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.

Happy Birthday Daddy…90

Let me say that I am sorry that I have been absent from this blog for so very long.  Life, being a teacher and a student, and everything else has gotten in the way.  Thank you faithful readers!  Thanks to Russ Austin and my sister Donna, who have both worked to keep the blog going.  Mother said, “Just let that thing go!” But she did not mean it.  She was thinking of us and the time required to do the job as she would have had it.  Let me tell you that since her death the numbers have climbed amazingly fast.  I know that if she is aware and able, she is turning cartwheels.

Today is Daddy’s 90th birthday!  If you are able send him a card to the P.O. Box or give him a phone call.  I was there this weekend and two very dear friends (one also family) paid tribute to him. One with lunch at his favorite eatery and the other with a fresh baked pecan pie.  Did you remember that he loved sweets?  DSCN0176-001

I baked his traditional Yummy Nummy birthday cake, complete with a double making of cooked chocolate icing.  This recipe came from my first husband’s aunt (Louise) who lived just outside Childersburg, AL.  (I found Harpersville, AL while I was typing the recipe)  Her husband was a deputy sheriff in the county just north of Childerburg but I cannot remember what there actual town or that county is (was?).  I think his name was Cecil!  Last name was Nummy.  This cake quickly became Daddy’s favorite and Mother always had it for him on his birthday and at Christmas.  It is not difficult, but does take some time to complete.  Patience is also needed as the cooked chocolate cools and the you have to be speedy to get the cake iced before it hardens too much.  Mine always runs off.  I suppose that I don’t have the patience to wait until it cools enough.

Such was surely the case on Saturday.  I baked the layers prior to driving to Fort Payne for our luncheon appointment.  Thanks to C (Celestine) and her husband John for our lunch at the Western Sizzlin’.  I am so glad I did.  While we were driving I casually mentioned to Daddy that I did not have my normal vitamins and one prescription drug with me on this trip.  He wanted to turn around right then and me leave to go home to the drugs.  I told him that I would be fine!  He said that he wanted me to get back to the farm as quickly as possible and then leave.  He settled for “after we get your birthday cake iced.”

So I was pushed to hurry!  The cake is done, ugly, but delicious.  This cake is never pretty in the cake plate!  It is wonderful in your mouth.  Enjoy the recipe.

IMG_1750

Yummy Nummy

2 cups sugar
1 cup Crisco
4 or 5 eggs (depending on size) 4 extra large, 5 large
2 1/2 cup plain flour – sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking poter sifted into flour
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons Buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda mixed into the milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar and Crisco.  Add 1 egg at a time.  Add flour and milk mixtures alternating.  Begin and end with flour.  Add Vanilla

Bake at 325 until the layers are golden brown and “toothpick” done.

Yummy Nummy Never Fail Cooked Chocolate Icing (single making)

2 cups sugar
2 squares baker’s chocolate
1 stick oleo or butter
1/2 cup buttermilk

Combine all ingredients.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Begin timer when the mixture achieves a rolling or hard boil.  Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla as the icing is cooling.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Aunt Bill Rambles

Well we’ens wuz out and about tother day when I see’d this sign — I thought it rung a bell, but couldn’t rec-ollect just how that was.  After I had studied about it a while, I axed John if he know’d about fiddle worms.  Well, of course, he said yow he did and we talked and talked about just that. He said he used to fiddle for worms when he was a kid.

Fiddle Worms for Sale

Fiddle Worms for Sale

I just had to go back to where I’d see’d the sign and do some askin’.  We shore did enjoy it.  This feller and his wife go down on the creek and fiddle for worms jest about ever day and they’ve  got a barrel or two of fiddle worms in the car shed.  I don’t think they call hit a car shed — maybe a car porch or sompin’ like that.

Now John said he used to take a short board, sharpen one end and drive hit in the ground and then take another short board and rub back and forth across the end that’s out of the ground.  This other feller uses a piece of sapling. to stick in the ground and then saws down through hit with a hand saw.  He allowed they pick up worms as far out from the sawing as 20 foot.  His wife said she had the places on the creek named — one is kindergarten and on up to college.  In the college spot they git the biggest worms and in kindergarten they git the babies.  These folks sell worms for thirty cents a piece — can you believe folks’ll buy thirty cent worms to fish with?  Y, the very idee.  I ain’t never heerd’d the beat.

Worms in the Barrel

Worms in the Barrel

I got to looking into this and found out they hold worm fiddlin’ contestes in South Alabama.  One man down in that a-rea’  takes the chain of’n his chain saw and sticks the end of hit down in the ground and cranks it up.  This is all we’ve talked about all the week.  Now ain’t this sompin’ for  country living?

A Make Shift Worm Fiddler

A Make Shift Worm Fiddler

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

A Day in 2010 Without Electricity

PLEASE NOTE: THIS WAS IN 2010. I find it funny, well funny is not the correct word to use, but oh well, funny with how they both grew up without electricity for years. Then when you have had it for so long, I guess you forget how to live without it. I remember these days and nights here at my home without electricity. Not again! I now have a natural gas generator that will turn on in 12 seconds after the power goes off. But then again, that is if it is not another tornado to blow it away also.

To be exact it was twenty-five hours without this wonderful convenience and what a day.  The storms started about dark on Saturday night and grew worse.  When it was confirmed that the tornado was headed for Geraldine around ten o’clock, I called our good friends who live in downtown Geraldine and they were in bed.  As I understand it, it didn’t take them long at all to hit the floor and get dressed.  Needless to say the power went off at which point John and I each grabbed a flashlight and headed for the basement.  We had little thunder, but the lightning was constant.

We were blessed in that we were not in the direct path of destruction and had no damage.  Now I grew up right here on the Windy Knoll without electricity and fared quite well.  Electricity came to this farm in 1949 and by then I was already married and living elsewhere.  But in those early days, we had never been spoiled with all the modern conveniences and for us it was ordinary living, but no more.

When we got out of bed on Sunday Morning, John began trying to find a way to make a hot cup of coffee – without electricity we have no water.  Finally we decided he could heat bottled water on the grill.  Our grill has a single burner off to one side and that’s how he made coffee.  We always eat cereal in the mornings anyway so that was not a big deal.

One problem we had was when the telephone would ring.  We have five telephones in this house; three of them are portable and won’t work without electricity.  One we could answer was in the basement and the other in our bedroom – too far away to answer.  At midnight on Saturday night John was traipsing (in the rain and dark) to the apartment, located on the side of the barn (this was where we stayed on week ends before John retired) to get an old-timey telephone that works without electricity.  However, it was never plugged in at a convenient location, as we often move from the house to the sun porch.

Our Sunday noon meal was cooked on the grill.  Sausage, grits and eggs make a very palatable meal.

Of course, John had to make a trip to buy batteries for the now empty flashlights. I knitted and a little company in the afternoon helped entertain us briefly, but we had to find the kerosene lamp, clean the globe, trim the wick and see that it had enough oil to give us a glimmer of light for the night.

By dark, my patience had worn very thin and I called a neighbor, who suggested that I doctor the ailment with salve and a Band-Aid because he had heard we wouldn’t have electricity for a week.

Praises be, the bathroom light came on at 11:30.   I whispered a prayer of thanks before I drifted off to sleep in this style of country living.

 

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Sounds Heard in the Country 2006

The gentle breeze moves the leaves of the wild clematis covering our trellis here on the front porch where Sister and I are enjoying twilight together.  Jill must be helping John with the hay moving otherwise she would be here, too –always demanding her share of TLC.  Sister and I are both aware of the various noises around us.  The mockingbirds are busy protecting their nest in the Tri-foliar Orange shrub over by the fence.  The shrub with its many huge thorns seems to be a safe enough place without all the fussing these vocal birds are doing.

Mockingbird

Mockingbird

Our new guineas march by on their way to roost on top of the barn.  It seems the “potrack” noise they make is not the same as I remember from years ago.  The potrack supposedly means it’s going to rain. There has been a change – could it be me?  Sister sits erect as she listens to the barking of a dog in the distance.

Guineas

Guineas

The whir of traffic on Hwy 227 is evident as busy people hurry on their way.  I find myself wondering about the occupants of the vehicles – what are their concerns, joys and/or problems?  As I grow older, I’m more and more aware that no man escapes the sorrows of life. . . “It rains on the just and the unjust.”

A passing car here on our dirt road brings me back to reality – the grayish dust boils up as the wheels turn in the loose soil of Sand Mountain.  When my son-in-law visits, his car raises no dust; of course, I could walk as fast as he drives on this old dirt road.  This man protects his car!  We have to bush off our shoes before we get in.  When we are with him at a fast-food place, we have to go in – no eating is done in his car.  Of course, he is looking ahead to trade-in time – wise man!  The cooing of a dove and the lowing of a cow on the Croley farm are a few other sounds of which Sister and I are aware.  Sister has moved closer now and her body language tells me she needs her back scratched.  After a bit I stop, but a nudging of my idle hand urges me on.

Molly, the red cow

Molly, the red cow

Lost in my thoughts, the coughing of a red cow, named Molly, on the other side of the fence causes me to jump.  What treasured moments these spent at dusk.  This is country living.

Baby Coon

Baby Coon

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Christmas – How it used to be.

DSCN5147-001In my growing up years it was a different world than we live in today – maybe you could say the same thing.  Here at the Windy Knoll we were secluded – we could not see another house, we had no car and no electricity.  At one time we did have a telephone and our ring was two shorts and a long.  Of course, it was a party line and there were no secrets.

The tree was put up about two weeks before Christmas and since it was a live tree it started to shed in a hurry.  We walked through the woods during the year keeping an eye out for just the right young cedar tree.  Decorations were sparse and were saved from year to year.  We had a red paper rope or two and a tinsel to drape around the front.  We had Sweet Gum trees in the woods and I would pick up the Sweet Gum balls, dip them in a flour and water mixture and hang them on the tree.  I cannot remember saved ornaments – there were none.  Sometimes I would make a chain from construction paper cut in strips.  John’s family made popcorn garlands.  Now a big problem was the saved icicles.  They were always entangled and what a mess to try to separate.  After much frustration, sometimes I would throw a wad on and you can imagine what a sight that was.

Now for the gift wrapping – sometimes we had a purchased thing or two to wrap (no doubt it had been ordered from the Sears and Roebuck Catalog).  However, my siblings were teenagers when I was born and were out on their own when I could remember.  We had pretty white sacks and made pillow cases embroidered and with maybe crocheted edging.  Another good thing to make was an apron.  Back then items like that were starched and ironed and aprons were worn.  Today we seldom see cooks wearing aprons.  In those days washing was not easy to do and the apron protected the dress front and if you saw company coming you could jerk it off and dust a little with it. DSCN3464-005

Wrapping paper was saved from year to year.  Pretty bows were nonexistent back them and ties were sometimes used using yarn saved from some project of other.  About the only paper was red or green tissue paper and we heated that old smoothing iron in front of the fireplace and tried to press the wrinkles out of the tissue paper.   You can imagine what pretty sight that was.  Boxes, too, were saved items. Even after I was married and lived in Georgia this family had one box that floated around the family — it was a large box from Rich’s Department.  The person who got it knew to take care of it and pass it along to somebody else next year.  One year I got a pretty sheet with pink rickrack on it in the special box.

Memories are so special to have and enjoy with our style of country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

About the Green Thing

NOTE: I just had to laugh when I read this blog. I am not sure if it has been posted before now but wow, Mrs. Crumly told it like it is. Bet that poor o’l boy wished he had never opened his mouth. I love this post and have sit with her many times and we talked about things just like this. Sure do miss that lady…….

There’s all this talk about green – everywhere we go that seems to be the topic of the conversation.  I was in a group the other day where this was being discussed and one young whippersnapper told me my generation had not taken care enough to save our environment!  I quickly responded, “No we didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

DSCN3535-005

moo

Back then we milked our own cow and used the containers over and then later when we moved to town we sat the milk bottles out by the front door to be refilled.  They, too, were used over and over.  We could return drink bottles to the store for a refund and they were used again as well.

No, we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We walked upstairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building.  Nor did we have doors that open when approached.  We walked to the grocery store or church and didn’t climb into a 300 horsepower machine every time we went somewhere.

No, we didn’t have the green thing in my day.

Back then we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind.  We dried clothes on a line, (cold or hot weather) not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts – wind and solar power really did dry the clothes.  Kids wore hand-me-down clothes from their older siblings though not the latest fad and not brand new.

No, we didn’t have the green thing in my day.

The only fan we had in the house when I grew up was a funeral-home fan.  We had no electricity which cost mega-bucks to generate.  Our windows were raised in an attempt to keep cool.

No we didn’t have the green thing in my day.

stove-001When we cooked we toted in stove wood to build a fire and stirred by hand — no electric machine to do everything for us. The milk was lowered in the well to help keep it cool.double-bitted-axe1-235x300

No we didn’t have the green thing in my day.

We didn’t fire up a gasoline burning engine to cut the grass.  We used a push mower than ran on human power.  We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a gym or run on a tread mill which was operated by electricity.

 

No we didn’t have the green thing back in my day.

We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen and my daddy shaved with a straight razor over and over.  Then when I married, my soldier-husband used a razor where the blades could be replaced and had no throw-away kind just because the blade was dull.

No we didn’t have the green thing back in my day.

Back then kids walked to school or rode the school bus instead of turning their mothers into a 24-hour taxi driver.  Anyway, if children were carried to school it was in a buggy or mule drawn wagon.

No we didn’t have the green thing back in my day.

DSCN3452-002When we finally did get electricity here at the Windy Knoll, we had one plug in each room – not an entire bank of plugs to power a dozen appliances.

No we didn’t have the green thing back in my day.

We kept up with our children without cell phones, too, since we didn’t have the green thing back in that day.

It’s sad that the young generation complains about how wasteful my generation has been, but here in my part of the world it was (and still is) definitely country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Gas Prices …

IMG950020-001I (Donna Crumly Harvey) have intended to write an article about gas prices for quite some time now.  You have all heard that both sister and I are keeping the road hot from the Atlanta area to the Windy Knoll.  Daddy keeps saying that he is OK without us coming but we both know that the loneliness is hardest of all for him.  I have also heard him say that it gets harder and harder to tell us bye and see us leave on Sunday afternoon to get back to Atlanta, but we are all adults and know that both sister and I have jobs that we are not to the point of being able to retire.  Beth has been teaching for as long as I can remember with a little time off to work for public companies in other capacities but her heart has always been in the teaching arena.  Beth is wonderful at teaching students how to learn and it doesn’t always show up on their test scores for the year they have been in her class but she has gotten reports from students who have one on in school to tell her that her class helped them more in every class and made all their classes easier and just how much they were thankful for having had her as a teacher.   Her I go again, chasing rabbits.  But the reality is that gas prices seem to have no rhyme nor reason to them.

In the area where I travel I currently see gas prices at $3.39 for regular and heaven only knows what the other octanes and diesel prices are.  I have made a number of pictures over some months of various stations.  Now what we have come to understand and told my friend as they came to the funeral in June to not buy gas until they get to Alabama.  Just last trip I made I asked my sweetie to put the 4 gallons of gas from the lawnmower shed in my car and put the empty 5 gallon can in my trunk so I could make it to the Grub Mart in Centre, Alabama.  This is the bathroom stop for me (I have been told I have a squirrel sized bladder, teeheehee) and I put fuel in the car.  I can set the monitor to tell me how many miles to empty and on that trip I was really sweating to determine if I would be pushed into calling AAA and boy oh boy would my love have harassed me about running out of gas, but the Lord was riding with me on that trip and I was able to make it to Grub Mart.  Most time the price is best here in Centre and it is usually the same price at Walmart or Grub Mart and for me it is just easier to pull in the Grub Mart.  I think I do have one price her that I took the last time we were in Hawaii and the gas price was over $4.00.  Cannot imagine living with those prices all the time.  I can remember when I was just out of the house with my own car that gas prices were $0.25 per gallon.  Those were the days and we just did not know it.

I have been amazed as I talk with people about gas  prices, just how many people do not even watch what the gas prices are.  It is strange that one station just across the street from another can have different prices.  One of my friends said she just bought gas where it was convenient for her and did not care about the price.  I was totally shocked as I would prefer to have the difference in price in my pocket rather than someone else’s.  It may just be one penny but I don’t ever just purchase one gallon and then I have to buy at least one tank of gas every week and sometimes more.  I have even been lecturing my sweetie about his lead foot and running the truck oft times with the RPMs over 2000.  If you don’t know this is going to use gas much faster and lower your gas mileage and increase your fuel consumption.  Do you think I might sound a bit like John Crumly?  Well, Kemosabi, you are right!  I even have been checking my gas mileage on my trips back and forth to Windy Knoll and discover that I get better mileage on my way home.

Back to Grub Mart on my last trip over I found the gas to be at $2.98 and I got very excited.  This trip purchased at $3.07 at my Centre station and then when I got to the Gap at the top of Sand Mountain, just after climbing the long hill coming from Collinsville where the price was $3.04.  I was so disappointed that I had wasted $.03 per gallon.  Now I wonder, why in the world I did not check the App “Gas Buddy” before I left Atlanta where gas was $3.39.  So my thinking is saving $0.32 per gallon on 20 gallons of gas, more or less, is $6.40 still in my pocket.  Why in the world are gas prices so much better in Alabama.  I may have a little theory in this one. 

A few years ago when everything was going down and gas prices were dropping, the Georgia legislature passed a law that if gas prices changed a certain percentage that state taxes on the gas would be increased.  This was meant to keep the taxes at a level to maintain our road, but they did not put a stipulation in there that it would only take place if gas prices were in decline.  Therefore, what I think has happened is that the prices kept changing but in an upward direction and every time the percentage is reached the gas tax has been increased so we are in the pickle we are today.  I remember a time when mother and daddy would come to Georgia and wait to buy gas there because gas was always $.10 less there due to us being close to the pipeline and the gas not having to be transported over a great distance.  Now here we are in 2014 and gas prices have moved from $.10 below Alabama to $.32 above Alabama.  The way I figure that is we have moved at least $.42 cents a gallon in taxes over Alabama.  Now I suggest that there is also even in the same area some gouging that is going on although the Governor says he will always address gouging.  I passed one station close to home where the price was $3.29 and then then the others where the price is $3.39.  You tell me what is going on.  Normally independents can have slightly lower prices than some of the major stations.

We were on our little outing to the mountains last week and of course, I was watching gas prices and even have sweetie watching a lot of time.  There is one station where we normally buy gas and I will say outside Maryville, Tennessee, but the mister might say I am wrong there.  Doesn’t really matter but we were again delighted to see that gas price at stations in that area was $2.99.  It is high time that the price of gas fell below $3.00 for a large period of time.  This is just my little ole 2 cents worth!  But this was one of those times where sweetie did not want to stop on Sunday and purchase gas so he chose to pay a little more on Saturday evening there in Townsend.  Life is about choices, isn’t it?

Now I would challenge you to watch the gas prices as you travel on your normal highways and by all means use the Gas Buddy App on your smart phone and help keep everyone knowing what the current price of gas at which stations is trending.  Driving as we have been doing is our form of cross-country living.

NOTE:  National Average: $2.79
National Average a year ago: $3.28
(according to CNN.COM)

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Thanksgiving Long Ago

NOTE: Our first Thanksgiving without Mrs. Crumly. I sure do miss her.

5x7 SOFT DSCN0137Thanksgiving at this house was only just a little different from a regular day.  We usually had some kind of company and dinner was enjoyed in the middle part of the day.  Mother always “dressed” a hen and made chicken and dressing.  I don’t remember the rest of the menu but it was always dressing.  The table would be full as we had preserved enough food the summer before to eat well during the winter.

Some times we played some of the games I mentioned a few days ago, but lots of conversation and laughter filled the day, too.

When night time approached, no matter if it was Thanksgiving, chores had to be done: bringing in wood — stove wood and wood for the fireplace– had to be fetched and it had to be enough to last  ’til after daylight the next morning.  Corn had to be shelled and fed to the chickens and the eggs gathered. Life stock had to fed and watered — we had to draw water for them from the well — and the cow had to be fed and milked.  We called all this “doing the night work”  or “tending to the things.”

I have such a little tolerance for my inability to do what I used to do, but I’m making myself a promise that I’ll be more thankful for what I am able to do.  Doing this blog is one of them and I’m thankful for you who read it.  You count some blessings for which you can be thankful, too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

The Sears and Roebuck Catalog 1991

Sears and Roebuck Catalog – memories bounce out as I sit here and thumb through the pages of the colorful Christmas Wish Book.  At the same time, John is looking at the “big” catalog and grumbling about prices.

Sears is the only place we can find those wonderful coveralls that John wants to live in.  I’ve threatened to bury him in them if I outlive him.  He would like that!  He just declares that they are not sized like they used to be – what really has happened is that since he quit smoking he has added some pounds, and that’s where the sizing difference comes in.  It’s virtually impossible to find short coveralls anywhere else.  It’s equally hard to find a man’s shoe in size seven.  It must be nice to be small!  I, too, have trouble finding clothes, but for altogether different reasons.

When I was growing up here on the Windy Knoll, I remember that at this time of year, we always kept an order going to or coming from Sears.  Sometimes whatever we ordered was the wrong size and had to be returned.  I would wear the Christmas book out thumbing through it and making my list.  Of course, I did not get all that was on the list, but had fun wishing.

We ordered lots of goodies from the catalog- yard goods, scrap bundles (for making quilts), clothing to fit whatever the season – and then there were the school supplies. I remember in the fall, when the new catalog arrived, the first thing I did was to look at the new book satchels.  I always got a new book satchel and after the order was sent off to that Ponce de Leon address in Atlanta, I religiously met the mailman until the order came.  It was most disappointing to unpack and find something ordered did not come, or find that something was not satisfactory and had to be returned.

I shall never forget the fall I was a senior in high school, I ordered enough maroon-colored cordudroy to make a new suit and Mrs. Marvin Elrod in Crossville made it.  She was a wonderful seamstress and I felt so dressed up wearing that outfit.

The mail-order houses were a great help to country people, and I don’t know how we would have made it without them.

Come to think of it, mail order houses (there are a lot more of them now) are still a big business and I enjoy using them.  In fact, I still look forward to receipt of the orders, just as I did years ago.  Instead of just watching for the mailman, now I listen for the sound of that UPS truck. Of course, Jake alerts us to the UPS arrival with his fierce barking.  Our Atlanta daughter sees to it that we stay on lots of mailing lists, as she also enjoys shopping by mail. Guess I passed that tradition on to her.

Shopping by mail — it’s just one of the small pleasures of country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Superstitions 2005

NOTE: The remedies and superstitions written here are not medically proven – so try them at your own risk.

In the days when country doctors were few and far between, folks had to do much of the doctoring themselves and some of these old remedies have been passed down through the generations.  One most popular medicine of precaution was that of sassafras tea.  The roots were dug in the early spring (March, I think), washed, boiled, strained and then the tea was sweetened either with sugar, honey or sorghum.  Drinking of this so-called tea was supposed to remove the winter impurities.

Cough syrup was another home remedy made by many and each family has/had their own favorite.  Ours was equal parts white lightning whiskey, lemon juice and honey.  Even after you stop coughing you might want to “sample” this mixture now and then—using it as a preventative.

Around our house kerosene was kept handy.  Somebody was always being injured in one way or another.  I went barefooted in the summer and sometimes would step on an upturned nail and, of course, kerosene was quickly poured on that wound.  When my daddy would cut himself with a saw or whatever, he used kerosene to treat it with.  Children would oft times stub (we called it stump) their big toe and it was washed with kerosene and a “stall” made from an old worn out sheet or flour sack.  The “stall” was held in place with a string attached to it and then the string was tied around the ankle.  Flour sack pieces were used because they were much softer texture than other kinds of sacks.

Sand Mountain sorghum mixed with a generous amount of baking soda made an excellent remedy for burns.  One time our eldest stood too close to an open fire and her little overall leg caught fire.  John quickly put it out with his bare hand and then mixed up the above mixture and applied it.  She doesn’t have a sign of a scar.

Jewel Weed is a good remedy for poison ivy and supposedly the two plants grow relatively close to each other.  Not so here at the Windy Knoll.  We have the ivy, but no Jewel Weed.  Jewel Weed needs a damp place to grow and there is no such place here – even in a normal year.

Apparently, my daddy could cure asthma.  A Geraldine resident would tell you today about this happening in her family.  Daddy would notch some type stick and when the child outgrew that notch the asthma would be gone.  I’m unsure what kind of wood was used, but as I remember it the stick was Sour Wood.

Supposedly people who have never seen their daddy could cure the Thrush in a baby’s mouth.  Old timers called this malady “thrash” and my sister-in-law was one of those people who had never seen their daddy.  Her father was killed in a ginning accident before she was born.  Ruby had numerous requests to blow in the mouth of afflicted babies in an effort to cure this rash.

Now let me tell you about my problem.  I have a thing-a-ma-doodle on the bottom of my foot (sort of a corn-like thing).  It’s on the ball of the foot, but just below my little toe.  It’s sore and it’s painful.  Various people have looked at it (no doctors) and have called it different things.  One friend calls it a calcium deposit and claims she can get it out.  She scraped bark from a White Oak Tree, boiled it, strained it and I’ve been soaking my foot in it every day or two and she is picking the “calcium” out of there.  It’s much improved, but the process is not complete.

About superstitions – It’s supposed to be bad luck to put black in a quilt and if one pieces a quilt called the Lone Star, she’ll be left a widow.  Now if some lady wants to get rid of her husband, she could try piecing a Lone Star and put black in it.

Another oldie is to hang a dead snake on the fence to make it rain.  Well John plowed up a snake in the garden a few days – it was wrapped around the tines of the tiller before he knew it.  He hung it on the fence, but we don’t know how long it will take it to rain.

Daddy wouldn’t let me sing in bed – said it was bad luck.  If a black cat crosses the road in front of you it’s supposed to be bad luck, too. If a Cardinal pecks at his reflection in the window pane, it’s bad luck.

No doubt the reader of this can recall some old remedies and superstitions of his own from his style of country living

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