Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Takin' Time Tuesday...Papa Had Plenty Of Time

The old home place on which my great grandfather lived isn't exactly as I remember as a child, but it's still standing.  I always thought it sat much further off the road. I thought the mail box was a LONG way away. I thought the garden spot covered acres and acres. I thought the house and farm much bigger.  But I suppose that was from a child's perspective of distance and size.  And I thought it  the most beautiful place on earth.  Now I know that it wasn't.  At least not from a purely visual point of view!

My family and I, with my dad and Miss Catherine, recently road by the old home place and the cemetery.  Memories flooded my mind, and I thanked God for the profound influence an already elderly man, by the time I arrived, had on my young life. (the gentleman below is my father)

My earliest remembrance of my great-grandfather is when I was around five years old.  He was seventy years older than I, part Cherokee and part Irish, and fit as a fiddle.  I very fondly remember following his every footstep and trying to keep up with him.  He plowed with a mule named Shorty, and I was often found trying to walk in the prints his large boots made in the beautiful Alabama dirt.

He would make the hundred mile trip to pick me up, and I thought he and I were driving cross country as we headed back to his rural home.  It did take quite a while since he rarely drove his car over thirty miles per hour and stopped at every DQ between my home and his.  He'd offer to get for me whatever I wanted and a hamburger patty would be purchased for his dog Pepper.

One of my memories is of when I was five or six years old and my father *retired* Papa's old outhouse and installed an indoor bathroom. It was placed in a corner of a lean-to screened porch which crossed the back of the house and held freezers, canning equipment, a lovely collection of baskets for collecting eggs or produce, and always a number of seeds in the process of drying and awaiting their time to be planted in the good southern dirt.

But guess what happened to the retired outhouse?  My cousin and I took turns making it into our play house.  There was also a cute and larger well house, but we both wanted to *live* in the retired outhouse.  We had to negotiate!  Often!

I made mud pies, mud soup and practiced kneading skills by making mud biscuits.  And all while enjoying the shade of a giant pecan tree. Sometimes my cousin would get to come and spend the day.  Mildred, my Papa's wife, would supply us with plenty of extra old spoons, a pot, and a few chipped or retired dishes.

There was a certain rhythm and consistency to the days which provided a sense of security and peacefulness which this girl craved and thrived under. And there was rarely any hurry to get to the next activity or place.  Life was slow.  And simple.  And wonderful.  And I longed to stay there.  Forever.

Eggs were collected each morning, and the chickens were given a bit of corn and table scraps.  I collected them in a cute little handmade basket which my Papa had made.  With his encouragement, I learned to enter the chicken's domain (hen house) despite my fear of them.  I walked right in and took the eggs from beneath them - even though they made a terrible racket and scolded me severely, or so I thought.:)  Once there was a very large chicken snake, but Papa saved the day and the eggs.

Days on the farm began early as Papa got up at 4:00 am each morning.  And bedtime was linked to the sun and pretty much the same as when the chickens went to roost.

He stayed up *late* one night per week.  That was so  he could watch the man who tap danced on the Lawrence Welk Show. The lights went out as soon as the gentleman danced.

There were barns which held stored foods and feed for the animals, fruit trees which could be eaten from at any time I wanted, and Papa and I would walk through the garden together eating muscadines. He'd  then ask me to pick out a watermelon (my favorite) and cut it open under the pecan tree.  Pure bliss.

Mildred was always canning things, and most evenings were spent sitting in the rocking chairs or front porch swing and shelling beans or something from the garden.  They each had a large metal pan in which they placed hot water and soaked their tired feet.  I loved the creaking sound the rockers made and the feeling that I was contributing somehow while helping to put away food.  I'm not sure how much I actually helped, but the fact that they allowed me to enter into their work and lives benefited me in so many ways.

Papa didn't have a lot of money.  He had plenty of time.  He MADE time.  And he invested his time in me.  Those hours sitting on the porch swing or on the block wall weren't idle.  Papa was transferring information.  And morals.  And principles. And wise warnings.  I'm not sure he knew, but he was.  And I listened.  Because he CARED enough to invest his TIME.

Life on the farm with Papa wasn't Six Flags or an amusement park, but life on the farm with Papa was just what this girl needed. And wanted. Someone who cared.  Someone who had time. For me. And God knew.

My Papa died one year after Tom and I married and before we had any children.  But he had a profound influence on our view of them and their needs.

While not all children will grow up on a farm or have a farm experience, almost ALL need more time and less things.  I believe that with all my heart.  Simple pleasures.  Time to think.  Pray. Create. Read. Work.  Study.  Enjoy God's creation.  Ponder.  Serve.  Learn at the feet of those wiser than themselves.

So whenever I find myself forgetting those things... and failing to look into their eyes and really listen... and concerning myself to much with giving them more things rather than more time... memories of Papa remind me of what's truly important.

So this post is a tribute to Auburn Oscar Lowrimore.  My great-grandfather.  A man who had plenty of time.  For a little girl.  And who made a difference.  In a young life.

May God bless your efforts as you make time for those God has placed in your life.  Today.  Blessings  ~ Sherry~   

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Frugal Friday...Parmasean Triangles

Do you find yourself making frequent trips to the store for one item and coming home with several bags of groceries you didn't know you *needed*?
We've had that happen before and especially just as we're preparing for company.  Parmasean Triangles are one of the recipes we've used, over the years, as a sort of emergency bread to have on hand in order to avoid some of those unexpected and expensive trips to town.
They're good with any sort of meal but we especially enjoy them with Italian type dishes.
We first made them, many years ago, with bits of our biscuit dough.  We would take a biscuit sized bit of dough and flatten it like a pancake.  Then we would spread the mixture on top and put them in the oven.  Next we tried using our whole wheat bread dough and those were also very popular at our house.  But for *emergencies*, we've found that we like to keep tortillas on hand, either fresh or frozen.  Making your own is much cheaper but store bought are also good.
When we're preparing a meal and realize someone's eaten up all the bread, these are a snap to put together and get in the oven.  We make sure and have the following items on hand:  whole wheat tortillas, 1/2 cup parmasean cheese, 1 cup mayo, some Italian seasoning and garlic powder.  Mix the above ingredients in a bowl, spread a tablespoon or more on each tortilla, place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 till golden on top.  Take out, allow to cool for a few minutes and cut each tortilla into four pieces with a pizza cutter.  Enjoy.:)  Blessings to you and yours!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

More Ducks = More Winter Eggs!?

We've recently been looking into adding additional ducks to the family farm in order to have more eggs year round and a couple things turned our thinking in that direction.  First off, the younger children found a very large stash of duck eggs under one of our outbuildings and realized Judson's lone duck was laying quite a bit and trying to hatch some ducklings.  This was during the very cold part of winter.  Next, Abi had a conversation with a sweet sweet friend (thanks) of ours who shared their winter experience with ducks and their decision to add more on their farm.
While we still want to raise chickens for eggs and meat, we've been reading about some of the differences between the two.  Duck eggs, of course, are larger and that is a plus for our large family.  The shell is tougher, protein content is slightly higher, and vitamin and mineral content is reportedly similar.  Also, they can be used as a chicken egg replacement and scrambled, baked or poached.
Many bakers insist that duck eggs make their cakes rise better due to their high fat content and provide excellent taste.  But some say they become rubbery if over-baked. 
They are wonderful for having around an orchard since they will eat the pests and the fallen fruit, they make excellent fertilizer for the soil, and they are good for meat, feathers and eggs.  And like a goose, they will warn of approaching danger.
They take approximately 23 days to hatch once they've started to sit full time, they are more cold hardy than chickens, they don't scratch up vegetables as chickens do, and some say they lay their eggs by 8 a.m.  But best of all, to me, they lay eggs from mid-winter through mid-summer and will produce for up to 3 years!  Just when the chickens are laying less during the winter, they are beginning to lay.
Judson's Duck Duck is a Pekin and the most common type in America. She is truly free range and has grown quite large without any feed.  She really seems to like the watercress, insects and such, and she loved the garden green tomatoes and ate many off the ground this past summer.  Those in-the-know say her kind are best for meat and take about seven weeks to be ready for the table, 2.7 lbs. of feed  for every pound of bird, and 19 lbs of feed are required to grow off a 7 lb. bird. The female Pekin lays 140 to 200 eggs per year.  Again, they are said to be best for meat whereas the Khaki Campbell is better for egg production and some have reported more than 300 eggs their first year.
Above is a picture of Duck Duck, all grown up, and her friend Goose Goose.  My mother recently came for a visit and took Judson to the store to purchase a mate for Duck Duck.  Hopefully we will have little Pekin ducklings eventually.  But for eggs, we're planning to order a number of Khaki Campbells this year.  Has anyone else had experience with raising the Pekin or Khaki Campbell ducks?
Blessings to you all ~ Sherry~

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Italian Deer Roast With Pepperoncini Peppers

I've been absent for  a while, so I thought I'd post a yummy crock pot recipe we recently enjoyed.  We used a deer roast, but a beef or pork roast would be just as good.  We had a similar dish while having dinner with new friends.  I don't know her exact recipe but this one is close, I think.:)
Place a 4 pound roast in the crock pot along with an 8 oz jar of pepperoncini peppers (with juice) and 4 cubes beef bouillon with 2 cups water, OR 1 can beef broth.  Cook on low for 8 hours and THAT'S it!  Shred and serve in pita bread, on buns or over rice.  Delicious! She included carrots, potatoes and onions. Yum!  And the leftovers, if there are any, make a wonderful soup base for another meal.
Emily brought in the first buttercup and hint of spring!
I'm always so surprised and delighted when they first make their appearance each year.
I've been having tea with little girls...
listening to my little ones read out of their readers while sitting in an outdoor homemade tee pee made from sticks and an old tarp...
and sipping lemonade made by Melanie who shared her pretty spring napkins with her momma. It was a bit chilly in the tee pee, but it allowed me time with my young ones and took me away from....
the above.  Papers.  Clutter.  Do you ever feel that your purse is a reflection of your life?  Sometimes it gets messy.  And gets to you.  And has to be organized.
And that's part of what I've been up to.  Closed up in my room and buried under paperwork.  Some is current and some is still that which was collected and boxed up for us.  But my heart sings as I begin to see light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm so slow, but I see progress.:)

Gifts of new spring flowers arriving and sandwiched between light dustings of snow.
Not that every day is perfect on the farm. Like I said, sometimes life gets messy...like my purse. Someone cries in frustration over a difficult math problem - or to much mud being tracked in - or burned rice - again. Or a beautiful young cow, our Blossom, who swallowed something hard yesterday and didn't make it. Or a young and curious goat who escaped the other day and ate almost a whole bag of minerals in the barn.  She didn't make it either.
But I've been so refreshed as I've recently taken the time to start walking these hills and hollers.  I saw where our spring water comes from.  And I so enjoyed the soothing sounds of the bubbling streams.  I saw flowers popping up from beneath their winter coverings of leaves and twigs. And I delighted in seeing the greening of the grass which has been drinking  deeply of the winter rains.  And God sends the winter rains.  And I am thankful. 
God bless you all.  I hope you enjoy the recipe. ~ Sherry ~