Sunday, November 30, 2008

The long and winding road

Yesterday Secret Agent Man, and myself, went for a drive around some of the smaller roads in the county. It was actually kind of a cloudy, gloomy day. At this point in the year, crops are out of the fields and the trees have all lost their leaves. It kind of seems that the landscape is in despair, but in reality it is just resting, waiting for spring.




Many barns still had tobacco hanging in the rafters. Just waiting until the right time to be taken to market.





One of my favorite scenes, out in the countryside, is the sight of an old farmhouse. Back in the day, this house would have been the center of the farm. It would have housed a large family that raised crops to sustain themselves.

Even though the house below is deserted, it still retains a lot of beauty. Decorative treatments along the roofline, tall windows, and a front porch are not typical of what you see today in houses.




Looking at a hipped roof and a lopsided mailbox, makes you wonder who the last person was to live there.







Saturday, November 29, 2008

Don't tell the Bird

See this lovely lady here? She is my grandmother, currently in her 90's and residing in the nursing home. Although I caught her in a little catnap in this photo, she is still very much "with it" and can relate many stories from her life. She grew up on a farm with a father who worked as a blacksmith. She raised 5 children, in a small cabin that my grandfather built. They lived in a remote area of our county and she raised/canned all of their food. One of the neatest things about her is that her middle name really is, Bird.


Living in the nursing home really does have its downfalls. One is the food. But, my Aunt Mater keeps Bird supplied with one of her favorite cakes. The little gem pictured below, the revered, Harvey Wallbanger Cake. Now, the Bird does not know a thing about this cake's top secret ingredient....Vodka. It makes the cake exceptionally moist and, you know, gives it that certain "something".


I am going to go ahead and give out this recipe, but people....IT'S A SECRET!
Harvery Wallbanger Cake
Ingredients:
1 package orange supreme cake mix
1 (3.5 ounce) instant orange (or lemon) pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 fluid ounces orange liqueur
2 fluid ounces vodka
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup powdered sugar
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one bundt pan.
2. Combine cake mix and pudding mix in a large bowl. Blend in eggs, vegetable oil, 4 ounces orange liqueur, 1 ounce vodka, and 4 ounces orange juice. Mix batter until smooth and thick, then pour into prepared pan.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove and place on cooling rack. Spoon glaze over cake while it is still warm.
4. To make glaze: Combine the remaining 1 ounce orange liqueur, 1 ounce vodka, and 1 ounce orange juice with the powdered sugar. Blend until smooth. Spoon glaze over warm cake.
Enjoy and don't tell the Bird.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thoughtful Thanksgiving Thursday

Let's take a big moment today to really be thankful for all that we have. It is easy to complain about all of our problems and to despair about all that we don't have. However, if you have a loving family, food on your table, health, friends, and a job, then you have much more than many people today.

Take some time today to tell all the people you love, just how much you appreciate them in your life.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Crisis averted

Here in smalltownland we have all been in the grips of deer season. I mean, I don't refer to my eleven year old son as the, "deerslayer", for nothing. He likes to keep his hunting schedule pretty tight. And, Secret Agent Man is an understanding dad who takes him out in the boondocks, at all hours, and sits in the deer stand with him.

Here, just recently, I was doing some laundry that involved some clothes from the deerslayer himself. I had dutifully checked pockets and picked up the bunch of clothes to put into the washer, when a funny, orange bottle dropped to the floor. Imagine my surprise when I read the writing on the bottle. It said: Tink's Scent Bomb. Hmmm....



The deerslayer comes into the house later and I ask him about it. His eyes get wide and a slight grin develops on his face.

He says: Did you open that?
Me: No, what is it?
Him: Go ahead Mom....I DARE YA!
Me: Ummm...no.....what does it smell like.
Him: Mom...it's doe pee.
Me: I found this in the laundry pile.
Him: You almost washed that? *small chuckles that then turned into raucous laughter*

I told Secret Agent Man that I almost washed the scent bomb and a slight look of horror came upon his face. I can only imagine the repugnant smell that would have saturated our laundry room. As soon as this post is over, the small orange bottle is finding a new home....in the garage.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Middle of the week pizza

I am going to post a recipe that I tried for the first time a few days ago. It was easy, it turned out great, and everyone in my house ate it! And, better yet, it was easy to make in the middle of the work/school week.

Here we go:

1 pound ground beef
1 15 ounce jar of spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
small can of mushrooms
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 8-count can crescent rolls
grate parmesan cheese


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
2. Brown ground beef in skillet, stirring until crumbly
3. Add green peppers, mushrooms, and onions to skillet to cook until tender
4. Stir in spaghetti sauce
5. Simmer for about 5 minutes
6. Spread mixture in 11x13 inch baking pan
7. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese
8. Place crescent rolls dough over the top, sealing perforations
9. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese
10. Bake for 8-10 minutes

** I left out the green pepper. It might have made the chiclets pass out. Also, I used a little bit more than one can of crescent roll dough.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Let's play TAG!


I was recently tagged by Karen Deborah to select 7 random/weird things about myself. And, since I know my reading public is dying to know this stuff, let's get started.


1. This evening I took my life into my own hands and ate the peel & eat shrimp off of the Chinese buffet. Needless to say, this was quite risky. I was feeling dangerous.


2. Lately I have been fantasizing about buying a couple of topiaries for my front porch. This thought has been taking up a lot of my mental space, thus I am feeling compelled to buy some this weekend. I know it will relieve my mind.


3. I am addicted to Orbit gum and keep several varieties in my purse.


4. I rarely turn my cell phone on. Secret Agent Man gets really annoyed about this.


5. I love a messy desk/workspace.


6. Cashews are my favorite nuts.


7. My dog sleeps under the covers with me and I like it.


My instructions were to also include the 4th picture in my 4th file so, there it is above, in all of its non - photoshopped glory.


Maybe I can get AZn8tive and Southern Fried Momma to play some tag with me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A little poultry romance

Girrrrrllll....do you believe in love at first sight? Or, do I have to walk by again?

Monday, November 17, 2008

All in the family


This 40th anniversary compilation book is one of my recent favorite readings. Many of you are no doubt familiar with the Foxfire series. It really started in 1966 as a magazine program allowing English students to interview local old-timers and showcase some student work. It truly honors a mountain way of life that many refer to as "hillbilly" or "mountainfolk". Prior to this most current edition, are twelve books that give information from building a log cabin to killing a hog. So, Santa if you are listening....I would like the other twelve books :)

One of my favorite parts of this book starts on page 82 with the conjuring of warts. Before I read this book, I thought that warts were merely "cured". But, that is not so. In fact, they are conjured. Many different ways of conjuring warts are discussed in this section. One person placed flint rocks on the warts, some say a Bible verse, and one person made the mark of a cross, with a knife, on top of the wart. The thing that the people had in common in this book, is that they had this ability passed to them from a blood relative. The specifics of how to conjure are not spoken about openly, the "secret" is kept in the family.

I found this part of the book most interesting because Mr. B told me his Aunt has this ability. He said when he was young she conjured a wart from his hand. He said she did not say a Bible verse, nor did she actually do anything really out of the ordinary. He did say that she held his hand and repeatedly asked him if he believed.

Mr. B told her that he really did believe. He said his wart did actually disappear. As far as Mr. B knows, his Aunt never did pass on her ability. I tried to persuade him to call her and ask about this situation. However, he was pretty reluctant. You know....I might be feeling "the calling".

Friday, November 14, 2008

Doin' more good in the neighborhood

Secret Agent Man and myself, with our wonderful, dear friends, Southern Fried Momma and her spouse, Rico... bought a building on the old town square. We all bought it in hopes of bringing in business and assisting with the revitalization of smalltownland. After many hours spent cleaning and shoveling, I think we are all wondering if the clean up is ever going to end. Here is a picture of a small portion of the store. Originally it was the "Five and Dime" in smalltownland. My grandmother told me they used to carry Buster Brown shoes and clothes. Also, a lunch counter was in the store. Countless amounts of old shelving units have been hauled out of the store. In this photo the original wood flooring is showing! Woohoo, what a find. Also, old 1970's paneling is being taken off of the walls.




Secret Agent Man and the Deerslayer have been having fun using this mini-truck (with a dump bed) to haul items out of the store.


Several interesting items have been found in the store. Old soda bottles, a huge plastic Santa head, large wire bins, old adding machines, and countless other items. This advertisement for an infant health product was found in the basement on an old display cabinet.


And last, but not least, a plastic apostrophe found in a pile of rubble. A little weird, but interesting for sure.





A big shout out to Rico and Secret Agent Man for doing a lot of the "dirty work". I will post more on this continuing saga, as we all hope to have all of the work finished in the next couple of months.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A blast from the past

I know what all of you have been thinking. *Just what does this crazy, cow chasing, farmchick look like?* Well, here I am in all of my mugshot glory. And, I know that right at this very minute you are also thinking....*I wonder what she would have looked like in the year 1964?*





Well, hey y'all! Here I am in 1964. I bet Mr. B is looking at this right now and falling off his chair laughing. I'm kind of digging the hairdo. Although, it looks a bit stiff and hard to sleep in.





So, right at this minute go to the year book yourself web page and have some fun! I have put the link at the bottom of this post. So, click it!!

http://www.yearbookyourself.com

Saturday, November 8, 2008

How about some history?

I have learned that one of the best things about living in a small town is....well.....it is a little wacky, interesting, intriguing, quirky, and full of history. It is a wonderful mix of a lot of little things that make it what it is. The most notable structure in my small town is the historic courthouse that sits in the middle of our town square. Originally, our town had a log courthouse that was built in 1792. This courthouse was completed in 1803.



Local limestone was quarried to build this structure. Limestone blocks make up the fence area and form a courtyard appearance around the courthouse. This courtyard area was not part of the original design. However, the chains that surround the courthouse have been a social gathering spot throughout the years. When I was a child, I can remember gentlemen sitting on the chain areas socializing. Many people used to refer to that group of people as, "The Chain Gang". On occasion people still do sit around the courthouse, but as time has passed our town square is not the bustling business area it used to be.




The basic floorplan remains the same. The judges bench is front and center, a fireplace is off to the left and a staircase is on the right. The second level contains two jury rooms.






The original plan called for a limestone floor. But, for whatever reason, the floor was covered with square bricks, that remain in fairly good condition today.







Today the courthouse remains open for people to come and explore. There have been plays put on here as well as weddings. At our annual Cow Days Festival it is a gathering place for many.









This building was last used as a courthouse in 1933. It was documented the following year by the Historic American Buildings Survey.

Next time your in smalltownland, make sure you stop in for a tour.

Friday, November 7, 2008

All together now!!


Okay everyone....in your best Heidi Klum voice, on the count of three.....1...2...3...
Auf Wiedersehen! *Mwah* *Mwah*


Yes, our small herd of cows have left our humble abode. It seems like yesterday when they arrived. They had just been taken away from their mothers. They cried and cried. And, then they heard a mother cow on a neighboring farm. Thus ensued a broken fencepost and much calf wrangling. Calf wrangling meaning it took three adults and four kids to get that calf back on our farm. It really wasn't a great first impression.


They have gone to live the high life on a new farm, where they will continue to participate in a university study. So, don't worry. They won't be arriving at your local supermarket anytime soon.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thoughtless Thursday



Toy soldiers that have been dipped in Makers Mark signature red wax. Shot taken at the distillery in Loretto, Kentucky.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Baking with beer

Today I would like to share a tried and true recipe with all of you. Okay, it does involve a bottle of beer and I know that Babs would not approve, but sometimes you just gotta do it!


You will need: 2 cups of self-rising flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1 - 12 ounce bottle/can of beer, and 1/2 stick of butter - melted







Mix the flour, sugar, and beer together. The batter will be rather thin. The type of beer you choose will affect the flavor. I have chosen a Sam Adams Summer Ale, which imparts a lighter flavor. If you favor darker, heavier beers, they will give the bread that type of flavor.










Pour the mixture into a greased loaf pan. *Special shout out to the Babs here for the gift of the super funky/blue silicon loaf pan.*








Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Take out of the oven and pour the melted butter over the loaf. Then return to the oven for an additional 30 minutes.









Remove from the oven and allow to cool. The resulting loaf is rather dense and depending upon the type of beer you use, may have a myriad of different flavors.








Cheers!

Did you vote???

For all of you that check in here today, I hope you voted for the candidate of your choice. I certainly did. My voting location is actually at an incredibly small grocery store located close to my farm. When I first moved out to the farm, election time was close at hand. The county courthouse sent me my new polling location address. I really didn't think too much about it. I knew where the grocery store was, even though I had not really started to frequent it.

Imagine my surprise when I showed up to vote. The lone voting maching was located in a dingy room behind the store. The ceiling was sagging and I am surprised the floor held up the weight of the voting machine. I am sure my chin hit the floor went I walked inside. However, everyone called me "Hon" and told me how glad they were that Secret Agent Man and myself, had bought our farm. How can you not like that? So, I quickly got past the grimy walls.

Today I voted inside a tiny outdoor storage building that the county decided to move next to the grocery store. WHEW! It is quite the improvement.....and much needed. I was still greeted warmly by all inside the storage building and casted my vote. I hope you did too.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Photoshoot

Once upon a time the best that I could seem to do, was a Karate-chop picture of my children. I could not get them to pose, nor act serioius.







But, times change and children grow up. They decide that "YES" they will pose for just a few minutes so you can get a decent shot for the upcoming Christmas card.




And that, "few minutes", is up in about thirty seconds and they are cracking up, once again.


Making goofy faces into my camera.



Or, smarmy, middle school boy stares, trying to crack me up.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Just a reminder


This is just a friendly reminder to go out this coming Tuesday and vote for the candidate(s) of your choice. But, why you ask? Why should one vote mean so much? What difference could one vote make? Let's just review a short rundown:
1. Go out and vote because we are fortunate enough to live in a country with choices.
2. Because I told you to.
3. It is your responsibility as an intelligent, adult citizen of our country.
4. I will send my dogs after you, if you don't.
5. It really is that important.
So, don't forget to go before work, go after work, or just get up off the couch and go vote.