Murdo Girl…Rolling out Mo’Q and Ch’kip

I want you to know that I take my job as the self-appointed tiny home queen of Mabank, TX very seriously. It’s mucho work, but the pilot we are taping will surely win us that coveted slot on HGTV soon to be vacated by Chip and Jo.

Ch’kip and Mo’Q are destined to be the next HGTV sensations. We will make it happen or I don’t have a big crown on my head. What time is their show on, anyway? I hope it’s over by nine.  wp-1516069031518.jpg

I’ve started to emulate Jo on “Fixer Upper.” Our tiny home is not a fixer upper, but Ch’kip is. We will have to study and shop and be very creative. I will have people make things for me like Jo does.

We won’t do one thing I’ve noticed the Gaines do. They tell people it’s going to cost them $150,235.24, which is always right at the top of the budget. Then a few days later, they say, “Uh oh, we ran into wood rot so you’ll have to cough up another three grand.” The people can’t complain, because they’re on TV. We’ll just dry it out with a fan and burn a candle to get rid of the musty smell.

We’re in the process of readying our tiny Camelot for the viewing, unveiling, or whatever you call it. I worked all day on my sketches, so I hope you’ll appreciate them…a lot.

Back of house


Facing street

Here, I fooled around with some different ideas…We were going to use re-purposed pantyhose to make the rug, but the hose wouldn’t take the dye, so we just bought the rug at Target. I might take it back and try weaving a rug from colorful tights. Now that winter is almost over, I can probably get some on sale. I can re-purpose the rug next fall by taking it apart and wearing the tights.

To give it that 70’s look, I brought out an ashtray.

This is a bathroom. It doesn’t really look much like ours, but I was trying to decide on a stack-able washer and dryer. This set is on sale through tomorrow. This isn’t where it goes.


Full disclosure, here. None of these pictures are of our tiny house. This is a model home we spotted that looks a little bit like our house will when it’s built. The outside is pretty similar except the steps to the deck are on the short side which will be the front of the house. That 2 x 4 has to go. Ch’kip might be able to whittle something out of it…possibly a set of venetian blinds. 

We don’t have anything on the walls yet, but we have thirty minutes before the showing, right Ch’kip? 

This is too much! Wake me when it’s over…Moke, or Joke, or, Mo’Q… (MoQueen?) Whatever you call yourself…


Murdo Girl…Snap the picture, tell the story

Thornton-Pickard was established in 1888 in Manchester. After the death of one of the owners, and the resignation of another, the company ceased to exist in 1939.


(Found..the lens and the maker)

Thornton Pickard MCC No.6 Projector with brass lens ‘The Hatton’, fitted for an electric lamp..

I saw her at the depot and photographed her without her knowledge. As I looked at her lovely countenance, I tried to imagine why she traveled here. She was impeccably dressed and seemed so full of self assurance. I would guess she was highly intelligent and her life must be, or must have been, a big life. This kind of woman had family and friends who adored her. Did she arrive alone?

Content Abbie Bottom-001I was orphaned at the age of eleven. My mother and my father, a physician, died from a terrible illness. It was an epidemic that overcame so many. In some cases, entire families died. I was destined to live and I intended to lead a life I could be proud of.

I didn’t come here alone. I arrived with my husband. He was a handsome young man who was in the business of owning and operating hardware stores.

My granddaughter wrote this poem about my life here. Little did I know that some of my best years would be lived above the Murdo Depot. I raised my family there.

Constance Francis Bowers

She lived before me, her years were few, this woman who I never knew.

I didn’t know her, but knew of her, Constance was my father’s mother.

I’ve seen her pictures from way back then, and letters that she sometimes penned.

Her husband died and went to heaven. My Father William was only seven.

Son Charles was two, John only ten. These boys were hers alone to tend.

She owned a hardware store in Murdo, and tried her best to make it go.

No time to grieve, she worked long hours. Then Constance Francis wed William Bowers.

Bill Bowers was 55 and Connie was 38 when they married.

William had lost his children’s mother, and until Connie, had loved no other.

By all accounts they got along. Their’s was a union described as strong.

Dad Bowers and Connie, six kids in tow, lived fifteen years above the Depot.


The Murdo Depot

Life was good, but there were fears, for these were the depression years.

The small rooms above the railroad station, had no plumbing for the duration.

The heat was from two old coal stoves. They carried water to wash their clothes.

The years went by, the children grew, and then they were faced with World War II.

Most of the six stayed way out west, after the war, they thought it best.

Charles the youngest, Connie’s pride, got a furlough when Dad Bowers died.

It was 1943, it seemed California was the place to be.

In 46, after the war, Connie sold Francis hardware store.

To California she made her way, where son Charles attended UCLA

She made a home for Charles and his friends, but far too soon her story ends

She made plans for a trip to Murdo, but became too ill and couldn’t go.

1948 was the year she died. Her son Charles was by her side.

She died at the age of fifty-nine. I am one of her family, and she was one of mine.

Connie Bowers and little Billy
Connie Bowers with Billy Francis


Bill Francis, an Army Engineer, later chose a plumbing career.

He married Loretta  and settled down, they raised two children in their hometown.

John stayed out west on a whim and Margaret left teaching in Murdo to marry him. 

John chose teaching as his career path; moved to Pasadena, and taught High School Math.

Bob, Bev, and Margarete, were the nicest people you could ever meet.

In California they made good lives. Happy to be where winter never arrives. 

Charles married Barbara and moved to New York. The depression was over. He would eat no more salt pork. Yes, Chuck, the youngest of all, had an amazing career and raised Abby and Paul.


All of us are God’s creations. Our families span the generations.

 Some come to us by birth, others arrive magically. Some carry our blood or bring us life after tragedy. Yes, remember them well right from the start and let them live forever, deep in your heart.


Murdo Girl…Soup for breakfast

I don’t really like soup, but these past few days, soup has been the only thing that likes me. Actually, it only started liking me a little bit, yesterday. I don’t remember ever being so sick.

Mom, and many others, used to say, “Your health is your wealth.” She also said, “Truer words were never spoken.” Both phrases are quite accurate. I would rather feel good than have a million dollars. I have a new compassion for people who suffer from chronic health issues. This is a stand alone statement.

Don’t abuse your body.

Enough things can go wrong with the human anatomy without our help. I have always been sort of an all or nothing kind of person. I either fiercely adhere to healthy eating and exercise or go full bore into slothfulness and gluttony. In the last few years, I have spent more time in the later category.

I’m not fat! I just have short legs…

Dollie has promised to help me with this blog. She convinced me I must let Murdo Girl’s friends know why she hasn’t written anything lately.

I must try to fuel myself with soup. I asked Kip to stop by the store and bring me some cans of soup. He brought me, Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Celery, and Broccoli and Cheese. I have only eaten the first two in a casserole or baked with chicken, but I’ll give them a try.

I want to feel good again!!! I want to continue looking through my discoveries and writing their stories. I want to live to see clear, sunny skies. I want to experience scents other than musty. I want to wear shoes instead of rubber boots.

I want to feel like doing things. I can take better care of myself without being a fanatic. I want to find a way to download Pearl’s emotes.

IAE like

You’re getting off topic, MG


Nonsense! Her topic was boring
Make Pearl go away, MG…
Pearl does not go away

Never try to compete with Pearl, Dollie girl!!

Okay…maybe I’m delirious…I think I’ll try to eat some cream of something.





Murdo Girl…My favorite kind of adventure

You will be informed of our tiny home adventure in it’s entirety. We have come a long way, and we’ve learned so much. The house has been ordered and will be built in the tiny home factory near Athens. We thought long and hard about all of our choices from colors to where our new abode will sit on our lot. We have sorted, stacked, rearranged, sold, given things away, and in the midst of it all, become a little confused about what we have and what we will need. It doesn’t matter at the moment, anyway, because we are sidelined by a tsunami.


For over a week, I have worn nothing on my feet but the Bit and Bridle water boots I bought at the Goodwill Store in Rapid City last summer. Kip decided they make a lot of sense and since the forecast is for at least five more days of solid rain, he found a pair for himself at Tractor Supply. The same place he purchased his raincoat last year.

As the title of this blog suggests, I have uncovered an interim adventure. I wasn’t quite ready to let you in on it as I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to proceed with unveiling my finds. If I seem a little secretive at first, please bear with me. There is a good reason why I can’t give you a lot of details up front. Trust me…I think the full story will be worth your wait, and should be fun for all of us. The most important thing you should know today is…This has nothing to do with thrift store shopping or tiny homes, or Murdo. (Except, all those things are my points of reference.) I might need your help.

If I have already mentioned anything to you about this adventure, please keep it to yourself for now, as I have changed my mind about telling anyone.


This recently came into my possession. It’s some type of camera. I can’t find anything that looks exactly like it. I can only find information about cameras with one or two of the same features. It could be an antique, or it could be something someone made, either recently, or a long time ago.

Below is an ebony vintage, large format 4 x 5 camera with a Schneider lens. The base and the accordion part look similar. I don’t see a lens on the one I photographed. Maybe it’s missing, or I just haven’t found it. Maybe it isn’t supposed to have one.


Antique half plate camera…no lens.


I don’t have knowledge of old cameras and therefore haven’t identified the parts you see in the photograph. I will just have to reach back in time and find the answers.



A Young Man’s Dream

No one knows me here. If others have noticed me at all, they wouldn’t mistake me for a wealthy cattleman, or a cowboy, but they would assume I am in the cattle business. I’m alone and in no hurry to leave. Why else would a man of modest means stay at an old hotel near the train depot in a cow town, if not to make a cattle related living.

In truth, I have been watching and waiting. I have at long last mastered my craft and through patience and perseverance, I have accumulated the magnificent tools I need to fulfill my dream. Everything is coming together. I intend to record a very big piece of history. There is no longer anything to distract me from my work.

The railroad that passes through this magic city brings trainload after trainload of Texas Steers to graze on the Dakota grass. But it’s not the cattle that fascinate me, it’s the people.


Why do they come? I wonder this as I watch them get off the train, one by one. What kind of life are they looking for, here?






Murdo Girl…Taking some time out

It’s late…11:45 p.m. to be exact. I want to write a blog, but I don’t know if I should stay up any later. What do you think? I would have started earlier, but we went to a birthday dinner for our daughter, Heidi. It was an important birthday, too. A real big one. I don’t recall her age, but she looks great. She belongs to our two grown grandchildren, Mike and Nikki who belong to our three great grandchildren…Skyler, Ryan and Griffin, who was not present nor did he bring his parents tonight.

Our grandsons, Seamus and Hudson, brought their parents…our daughter, Heather, and her husband, Scott.

What could be better than dinner at a great Mexican restaurant, followed by Neapolitan cake, and fun with the grandkids?

Heidi is my hero.

“Yay,” Ryan says. “Here comes the cake. Mommy and Daddy, Nikki and Justin, look so cute!”

Happy Birthday, Heidi!! We love you!! 

“Every party’s got a pooper that’s what we invited you for….party pooper!”

“Goodnight, Brad”…”Skyler, you better take Papa home.”


It’s been so rainy and dreary and it doesn’t look like that is going to turn around in the near future. We needed rain. We now have enough. Not much can happen to further the tiny house project as long as it continues to rain, even though I have dubbed it the “Tiny Ark.”

I shouldn’t complain. I have plenty of things to keep me busy. I have never had a problem entertaining myself. I can always look at funny pictures.28056348_420115181775811_5608009109442485369_n

I could think about my favorite childhood memories. I still have some old pictures to sort through…



If your crown has become askew

Maybe you should think about what you do!

Until you learn to play fair…

You’ll spend some time in the TIME OUT CHAIR!

I remember the day well. I became angry when my cousin, Andrea came over to help Mom clean the basement. I wanted her to play with me, instead. I mistakenly hit her across the shins with my baton. It didn’t end well for little MG.


Well, enough reminiscing. It’s time for me to hightail it to bed. I have to get up early tomorrow and walk the dogs in the rain. They’re going to hate it.



Murdo Girl…Do the crown rap

The following is a never before told story….followed by a first run rap🤔

Lav and I were commenting back and forth on yesterday’s blog about crowns and hats. As far as I’m concerned, Her Highness, Queen Elizabeth made it possible for all persons of royalty to, on occassion, replace the pomp and circumstance of a bejeweled crown with the class and dignity of the perfectly styled hat. Queen E is no less the Queen in the exquisite hat designed for whatever “duty calls” appearance, she graces with her magistracy… then she is in the full regalia she dons for the occassions requiring more elegance and perhaps regal distinction from her beloved commoners.

Anyway, I have crowns and what I call crown-hats. I have never before told you the back story to my royal connections. You know my mother was the Queen of Highway 16 when she was eighteen. She didn’t wear a crown. She wore a crown-hat. Her Palace was the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. She looked the part of royalty through and through.

My story is more of a Cinderella story. It all began when I was seven. Kitty Reynolds, who was the most sought after seamstress in Murdo, called my mother with some exciting news. Her granddaughter, Judy, was getting married in Vernal, Utah and I was chosen to be the flower girl. Kitty was going to immediately fit me with a beautiful yellow gown and we were going to buy me some white patent leather shoes. Best of all, Kitty was going to make me a beautiful hat. One fitting for a beautiful southern belle. It was to be my first crown-hat.

It really pains me to tell you about the ugly twist this story took. Something came up and Mom and I weren’t going to be able to make it. I was appropriately devastated. I don’t think I have ever fully recovered. Well, not quite, but you will have to agree it’s not from lack of trying. The only thing that stopped the tears, was Mom told me I could wear my white patent leather shoes anytime I wanted to. I put them on and ran across Tuffy Gilbert’s yard and across Main Street to Sandra Meyer’s house. (I was so besott, I doubt I had the presence of mind to look both ways.) I proceeded to show my shoes off to Sandra’s whole family. I wasn’t able to come forth with the knowledge that I was not going to be the princess at the wedding. I just couldn’t stop Sandra’s family, which happened to include my 2nd grade teacher, who was also Sandra’s mother, from saying how they couldn’t wait to see the wedding pictures of me dropping flowers from my basket as the light flashed brilliantly off the shiny leather of my shoes.

Guess what happened next? The event that was so bittersweet it was just about too much for the (dying for a crown-hat) kid that was me, to take! Mom decided we could go after all. Do you want to hear the kicker? My best friend Lois Lillibridge had already been told she was to be the royal flower girl and Kitty had turned my gown into Lois Lillibridge’s gown. I went to Vernal, Utah with Kitty and Mom and Lois and her mom and her sister, Cheryl. I wore my white shoes with everything. I never took them off. I didn’t act out either. I showed what I was made of. I didn’t shed a tear as I watched Lois in my gown walk regally down the isle at the coronation…I mean wedding.

I think that is why Kitty did what she did. When we got back to Murdo, Kitty made me…yes me…the most beautiful red gown I had ever seen.

And the rest is history.

Queen Elizabeth symbolically looking at me. My cousin, Mark, to right of me, was the parade manager. He designed and made my first tinfoil crown.

Let it be known that I have a picture of all of us in Vernal for the wedding.

**I’m in my RV without full access to all of my pictures. I think I have it in one of my stories, but I won’t take the time to hunt for it now. 

As most of you know, my mom and Lav’s mom were sisters and extremely close friends, which is why Lav and I are cousins and extremely close friends. Lav fills in for Queen Elizabeth when she can’t get across the pond to some of my more pressing functions. I consider Lav, my sometimes co-queen. You are welcome, Lav, aka, Valerie.

Lav has written and performed another of her famous rockin raps.

Lav and I with Gus at a recent gathering of Murdo Elites

You knocked it out of the ballpark again, Lav.

This video doesn’t exist

Patti helped me with my second tinfoil crown for the 2016 reunion parade

Murdo Girl…Put on your crown-hat baby

I was quite fascinated by the collection of hats Lady Jules posted to my Facebook page today. Murdo Girl has often referred to crowns and hats as crown-hats. Below are a few photos of hats or pictures with someone in them wearing a hat, or a neck-brace, or in some cases, a crown…unless the photo is of a cat. All of the photos in this lengthy display were at one time or another featured in a Murdo Girl blog. How many of you can remember them all? Some of them go way back.

(No pun intended Sherri…I was going to use this lovely crown-hat picture of  you as my featured image, but I couldn’t get the happy birthday off the picture.)


I just realized I didn’t go far enough back to get my mother’s beautiful crown-hat pictures. So many crown-hats, but so little time.

In Case you missed this fabulous display LJ posted….See below

Murdo Girl…Sick in bed

I thought I should take a few minutes and let you know why I have been missing in action for the past several days. I haven’t had the energy to pick up my cell phone, let alone type on a keyboard. I haven’t been able to say more than a couple of words without being thrown into a fit of coughing. I don’t know what hit me, but Friday night, it hit me hard.

My faithful friends and guardians.

Thankfully, my doctor has office hours on Saturdays. I was able to get in and get started on Tamiflu, an antibiotic, and a decongestant. I tested negative for flu, but I was told it sometimes doesn’t show positive in the early stages. I also think my friend, Pat is right. The harsh chemicals I was using to clean, aggravated everything.

I feel much better today, so I’m going over to the small house and help Kip finish up. Calcium, Lime, and Rust are safe from me today. Formula 409 will work just fine.

I am so thankful we were able to move into our cozy motor home. The dogs and I got caught up on a lot of sleep. The cat took some pretty long cat naps too.

I’m under there somewhere.

I’m also very thankful the nice couple who bought our house have been understanding. Today should so it!

No more running on fumes.

Murdo Girl…Just don’t call her “fastidious.”

Today is moving out day. We just rented our third storage unit and we still haven’t loaded up the work benches and tools in the garage…and the riding lawn mower… and the other mower in the shed… and the outdoor grill.

Thank the Lord for the grandson of some friends. He has a strong, young, back and helped Kip move all the big stuff from the inside of the small house.

We sold a lot of furniture! How did we end up with so much to move? Don’t we know what we’re doing? Please don’t answer that. The important thing now, is I’m cleaning. 

The first room to be cleaned was my photographing fashion studio. This is my good-bye.

I used to be a fastidious housekeeper, but my kids and Kip don’t remember all of my Cinderella years. 

This is the spare bedroom-slash-office where many of my stories were written. I loved this room. Remember the mirror that hung right here.on the wall? Iooks so bare now.

The moment I realized my family couldn’t recall my selfless gift to them, I stopped being fastidious, which means fast and idiot. It’s not something one should strive to emulate.

I scrubbed every inch of my former photographic studio and do you know what Kip is going to say?

“Did you use CLR?”

To Kip, CLR is the housecleaning answer no matter what the question is. When he says that…here is how I respond. 

I hold up my bottle of CLR and say, “I can’t believe it took this much CLR to get rid of all the calcium, lime and rust in this house. I need to get some more…bye.”

Nobody with an ounce of sense lets a willing worker leave the premises. They might take a side trip and then you have to decide if they were on the clock. 

That is a no brainer. You cannot clean effectively without CLR. Travel time is reimbursed.

So how do three storage units transfer to one tiny ark?

Could it be the tiny ark will sit next to a recreational vehicle with it’s own port? It might even have an attached garage.

It’s okay, Kip…it’s progress not perfection, right? I see a lot of CLR in your future. I’ll go to the store and get you some.

This is inside Recreational Resort Cottage’s factory. We sealed the deal yesterday and they took us back to the factory to see the progress of the model we saw on Monday.

They said our new home will be ready the middle of March.

Our siding will be horizontal. It’s hardy board which is easy to maintain and equals brick in the eyes of insurance companies.

Another great friend spent the day at our house transfering everything on Kip’s pc to his new laptop, and then deleted everything from the pc. It’s an all day task, but a laptop is tinier than a pc and therefore a must for tiny home dwellers.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling meaner than a junkyard dog. I was feeling overwhelmed and unsure of our decision to embrace this plan. Later, I joined some friends for a fun lunch and suddenly nothing was such a big deal.

Life is better than good! It’s great!!

Murdo girl…Get the App

I’m on my way to Pearl’s house to pick up Pearl the dog and take her to The Busy Nest. I think it’s going to be super busy today. Pearl finally perfected her formula for the Elixerfixer supplement. It’s made with the juice of important apples from Kennebec. Personally, I think Pearl got important apples from Kennebec to irk the Murdo druggist. He got sideways with her and that was that! She told him she was about to pay him a rather large stipend for the apples from the crab apple trees in his backyard. She changed her mind when he was snooty to her.

Pearl rubbed more salt in the druggist’s wound. She made it a big deal that the very best crab apples were used in her Elixerfixer supplement called “Get the App,” and she had to go clear to Kennebec to get them. She put a big ol’ sign on Kennebec’s water tower and outside of town. She put an ad in the newspaper too. Pearl is plastered everywhere…


Ad in Thursday’s Murdo Coyote:

Get the App and you Kengobak …made with just the right amount of apple juice from apples imported from Kennebec and Pearl’s special formula. Put the you back in youthful. Get the App today. Sold at fine stores everywhere in Murdo.

Well we aren’t there yet, but we almost are.


“Hi Pearl, Hi Grace, we’re here, are you?”

I couldn’t believe it. I was met with silence. Pearl the dog whined. All I could hear was the ticking of the clock on the wall. I walked into the main part of the Nest and it was dark. No lights, no Pearl, and no Grace. What surprised me the most, was there weren’t any people in line to “Get the App.” The Busy Nest was an empty nest.

All of the red bottles in the shape of an apple were sitting on the counter waiting for people who wanted to put you back in youthful. Pearl was charging $2.99 plus tax, Maybe that was too rich for Murdo’s blood.

I had no idea what I should do…so I just sat there. Pearl the dog and I waited for what seemed like forever. I was reading a stack of Dear Grace letters when I saw Pearl and Grace come through the door… and then I saw what I knew would probably change my life forever. I felt the youth go right out of my youthful.

So this was Pearl’s niece… twice removed. I would have been happy with once removed as long as it was from here.

wp-1518581035092.jpgPearl the dog whimpered and ran under the table. Pearl and Grace were “Oh, mying” all over the place. Grace ran to get junior a chair. Pearl grabbed her camera and started taking pictures of the strange looking kid.

Pearl finally looked my way. “Essie…I know we’re late, but we had to run to the train depot and fetch my niece. I thought we would be back before it was time to open, but the train was delayed. Please come and introduce yourself, dear.”

I got up and took a few steps in her direction. Pearl the dog stayed under the table.

“My name is Ellie,” I said. “What’s yours?”

The pint-sized Pearl looked me over before she spoke.

“Hm…If your name is Ellie, why did my Aunt Pearl call you, Essie?”

Before I could answer, she said, “My name is Elsie.”


Pearl the dog is a real good judge of character