Friday, October 30, 2009

A little pumpkin carving

This week the chiclets and I went to school on Monday.....and that was it. School attendance in Smalltownland was so poor that the school board called off school until next Tuesday, November 3rd. Yes, it was that bad. A lot of students have the flu, respiratory infections, and a nasty virus is making its way around. Thus, we are spending some time out at the farmette.

I won't lie....these past few days off work have been quite nice. We have been hanging out and getting some chores accomplished. I assisted The Deerslayer in a massive rearranging/organization of his room. And, I am still alive to tell the tale. Underneath his bed I found the following items...please note this is not a complete list.

fake vomit
an empty soda can
dirty socks
Calvin and Hobbes books
crumpled paper
a pocket knife

Quite frankly, this list could go on forever. I was astonished at his "stash". He more than made up for his disorganization by taking over the pumpkin carving this year. I was glad to pass the torch. It always seemed like I was the one stuck digging out the "pumpkin guts". Now Toots is covered in pumpkin guts. BWAHAHAHA!!

Here he is putting the final touches on his sister's design.

Now you can see that our household ended up with two unique creations.

It looks like one has a stomach virus and the other has an eye affliction.

Monday, October 26, 2009

It might be true, but it still gives me the creeps...

Here we are....a few days before Halloween and I have yet another creepy story to share. This one, however, has its roots in the truth. Beware, for it is rather disturbing, but it is very well known around Smalltownland.

Around these parts this story is simply known as, "The Carrington Simpson Murders". In July of 1838 Carrington Simpson, Jason Bell, and Pleasant Sadler killed a family of five, that included an infant. Although all three gentlemen were guilty of the crime, it is the name of Carrington Simpson that has carried this tale all these years.

A woman by the name of Lucinda White had decided to move south to Alabama to be with her brother. Lucinda had hired Carrington Simpson, with his team of oxen, to assist her in the move. Lucinda was to take her two sons, daughter-in-law, and grandson along with her as they started out at night. The daughter-in-law's father was opposed to this move and the group decided to get a head start during the night time hours. One of Lucinda's sons went ahead, on horseback, to scout the best route.

While Lucinda's son was gone, the murders commenced. Upon his return he was led to a waste house in a field where the bodies had been deposited. Lucinda's son was also killed, as was his horse. The motive for the murders was Lucinda's money and possessions.

After some time suspicion was raised when Simpson, and his cohorts, began wearing clothing from the family. A warrant for Simpson's arrest was obtained and his farm was searched. The bodies were discovered and identified. Jason Bell and Pleasant Sadler died before their sentences could be carried out. Bell was found dead in his cell, although history books state that it was a commonly held belief that Sadler smothered him. Sadler made a rope out of his bedclothes and hanged himself.

Carrington Simpson was hung on September 21, 1841. His burial site is still maintained today and actually.....Southern Fried Momma's in-laws can claim some relation to him. The fee of the executioner, James B. Montgomery has survived and reads as such:

$5.21 for the execution
$2.62 for the shroud
$6.00 for the coffin
$5.00 for the gallows
$3.00 carrying him to the execution site
$1.00 for the rope

The author, William B. Allen, wrote, "History of Kentucky", and stated rather succinctly:

"the three have passed from earth, and must appear at the bar of God, to be judged according to their deeds."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Small towns can be spooky too, you know....

Halloween is really my favorite time of year. The weather is usually just right, the kids enjoy the festivities, and the trees are just beginning to turn colors. Halloween brings out spooky stories and scary nights....and I enjoy both. One of the more famous ghost stories in our area is about a train tunnel known as the Spurlington Tunnel. The tunnel was completed in July of 1874, after 7 years of construction. It is 1900 feet long with a 100 foot shaft hole that is carved in the middle of the tunnel, so the exhaust from the trains could escape.

In its heyday, the train ran four times a day carrying freight and passengers to Smalltownland and a neighboring county. The picture below was taken in 1983, during some obvious winter weather. The credit for this photo goes to a local radio personality, known as Larry Smith.

Legend has it that Nancy Bass, also known as, "Aunt Nancy", haunts this tunnel and puts a curse on all who dare to pass through it. Some claim that Nancy was a witch, but others do not. Legend claims that Nancy was witness to a group of robbers led by the one and only, Jessie James. The robbers were digging a hole to hide some stolen gold and silver that had been taken during a train robbery that occurred in the Cumberland Mountains.

After the men noticed that Nancy was a witness, they killed her...burying her body on top of the tunnel, along with the stolen loot. People claim that the gold and silver are still buried on top of this train tunnel. Treasure hunters have tried to find the buried fortune, to no avail.

At this point in time, the land on which this train tunnel sits is privately owned. Traditionally people flock to the tunnel on Halloween night. I did have a co-worker tell me that her daughter went in the tunnel. She stated that a strange whistling sound blows through the tunnel with the slightest wind. Some people think this is due to the 100 foot shaft hole in the middle of the tunnel. Also, bat guano emits a glow on the ceiling. Adding to the eeriness of the situation.

I won't lie.....Southern Fried Momma and myself are wishing we could go to the Spurlington Tunnel this year. I am keeping my fingers crossed.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Soups on

When cold weather rolls around, out come all of the typical Autumn recipes. Chili, vegetable soup, and all of those other comfort foods that we seek this time of year. This past weekend we had our first frost and accordingly some very chilly temperatures. Thus, soup was on the stove. The recipe I am going to share with you comes from a Mennonite cookbook that I picked up while traveling in Pennsylvania Amish Country a number of years ago. Here I have it pictured with a couple of spoonfuls of grated Parmesan cheese on top, with a sprinkling of parsley. Grilled cheese is my favorite pairing with soup. The new Pepperidge Farm Sandwich Thins make a nice alternative to regular bread.

Autumn Soup

1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
1 cup chopped onion
4 cups water
1 cup cut-up carrots
1 cup peeled and cubed potatoes
2tsp salt
1Tbsp Brown Bouquet Sauce (Gravy Master) do not eliminate this ingredient
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. basil
1 (28 oz.) can tomatoes with liquid (I used crushed tomatoes.)

In the bottom of a Dutch oven, brown meat. Drain excess fat, if needed. Add onions and stir in remaining ingredients, EXCEPT tomatoes. Heat to a boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender. Add tomatoes with their liquid. Cover and simmer 10 minutes longer. Stir and serve.

**To this recipe I added two cloves of fresh, chopped garlic and a dash of parsley, white pepper, and a bit more salt to taste. I also added one more whole, peeled, cubed potato. They are my favorite in soups.

I hope you enjoy!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The week in review

This picture was taken this summer in Washington D.C. When free time was abundant, the weather was warm, and the only thing I was worried about was what fabulous thing were we going to do the following day. times have changed. We have moved straight into Fall weather here with our temperatures in the morning predicted to be hovering around 35 degrees. Top that off with thick cloud cover and misty rain falling from the sky. It all makes me want to eat a grilled cheese sandwich with a bowl of tomato soup, and then wrap up under the covers.

This gloomy, wet week has flown by. Work and school obligations make time go by so fast. Although it has been a quick week, it has not been without its moments. Let's check out just a few, shall we?

  • I found the sink, in one of the downstairs bathrooms, filled with rocks, dirt, and a vague film of water. Gross. My son informed me those were not just any rocks, they were flint. Soon to be made into arrowheads. Obviously, Tred Barta is a figure in our household.
  • When I moved to Smalltownland quite a few years ago, I did not like country music. Well, I quickly got used to it, as that is just about the only thing you can pick up on the FM dial around these parts. Just this morning I became acquainted with Loretta Lynn's classic song, "When the Tingle Becomes a Chill". Seriously? I was surprised to hear it on our conservative radio station. However, Loretta's song, "You're the Reason our Kids are Ugly", puts that song to shame. I think I am turning into my mother.
  • Several months ago I took in my brother's dog. A lab/pointer mix that is lovable, but a This week he chewed a hole in my sofa cushion. Words cannot express how I feel about this. Actually they can, but I told my dad I would not use foul language on this blog.
  • Halloween is fast approaching. Thus, my daughter has taken to wearing her vampire teeth around the house. I watched her eat an ice cream cone with a set of those teeth in her mouth. Crazy girl. Do you think I could get my Jack Russell to pose with those teeth in her mouth?
  • All of the various flu strains have shown up around Smalltownland now. Schools are suffering from low attendance already and it isn't even the typical flu season yet. I have used enough hand sanitizer today to likely be suffering from alcohol poisoning.

I believe that concludes my words of wisdom for this week. Best wishes for a restful weekend with plenty of Loretta Lynn, hand sanitizer, and vampire teeth.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Shall we dance?

Willow, over at Willow Manor, is hosting the, "be all end all", of blog events today. A formal ball is being held at her blog and I do hope that you will pop on over see who is attending.

I had a little trouble deciding what to wear and almost ended up without a dress at all. But, I found this number in the back of my closet. I hope it will do.

Robert Pattinson was to be my date for the evening. Not to worry....Secret Agent Man, (aka, my husband), will be providing some backup security for Willow, should she need it. So....he was totally okay with Rob being my date.....*sigh*....Rob is just so, "man pretty".
Anyway, it seems Rob is totally tied up with his new movie coming out soon, so I had a last minute replacement step up to the plate. You know....younger men can be so unreliable.

Mike Rowe will be dashing over from his location on, "Dirty Jobs". Likely, he won't have time to change.

Ladies, try to contain yourselves......he is all mine for the evening.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


This is my niece, Star. Here you see her being silly at a local talent show a few weeks ago.

Star has a voice that is heaven sent. She got up on the stage and totally rocked the house with her rendition of Patsy Cline's, "Walkin' After Midnight". And, that would just be with her voice and her guitar. It really was that good. She easily won the competition and we were all so proud of her.

This coming week, Star will be doing a studio set with musicians that are coming in from Nashville. This is quite an opportunity for her. We are all sending up our best prayers and wishes for her success.

Lastly, I don't think I could end this post without a little shout out for my other relative...yes, another relative.

Nicknamed, "Whistle", he played his rendition of, "Amazing Grace", on his air drill. He won in his age group. It is true....I couldn't make this stuff up people.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A bit of a walking tour

This week the chiclets are on fall break. No school for a whole week. Whew. No homework, no sports, no getting up early and no early bedtime. I LOVE it. Maybe even more than they do. This week my parents are also in town to iron out some details for my Gran's daily care.

So, while the chiclets were occupied with their dad and grandparents, I took advantage of a few minutes to myself, (a rarity, I might add), and strolled around our historic town square. Looking here and there for some shots, as it was a stunning day outside. Clear skies, with temps hovering around seventy degrees.

This house on the square was built in 1848. Built in the Federal style the gingerbread porch was added in the late 1910's. This is one of my favorite houses on Main Street. Currently unoccupied, but still well kept.

The original Corner Drug Store. This used to be the place to sit in a booth and put your money in the little juke box at the table. When I was a kid they were still operational. We would visit in the summer and my mom would bring me here for lunch. I always complained and wanted to sit and spin on the stools at the counter. She made me sit in a booth. The horror....

This is the front of a flower shop that Mr. B and I stopped in today. A very elderly family member passed away yesterday and we stopped to order flowers for the funeral. This family member was well known for her red lipstick and prominent personality. All I have to say is....when I get to be as old as she was....I hope I am still as bold and wearing red lipstick. Amen.

This cabin sits on a small parcel of land that was purchased by a Presbyterian Minister in 1796. The cabin is thought to have been built shortly thereafter, although no specific evidence remains to date the structure.

When I looked down from photographing the cabin....this little creature had snuck up beside me and was sniffing my leg.

In the words of a transplanted southern girl: I like 'ta died.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sometimes you're the bug

It has been a while since I have written a week in review. You know...things move pretty slow, here in Smalltownland. Sometimes, it takes a couple of weeks for excitement to build, but I think I have a few things to share.

I have recently started reading the "Twilight" series. I realize I am a day late and a dollar short on this trend AND it really is teenage literature. However, it is an enjoyable, easy read. I would also like to know, just where were these horrifyingly good looking vampire, werewolf boys when I was in high school?

Yesterday, while shopping at Wal-Mart, I bought Michael Jackson's classic CD, "Off the Wall". My daughter looked at the CD cover and announced, "He is!" Yes, we had a long conversation about that whole transformation.

While purchasing a Wonder Woman Halloween costume for my daughter, (watch out Justice League, there is a new super hero in town), there was a very elderly lady checking out in front of me. She noticed my purchase and asked me if I was purchasing it for my GRAND-DAUGHTER! People, I will confess that I am 41 years old, and it really bruised my ego to think that someone actually thought I looked old enough to have a grandchild. The cashier just winked at me and chuckled. Ouch....

I came home from work a couple of days ago to find a package of black powder pellets on the kitchen counter along with a large sack of acorn rage! What happened to having people-related food products on the counter? BTW....those two products mean that deer season is starting up around our area. Onward we go....

I must close this post for now. I hear a cricket in the spare bedroom and there will be no rest until this Farmchick finds him another home. Preferably outside...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Auctions, family farms, and overheated trucks

Tomorrow morning a farm that has been in my family for easily one hundred years, will be sold at auction. Comprised of 68 acres, it sits on the banks of the Green River with sweeping views that my pictures cannot do justice. It almost seems criminal that such a beautiful piece of land would go out of the family like this, but with economic times such as they are, there really is not much choice.

This farm was passed from one generation to the next with my great aunt being the last owner of the property. Her name was Hazel and she passed away a few months ago, necessitating the auction. During her lifetime she raised her family and farmed corn and tobacco on this land, along with her husband. They raised a few hogs, for bacon and ham, along with a several beef cattle. I remember my mom bringing me here to visit as a child. She took me into the chicken house and all I remember were these three things: screaming, laughing, and flying chickens. Needless to say, I was doing the screaming. I am sure, at that point, my mom never thought I would grow up to live on a farm.

This land joined the farm belonging to my great-grandmother, Ethel. Sadly, her property went out of the family many years ago.

This land sits at the VERY end of a long and winding country road. And, I do mean the end of the road. There is no outlet. Literally, you could hop in a canoe and paddle to town. For those of you who know me and think that I live far out in the country I say....BWHAHAHAHA!

The day we went out to visit the farm the skies were rather overcast. Even then, the views were amazing. This picture is right before you get to the banks of the river.

This picture, obviously, was taken on the banks of the Green River. Due to a full week of rain, the river is quite high. A fire pit and a load of wood were sitting at the ready next to the river, ready for a person to sit back and enjoy.

As soon as we had pulled into the clearing something strange started to happen. The gauges on the Mac Daddy Truck started to light up. Sure enough, the radiator was dry. How can someone with the name, "Secret Agent Man", let something like this happen?

Not to worry. Here you can see him trotting to the river with an empty Subway cup and water bottle in his hand. After a few servings of dirty river water, the radiator was as good as new. As we were leaving I turned on my cell phone to order a $5 one topping pizza (swear) at the local T-Mart on the way home. My battery was dead. Secret Agent Man turned his on....his was virtually dead. We are nothing if prepared people. Prepared, I say...

Thoughtless Thursday