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.

The Broken Dishes Block Is From The 18th Century! Learn How To Make It Here.

NOTE: I saw this on Facebook and thought everyone that is still keeping up with the blog would enjoy this. I know if Mrs. Crumly didn’t know how to do it, she would soon.  :)

One of the great things about quilting is the rich tradition of the art. One of the more historic patterns is the Broken Dishes block, which dates back to the 18th century! In the following tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company, Jenny takes us through the steps to recreate this traditional quilt. Give it a try!

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Withdrawing from being an adult

Writer: Donna Crumly Harvey

ultra_cute_6_year_old_birthday_cake_stickers-r9a6bf636debd4f5eab3ac002a87a5351_vI am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult, in order to accept the responsibilities of a 6 year old. The tax base is lower and we just barely made it through tax day.  Sweetie and I talked about what we had to pay and are totally in awe of this past year with all that we had go on and have both had to face and accept responsibilities without any choice in the matter.  I want to be six again.

I want to go to McDonald’s and think it’s the best place in the world to eat. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make waves with rocks.  I want to stand by a lake and try to skip rocks across the top of the water.  Nice flat rocks and it always made me so jealous when the boys could skip the rocks better than I could.  Sweetie can still do it better than I can even today, at our age.

Colorful M&Ms in BowlI want to think M&Ms are better than money, because you can eat them. I want to play kick-ball during recess.  I have never had a wheel and click but I have heard Daddy talk about making these.  I have never played marbles but Brad has and there is quite a collection of them at the Crumly’s.  There is even a Chinese checker board and I found a little tin box with a note that says “These are the marbles that go with the Chinese checker board.”  The old carom board that I received for Christmas many years ago is  now hanging on the sun porch. CaromBoard

I long for the days when life was simple. When all you knew were your colors, the addition tables & simple nursery rhymes, but it didn’t bother you, because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care.  And by the way, now many of the nursery rhymes do you quote today?  Brad and I are forever saying something from one of the nursery rhymes.  Now I was so smart and Billie Crumly refused to let me say “none” because the country folks would say I ain’t got none she insisted that I say “I haven’t got any!”  I guess it got through to me because I learned “Old Mother Hubbard, went to the cupboard to get her poor dog a bone.  When she got there the cupboard was bare and the poor dog had any.”  And I guess that is similar to me saying the blessing and I would say “God is grape, God is good.  Let us thank him for our food.”  It made perfect sense to me and still does because grape is good and I still like grape flavor.

I want to go to school and have snack time, recess, gym and field trips.  Oh the wonderful filed trips that we took in elementary school.  I remember going to the Atlanta Orchestra with so many other school children who were coming on their buses and hearing the music that they had selected for us.  I guess it was a way for us to be exposed to culture a little.  Today I think the field trips are to Christmas Tree exhibits where kids always have to do something and bring something home.  We did not have money and could not stop and try and buy anything for sure. We were happy just to have the experience.

I want to be happy, because I don’t know what should make me upset. I want to think the world is fair and everyone in it is honest and good and kind.  Today I watch the news of people getting shot in the back by police officers and even an old policeman who thought he was using a Taser and fired his gun at a young man instead.  But if I had ran from a policeman, my behind would have been tanned until it would not hold shucks.  Not only did we have to respect and listen to police officers (and we better not call them cops) but we had to listen an obey any adult which spoke to us.  If I did not, my mother would have known about it before I could got my little self, back home and I would have definitely have had the devil to pay then.

I want to believe that anything is possible.  The sky was the limit and dreaming was a fun pastime.  I well remember laying on a grassy bank and watching the clouds and describing what the shapes of them were and where they were going.

Sometime, while I was maturing, I learned too much. I learned of nuclear weapons, prejudice, starving and abused kids, lies, unhappy marriages, divorces, illness, pain and mortality. I want to be six again.

I want to think that everyone, including myself, will live forever, because I don’t know the concept of death. I want to be oblivious to the complications of life and be overly excited by the little things again.  Just listen to a baby laugh over something so very tiny and the burst of excitement that comes from little folks.  So very glad to see Grandmother and Granddaddy come in.  Special names that they give like “Gran Gran” or Papa or Pap or Mimi.  Sometimes it is names that the older ones choose but sometimes they come up with them all by themselves and that makes the connection even more special.  I refused to be called “Granny” and some of the grand kids would insist on calling me Granny and I would just act like I didn’t hear them.  It was not me they were talking to so why should I bother with any movement on my part.


A great ‘ole western.

I want television to be something I watch for fun, not something used for escape from “the things” I should be doing. I want to live knowing the little things that I find exciting will always make me as happy as when I first learned them. I want to be six again.

I remember not seeing the world as a whole, but rather being aware of only the things that directly concerned me. I want to be naive enough to think that if I’m happy, so is everyone else.

I want to walk down the beach and think only of the sand beneath my feet and the possibility of finding that blue piece of sea glass I’m looking for.

I want to spend my afternoons climbing trees & riding my bike, letting the grownups worry about time, the dentist and how to find the money to fix the old car.

I want to wonder what I’ll do when I grow up and what I’ll be, who I’ll be and not worry about what I’ll do if this doesn’t work out. I want that time back.

I want to use it now as an escape, so that when my computer crashes, or I have a mountain of paperwork, or two depressed friends, or a fight with my spouse, or bittersweet memories of times gone by, or second thoughts about so many things……….

I can travel back and build a snowman, without thinking about anything except whether the snow sticks together and what I can possibly use for the snowman’s mouth.

I want to be six again.  So for this part of country living I have chosen to step back in time.  If you remember these times, you can come play with me and we will play hide and seek.  It is getting where I can hide my own Easter eggs because I don’t remember where I hid them anyway.  Never liked paper dolls but I would love to play cowboys and Indians with you and I can ride my imaginary stead just about anywhere.  This is just a part of country living in today’s world.

If you would like to find other fun things check  this website:

I have embellished some of these statements to blend with me and my current age.

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

First Hummingbird of 2015….Updated

Writer; Donna Crumly Harvey

Feeder_1Ok, my dear birding friend, it is time to get out that hummingbird feeder and clean it up.  I had been saying to my sweetie for a few weeks that we need to get the feeder cleaned and hung because they would be at least beginning their migration.  Yesterday was the day that he said, you fix the food and I’ll hang the feeder.  I tried to get him to find the feeder but that was a no go, so yours truly thought I remembered where I had put the feeder when I took it down last year.  We have had a number of feeders.  When I first moved to this house I bought a little one and used it for a couple of years and then I picked up one at the local Depot store and used it and bought even two more like it.  My complaint with it was the little yellow middles of the flowers would fall out and lawnmower would chew it up and then the bees and yellow jackets would love being fed.  Feeder _2The other thing that I found to be happening was after the babies had flown and were trying to fatten up for the long flight south in the fall, we would have so very many hummers that it seems I was having to make more food quickly and poor sweeties was having to fill the feeder almost every day.  I love seeing the hummers buzz his head and he would just look in the window and laugh at me as I was laughing at him.  So, you see why I opted for a larger feeder and that saves lots of daily work.  We seem to be getting older every year, which is inevitable.  At least I have determined that the alternative is quite final.

Feeder_3Oh well, at least the argument about it being too early to put out the hummingbird feeder was over for this year.  Then today when I was talking to sweetheart, he said, “Guess what I saw today.”  I didn’t have a clue what direction he was headed as he does move about quite a lot every morning and I just don’t try to keep up with him while I work.  I told him I had no idea and he said he had seen the first male hummer at the feeder.   Of course, I just could not resist committing that we were probably late in putting out the feeder for those who came even earlier.  That is when I just had to go to the map and check how far they had been getting.  I like to watch a website  which shows who in your particular area has seen hummers.   I win the argument but I will not say that to him as peace is a nice thing but I know the answer now.  We were late in putting out the feeder and I will just have to remember in the future that mid-March is when I need to get things ready for the pretty little fliers.  Hope this feeble brain will keep track of that along with the million and one other things that I put in there to remember.

Just one of the two dozen or so that came to The Windy Knoll last year.

Just one of the two dozen or so that came to The Windy Knoll last year.

So now I have given you all a reminder that it is time for the hummingbird feeders.  I made a mix of 4 parts water to one part sugar.  I can never remember that so I always have to look it up on the internet.  I can just hear mother (Billie Crumly) saying “Now just how does the internet know these things?”  Been almost a year since I have heard her make such comments.  April 29th is the day she had hip replacement surgery and the downhill spiral began.  Sure wish I had pushed harder for the scoot around and kept her around longer but she was a strong willed woman who had made her decision.  Hip replacements were supposed to be easy and I do not fault the doctor who did the replacement at all but I do fault the rehab center which treated her more like a nursing home patient than a rehab patient.  They should have been pushing her and I guess we should have been pushing her too.  With my today’s knowledge I would have had her in a different rehab center even if it was farther away.  She was trying to take care of the one she loved best, right to the end.  Sorry to have gone off chasing rabbits, but she too loved the beautiful birds and hummingbirds and this is part of somewhat country living from my perspective.  Have  blessed day!

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Humming Birds Are Here.


Just one of at least two dozen humming birds and The Windy Knoll last year.

Writer: Donna Crumly Harvey.

Flying nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico is an important part of the natural selection process that has made these little birds so tough, and not all of them pass this harshest of tests. Before leaving land, hummingbirds double their weight by gorging to add fat as an energy reserve; in good weather they can go 600 miles without stopping, and the crossing is only 500 miles. The ones that don’t add enough fat won’t make it, and their genes aren’t passed on; that’s how nature works. It’s just a bit more dramatic with hummingbirds, because they’re so small and we love them so much.  Feeder_3

Feeder _2Hummingbirds are BIG eaters. No animal on earth has a faster metabolism-roughly 100 times that of an elephant. Hummingbirds burn food so fast they often eat 1.5 to 3 times their body weight in food per day! In order to gather enough nectar, hummingbirds must visit hundreds of flowers every day. Just one day of cold temperatures or bad luck finding flowers can mean death

HummerRuby-throated: Eastern U.S. and Canada
When Ruby-throats return to their breeding grounds, they will have completed a remarkable journey back from Mexico and Central America. This species is the only hummingbird commonly found in eastern North America.  Feeder_1

This note really shows how late I am:

Over 150 sightings of Ruby-throats were reported this week, a sign that the migration is in full swing. Monday a Ruby-throated humingbird zipped up the Atlantic Coast to Branford, Connecticut (41°N), a full week ahead of last year’s sightings. With favorable southwest winds we’re sure to see similar reports as the week progresses.

“A male Ruby-throat arrived at 2pm today at my hummingbird feeder site. Had a five-minute feeding bout.”

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Gardening Pros and Cons June 2009

Before John and I returned to the country to live, we had a clear understanding about a few things such  as row crops and large gardens.    And at this writing I’m reminded of that understanding.

I recently received a litter from a quilting friend who has moved to the lovely north Georgia Mountains and among other things, she asked for gardening tips. One thing I strongly suggested was that she start small – it’s a lot of fun to till the soil in the spring, plant and watch it come up and grown, but weeding and harvesting in July and August can get old in a hurry.  I remember one year we had an over-sized garden and about August 15 I was so weary from the gathering and freezing/canning that I commented at church that I was praying for frost.  A young man who had just moved to the area from the North was overheard asking someone why Mrs. Crumly was praying for frost in August.

Another time I remember was when a city fellow moved to our Georgia neighborhood and decided he wanted to make a garden.  He was a frequent visitor to the seed store where our friend worked.  This man made many seed purchases and asked many questions.  He goes home, plants and waits for the plants to come up – after a couple of weeks he returned to the seed store to tell our friend that something was coming up that he didn’t plant! Boy, did he have a lot to learn.

Every year about this time I make a vow to have strawberries at home next year – I love to eat them right off the vine – grit and all.  But to keep the strawberry bed weed free in the summer months calls for more work than I’m willing to give, so I suppose I will always buy what berries we eat.  Another crop we have tried to grow is peanuts – the grass will take this crop over in a flash.  We wanted to grow peanuts from seed given us by Mr. Ivan Scott – they had come originally from Jr. Gus Spence — you guessed it, grass ate them up. I’ve decided my peanuts will have to come from Planters cans/jars from now on.

This year’s garden has a few beans, two tomato plants, two pepper plants and chickens.  Short of shooting them, we have decided that it’s impossible to rid this farm of chickens – they are part “game” and can fly over the moon.  There is a young man who would like to have them, but so far he has only been able to get one and she was setting on a nest of eggs.  Oh well, live and let live.

So often I’m reminded of what John’s Aunt Myrtle says, “It’s fun to live on the farm when watermelons are ripe.”

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Snow and Birds. Birds and Snow. (Updated)


UPDATED 3-2-2015. Forgot to add my little poem)

The snow is falling,
The feeders are full.
All the birds have gone to rest.
And the best is yet to come.

It’s not Christmas in Dixie
But it sure feels like fun.
Eight inches of snow,
And the heaters full of coal.

With the snow still falling,
It’s time to go.
God Bless you all,
and most of all, thank you Lord for the snow.
Russ Austin

My view from the bed. The backyard.

My view from the bed. The backyard.

CLICK on the photo to enlarge.

DSCN2738-001UPDATE: Mr. John is doing very well now. That man still has so much energy it is almost like he is still a 20 something instead of 91 years old. Mr. John is a great man. Always keeps you on your toes. And if you think you know the answer to anything and he also knows an answer, but a different one, then you just better give up because his answer is the correct one. I have nothing but RESPECT for Mr. John Crumly. DSCN2631-001

Both Donna and Beth have settled back into their ‘normal’ life routine. That is IF there is a normal routine to everyday life. I know that both of them stay really busy. We don’t talk as much as we used to and that is just because of everyday life and we just run out of time in each day before we take a nap and start over again. Just like many of you reading this. Why do the days seem to be getting shorter the older we get?

This little bird must have flown into my window. I looked out and saw it dazed. It stayed in my hand for about 15 minutes in the house. I then took it outside and sit it on a box just outside my door. I told it to "go be free" and it took off like a lighting bolt. Thank you God for the chance to  hold your little bird.

This little bird must have flown into my window. I looked out and saw it dazed. It stayed in my hand for about 15 minutes in the house. I then took it outside and sit it on a box just outside my door. I told it to “go be free” and it took off like a lighting bolt. Thank you God for the chance to hold your little bird.

Time is moving on. It will soon be 0ne year since Mrs. Crumly passed away, June 22, 2014. And still, just like today, I shot a photo of a bird and the first thought I had was, “I can not wait to show Mrs. Crumly this bird.”  DSCN3071-001

WARNING! This will be picture overload.  (I can’t even get all this written because every time I look up I see a great chance to take another photo of a bird. The red bird I just shot)

DSCN2783-002I know for some of you reading this, snow is not a big deal.  For us on Sand Mountain, it is.

Oh but for the people up north around New York and Boston it is a much bigger deal than anything we have had to endure around here. Snow like we just had is a really big deal to us. We had 8 inches at my home and some places had more. Needless to say, yes, everything was shut down. Schools were out almost all week, some business were closed and we did not dare to get out on the roads for about 3 days.

DSCN2900-001Now for me, this time, I really enjoyed it all. I am considered ‘disabled’ with MS, meaning ‘considered’ I still get around good most days, drive and do what I want most days. I just have to pace myself and long walks are no longer an option. I love my life and I thank God everyday for the blessings he gives me each and every day. Life is good. NO, life is GREAT!  DSCN3052-001

As most of you already know there is nothing I enjoy better than to be able to just lay in my bed and make pictures out my big glass sliding door in my bedroom. The winter time I have my birds I feed. The summer time I have my humming birds I feed.

DSCN3078-003Somewhere around 21 years or so I had a ‘professional photography studio.’ I still am not sure what a “professional photographer” is I just always tried to do my best then and now. I  loved my job right up to the very end on February 14, 2007 when I had to walk away from it because of the MS. DSCN2724-002

It took me over 3 years to even think about a camera. As much as I loved having a camera in my hand all day and some times all night, I just could not bring myself to even think anything about photography. And now it seems like I have the thrill again and I love to take all the wonderful God given beauty out of my big ‘ol sliding glass door. My window to the world. My window to my kind of country living.  DSCN2701-001DSCN2971-002DSCN2807-001DSCN2814-00220150223_124033-001DSCN2728-002BLUR 20150225_171020

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

A New Language 1999

Computer language — it’s a whole new ball game for me.  Somebody sent me a list of country computer terms and I’ve rearranged some of the terms to fit my way of thinking.  I’m having about the same luck learning that I had a week ago (new computer), but maybe someday I’ll be educated and then there’s no telling what I’ll write about in the Country Living article.

Here’s the list — maybe this will help you learn about your magic machine:

Log On — To make far in wood stove hotter
Log Off  — Don’t add no more wood
Monitor – Keeping eye on the far
Download – Gettin’ wood off’n the wagin
Megahertz  – If’n ye ain’t kerful gettin’ the far wood of the wagin
Floppy Disc  – Watcha git fer tryin’ to tote too much far wood at one time
Ram  – When ye didn’t stop the truk in time
Hard Drive – Had a bad time tryin’ to git home
Prompt – What the mail ain’t in bad weather
Windows – What ye shut when hit’s cold weather
Screen – Put ‘um up to keep the flies out
Byte – what skeeters do
Chip – Munchies for TV (or any other time)
Micro Chop – What’s left in the bottom of the munchies sack
Modem – What John done to the hay fields
Dot Matrix  – Old Butch Matrix’s wife
Laptop – where the kitten sleeps
Keyboard – Where you hang the keys
Software – Plastic forks and knives.
Mouse -  What the cat catches
Main Frame – It holds the roof of the barn up
Port – Fancy wine
Enter  – Northerner talk for “Ya’ll come in”
Mouse Pad – That’s hippie talk fer the rat hole
Default – Sumpin’ you don’t want no part of
Server – She works in the café.



Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Midnight, the Cat 1994

Spud - One of today's cats

Spud – One of today’s cats

It was early morning and we were in our usual places on the sun porch, when the show began and what a spectacular show of nature we witnessed.

The 15-foot-tall stump, just outside the window, was the stage.  Enter Midnight –  our beautiful black mama cat – with her long bushy tail. The cats often climb the stump hoping to catch a bird, and Midnight gracefully climbed to a flat spot at the base of a sawed-off limb and crouched down for her wait.

The wind was quite gusty and we feared she might even be dislodged, but she had no such thought.  Showing her impatience, she began to climb higher.  This old sump is hollow, at least part way, and it can only be entered at the highest point.  Earlier we had regrettably watched several Starlings as they investigated the opening for their nest, and the starling is certainly not our favorite bird.

In fact, we hate Starlings and Sparrows because they occupy the gourds and apartment house we provide for the beneficial Purple Martins.  The Martins many times send out their scouts in mid-February; however, as of this writing we have not seen one.  (March 3)

With her glossy, black fur furiously blowing in the wind Midnight decided to carefully crawl around a stub of a limb and enter the  hollow stump.  About that time the prospective victims saw what was happening and such an attack we had never seen before.

The birds flew at Midnight in droves or coveys, or whatever, but she continued on her way.  When she stopped we could only see the top of her tail.  Surely at the very first of March there are no young biards in there — I wouldn’t think there would even be eggs at this point, but something of interest kept the cat busy and she kept the birds busy.

Apparently, this is not the first time Midnight has been in the cavity, and when she emerged she did so with much caution, as though she expected he worst.  The birds by now were  lined up on the electric wires chattering away at the happenings.  We saw no sign of her finding breakfast this morning, but wouldn’t really care if she did help wipe out these pests.

Without incident, Midnight’s descent was much faster than her ascent – she jumped the last several feet, but as cats always do, she landed on her feet, and the curtain was closed on this performance.

As in a three-ring circus, our attention was quickly drawn in another arena – this time it was the hay ring where one of the smaller heifers decided pickings would be better on the inside of the ring. She maneuvered herself to the center so she could eat undisturbed. When John bought these two white heifers, we tried to come up with an appropaiate name and and for some reason the “Brown” girls (such ladies lived in Crossville many years ago), came to mind.  So we named these heifers Pearl and Frannie (pronounced as though it rhymes with rainy) after the girls of old by the name of Brown. Then in order to give the right heifer the right name, we had to ask some old-timers who ws amaller — Pearl or Frannie.  The Brown sisters attended Crossville Methodist Church and during our inquiry we heard some great stories of their eccentricities, sinking spells and so forth. There’s nothing to compare with country living.


Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

Bird Watching

NOTE: Click on each photo to enlarge.


On a scale of 1 to 10 I would have to say this week has been a 1. One Lord. One Savior. One way to get through a hard week, ONE day at a time with the Lord.  DSCN2630-003
I am so glad the birds are back full force at the feeders now. I have enjoyed watching them the last few days.
If the rest of the winter is going to be like the last two days, those little boys and girls are going to eat a 5 pound bag of black seed every day.  DSCN2608-001DSCN2650-001DSCN2613-001DSCN2618-001DSCN2600-001

Posted in Country Life – Then and Now

The Puzzle — Tools and Life

Tool Puzzle

Tool Puzzle

Puzzle Nears Completion

Puzzle Nears Completion

We dragged out a puzzle John got for Christmas 2012 and put it out on the table that stays on the sun porch just for puzzles.  The puzzle was of tools hanging on the wall and was only 275 pieces.  The box stated it had large pieces and was easy handled.  Duh!  I thought we could throw this little jewel together in nothing flat. Was I wrong.  I almost had to search for a place to put the last piece.

We sat there for hours and struggled with that one (I finally finished it last night).  Over and over I asked John what this was or that was and he always had an answer.  One time I said, “John, Daddy had one of these — what is it?”  He very quickly told me it was a drawing knife.  He told me during all this that he had used every tool in the picture at one time or another during his lifetime.  Wow!

As I sat there mulling over placing a puzzle piece in the right place I couldn’t help but think that life is much like trying to put a puzzle together.  So many times we aren’t sure just how to place this little bit and wonder just where this piece goes. Sometimes we even drop a piece and have to look for it — just like the jigsaw puzzle.  On occasion we think we can fit this certain piece in the right place when it turns out that it won’t fit — or even put it where we think it fits and find later we have to take that one out.

As we’ve gotten older we definitely can compare our lives to the puzzle — it’s almost finished, but where do the remaining pieces fit? It gives us something to think about while enjoying country living.

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