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.

Ten Commandments Of How To Get Along With People…..


Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Mrs. Billie Lang Crumly Would Have Loved This

I was sent this today on Facebook from a very dear friend, Mrs. Wanda Stewart. I am sorry I do not know where it came from as far as giving credit.

Mrs. Crumly would have loved this and I am sure she could have added 25 more just off the top of her head in 30 seconds. She really had a way of picking these kind of things out.

I am sorry we don’t get a new post here more often. Life has just taken everyone in different paths and it is hard enough just to relax after a full day much less try to do something that in your mind you say, “oh I will do that tomorrow.”

Tomorrow? Let me know please when that gets here.

God bless you all.

Russ Austin


Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Summer’s Heat Calls for Ice Cream

Writer: Donna Crumly Harvey

I almost had this penned and misplaced it.  I hope that even now as it begins to feel like fall you will be able to enjoy this.

Everyone is experiencing very high heat this summer and it seems to me that is has been really prolonged.  My heritage is such that a freezer of ice cream was frequently churned and the Crumly family would only use the hand turned type of freezer.  So many good times have been had around the ice cream churn.  The last one that Mother and Daddy had was a white mountain brand and it did turn out a great freezer of ice cream.  Now to begin the liquid was made in the kitchen and Billie Crumly did not use a recipe that was written but she always could make a great batch of ice cream.  She would keep peaches or strawberries in bags which were unsweetened and used specifically for the ice cream.  I think daddy’s favorite was always the strawberry kind.

Around the first of July our granddaughter was to be in the National Daisy BB Shooting Championship which was held in Rogers, Arkansas.  I would never have thought of going to Rogers for a vacation but we decided that we would make the trip with her and Emmalie was extremely excited that we were going with her.  IMG950014-001We decided that it would be easier on us to fly to Springfield, Missouri, and pick up a rental car and drive just a couple of hours to Rogers, AR.  Little did I know this trip would cause my poor little mind to dwell on something new to me, a frozen custard.  We were told by our son-in-law that one of his acquaintances had told him, while we were in Rogers that we just had to stop at “Andy’s Frozen Custard” and that we did after a couple of days.  Oops!  IMG950011-001Now the memories of Andy’s linger in my taste buds and in my mind.  I have searched the internet for “Andy’s” close to us here in the Atlanta area but to no avail.  The closest will be Nashville but it is only opening in spring of 2016.   I have checked the internet for frozen custard recipes and I have even made one of them with real vanilla bean.  First of all I could not find it in the grocery store and went about asking for location and was taken multiple spots when it was finally located in the spice section and there were two of the long dry beans in the jar and would you believe they cost $8.50.  Billie Crumly would have had a spell but she too would have probably purchased it.  Don’t you remember her saying that they likes expensive foods?  IMG950013-001The custard was cook and I know she did not want to fool with cooked making for ice cream.  It also had five egg yolks, half and half, and whipping cream.  Rich was not the word for it.  Seemed to take a long time to freeze and it was good but we all said that it just was not Andy’s Frozen Custard.  I did have some left and put it in the freezer and it, to me, tasted better when it was frozen harder.  Maybe I just like really frozen ice cream best.

IMG950010-001Anyway, I must say that we loved the Andy’s Frozen Custard.  It was an outside stand and there were benches lining the concrete where customers would walk up to the window and order.  They had something that they call “Concrete’s” and my favorite was the butter pecan concrete.  I chose the small and it was plenty.   Cup seemed to be the size of a nice drinking cup.  IMG950012-001Somehow the butter pecan had a soft butterscotch and then there were added unfrozen pecan halves in the cream.  Wow!  I have wished numerous times that I could run to Andy’s.  Even if there were one in Chattanooga, I think we would make a trip there to get a Frozen Custard.  Ice Cream, Custard and wishes for more are all just part of my City-fied Country Living.


Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Blue Moon in July

Writer: Donna Crumly Harvey

I know I have been quiet for a while but there have just been too many things going on for me to write and many of them would have seemed like airing dirty laundry and I just did not want to do that.  Mother only wanted clean clothes hung on the line to dry so I just sat back and have had a few articles in my bird brain.

But I just could not let this 2015, July, Blue Moon go.  Last night I had gotten up to close the shutter and what was beginning to peak over the pine tree tops into a clearing in the sky but that beautiful Blue Moon.  Oh, now I have you thinking about the color of the moon for sure.  And you may be old enough to hear Elvis singing that magical song with his mesmerizing voice.  That is just OK, just hum to yourself and others won’t even notice.  Now if you are a little less inhibited and simply sing it out loud, you will almost guaranteed of some comments, unless you are alone and then just go for it.  So I will not make you rush out to “Google” Blue Moon as Billie Crumly always wanted to know how it (the internet) knows so much.

The statement “once in a blue moon” is an age old saying and I am sure you have heard it but why did it come about.  All years have a full moon every month which means normally there are 12 full moons in one year but this year we are experiencing 13 full moons.  It is the second full moon that occurs in a month that is called a “blue moon”.   I learned from the internet, of course, that a truly blue colored moon can occur on rare occasions, according to NASA, and it is mostly seen after there is a volcanic eruption.  It further tells me that the moon on Friday, today, July 31, 2015 could be red.  This was news to me but I have very interested in “Blood Moons” since reading John Hagee’s book “Four Blood Moons.”   Anyway, it tell me that Blue moons are very rarely blue.  It simply says that most of them of pale gray and white, resembling a moon on any other night.  Now doesn’t that just make you feel better.  Anyway the reason for me writing about this is because the moon which I saw last night was simply spectacular.  Here is a picture which I took with my little, older, iphone camera and you know that pictures do not come close to the real experience.  IMG950906

The note that I found said to step outside at sunset on July 31 to check out the blue moon, and then if you feel inclined, go ahead and celebrate by doing something you only do “once in a blue moon.”  Now you have an excuse, after all.  This is one more facet of living, be it Country Living or otherwise.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

My Life On The Farm, Inside and Out.

Different flowers picked out of the back yard early this summer.

Different flowers picked out of the back yard early this summer.

(NOTE: Remember to click on each “pitcher” to enlarge.)

Well July is almost over. Seems like it only started last week. I know for me, when the weather turn really hot I had to stay in. This “feels like” temp is just not easy to breath in. As I am sure it is hard for some of you reading this.

Again my mind is just blank as to what I could say to post to  this blog  with interesting words. So again I will share just a few of my new pictures I have taken.

A friend is holding Miss Shucker. I take her just about every where I go.

A friend is holding Miss Shucker. I take her just about every where I go.


Miss Shuckers beautiful color.

My newest pet (almost 4 months) is Miss Shucker. She is green cheek conure parrot. I bought her from a really sweet lady in Chattanooga, Tn. She was born on Good Friday so that is easy for me to remember. I named her Miss Shucker because I have a friend that plays professional baseball for the minor league team the, Biloxi Shuckers.

Miss Sissy Belle keeping an eye on Miss Shucker. (I do not leave them alone)

Miss Sissy Belle keeping an eye on Miss Shucker. (I do not leave them alone)


Mr. Michael Reed.

Just so happened that my friend, Michael Reed, and the Biloxi Shuckers were playing in Chattanooga when I had a doctors appointment and also the set time to pick Miss Shucker up to bring  back to Alabama. Biloxi was known for being the shucker captial for many years but I just can not remember of what.


Miss Sissy Belle

I guess my favorite, and yes I know you are not suppose to have favorites, is my inside baby, Miss Sissy Belle. I had a great aunt named, Miss Belle Austin, so I guess you see I have her name in all my pets just about. No I did not know her as she died a few years before I was born.

I love feeding all the different wild birds that come to my feeders in the winter time, about 12 feeders in all. And I love when the weather turns to spring, the wild sunflower seeds start to grow.  Now all of those are gone with only pictures to hold on to remember.

Now that's the truth.

Now that’s the truth.


I will have to say tho that my favorite part of year is right now. We planted a much larger garden with the help of our sweet friend, Mrs. Ann Troxtel. She needed a bigger place to plant some of the things she needed so we let her use half old garden spot we always had while I was growing up. Mother said, “I just want a few tomatoes and that is all this year.” Well “just a “few” tomatoes turned into about 12 plants, corn, okra, squash, beans and peas. Ann has several rows for herself. So yes, our garden looks just like it did for the first 25 years of my life.


Miss Dolly Belle


It took me about 2 minutes to get into trouble when the garden was first planted. I let my “outside” dog (Miss Dolly) out and boy did she like that fresh cool plowed up dirt. If it was just dirt that would have been OK.  BUT….it was planted. Oh well, not all country dogs get there day in the sun. It’s much better now that everything has grown up. I will have to make a photo of the garden. But I don’t think I will before the post. Maybe next post.


13 week old baby cockatiel I just sold.


Well I don’t think I mentioned my other pets. I have three cockatiels. One poor widowed male. He and his ‘wife’ had a baby and she started laying eggs again to soon and had a heart attack. I was shocked. I just sold the baby.   I also have a pair of cockatiels that I hope begin bonding soon.

Changing gears (as my daddy would say) my older brother, Bobby, has cows on our 140 (+ or – ) acres and I love to just ride the pastures with him. Nothing better than finding a new calf.

Well I think that just about does it for my pets. I love them all and it keeps me going. Something to keep us up and going is always a good thing. Oh I just remembered that is what Mrs. Crumly use to say to me when I would talk about my pets in our 9:30pm phone calls. I can hear it now, “well at least it keeps you up and going.” Yes Mrs. Crumly it does. And that is just another small part of my country living. God bless you all, Russ Austin.  11234807_10155687676065403_4176498779316268680_n



Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Fancy Stitches and Ribbon Embroidery…..June 26, 2013.

Needlework is as much a part of me as breathing.  Maybe it’s in my blood since I’m from a long line of needlework people.  My mother had several sisters and each one of them did some type of needlework.  For a time I owned a crazy quilt top made by my grandmother, but I had a cousin who griped and complained until I gave it to her.  One sister knitted, while another did crochet and my mother tatted.  fancy-stitches

To get on with my story, I have no project going at this time and when I sit in my chair I’m lost.  I absolutely have to come up with something to keep my hands busy.  I knit premature baby caps for a national organization; however, I get tired of doing the same thing.

Crazy quilt work is among my favorites, but getting ready for the fun part is work.  The pieces are put on a base first before the fancy stitching takes place.  I have several books about this kind of work and I can spend hours just browsing through them. One time John and I were in a Marietta, GA quilt store on his birthday and I bought a book on ribbon embroidery for his birthday. Needless to say, he was ecstatic!

In doing this work I try to include as many different kinds of work as I can — see tatting in bottom of the above picture and no crazy quilt is complete without a spider web — that’s a sign of good luck. I’ve had no training in ribbon embroidery, but it is ribbon embroideryabsolutely beautiful when done correctly, but it’s very tedious.  These clips are taken from a table runner, where I included some prize ribbons we’ve won in quilting, as well as flower shows.  I’ve made a crazy quilt for each of our girls.

Our oldest gave me a stitched saying one time that read “When I in Glory stand, a crown perhaps upon my head, but a needle in my hand.”  Its definitely a part of country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Thought You Might Like This


Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Country Living At It’s Best

20150712_180446-002Geraldine is just a small town of about 700 people now I am told and we just held our annual “Picnic In The Park” this past Saturday. Lots of food, games, crafts and great music. The band, Three On A String, was the main event. They always put on a great show. I was unable to attend this year but I sure have enjoyed the last few years just hanging out with the town folk. I did drive by the park to see a large crowd just try’in to stay cool under all the pine trees. It looked to be a very large crowd. I was told by Mr. John that it was a great time by all. Glad he was able to attend. He may not remember everyone (I don’t either) but let me tell ya, they remember him.

DSCN4838-001No matter where you live, you can look up and see the same moon and stars. Maybe not always the same clouds that we do in the country but I am sure you see some that are just as beautiful.  20150715_152643-002

I just wanted to share with you today just some of my new photography. For the first time since 2007 I am a owner of a new Nikon professional camera. I did not make these photos with it but I promise that I will be filling the pages up with the new photos from the new camera very soon.  DSCN4854-002

It is amazing, or not, that a lot of the farms that sale around here seem to be bought by great people from the city.

Oh well just a fast post of my country living in July 2015.

God bless you all,

Russ Austin


NOTE: Remember to click on each “pitcher” to enlarge.  20150715_152838-00320150519_183025-004


Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Still Alive and Staying In The Cool Air


One of two humming birds at Mr. John’s home.

Well a lot has happened since the last  blog post was made. I have had my ups and downs feeling good and not feeling good, as I am sure many of you can say the same thing. I want to share just a few pictures I made at The Windy Knoll yesterday while visiting with Mr. John.

For some reason we just do not have the humming birds around this year like before. We started out with one and then it was gone for weeks, then two then they were gone for weeks. We have two in my yard now and this one in the photo and one other is what is at Mr. John’s place.  DSC_0052-001

I really did not know if this blog was even going to stay active but after talking to Beth yesterday, it will stay active and we will post as much as we can. I know there are many things I could write about and post photos but I just do not feel like this needs to become “my blog.” Plus the real fact is, I am not a writer and do not know how to use (,) and other things. I get lazy and do not want to look up a word so most of the time I just use my “voice texting” on my phone and say the word and let it spell it correctly. DSC_0060-001

Update on Mr. John is he is doing very well.  Of course he is very lonely without Mrs. Crumly and who wouldn’t be. I am lonely without her to visit and have our nightly 9:30pm talks that could lasts anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. Please if you can take just a minute or two, send him a card or a brief phone call. That would make that man so very happy. Or if you live close by, please go by for a short visit.

DSC_0063-001I did have a chance to visit with Beth while she was back at The Windy Knoll yesterday and a great visit with Mr. John. I have just bought (well I guess I should say “charged”) a new professional Nikon camera. First “real” camera I have had since I walked out of my studio in February 2007. DSC_0051-002

I promise to get back to posting again and I do have some new photos I would like to share. THANK YOU all for staying with this blog  and I hope and pray God’s blessings on you all.

Russ Austin

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Hummers are Eating Furiously!

HummerI thought it has been a couple of weeks since I was encouraging all you readers to get up those Hummingbird Feeders but when I looked back it was more than six (6) weeks ago.  Can’t believe time passes by so quickly.  We have had a very strange happening about three (3) weeks back it seemed like the hummers had just stopped coming to the feeder.  Sweetie said to me that we just needed to get to the store and get some of the red hummingbird food because it seems to attract them better.  But I retorted that they had been drinking the 4 parts water to 1 part sugar that I had been making for them.  This continued for about two (2) weeks that we were only seeing one or two of the hummers at the feeder and we even poured out the old food and put in fresh thinking that was the problem.

Nest_SizeSo I started asking about the nesting behavior of the hummers and the gestation period for the eggs.  For me it was off to the trusty, Google, while sweetie got out the book he has had for so very long.  Both seemed to agree that the incubation is done only by the female and usually lasts 16-18 days, unless it is a littler cooler when it takes a little longer.  She typically lays one egg, skips a day and then lays a second with incubation starting after both eggs are laid.  Just reading about the tiny nests and the size of half an English walnut.  I have yet to find a nest but love to examine the pictures others have shared of the nests.  Hummer_Nest

Fedding_Baby_HummerI have not found where it talks about the fledging of the babies but only that they do not leave the nest until they are about the size of the adults, which is still tiny.   We then over the Memorial Day weekend have started seeing more birds. And then last night we were totally amazed that this feeder which has six (6) yellow flowers on it was completely full of hummers eating.  This was late evening and then we continued watching and would you believe those sweet little things were on that feeder until we could barely see them at dark.  All the way through dusk they had continued to feed.

Normally there will be two or three and the hummingbirds are truly territorial and seem to enjoy buzzing each other and causing those who are feeding to fly away and come back at a later time just to buzz the other.  I also noticed that sweetie had almost filled the feeder again.  I asked, “Didn’t you just fill that yesterday?”  He responded that he did but they seemed to be having trouble getting food from the feeder and he had found that it was indeed almost empty and they couldn’t get the food.  He said that once he refilled it they were back again feeding.  Feeder_3

I guess with all this additional activity and it is just the end of May that we are having an early summer.  Normally in July and August the hummingbirds are trying to gain enough weight to be able to make the long trip to their wintering territory.  Now I asked Sweetie, “Do you think that since they are eating so much earlier than normal, we will have an early winter?”  Seems that God let’s his creature know how to handle things long in advance to prepare them for the future and we just saunter along in our day to day worlds.

Nesting_hummerIt will be interesting to hear from some of you as to whether you are experiencing the same occurrences as we are with the hummingbirds.  Have the babies already hatched and they are just having to feed them lots so they can grow.  Oh dear, if the babies are still in the nests what will we do when they fledge and need to feed too.  I will have to search out the old feeder with only 4 flowers and put it somewhere else so they will have plenty to eat.  There is one lady hummer which we have named “Buzzer” because she never sits down on the rest to feed.  I like for them to conserve when they can, at least while they are eating at our feeders.  Some of these little birds are scarcely as large as my little finder and that is pretty small.   Please be sure to comment on your hummingbird behaviors this year.  I am sure you will hear more from me on this topic.  Even though I work full time, I take time when seated to watch these terrific little birds.  This is one wonderful part of Country Living in the City for us.

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