Shop With Me

Monday, December 31, 2012

Sixth Anniversary

On the last Day of 2012

It finally hit me like a TON OF BRICKS

Yesterday was the sixth anniversary of the beginning of this blog.........
so here is what I have been up to this year.

Enjoyed a beautiful spring

Did some plowing

Admired the Dogwoods

Wrote some articles for the local newspaper


I found you can't mow grass

in a swamp!

Learned about docking sheep

Found the Easter Bunny

Spent some time with some friends

both old and new

Hung out with my favorite politician Dr. Phil Roe

Took time to smell the flowers

Celebrated my Sister's birthday

And a surprise  party for my brother Doran's 80th birthday

and another for my cousin's 90th. 
She is in the green shirt and doesn't look a day over 39....
wouldn't you agree??

Enjoyed the beautiful mountains

Hung out with some more friends

and watched the changing colors of fall

All too soon Halloween was past, Thanksgiving too,
and it was Christmas

Now, as we begin a new year I wish each and every one of you a Happy and Prosperous New Year.  Enjoy Life's Blessings!!!
That's it for today!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Challenge Day 3

Well, It was a quiet day around here today but I did get some great news!! It looks like I am going to be a published writer. A local editor contacted me to ask if I would be interested in submitting a couple of my stories for publication and I jumped at the chance.

I thought I would submit them here first to see what you think. Please feel free to leave any comments you would care too.

Aprons and Bonnets

When I think of my Grandmothers I think Aprons and Bonnets. They both wore them. The only time I remember my maternal Grandmother (Ma Swift) took off her apron was to go to bed or to go to church or when we had company. She didnt wear the full apron. She only wore a half apron which mean it tied around her waist and there was no top on it. I never remember the top of her dress being dirty though. She would make her own aprons. I suspect Ma Swift only wore the half aprons because it took only one chop sack to make an apron.

Now, before you ask chop sacks in those days were made from printed material and they held chopped up feed for the animals. After the feed was emptied she would wash up the sacks and use them to make some of our clothes.

One chop sack would make a blouse or a skirt or apron and two would make a dress. White chop sacks were used to make undergarments. She would save the scraps for her quilts.

Aprons were used for many things. When we would go to gather eggs she would gather the eggs in her apron. If we went to gather apples she would have an apron full of apples. If she went to the garden the ripe vegetables would be in her apron.

If she was stringing beans the ends and strings went in her apron before being dumped in a bucket for the hogs.

One of my favorite memories about her apron was the pocket. Her aprons always had a pocket on the outside and one on the inside. When her apron got dirty she would wear it inside out and she always had a pocket. That pocket held all of her valuables, her handkerchief, a bobby pin or two, maybe a safety pin, or a loose button. The inside pocket held another handkerchief with loose change tied into the corner. Her paper money was under her straw mattress.

Whenever I got into trouble and my mother was after me for something she would hold out her apron and say "Get under my apron tail" and then she would wrap me in her apron so I didn't get spanked.
My Granny Holloway always wore the full apron and she always wore a bonnet wherever she went. Her dresses were always long sleeved. She made all her bonnets too. I can remember her with a brown paper poke pattern and a pair of scissors cutting out a new bonnet from one of those chop sacks.

The best part about my grandmothers were they were very close friends. They spent a lot of time together and if one was picking blackberries or making apple butter or working in the garden you would find the other one there too.

They loved to make soap together. Even with an age difference of twenty years they were more like sisters than like in-laws.

And with that I will be back when I find my bonnet!

That's it for today!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Challenge -- Day 2

Well,  I woke up to pouring rain today. It did clear off for awhile but then we had tornado warnings, wind, rain and hail which has continued all evening.  It is hard to get any "git up and go" when it is pouring down the rain.  I just want to jump in the bed cover up my head and stay there until it is all over.  Unfortunately that didn't happen today.  I stayed busy but I didn't see anything in particular I did.

On a sad note tonight I lost a very dear friend who passed away early this morning.  Rest in peace Kevin Sulllivan...You will truly be missed by our RVing Family.  Condolences to Arlene, the children, grandchildren and many many friends across the USA. 

With a very very sad heart "That's it for today".

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Challenge---- Day 1

Well, the challenge is on -- It was decided at the writing club today we should write or at least try to write "something" each day and share it with the class next meeting.....sometimes all it takes is that little nudge to get started or in my case get me away from facebook, twitter, blogs, games, chats and such goings on and make myself write.... I realize I am out of the habit of writing and it takes 21 days to change a habit so this is day 1 of 21. we will see how I do.

That's it for today

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Great Day!

Well, there's not a lot of news from around here.  You know there isn't much going on when you only travel between the recliner,  the computer desk and the dinner table with the occasional visit to the doctor.

As usual, the doctor sends you for umpteen blood tests and numerous office calls before he can rewrite your medication you've been taking all along......and then.....he has the nurse call to give you the bad news ------you need one more office visit to discuss the results of his latest findings. Of course, you don't get that call until after the office has closed so you fume and fret overnight about the dire results of said tests. As you lay awake at 4 AM staring at the ceiling your imagination runs wild. You have a lot of strange, exciting and surprising thoughts. Will I even be able to make it out of the bed to go to the doctor? Do I have enough insurance to cover all the doctor visits? What will happen if he gives me really bad news? Do I need a psychatrist?

So after a sleepless night, you drag your tired and weary body out of bed with no coffee or breakfast and shuffle off to the doctor's office. The nurse greets you with a smile and a great big "Hello, and how are we feeling today? Then the doctor says "What's ailin' you? What kind of symptoms do you have?" I don't know Doc, you tell me.

"According to the tests we have run, the mice in the laboratory indicate you have too much sugar, your thyroid has quit working, your cholesterol is out of whack, you pee when you don't need to, and the neighbors tell me you are having severe bouts of gas.

Here are six prescriptions be sure to have them filled at the Stickittoyou Pharmacy. I will know if you don't when I receive my cut next month. Oh and, by the way, be sure to watch your pasta, no potatoes, no sugar, no milk products, no carbs, ......and keep an eye on your weight."

"But Doc, I have been watching it", you say, "I've got it right out here in front of me where I can watch it".

So, it's off to the pharmacy for drugs and the grocery for rabbit food and back to my recliner----

I am still green side up -- it has been a great day!!!!!

That's it for today!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Which Winter

Well, after the mild winter we have had spring seems a little ahead of itself this year.  Maybe it is due to global warming or the fact the earth got knocked off his axis by a couple of degrees.

 In the springtime here in the northeastern corner of Tennessee we see a lot of different changes in the weather. Somedays it is warm and the ground begins to thaw, then it might be so hot you think summer is upon us. The next few days we might get a cold snap with rain, snow, sleet and lots of wind. The oldtimers predicted the changing of spring by the blooming trees and the different types of winters as they called them.

After the January thaw and the groundhog has seen his shadow the ground begins to thaw a little the winters begin.

Beginning with the first few warm days as the ground begin to thaw the serviceberry (Sarvisberry) trees would be the first to bloom. This would be called Sarvis Winter and to the old timers, meant the return of the circuit riding preacher. After the long long winter the ground would be thawed enough to have funerals and bury the dead. The snow white blooms of the serviceberry trees would be used to honor the dead at the "church sarvices" Thus the name Sarvis Winter.

If there was a cold snap when the Locust trees were in bloom it would be called Locust Winter. It usually isn't very long or cold.

For example it could be snowing in the morning and record breaking temperatures by afternoon.

The next tree to bloom was the redbud. If the weather turns cold while the redbuds are in bloom it is called Redbud Winter.

Only the hardiest crops would be planted before this cold spell.

Dogwood Winter comes after a few days of warm weather and brings several days of cold, weather and the possibility of a killing frost. Planting the tender crops should wait until after the Dogwood has bloomed. Oldtimers sometimes used the blooming of the Dogwood as a sign to plant their corn.

Blackberry Winter is probably the most widely know of the winters. The oldtimers knew that the blackberry canes needed a cold snap to set the buds, so the cold snap during the blackberry blooming was called Blackberry Winter. Blackberry Winter is normally not as harsh as some of the other winters. The soil is warmer and drier now so tender crops could be planted without much danger of being frostbitten.

Linsey-Woolsey Britches Winter is the winter only the oldtimers heard about. That was back in the day when they wore homespun clothing and it was when you could shed your "long johns" for cooler, lighter clothing.

Whiporwill Winter is the last little cold snap we get after the Whipporwill has migrated north from Mexico. Its that last surge of arctic air. It's not as cold and doesn't last long or do much as much damage as some of the other winters.

After a long hard winter and spring with all the cold snaps summer can't be that far away---or can it?

That's it for today.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Brrrr! It's Cold

Well,  Yogi Berra  said,

If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else. 

A chilly 9 degrees this morning.

That's it for today!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Today Is!!

Well, how many times have we heard the phrase "Today is the first day of the rest of your life"?  It seems as we grow older the days seem to run together and soon a month or more has passed and we wonder where it went.  Such it is with blogging - if you don't stay on top of it --days, weeks and  months pass and before you know it you are way behind.  In an effort to "catch up" here are a few photos since the last time I blogged.  

Watauga Lake

A Pretty Little Creek

An Old Barn

And Another

Cold Snowy Mornings

Just one more barn

A Pretty Church on a Sunday Morning

Getting my Ducks in  A Road

These Cows are not getting a square meal

That's it For Today!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hog Jowls Black Eyed Peas Collards and Other Good Things

Well,  the new Years Day Feast is behind us and we are left with all those extra pounds we seem to find during the holidays. 

According to tradition in the South there are certain foods which are to be eaten on the first day of the year. There's hog jowls, black eyed peas, cornbread, collard greens, cabbage and all the fixin's to go along with them.  It is always a feast!!

Now for you northerners who think bacon was raised in a meat case and comes in a twelve ounce package  let me explain about hog jowls.  They're kinda like bacon except better  - they look like bacon, taste like bacon and smell like bacon except they are not bacon.  They're "hog cheeks".     No, not the part where the ham comes from - they come from the face of the hog.  They are sometimes used to season  beans and peas.  Sometimes they are sliced and fried like bacon. They can be tough so they need to be cooked a little longer than bacon.

The reason we eat hog jowls, blackeyed peas and collards is because our ancestors have eaten them since the Civil War.  Tradition states that during the Civil War when the Northerners were looting and plundering southern farms the only thing they didn't take was the hog jowls and the cow peas.  Northerners considered these animal fodder and left them alone.  That was all there was to eat and they were lucky they had that.  So today we eat them for luck just like our ancestors did.  Collards and cabbage are green and signify money  or cash.
So if you are in the South on New Years Day and get a hankerin' for some good food just drop in and we will see get some luck and money or at least a belly full.

That's it fer today!

Monday, January 2, 2012

4th Monday Writer's Group

Well, one of the goals I have set for myself this year is to be a writer and get something published -- anything!!

Tomorrow is my Writers Group Meeting and it is my turn to be critiqued.  I don't like being in the "hot seat".  I hope they will be kind.

Here is one of the stories i submitted - you see what you think....I will take all comments - good or bad -

Twice Around The Kettle - Once Across The Middle

When I was growing up the beginning of fall meant apple butter making time. We had a big copper kettle that was used for making the apple butter. A few days before the actual making began we would begin gathering apples. We had lots of apple trees but the one that made the best butter was one we called the Pound Apple Tree. It was a huge tree and always produced these huge apples. Many of them were at least a pound or so thus the name. That old tree still stands today and stil produces apples. I snapped these photos this fall some fifty years later.

It was our chore to go to gather the apples on the ground every day but when we were ready to start the butter we would take the ladder and shake the tree picking up all the apples that fell to the ground. We would have six or seven bushels of apples and then it was time to start peeling and coring. We would sit in the shade of the porch and peel and cut apples. We saved the peelings to make apple jelly and the core was thrown away. We would have a big washtub full of fruit ready for making the next day. We would then set up the kettle .

We used a metal stand with three legs to support the kettle and keep it about a foot from the fire. We had an apple butter stick that was used to stir the apples. The stick or stirrer as it was called was about 4 inches across and about as deep as the kettle. The bottom was rounded to fit the contour of the kettle so you could keep the sides from burning. It had a handle about 6 feet or so that kept you away from the fire.

The actual process took all day usually about eight hours or so. Early in the morning we would fill the copper kettle with apples cover it with water and build a fire underneath. It was important to

begin the stirring process as soon as the fire was built. It was tough stirring to begin with but it was necessary to keep the apples from sticking. Once the kettle warmed and the apples began cooking it got easier. Everyone took their turn at stirring. It was kind of a neighborhood event. The neighbors would stop by to visit and they took their turn too. It is hard to pass a boiling kettle of apple butter without taking your turn.

After the apples have turned to sauce we added apples and water until all the cut apples were gone. At this point it is necessary to keep the fire steady and the stirrer continuously moving to prevent scorching. When all the apples are cooked into a fine sauce it is time to add the sugar. After the sugar has been added the last step was to add about a cup of cinnamon and a cup of sugar and some

whole cloves.

Continue to cook for awhile and then it is time to begin the tasting process. You want the taste to be a little sweeter than normal because after it cools it mellows out a little and is not quite so sweet. Keep on stirrin' and keep on tastin'. When it has turned a deep reddish brown and isn't watery anymore it is done. It was then ladled into clean jars and sealed left to cool overnight before it's final step to the cellar.

While the apple butter process was going on outside, inside the apple peelings were simmering on the wood stove. When all the juice was cooked out of the apples they were then squeezed through a white cloth and sugar was added to make the jelly.

Our kitchen table always held a jar of apple butter or jelly sometimes both. There is nothing better than eatin' a hot biscuit slathered with butter and apple

butter. It made all the hard work worthwhile.

My other goal this year is to write every day-----how am I doing so far.
That's it for today.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Wishing all my friends and family a healthy happy and prosperous New Year