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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Old Cemeteries

Well, I seem to have a fascination for odd things, among them is a fascination for old cemeteries.  I love walking through old cemeteries and  searching for pieces to my big genealogy puzzle.  Recently I traipsed through one of the oldest cemeteries in Mountain City.  While I did not find anything that fit into my "genealogy puzzle"  I did find a few interesting things.

This marker did not note the date of birth or death and I have no idea who W.E.M. Roberts is.  I searched for the census records but there was no mention of him.  I did find the history of the 2nd W VA Calvary very interesting.

The 2nd West Virginia Volunteer Cavalry Regiment was a cavalry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. The 2nd West Virginia Cavalry was organized at Parkersburg in western Virginia between September and November 1861. The regiment was composed almost entirely of volunteers from Ohio, with 9 companies organized from the counties of Lawrence, Meigs, Jackson, Vinton, Washington and Morgan. The regiment participated in the Grand Review of the Armies and was mustered out on June 30, 1865. Out of this unit, came 3 recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Private Joseph Kimball, of Company B, received his Medal of Honor for "capturing the flag of the 6th North Carolina Infantry" on 6 April 1865. Private Bernard Shields, of Company E, who "captured the flag of the Washington Artillery" on 8 April 1865 at Appomattox, VA. Major William Kimball whose "distinguised services in raid, where with 20 men, he charged and captured the enemy's camp, 500 strong, without the loss of man or gun" at Sinking Creek, Va on 26 November 1862. The 2nd West Virginia Cavalry suffered 4 officers and 77 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded in battle and 115 enlisted men dead from disease for a total of 196 fatalities.

Another grave marker I found very interesting was one of Matthias M. and his wife Mary Fyffe.
Matthais Miller Wagner (aka M.M. and Tice): b. February 15, 1801, in Roan Creek Valley, Johnson CO,TN, d. June 13, 1887, in Mountain City, TN, m. March 9, 1830, in Athens, McMinn CO, TN. 13. Mary Salina Fyffe: b. February 16, 1808, in Yadkin River Valley, Wilkes, CO, NC, d. November 17, 1889, in Mountain City, TN.

Mr. Wagner was a charter member ofThe First Baptist Church of Mountain City.  It is the oldest congregation in Johnson County, Tennessee.  The church was founded on April 20, 1794, at the foot of Rainbow Mountain, the left fork of Roan Creek, as the Roan Creek Church of Christwas housed in a log building. The mother congregation was the Three Forks Baptist Church, Watauga County, North Carolina.

The Church, which served as headquarters for the Confederate Army during the Civil War and on two different occasions for school purposes, has a history older than the county in which it is located.

Before the Civil War members of the Roan Creek Church moved to Taylorsville (now known as Mountain City) and built the present Baptist Church, calling it at the time Taylorsville Baptist Church. When Taylorsville became Mountain City the name of the church was changed too.

Mathias M. Wagner donated a site for the Church and also contributed to the building. On May 25, 1858 a committee comprised of David Kitzmiller, Phillip M. Kiser, and Isaac R. Wagner contracted Bartlett Wood for brick and bricklaying, and with Isaac McQueen for lumber and carpentry work. The building cost $1,240.
The Civil War brought hard times to members of the church and they were unable to finish paying for the building. On October 5, 1861 a committee comprised of John Blankenbecker, R Moore, and Moore Robinson gave the deed of trust to Bartlett Wood and Isaac McQueen to secure the balance due them for labor and material used in building the church.
An old deed shows that payments were made to McQueen as follows: A horse valued $125 and another valued at $115, paid by Mathias M.Wagner; $15 paid by David Kitzmiller and $10 paid by Abraham Johnson. The deed also showed that McQueen himself donated $10 to the debt.

A little over a year later - November 13, 1862, the church was sold a public auction to the highest bidder for the sum of $550.

The purchaser was Mathias M. Wagner. In 1885 Wagner and his wife deeded the church back to its trustees with provision "that if the said property shall cease to be used by the said church (for a reasonable time) as a place of worship, that said property shall revert to said M. M. Wagner and his heirs, free from incumbrance and this conveyance shall be null and void."

The church is still located on the same site and is a familiar landmark that marks the downtown business section of Mountain City.

While doing research on Mathias M. Wagner I found an old photo of his house.

This is a picture of Matthias Miller Wagner. It was taken in Baltimore probably between 1820 and 1840

Genealogy is a very fun and interesting hobby and I love doing the research especially when I find a challenge.  My challenge now is to find more information on Mr. Wagner and to find birth and death dates on W.E.M. Roberts.

That's it for today!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Past

Well, you hear all about Christmas being too commercialized today, the stores start putting out Christmas items in mid October. We hear projected sales of Christmas items in the millions of dollars, phrases like "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday", "Free Shipping" and 50% off sales lure last minute shoppers to many stores. Kids ask for, get and expect lots of toys and clothes.

Back when I was growing up our Christmases were a lot simpler. There was no internet and shopping was kept to a minimum. In the fall we would get the National Bellas Hess Christmas catalog and we would go through and pick all the things we would like for Santa to bring, very seldom did he oblige us though. It wasn't that we were bad, there was not enough money to buy us all a lot of presents. That didn't stop us from having a great Christmas though.

In the weeks from Thanksgiving to Christmas we would always have play practice at church for the Christmas Play. I don't remember the names of any of them but there would always be angels and shepherds and baby Jesus. The ladies of the church would sew costumes from whatever material they had. They fashioned angel wings from wire and net and halos from tinsel. Shepherds always got to wear someone's old bathrobe and carry a big stick. Mary was always wearing a blue dress with a white scarf on her head. The baby Jesus was a doll laying on a bed of straw in a basket. The birth of Jesus story was always recited by the children prior to the play. We would practice and practice on our verse until we had it down pat.

On Saturday before the play the adults would gather to fill treat bags for the whole church. There was always an orange or two, an apple, a couple sticks of candy, some years there might even be a banana. On Sunday night the church would be filled with people to see the Christmas play, recieve the treat sacks and pass out gifts under the tree. We always got a small gift. My earliest memory is of recieving a big package containing a doll. I remember it had a pink dress and was almost as tall as I was.

At home there was very few decorations or preparations made for Christmas until the Saturday before Christmas. We would always go traipsing thru the woods to find the perfect Christmas tree. It wouldn't be a very big tree because it sat on the table in front of the window. Sometimes we would find a cedar but most often it would be a pine. We would bring it home and stick it in an old can filled with rocks to make it stand up. If we couldn't make it stand up straight sometimes we would take an old board and nail it to the bottom and then take a string and tie it to the window.

We had one string of eight christmas lights and a box that held about a dozen christmas ornaments. we would make paper chains from construction paper we had used for projects at school. If we didn't have construction paper we would sometimes cut up a few pieces of paper we had used to do our school lessons on and then color those red and green and make chains and snowflakes. We would go out and gather holly berries and string them on a thread. If we had some popcorn we would use it and make a popcorn rope to put on the tree. After that came the tinsel. Someone gave us a box of tinsel one year aand we saved it from year to year. I liked to put it on one strand at a time but after awhile it got to be more work than fun. The star was cut out of the outside of the corn flakes box and covered with tin foil. It was the last thing to go on the tree. We thought we had the most beautiful tree with those eight little lights shining through all that tinsel.

On Christmas eve my uncle and aunt would come. He would always be dressed like Santa Claus and leave us all a gift around the tree. One year my cousin got a blue truck. We just about wore that old truck out playing with it. The living room floor sloped from one end to the other and we would sit on that truck and ride it across the floor. One year we got a viewmaster with some
reels. Another year we got a used sled. It may have been used but to us kids it was just as good as a new one.

My grandfather never had much money but one year he had a little extra and he gave all of his grandchildren a dime apiece. It may not have been much monetarily but it was a great gift from the heart.

In the kitchen my grandmother would be cooking up all kinds of good things to eat like molasses stack cakes, butterscotch pies, and big sugar cookies. On Christmas day we would all gather to have a big family dinner. It was a feast to be sure.

With all these memories of Christmas Past I have to agree Christmas is just too commercialized.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Cow Didn't Jump Over the Moon

Well, in keeping with my promise to the Writer's Group it was time to start my ten pages to be critiqued. I hope they won't be too rough on me. Maybe you won't either. I welcome your comments--good or bad---I'll take them all.

"Old Jerz"

My first experience with cows must have been when I was about four or five. We had a jersey cow which we appropriately called "Old Jerz". My grandmother did all the milking. My first job went we went to milk was holding the cow's tail to keep her tail from hitting my grandmother in the head.

One day we bought a box of oatmeal which had a little dipper in it. Actually it was a 2 cup measuring cup with a handle, but that became my milk bucket. I wanted to learn to milk so my grandfather made me a little stool and gave me that dipper. My grandmother sat on her stool on one side of the cow and I sat on the other side of the cow on my stool.

She taught me how to milk, I would milk my dipper full and pour it into her bucket. I could quit when I had milked two dippers full. For a four or five year old thats quite a long time to sit still. You had to sit still because if you moved around or pulled too hard the cow would kick and you certainly didn't want to end up with her foot in your milk bucket.

My grandmother had a stroke in December of 1955, milking was never the same after that.

Since we had no refrigerator our milk, butter and dairy products was kept in the springhouse. The springhouse was a small building which stood over a small branch from a spring. It had a wooden trough in it that the water ran through.

Once the milking was done we would take the buckets of warm milk to the house and strain them through a white flour sack similar to cheesecloth. We would then pour the milk into gallon jarsand store them in the trough in the springhouse. The water kept the milk good and cold.

The cream came to the top usually two to three inches thick. It was skimmed off to be used for making butter and put it into another jar so that we could make buttermilk. Most times we would churn once a week. So it took quite a bit of cream to make butter. We would pour the cream into a churn. and sit and churn and churn. Finally you would see bits of butter appear. These were all skimmed off and put into a bowl rinsed and salted and then put in a wooden butter press. Usually made about 3 to 4 pounds of butter and then you would also have buttermilk. There is nothing better than a good cold glass of buttermilk.

Sometimes if we had extra milk my grandmother would let it set out and clabber and make cottage cheese out of it. Cottage cheese was a great treat and nothing like you get in those little cartons at the grocery today.

That;s it for today.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Good News -- Bad News

Well, the good news is Don is doing better. He is still in ICU because he needs a heart monitor. Thanks to everyone for good well wishes and prayers.

The bad news is it looks like we will not be going to Alabama or Florida this year. Don's daughter has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease for which there is no cure. Her condition continues to deteriorate and it is not likely we will be able to make the trip.

I will share a few of my previous Alabama photos -- that will put a smile on my face!!

That's it for today.

Friday, December 2, 2011

More News

Well, after last months episode I thought we were through with doctors and hospitals but that is not the case---Don was admitted again last night--so my blogging is on hold for right now until I get back to my computer -- please keep him in your thoughts and prayers
That;s it for today

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Good Intentions!

Well, a month or two ago when I last posted I had "good intentions" of doing more blogging, however, the best intentions of mice and men---well in this case --me-- finds the time has gone and there are no posts. I have found the thoughts are in my head but they just don't jump on the paper the way I want them to or sometimes the way I think they should.

So my "good intentions" are to post more often and try to keep every one up to date on what I have been doing.

Vacation this year was planned around the "Camp With Lisa II" gathering at Carthage TN.

It was a beautiful Monday for a drive of 300 miles. From Tennessee into Virginia and onto the freeway Knoxville was looming ahead and a stop at Camping World. I was anticipating an hour or two to look around, however, that was not the was a quick in and out ...don't look, don't touch.....daylights a burnin' kind of stop.

and it was on to Cordell Hull Lake near Carthage TN.

We arrived to a great group of friends and Mac's "Wonderful, Out of This World, Lip Smackin', Sauce on Your Fingers, Three Napkin BBQ Ribs. My mouth is still drooling for just one more bite of Kathy's great salad.

Tuesday was a great day with blue skies and sunny temps. A walk about the lake proved to be just as beautiful as it was last year.

A little shopping at the local Walmart, dinner and settling back with a couple of movies-----


It started with a little indigestion, which got consistently worse, a rapidly increasing heartbeat and increase in blood pressure. After taking a couple blood pressure pills with no relief it was determined that 911 should be called. The paramedics were soon on their way and we were very quickly escorted to the hospital. I did take a minute to let Mack and Lynette know where we were going and they being the great friends that they are beat ME to the hospital.

Driving that big truck in a strange city with no clue as to where I was going (I lost the ambulance) was an experience I don't want to repeat. I ended up on a back street somewhere in the middle of Podunky Carthage but I eventually got my bearings, found the local Walmart, got directions and drove straight to the hospital. By the time I got there Don was admitted to the hospital with a heart attack and eventually was transferred to St Thomas Heart Institute in Nashville for surgery.

That ride was another "do not repeat" experience - 97 to 100 miles an hour in the front seat of an ambulance watching crazy drivers do strange things like cut in front of an ambulance when they hear lights and sirens. It gives one a whole new perspective and a silent vow to quickly pull to the side of the road and stop at the first sound of an emergency vehicle.

If you are going to have a heart attack and need surgery this is one of the best. St Thomas has recieved many accolades and honors. This information was taken from their website.

Saint Thomas Heart provides complete cardiac services, from the treatment of chest pain, to minimally invasive surgical procedures that provide quicker recoveries and fewer complications. With over 60 cardiac specialists, 25 regional sites and Tennessee's largest network of accredited Chest Pain Centers, Saint Thomas Heart offers greater access and the experience that comes with seeing more heart patients than anyone in Tennessee.

Saint Thomas Hospital has been ranked as high performing in five specialties, including cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology, geriatrics, orthopedics and pulmonology, and No. 2 in the Nashville metro area in U.S. News Media & World Report’s 2011-12 Best Hospitals list.

Cardiologists at Saint Thomas Hospital are the first in Tennessee to offer the Arctic Front® Cardiac CryoAblation Catheter system, the first and only cryoballoon in the United States indicated to treat drug refractory recurrent symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF), a serious heart rhythm disorder that affects millions of Americans.

We were treated very well but were greatly relieved when it was time to go home to the campground. Our friends Mac and Lynette were waiting outside the front door to chauffer us back to the campground. I do have to say we didn't travel as fast going back as we did getting there.

.....And another thing I have to say you can't have any better friends that Mac and Lynnette. They were there the minute we got to the hospital (well, before me) and they stayed with me until we were sure Don was going to be admitted making sure I didnt need anything. The next day together with Kathy and Chuck they came to visit bringing things they thought I would need and even loaned us two cell phone chargers to charge our cell phones while they shared one between the two of them. Many thanks to Chuck for seeing the truck got home safely and to him and Mac for stowing the awning and outside belongings so they didn't end up in the middle of the lake somewhere. When it was time to go home they were right there offering assistance.

RV'ers are some of the nicest people in the world and Mac and Lynnette are certainly two of the most wonderful RVing friends anyone could have. Many thanks to both of them and also to all our friends and families for all the phone calls, facebook messages, cards, visits, thoughts and prayers offered on Don's behalf.

Now that we were safely back at the campground it was rest and recuperation for a few days and time to be on our way home. That's it for today -- Until next time.

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's That Time Again

Well, It's that time again - a while since my last post and my Writer's Group is meeting and here I sit with nothing to show I have been doing any writing... and here's the conversation

Jenny, what have you written since we saw you last?

Well, I say "Would you believe the dog ate my homework?"

We are not buying that!, they reply.

But, I was on vacation and Don had a heart attack and we spent five days at St Thomas Heart Institute in Nashville while he had two stents in his heart.

We are very happy he is doing much better but ...........what happened to the other 25 days in October.

Hey, give me a break I am still trying to remember part two of "What I Did Last Summer"

Okay, We will give you a break but for next month we will need 10 pages of new material, no excuses and because of the Christmas Holiday we won't meet until the second of January. Will that give you enough time?

Yes, yes, and yes, I promise to have something written by then....I have this little idea rattling my little pea brain

Now if I can just enlist the help of all my blogging friends to help to keep me on track until next year.

That's it for today

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Well, I am working on Part 2 of Time Flies ---but before I get on with that -- In order to get back into the every day blog writing and keep up with my writers group here's a little in between.

As I mentioned before our writer's group is just starting and it looks like fun. It will certainly help me to keep motivated to our meeting a few days ago the moderator gave us one word and we had ten minutes to come up with a story....well my little pea brain wasn't working so well and when I got the word SCREAM I sat there dumbfounded for several minutes thinking of what I was going to write. I knew the others were writing feverishly but since I am not good at making stuff up just off the top of my head I had to come up with something and then this story my mother used to tell about my dad popped into my head.

It was in the fall after the corn had beeen cut and shocked and sat drying for awhile it was time to be shucked. Shucking meant taking the corn from the stalk and peeling back the husk using a corn shucker. Sometimes the neighbors would all get together for a day of "cornshuckin" which always was a good get together. Ladies would serve lunch and the first boy to find a red ear of corn got to kiss the prettiest girl. There was usually a "jug" hid around somewhere too.

One cool crisp night when the moon was full my dad and his brother took their lanterns and a jug of whiskey and went out to the corn patch to shuck for awhile. They were shucking and talking and drinking for quite awhile. My mother, curious as to what they were up to went out to see what was going on.

My uncle saw my mother sneaking up on them and said to my dad; "Roy, I heard this place is haunted, aren't you afraid since you moved out here". "No", says my dad. "You don't believe in boogers and haints?" my uncle asked. "Nah", says my dad, "I ain't never seen nothing I was scared of". My uncle egged him on by asking, "Well, what would you do if you saw something you couldn't explain?"

About that time my mother laid her hand on my dad's shoulder. My dad let out a SCREAM that could have been heard in the next holler."What the hell's going on here?", threw his cornshucker to parts unknown, jumped straight over the fodder shock, running for the back door of the house just as fast as his legs would carry him while my uncle and mother were doubled over laughing at him. That ended the cornshucking that night.

The next day my mother had to help finish shucking the corn and look for my dad's cornshucker. They found it the next spring when they were getting ready to plant corn again.

and that was my story using the word SCREAM!

That's it for today.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Well, after a brief hiatus from blogging (I wouldn't call eight months exactly brief) it was time to take pen in hand and try to recreate all the things that have happened since I left..........

To begin, I will say it was my writers group that has spurred my creative juices to get flowing again. They are certainly a bunch of talented writers so I figured if I wanted to keep up I better get busy.

So now we will rewind clear back to Alabama in January where I stopped blogging and I will attempt to get you caught up with all that has gone on.

Once we had been to the beach

and seen all the sights in Alabama

It was time to make our way home -- She thought she had Texas in her expectations but it was not to be. Maybe, next year, he says. So we arrived home to ----

snow - a - fallin'

and he immediately said "I wish I had followed your advice and gone to Texas!

..........and she replied, "You do have a hammer, don't you?"

Seven layers of old wallpaper removed , a few nails and some paint and that job was finished - Another plan came to mind -

A Mystery Trip

-- and we found ourselves on a yacht in the middle of North Carolina cruising up and down Lake Norman for lunch.

He: Where would you like to go next?
She: Well, I have always wanted to see the Amish Country

And Away We Go!

But first we must have a little chocolate

and a look around at the local Walmart

The Amish greeted us with full clotheslines

and the biggest buffet I have ever seen (sorry no food photo)

A quick stop at Gettysburg

and we were moving this bus on down the road

He: Now where else can we go for a little fun?
She: I am so happy you asked, there just happens to be an

RV Dreams Rally in Gatlinburg

And you'll meet the nicest people there!

He didn't have hair this long when he lived at home

The Cutest Couple


Dancing the night away

Are we having fun yet??

Stay tuned for Part Two of Having Too Much Fun!

That's it for today!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Great Sunday

Well, it was a laid back Sunday around here. We were up early and off to church. Heard another great message from God's word. After church it was off to Walmart for a few provisions. Back home for a nap and then off to the International Dinner at the that was a great meal. Some of the ladies in the park had volunteered to cook their favorite international dish, there was just about everything you could think of. For a three dollar donation you could taste anything you wanted. Proceeds from the dinner went to Escapees CARE and over $350.00 was raised. It was a good time. We were entertained by "The Chenilles", another group of ladies who love to entertain....that also was great... I don't have any photos but I "borrowed" a couple --thanks TG

After dinner we went back to evening church service, came home and called it a night.

It seems that a lot of people around here have had bouts with colds that won't go away. Here's a few old fashioned tips on how to cure the common cold.

Sometimes you manage to catch a nasty common cold. You know the kind. Your head feels as big as a foot ball, you have sniffles and sneezes, chills and sweats, a sore throat, and an annoying cough. You feel achy all over and you think you would be better off dead.
My grandmother was a midwife and believed in a lot of herbs and medicines and had a cure for everything - even the common cold. She used Mullein tea for bronchitis, a mustard plaster for congestion, or a clove or two of garlic crushed and stirred into some warm milk. Now that may not cure your cold but it will sure scare the heck out of one.
To cure the sore throat you had to gargle with salt water and she always told me "drink a little bit, it'll help". A tall glass of liniment was always in order too. That'll stop your cough. We had this couple who used to come around about once a month selling Raleigh products . There was always a bottle of this liniment in the cupboard. Any time you got sick you were made to drink this vile tasting stuff. There was two kinds of liniment "the drinking kind" and "the rubbing kind" which was used for aches and pains. It must have worked because it is still on the market today.
Camphorated salve was another cure, my grandmother would grease my chest, the bottoms of my feet, dress me in my flannel nightgown and into bed underneath the big featherbed I would go. I dont know if it was the salve, the flannel or the heat but it always cured me.
An asafaetida bag was sometimes tied around your neck to get rid of your cold....I don't know how it worked to get rid of your cold but I know you couldn't give your cold to anyone stunk so bad no one would even come close to you!!

Since Chicken Soup is the best known remedy for a cold so I thought I would share my recipe with you.

3 cups chopped cooked chicken(I use boneless skinless chicken breast)
About 3 quarts chicken stock (or chicken broth)
Salt and pepper to taste
chopped celery ( about a cup and half)
Chopped carrots (about a cup and half)
one onion chopped
clove garlic crushed

Saute the onion, garlic, celery, carrots and onion in a large pan with a little bit of oil until the vgetables are limp. Add Chicken stock, chicken, salt and pepper and noodles. Simmer 30 to 45 minutes.

Here's a little bit of humor for you.

A man went to see his doctor because he was suffering from a miserable cold. His doctor prescribed some pills, but they didn't help.
On his next visit the doctor gave him a shot, but that didn't do any good.
On his third visit the doctor told the man to go home and take a hot bath. As soon as he was finished bathing he was to throw open all the windows and stands in the draft.
"But doc," protested the patient, "if I do that, I'll get pneumonia."
"I know," said his physician. "I can cure pneumonia."

And in the words of my father, "That's it for today!"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hunkered Down and Reminiscing

Well, if you haven't noticed I am a few days behind in my today is being declared as "catch up" day. The weather has been unseasonably cold since Sunday and seems to be getting worse as the days go by. The good thing is that it will warm up someday -- hopefully by the weekend. I will give you a synopsis of the last few days.

Tuesday - a short journey to Wal Mart to buy Don a jigsaw puzzle otherwise we sat by the fire

Wednesday - Didn't venture out in the cold -- Don worked his jigsaw puzzle -- Jenny surfed the net looking for a warmer place to be---we did, however, go to Bible Study on Wednesday night. We couldn't get home quick enough---it was down in the low 20's Brrrrr!!!

Thursday was the same---An inside day -

Friday came and a little road trip - nothing spectacular but it got us out of the house. We were invited over to Pa and Ms Judy's for dessert and coffee and to meet The Guiler's, Randy and Terry. What a great evening....and how good it was to meet another couple of good friends. A wonderful dessert and coffee served by Pa and Ms Judy combined with lots of stories and loads of laughter----and no I am not repeating any conversations for fear of incrimination.

Pa and Ms Judy are planning to venture through Mountain City in the early spring. I certainly hope they don't find any signs such as this.

When we left Tennessee the weather prediction was for more snow and it seems we left just in time. In the last week the area has recieved anywhere from eight inch to two feet of snow with drifts as high as four or five feet. From all accounts we left just in time to bring the colder weather with us.

All this snow and cold brought back many memories of growing up in Johnson County and the hardships we had to endure in the winter months. We had quite the discussion of life style then compared to now. Shady Valley lies about 10 miles west of Doe Valley where I grew up.
Elevation of Doe Valley around 3515 feet and Shady Valley as you cross the mountain 3632 feet.

When we were growing up we had no electricity, running water or indoor plumbing. On cold days there were always the animals to be fed and watered, cows to be milked, and coal and wood to be gathered for heat. Since the days were a lot shorter chores were started earlier in the evening in order to be done by dark. In the evenings we would gather around the old Buckeye stove to keep warm. If we put too much wood or coal in it the stovepipe would turn red and you closed the damper to shut the draft. Schoolwork was done by kerosene lamp. Sometimes as a treat we would pop corn on the heating stove and have grape koolaid and popcorn.

Since we had no central heating system our bedrooms were ice cold so about an hour or so before bedtime we would gather up an old flat iron or two and set it on the top of the stove to get hot. Once the iron was hot and it was bedtime we would don our flannel nightgowns, wrap the iron in a towel and put it at the bottom of the bed to keep our feet warm. If the towel happened to slip off the iron and you got your foot too close you could end up with a burned foot. Didn't take you long to get your foot away from it.

Because we didn't have but three beds and six kids most times we would sleep three in a bed. The body heat kept you warm as did the five or six quilts you had piled on top of you. By the time you got down under all those covers and got "your" spot warm you coudn't move so the bed was warm until you stepped out onto the ice cold floor.

If it was snowing and the wind was blowing the snow would sometimes seep in around the single pane windows leaving a dusting on the windowsill and the bedcovers. The windows would always have a layer of ice on the inside from condensation.

Morning would always find us waking to the smell of bacon or ham frying, eggs, fresh biscuits and gravy, oatmeal, and a warm fire. After a hearty breakfast we were ready to go take care of the animals, do our chores and get ready for school. We didn't have any snow days or any way of knowing whether there would be school or not. If the bus came you went to school. If it didn't you stayed home.

The coldest temperature ever recorded in Mountain City was on December 30, 1917 when the temperature dropped to -32 below zero. I remember in 1962 there was about four foot of snow with drifts so high there was no mail delivery service for a week or so.

It was fun reminiscing and comparing temperatures in today's time to those of yesteryear and we are looking forward to warming up here real soon.

From The Plantation -- That it for today.

No note from Don - he is busy with his puzzle.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Funday Monday At The Beach

Well, after a lazy Sunday we were up bright and early and ready for a trip to Gulf Shores with "Pa" and Ms Judy to attend the monthly Gulf Posse (Escapees Chapter 26) meeting and luncheon at the Original Oyster House in Gulf Shores.

(click on any photo for a larger view)

After a short business session we feasted on a great lunch of fried flounder, crab cakes, shrimp scampi, cole slaw, hush puppies and fries. Oh, I forgot about the fried oysters---Don actually wanted to order fried oysters with two sides of fried oysters and fried oysters for dessert but we convinced him there was more fish in the ocean than oysters and he should try something different. Food here is really great!!!!!

After lunch we headed for the beach. Unfortunately the north wind was blowing hard and the waves were crashing so we didn't spend much time on the beach, nevertheless, it was very pretty and we had a great time.

Driving around Gulf Shores and Orange Beach we discovered not only were the houses built on stilts but the businesses, hotels and condominiums as well.
The sand dunes were lovely---it amazes me that such tall grass grows with all that sand blowing around.
Did I mention I like the sand dunes?
and palm trees?

These "gulls" had just flown in and were waiting for lunch. Too late "gulls" Don ate up all the oysters.

Heavy equipment sifting sand by the seashore looking for tarballs.

Wherever we are ---We take the Star

Even in cloudy, overcast, cold and windy conditions a good time is always had at the beach.
One of the places we passed was a restaurant called Lulu's owned by Lucy, the sister of Jimmy Buffet---it sits right next to the intercostal waterway and looked like an interesting place. We will put that on our "bucket list" of places to visit.

All too soon our "Free Guided Tour" was over and we were back at "The Plantation" ready to hunker down for the colder weather that is to come in the next couple days. Thanks Darrell and Judy for another day of fun!!!

From the Plantation --"That's it for today!"

Note from Don: Thanks for a wonderful tour D & J. You certainly have a knack for finding great restaurants. I can safely say I am eating my way through Alabama.