Monday, March 30, 2009

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's the BIG 4 - OH!

Today actually marks the 40th birthday of Secret Agent Man and identical twin brother, Flyboy. Family and friend surprised them last night with a birthday party. A lot of crazy planning and shucking/jiving went on to pull this off as a surprise. At the last minute a change in venue meant that I had to call people and make the following statement:

"Hey the weather might be bad so we have moved the party to the Double D Worm Farm. Y'all come on out!"

Never in my city girl life did I think I would be hosting a party at a worm farm. And that is not even the half of it. A George Jones impersonator showed up complete with a 'possum tattoo on his shoulder. Boy howdy, I wish I had gotten a picture of that. Food and Karaoke ruled the evening. Southern Fried Momma was spinnin' the tunes and Toots was living the karaoke life. And, things really got hoppin' when the ladder was pulled out so that someone could climb it and turn on the disco ball....hung by extension cord.

Friday, March 27, 2009

How you know you live in the country


Typically, in the scheme of life, there are only a few reasons for the phone to ring in the wee hours of the morning. The first thought is that of a horrifying emergency. Someone must have died, been in a car wreck, had a heart attack, etc....
So, when the phone rang at 5:47 this morning my head filled with bad thoughts. Was it my parents? Was it Secret Agent Man's mom? Was it someone calling from the hospital? All kinds of things were running through my mind. Secret Agent man jumped out of bed to answer the phone. PTL, as I was too groggy. When he came back to the bedroom I immediately asked who it was. Was someone sick or dead? He assured me that everything was quite fine. It was just Mr. Farmer, up the road, calling to let us know he would bring us some new calves next week.
People, why this couldn't wait until after breakfast, I will never know.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Twelve today

Not so long ago a little boy came into our lives.



And, I swear, it seems just like yesterday that he was rolling in the leaves with his little sister.


And now here we are teetering on the edge of being a teenager.



Happy Birthday to the Deerslayer. We love you!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Moonshine


Clearly nothing evokes the image of Appalachia like the sight of a moonshine still. In the early history of mountain folk, Moonshine production was a fine art. People took pride in the quality of their product. Corn Whiskey was used for home doctoring and essentially Moonshine was made in small quantities by men who passed their knowledge to the younger generation. Later, greed took over and Moonshine was made for quantity, rather than for its quality.

Stills were typically located high on the north side of a mountain near the source of a stream. Great pain was taken to conceal the location of the still. They might be located in a cave or branches could be used to hide the still. Often the fire in the still would be started before dawn to prevent the initial smoke from being seen. Moonshiners were careful to cover their tracks. Often working during the night or getting the still going before daylight.

There are many names given to Corn Whiskey:
cove juice
thump whiskey
corn squeezin's
white lightnin'
headache whiskey
blockade whiskey
conversation fluid

When people start making Moonshine in large quantities, they can become careless. They often don't filter their product or keep the still clean. This can result in chemicals and elements being in the Moonshine which are hazardous. Popskull and busthead are two names that are given to Moonshine that produces violent headaches.

Today you can be certain that Moonshine is still being made....and consumed. The legendary Moonshiner, Popcorn Sutton, was buried yesterday. He was upfront about most of his Moonshining and did documentaries on its lost art. If you are interested in reading more about this character you can do so here.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Showtime

Today the chiclets and I took off to the big city. I know, I know.....two trips in one week? Yep, that's how the week went down. We attend the annual cluster dog show held in our state each year. The Deerslayer and I like to see the dogs. Toots likes the ice cream served in a waffle cone. We saw all types of dogs.

Mr. Handsome Dog





Spa treatments, washing, drying, and grooming abounded. Baby powder and hairspray were flying all over the place.





There were some little faces that only an owner could love....






And then, of course, there were the beauty queens. Posing for my camera, totally used to having their picture taken.








We also watched some dogs perform in the agility ring.







We had a great time. But, I knew it was time to go when, while I was making a purchase, I turned around to see the chiclets whacking each other with dog toys. Good times people, good times.....




Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Big City Stylin



Today I was afforded the opportunity to make a trip to the big city. Of course I had to go. There is a fine balance between "Farm" and "Chick". A lot of time gets spent here at the farm, so off to the city I went.

Shortly after arriving, it became clear what I had been missing from city life. A cup of Starbucks and a trip to a bookstore were a fine start. A trip to Sephora to stock up on some essentials was next on the list. Clusters of well-groomed ladies, all clad in black, were at my disposal to hunt any merchandise I might need. And, only in the city do sales people wear headsets to communicate with each other. Here in Smalltownland they just yell across the store.....

When it was time to go home it immediately became crystal clear to me why I choose to live on my crazy farmette in an antique house. Traffic was bumper to bumper. Horns were honking and people were cutting me off....without even so much as a wave. Everyone was in a terrible hurry. No sooner had I gotten off of the interstate than I was greeted with a tractor and a load of hay. George Strait magically appeared on the radio and I got stuck behind a senior citizen going 20 miles per hour. Ahhhh....home at last.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's really true....

Spring is near....



We actually have a couple of Daffodils that have bloomed.





I found this itty-bitty bird nest. Although it might not seem very spring like, all empty and such. The peach tree that it sits in has buds all over it, just waiting to bloom.






Come on Mother Nature!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Holy Hummingbird

Back in the day when I was a young girl and The Babs was the Queen of Moms, (now she is the Queen of Grandmoms), Babs used to throw parties. You know, parties for her girlfriends. Where they would fawn over Tupperware samples, gossip, and eat wonderful food. It wasn't so much about the Home Interior or Tupperware, as it was about the gathering of friends. After the lovely presenter had talked about her product, the ladies would start placing their orders. And, then The Babs would unveil the snacks for the evening. Lots of finger foods, dips, and crunchy things would be served. But, she usually made at least one sweet item for everyone. A Hummingbird Cake was one of her specialities.

Today I made a Hummingbird Cake for the very first time and it turned out so great that I wanted to share the recipe.





I didn't really think I would be posting about this recipe, so I don't have the obligatory ingredient photo. But, I do have a photo of the first slice.






This recipe comes from, The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. The ladies who founded the Magnolia Bakery in New York City are credited with starting the cupcake craze in the mid '90s. You can read more about them here, if you would like.





Here is the recipe from the cookbook. Go ahead and make it. You won't be disappointed.


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups mashed, very ripe, bananas
1 eight ounce can crushed pineapple, in unsweetened juice, drained (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease and lightly flour two 9x2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper. To make the cake: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, the cinnamon, the baking soda, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the oil with the sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until light, about 1 or 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract. Add the bananas and the pineapple. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, beating after each addition until smooth. Stir in the pecans. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.


Ice with Cream Cheese icing:

2 eight-ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
1 stick of butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
5 cups sifted, confectioners sugar

In mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, on medium speed, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and gradually add the sugar. Beat until well incorporated.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The cure for what ails ya

Frequently when Secret Agent Man travels to cities far and wide, he gives me a call to see if there is anything I need. I mean, I can get most things at the Dollar General, the T-Mart or Ron's Hardware, but sometimes you need big city kind of stuff. This time was no exception and I requested another book in the Foxfire series. I only have a few thus far, but they provide me with insight and knowledge of times past. And, occasionally, of things that still happen around smalltownland.

This time I received #9 in the series. This book covers topics from Indian pottery to haint tales. There is also a section on home cures, which is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, the flu has reared its ugly head around smalltownland. At this point I really thought we had escaped this unsavory illness. I thought we had suffered enough with ice storms and bitterly cold weather. But no!





Although we are flu free, at the moment, I decided to see if there were some old time flu treatments listed. And, the book did not disappoint me.

This excerpt is from a gentlemen named, Jud Nelson. He is discussing the use of an herbal treatment named, Asafetida.


"They'd put a little ball of that around your neck and thought you never would have the flu. It smells like a wild onion that rigor mortis had done set in. {laughter} You buy it at the drugstore. I've seen 'em wear that little ball around their neck and that ball would be just black as that coal in there and you couldn't stay around 'em! Yeah, you couldn't stay where they was at!"


Asafetida is actually an herb/spice that is often added to lentil or eggplant dishes. Most commonly used in Indian cooking. It is also noted to be useful in the treatment of children's asthma and bronchitis. It is mixed into a strong smelling paste and and hung in a bag around the child's neck.



Other uses of Asafetida, around the world, are:


  • *In Jamaica it is traditionally applied to a baby's anterior fontanel in order to prevent spirits from entering the baby through its fontanel.


  • *In the African-American Hoodoo tradition it is used in magic spells and has the power to curse.


  • *It is also used as a scent bait, mostly for catfish and pike.


It seems to me that if I put a little bag of this around my neck NO ONE will come near me, except maybe some catfish or pike. I wouldn't be in danger of catching the flu or anything else, for that matter. It might even cover up that lingering skunk smell......