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)

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Granny's Pantry #57--The Fig Bush

The best place to eat a fig is standing at Granny's fig bush...the one just outside of the back door at High Rock.
The best way to eat a fig is to pull the ripe ones (not too green, not too mushy) from the bush when they are that purplish, pinkish, greenish color that says they are just right. 
Gently break apart the outer skin with your fingers and suck out the soft, fleshy middle. Reach for another and repeat.  

Eating figs straight from the bush is like partaking of any other of life's delicacies. One too many and you spoil the experience. Better to stop when you still want more.  

Of course you can gather figs to make make everything from fig newtons, to stuffed figs, to fig preserves, to fig salads, to figgy pudding and beyond. 

But figs are a bit like Old Testament manna. If you take too many home to eat later in their plain form, somehow they lose their appeal. 

Therefore, as stated earlier, "The best place to eat a fig is standing at Granny's fig bush."
It shall come to pass in the latter days…
they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,
and no one shall make them afraid,
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. 
(Micah 4:1a, 4)

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Granny's Pantry #56--Lick Creek

The farm at High Rock is located in Davidson County, NC, and bordered on its western side by the Yadkin River. 
Above the farm on the Yadkin is the High Rock Dam.
Several miles below it is the Tuckertown Dam.  
On the eastern side of the farm is Lick Creek Church Road. About a mile south of the farm is Lick Creek proper. 
Lick Creek is a muddy stream that is a tributary of the Yadkin, and a part of High Rock history and lore. You have to cross Lick Creek to get to Granny's church (Lick Creek Baptist), where Granny and Granddaddy Cole lie, their son, daughter in law, son in law and granddaughter. Crossing Lick Creek will take you to the site above the river where the Reid Plantation once stood 
and to the Denton Farm Park, where the Plantation buildings now stand. Crossing Lick Creek will take you to old Jackson Hill, where the old church and general store, now at the Farm Park, once stood, 

and where the two story house where Granddaddy's Aunt Lou used to live. Crossing the Creek will take you down to the site of the settlement of Newsom, now largely covered by the Yadkin. 

Once upon a time, a Sunday afternoon 'safari' would take adventuresome hikers south from High Rock along the Norfolk & Southern railroad tracks to the trestle high above Lick Creek. Not a place you wanted to be if you heard a train coming. That might not have been as scary as the last time in memory that Aunt Ruthie drove us across Lick Creek bridge in her old car. That! was a ride!
Often pronounced "Leek Creek," (at least to young ears), Lick Creek likely got it's name from mineral deposits along the creek bank that attracted the deer population to partake. The water may be muddy, but the fish like it as well as the cranes that call it's waters home. 
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)