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.

Do you know what a Paraprosdokians is?

I received this in an e mail a few days ago and thought it would be fun to share.  Author unknown.
What is your paraprosdokians?
Well (Winston Churchill loved them)  they are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently humorous.  DSCN0913-001
1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
 2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.
 3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
 4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
 5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
 6. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
 7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit . . . wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
 8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism.  To steal from many is research.
 9. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
 10. In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case of emergency, Notify:’ I put  ‘DOCTOR’.
 11. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
 12. You do not need a parachute to skydive.  You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
 13. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
 14. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
 15. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
 16. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
 17. I’m supposed to respect my elders, but its getting harder and harder for me to find one now.
And with the other “country/Sand Mountain terms Mrs. Crumly always talked about, adds up to more country living.
Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Putting Tomatoes Up for the Winter

This weekend was time with Daddy. We had a busy morning with my errands and a little grocery shopping. Lunch was leftover barbecue which I had brought Friday from Johnny’s in Powder Springs, GA. The sauce is a Worcestershire based sauce and my family’s favorite. YUM!

After an excursion, which will be in tomorrow’s post, Daddy headed to the garden. Daddy and Mother have always had a sizable garden, but at 89, he finally cut it WAY back. He picked a few peas to add to the mess we are having for Sunday lunch, cut a good bit of okra, and brought in some tomatoes which he added to some he already had in the kitchen. He decided that there was enough to put up. “Put up” is our term for preserving food for the winter.

First, Daddy got out a large boiler (pot) and put water on to boil. I cleaned the sink, put in the stopper, and placed the tomatoes in the bottom. In a few minutes the water was bubbling; Daddy poured the boiling water over the tomatoes and we waited a minute or two. Boiling water over the room temperature tomatoes causes the skins of the tomatoes to slip right off (in the fruit is ripe enough).

After the peeling was done we cubed or sliced the fruit. This is the finished product.

Chunked tomatoes

Chunked tomatoes


The last step is to label the freezer bags and put in the tomatoes and the juice. These will be good in spaghetti or soup or what ever next imagewinter.

A day with daddy, doing necessary things, working in the kitchen, laying I stores for winter, all this family’s brand of country living”
!

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

All Day Singin’ and Dinner on the Ground…from Mrs. Crumly’s unpublished writings.

4600246-3x2-700x467The fourth Sunday in April has just passed and what memories I have of that Sunday.  Fourth Sunday in April was always the all day singin’ at Skirum Methodist Church and it drew a crowd.   John’s uncle Merrill used to say “All day singin’, dinner on the ground –the  devil’s in the woods and whiskey’s all around.”

There was always a visiting quartet and singin’ usually started around ten o’clock in the morning.  That lasted some two hours and then another good part got under way – eating.  No fellowship halls back then, but men made long tables out under the trees and lunch was spread – and big time. Each lady brought her own tablecloth, spread it on the makeshift table and spread her food.  Lots of fried chicken, potato salad, devilled eggs, however, casseroles were in short supply as they had not really entered the picture at that time.  On this part of the mountain ice was scarce, but on the fourth Sunday in April it was plentiful as somebody always went to Collinsville and brought plenty for tea, lemonade and whatever.

Many of the singers had attended singing schools and knew a lot about singing Southern Gospel songs. Alto singers sat together, as did all other parts – soprano, bass and tenor and they could make the rafters ring.  The main book used was the Stamps Baxter, but Vaughn was used some, too.  My part was alto, but today I can’t even begin to sing – no matter what part.

My sister played piano all over this mountain for such singings, but so did other musicians such as Vera McDaniel, Jessie Monroe, Maxine Blessing and others.  Mr. Johnny Monroe was the organizer at Skirum , but there were lots of other greats, too, such as Alvin Blessing, Frank Machen, Enoch Parris and Floyd Prady and on and on.

Needless to say, the church was filled with singers as well as listeners.  Good singers from all over the mountain were in attendance and were asked to lead a song or two.  Usually that leader would choose the person for the piano.  0ab604ddaed77ede399719984c9f59cd

This particular singing was Southern Gospel; however, there were some Fa So La singings in the area as well.  As I remember it one such singing was the First Sunday in June at Hopewell.  I never did much good with singing Fa So La.  I did learn to play a little and isn’t it strange that I could do better of the notes were shaped rather than round.  Today I believe all Southern Gospel books have round notes..

It’s too bad that young folks don’t enjoy that kind of music and keep the singings going; however, it’s a different world with a new kind of country living.

 

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

A New School

As some of you may remember, I have a new teaching position in a different county. I was so excited to get this appointment, but the summer has not allowed me to celebrate as I would have liked.

imageHightower Trail Elementary School is located in Rockdale County, Conyers, GA. I have been in the middle school environment for a long, long time; I will have to be somewhat different in my conversations with my students.

Rockdale County is on a balanced calendar, which means that we will have week long breaks in the fall and winter. These are in addition to the normal breaks at Thanksgiving and at the end of December (winter break which I will still call Christmas holidays). This makes the school year longer on the front side but the breaks are so good!image

The principal is a delightful woman who has made me feel so very welcome and a part of the team from the first day. I started last Thursday with two days of new teacher orientation. All teachers reported yesterday.

I know this was a long introduction to my real article. Today, yesterday for you as this will be posted on Wednesday morning, completes the first month without my mother’s presence on this earth. I will continue to miss her every day, but I can finally talk about her without choking up every time. Today was tough.

DSCN0176-001Daddy is doing very well! Donna and I are both surprised and elated. The community where Daddy lives has been so supportive and people check on Daddy daily. People are good to him and thereby to Donna and me. Thank you! By the way, Daddy has lost his “PAP” cap (hanging on the rocker). Donna had it made for him some time ago. If you know where it is, please help it find its way home.

Showing appreciation to the friends of this family is part of my country living!

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

The Wall is Done!

As some of you may remember, the decorative rock fell off the front of my house in late May or early June.  Needless to say, with all the sickness and death of those months this minor issue at home was imageignored.  It was not structural and we could live without a rock facade,

Mark, the one I love best, examined the remaining parts of the wall and decided that all of it needed to be torn down and reworked.  I frantically began to hunt someone to do the work.  I called friends and others for suggestions.  I finally located a man who came to the house while I was in Alabama.  He quoted a price of $25.00 per hour but could not tell Mark how long he thought it would take.  Mark agreed because we had had zero luck finding anyone else.  They agreed that the work would begin around the 15th of July.

The old side of the house

The old side of the house

I was in and out of Georgia during this time and would call to check with Adam the Stone Man (that is how I entered his number in my phone) to verify what we needed to be doing. I was reminded that Mark had agreed to chip the old mortar off the stones so as to save a buck.  So, Mark got busy, doing this task over about three days.  Granted he coulld have done it much quicker, but he got it done. I called Adam around the 4th-voice mail! No return call. Mark called several times, only to get the same results. We decided to begin the search again.

We went to a stone broker near our house and got a list of masons. I
called and found some could not get to the job before September-not acceptable. I continued to call and got prices that we decided were too rich for our blood. I finally reached David. He was on vacation but would call when he returned to the area. And he did! He came and negotiated the price and came timely and has just completed the job.

We are very pleased with the results. Now I wish that we could afford

The New facade

The New facade

to rework the other side which has the same facade and the fireplace. We won’t but don’t we all dream?

This week home repairs are a part of country living!

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Ah, the pleasure of Bird Watching…from Mrs. Crumly’s unpubished writings.

Bluebird

Bluebird

As the old saying goes, “We could lose a crop sitting here watching the birds” and we really could as one forgets about time.  There is always so much activity at the feeders and we have seven.  One large feeder we inherited from a quilting friend who died in Georgia and when the squirrel gets on it the bottom section locks so that he can’t get seed.  We have four of the fattest squirrels you ever saw.

I guess we enjoy watching the Red Bellied Woodpecker more than any other.  His favorite feeder is one made by the late Virgil Hall – it’s nothing more than a bottom with a post at each corner and then a roof and it’s easy for the Woodpecker to sit there and get his fill of sunflower seed.  He takes seed to a certain hole he’s made in the trunk of the water oak and deposits them there.  In the spring we’ll watch him bring his young to the tree and teach them how to get the seed out.  He makes trip after trip putting seed in at least two holes.

We love having the little Hairy Woodpecker, too.  At least we think he’s the Hairy – there’s another that looks just like him – the Hairy is 9” long while the Downy is 6” long.  We can’t get this bird still long enough to do the measuring.

Of course, we have finches of various kinds, but the prettiest one is the American Goldfinch – this is the one where the male turns yellow in the early spring.  Old folks used to call this bird the wild canary.DSCN5460-001

DSCN5525-001The nuthatch is an interesting little fellow. We call him the upside down bird as he travels up and down the tree trunk upside down.  And another busy little beauty is the wren.  He is easy to identify because he holds his tail straight up. We have Robins and Bluebirds, but they do not come to the feeders.  The Towhee is another interesting fellow – he scratches with both feet at once and he only eats on the ground.

John keeps cracked corn out in a chicken feeder for the guineas and the large doves know just where to go to get the corn.  We have a few Mourning Doves; however, we have an abundance of the new dove that has migrated north from Florida – he’s called the Eurasian Dove and is a beautiful bird.  Light in color and has a black ring around his neck.  I’m told the authorities that be don’t like this new dove coming in as they are afraid they will mate with the Mourning Dove.DSCN5549-001

We keep suet out for their enjoyment, too.  We thought the Woodpeckers would enjoy it most, but we find the Mockingbird stays at that feeder more than any other bird.

John plans to clean out the Martin gourds today as it’s time for the scouts to come in.  The flock usually arrives about mid-March; however, last year ours didn’t arrive until about the first of April.   Martins are beneficial birds as they are supposed to eat their weight in insects daily.

We recommend bird feeding if you do nothing else but crumble cornbread out for them to enjoy.  Space prevents me from sharing the suet recipe, but do try bird watching – it’s one of the many pleasures of country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Some Things I’ve Learned Along Life’s Journey…from Mrs. Crumly’s file of unplublished writings.

About the hatching of eggs:

Eggs of a potato bug hatch in 7 days, whereas the eggs of a canary hatch in 14 days.  Eggs of a common hen hatch in 21 days, but eggs of ducks and geese take 28 days to hatch.  Mallard eggs hatch in 35 days, but the eggs of parrots and ostriches hatch in 42 days.  Interesting, huh?  It all had to be in God’s plan as these numbers are all divisible by seven.

Each watermelon has an even number of stripes on the rind

Each orange has an even number of segments

Each ear of corn has an even number of rows.

Each stalk of wheat has an even number of grains.

Each stalk of bananas has an even number of bananas on its lowest row and each row decreases by one, so that one row has an even number and the next row has an odd number

Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but it’s playing a bad hand well.  You know like the country song “You gotta know when to hold ‘em and you gotta know when  to fold em.”

Being kind is more important than being right.

The hardest person to love is the one who needs love the most.

That money doesn’t buy class.

That life is like a roll of toilet paper – the closer it gets to the end, the faster it moves.

That I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the ability to help him in other ways.

That under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

That to ignore the facts does not change them.

That love, not time, heals all wounds.

That the easiest way for me to grow, as a person, is to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am.

That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

That life is tough, but I’m tougher

That the less time I have to work with is the time I get more things done.

That there is no perfect marriage.

That beauty is as beauty does.

That in rearing children – the tighter you hold the reins, the harder they kick the traces.

That birds of a feather flock together.

That there is nothing better than country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

I Miss My Mother

As I sit here on the final night of my current stay with Daddy, I am missing my mother more than I have in past days.  Perhaps it is the idea that Daddy will be alone for a few days.  Donna and I have left his for short periods of time.  I think I am acting like an overprotective parent, but he is my only living parent, and I love him.

The last book which I gave to Mother is one of the Miss Julia series by Ann B. Ross.  Mother got me hooked on them and I have read

The last book I gave to Mother.

The last book I gave to Mother.

and re-read them.  I got this most recent publication in the series just prior to the dreaded hip replacement.  I thought she would take it when she went to rehab, but she decided to leave it until she returned to the Windy Knoll.  As you faithful readers know, she never came home, and hence never read the book.  I am reading it now when I am here.

As I close the book on this reading time, I look around the room where I am.  It is full of Mother and the things she created with those marvelous hands.  She was so very talented.

Hummingbird wallhanging

Hummingbird wallhanging

One of my all-time favorites is of this hummingbird wall hanging.  For many years it hung over their fire place, but now is a window covering.  I cherish the needlework, some quilting and some other fancy work.  Rousing? There are little puckers that make up the flower where the hummer is resting.  I have found peace and serenity in watching the hummingbirds drink their “juice” at the feeder outside the backdoor and have “hummingbird wars” of territory.

Another of the pieces of needlework that is in this room represents the one she loved best and the one I want to protect.  Riding a John Deer tractor, working with his hands to better the homeplace – all things Daddy loved to do and still does as he can.  He talks about keeping her flowers weeded because she would have wanted it this way.

Counted cross-stitch that Mother did prior to moving back to the Windy Knoll.

Counted cross-stitch that Mother did prior to moving back to the Windy Knoll.

As I am typing this the tears are rolling down my cheeks.  I hope that my spelling will pass muster; I most certainly can’t see what is going on the page.

Grieving is not a pleasant part, but one we cannot get through life without.  A sadness to this day of country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now, Needlework

Gardening Time

It is that time of year again.  I can just hear Mother asking Daddy what they would do with all the vegetables that were coming out of the garden.  Well, Daddy’s garden is much smaller than it used to be and Mother is not with us to do the vegetable preparation for the winter.  Thank goodness she taught both Donna and me and of course the one she loved best to work the goodies from the garden.IMG_1246[1]

As I walked to find a picture or two suitable for the blog, I saw the beautiful Black-eyed Susans which grow at the side of the garden.

During Mother’s illness the grass and weeds got way ahead of the hoer, but Daddy has beaten some of them back, along with the help of some beloved friends.  Now there are some paths along side the plants.

IMG_1244[1]Tomatoes are ready for freezing now.  These are a few of the ones which Daddy and I will work today.  He also cut a small mess of okra.  The corn has tassels and the silks are turning on the corn.  I always knew there would be fresh corn on Sand Mountain around Mother’s birthday.  There are even a few peas filling out their pods.  Daddy says he did not plant any so they must have come up from the old hulls with a few peas still in them which were tossed last year.  Enjoy the pictures and think of the work that a productive garden makes for the owners of IMG_1248[1]the garden.  Then in your mind’s eye see the beautiful vegetable soup on a cold January day and smell the hot corn bread, fresh from the oven.

Gardening time is the summer’s variety of country living.

Posted in Gardening

Building a Bookcase

As many of you know I am a school teacher and a student.  I also love to read; my house is full of books of all kinds: animals, gardening, education, research, and fiction to name a just a few.  There is always a need for one more bookcase.

My husband is thrifty, and that is putting it mildly. Back in the fall, I decided I needed not one, but two new bookcases.  He did not want to spend big bucks for them so I went to Walmart.  I have used Walmart bookcases in my classroom for years for paperback books and other teacher storage needs and I have always had good service from them.  I got the two items and returned home to assemble them.

I positioned the new bookcases on opposite sides of my computer desk and loaded them.  In one I put office type supplies that had been piled up on my desk.  I love a clean surface.  In the other I put my college education books.  Many of these books are hardback and quite heavy.  I did put the biggest ones on the bottom.  Things were good for several months.

One afternoon I was working at the computer and BOOM!  Down came the top two shelves of my bookcase.  When I examined the shelves they were very bowed.  I guess the books were just too heavy for the particle board shelves.  I piled them up so that the path was clear.  Then Mother had her surgery and I have not gotten back to the problem until the past week.

My carpenter!

My carpenter!

Mark, my spouse, said we could build a bookcase that would hold whatever I wanted to put on it.  Off we go to Home Depot for lumber and other sundry articles which were needed.  Now I like to work in the morning and my husband is a slow starter.  Needless to say, we got started later than I would have liked, but I don’t turn down help.

Mark also hates the heat, so he wanted to build the bookcases in the house.  To say that I put up a fuss is putting it very mildly, but guess where we built the bookcases?  In the kitchen…with a promise that he would help clean up the mess before we did anything else.  Okay then, let get it done.

The bookcase is very sturdy!  I still need to sand and stain it but we are proud of the finished product.  He now plans to make one for his use.  Creating things for the home is part of this Conyers brand of country living.

Bookcase corner. Notice the shelf support on the side.

Bookcase corner. Notice the shelf support on the side.

Postscript:  After helping clean up the kitchen, he said that all sawing activities would be done outside from now on!

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