Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall is here

The seasons are changing here in Smalltownland. Our dark, dreary, week-long stint of rain has finally passed. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, the temps are cool and the wind is blowing so hard it could knock a man down. It is wonderful. Yet another sign of fall has shown itself here in the household. I have had to set the first mouse trap of the season. It is true.

It's the harsh reality of living life in the boondocks, people.

Seeing as how fall is upon us, Toots and I took it upon ourselves to do a little seasonal decorating around the farmette. We traveled to town to visit with our friend Kathy, who happens to run Cobblestone Farms. Kathy had her fall kickoff and we just had to do a little shopping.

She is very talented and her shop is full of seasonal items, crafts, painted items, furniture, flowers, and right now pumpkins a plenty. I loved her door decoration.

I loved her birdhouse too.

As well as this rusty chair. I love rust. It is kind of like a sickness, really.

Toots and I came home with several pumpkins and some mums that we placed around the farmette.

We also came home with a wonderful cinnamon bun candle that I have already burned down to a nub. Don't worry Kathy, we shall be returning....soon.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hot off the press!

Here in Smalltownland we have a weekly newspaper that would best be described as quaint. It does a pretty good job of keeping up with the local news and covering all of the hard hitting events that happen around town. Not that we have many hard hitting news type events, but anyway.

Every week there is a section of the paper that has small tidbits of news from years gone by. Some of the tidbits are quite historical and some are just fun. Here recently I ran across this little gem. Sorry that it is so cockeyed/lopsided, but you should know by now that is just how I roll.

I am sure you are thinking it a little odd that my local newspaper printed information concerning a terrapin, but for me it is perfectly normal. Obviously, the eating must have been good in this field for Mr. Terrapin, because he did not venture very far. Quite frankly, I am surprised that he lived that long.

I know all of you are on the edge of your seat with anticipation of this week's news publication. Not to worry, I shall keep all of you posted.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Grow bolder, not older

The past few weeks have been a tough transition for my Gran. She is facing health problems that may require some significant life changes for her. It is hard to see her facing these issues, as she has always been a wonderful example for me in life. I think what is hardest for me is seeing things happen that are just out of her control. It really makes you think of the important things in life, how you are living, and what you value.

Mr. B sent me this link yesterday. It is about a lady named Rachel and it is all about growing bolder, not older. I hope you will click this link and watch the short video. I promise you won't be sorry. I want to be like this when I grow up.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

All hail to the udder!

The past few days have been a flurry of activity. What with all of our monsoon weather conditions and recovering from Smalltownland's annual Cow Days Festival, this Farmchick needed a break. But, now that my internet signal has's time to get crackin'.

Each year Smalltownland holds a festival to honor all things cow. Now, this type of shindig does include most of your regular things, such as crafts, a killer family-run lemonade stand, and music. There is a 5K run on Saturday morning....right after the traditional ham breakfast served up by the Rotary Club. Mmmmm..... But, it also includes things like a pipe smoking contest, a cow calling contest, and a hay bale toss.

It is a festival of tradition. A meet and greet, if you will. A time for people to have family reunions and gorge their faces with things like ribbon taters, Cattleman's steak sandwiches, and cow pies.....that would be funnel cakes for you non-Cow Days participants.

However, the figure at Cow Days with the most notoriety would have to be Smalltownland's very own fiberglass cow named, Annie.

Annie is a modern marvel and a bit of a celebrity here in Smalltownland. You see, when you gently squeeze her udders it is not milk that comes out. Each udder produces its own special liquid, such as kool aid or soda.

Here I have a picture of my very own Toots squeezing herself some refreshment. The economy has gotten so bad that it is now one dollar for that small drink of refreshment.

This year The Deerslayer was able to work at the "Annie booth" and he signed up for every available shift. Holy Cow! I spent more hours at this Cow Days than I ever have combined in all of my years. I did miss the picture of the weekend. The Deerslayer had to open up Annie's uhhhh....backend to fill her up. Her udders had gone dry.

Now that he has received his "Annie" training I am sure I will be spending even more time at this festival next year. Maybe I will just pitch a tent on the courthouse lawn.

Friday, September 18, 2009

When children come bearing gifts

I love my chiclets. They are unique individuals with such different personalities. But, the one thing they have in common is a sense of humor. Let's take last night for example.

The Deerslayer was outside mowing. Toots was on the basketball court shooting some hoops. Me, I was slaving away in the laundry room. Suddenly I hear a bit of ruckus and the mower stops. Then comes wild laughter. I look outside and both of the children are running to the back porch. I can see that Toots is holding something in her hand. Obviously, it was not a bunch of daisies. Right off the bat I am thinking: SNAKE!

But, I was mistaken. The girl walked right up to the porch with this in her hand.

Yes, it is a mouse. And, it was alive I tell you. The Deerslayer saw him hopping (his words) around in the grass while he was mowing.


How the Deerslayer can spot a mouse hopping around the vast expanse of the yard, all the while spinning around on the zero degree turn mower is beyond me. And then, jump off the mower and catch the darn thing. The child has issues organizing his homework, but he can spot a mouse at 100 yards. The priorities of a middle school age boy....

Never fear gentle readers, the mouse lived to see another day. He was let loose in the pasture.

I let the children know that the least they could have done was to brought me some flowers. I mean, I did actually BIRTH them.

They thought that was funny.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

And the winner is.....

The time has come for the winner of the Garden and Gun magazine giveaway to be announced. I took this endeavor seriously and decided that the random number generator just would not do. Instead, I opted for the old-fashioned pen and paper method. Here you can see me getting down to business. Since I took this picture with my left hand, it seems the only thing in focus would be my thumb.

Each person's name was carefully written on a piece of the Deerslayer's graph paper and folded ever so neatly. Then it was placed in a wait, I couldn't find one, so I used my Krispy Kreme hat instead.

Gingerly, I shook them all around. Careful not to damage my hat.

And then I drew out the name.....Willow! Congratulations Willow! Please contact me at my e-mail address listed on my sidebar. Thanks to all of you who left me a comment to enter!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A guilty pleasure for me and a giveaway for you

Right here you are looking at an older copy of my favorite magazine, Garden and Gun. Kudos have to be given to my friend, Southern Fried Momma, for turning me on to this magazine in the first place.

Yesterday my current copy arrived in the mail and I have already perused it from cover to cover. It is published bi-monthly and that is the only thing I don't like about it. I really wish it arrived monthly. This month includes articles on a Kentucky farmer who took the world of croquet by storm, a gentlemen raising pitcher plants, and an article on dove hunting. The best article, by far, is the one titled, "The Secret South", where secret locales on everything from antique stores to the best coon dog cemetery are discussed. A wonderful read, truly.

I will go ahead and admit that the magazine is a little ummmm....."highbrow". A little "frou-frou", if you will. I am certain that I don't generate the annual household income that most of their readers do. However, I do enjoy excellent writing and photography. This magazine has both. Plus, it really focuses on the culture of the south and writes about places that I can actually visit.

How does this all pertain to you? Well, I am giving away a years subscription to Garden and Gun magazine. All you need to do to throw your hat in the ring is leave a comment. I will close up shop on this giveaway on Tuesday, September 15th, at 5pm. That is 5pm Eastern Time.....or fast time for any of you local folks reading this blog.

So, go on and leave a comment! You have nothing to lose and a nice little magazine subscription to gain.

I will announce the winner on Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Isn't this what a garage is for?

When we bought our farm, almost eight years ago, it came with a very large, detached garage. We are fortunate because we seem to have lots of...."stuff". You know, canoes, paddles, farm stuff, dog stuff, and the list could go on and on. Suffice it to say that we are thankful for this building. But, leave it to Secret Agent Man to come up with an idea for some free wall space.

He likes to climb. You know rocks, mountains and those types of things. Me...not so much. But, he is working on a little apprentice at our house. He even created a climbing wall in the garage for her to do a little training.

She loves it and yes, she is wearing an appropriate safety harness.

I found him on the wall himself, just a few minutes after Toots got finished. He couldn't resist.

I can see him expanding this venture pretty soon to accommodate his size.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sweet Potato Biscuits

I think I have tried making several types of biscuits in my kitchen. Everything from buttermilk to cream of tartar, but these I really like. I won't pretend that everyone in my family thinks they are great. Secret Agent Man said that he prefers my Whipping Cream Biscuits. However, I think you should give this recipe a try. I think you might like it.

This recipe actually comes from the cookbook, Screen Doors and Sweet Tea, Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook. Written by Martha Hall Foose, it is one of my personal favorites. Not only is it full of authentic southern recipes, but each one carries a unique story with it. It is a very enjoyable read and the pictures aren't so bad either.

Okay...maybe we should get started.

You will need:

1 cup mashed, baked sweet potato (about 2 medium)
2/3 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
2 tablespoons sugar

Mix together the milk, sweet potato, and butter. I know my butter does not look fully melted in this picture, but it was plenty soft. At this stage make sure that this potato mixture is smooth.

Add the flour and sugar. Gently blend this mixture and it will create a very soft dough. Actually, I think it is more of a cross between a thick cake batter and a very soft biscuit dough. Not something you will work with your hands.

Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto a prepared baking surface. I used my trusty, old, baking stone.

Bake for 12-15 minutes at 450 degrees or until the biscuits are an orange tinged brown.

Enjoy with plenty of butter and sorghum.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It's all in the barn

This past week all of the cut tobacco was taken out of the fields and transported to barns across our county.

Here it will stay until the leaves dry. Then it will be taken to market where it will be sold by grade.

About a week ago I posted about tobacco being cut here in our area. Known by Name left a comment concerning tobacco farmers in Kentucky. She stated that a farmer let her in on a couple of secrets. First, the farmers grew their own patch of tobacco plants, without the use of chemicals. Second, the chemicals being used on the plants were so strong that steel toed work boots did not last very long.
Growing up my grandmother dipped snuff. Actually, she is in her nineties and she is still dipping snuff. If you received a bee or wasp sting while she was around, you could be sure that some wet snuff was going to be placed on the affected area. To her it was the cure for the sting.
Going through one of my Foxfire books I came across some other tobacco related cures. A wet tobacco leaf, placed on your stomach, was noted to relieve the hiccups. Placing wet chewing tobacco on a smashed fingernail was said to aide in healing. Rabbit tobacco smoke, when blown in the ear, relieves and earache. I am afraid I need to do a little research on "rabbit tobacco". That's a new one on me.
Anyone else have any tobacco related cures/tales?