This is the first day of the rest of my life and I'm marking one item off my "bucket list." I love telling stories, yarns, etc. and for the past 25 years have written weekly articles for the DeKalb Newspapers and now I get to try blogging. It has been said of me that I write about old days and old ways, along with modern tales of our adventures here on The Windy Knoll, our home place. Drop in just any time to see what's going on. Now let me say up front I'm no Julia Childs or Paula Dean - not even a distant relative - but I will be writing about cooking now and then. As best I can remember the only thing considered fast food in this house is a cake mix. I cook from scratch like the old timers used to do. I'll be posting old and new articles and in most cases the published date will be to the right of the title. That way you can read along (with a few pictures) and see what the aging process has done.

Memories from Childhood

Writer: Donna Crumly Harvey.

Br'er Rabbit & Tar BabyHave you ever had something just pop into your mind and it just will not go away?  Well that is exactly what happened to me.  Now why in the world would I start thinking about “Brer Rabbit”, I just do not know but think I did.  I had heard the story many times and even as I grew out of childhood to adolescence, I am almost certain I read the story again.  So off I go to the internet to find the story of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby.  I found one version which was written in dialect and you all know that I am from the South and Billie Crumly and my grandparents are from the rural South.  The speech that I heard as a child was that same sort of speech that Jeff Foxworthy has made a fortune using.  I must say that I really enjoyed reading the dialectic version of Brer Rabbit and could hear Billie Crumly talking just that way.  She was encouraged to use good grammar and she on her own must have made the decision for her and her family to use proper language.  I must say that this made English classes very easy for me in school because I had already been taught the proper English language and it was just the way we talked.  As we have children, how many times do we think about insisting that they use proper English to make their lives and grades better as they go through school?  Back to Brer Rabbit, I remember being in Atlanta and being shown the house where Joel Chandler Harris had lived and perhaps even wrote some of his Uncle Remus tales.  It was also interesting on the internet to discover that the same tale which is actually a folk tale, crosses many cultural barriers.  The same tale but with little changes in the rabbit being something else but the same theme to the story.  Then of course, I had to think about “Oh, please, just don’t throw me in that briar patch!”  Sweetie and I often tease with some of the old verbiage from our youth.

Little Black SamboThen I think about other books that I always enjoyed and loved.  One which is not available today is “Little Black Sambo.”  I just loved to see the curled toe shoes and the unusual clothes which were depicted on the boy.  And then to think that he was smart enough to out-smart that tiger and finally caused him to become syrup and ate it on his pancakes.  I just do not remember even seeing color but saw people, which is the way we should live today.  It is the people that we come in contact with that really matter and not the color.

Pokey Little PuppyThen there was the “Pokey Little Puppy.”  These were Golden Books and I believe at the time they were about $.25 each.  What can we get for a quarter today?  Not much for sure.  The cover of the book was interesting to me and shows how curious the little puppy was and if you have had a puppy, you too know that there is a natural curiosity there.  But even little children have to be taught about things of interest.  Like a fire in a fireplace.  How do you teach “Hot?”  Well, I would always take the baby’s hand where I had control and would put the little hand toward the fire saying “Hot! Hot! Hot!” all the time pushing the little hand more toward the fire until the little one would want to pull the sweet little hand away.  I would let go and again, say “Hot!”  The child had now learned what “Hot!” was and I don’t believe any of my grandchildren were ever burned by reaching for something hot when I was around because they understood.

Little Red HenAnd how can I forget “Henny Penny?”  She just had to the king that the sky was falling.  And such fun we had reading the silly names and the even sillier antics of the animal characters. And another, was “The Little Red Hen.”  She just could not get any help from anyone with the work that needed to be done, BUT when it came time to partake of the wonderful outcome of all her hard work that she had to do by herself, then everyone was willing to help.  The morals from these stories were all very good and still apply today.  Would you believe there is one “The Little Red Hen” book for $45.00 plus shipping which is “Used – Like new?”  Not me coach, if I were to buy it I just might forget where I had put it.  So I will just stay with the memories.

Then there are the nursery rhymes that I could recite at a very young age. I wonder how many times either Mother or Grandmother had read them to me?  I had a book that was shaped like a shoe and it had a lace up the side to hold the covers closed.  “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.  She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do; She gave them some broth without any bread; Then whipped then all soundly and put them to bed.”  Oh the many rhymes, “Mary, Mary Quite Contrary,”  “Old Mother Hubbard,” “Pat-a-Cake,” “Ring Around the Rosy,” “Little Jack Horner” and of course “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”  I suspect you too can name a few of them and I hope your memory can recall all the lines.  I am not sure that nursery rhymes are a part of today’s young people memory.  I know when my sister came along, eight years afterward that there were some because she would say to people, “A sunshiny shower, won’t last half an hour.”   And I remember her telling the neighbor across the street, “Don’t it make you mad, don’t it get your goat; when you get in the bathtub and can’t find the soap”  I guess these are some of the many old things which are going by way of the computer for CD’s and Video’s and interactive learning tools.  But these are some of my memories of Country Living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

A New Cake – Peanut Butter Cake

I am sure others besides me like to go to meetings where there is a need to carry a covered dish.  Since I work, it is always a little difficult to put something together.  I always loved to take a Squash Casserole that had Pepperidge Farm Stuffing mix in it but that requires that I make it the night before and put it in the refrigerator and then Sweetie had to  be responsible for putting it in the oven an transporting it to the dinner.  This dinner is at the church where I had attended before Brad and I got together and lots of old friends are there and some have gone on to be with the Lord.  Anyway, I still love to go and my friends have learned to love my sweetie too.  We both just walk around and talk to people that we don’t get to see but once a month.

I have been working on a cookbook for our church’s 175th Anniversary and one of my friends had sent a recipe for a Peanut Butter Cake.  When I was proofing the recipe, I knew I just had to make this one and today I decided that the Braves were on and also Golf so this would be a fine time to bake the cake.  So I started to bake this cake:   FullSizeRender-001

Peanut Butter Cake from Nancy Dempsey

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter
1 small can evaporated milk
Dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
¼ c. peanut butter

Prepare cake according to directions on the box.  Pour into 9 x 13 glass or metal pan.  Bake according to directions.  Cake must be cool before adding icing.

For icing, in a medium size boiler put sugar, butter, milk and salt.  Cook on medium head stirring continually until mixture comes to a rolling boil.  Cook for 2 more minutes continuing to stir mixture.  Remove boiler from stove and stir vanilla flavoring and peanut butter until mixed thoroughly. L Use an electric mixer to continue mixing icing.  Mix for 4 minutes or until icing begins to have a glassy glaze.  Pour over cake.

Well, off I go to bake the cake would you believe nowhere in this house do I have a Yellow Cake Mix.  Ok, I remember that mother has a recipe for a 1-2-3-4 Butter Cake which would be just a plain cake.  I believe that would do for the cake, so off to the internet I go and sure enough, I find a recipe for a 1-2-3-4 Butter Cake and start gathering the ingredients together.  Well, glory be, I do not have 3 cups of self-rising flour.  I will not be defeated, I know cooks of yore did not have self-rising flour so the internet knows everything and should surely know how to bake self-rising flour.  Well, of course, I found just what I was looking for and I did have plain flour and baking powder and salt.  That is all it called for and said to simply add 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt per cup of plain flour.  Ok.  That was easy enough and I got the batter together and as I was getting my metal pan out, I thought “I think sweetie would want some of this cake!”  Of course, I rummaged around and found a small dish that I put cranberry sauce in at Christmas time and made him a little cake.  It won’t be missed at the dinner and I will feel better about giving him some sweets.  He does love the sweet stuff and he has not gained any weight back from the hospital bought last October, therefore, he can surely enjoy and use the calories.

I could not find a mixer.  I know I had two but someone else probably needed them and baked more than me during the divorce, HA!  Oh well.  I found a little Cuisinart chopper that you could put in the pot and it whirled around and stirred the icing up and I suspect what we are doing is cooling the icing so it can be useable.  I also decided to cut a few holes in the top of the cake to allow the icing to run down in the cake layer.  I at least like it better that way.  I also think I did not wait long enough for the layer to cool and perhaps did not have the icing cool enough when I decided, I was tired and wanted to get finished so, I put the icing on the cakes.  Of course, I had to let Brad lick the beater and spoon.  Do parents to day let their kids lick the spoon and beater?  If they do not ever then they are missing some good memories.  Sterile, of course it is because when I wash dishes the water is scalding hot for rinsing and the wash water is fairly hot and so many things today are dishwasher safe and I, as others, always use the sterilize setting on it.  I remember the energy crisis of 70’s when we were to conserve because things had gotten so very high.  I continued to use my dry cycle at that time because I had a family of 4 children and I did not want anyone spreading germs.  We all stayed well.  I have also had a drain out of whack and I would catch the drain water from the dishwasher in a pail and empty it and replace the drain so I could use the dishwasher.  OK, I am a city slicker but it is my kind of Almost Country Living.

 

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

First Mother’s Day and Missing Mother

NOTE: I am so sorry I have not posted any new blogs. I also apologize to Donna Crumly Harvey for letting this blog post get lost in my e mail and not get it up before Mother’s Day. But it is still worth the read.

DSCN0106-002 - CopyI am positive there are many others who also miss their mother’s on this Mother’s Day.  Last year Billie Crumly was in the hospital following her elective hip surgery on April 29, 2015, and then she moved on to a supposedly rehab facility of her choice.  She chose the one closest to her home to make it easier on “the one she loved best.”  Even last year, I gave her a set of four Tervis Tumblers, which she never opened, and I finally opened them at her home for daddy to use.  If you are not familiar with Tervis, you would be in for a treat for sure.  The tumblers, I tend to call them glasses, but they are not glass at all but plastic.  They are built with two layers of plastic which make a glass within a glass.  It does keep them from sweating most of the time and keeps the drink placed in them either cold longer or hot longer due to air between the layers which serve as an insulation layer.  Now the company has chosen to put all matter of items between those two layers.  I believe my favorite ones are the Mardi Gras collection which I purchased many years ago.  There are gold, purple and green sequins between the layers and they do shift when one drinks from the tumbler.  I have them in the 16 ounce and the 12 ounce which is a shorter, fatter glass.  Some do not like to drink out of them because they “feel they will get something in their mouths.”  Well duh, if you turn the glass up aren’t you planning on getting something in your mouth?  Another set I purchased for myself is a Christmas set which simply states, “Santa, define Good!”  You already know that I am a bit of a kid, and a bit of a cut-up to go with that.  I do love Christmas and collected Christmas items from everywhere over the past 50 years (Yikes! Did I say that?) but lost so many of them when they were taken from the house during the ugly divorce that I experienced.  I have often wondered if he just let his kids and girlfriend go through there and take anything that they wanted, no matter whose it truly was.  I should leave this for another story, but I am sure some will relate.  It is best just to shake the dust off your feet and not look back any more than absolutely necessary.    But the tumblers for a Mother’s Day gift are terrific.  I think I purchased the last ones on their website.  I know that they have many collegiate emblems in those tumblers too.  Yes, Auburn, and Alabama are both represented but also Kennesaw State University, where you know I work and obtained my master’s degree too, let me not leave out my sister’s Alma mater, they also carry a University of Georgia one and this is not an exhaustive list.    Mother did love to use them because they did not leave rings on her furniture and we love to have something to drink along the way.  I got one of the lids which they have for them and it has an opening for a straw or allowing the drink to come through.  I think the beauty of the lid is that it keeps the liquid more inside if the glass gets knocked over.  You bet your sweet “bippie”, I spill things sometimes. (Oh dear, my age is showing again.)  Nothing abnormal about this ole gal.  Ok, so I am not going to call for a vote on that one, so just put your hand down.   I have asked for Mother’s Day that I get one of the lace leaf Japanese Maple trees.  Yes my sweetie is still improving slowly from his multiple surgeries.  Planting and digging in our yard is quite the chore as we live on a mountain and the rock is just about 18 inches below the surface, at most.  I know I will be very happy and he will work very hard to get the little tree planted for me.  He is still my sweetie, for sure.  I also asked to be taken to the Country Club for lunch.  Most ladies enjoy eating at a table where there is a table cloth and being served and catered to just a bit.    You know I remember a Mother’s Day when I was stationed in California for a period of time and Beth came out to visit and enjoy the countryside with me.   We had ridden the cable car into the city and were going into a McDonald’s to grab a breakfast sandwich.  There was a young man there asking for money to buy food.  I do give people money, so I told this young man if he was hungry to come with me and I would buy his breakfast.  I did just thank and he thanked me.   I told him all that I asked was that he try to call his mother to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day.  He said he would not have anything to do with him and would probably not accept his collect call.   My response to him was that if he tried he would know that he had done the right thing and he could not control what she did.  Furthermone, she would also know that he had tried make contact with her on Mother’s Day and he should feel very proud of imself for doing what was right.  Right, Wrong, Tablecloths, travel and missing loved ones are all a part of  my part of country living in the city.  Hope all mothers have a happy and blessed Mother’s Day.  5x7 SOFT DSCN0137

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Corrected update… What Is This?

20150427_233837_resized-001NOTE: I have been corrected about a word I used the wrong spelling,  (pastor vs pasture). I do know the difference. My reason is not MS :) this time. We are getting a new PASTOR at church and putting the old PASTOR out to PASTURE. LOL No NO, we love and will miss our PASTOR we have now. I just had all that on my mind and posting the blog and being very very tired, it is easy to make a really crazy mistake. Please correct me on things if you see a reason. I do not get offended. Thanks.

I was out in a part of the pasture that is not walked in much, today. I walked upon this plant. It was standing about 3′ high.

I have not seen this before anywhere in the woods/pasture. It was in part sun and a lot of shade.

Is this a type of wild rose?

I plan to put it in my yard.

Thank you in advance for the information.

Russ Austin20150427_234101_resized-001 20150427_233957_resized_1 20150427_233857_resized-001

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

The Broken Dishes Block Is From The 18th Century! Learn How To Make It Here.

NOTE: I saw this on Facebook and thought everyone that is still keeping up with the blog would enjoy this. I know if Mrs. Crumly didn’t know how to do it, she would soon.  :)

One of the great things about quilting is the rich tradition of the art. One of the more historic patterns is the Broken Dishes block, which dates back to the 18th century! In the following tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company, Jenny takes us through the steps to recreate this traditional quilt. Give it a try!

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Withdrawing from being an adult

Writer: Donna Crumly Harvey

ultra_cute_6_year_old_birthday_cake_stickers-r9a6bf636debd4f5eab3ac002a87a5351_vI am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult, in order to accept the responsibilities of a 6 year old. The tax base is lower and we just barely made it through tax day.  Sweetie and I talked about what we had to pay and are totally in awe of this past year with all that we had go on and have both had to face and accept responsibilities without any choice in the matter.  I want to be six again.

I want to go to McDonald’s and think it’s the best place in the world to eat. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make waves with rocks.  I want to stand by a lake and try to skip rocks across the top of the water.  Nice flat rocks and it always made me so jealous when the boys could skip the rocks better than I could.  Sweetie can still do it better than I can even today, at our age.

Colorful M&Ms in BowlI want to think M&Ms are better than money, because you can eat them. I want to play kick-ball during recess.  I have never had a wheel and click but I have heard Daddy talk about making these.  I have never played marbles but Brad has and there is quite a collection of them at the Crumly’s.  There is even a Chinese checker board and I found a little tin box with a note that says “These are the marbles that go with the Chinese checker board.”  The old carom board that I received for Christmas many years ago is  now hanging on the sun porch. CaromBoard

I long for the days when life was simple. When all you knew were your colors, the addition tables & simple nursery rhymes, but it didn’t bother you, because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care.  And by the way, now many of the nursery rhymes do you quote today?  Brad and I are forever saying something from one of the nursery rhymes.  Now I was so smart and Billie Crumly refused to let me say “none” because the country folks would say I ain’t got none she insisted that I say “I haven’t got any!”  I guess it got through to me because I learned “Old Mother Hubbard, went to the cupboard to get her poor dog a bone.  When she got there the cupboard was bare and the poor dog had any.”  And I guess that is similar to me saying the blessing and I would say “God is grape, God is good.  Let us thank him for our food.”  It made perfect sense to me and still does because grape is good and I still like grape flavor.

I want to go to school and have snack time, recess, gym and field trips.  Oh the wonderful filed trips that we took in elementary school.  I remember going to the Atlanta Orchestra with so many other school children who were coming on their buses and hearing the music that they had selected for us.  I guess it was a way for us to be exposed to culture a little.  Today I think the field trips are to Christmas Tree exhibits where kids always have to do something and bring something home.  We did not have money and could not stop and try and buy anything for sure. We were happy just to have the experience.

I want to be happy, because I don’t know what should make me upset. I want to think the world is fair and everyone in it is honest and good and kind.  Today I watch the news of people getting shot in the back by police officers and even an old policeman who thought he was using a Taser and fired his gun at a young man instead.  But if I had ran from a policeman, my behind would have been tanned until it would not hold shucks.  Not only did we have to respect and listen to police officers (and we better not call them cops) but we had to listen an obey any adult which spoke to us.  If I did not, my mother would have known about it before I could got my little self, back home and I would have definitely have had the devil to pay then.

I want to believe that anything is possible.  The sky was the limit and dreaming was a fun pastime.  I well remember laying on a grassy bank and watching the clouds and describing what the shapes of them were and where they were going.

Sometime, while I was maturing, I learned too much. I learned of nuclear weapons, prejudice, starving and abused kids, lies, unhappy marriages, divorces, illness, pain and mortality. I want to be six again.

I want to think that everyone, including myself, will live forever, because I don’t know the concept of death. I want to be oblivious to the complications of life and be overly excited by the little things again.  Just listen to a baby laugh over something so very tiny and the burst of excitement that comes from little folks.  So very glad to see Grandmother and Granddaddy come in.  Special names that they give like “Gran Gran” or Papa or Pap or Mimi.  Sometimes it is names that the older ones choose but sometimes they come up with them all by themselves and that makes the connection even more special.  I refused to be called “Granny” and some of the grand kids would insist on calling me Granny and I would just act like I didn’t hear them.  It was not me they were talking to so why should I bother with any movement on my part.

Vintage_Movie

A great ‘ole western.

I want television to be something I watch for fun, not something used for escape from “the things” I should be doing. I want to live knowing the little things that I find exciting will always make me as happy as when I first learned them. I want to be six again.

I remember not seeing the world as a whole, but rather being aware of only the things that directly concerned me. I want to be naive enough to think that if I’m happy, so is everyone else.

I want to walk down the beach and think only of the sand beneath my feet and the possibility of finding that blue piece of sea glass I’m looking for.

I want to spend my afternoons climbing trees & riding my bike, letting the grownups worry about time, the dentist and how to find the money to fix the old car.

I want to wonder what I’ll do when I grow up and what I’ll be, who I’ll be and not worry about what I’ll do if this doesn’t work out. I want that time back.

I want to use it now as an escape, so that when my computer crashes, or I have a mountain of paperwork, or two depressed friends, or a fight with my spouse, or bittersweet memories of times gone by, or second thoughts about so many things……….

I can travel back and build a snowman, without thinking about anything except whether the snow sticks together and what I can possibly use for the snowman’s mouth.

I want to be six again.  So for this part of country living I have chosen to step back in time.  If you remember these times, you can come play with me and we will play hide and seek.  It is getting where I can hide my own Easter eggs because I don’t remember where I hid them anyway.  Never liked paper dolls but I would love to play cowboys and Indians with you and I can ride my imaginary stead just about anywhere.  This is just a part of country living in today’s world.

If you would like to find other fun things check  this website:  http://www.electronixwarehouse.com/humor/older-than-dirt.htm

I have embellished some of these statements to blend with me and my current age.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

First Hummingbird of 2015….Updated

Writer; Donna Crumly Harvey

Feeder_1Ok, my dear birding friend, it is time to get out that hummingbird feeder and clean it up.  I had been saying to my sweetie for a few weeks that we need to get the feeder cleaned and hung because they would be at least beginning their migration.  Yesterday was the day that he said, you fix the food and I’ll hang the feeder.  I tried to get him to find the feeder but that was a no go, so yours truly thought I remembered where I had put the feeder when I took it down last year.  We have had a number of feeders.  When I first moved to this house I bought a little one and used it for a couple of years and then I picked up one at the local Depot store and used it and bought even two more like it.  My complaint with it was the little yellow middles of the flowers would fall out and lawnmower would chew it up and then the bees and yellow jackets would love being fed.  Feeder _2The other thing that I found to be happening was after the babies had flown and were trying to fatten up for the long flight south in the fall, we would have so very many hummers that it seems I was having to make more food quickly and poor sweeties was having to fill the feeder almost every day.  I love seeing the hummers buzz his head and he would just look in the window and laugh at me as I was laughing at him.  So, you see why I opted for a larger feeder and that saves lots of daily work.  We seem to be getting older every year, which is inevitable.  At least I have determined that the alternative is quite final.

Feeder_3Oh well, at least the argument about it being too early to put out the hummingbird feeder was over for this year.  Then today when I was talking to sweetheart, he said, “Guess what I saw today.”  I didn’t have a clue what direction he was headed as he does move about quite a lot every morning and I just don’t try to keep up with him while I work.  I told him I had no idea and he said he had seen the first male hummer at the feeder.   Of course, I just could not resist committing that we were probably late in putting out the feeder for those who came even earlier.  That is when I just had to go to the map and check how far they had been getting.  I like to watch a website https://www.learner.org/jnorth/maps/humm_ruby_spring2015.html  which shows who in your particular area has seen hummers.   I win the argument but I will not say that to him as peace is a nice thing but I know the answer now.  We were late in putting out the feeder and I will just have to remember in the future that mid-March is when I need to get things ready for the pretty little fliers.  Hope this feeble brain will keep track of that along with the million and one other things that I put in there to remember.

Just one of the two dozen or so that came to The Windy Knoll last year.

Just one of the two dozen or so that came to The Windy Knoll last year.

So now I have given you all a reminder that it is time for the hummingbird feeders.  I made a mix of 4 parts water to one part sugar.  I can never remember that so I always have to look it up on the internet.  I can just hear mother (Billie Crumly) saying “Now just how does the internet know these things?”  Been almost a year since I have heard her make such comments.  April 29th is the day she had hip replacement surgery and the downhill spiral began.  Sure wish I had pushed harder for the scoot around and kept her around longer but she was a strong willed woman who had made her decision.  Hip replacements were supposed to be easy and I do not fault the doctor who did the replacement at all but I do fault the rehab center which treated her more like a nursing home patient than a rehab patient.  They should have been pushing her and I guess we should have been pushing her too.  With my today’s knowledge I would have had her in a different rehab center even if it was farther away.  She was trying to take care of the one she loved best, right to the end.  Sorry to have gone off chasing rabbits, but she too loved the beautiful birds and hummingbirds and this is part of somewhat country living from my perspective.  Have  blessed day!

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Humming Birds Are Here.

DSCN1061-001

Just one of at least two dozen humming birds and The Windy Knoll last year.

Writer: Donna Crumly Harvey.

Flying nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico is an important part of the natural selection process that has made these little birds so tough, and not all of them pass this harshest of tests. Before leaving land, hummingbirds double their weight by gorging to add fat as an energy reserve; in good weather they can go 600 miles without stopping, and the crossing is only 500 miles. The ones that don’t add enough fat won’t make it, and their genes aren’t passed on; that’s how nature works. It’s just a bit more dramatic with hummingbirds, because they’re so small and we love them so much.  Feeder_3

Feeder _2Hummingbirds are BIG eaters. No animal on earth has a faster metabolism-roughly 100 times that of an elephant. Hummingbirds burn food so fast they often eat 1.5 to 3 times their body weight in food per day! In order to gather enough nectar, hummingbirds must visit hundreds of flowers every day. Just one day of cold temperatures or bad luck finding flowers can mean death

HummerRuby-throated: Eastern U.S. and Canada
When Ruby-throats return to their breeding grounds, they will have completed a remarkable journey back from Mexico and Central America. This species is the only hummingbird commonly found in eastern North America.  Feeder_1

This note really shows how late I am:

Over 150 sightings of Ruby-throats were reported this week, a sign that the migration is in full swing. Monday a Ruby-throated humingbird zipped up the Atlantic Coast to Branford, Connecticut (41°N), a full week ahead of last year’s sightings. With favorable southwest winds we’re sure to see similar reports as the week progresses.

“A male Ruby-throat arrived at 2pm today at my hummingbird feeder site. Had a five-minute feeding bout.”

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Gardening Pros and Cons June 2009

Before John and I returned to the country to live, we had a clear understanding about a few things such  as row crops and large gardens.    And at this writing I’m reminded of that understanding.

I recently received a litter from a quilting friend who has moved to the lovely north Georgia Mountains and among other things, she asked for gardening tips. One thing I strongly suggested was that she start small – it’s a lot of fun to till the soil in the spring, plant and watch it come up and grown, but weeding and harvesting in July and August can get old in a hurry.  I remember one year we had an over-sized garden and about August 15 I was so weary from the gathering and freezing/canning that I commented at church that I was praying for frost.  A young man who had just moved to the area from the North was overheard asking someone why Mrs. Crumly was praying for frost in August.

Another time I remember was when a city fellow moved to our Georgia neighborhood and decided he wanted to make a garden.  He was a frequent visitor to the seed store where our friend worked.  This man made many seed purchases and asked many questions.  He goes home, plants and waits for the plants to come up – after a couple of weeks he returned to the seed store to tell our friend that something was coming up that he didn’t plant! Boy, did he have a lot to learn.

Every year about this time I make a vow to have strawberries at home next year – I love to eat them right off the vine – grit and all.  But to keep the strawberry bed weed free in the summer months calls for more work than I’m willing to give, so I suppose I will always buy what berries we eat.  Another crop we have tried to grow is peanuts – the grass will take this crop over in a flash.  We wanted to grow peanuts from seed given us by Mr. Ivan Scott – they had come originally from Jr. Gus Spence — you guessed it, grass ate them up. I’ve decided my peanuts will have to come from Planters cans/jars from now on.

This year’s garden has a few beans, two tomato plants, two pepper plants and chickens.  Short of shooting them, we have decided that it’s impossible to rid this farm of chickens – they are part “game” and can fly over the moon.  There is a young man who would like to have them, but so far he has only been able to get one and she was setting on a nest of eggs.  Oh well, live and let live.

So often I’m reminded of what John’s Aunt Myrtle says, “It’s fun to live on the farm when watermelons are ripe.”

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Snow and Birds. Birds and Snow. (Updated)

 

UPDATED 3-2-2015. Forgot to add my little poem)

The snow is falling,
The feeders are full.
All the birds have gone to rest.
And the best is yet to come.

It’s not Christmas in Dixie
But it sure feels like fun.
Eight inches of snow,
And the heaters full of coal.

With the snow still falling,
It’s time to go.
God Bless you all,
and most of all, thank you Lord for the snow.
Russ Austin

My view from the bed. The backyard.

My view from the bed. The backyard.

CLICK on the photo to enlarge.

DSCN2738-001UPDATE: Mr. John is doing very well now. That man still has so much energy it is almost like he is still a 20 something instead of 91 years old. Mr. John is a great man. Always keeps you on your toes. And if you think you know the answer to anything and he also knows an answer, but a different one, then you just better give up because his answer is the correct one. I have nothing but RESPECT for Mr. John Crumly. DSCN2631-001

Both Donna and Beth have settled back into their ‘normal’ life routine. That is IF there is a normal routine to everyday life. I know that both of them stay really busy. We don’t talk as much as we used to and that is just because of everyday life and we just run out of time in each day before we take a nap and start over again. Just like many of you reading this. Why do the days seem to be getting shorter the older we get?

This little bird must have flown into my window. I looked out and saw it dazed. It stayed in my hand for about 15 minutes in the house. I then took it outside and sit it on a box just outside my door. I told it to "go be free" and it took off like a lighting bolt. Thank you God for the chance to  hold your little bird.

This little bird must have flown into my window. I looked out and saw it dazed. It stayed in my hand for about 15 minutes in the house. I then took it outside and sit it on a box just outside my door. I told it to “go be free” and it took off like a lighting bolt. Thank you God for the chance to hold your little bird.

Time is moving on. It will soon be 0ne year since Mrs. Crumly passed away, June 22, 2014. And still, just like today, I shot a photo of a bird and the first thought I had was, “I can not wait to show Mrs. Crumly this bird.”  DSCN3071-001

WARNING! This will be picture overload.  (I can’t even get all this written because every time I look up I see a great chance to take another photo of a bird. The red bird I just shot)

DSCN2783-002I know for some of you reading this, snow is not a big deal.  For us on Sand Mountain, it is.

Oh but for the people up north around New York and Boston it is a much bigger deal than anything we have had to endure around here. Snow like we just had is a really big deal to us. We had 8 inches at my home and some places had more. Needless to say, yes, everything was shut down. Schools were out almost all week, some business were closed and we did not dare to get out on the roads for about 3 days.

DSCN2900-001Now for me, this time, I really enjoyed it all. I am considered ‘disabled’ with MS, meaning ‘considered’ I still get around good most days, drive and do what I want most days. I just have to pace myself and long walks are no longer an option. I love my life and I thank God everyday for the blessings he gives me each and every day. Life is good. NO, life is GREAT!  DSCN3052-001

As most of you already know there is nothing I enjoy better than to be able to just lay in my bed and make pictures out my big glass sliding door in my bedroom. The winter time I have my birds I feed. The summer time I have my humming birds I feed.

DSCN3078-003Somewhere around 21 years or so I had a ‘professional photography studio.’ I still am not sure what a “professional photographer” is I just always tried to do my best then and now. I  loved my job right up to the very end on February 14, 2007 when I had to walk away from it because of the MS. DSCN2724-002

It took me over 3 years to even think about a camera. As much as I loved having a camera in my hand all day and some times all night, I just could not bring myself to even think anything about photography. And now it seems like I have the thrill again and I love to take all the wonderful God given beauty out of my big ‘ol sliding glass door. My window to the world. My window to my kind of country living.  DSCN2701-001DSCN2971-002DSCN2807-001DSCN2814-00220150223_124033-001DSCN2728-002BLUR 20150225_171020

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now
Billie & John Crumly 1945 Part of what Tom Brokaw called "The Greatest Generation"