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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Head Cold

Well, I have decided that all this hype on TV about colds and the flue has given me a nasty old head cold. You know the one your head feels like mush and your nose is stuffy and then its runny and the more medicine you take the worse you feel. Well that's what I have got. Now I just teed to get rid of it and fast!!

My grandmother 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. 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.

Since my grandmother isn't here to take care of me I will load up on on all these newfangled drugs and go back to bed and hope I feel better by morning.

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."

That's it for today.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Memories

Well, tomorrow is Halloween and time for the little trick or treaters to be out and about. It seems adults and kids both get in the act anymore. There are probably more adult Halloween parties than kid's. At the workplace, employees and bosses alike get in on the act. It wasn't that way when we were growing up.

When we were growing up we lived out in the country, there was no money for costumes. Heck, I don't even remember there being costumes. There may have been a few face masks but we never had any. However, we did have a lot of fun trick or treating.

We would find us some old "garb" to wear. We never had to buy anything - all our clothes were old. Maybe we would take a pair of my Dad's overalls and be a hillbilly (not that we weren't already) or tie a shirt around a stick or something and be a hobo. Sometimes we would find the biggest dress we could find (usually one of my aunt's hand me downs) and stuff it with pillows and be an old fat lady. We would unravel a couple piece of rope for hair..we never had wigs. A big fancy hat with flowers on it was a must with this outfit. We didn't have pumpkins or fancy sacks to carry our loot. We would take an old pillowcase and that was our trick or treat sack.

My favorite memory was the year all five of us decided to dress alike. We took some soot from the stovepipe on the kitchen stove and mixed it with some of my mother's cold cream. We then painted our faces and anything else that showed with the black "goop". My dad had several pair of old brown work gloves so we borrowed those. Dressed in our"garb" and our pillowcases for the loot we were off through the neighborhood.

There was this one neighbor lady who didn't have any kids but she made the most scrumptious popcorn balls. We always loved going there because she had lots of treats for us. We all go up to the door and knock on it. She opened it and then shut it real fast, then opened it again. She yelled to her husband, "OH!! Ben, you have to see this....Look at all the cute little "darkies". She made us come inside and parade around for him and then she gave us our treats.

We continued on our way and all the neighbors thought our costumes were great but they must have thought we were pretty poor because we ended up with more candy than usual.

By the time we got home our pillowcases were stuffed but we really had a chore ahead of us before bedtime. By this time the mixture of the soot and cold cream had hardened into a cement like finish and it had to be washed off before bedtime.

Washing it off with cold water didn't work. The more you washed the more it smeared. You would get one portion of your face clean and then wash another and it would smear the clean part. This really upset my mother. Now she had to build a fire in the cookstove and go to the creek in the dark to get water and and heat it and all five of us had to have a bath and our hair washed. What a chore!! It was midnight before we ever got to bed.

You can bet that the next Halloween we did not get to dress like that. The soot never came out of her towels and washcloths and my mother never let us forget it either.

And that, my friends, is my Halloween story for today. I have another but it will have to wait until the grandkids are a little older.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Yard and Beyond

Well, the weather has not been very cooperative lately. There has not been much chance for good photo opportunities, however, I thought if I were going to get some fall pics it had better be before the snow flies. Note: There will be no beautiful scenery pics as in my Tennessee Photos.
A splash of yellow also known as Grandma's favorite flower
"The Dandy Flower"

The last Rose of summer

Would you believe this pile of leaves

All came from this little tree

Green is always good and this is "Ever Green"

Who decides when holly chnges color?

Construction in the back yard

Just over the fence

When the snow flies you will never see this mess. Who will clean up next spring?

The city fathers or who ever is in charge has decided to build a new Rite Aid Drugstore just over the fence --you would think that the superintendent or "whomever" is in charge would clean as they go --in this case - evidently not. Construction is to be completed in January. The mess will frozen and covered by snow by then. Who will clean up the unsightly mess??

That's it for today!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Wonderful Day

Well, It was a typical fall day warm and sunny. The temperature was moderate. A drive through the mountains and the backroads of Johnson County seemed a terrific way to spend such a gorgeous fall day.

Click on any photo for larger size

The mountains were splendid. From the bright yellow leaves of the birch, yellow poplar and hickory to the mountain ash, sumac, oaks, and maples that vary in shades from orange to brilliant red to brown and even purple it was a rainbow of colors.

A variety of wildflowers, Black-eyed Susans, goldenrod and asters, small shrubs, bright trees and a few cows dotted the roadsides.

An old barn full of drying tobacco caught my eye
Around every corner the beauty and splendor of the day could hardly be matched.

Watauga Lake was breathtakingly beautiful.

The top of the mountain awaits.

From the top of the mountain the scenery seemed to go on forever. I felt like I was On Top Of The World.

Beautiful days like this are like the last bite of your favorite candy ---something to be savored.

That's it for today.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chow Chow

A friend of mine sent me this recipe for Chow chow and it reminded me of my Grandma's Chow Chow. This particular recipe was found in one of the cookbooks that were the property of Faye Street and her mother Uva Robinson. I found the recipe interesting since it was written on a notepad from K.D. Madron, the former sherriff of Johnson County.

In the late summer/early fall when the cabbage heads were at their peak they all needed to be harvested. Some were made in to sour kraut. We made chow chow out of some, some went in the cellar and some were saved for the "tater hole" and we would have cabbage in the spring.

Now there is a trick to making sour kraut --if you don't do it right it will either smell, get too sour, or not sour enough or it will turn dark and soft and not even be fit for the pigs to eat. My grandmother knew exactly when to make sour kraut. She went by the signs. The signs have to be in the head and neck and it can't be on the dark of the moon. I never knew her to make a bad jar of sour kraut. It was always as pretty and white and fresh as the day it went in the jar.

Often times she would grab a few heads of cabbage, some onions and a green pepper or two from the garden and an old metal dishpan, her kraut cutter and go out to the backyard on the wash bench and start chopping the cabbage to make chow chow. She would quarter the cabbage always saving the stalk. She would trim the stalk and give it to me. I loved eating the stalk of the cabbage and I still do to this day. She would end up with a dishpan or two of chopped cabbage. She would add salt and let it sit overnight. The next day she would add her other ingredients and put it in cans and into the cellar.

Chow chow is a southern type of relish. It is traditionally served with soupbeans and cornbread as well as a condiment for your hotdogs. It is normally a sweet kind of relish but I like to add a jalepeno or two with mine.
Here is the recipe I use for making chow chow.
Southern Chow Chow
4 cups onions
2 cabbage
12 green peppers
6 red peppers
10 green tomatoes
4 hot peppers
6 cups sugar
1 tablespoon celery seed
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 cups vinegar
2 cups water
Chop onions, cabbage, peppers and tomatoes and mix together. Add 1/2 cup salt over them and let set overnight. Rinse and drain. Mix water, vinegar, sugar and spices together and bring to a boil. Pour over other ingredients and boil 5 to 8 minutes. Put in jars and seal.

The good thing about chow chow is you can eat it right away but it tastes better on a cold snowy day when there has been a pot of beans simmering on the stove all day and the smell of cornbread is fresh from the oven.
That's it for today.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Welcome New Readers

Well, I promised that I would post some more photos of my trip to Mountain City. I had such a great time and I took lots of photos. Some of my Canadian readers have trouble with the music on the web page and also when there are lot of photos posted. It does something to their bandwidth. I try not to use music (except on special occasions) or too many photos in order to make sure they can keep up with my blog.

Speaking of readers I found I have some new readers. That's great I love to hear from you!! A special "hello" to you and Welcome to Elevenfootrv. Since I have been writing for a couple years now the new readers may not know you can go back and read all the archives. Also if you like the photos and want to see them in a bigger dimension if you click on them the size will increase.

Also there are comments at the bottom where you can leave a comment...or read the ones that are there -- sometmes I get comments and sometimes I dont. You can always leave your comment under anonymous but if you think I should know who its from please leave your name.

Here's a few more pics from in and around Mountain City.

My brother Doran taking me for a tractor ride.

Jean Sue and I at Port Christopher's in Boone

A couple of my favorite ladies, Sydney and Samantha at the Quilt Show in Shady Valley
Smoke on the mountain and a beautiful church in Crandull TN

Beautiful fall trees in Crandull

Another Crandull scene

Backbone Rock in Johnson County. It's an awesome place.

That's it for today.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another Story

Well, I am still way behind in my postings but I got a request to post some of my stories again so here is a story for you today. Hope you enjoy it.

There is something about these drab gray overcast days that gets me to thinking about how it was to live when I was growing up. As I have said before we grew almost every thing we ate from the pork to vegetables, fruit, and even the grain for corn meal and sometimes flour.
In the spring, summer and fall we always had a variety of fresh vegetables but in the winter all our vegetables and fruit were either canned, smoked, pickled or dried. We always had plenty of food. We may have had to eat the same thing a few days in a row and we would get tired of it but we never went hungry.
In the kitchen we had a wood cookstove, my granddad was an early riser, he got up about 5 AM summer and winter, he would get a fire going in the "Old Buckeye" stove and then he would start a fire in the kitchen stove. My grandmother would get up and get breakfast started. First she would put on a big ol' pot of coffee. We always had some kind of pork for breakfast, sometimes it was bacon, sometimes sausage we had canned or it could be a nice big slice of ham. She made a big pan of biscuits from scratch every morning. At the end she always saved a little bit of dough to make me my own small biscuits.
She would make a big skillet of gravy with the drippings from the meat. If the meat happened to be the ham she would make red eye gravy. Red eye gravy is thinner than regular gravy and is made from the drippings to which black coffee is added. Then she would also fry up some eggs. Man, that was some good eatin'. We always had oatmeal and corn flakes and jam, jelly or apple butter.
The biscuits would be hot out of the oven and she would split my biscuit open and slather it with butter and close it so I would have a hot buttered biscuit. When it was cold she always sat my plate on the oven door so I would be warm as I ate my breakfast. If I ate at the table I stood between her and my grandfather to eat. I was allowed to have one saucer full of coffee. Sometimes I drank my sauce from her cup and sometimes from my Granddads. She drank hers with milk and he didn't. I guess that is where I learned to drink my coffee white.
As a special treat we would sometimes have pancakes, not regular pancakes but buckwheat pancakes from buckwheat we had grown. I don't remember much about the buckwheat. I just know we grew it and it was special and we kept it in the end of the meal box. Maybe my brother can refresh my memory.
She had some old cast iron griddles and she would mix up the pancakes and fry a whole stack of them. She would make her own syrup (no Mrs. Butterworth's for her). I still use the same recipe. two cups of sugar and one cup water, and a little maple flavoring, stir it until the sugar is dissolved and then a slow boil until it gets thick. Just thinking about those pancakes sets my mouth to waterin'.
Talking about all this food has made me hungry. I'm headin' for the kitchen.

That's it for today.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Winding Down

Well, I have posted Tennessee 1 and 2 of my trip only 3 more to go. I have never had jet lag but I believe it has caught up with me. Either that or my head cold is trying to get the best of me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Catching My Breath

Well, Just trying to catch my breath and letting y'all know I am still here. It has been a busy week here in Mountain City. I am a few posts behind but I will catch up sooner or later so keep checking back -- I have a ton of stories and you will hear them all right here!! Multiple posts in progress!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tennessee #2

Well, as I have said it was a busy time in Mountain City. I did get a chance to walk around town and I came up on this pretty little bench in front of the bank. It looked like a great place to "stop and sit a spell".

Ernest brought me some Paw Paws. To my recollection this is the first time I have ever seen a Paw Paw. Ernest told me they grow on a small to medium tree with drooping leaves. They bloom about April and the fruit is usually ready by September. The color is between a green and a yellow. The fruit has a different taste - I think I would prefer an apple or a pear. The seeds are shaped kinda like a lima bean.

I also got to spend some time with a couple of my best friends. All during High School Joy, Jean and I were best friends. We even went to college together then went our separate ways. This is the first time we have all been together in the same place for many years but it was great to see the two of them again. Joy stopped in Spokane to see me this summer but guess where I was --Mountain City, Tennessee!!!
I always try to spend some quality time with Jean's mother, Sue. Whenever I am at home Jean always stops what she is doing regardless of what it is and makes sure that I get to do some of the things I want and she takes time to share her mother with me. I feel very blessed to have her as my best friend. Since my mother is gone I have adopted Sue as my mother and anytime we have a chance to get together we have a Mother's Day Celebration. This time it was at Port Christopher's in Boone. Sue always has a story or two to tell me. She can tell me exactly word for word how she met her husband some 65 years ago. I have found you can never spend too much time with your friends and family. Other special friends are Duffy and his lovely wife Carnie. They own the Duffy's Country Store in Mountain City. They are truly wonderful people and always make time to visit with you even if it is only a few minutes. Here's Duffy on the Deacon's Bench!
I have other photos but I will use a separate post so that my Canadian friends don't have problems with their bandwidth.

That's it for today.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tennessee #1

Well, I am behind on a few posts. Sems like the hurrier I go the behinder I get. The last time I left you, I believe it was Jason's Birthday. He reported he had a wonderful birthday. I was so glad to see him !!

I believe I was also getting ready to leave to come to Tennessee----well I am here but my luggage is still not here. Boy do I have a beef with United Airlines. When you pay good money for a ticket and then they insist on checking your bag - AND it costs $20 right from the gitgo. They ought to be able to keep up with your baggage. What A rant I have!! and customer service is based out of "who knows where". In two days I have yet to find anyone who speaks english you can understand!! and they have NO CLUE where Mountain City Tennessee is. Of course they would probably tell me you can't get here from there!! and they have proved that by holding my bag hostage. At least I do have clean undies now but still no suitcase!!!
On another note, Coleman had a wonderful birthday last night and I have photos to post. We had birthday cake at Hardee's. About 20 people showed up for the festivities.

We also went uptown to welcome home the troops of the 776th Maintenance Company after they spent a year in Iraq. There was a real homecoming at the National Guard Armory. Flags and yellow ribbons lined Main Street in Mountain City as well as many people who all showed up for their support. Along Highway 67 as they passed through people were waving from their porches to show their support. It was a wonderful "Welcome Home" celebration. We owe these fine men and women a big Thank You for their dedication and service to our country.

I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

That's it for today.