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.

Fall Color at The Windy Knoll 2005

The ground here in the yard is brown with fallen Water Oak leaves.  As you turn in our driveway, on the left the Possum Haw is loaded with red berries. The leaves are still intact, but when they drop the Possum Haw will be showy.  Looking to the right, the multi-colored bark of the stately River Birch is worth seeing. The red-stem maple has passed its prime, but still shows color.  Proceeding along the drive, the Gingko tree is ablaze with color – absolutely breathtaking.  It’s a bright yellow and will not last long in this state, but the ground will even be pretty when all the yellow leaves cover it.

Moving along one almost has to linger at the gorgeous rose bush with its late fall blossoms and even a bud or two.  It’s sometimes called Joseph’s Coat, but I believe the scientific name is Rio Sambe. It’s red when in bud and each stage of the bloom is a different color.

Rio Sambe

Rio Sambe


And right beside it is the Red Pineapple Sage still with a few blooms. Now we’re just even with the sun porch — looking off to the right is the Cypress  strutting its color.  The needles are literally orange, just ready to drop, but beautiful .

Soon the pecan tree will drop its leaves and that won’t be beautiful, but as my mother used to say, “where there’s a sweet there’s a bitter.”  Now exiting the car one can see the stunning Mexican Sage – still beautiful even though it’s been in bloom two months.  One variety is five feet tall, has purple blooms with white inside, but the other variety is solid purple and much shorter.

Passing the ramp opening (yes, people who walk with a walker have to have a ramp) one can see the yellow pansies just now coming into their own.  They are cool weather plants, you know.  Walking across the back yard, one can’t help but admire the Muscadine Vine as it changes color and then looking to the other side near the house is Jerusalem Sage – still bright green and then the darker green Rosemary.

Now we’re on the north side of the house with the old fashion pink rose – it’s a pass along plant and I have no idea of the name, but it has a dozen blossoms even at this time of year.  The red maple is just ahead and off to the right is the vegetable garden with the lush green color of the greens and then winter onions with green color all they own.  Yes, I know beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but for me this is some of the best of country living.

Beautiful Sand Mountain

Beautiful Sand Mountain

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Aunt Bill Bakes Tater Pie

NOTE:  Again I am sorry for the delay in new post. We just have a lot going on in each of our lives right now. New post will be up a soon as time permits.  I can remember how Aunt Bill talk the night she called me about these photos. She hated so bad to post the photo of the two finished pies. As you see she used her favorite word “tacky’ to tell how they just did not turn out like they should have. But she was going to post a “NEW” post every morning not matter what.

Well, hit jist seems the right time to cook them tater pies that everybody likes.   Hit ain’t no trouble to make the pie, but I can’t make a crust like my ma used to do.  I know she used plain flour, cause she wouldn’t have self-rising in the house (some pore family down the road used it and she wouldn’t).  Of course, she also used lard and that we ain’t got today — but what else she done I don’t know.  Now adays the recipe will say to chill the dough afore rolling hit out.  Well my ma didn’t chill her’n ’cause she didn’t have no electricity.  These won’t taste like they used to ’cause I go to the store and buy the pie crusts — but . . .

Tater Pie Mixture

Tater Pie Mixture

Sweet Potato Pie — (makes two pies)

3 cups mashed potatoes
3 eggs
3/4 cup sweet milk
1 stick margarine
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp salt

I put the margarine in the hot potatoes and go from there.  Just fling everything together and pour it in the pie shell.  I shore ain’t the best cook in the world, but I do declare these bought shells ain’t as deep as they used to be.  I had to dip some of the mixture outta the shell ’cause they’s too full.  I won’t be found guilty of buying shells for tater pie again.  I guess next time I’ll make a crust the best I can and that way hit won’t run over. These baked at 350 for forty minutes. I had both pies asettin’ on a cookie sheet in the oven fer I know’d they’s gonna run over; and when the cookie sheet got hot hit buckled up some and caused one to run over more.  I’m ashamed to show the picture of ‘em, but they’ll taste good anyway. We’ll call this country cookin’ and country living.


Two Tacky Tater Pies

Two Tacky Tater Pies

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

The Violet Hospital

For some time I’ve had African Violet leaves potted and in the birthing room.  Of course, these leaves put up babies that have to be dealt with.  This morning I opened the operating room and birthing room – the action began.  What a mess!

The Hospital

The Hospital

Our  eldest had brought two patients that really did need some help and this caused yet another problem — pots.  One plant was very overgrown with a very large and old stem  – it had to have a larger pot.  I had a pot that belonged to Daughter, but it had a Christmas Cactus growing in it.  I had a pot I could put the cactus in, but it had a Philodendron growing in it.  John came to the rescue and found a pot I could use for the Philodendron.  That’s where I started — washing pots came into play here, too.  I repotted the Philodendron and Christmas Cactus and then pruned the roots of the overgrown violet and got it in the pot.  Plant # 2 had multiple crowns and it took major surgery.  Here’s where the patience is called on.  This little plant had three crowns and the weak leaves were interlaced and had to worked apart — much like a jigsaw puzzle.  These babies are weak.

Operating Room

Operating Room

Following all this I took my leaves out of their pots and separated the new babies putting them in their own pots.  I have at least two plants in ICU and I’m not sure whether they’ll make it or not, but others show promise.  However, I have them all in the recovery area for close attention.

Clean up is probably the worst job of all and by that time I’m worn out and need a little rest.  I hated to discard all those leaves, but I don’t need more violets — I believe there’s more than 20 here on the sun porch now.  Everybody who visits carries home a violet — if I can talk them into it.

There are still four leaves in the birthing room.  In a few weeks I’ll be going through all this again and I ask myself, “Why?”   Because I enjoy gardening, I suppose — I enjoy having my hands in the soil and then enjoy the fruits of my labor.  This, too, is one of the pleasures of country living.

The Recovery Room

The Recovery Room

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Falcons Fans – Rise Up!

As it would happen, our old truck broke down while I was driving it on this past Saturday.  AAA towed it to the house; Mark and I were going to add water as it had over heated and deliver it to the repair shop, Conyers Imports and Domestic Auto Repair, on Monday afternoon.  Well, the best laid plans often fail!  The water going into the radiator was flowing out the lower radiator hose as fast as the hose could put it in.  Driving it was not an option!

IMG_1479Tuesday morning, AAA towed the car to the shop; I followed in the car. Lee, the most honest shop owner, said that he had expected me yesterday necessitating the telling of my tale of woe.  I told him that the lower radiator hose was the blame.  He retorted that I should quit teaching school and become a mechanic!  All those years serving at Daddy’s side have left me knowing much more than the average female IMG_1480and more than many men.  If this was my daddy’s truck, it would have been fixed under the shade tree on Saturday afternoon, or perhaps, where it came to rest when it broke down.  But this is not the story I wanted to tell.  I come by my wandering off the topic honestly!  Mother frequently digressed, too.

On the way home from Conyers Imports I stopped by Quik Trip to refill my cup with Diet Coke and use their bathroom.  As I pulled in, I saw a car (cross-over type) which was decorated with Atlanta Falcons stuff all over it.  Man, it was a rolling advertisement!  I got close enough to see some player names and spotted Brett Farve (yes he started here in Atlanta) and William Andrews.  I searched quickly for one of the old-time players, Tommy Nobis.  Geez, but he should be in the Football Hall of Fame!  Or at least Mark and I think so.  The fellow driving was friendly looking and I asked him if Nobis was there and that I would be disappointed if he was not.  He gently and warmly grabbed me by the shoulder, turned IMG_1481me around, and guided me to the right rear corner.  There it was!  Tommy Nobis and Mike Kenn!  I was amazed. I also asked if he was employed by the club and he stated that he was.  I was thrilled!

We walked into the store with me asking questions and demonstrating my long-time following of the Falcons.  He said that few people asked if Nobis was there because he was one of the originals.  I said that not many people are as old as I am either.  With a chuckle and smile he went about his business and I went along on mine.  As I was indisposed, I thought about what an idiot I was for not making pictures of his car IMG_1478as it would make a great blog post.  I hurried as much as anyone can in my state.  I exited the necessary room and scanned the store.  He was still there and was tied up with some other people asking questions about his vehicle.  This gave me time to refill my Bubba mug and head to the register.  By now he was in the car and I could see the car start to move.  WHEW!  Another woman walked up and started to talk.

As you can see, I made it!  The thrill of football fits me and my styles of country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

My Earrings Tell the Tale of Me and My Friends

I wish Russ had taken these photographs!  I am not good with the camera, but I try.

I should have written this post last week, but time simply got away from me.  Funny how work, school, study, and home can get in the way of what I want to do.  Better late than never, so here goes nothing.  Let me also apologize to you gentlemen who are readers.  Perhaps you can find a gift idea!  Click on the pictures to enlarge them.  I am putting these in as small as I can because I have more photos than usual.

As a school teacher I am showered with gifts at Christmas.  Seems that I have stocked many cupboards with coffee cups, but I don’t drink coffee and just pass those along to those who would enjoy them.  I tell my students, friends, and family that i love unusual earrings.  Last week I attended a book signing for the Leader in Me initiative and wore a pair of my favorite, student gifts.  I bet I got ten comments on those earrings and thought I would share them you would.


Giraffe Earrings
Kendall and Shannon


Parrot Earrings
Kendall and Shannon


This pair of earrings are approaching 20 years old.  They came from a group of students who are now well on their life’s journey, married, children, college and graduate school!  Kendall and Shannon used to call me “Wittlejohn” and even changed the billboard name identifier which used to hang over my door at Indian Creek Middle School.  I think of these girls and the laughs we had each and every time I don these.  The parrots came in the package, but the giraffes are my favorites.


My Irish beautiesGrace Murphy

My Irish beauties
Grace Murphy

Earrings from the bottom of the EarthWesley Chambers

Earrings from the bottom of the Earth
Wesley Chambers

When every my students travel overseas, I always ask for earrings.  My husband is not a willing flyer, so this limits my opportunities to get to foreign countries.  Two families took the time and money (they would not let me reimburse them!) to purchase these beauties.  The photo does not give either pair justice.  The circular earrings are a rich brown with darker brown center.  The studs (don’t dangle) are a brilliant, glittering emerald green.  I taught two brothers Chambers, but the oldest one, Wesley (my elf), traveled to the farthest point south on the South American continent.  I think this is Cape Froward.  The brown earrings are from there.  I also taught two sisters Murphy.  They had close relative alive in Ireland.  I always grab these emerald beauties on St. Patrick’s Day!  These students, all four of them, were wonderful people and I miss the fellowship with them and their families.  Of course, they are close to mind when I wear these well-traveled earrings.


Fish from ChinatownSan Francisco, CA

Fish from Chinatown
San Francisco, CA

Pineapples from HawaiiGift from Donna

Pineapples from Hawaii
Gift from Donna

My sister used to travel a great deal in her career.  One year she was in San Francisco for a number of months.  She used some frequent flyer miles, got me a ticket and off I went to join her for a visit of about a week.  We had a blast and there are more tales to this trip that she will let me repeat and at least picture which, if I was to post it, would get me in the doghouse!  But when we went to Chinatown, I got these fish.  They are quite heavy and I don’t wear them as much as I would like because they make my lobes hurt.  I do wear them, but I know what awaits me while my earlobes recover.  She also got theses beautiful pineapples in Hawaii.


I have some additional photos.  Read the captions for brief snippets on their stories Memories…where would we be without them. Memories from my time of country living.

I can't bear to tossthese, but I can't locatetheir mates.

I can’t bear to toss
these, but I can’t locate
their mates.

Nutcracker EarringsChristmas Present from Beth Moore

Nutcracker Earrings
Christmas Present from Beth Moore

HummingbirdsPurchased atMount Vernon, VA

Purchased at
Mount Vernon, VA

Mother's diamond studsShe gave them to me ayear or two before shedied. She wanted toknow where they went.

Mother’s diamond studs
She gave them to me a
year or two before she
died. She wanted to
know where they went.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Great Smokey Mountains … Ahhhh. How marvelous!


Ann and Donna

After all the hustle and rushing and constant movement that has gone on with the entire Crumly family since the hip replacement on April 29, 2014, and now we are in October a long weekend to the mountains seemed to be a most refreshing respite to hectic life.  I cannot put my finger on just why life is so hectic anymore.  I remember being a child and even a teenager in the Crumly household and it seemed that life was more relaxed.  I remember sitting under the big oak tree that John and Billie Crumly planted in the backyard of the little three (3) bedroom house in Smyrna, Georgia.  There was time for friends and family to visit and we would sit in lawn chairs under that tree, oft times with someone, primarily daddy, turning a freezer of ice cream.  Ah, the homemade ice cream and the laughter and talking and problem-solving that was handled under that old tree.  But I have moved away from the travel, so let’s go back to the mountains and the Smyrna home will wait for later.


Ronnie (in yellow) and Brad

For the South, the Great Smokey Mountains and Tennessee are a pleasant change to the norms of life.  For this weekend we were going to Townsend, Tennessee, for an outing called Old Timers’ Days.  My sweetheart loves Bluegrass music and I just like all kinds of music.  We like to go with our friends Anne and Ronnie, who first introduced us to the festival.  We go up usually on Thursday and carry our portable chairs.  I do not know who came up with those foldable chairs that fit in a nice bag and have a comfortable strap that let’s them be carried over the shoulder but hallelujah for the creator.  Normally we will place the chairs in the viewing area which is nicely paved.  Oh how I would like to be able to be on the front row but I always ask to go over on Thursday and get negatives from all the others, so we go over on Friday on our way out to breakfast to place our chairs. IMG950882-001 This year we were able to get on the third row which is near the front.  Why does it matter when you are listening to Bluegrass music, you ask?  Oh my, there is so much to see.  When there is a nice song that makes peoples feet start moving the floor will fill up with buck dancers.  IMG950888-001No partner is required and age does not matter.  I am of medium height for a female these nice chairs I described have a large dip in the bottom when I am sitting it mine.  I laugh at our chairs because they were purchased the first year we went to Old Timer’s with Anne and Ronnie.  Can you guess the color chairs that were the only ones we could find in Tennessee?  Oh yes, you were right the first guess, bright orange for the University of Tennessee.  You did know that Tennessee fans are die hard Big Orange folks.  Now funny that this year, University of Georgia and University of Tennessee will be playing their annual football game on Saturday we are in Townsend.  Brad made the statement that I could not wear anything red that day and he was very glad that we did not have University of Georgia chairs.  He is still not quite up to holding his own after the pneumonectomy just five weeks past.  He is doing wonderfully.  We stay at a motel within walking distance to the arena (I use this word loosely as you can see from the pictures).  There is a nice sidewalk to the site of the fun which is about one-half mile.  I was very worried about sweetie walking that distance even with his oxygen so I got the wheeled walked from Aunt Bill’s that has a seat and he would be able to sit when he felt it was necessary to catch up a little.  IMG950877-001Before the surgery, he was instructed to walk 2 miles a day and he was doing 2.5 miles in less than 40 minutes, so you know he is a walker but he had two lungs at that time even with the cancer.  He did great and I had even told him I would walk back and get the truck to pick him up when he was ready to leave.  He would have none of that and walked back but there was one little problem with a large hill that was no problem coming down but going uphill is something different.  So we walked a longer way and up a smaller hill that had less of an incline but it was across the grass.  He was certainly ready to sit down when he got to top of the hill.  He also put the oxygen tank on the walker and did not have to carry it.  The thing weighs about 10 lbs.  We made it back and he was ready to lie down in bed.  Funny that what he has complained about since the surgery has been his back.  He says that is feels like his muscle between his shoulder blade and backbone is in a knot.  But he made it through the bluegrass.IMG950874-001

IMG950885-001On Friday night after we ate an early supper, we went to the seating area and took our seats.  There were jammers all around the grounds who had just brought their fiddles, banjos, bass fiddles, mandolins, guitars and even a dulcimer to join in the jam sessions.  No need for an invitation to join a jam session, just a desire to play the music and these people have grown to love.  I am totally amazed at how the young and old play both the mandolin and the banjo.  I heard an old man say he just strummed the banjo but these folks are using about 3 fingers as best I can tell to play the individual strings on the banjo and I cannot tell how many fingers are picking the strings on the mandolin but I have heard that both are rather difficult to learn to play.

I have to tell about the one young man that truly impressed me so much, I did not even have sense enough to make a picture.  The group was from North Carolina and had come to play.  The older gentleman with white hair said that he had been teaching these two boys for three years.  The banjo player was 16 years old and what a clean cut young man.   But oh that 12 year old young man that was playing the mandolin and making that instrument talk for such.  He cut really cut a rusty on that little mandolin.  Then he put it down and on a different song he was playing the fiddle and making that little instrument sing a different song.  We all talked about how marvelous the young  were.  To really steal the show, when a different group was on stage the young 12 year old got out on the dance floor and was buck dancing.  He had on tennis shoes and was doing a great job when one of the older men (yes white hair) took off his shoes and gave them to the 12 year old and he put those dancing shoes on what a show he did put on.  All the older women were groups around that young man and they were all dancing.  We had hoped he would come back on Saturday night but they must have gone home.IMG950878-001

We went back on Saturday after a trip to Pigeon Forge to begin our Christmas shopping at the outlet mall in Pigeon Forge.  Brad had told both his sweet granddaughters to give him a list of what they wanted for Christmas and a list they did come up with.  A 17 year old and 14 year old certainly know how to make lists of things that they would like to have that they believe granddaddy and grandmother could pick out okay ones.  They were to give sizes and colors and they even had brands listed.  You too may know how that works but we always would rather know and give something that will be used rather than put in a drawer and given to Goodwill.  This gal certainly hates to waste money.  I prefer to know what gifts would be welcome.

You know as I think back, we did not even make a stop at the Krispy Kreme in Pigeon Forge, nor did we make it to the Apple Barn (oh the wonderful food) nor to Huck Finn’s or to my favorite needle shop Dixie Darlin’s.  When Brad’s back started hurting and he said it was time for him to lie down and rest, all bets were off.  I have tried like the dickens to take care of my man.  Have asked him to stay with me another 40 years.  Now at our age, that is probably pushing it but the love-of-my-life is certainly worth it.  So you see a trip to the mountains to hear Bluegrass music is yet another facet of country living.IMG950886-001

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Baby Clothes from Days Gone by

Recently a friend told of a visit from a relative and how the four-month-old baby was dressed. It seems the father was a recent graduate of Yale and a New York native, so this may explain it all.  After all, what does a Yale graduate know about clothing a youngster? This four-month-old had on jeans and his dad refuses to allow him to wear baby clothes. Imagine having to be clothed in those rough clothes at such a young age.  Why the very idea!


Baby Shoe Fastened with a button hook

Of course, this caused me to reflect on how it used to be.  One of the most important items for a young baby in by gone days was a belly band.  Ladies made bands from soft fabric – whether it be a worn out sheet or maybe a flour sack.  It was about three inches wide and long enough to wrap around the tiny stomach.  If I remember correctly the child was to wear a band for six weeks.  This was to allow the navel to heal properly.  I’m told babies no longer wear bands.

Diapers were another big item on the list and in those days they were not disposable.  Instead of calling them diapers, they were called hippins — maybe because they were used around the hips?  I don’t know about that one.  Anyway, these items could be made from flour sacks because of the softness.  Birdseye fabric was the choice fabric for diapers and before our oldest was born I ordered Birdseye from the Sears, Roebuck Catalog to make diapers.  As I recall the fabric was the correct width and all I had to do was cut the diaper off the desired length and hem it.  The size escapes me.  Now remember that folks back then had no washing machines – many did not even have electricity – so washing was not easy to do.  In the summer time some mothers would hang the used and wet diapers on a bush to dry and reuse them.  In the winter time they would hang them across the back of a straight chair in front of the fireplace to dry so they could be reused, too; however, after the second using the diaper became somewhat rank smelling.  To me there was nothing prettier than a line full of pretty white diapers blowing in the wind.  In the winter they would freeze as fast as they were hung out, but then one could tell when they were dry by the way they swung in the breeze.  There was an art to the folding of diapers, but they were folded, stacked and ready for use when they came in off the line.

Gowns, receiving blankets, etc. were made from a soft cotton fabric we called “outing.”  When the baby arrived the washing picked up, as most times when the diaper got wet other wearing apparel was wet, too.  Patterns were available for tiny dresses and gowns.  The receiving blankets were square and simply hemmed around the edge, but most times there would be a blanket stitch done with a different color embroidery thread around the edge.  These items would be made in advance of the birth, of course.  Little dresses, made from batiste,  would have dainty tucks in the bodice and/or maybe embroidered flowers and leaves – sometimes done with soft colors, but many times done with white thread.

baby-bonnet-001Knitted and/or crocheted booties were common back then, too.  Oft times grandmothers, a relative or friend would do this type thing.  Babies worn a tiny homemade sweater called a “sack” which had been knitted or crocheted.  We don’t see that type dress for the babies anymore.  Under shirts were the norm back then, too, because houses were not heated as well as they are today.

Shawls were another knitted and/or crocheted item made especially for the new baby.Of course, it would be blue for the boy and pink for the girl; however, one didn’t know ahead of time what the baby was going to be, so they had to wait for the birth to decide what color to use.  Of course, white would do for either.  In fact, there is a baby due in our extended family – I just may get my crochet hook going soon.

Toddlers all wore what we called “little aprons.”  They were so cute – boys and girls alike wore them and Sis and I made lots and lots.  For the winter the little apron was a long sleeved dress buttoned down the back.  They had Peter Pan collars (round) and the boy’s apron would have a belt that went across the back and buttoned, but the little girls had sashes on their aprons.  Many times the aprons would have two pockets on the front and this was a good place to appliqué a duck, rabbit or something similar.  Appliqué was done in a color and embellished with a different color embroidery thread.  White was the most popular color for the aprons, but many times a tiny check would be used – pink for the girls and blue for the boys.  They would “do up” beautifully.  You don’t know what “do up” means?  That means they were washed, starched and “arned.”  It was much easier to change a diaper on a toddler wearing an apron than it was if they were wearing pants of some kind.

Summer time aprons had short sleeves – straight sleeve for the boys, but puff sleeves for the girls.  I remember a pattern my sister-in-law and I had for the summer and it was cut in sort of a circle and had no sleeves with a simple tie at the neck.  Wish I still had that little dress pattern.

Oh well, my space has long since run out, but this is how I remember days gone by with its style of country living.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Update on the Hydrangea Bed

Well, what a week off from school this is turning out to be.  One might think that I would be resting and relaxing.  But such is not the case.  I had told Mark, the better half, that I would be off this IMG_1475week and that he might want to take a day or two for us to work in the yard.  He did more than that!  Always thrifty with his leave, he took every afternoon off.  He is getting home about 3:00 P.M.  So, I work on graduate school work and long neglected household chores, then work in the yard.  UGH!  But the benefits of all matters are showing up.

Monday was our first day in the yard.  Mark wanted to work in the back, but I prevailed and we headed to the front and the task of beginning the preparation for spring planting of Mother’s beloved hydrangea bushes.  Mark has a new week whacker and with it he purchased a blade attachment.  He is complaining of having a stiff back and I took pity and ran the machine.  It was heavier than I expected!  So, I propped the shaft on my thigh and started clearing.  I worked and then Mark took over.  We used the weed eater until the battery ran out.  I got a break as I walked it in to put the battery on the IMG_1473charger.

Did we stop?  No way!  Hand work is just as good and frequently better.  But it is back-breaking work.  No one in my family is able to squat and keep our balance.  Mark’s mother, even at 91 years young, can squat, flat-footed, and work and work.  I have to stoop over, hence the ache in my back this morning.  But the benefits I see in the bed are well worth the effort.  As we worked a neighbor who walks regularly told us how much better the yard was looking.  I asked her to call an ambulance if she saw us supine in the yard.  She chuckled loudly and asked the number for 9-1-1.  This brought a hardy laugh from all; she continued her walk and we our work.

Lots of the undergrowth is English ivy.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love English ivy, just not in my yard.  It is beautiful in and around trees when someone else has it.  I want my ground clear, save leaves or pine straw.  If you care, look back at the before pictures.  We are by no means finished.  We got about IMG_1474half the bed cleared, but we have to go back to pull ivy vines and roots.  These will sprout if left in the ground.  I have a handy bottle of Round-up ready for the spring!  I will not have this junk in my hydrangea bed.  Mark will also have to dig up some Crape Myrle stumps as well as stumps from unwanted privet hedge.  Then he will get his big tiller to chew up additional roots that will not be gotten by hand.  I am determined that, together, this bed will be a showplace.

Back-breaking work and its rewards are a pain and joy in my brand of country living.

Posted in Gardening

Sweet Potato Casserole


Casserole ready for the first baking.

Now that fall is here I find my cooking has changed.  I told you last week about digging the potatoes and how disappointed we were with the color.  At a produce stand we found the pretty red potatoes and bought a box.  I’ve baked and put in the freezer all I have room for and the rest are spread out on the cool floor of the basement.  So now I can consecrate on making other potato dishes.  Today it’s the sweet potato casserole — this came from John’s sister-in-law who was the best cook you ever saw, but she wouldn’t taste of most things she cooked.  She was a picky eater to say the least.  I would try to get her to taste of something — cheese straws, for instance — after all that was her recipe, but she said, “That wouldn’t feel good in my mouth.”  End of conversation.  If you have a sweet tooth (John does) and like brown sugar, this is the recipe for you.

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups cooked and mashed potatoes
1 cup sugar
2 eggs (I used a double-yoke egg)
1/3 cup milk
Spices of choice  (I used both cinnamon and nutmeg — just sprinkled some in)
Mix and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  (I baked mine 30 minutes and would have liked it better if I had baked at 400 instead of 350.  Even though my oven has been tested and gets the correct degree, it just doesn’t seem to bake like my old one did).


1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour – plain
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup chopped pecans
Mix ingredients together and spread on top — return to the oven and bake 15 more minutes


Casserole after second baking — crusty and sweet


Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Albertville Museum Quilt Display

NOTE: Click each photo to see a larger view.
NOTE: This is a post for the new quilting ladies I met in Clermont, Fl. last week. I will re-post more in the next few days on Mrs. Crumly’s quilts. Enjoyed meeting you all.  Russ Austin

Baltimore-Bride. First Place Winner

A few weeks ago the museum director and a friend came to talk to me about quilts — old quilts.  We had the nicest visit, as you know, quilts are my thing.

The plan is for the museum to have an old quilt display and I was asked to come tell tales, etc. and I was pleased.  Now I heard through the grapevine that I was to do the program!!  I had no idea I was on docket to do a program.  This is what I used to do when I was younger and my program title was “Southern Quilting:  How it Used to Be.”  This was when I could walk without a walker and stand long enough to do a program.  Well, I’ve been told they will give me a seat up front so I can tell a little about how it used to be.  I’m now working on what I’ll say — usually when I pull a quilt out of the bag I can tell stories about it.

Grandmother’s Flower Garden

Grandmother’s Flower Garden

I taught quilting in the Atlanta Metro area for 12 years and there are lots of stories.  Maybe one of the funniest is when my class was drawing to a close.  We met in a large fellowship hall and I asked the ladies to bring a salad and we’d eat together on the last day.  Now the morning of that day arrived and here we all come laden with food.  The kitchen was next door and each lady took her dish and tried to get in the fridge — that is if it needed to be.

When the class was over I was trying to get all my belongings together so I could go home and somebody else put lunch on the table.  What good food and, of course, I tried it all.  One dish I thought was tasty and I kept asking who brought it and nobody answered.  Clean up time came and nobody claimed that dish I had liked so well and it was decided that one lady that had to leave early brought it and I was designated to take the almost empty bowl home with me.

Dresden Plate

Dresden Plate

Here I am all packed up — we had rolled the quilt up (complete with frames) and rolled the windows down on that two door car allowing the frames to stick out on the right side.  I looked a fright as I traveled along like that, but I did it many times.  As I started to back out of my parking spot, somebody yells “wait” and that I did.  It seems the kindergarten teacher had brought the mystery dish.  She put it in the refrigerator ’til she finished her class — it was intended for her friend who had just had a new baby!!  She was very gracious about the mix up stating, “You mean you ate it without baking it.”  Here again, I digress.

The Leaf Quilt

The Leaf Quilt

Albertville Museum is making big plans for this day so if you like quilts — this will be a showing (mostly) of utility quilts from bygone years.  I sent a quilt made of fertilizer sacks and one made from tobacco sacks.  I’m showing quilt pictures here — however, these are not the kind of quilts you’ll see at the museum on the 21st.  See you there — this is the very best part of country living.


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