Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mummers' Plays

Recently I was researching/reading information about Christmas in Appalachia.  So many traditions in our area of the country can be traced back to Ireland, Scotland, and England.  Although I am used to coming across these connections, I found an article about a type of amusement called a, "Mummers' Play", specifically concerning Christmas.  

In Appalachia a group of people would travel from house to house, no small feat in the mountainous regions, to perform these plays.  The characters would include St. George, A Knight, Father Christmas, a dragon, and a princess.  These character listed are from English tradition, but can differ in other European cultures.  

Usually these plays involved a fight with the doctor bringing the slain victim back to life.  The underlying point of the play seems to be resurrection

Photo courtesy of folkplay.info







The theme of Mummers' plays today are known to be from the mid to late 18th century. 

Photo courtesy of originalrobinhood.com
The season for Mummers' Plays throughout Britain was traditionally Christmas.  Here in Appalachia, the tradition of mumming died out after WWI.  

If you would like to read a script of a Mummers' Play performed in 1930, in Kentucky, you can do so here.

Anyone else ever heard of these?  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Making of a Christmas Card

During the Thanksgiving break, I took the opportunity to attempt a photo for our Christmas card.  I thought it was the least Sir Charles could do to pose for us.  I mean, what with all of his comforter destruction as of late.  

I think he is modeling his, "rasta-man", look here. 


To say it was a struggle to keep his attention is a supreme understatement. 

Secret Agent Man was behind me with doggie bacon....to no avail. 

It's possible he was getting a bit tired of our antics at this point. 


But, we did manage to get a few good photos out of the bunch.  

Seriously, I think he loved wearing the scarf. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

I Can't Win for Losing

Bless his heart, just look at him......

So tired......


I'll leave him to it as I am sure he needs his rest after...

pulling the stuffing out of the comforter in the spare bedroom. 

Gee, wasn't I just extolling his virtues the other day? 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thanksgiving Thursday

Today I will give a few moments to pause and not be so thoughtless on this Thursday.  This day of Thanksgiving reminds me that I am thankful to live in an old, lop-sided house that allows me to live in a bit of history each day. 


I am thankful for a son, 

and a daughter that challenge me on a regular basis to do my best to be a good parent. 

I think my list could almost be endless.  Parents, a husband, extended family and friends round out my list.  

I have to say that I am also thankful for the friendships and connections I have made through blogging.  This venture has provided me with a peek into so many lives and cultures.  

May all of you out there have a wonderful Thanksgiving day filled with family, friends, and too much turkey.  

Gobble, gobble....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Who Loves You Doggie?

They are nothing if not loud, obnoxious, and uncoordinated.  They take up space on the couch and demand a smooch when I arrive home. They round up cows and bark at the mail lady.


They have been known to start howling in the wee hours of the morning when they hear a coyote in the yard in the distance.


They gift me with dead animals when I least expect it. 


During a thunderstorm, one has been known to leap up onto my high four poster bed with a single bound. Whether there was actually space available for him was a secondary thought. 


I am thinking they are responsible for the missing door mat, that I actually found in the yard yesterday afternoon. 

They are rascals, every last one of them and they give their love and affection to us freely without hesitation. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Raining Chocolate

It is a wet day here in central Kentucky and although it may not be actually raining chocolate, heavy raindrops have been falling since early this morning.  So, what better way to celebrate a cool, rainy day indoors, but with chocolate?!  

Creamy, decadent chocolate at that.  The following recipe is for a flour less chocolate cake that is creamy and rich with chocolate flavor.  

The first thing you shall need is one, 8-inch pan.  I chose to use a spring form pan because I am like that.  Make sure you have an old school Snoopy ruler on hand to check the diameter of said pan. 


Grease this pan and give it a liberal dusting with cocoa powder.  


Next, using a double boiler, melt 1/2 cup of butter and 4 ounces of semisweet chocolate.  Butter and chocolate.....a beautiful thing. 

Mix the melted chocolate/butter combo with 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 3 eggs (beaten), and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Mix well and then pour into your prepared pan.  It should look like this.  All of this chocolaty goodness calls for a moment of silence.....

Bake that fantastic pan in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes. 


Allow the cake to cool and then slice it, plate it, and cover it with caramel and pecans.  

Just the right treat for a rainy Sunday afternoon and a nice gluten-free item for your Thanksgiving table.

Make it, eat it, enjoy it, and that's an order.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Character

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.  

Helen Keller

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Red ~Rojo~Rouge

Red is the color of old barns,

love, passion, and old hay rings.


It is the color of berries, 

wood,


and ancient bolts.  

The color of shady, timeworn sheds, wild hair, and bandannas. 

The color of fire, apples, fast cars, and fingernail polish.  

The color red is.........

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Contrary is the Wind

"Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude"
William Shakespeare
As You Like It


Today our wind is being contrary, unkind, and all of the unmentioned unfavorable words.  High levels of wind are not showing kindness to the throngs of deer hunters out in the field.  

It is swirling around the farmette and whistling through the century old crevices in this house. 

Making me wonder just where this floating leaf will eventually end up in life. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Water

So.....many people have been posting on social media sites this month about being thankful.  The, "thirty-day thankful lists", are quite prevalent and meaningful.  But, they mostly state the obvious.  You know....we are all thankful for our parents, children, homes, etc....  However, I read a lady's post and she was thankful for water.  And, not just water, but how it ran freely into her home.  Really?  

Yes, really.  AND, it made me think of how I take this simple thing for granted. 

I am sure I have mentioned more than a few times about how I live in a creaky, old house that was built well before indoor plumbing was considered a necessity.  



We all need water.  The cows, who won't stay in their fenced pasture, need it.  


The flowers in the garden need water as well as dogs, people, crops.....and well, I could go on and on.  


In the late 1970's, and I should say pressing into 1980, my grandmother, known as Bird, did not have regular plumbing in her house.  Now, I should clarify that she did have a sink in the kitchen and a sink in the bathroom.  If you wanted to call it a bathroom.....  In her house there was not a bath tub, shower, or toilet.  Yes, I said there was not a toilet.  You used the outhouse, or in the night, the....., "night jar", and that is all I am going to say about that.  

When it came time to do the laundry the clothes were taken out to the smokehouse building where the washing machine was stored.  I do remember that it resembled this image with the spot of red, white finish and wheels.  It was plugged into a spot of electricity and the tub was filled with water.  The clothes were washed/rinsed and then sent through the wringer.  Thank heavens I never felt the need to stick my finger into the wringer.  Clothes were hung on the line to dry and all was well. 

Remembering all of this REALLY makes me thankful for the water options that I have in my modern home.  I have the usual facilities....dishwasher, multiple bathrooms, washer/dryer.  I cannot imagine doing laundry in the smokehouse when it is 35 degrees outside and then hanging the clothes out to dry.  

Yes water, I am thankful for you.  

And, for all of those other little things in life that operate like tiny cogs in the wheel that keep daily life turning. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Smoky Mountain High

So, I've been off the blogging map for a few days.  The chiclets and I had a long weekend and we, as a family unit, decided to head east to the Smoky Mountain National Park for the weekend.  In all of my travels, this is one place I had not yet visited. 

Here we have Secret Agent Man.  The proverbial Cruise Director of this trip.  You can tell just how serious he is about this endeavor. 


Gorgeous views people....just driving down the road. 


We did some hiking inside the park.  Here are the chiclets crossing a bridge made from a single log.  Who thought that was a good idea? 


Some people in the family just don't have the stamina to keep up....good thing there is a big brother handy. 


The views......


were just.....

stunning. 

We also mixed in a little shopping while we were there.  I didn't think I was going to make it out of the Smoky Mountain Knife Works alive....or with my wallet intact.  

But, as Dorothy says, there is no place like home. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Famous in a Small Town

Living in a small town can really be a mixed bag of pros and cons.  Although our location and population are limited, opportunities are not.  Toots had the opportunity to participate in a local radio show to promote her school's fall festival activities.  She even recorded a radio advertisement to promote the festival. 

This radio show, a Thursday night tradition here in Smalltownland, takes place at a local pizza restaurant on the historic town square.  At this time of year it is mostly football talk......

Here we have the football coach discussing the upcoming Friday night football game. 

And here we have Toots, on the far left, with her crew of friends and fellow fall festival promoters. 

You can see they were serious about reviewing the information they were about to discuss, for everyone to hear. 

Toots has a great group of friends who are full of school spirit and always ready to participate in just about anything. 

She certainly didn't have any problems taking the microphone from our local DJ to discuss all school things which she felt pertinent at the time.  

Proceed and be bold.....she doesn't seem to be having a problem with that one.