ring has been donated to us, because it will certainly help us pay the bills, continue rescuing and help us try to leave the world a better place than we found it.”

About the ring
     The ring was purchased in November 1965 by Forse’s grandfather, David Forse, for his wife, Francis. In its original setting, the ring held a 2.57 carat diamond and an equally large sapphire.
     “My grandparents spent winters in Miami Beach, and Pop was in a jewelry store, and he wanted to buy something for his and Mimi’s 50th anniversary,” Forse said. “As the story goes, Sammy Davis Jr. was also in the store at the time, and he wanted to buy the same ring for his wife, May Britt, a Swedish movie star, because it was their fifth anniversary. Pop and Sammy Davis each said they saw the ring first, so there was some back-and-forth. The jeweler intervened and decided that 50 years trumps five years, and Pop got it. He always playfully boasted about how he bested Sammy Davis Jr.”
     Francis Forse died in 1995, and the ring has been in her granddaughter’s possession since that time.
     Rachel Fitch, an antique appraiser and owner of Fitch Estate Sales, 838 Sidney Baker St., said the sapphire had been scratched and damaged over time, “but the diamond is simply gorgeous. It’s a modified shield cut diamond and is a very unusual. Everybody either gets a round diamond or an emerald-cut diamond.”
     Fitch removed the diamond from the original setting — which “though lovely, was antiquated” — and sent the diamond off to be GIA-certified.
     “It came back as a 2.57 carat, L color, VS1, which is the clarity of the diamond. VS1 is a really great clarity,” Fitch said. “The diamond has really very good symmetry. Everything you want it to have, it has.”
     Fitch is handling the sale of the ring as a holiday gift to Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, she said.
     “We’re taking written offers, and anyone who wants to see the ring in welcome to come into the store.”
     A current offer of $7,500 is on the table.
     Fitch said she has put the ring is a simple setting — which really sets off the beauty of the gem.
     “The average woman wears 1 carat or less, and this is a 2.57 carat diamond,” Fitch said. “The solitaire diamond, which is so big and looks even bigger in a simple setting, makes it a very unusual engagement ring,” Fitch said. “If you were to go to a big box jewelry store, they would have this ring at $19,000 or $20,000, because that’s what retail is. But the sale of this particular ring is for a good cause — all the proceeds benefit animal rescue — so whoever purchases this particular ring is getting so much more in the bargain. And did I mention it’s tax deductible?”
     The fact that it’s a shield cut diamond — which looks like a Super Man shield — is the perfect way to say “You are the protector of my heart,” Fitch said. “If you factor in that the basis for selling the ring in the first place is to help protect animals, the ring is even more beautiful than its combined cut, clarity and carats. This is a very special ring, and whoever gets it will be getting a remarkable deal.”
     Forse said her grandmother would be pleased.
     “I have no doubt that my grandmother, who was an animal lover, would love that this is going to a good cause,” Forse said. “It’s absolutely the right thing to do. I’m sure I’ll have a dream one night, and Mimi will come to me and say ‘Good job, Linda.’

Above: Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch recently acquired Bonnie Raitt, a stray Labrador pup that was seriously injured. Proceeds from the sale ofthe ring will be used for the dog’s surgery expenses, as well as to fund other needs at the no-kill animal sanctuary.

Above right: In this photo circa 1950 aboard the R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth, David Forse, left, sits with his wife, Francis, and two unidentified friends. The 2.57-carat diamond from a ring given to
Francis by her husband in honor of their 50th wedding anniversary has been donated by their granddaughter, Linda Forse, to Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch.

Sammy Davis Jr. wed Swedish actress Britt May in November1960. Five years later, he visited a Miami Beach jeweler in search of an anniversary ring for his wife. The diamond from that ring has been donated to Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch and will be sold to the highest offer.

What: Fundraiser for Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch

Details: Proceeds from the sale of a 2.57-carat diamond ring will benefit Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, the nonprofit, no-kill animal sanctuary. Written offers will be accepted through midnight Dec. 31. The ring will be sold to the highest offer. Offers also will be accepted at the Kinky Friedman and Friends New Year’s event at The Hunt Store
Info: For more information, stop by Fitch Estate Sales at 838 Sidney Baker St., or call 257-8482


Then Donna wrote this fabulous article, in the paper today about spending New Year's Eve with Kinky & Friends, at The Hunt Store!

Kinky Friedman Headlines New Year's Eve Event

Event at The Hunt Store features Chet O’Keefe, LittleJewford, Sean Rima and Gordon ‘Big G’ Ames

By Donna Gable Hatch

Features Editor

HUNT — The inimitable Kinky Friedman headlines a cavalcade of music, humor, poetry and more at a New Year’s Eve extravaganza at The Hunt Store, 1634 Texas 39.
Joining Friedman on stage are singer-songwriter Chet O’Keefe, Texas outlaw poet Sean Rima and Friedman’s longtime friend Jeff Shelby, aka Little Jewford, an accomplished concert pianist and comedian who has been described as “a Liberace and Victor Borge cocktail, with a twist of the Marx Brothers”
Radio host Gordon “Big G” Ames of radio station KERV-AM 1230 — who is nominated for a 2015 Ameripolitan Music Awards DJ of the Year award — serves as the evening’s host.
“It’s my job to keep these idiots in line,” Ames joked.
The dinner concert, which is from 6 to 9:30 p.m., includes a buffet created especially for the event by The Hunt Store’s Chef Blas Gonzales, formerly of the Antler Grill. 
The menu includes hors d’oeuvres, such as chicken-fried axis tenders and chicken empanadas, wild game, beef, fish and poultry served with starches, vegetables and desserts.
The dinner show will be followed by a late show on the patio featuring entertainment by Josh Murley and Someone Like You — which includes drummer-keyboardist Patrick McCorkindale and bassist Mark Auld — from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on the patio and includes a champagne toast and midnight brunch by Chef Blas.
“The format for the night is to offer an early dinner show for those that want a nice dinner and entertainment, but may want to be home early and a Late show for those that want to party through midnight and ring in new year with a bang,” said John Dunn, owner of The Hunt Store.
Tickets to the dinner show plus late show are $100 per person. Tickets to the late show-only are $35 per person, Dunn said.

A night of stars
Friedman, who has been called “the Frank Zappa of country music,” is renowned for his satirical country songs. His latest CD, titled “Bi-Polar Tour Live From Woodstock,” kicked off his Bi-Polar World Tour, with dates throughout Scandinavia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium/Holland, Austria and Switzerland.
“I’ll singing, schmoosing and will sign anything except bad legislation,” said Friedman, a best-selling author, humorist, cigar and tequila mogul, sometime politico and animal rescuer. “We’ll have all kinds of things to sign: CDs, books, you name it, including the 997th reprint of ‘Heroes of a Texas Childhood’ with an new cover illustrated by the artist Copper Love — a Hill Country sky with a comet, which is just lovely. 
“Little Jewford — who’s a Jew and owns a Ford — will do his piano stylings of Scott Joplin’s ‘Maple Leaf Rag,’ and he does it as good as anybody since Scott Joplin, another Texan, and that’s been a while,” Friedman said. “The entertainment will be at least as good as the food, and that will be fantastic.”
Originally from the Northwest, O’Keefe — who won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Song of the Year Award in 2010 — will combine a bit of storytelling with a mix of his brand of acoustic folk, western and jazzy-bluesy music.
O’Keefe spent nine years in Nashville, followed by a short stint in Dallas, and lived for three years in Northern Washington. He has performed with the legendary Bo Diddley, has opened for Nancy Griffith on her tour in Ireland and has toured several times with Friedman.
“Kinky and I have performed together in the past — I’d do my opening set, and he’d do his performance — and it’s always been a lot of fun,” O’Keefe said. “I’ll do some of my old stuff and some new songs — all songs that fit the occasion and are celebratory in nature. I’ve performed once with Little Jewford, and he’s seriously funny. He’s a brilliant pianist, and he tells jokes and does song parodies that are just hysterical. I’ve never performed with Sean, but we hang out a lot, and I know his work, which is not to be missed.”
Rima, a cosmic philosopher and San Antonio-based talk show host, said he’s written a special poem for the evening.
“I’m keeping my theme to the holidays and New Year’s. I try to go funny first and philosophy second,” said Rima, whose “Wild West Show: Selected Poems” is a funny, gritty collection of poems spanning the years 2001-14. “Usually, there’s a few laughs with my poems, but I’m editing the set, so it’s more of a PG-rating of my work. I’m really looking forward to the event.”
Rima said he and Friedman met and became friends through their shared love of writing — and the provocative and politically incorrect satirist has become fodder for Rima’s poems. 
“He’s such an interesting dude. I’ve written a whole series of poems about what it’s like hanging out with him, and I’ll probably read a few of those,” Rima said. 
“Kinky’s idea for the New Year’s eve concert is just a flowing evening of entertainment, and that’s what it will be — just a whole lotta fun and laughs. How can anything be better than that?”

Singer-songwriter Chet O’Keefe, who has toured with humorist and country music singer Kinky Friedman throughout Sweden and Norway, joins him on stage New Year’s Eve at The Hunt Store.

Jeff Shelby, aka Little Jewford, is an accomplished concert pianist and comedian who performs everything from piano rags, classical favorites, all delivered with wit and quips.


                                                Sean Rima                          Big G

What: New Year’s Eve bash at The Hunt Store
When: 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Dec. 31
Where:  The Hunt Store, 1634 Texas 39
Details: There are two New Year’s Eve shows at the venue. The dinner show, which features Kinky Friedman, Chet O’Keefe, Little Jewford and Sean Rima with radio host Gordon “Big G” Ames. The event includes a full dinner featuring wild game, beef, fish and poultry served with starches, vegetables and desserts. A late show, which features entertainment by Josh Murley and Someone Like You, follows from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on the patio and includes a midnight brunch
Tickets: $100 per person for the dinner and late shows, but tickets for the late show only also are available for $35 per person
Info: Visit or call 830-238-4410

And that's about it for today. 

Y'all have a great evening!