Sunday, May 23, 2021

Granny's Pantry # 64--The Farm Bell

On a high post at the side of the drive at High Rock behind the well house stood the Farm Bell. It was rung by a pull hanging from the yoke. 
bell at DD's farm
One might suspect the greatest use of the bell was to call folks in from the field or garden to the dinner or supper table. That might have happened on some farms, but not so much on the Albert Cole Farm. 
Granddaddy knew when it was time to come in for meals. He had a routine that didn't depend on the bell. After dinner (lunch) he would stretch  out on the old chaise in the middle of the kitchen for a brief nap. After about 30 minutes, he was gone again to his plow or whatever he was working on that day. After supper, he would listen to the radio--
(maybe Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons) or watch some TV
(maybe Johnny Weaver or the Great Bolo on Championship Wrestling or Gunsmoke or Dragnet). Granddaddy Cole usually turned in about 8 or 8:30 because his next day came early.
No, the Farm Bell at Granny Cole's was an alarm bell. The big old No. 3 or larger bells could be heard anywhere from 3/4 of a mile to several miles across the countryside. With no cell phones or phones at all for many years, there needed to be a way to alert the family---and the neighbors too at times---that help was needed. Come quick!

The bell at High Rock no longer rings. It stood about here 
but legend has it that Bid's husband, Jimmy, ran into the pole with his car and knocked the old bell to the ground where it broke into several pieces.
the farm bell at DD's house
While we can't still hear the High Rock bell, we can still get a taste of what it sounded like. Bid's daughter's husband resurrected the one from Bid's house at High Rock and hung it on his farm. This is what it sounds like.  

Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near,
(Joel 2:1)

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Granny's Pantry # 63--The Buzzards of Misenheimer

In the mid 1980's, Aunt Ruthie bought a house in Misenheimer from the Culp family for the incredible amount of $6500 dollars. She renovated it, set it up as her art studio, but only spent one night there. [See Granny's Pantry # 37, December 11, 2016, Finding Misenheimer ]     

One of the outbuildings, the granary that may have been the original house, is also the home of a mother turkey vulture. 

In the South, the common name for this large and strange bird is Buzzard. 

Buzzards have never had a very good reputation. William Faulkner said: 

"If I were reincarnated, I'd want to come back a buzzard. Nothing hates him or envies him or wants him or needs him. He is never bothered or in danger, and he can eat anything."

We've seen this mother buzzard, or perhaps she has been replaced by her grown off-spring, for years. She may be sitting in the window of the old structure or she may fly from  the window to a nearby tree when she hears a "people invasion" in the yard of her home. 

This buzzard, or returning offspring, have raised their babies in the upstairs of the abandoned structure for years.

They are not charming young, and we give them and their mother wide berth.

For some reason, the surrounding area appears to be prime gathering area for the buzzards in the neighborhood. Just down the small, quiet street, are trees and a tall metal tower where they come to roost in the evenings.

They have even been know to congregate even closer in trees around the house. 

Spooky sight, those buzzards.

The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures. (Proverbs 30:17)

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Granny's Pantry # 62--Finding Gil Favor at the Hardware Story

A fun thing to do with Granddaddy Cole growing up was going to the hardware store in Denton--Denton Hardware. 

The owner was Mr. Albert "Hill" Penry Sr. 

Now, during this time (1959-1966), there was a well-watched TV Western called "Rawhide. You may remember cowboy, Rowdy Yates--played by a young Clint Eastwood. The trail boss on the Rawhide cattle drive was named Gil Favor (played by Eric Fleming).  

So, what does the Denton Hardware have to do with Rawhide?

Well, one of the special things about Mr. Hill Penry that I remember most was that he looked so much like Gil Favor. That made going to Denton Hardware with Granddaddy special indeed. It was a bit like seeing a celebrity in the flesh.
This is Gil Favor/Eric Fleming
Further research revealed that the real Gil Favor (Eric Fleming) drowned in 1966, soon after the demise of Rawhide.

The real Mr. Penry died on December 10, 1977. 

While researching Mr. Penry for this entry, I came across something both interesting and more romantic than just his likeness to Gil Favor.
This link to Garden and Gun magazine highlights the marriage of Mildred Suggs Penry and Hill Penry in its "Great Southern Romances" article. 

Click on the link and you can judge for yourself whether you think Gil Favor and Hill Penry look alike. But my vote is Yes.

In any case, this article was such a special ending to Finding Gil Favor!

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.
Now I know in part; 
then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
(I Corinthians 13:12)

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Granny's Pantry #61--Under the Cloth

One didn't go hungry at Granny Cole's house. To being with, her cooking was legendary. From classic country cooking to special holiday favorites, Granny could do it all...from short cuts. 

Hearty breakfasts for Granddaddy Cole could last him in the field until dinner time at noon, the big meal for the day. Supper might be leftovers, but it was all good.

But between meals? There was always a snack waiting "under the cloth" on the kitchen table. 

Under the cloth was a usual way of storing leftovers for a day that didn't require immediate refrigeration.
Most often it was biscuits, sometimes country ham or sausage to go inside, or jelly. Could be a small dish of vegetables. And a pie or cake was not far away.

The clothes themselves were made from cotton cloth or feed sacks and were smaller than a table cloth but bigger than a fabric napkin. Because of the wonderful memories they evoke, to find one is to find a treasure. I suspect that I might have found a few that were left in Granny's house. Just like all things Granny, they were special finds.  

One of the favorite things to do, then, when you got hungry before the next meal was to l.ook "under the cloth" and see what delight Granny had left for you to discover and devour. 

I don't know that this practice has continued very much into the present day. But it made the common practice of between meal snacking a treat to behold.

For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

(Psalm 107:9)

Monday, December 28, 2020

Granny's Pantry # 60--Christmas on the Farm

This year, 2020, we almost missed it. We had decided not to make our annual trip to the Denton Farm Park for the Christmas Train event. Normally, this is our favorite outing during the Holidays. It's right down the road from High Rock and  reminds us of Granny and Granddaddy Cole.

But this being 2020, and due to the changes required as a result, we decided to skip the whole thing.
But then Duncan took matters into his own hands. 

He was so upset to miss this part of our Christmas tradition, even without the usual train ride, that we caved and bought tickets to go. On the very last evening it was open.

And aren't we glad we did! Some traditions just aren't meant to be missed. It took the tears of a child to remind us of that. 

Yes, it was different. And yes, it was worth it!  The drive-thru Christmas light presentation was such fun!  [These fuzzy pictures don't touch it!]  

We missed meeting in the little Jackson Hill Church to hear "Beautiful Star"---but hopefully next year. And the one after that. And the one after that. Etc.

Those folks at the Denton Farm Park outdid themselves, despite the challenge and without their beloved Brown Loflin.

...Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. 
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
[John 8:12]

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Clearing the Pasture Fence

Thanksgiving Day. Quiet, cool, overcast. 

A good day to clear the pasture fence.

Good to be outside and active.

Come, let’s sing for joy to the Lord.
    Let’s shout praises to the Rock who saves us.
Let’s come to him with thanksgiving.
    Let’s sing songs to him.
The Lord is the great God.
    He is the great King over all gods.
Psalm 95:1-3

Monday, September 21, 2020

Granny's Pantry #59--The Grape Vine

Beside the big chicken house and behind the corn crib at Granny Cole's house there was a grape vine. 

Chicken House
The only remnants of it are part of the wooden structure that once held it up.

Like a lot of things when one is young, one often takes things for granted. Looking back, the bounty of that modest grapevine is more easily appreciated now.

Judging from the color of it's products, it was probably muscadine by variety.  

One of the tasty offerings from Granny's pantry was homemade grape juice. It was both sweet and tart and a lovely deep purple color. Nothing commercial is its equal I am certain, both in taste and because Granny made it.

Another outcome of that grapevine was Granny's wine. While that was a delicacy best left to adults, I do remember how sweet it was. Delicious. I also remember that her daughters, Ruthie and Bid, tried to re-create it after Granny left us...without her recipe. I don't believe they were very pleased with the results.

While going through recipes gathered from High Rock houses long after Granny was gone, I did run across this related treasure...and maybe one that Aunt Ruthie and Bid would have found beneficial.
It was their brother, Brooks,' wine recipe. 

I haven't tried it, nor am I likely to. Some of Granny's posterity didn't inherit her pioneer genes. But the memories we hold very close.

You give us wine that makes happy hearts.
And you give us olive oil that makes our faces shine.
    You give us bread that gives us strength.
(Psalm 104:15)