Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Taking a Walk at the Carl Sandburg House

Carl Sandburg and his family moved to Flatrock, NC in 1945.  He wrote about a third of his published works in this location.  The home is  now a National Historic Site.  Mrs. Sandburg had a herd of prize winning goats.  The park still keeps goats on the property and has five miles of nature trails.  There is no entrance fee for the park and goat barns.  The home has a modest five dollar fee for the tour.
Saturday, our family spent a few hours hiking in the park.  We did not tour the house this visit.  The house is in the process of some preservation work.

Goat barns at Connemara - If you have the time, visitors are allowed in the goat pastures.  The goats are pretty used to visitors. The fields are a great place to walk and be in  wide open spaces.

Hobo scarecrow
Hiking to Glassy Mountain lookout

Much of the fall colors have turned to rusty browns and reds.
View from the lookout for Glassy Mountain

Ginkgo leaf

Reflection in the windows of the huge yellow tree by the house
Sun goes down for our day at the park.

Carl Sandburg Home

Last of the roses for the season.

It was a good afternoon to be at the park.  Lots of folks out walking dogs or with family enjoying the outdoors.  We talked to several folks as we hiked up to the Glassy Mountain Lookout.  It is not a strenuous hike.  Most of the color is gone from the trees, so Glassy shows more of purple/blue hue.

The Carl Sandburg Historic Site is easy to find.  Turn by the post office in Flat Rock.  It is on the left just minutes from the post office.  After your visit to the park, visit the Flat Rock Village Bakery for some pizza, fresh baked goodies, and a cup of tea or coffee.  There are several little shops next door to the bakery that are worth a gander.  Hendersonville is just a hop and skip down the road where you will find Hannah Flanagan's Irish Pub which is a great place to find some hearty delicious food. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Home Cooking, Hard Work and Gratitude

Mama had three unspoken rules for her home management.  She washed clothes, she washed dishes and she cooked.  A lot of other things went undone but these three she never deviated from.  Mama was hurt in an accident the first year she and Daddy were wed.  She was in a coma for five weeks and they did not think she would live.  She did live, but forever her world was colored by the accident.  She had four children after the accident and the complications and blessings of a mother in law that lived with her as well. Then there was Daddy.  Daddy was as good as gold and not really complicated but he was just used to a standard of living.  His mother always doted on him.  It was not that he expected people to dote on him but he had some kind of special siren signal and pretty much everyone did dote on him, including Mama.

Mama had her hands full and often she did not feel well.  Her crippled leg was prone to infections and then she developed diabetes in her late thirties.  That did not stop her from doing the things that she deemed necessary.  For years she washed the clothes in a wringer washing machine, which required washing and then rinsing and putting each piece through the wringer.  She then had to carry the heavy basket of clothes down the back steps and hang them on the clothes line.  Later on those clothes had to be taken off the line.  She shook each piece to get out any bugs or spiders and then folded them.  Everything went on those lines including towels, Daddy's dress shirts, sheets, blankets and a thousand socks.  In those days permanent press had not been invented.   Many times the clothes that were to be ironed were brought in and sprinkled with water and then rolled up and put into the refrigerator to stay damp.  She then stood at an ironing board pressing all kinds of things for hours.  Women were tough in those days.  I am personally very grateful for the invention of permanent press and the clothes dryer.

Mama cooked from scratch.  She did things the old fashioned way.  She peeled potatoes, cut up and boiled them on the stove. She shucked and silked corn that she cut from the cob and made into cream corn.  She baked whole coconuts in the oven and then grated the fresh coconut for a home made coconut cake.  She made biscuits although I never thought that she mastered the art.  On special occasions she made angel biscuits which were absolutely heavenly. She even made liver taste delicious. She made gravy from scratch using the drippings from the pan, a little flour, salt and pepper. She fried okra, squash, pork chops, ham and chicken.  She made a wilted salad with vinegar and bacon drippings that she poured over leaf lettuce and onions.  She cut up cucumbers and onions to marinate and she made fresh slaw by grating the cabbage by hand.  She always added fresh tomatoes and onion to her slaw.  I have never had it made that way any where but at home.  It was always very tasty though. She made tuna patties which I also still make.  It is one of my husband's favorite quick meals. Cooked sweet potatoes were put through a hand sieve to make a smooth pie without the stringy part of the sweet potato. We had homemade chow chow, cucumber pickles and pickled beets to add to the abundance of the table.

Our  table was always filled with warm hearty food.  We ate in a steamy kitchen around a Formica table with an assortment of chairs.  For years I had to sit at the corner of the table on a metal stool because there was no room for me to have a bona fide place at the table.  Our daily dining experiences were filled with talk, laughter and full stomachs.  I can think of no place on earth as happy and content as I was as a child around that table.

By the world's standards we were just scraping by, but really and truly we were filthy rich.  Mama made sure that we had food and clothing.  I now understand how difficult it was for Mama to keep up our laundry and to provide our meals.  I often wish that I could go back in time and be more of a help to her.  Her example has buoyed me through many of my own tough times.

It is the season of Thanksgiving and our culture seems to be at a high level of dissatisfaction.  I think that we could all still learn from my Mama and all of those other mamas of by gone times who tapped into the truth that ...with food and clothing we are to be content.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Weekend Wit 16

Conduct yourself in a way that no one is tempted to call you a ninny.

If you mash that little pedal under your right foot, your car will go faster.

A lot of my "tired" is because I really am feeling the stress of something I don't want to do.

If we were truly grateful people, most of our problems would disappear.

I am my worst enemy  and I shoot myself in the foot impeding progress in my life usually because I have inappropriately shot off my mouth.

It is easier to identify with a group than to do the hard work of examining an issue.

Strong actions are often the result of some unresolved issue from our past usually involving a smoldering idea that we have been unfairly treated.  We seek our own perverted revenge instead of trusting the true and righteous Judge to handle our case.

There's A Lot Ugly Going On, But....

I drive to work every day past large and small homes. I pass little rundown places and some lovely country homes. I see all kinds of crazy signs and litter on the road sides.  A zillion wires crisscross the roads and some places look like the armpit of America.  I pass McDonald's, the post office, gas stations, traffic lights, and lots of things that I find just plain ugly.  In the middle of all of those unpleasant and man made things, there is incredible beauty.  I can focus on the ugly or I can focus on the beauty.  That is the same way in our lives.  We live in a fallen world and right now we have a bad case of ugly going on, but there is still purpose, love, peace and beauty.  

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Owls, Birds, Peacoks, Monkeys, and Elephants: It's a Zoo in the Art Room

Every year our school does a fund raiser with the students' art work.  The owls and birds are from kindergarten.  I do guided drawings with both projects.  I have the students color the birds and owls and then add some details to the pictures.  After coloring, I use permanent marker to bring back their original lines.  The students used liquid watercolors to finish these pictures.

First grade did a  guided drawing of elephants.  I used http://artprojectsforkids.org/draw-elephant/ as a guide for this drawing.  We added flowers to our drawing and colored them in with crayon.  We then water colored our backgrounds with green to give the illusion that the elephants were in a green luscious environment.

The sock monkeys were done by second grade.  They drew and painted with tempura for the monkeys.  I cut them out to save time.  They doodled on the background paper and then water colored the background and glued the monkeys down.  

Fourth grade did peacocks and I used this website as my guide.  http://thecraftyclassroom.com/crafts/india-crafts-for-kids/peacock-oil-pastel/
We did not follow the total instructions.  Our classes used colored pencils, sharpie,  and liquid water color.