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We've seen this mother buzzard, or perhaps she has been replaced by her grown off-spring, for years.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)

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Granny's Pantry #58--Going to Mill with Granddaddy

One of the "most funnest" things to do during a visit to the farm at High Rock was going to the mill with Granddaddy Cole. Since the farm produced its own wheat, corn and other grains, trips to the mill were necessary to grind or shell the grains into usable forms, such as keeping the flour box full for Granny Cole's pantry or providing food for the animals (shelled corn, etc.).  
Childhood entertainment, as we know it today, (aka technology) was not a factor in the 1950's. There was not even always a telephone. So a trip to the mill was Big.
There are no memories of a truck. I think the trips must have happened in his and Granny's black Chevrolet.
There were two mills that I remember, but I don't know why he chose one over another at any given time. There must have been a reason, but asking him now isn't an option.
One was a small mill in a tiny dot on the map called Southmont, about 11 miles from High Rock. You had to cross part of High Rock Lake to get there. I've looked for signs of it lately along Hwy. 8, and it seems to be gone, like so many other small mills in the area. [Nevertheless, I still like to ride through Southmont for the memories, and to view this house up on a hill beside of the road, just because I like it.]  
The other mill, the one I remember best, was in the small town of Richfield across the Yadkin River in Rowan County. It's about 10 miles from High Rock.
That was a bigger mill than Southmont, and recent ramblings show that not only is it still standing, but also it's on the National Register of Historic Places as of 2016.
You can still read part of the name of the structure from an end view, Richfield Milling Co. It's described as a roller type mill built sometime between 1910 and 1920, depending on the source. A Salisbury Post (Dec. 20, 2016) article described the mill in this way:
"Built near the railroad, the mill served local farmers selling their grain crops for shipment to larger markets and for their own use and animal feed. (
The (fuzzy) picture below, taken several months ago, shows the mill in a
state of disrepair. You can still see the checkerboard pattern of Purina Feeds between two of the top windows.

A recent, similar view of the front shows efforts to restore the mill are underway. Now, any time I want to re-live going to the mill with Granddaddy, I can.

24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.  (John 12:24-26)