Here in Smalltownland there lives a pair of brothers who make some seriously awesome barbecue. And,during the holiday season, they smoke turkeys and tenderloins for the community. Secret Agent Man and I decided to order a tenderloin to take to Thanksgiving dinner at my mom-in-law's house.
We are cutting edge like that.
Here is a photo of the reclusive Secret Agent Man driving us through the woods, past tobacco barns and cow pastures, to make it to the family dinner. You can see the excitement just streaming off of his body.
So...while we were driving the BBQ guy calls us and says he will meet us at the local lumber yard parking lot, where he will have our tenderloin waiting for us. A nice gesture on his part as he was trying to cut down on our drive time. However, I felt a bit like we were picking up illegal goods. *Which we were not, I would like to say.*
Here he is waiting for us.....
Here are the guys making the Thanksgiving hand-off.
Here in the country our daily mail is delivered by a lady in a pick-up truck. She doesn't wear a blue postal uniform, nor does she utilize those stuffy, little forms given to her by the post office.
She likes to leave me a post-it note and let me know if I have a box at the office. The post-it in this picture was to let me know that she had left a box in the back of our farm truck, so the dogs wouldn't bother it.
She is also full of conversation, has given me gardening tips, and always asks about the kids. On one occasion, when our cows were out, she even offered to help round them up.
How could I ever go back to life with the impersonal mailman?
A few years ago, after moving out to the sticks, I became interested in the Foxfire Books. Started as a magazine in the 1960's, Foxfire was a project to get high school students in touch with the Appalachian culture surrounding them. In reality it became so much more.
Touting information on every subject from home remedies to wagon building, these books serve as a reference, and a reminder, of ways that essentially our grandparents lived by. Currently I only own five books out of the series, but do not despair, I plan to acquire all of them along the way.
In the books men and women alike share experiences from their childhood and make references to just how different life was back in their day. They make comparisons that are relevant and worth sharing.
" People used to go see one another, and they didn't have no way to go but walk or ride a horse. Now they're livin' a lot faster than we did back then. Nowadays, they ain't got no time to go see anybody. They're goin' all the time, and they don't go nowhere either."
"I see older people who seem kind of soured on life, and they feel they haven't had a chance in life. I feel we make a lot of our chances. "
"If I was boss of the mountains, I would put it back there like it was when it was a wild country."
This Saturday was opening day for deer season. So, even though my 13 year old son took a doe during bow season, he also took a buck during rifle season. Here he is with the buck and totally in his element. He loves hunting, nature, and old ways.
He researches YouTube for flint napping, arrow making, and crossbow plans. He has countless projects going on in our garage at any given time. He is an outdoors man for sure.
He has been influenced, just a tad, by this group of ragtag guys. In this photo you would never guess that there are two doctors, one air marshal, one Navy SEAL, several state troopers, one Secret Agent Man, and one Smalltownland insurance agent. An odd group for sure, but still a great mix of ages and experience.
Ummm.....so yeah, this means that I had to take out all of the ice cream tubs in the deep freeze to make room for one deer head. Gee....never thought I would be saying that. Glad that thing is going to the taxidermist Monday morning.
I have mentioned before that we have a wood stove in our old house. At times we have used it exclusively for heat and during the ice storm we even used it for cooking. At that time, it really was a lifesaver. It never really occurred to me, before moving to Smalltownland, that I would ever live in a house with wood heat. I mean, I thought that was something from a bygone era, certainly not something I would have in my own modern home.
Well, have it I do. And this year, Secret Agent Man has been motivated to make sure we have enough wood for our house....and maybe someone else's.
Cutting wood, hauling it, stacking it, and then bringing it into the house is a tremendous amount of work. Through the years we have used only fallen trees on our farm, or from a friend's farm. And yes, Secret Agent Man likes to do the work himself.
Although this seems laborious, I can't imagine what it was like in earlier times when you had to rely on the fire for heat and cooking. The following excerpt from,"The Foxfire 40th Anniversary Book - Faith, Family, and the Land", will not only have you loving your modern heat source, but you will also appreciate a box of matches.
"We didn't depend on matches then like we do now, so we'd have to keep the fire covered up. If your fire went out and you didn't have any coals to build the fire, you'd have to go down to the first neighbor and borrow some coals. You'd take a bucket or somethin' down there and get the bucket full of coals and bring them back to the house and put them in and get your fire started." R.M. (Mack) Dickerson, Summer 1976
I appreciate Secret Agent Man's work, our electric heat, and our box of matches. I also appreciate the fact that there is nothing quite like relaxing in front of a warm fire after a long, cold day.
I would be remiss if I didn't give some kudos to my Jack Russell buddy. She likes to chase the occasional mouse, lizard, and snake from the wood pile. A dog's work is never done.
I am going to share a recipe that a lovely lady at work gave to me. She is our resident queen of baking. And, the best part is that she brings samples for all of us. Sometimes, it is not just a mere sample....it is the whole cake, pumpkin roll, pan of fudge....you get the picture.
Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Pound Cake....in all of its glory
1 box yellow cake mix
1 large box instant chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup oil
8 oz sour cream
1 - 12 oz bag of mini chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Mix cake mix, pudding mix, and sugar. Add water, oil and eggs. Mix thoroughly. Stir in the sour cream and beat until smooth. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour into the bundt pan and bake for 50-55 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan, and dust with powdered sugar.
Colder weather and frosty mornings are now a regular thing here at the farmette.
My son is rejoicing as he says this makes the deer, "move", and ups his chances during the hunting season. He must be right, as he took a doe last night with his bow.
So, guess what we are having for supper?
Frosty mornings also mean that the wood stove is up and running for the season. We are all enjoying the warmth it brings to our old farmhouse. This is especially true for our dogs who love to relax by the stove. I can't deny that I love to relax by the wood stove as well. It is one of my favorite places to hang out during cold weather.
My son was gracious enough to help me start a bottle tree just recently, something I have long wanted to do. Long known as a southern tradition, bottle trees have graced gardens near and far. I became intrigued with this idea a few years ago, after seeing pictures of them on the internet and on the meandering, two-lane drive to my parents house in Florida, where they pop up along the roadside.
The tradition of bottle trees is known to have started in the Congo generations ago. Some research dates bottle trees much earlier than that. Whenever they began, bottle trees have become a staple in the deep south.
The bottles are thought to trap evil spirits, keeping them in the bottle until the sun rises the next morning. The spirit dies when it meets the morning sun.
Bottles can be hung from trees with string, they can be placed onto bare branches or they can be purchased with a wrought iron tree stand. My son and I drove large nails into this post, and then placed the bottles sporadically.
My bottle tree seems rather sparse compared to some I have seen. However, it is just getting started. If you would like to see some extraordinary bottle trees then just clickhere. You won't regret it and you may even be inspired to start your own.