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.

Thank You Mr. Humming Bird.

CHILDREN POSTER (USE) After I moved into the house I live in now, MS had me down in bed. I had no interest in picking up a camera.

My second year here was very different. I could not wait to find a new “simple” point and fire away camera, and that I did. My very first Nikon. After using Canon for over 20 years I bought a Nikon CoolPix P100. I have since upgraded to a Nikon CoolPix P520. Love both cameras. I laid up in my bed with that camera stuck to my hand for the next year and a half snapping pictures out of my little 2×3 window, my only view of the outside world for so long.

DSCN1012-002But what a view. I would not have changed it if I could. That view showed me just how precious life can be inside and out.

Robert R. “Bob” Sargent is not a name many of you will know, but I sure did. I called him Mr. Humming Bird. Many of you will have heard me refer to him that way. Do you have that one person you talk to and you feel like you are friends, but you have not met face to face?

“Bob” as he wanted to be called was the master in banding humming birds in the South. Banding is something that is done each year in the early spring when humming birds are coming to our backyards from different hot climates like, Brazil or Argentina. Then again in the fall when the hummming birds fly back to those same places. I don’t pretend to know about humming birds, I just love to watch them. As of this writing, October 1, 2014, I still have two out of four.  DSCN4307-001


My first humming bird this year,
March 23, 2014








Mr. Humming Bird or “Bob” explained to me last year about coming down to watch and help in “banding” was that you parked at the end of an old airstrip, then walk to the other end. Well of course I went into the reason I just could not make that walk. Bob said, “Russ if you can get here I promise you will see us banding birds, you will be driven to the other end.”  DSCN0005A-001

He went on to assure me that I would have “special” attention to whatever I needed. “Come on down” he said.

According to the web site www.hummingbirdcenteral.comHummingbirds spend the winter in Central America or Mexico, and migrate north to their breeding grounds in the southern U.S. as early as February, and to areas further north later in the spring. During migration, a hummingbird’s heart beats up to 1,260 times a minute, and its wings flap 15 to 80 times a second. To support this high energy level, a hummingbird will typically gain 25-40% of their body weight before they start migration in order to make the long trek over land, and water. Research indicates a hummingbird can travel as much as 23 miles in one day. By August and September, hummingbirds are moving south, refueling their bodies in the early morning, traveling midday, and foraging again in the late afternoon to maintain their body weight.”

DSCN1649-003And according to the Hummingbird migration routes vary from species to species. The most famous migration is the Ruby-throated (one we have around here in Alabama a lot) because this remarkable bird travels from Central America and Mexico, crosses the Gulf of Mexico none-stop and continues as far north as eastern Canada. It should be noted that this route would be dangerous in the Fall because of a significant chance of missing the Yucatan Peninsula. For this reason southbound Ruby-throated hummingbirds follow the Gulf Coast through Louisiana and Texas. A Ruby-throated hummingbird flies across the Gulf of Mexico none-stop using the wind to their advantage, increasing their speed and shortening the time it takes to cross over the water. Hummingbird banders have shown that this journey across the Gulf generally takes about 20 hours. So just think about it. This tiny bird flies non-stop for 20 hours across the water. – See more at:

DSCN0517-001I spoke with Bob several times over the last four years and each call was just like we left off the last one. Out of the thousands of calls and people he talked to he always remembered our conversations. He always made me feel special. He was always very interested in talking and hearing about my hummers.  DSCN4296-001

My great friend Mrs. Donna Sizemore Taheri  and I had a trip to Bob’s place in Fort Morgan, near Mobile, planned last year and had to back out at the last minute. I was waiting on my new fall issue of NetLines, to tell us when the fall banding season would take place in Fort Morgan this year. DSCN0085-002

Much to my shock the front cover headline told it all:

                    Farewell, Chief Hummer, Parting is such Sweet Sorrow.

The man I called Mr. Humming Bird, Bob Sargent, has passed away, August 8, 1937 – September 7, 2014.

DSCN1662-001I will never forget our first phone call. I of course gave him my background as a photographer and now down with MS. Then I explained what I had been doing from early spring to October my second year in this house. I laid in my bed and made close to 3000 photos of 4 different humming birds. Yes you saw that right, three thousand. And countless hours of video. My hard drive can prove it. He was amazed! So was I at just how amazed he was! So he said “you just have to send some of your photos.” I did. He called to tell me just how much he enjoyed them. Just like he had not already seen a million other much better photos of humming birds that year.

DSCN4297-001From what I think I know about humming birds, the ones you have in your backyard are the same ones year after year. They return to the same place.  ??

Last year I had the little black and gray hummer come up. Bob said it was a Black-Chinned. It only stayed for 3 days. I knew I should have four humming birds but when this hummer showed up that camera started smoking. As soon as I could I called Bob and sent him a photo thru e mail. He called me and much to my surprise he said the hummer should not be anywhere close to this area. It was not seen east of Texas. He loved it, as did I.  HUMMING BIRDS PRINTS AUG 7, 2012

I was really looking forward to speaking with him again after the October banding season ended. Sadly there will not be another issue of Netlines or any more “banding parties” at Fort Morgan, Alabama.

God Bless Mr. Humming Birds family.  Collages12

 NOTE: Click on smaller photos to enlarge.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

What is Goldenrod?

NOTE  FROM RUSS:  The photos used today are the very photos (except the first photo with the barb wire) I made on my last car ride together with Mr. John and Mrs. Crumly. I remember it being a very hot, lower to mid 90 degree day. The only car Mrs. Crumly could feel safe about getting in was their old 1995 Buick Roadmaster and this was September 2013. You do the math. So off we go.  About a mile down the road Mrs. Crumly says to turn the air up “just a’lill bit.”  And boy oh boy was  I glad to hear that. Well, I try, but no cold air coming out. Not even cool air. It was warm air, on a very hot, as you can see above  September day 2013. So we just rolled the windows down and kept right on going, all over south Dekalb County, Alabama.  Forget about Miss Daisey, Mrs. Crumly was in the front seat of that car and that was all that mattered that day. Well, as they say, “the rest is history.” Well, I say, read on……..

20140930_184751-001Remember the scrapbook I found when I cleaned out a closet?  It’s filled with all  kinds of articles printed by the Georgia Market Bulletin about wildflowers and a few other medicinal plants.

I don’t think I’ve seen as much Goldenrod as there is this year — it’s everywhere and its beautiful!  When I had a wildflower garden in Georgia I had three different varieties; however, here I only have one.  As we ride along the road I’m almost positive that I see a second variety, but walkers don’t do well plodding around looking for such.  Thanks goodness for memories though of when I traipsed the woods and fields.  We went ahead of bulldozers in the Atlanta area digging wildflowers.  What a pleasure to rescue them and what a pleasure to be able to remember.  The following is Georgia Market Bulletin’s article about Goldenrod.  Don’t miss seeing all the beautiful fall wildflowers — this is really country living.

What is Goldenrod?



The Goldenrod that is blooming now along highways and in fields is an old friend to many of us and annual enemy to hay fever sufferers.  It is doubtful that many people want to have Goldenrod in their flower garden, although it is truly a beautiful autumn flower with rich color and feathery blossoms.

However, according to Mrs. Marjorie J. Dietz, author of Favorite Wildflowers, Goldenrod is not the culprit responsible for hay fever; the villain being Ragweed which usually grows right alongside the lovely Goldenrod.  If Mrs. Dietz is correct, many home gardeners might like to add this clumpy, upright plant to their home landscape for fall color.

Most Goldenrods are sun lovers although some species make pretty patches in open woodlands.  A few, mostly those native to the mountains, are compact enough for rock gardens and retaining-wall use.  Most are best in informal sunny borders in meadows, at the edge of woodlands, along drives, and in short, where nature put them in the first place.


Beautiful Blue Sky and Goldenrod.

The small ray-and-disk flowers are yellow and gold and are packed close together in panicles or racemes. They bloom continually through late summer and fall.  The foliage of these plants varies greatly but most have numerous leaves which are sometimes coarse.

Goldenrod is easy to grow and will tolerate the poorest of soil.  The flowers are especially long-lasting.  Most Goldenrods perfectly fit the description of a weed; a plant out of place.  They self-sow, but seedlings and mature plants are easy to pull up by hand.

The species most common to our area is the Solidago canadensis.  This perennial is native from Newfoundland to Florida.  It needs full sun and is too tall for all but special situations such as along fences of at the edge of woods. Goldenrod is just another part of our country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Time for the Fall Quilt Airing

NOTE: Click each photo to see a larger view.


It’s almost October and at this time of year the quilts need to be aired.  It’s quite a job — totin’ all those beauties to the clothesline where they’ll hang for the day.  Of course, each quilt has a story behind it. (*The quilt in the picture to the left is called Brick Work.  Some lady saved her husband’s tobacco sacks, ripped them open, dyed them and then pieced and quilted a quilt. It’s an example of using whatever was available to make a quilt.  I paid $15 for the quilt a few years ago.) *copied from another blog post

As I hang this string quilt I can look at the many pieces in it and briefly live in the past.  This little piece was from some kitchen curtains.  Oh look at this piece, this was from a dress I made for my mother and here’s a piece from Beth’s first school dress.  I could linger at this quilt for a long time.



Now here’s the Double Wedding Ring — I tried so hard to piece this one, but failed.  I brought the scraps and pattern to a lady here on the mountain and she pieced this difficult quilt on the sewing machine and did a wonderful job.



Clamshell is a beauty and I remember piecing it one winter.  I was gainfully employed at the time, but at night I always managed to put together a few pieces.  I used one row of muslin and one row of printed “shells.”  When I quilted it I walked all drawn over to the side for a time — due to the position I sat in while quilting. I wonder why I enjoy quilting more than piecing — it doesn’t make sense.

I’ll just spread this one out on this lawn chair.  It’s heavy and made from fertilizer sacks.  One time we visited a friend and she was painting –using this quilt for a drop cloth.  John asked what she’d take for it and she priced it at $25.  He just took the money out of his pocket and we rescued the drop cloth.  Black letters still remain on the sacks used for the lining.

This Chicken Quilt is an original — one year I was on the faculty of the Quilt Symposium in Chattanooga and was asked to bring an assembled quilt using an Amish design.  Okay, I pieced some long strips together — different widths and different colors, but all coordinating.  I put the quilt in the frame when I was still Marietta, GA.  John helped me roll it up on the side rails and I hauled it to Chattanooga with the end of the rail sticking out the window of that old Chevrolet.  It was the assignment of the class to come up with a design for the quilting.  As the girls sat around the quilt they discussed different quilting patterns and one lady said one piece was the color of eggs.  With this they designed chicken wire for the border — quilted eggs in the corners with one corner having a hen. In the center of the quilt is a large basket of eggs of various sizes.  I completed the quilting after I returned home, but memories remain.


Dutch Girl

The Dutch Doll is an old pattern from my youth and it is still one of my favorites.  The newest quilt in my collection is what I call the leaf quilt.  The name in the book I used was Autumn Leaves, but leaves used in my appliqued quilt are not autumn leaves — color is not right.  It took me 200 hours to quilt this one.  My quilt frames hang from the ceiling in our den and it’s convenient to sit and quilt while the One I Love Best Watches TV.

This clothesline is not long enough to hold all my quilts at one airing – there’ll have to be another airing soon before the weather turns cold.  Now I need to find some Southernwood to put in the wardrobe where these are stored.  Southernwood is supposed to keep bugs out of the quilts and I used to have it growing in the herb garden, but now there is no herb garden. To stand back and look at the colorful line of quilts is one of the pleasures of county living.DSCN4850-002


Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Theads of Love

Posted on July 22, 2013 by Billie Crumly


Three Caps of Different Colors

Threads of Love is a national organization that makes tiny clothes for pre-mature babies, donating them to hospitals around the nation.  A number of years ago I read about the organization, made a few things and sent them to Louisiana. They thanked me, but told me of the chapter in Birmingham, so now that’s where my caps go, but first let me digress.

I want to tell you how glad I am that you stopped by, but I wish you could have  been here yesterday for lunch.  It was just the two of us, but it was the kind of meal our mothers might have cooked 75 years or so ago — the best of country living.  With another item or two the menu consisted of fresh roas-sneers (corn), fried okra, stuffed peppers and sliced tomatoes — all from our garden.  This might have  been what our mothers would have cooked, but no doubt they would have had fried chicken because by this time of year the fryers would have been the right size for frying.  A good Sunday dinner (in the middle of the day) and good eatin.’



New Cap Under Way

Now back to the subject.  My volunteer job for Threads of Love is knitting caps.  I use a circular needle size 6 and 9? inches long.  I cast on 45 stitches (most of the time); then slip the first stitch cast on over to the other end of the needle beside the last stitch cast on.  I now knit these two stitches together and I’m off and running.  In the picture I’ve knitted one round and the cap is under way. I just knit round and round — this makes a little cap without a seam.  Some times I cast on a few more stitches and a few less — as no two babies heads are exactly the same size.  Some patterns say to knit on all the stitches cast on all the way to the top; however, I shape my caps.  I knit till the cap measures 2 1/2? then knit three stitches and then knit  the next two stitches together for one round.  I continue knitting until the cap measures 3 1/2? and then I decrease by knitting two together and knit two for the round.  At 4 1/2? I knit one and then knit two together after which I run a tapestry needle through all the stitches and finish off.  Ends must be hidden, too.


Cap Near Completion

As you can see I knit different colors and sometimes I make a cap from two colors just for variety –  I try to make some using “boy” colors and some using “girl” colors.  I make one from dark brown that looks just like a little boy to me. I try to remember to pray for the family and baby that wears the cap I’m making.  I find it a real pleasure, as well as a ministry of a sort.

So far this year I’ve sent 86 caps and have seven ready to go now.  Threads of Love can use more volunteers should you be interested — it’s another facet of country living.

Cap made of two colors and knitting needle


Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Remembering Clotheslines 2007

Today there is not a clothesline at the Windy Knoll; however, there was a time when it was a necessity and everybody had one – much like an opinion.  My mother used to complain that her clothesline was always over the wood pile making it difficult, if not impossible to reach – at least in certain areas. One important thing about the old clothesline was the propping stick.  The line would be heavy with clothes or whatever causing it to sag and here’s where the propping stick came into play.  You put that stick at the right location to raise the line up high enough that the clothes wouldn’t touch the ground.  Another important thing about the clothesline was that it had to be wipped off before the wash could be hung.  A dirty wire would make a dirty place on the clothes and that was a no-no.  Clothes pins were an important thing, too.  We made the prettiest clothespin bags.  I have owned several clothespin bags that were worn tied around the waist, but some were made to hang on the line.  It was important to remove the pins from the line and keep them free from mildew, etc.

One could tell a lot about a family from what hung on their clothesline.  People passing by had snide remarks to make about a lady who hung a dingy wash on the line. There was just no excuse for it.  One remedy for making clothes whiter was to leave them hanging on the line over night during the month of May and let the May dew fall on them; however, if proper caution was taken that was not necessary.  White clothes were washed first, boiled in that old black wash pot, rinsed and then hung on the clothesline.  Darker clothes were washed next with work clothes and rags bringing up the rear.  Of course, starch had to be made (from flour and water many times) and certain items were dipped in the starch before hanging out.  On ironing day these items were sprinkled, rolled up and left for a while before ironing – many times they would be sprinkled the night before and left over night before being ironed.  Dresses, shirts, blouses, dresser scarves, pillow cases and tablecloths were “starching” items.

Neighbors had no trouble knowing when company had visited.  The very best sheets and towels were on the clothesline, as well as the fanciest tablecloth.  What manner the clothes were hung was a conversation piece, too.  Many ladies would hang the shirts by the tail; however, I preferred mine to be hung from the shoulder.  I wanted to hang all the shirts together, all the underpants  together and all the towels together, etc.

The clothesline told, too, when the new baby had arrived.  The line would be full of those pretty white diapers, as well tiny clothing.  I loved hanging out diapers.  They were so pretty blowing in the breeze. Of course, in the winter when the diapers were hung outside, the person doing the hanging would freeze as did the clothes. When our youngest was a baby we lived across the street from an elderly lady, who was confined to her bedroom and she could see my clothes hanging on the line.  Many days I would have a wash on the line and run over to visit with her for a minute.  Often she would tell me the clothes were dry and ready to take down – she could tell by the way the clothes were blowing that they were dry.

One could tell by the size of the clothes on the line what ages the children were in the house and how many there were.  Sickness was another thing told by the clothesline.  Washing had to be done daily when a seriously ill person was in the house as sheets, towels and the like couldn’t be allowed to pile up.

When the fertilizer sacks were washed in the spring time, one knew by the clothesline if the lady of the house was able to get the lettering out of the sacks or not.  Those old black letters were almost impossible to get out of the sacks.  We have quilts today where fertilizer sacks were used for the lining and the black lettering is still intact.  Later the manufacturers used blue and red ink for lettering and that washed out much easier.  Feed sacks many times were printed (floral) and the labels on them were paper, but the sack and paper had to be wet before the paper could be pulled (or some times scrapped) off.

In the spring and fall, the clothesline would be hung full of pretty quilts hung out to air.  There is no prettier sight to me than a line full of well made quilts.  I remember one time I was passing by a house with the most colorful line of quilts and being the quilt lover I am, I had to stop to look.  I was so disappointed as I got closer to the quilts – every quilt was made from double knit fabric.  Another of those “looks can be deceiving” times.  To me they were not nearly as pretty up close as they had been from the road.  With quilts on the line, the propping stick was a must because of the weight on the line.

There were other uses for the clothesline, too.  When my mother killed a hen, she would fasten the hen’s feet to the clothesline and cut that old hen’s head off – by hanging her on the line the blood could drain easier.  Hog killing time was another time when the clothesline came in handy.

It’s just as well that we don’t have a clothesline today; with my staggering walk I couldn’t tote a basket of clothes to the line anyway.  And that’s to say nothing about the bringing in of said clothes.  This is just one of the memories of how it used to be with that style of country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Sorry for the delay in new postings.

I apologize for not having any new post up the last few days. I had a death in the family and my sister, mother and myself left Tuesday to go just east of Orlando, Fl.  We returned at 1:00am this morning, Sept. 26th. Yes a very fast trip to be in a car so long.

My aunt that passed away was just like Mrs. Crumly with all the wonderful quilting, garden club and just the pure love of nature. I will share this photo that I made several years ago. She lived high on a hill overlooking a very large lake. She also had a really nice all glass sun room on the front of her home. And this is what she saw every afternoon from her sun room filled with many different plants.  l_946cdaf533a4b8cff01329181be436d4

I will be writing about my trip as soon as I can get over my trip. Anyone with MS or any other disability will understand that. I do thank God for being able to make the trip and visit with family we don’t get to see as often as we would like.

I ask, again, to please be patient with us and I will do my best to keep new post up at least every couple days.

Thank you,

Russ Austin

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Fall Outing for Apples ….

The-Orchard-Sign1-301What a beautiful day in September for a nice drive to the mountains.  The destination was to be Crow Mountain Orchards and when I was asked John Crumly about how to get there, he could not remember as the last time they went to Crow Mountain was quite a while ago and Billie Crumly was always the navigator wherever they went.  So many jokes are made about females not being able to read a map or know anything about direction but for this Crumly family it was the female that was always giving the directions.  When Daddy and I were talking we discovered that he travels by landmarks and “the lay of the land” rather than knowing the road names.  IMG950864I thought that Crow Mountain would have been north and sure enough it was.  I went to the trusty “Google” and found Crow Mountain Orchards.  I called the number was shown and asked if they had “Mutsu” apples and sure enough they had the variety in question.  Now, I tell you, I don’t have a clue when mother and daddy first discovered this “Mutsu” variety of apple but that is the one that they had used and searched for during my memory.  IMG950858-001In years while in Georgia they would travel to Ellijay, Georgia, to buy apples and even in early years once they had moved to the Windy Knoll.  But as age seems to make traveling more difficult they sought out a closer destination and that became Crow Mountain Orchards.  As I mentioned the internet, I have to once again, hear mother saying of Google, “How does it know all that?”  But to my pleasure, it knew not only the phone number but at the click of the mouse gave me directions to the orchards.  After finding the directions it also indicated that it would take just over an hour from the Windy Knoll.

IMG950865-001You have heard in the past that this household starts early.  John Crumly is normally up by 6:00 a.m.  and today he did not even have to fix his customary bowl of cereal.  I had done my daughterly duty and scooted down to Krispy Kreme to get him a dozen doughnuts.  I also got a dozen for Brad hoping that his taste for sweets would soon return.  Now, when I took those two dozen doughnuts from the lady in the drive thru, and felt that they were HOT.  I just could not resist opening the box and using a napkin to gather up a doughnut to eat while I was driving.  Let me tell you, that was the best doughnut.  I had not had lunch and it was so hot it didn’t even want to hold shape and was almost burning my finger.  The second one that I reached for while I was driving even broke apart and I just could not leave a damage doughnut in the box for Brad.  I am thoughtful like that, so I finished that second doughnut.  Did I say my Daddy likes sweets?  Well, I guess I am my daddy’s daughter.

But we were on the way to Crow Mountain.  We journey to highway 35 and turned to go down the mountain. It is a very nice four lane highway with little traffic in the area as we were going down the mountain.  You talk about breath-taking view.  I am not sure I have ever be across the Tennessee River but I was totally awed by the expanse of the Tennessee River and how it has carved out its path between the two mountains.  There was simply no place for me to stop and take a picture but I found this on the internet.   It does show the nice new bridge that we crossed going to Crow Mountain and we returned across the old bridge.  Daddy said the locals did not want them to tear down the old bridge and it is a nice old bridge.  We just don’t build things like in the past and that is to be expected but it seems we also have learned that the past is also a treasure.

So we continued on and there was one of those signs which let you know there are going to be some curves in the road ahead.   Well yes, this is exactly what we were seeing.  Many curves and thought for sure as we kept motoring, now up the mountain, that I would run the battery down blowing the horn at my own tail lights.  Met one lady in a pickup truck while going around a switchback curve, as my sweetie calls them, and almost had to hold my breath.  Seems the wind is blowing more here than I remember it blowing at home in Acworth, GA.  Daddy even asked as we started to leave the Windy Knoll, if I had a jacket to wear and he already had high lightweight jacket on.  I got my windbreaker out of the car and put it in his car but thought to myself, as warm as I am, I just don’t think I will need a jacket.  He is always much cooler than I am.  I remember mother talking that when I was coming she would tell daddy that he would have to cut the heat down or he would burn Donna up.

Along the way we saw some of the cornfields where the corn had dried and it was ready for harvesting and again I could not find a place on this little two-lane road to pull over without someone immediately following me and make a picture.  Even the dried corn in the field is a pretty sight.  I did stop at a church and make a picture of a combine (I think that is what it is called) and it is parked in a cornfield which has already been harvested.  IMG950867   We were talking about the equipment and Daddy said its cost was probably over $100k.  Again I went to google for help and found some used ones for sale and one 2002 had a starting bid of $53k.  Farming is not an inexpensive occupation, in case you wanted to know.

As we made our way we finally saw the sign that pointed the way to the desired orchards.  How pretty the apples are hanging full on the trees. IMG950860-001  IMG950862-001  Then look at the big crate full of red apples. Yum! Yum!  Daddy, of course, is searching out the Mutsu and finds just what he was looking for.  They are certainly not inexpensive but I have read in this blog many times that the Crumlys likes expensive food.  So what, as long as the bills are paid, why not eat what they wish.  I can just imagine mother making an apple cake and Daddy and I have talked about her candy apples.  Not what one usually thinks of candied apples!    Mother would peal the apples, cut them in half and core them.  In a pot mix two times as much sugar as water, add a few drops red (or color of your choice) food coloring and put apples in one layer at a time (turning once) and cook until they fork tender.  After all the apples are cooked, boil the sweetened water until it begins to thicken and pour over the fruit.  Enjoy!  No picture of these so you can send me a copy of yours when you try this recipe.

We each got a free cup of apple cider.  Yum!  That was enough for each of us.  Then we had a taste of an apple we had never heard of called “Pippin.”  Wish you could have seen our faces.  Tart does not really describe it well enough.  I ate two bites of one slice and threw the remainder away.  Daddy ate his in its entirety but would not taste anything else after that one did him in.  I saw another that I thought looked nice called “JonathanGold” and I tried it.  I liked it and thought it had a nice sweet/tart taste and ended up buying a small bag of these.  Once we had completed the apple shopping and paying our bill it was time to start back down the mountain.  IMG950857-001Driving down the snakelike road was more difficult on the drive down and I even put the car in 2nd gear to hold it back a little.  I did notice that the gas mileage was much better on the way down.  Well, DUH!  Never had to give it gas as I could coast the entire way down.

So we made it down and it was getting time for lunch.  Daddy had eaten the two doughnuts earlier in the morning but yours truly had nothing at all and I was getting ready for something in my tummy.  I did not take time to set the MapQuest on the way back, as I was sure I would recognize the way.  Well, neigh not so.  We took a different way back and daddy said he thought they came through a larger city when they had come before.  Oh well, we had a pleasant drive and then we found some highway numbers that I recognized and on South we traveled.  I saw an area that looked to have some restaurants and again I was off in a different direction and found one of Dad’s favorites, Western Sizzlin.  Look at this plate full of food. IMG950863-002 One would think I had never had a meal in the past week.   We both commented that we had eaten too much.  I told Dad that we would stop and wash the car and we drove the dusty car through.  Dirt roads do make for lots of dust.  We also vacuumed it quite well.  I think cars should be washed every couple of months whether they need it or not.  We made it home and daddy commented that the day was about over.  I said, “Why Daddy, we are just getting started, it is only 1:15 p.m.”

Curvy roads, apple orchards, dusty roads, overeating are just some of the benefits of country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Remember when ….

Writer: Donna Crumly Harvey

As I was cleaning up my email today I found one entitled “When…”   This got me to thinking about the whens in my life.  I don’t think I am old but my sweetie seems to be reminding me that we are getting older.  Yes the number seems to be getting much larger than I can truly believe.  I am from the vintage of the original baby boomers but toward the end of the year.  In fact, I am still almost 2 months away from another fateful day.   I can remember when we had obtained our first little black and white television and we kids in the neighborhood would gather around, at least for a little while, and watch the TV test pattern.  I had to look this up and as with all things I “googled it” and found something called and Indian-head test pattern.  1For the life of me, I do not remember this having an Indian head in it but perhaps it always had one.    Now as I look at it everything else seems to be in the correct place but as a child, I did not pay particular attention to all the numbers and pieces.   The Wiki article said it has been developed in 1939 by RCA of Harrison, New Jersey.  It went on to say that experienced engineers could take a quick look at the Indian head and tell if there were certain adjustments that needed to be made to equipment to create a better picture for all.  Today the television stations transmit around the clock and no matter what time, one can always find something to make noise even if it is just a paid advertisement.  As I remember the stations would sign off around midnight and this little girl was seldom up at midnight.  The station would then sign back on around 6 AM time frame.  Can you imagine teenagers in 2014 not having a TV to watch or something to entertain after midnight?  Seems we did not have a lot of things that we have today.

Do you remember what an ice cube tray is?  Well if you do, you are close to my age too.  This is the kind that I think I liked best.    I found an image on internet of it the innards and then a tray full of ice and one with it unopened.    2I also found on the internet (yes, you just gotta love it) and it was on Amazon (Thank you Amazon for the faithful service) that there were vintage ice cube trays for sale.  Saw one for $27.77.  Can you image what Billie Crumly would say if she could even think of me considering purchasing an old ice cube tray for almost thirty dollars.  I can just hear her saying, “Why, the very idea of such a thing.  When we bought the old refrigerator, it came with several of those ice cube trays included.  We used them and finally the handle would break or some of the dividers would get bent or broken.  Just wonder what has happened to those trays over the years.  You know daddy would have a hissey fit if he had to spend that kind of money on an ice cube tray.”  Yes, you can hear her too.  And she is talking about John Crumly, the same man who will save plastic gallon milk jugs and freeze water in them and crack the ice to put in an ice cream freezer rather than buying ice.  He is just very frugal, or I think mother always said “tight” with his money.  The more modern ice cube trays are plastic and I just a little while ago bought a couple at the grocery store to keep on hand.  Today the kids have always had an ice maker and I love mine too.  We just press a lever on the front with a glass and the ice drops right in the glass, if you are holding  the glass in the proper location, or it can hit the floor very easily and scoot somewhere out of sight.  Now I am so bad about filling my glass with ice and turning and talking to someone and all the while it continues and starts dropping numerous cubes (and they are not cubes anymore but half circles of ice) on the floor.  Now that the fact that they are not cubes, why do we continue to call them cubes?  Why don’t we call them semi-circles of ice?  Oh my dear, please fill my glass with ice semi-circles?  That really doesn’t make sense in conversation I guess.  You see just how my brain seems to work.  But again I searched plastic ice trays on the internet and found that they come in colors and there are some that can made mimi-cubes and some would even make circles no, I stand corrected, spheres of ice and there were even star shaped reusable ice cubes.  Not sure that would work for us as you have read the articles about the Crumly fall-out shelter.

This is one of the very first set of photos I made of Mrs. Crumly. She is checking the "fallout shelter" to see what may fall out. photo by Russ Austin

This is one of the very first set of photos I made of Mrs. Crumly. She is checking the “fall-out shelter” to see what may, well, fall out. photo by Russ Austin

She would be so proud and I did not make a picture but I chose two shelves and cleaned out those two shelves in her fallout shelter this weekend.  Washed the glass shelves and put the articles back in there nicely stacked as possible.  When a plastic bag has frozen in a contorted shape, it really does not stack nicely.  The is another time when in a hurry, one of us, and I am as guilty as anyone, just find a spot and put the article in there with little thought to organization.  I got all Daddy’s ice cream nicely ordered and said to him, “You, can recognize the ice cream, can’t you?”  Knowing full well he knew ice cream better than anything else in there.  I found a plastic bag of something and asked him what it was.  We just could not tell from looking through the plastic.  He unzipped the bag and cut a piece of it out and lo and behold, we discovered that it was peaches which had been sliced and place in there.  I found an old Sharpie permanent marker (and thank you to the maker of this object) and labeled the items in question so we would at least know what we were looking at when we go through this again.  I found a gallon bag of his large green figs, which are so nice and round, and delicious for sure!  Back to this story, I was going to bring the figs home with me and Daddy said all he had to do was take them out of the bag and let it haw and eat it.  I asked if he would do that and I never got an answer but he just said to put the bag back in the freezer. Oh well, just another bag of stuff in the fallout shelter.

3We are not going to get any figs from the bush/tree this year as we had such a bad winter that the plants froze to ground level and they have had to put back out from the roots.  Thank goodness God gave them protection below the ground and they have come back.  This is the time of year when we should be able to stand for endless amounts of time and just gorge ourselves on the wonderful fruit.  4Daddy has one turkey fig bush which gives the best figs that are normal fig shaped and bright red in the centers.  There are some figs on the bush but not sure if they will mature soon enough.  I will have to check them next weekend when I am over.

Garden Spider

Garden Spider or “zig zag spider”

Also a spider has built a nest in the turkey fig bush and I have always called it a zig-zag spider and I don’t think they bother people but how beautiful God’s creature has created the web.   Now I see another item that I haven’t talked about.  Do you remember the time when we had to use corn cobs rather than toilet paper?  Looks like we need to replenish our red cobs and maybe the white in this current magazine rack which John Crumly made.  It rest in the powder room of the restroom on the sun porch at the Windy Knoll.6

Do you know how many corn cobs it takes for one restroom visit?  You don’t,  well I’ll swanny.  Of course, it take three (3), two (2) red ones and one (1) white one.  First you need to use the one of the red ones,  then you just reach up and get the white one and it will let you know if you need to use the other red one.  Figs, Spiders, Cleaning Refrigerator and corn cobs, these too are another part of country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now


Not that anyone at all will care about this, but some things are so strange that I just have to tell you about them.

Mark’s and my anniversary is August 26.  We share this anniversary date with a McDaniel cousin and his wife and our CPA and his wife, who was a student teacher of mine.  This year was the BIG 20 for Mark and me.  We are content and doing well.  We love each other and are happily motoring bill gravestonetoward retirement.  But our anniversary in 2008, 6 years ago (#14) was the date that Mark’s father died.  It was early in the morning when Mark’s sister called to let us know that Bill had passed away.  Okay, a death on our anniversary?  Can we ever have a happy anniversary again?  Well, yes we do!  I must say that this date is memorable for us and we won’t forget (as we both are prone to do) the date his father died.

Fast forward to June 22, 2014.  Mother passed away.  I don’t think that I will ever forget that date.  But Mother was true to form in making events even more memorable than one could think possible.  She died on what would have been the 40th anniversary with my first husband, Gary.  Uncanny?  Coincidence?  Divine planning?  Who knows!  But how often has this happened?

Some of you know that Donna and I share a birthday.  I was her birthday present, one she can’t send back, when she was eight.  Again Mother made an event even more special!

Strange happenings in this example of country living!

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

A Shopping Trip to the Mall

As Saturdays go, mine are usually cleaning and studying.  Now that fall is here I have to fit in football.  As many of you know, I am a UGA fan.  GO DAWGS!  Well, Saturday was not a highlight, but they are my team none the less!

I like to get my errands out of the way early.  Like Mother, I want to get to the store before the crowds and get home.  I do love my home time!  Well, Saturday was a day for a dreaded trip to the mall.  Many of my friends just love to shop.  They browse and caress the items on the racks.  They try on this and that, just to see what they think they might like.  Not me!  I have a picture of what I want in mind, locate that article, try it on, pay and leave.  Shopping is NOT one of my greatest pleasures, especially when it is clothing for me.

Since I have lost my weight, I have found that clothes shopping is not quite the chore it used to be.  I just love to have a new outfit every month or so and this was one of the things I would be hunting on this Saturday.  I happen to have, what I refer to as a linebacker figure.  I have a broad back but narrow hips and the misfortune (?) of the noa$$atall syndrome.  I will leave it at that.  One of the designers which fit me well is Jones New York.  This designer’s garments tend to be trim through the hips and fit me nicely.  I love Jones New York.

My husband wanted some new sheets.  He despises when the fitted sheet pops off during the night, causing his feet to get all tangled and he fights the cover the rest of the night.  I must admit that he and I have very different sleeping habits and rising habits.  I like to get to bed early and play the TV all night long.  I long for cool air and warm covers.  He, being part orangutan, is perpetually hot!  He wants dead quiet and a fan blowing.  He sleeps in and the smallest noise wakes him.  I rise EARLY and now have to leave the house just as he is getting up.  So, the best fit for us for sleeping is separate rooms.  Several years ago, he bought himself a new mattress without me being there.  Now I have no problem with the money spent, but he bought a mattress that is about 2 miles deep!  Sheets are hard to find that will stay and he did not have any that would stay put.  Hence, another item for the shopping list.

So, off I go to Stonecrest Mall, destination – Macy’s.  MacysI  knew they carried Jones New York and that they have an excellent linens department.Stonecrest

jones new yorkFirst stop – women’s clothing.  I walked and looked at the signs.  I walked some more.  I must have covered the downstairs of the department store twice before I got wise and asked a saleslady where the Jones New York collection was located.  ”We no longer carry Jones at this location, ” was the reply which I received.  UGH!  I was disappointed.  I wanted a new black skirt and maybe a pair of black slacks.  I thanked her and walked away to pout.  No new outfit for me on this day.  Oh well!

Next stop – linens.  I love pretty linens – sheets, bedspreads, towels, kitchen towels, and the like.  I walked and looked and dreamed and finally found the sheets which I thought I could not live without.  Checking the price tag, I quickly changed my mind!  Who in their right mind would pay $300.oo for two sheets and two pillowcases?  Certainly not me.  I continue my search.  The saleslady came to my aid.  I explained my problem of the extra deep mattress – 16″ and she had just the ticket!  The DaMask collection are made to accommodate mattresses up to 18″ and then they have an extra deep line that would fit mattresses up to 21″ deep.  The colors ran from jewel tones to dusky pastels.  The jewel tones are new for them this year.  I got a pale, dusky green for Mark and a cinnamon color for me (my mattress is a Sleep Number and I love it!)  I got both of these sets and extra pillowcases of both colors for well under the price mentioned earlier.damask sheets

So as I left the department, I passed the towels.  I dreamed of purchasing a closet full of new towels as ours are getting well up in years!  They still work, but they are getting a bit ratty.  ”Maybe another day,” I lamented.

I had one more stop at the Best Buy to make a return.  Now I had my receipt in hand but was beyond their 15 day return policy.  They would take it back but I would get a store credit instead of the refund.  Just dandy!  Mark and I are the worst about using this type of credit.  I did not want that so the very polite, young man suggested that I shop for a few minutes and just “trade” the unnecessary part in.  Okay, this should be easy.  So, off I go, wondering with money to burn!  Well, I best buymust admit that I left with more items than the credit was worth.  But, we will enjoy the movies which I purchased.

I waited for Mark to get home to try out the new sheets.  I left them in the package so that he could have the pleasure of pulling them out.  He liked the color and remarked that he hoped these would stay put.  Making the bed was a joy on this occasion.  All the other sheets for his mountain of a mattress was like stuffing a size 14 behind into a size 8 pair of jeans.  You would need a crowbar!  I had struggled many times to get his sheets on the bed.  Not today.  This was so easy.  The new sheets, I think the tread count was 650, felt so soft and sleek!  And new sheets smell good to me.  I am happy to report that the new purchase was a big hit!  The fitted sheet installed easily and stayed put all night long!

Taking care of a spouse’s needs and wants are all a part of my variety of country living.

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