Sunday, December 13, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Hours worked – 32
Gross pay – $10.72
OAB – $0.11
Thrift Club – $3.00
Rent, lights, water – $5.73
Store – $0.35
Net pay – $1.53
This year I plan to have a display about the early years of Tucapau in my classroom. This photo will be prominent in the display.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Well, sir, I decided back around Thanksgiving that I was through with container gardening. Heck, I have the land and ought to be using it like the good Lord intended, growing something to stuff in my face. But my hog wire cages had succumbed to the elements back there behind the garage, being no more substantial now than so much brown cobwebs. It was the tornado last year that drew my attention to that fact.
The 2008 Brookdale Acres/Gap Creek Tornado that formed over Tab’s Flea Market on Wade Hampton Boulevard, Highway 29, with no warning and undetected by the National Weather Service, shucked off all my shingles, uprooted many trees and bushes (including my thirty-foot pink dogwood), twisted others like licorice whips, turned my eight-foot wooden fence into splinters, sucked the water from the hot tub, smashed cars, spun shingles through the neighborhood like circular saw blades into anything in their way, and sent the metal walls of an above-ground pool whipping and writhing in the air like a streamer of toilet paper to land crumpled on a neighbor’s front steps 100 yards away. The tornado, which the NWS called straight-line winds instead (because they didn’t send out a warning), but the neighbor said on TV he “seen” a tornado coming up the road, lifted the house across the street off its foundation and smashed it right back down, causing the roof to split along the ridge, warp the whole frame, shifting the bricks and foundation. It took the insurance people a couple of days to decide to condemn the structure and rebuild the house.
As Ken and the State Farm man assessed the damage, starting in the front of the house and working their way to the back of the property, while local new teams swarmed the neighborhood, I started in the rear where I discovered the tomato cages, mostly rust dust, smashed to smithereens by a small pecan limb. Oh, well. I wasn’t using them anymore, I thought. I had my containers, right? many of which were shoved over and emptied on the ground by the winds. We found one of the planters cradled in the top branches of a giant white oak in the woods across the street. It’s still there along with a Christmas wreath from who-knows-where. Spring break was just around the corner and I thought I could make some new cages then, but I never did. My rheumatiz-stricken hands couldn’t squeeze the wire cutters as easily as they could fifteen years before. I tried the container garden one more time, but decided to go back to a real garden after that third season of puny produce.
In late January, Ken began tilling the old garden spot we had been using for a burn pile. He tilled it about three different times. I expressed my doubts that we would be able to grow anything there this year, thinking it would be too alkaline because of the ashes. And sure enough, as the days warmed, when there should have been weeds sprouting, not even a sprig of chickweed grew. The spot was nothing but a scald. However, I didn’t want to break new ground just yet. So we transformed the old flower beds around the patio inside the new wooden fence (complements of State Farm) into a cool crop garden with lettuces, cabbage, and broccoli. During spring break I planted six Park’s Whoppers I had started from seed back in February in the patio garden. A couple of weeks later we noticed the tilled spot had some little weeds growing in it. I figured all the rain we had in early spring diluted the natural lye from the ashes and decided to take a chance with some more crops out there.
I bought a real cheap nine-pack of Rutgers tomatoes at Walmart, marked down because they were yellow and scrawny as pencil leads. If they died in the ground, it didn’t matter. I had to do this experiment. But how was I going to stake them up if they did thrive? I’d used most of the old metal posts in the patio garden. This is when I realized the tornado had given me an answer. We still had the old drive-through, chain-linked gate leaning against the fence in the back yard, all ten feet of it, the one that was warped when the kids’ trampoline was flung into it. I never did like that gate, it was too heavy, and I had to use two hands to open it. We replaced it with an easy-open double gate.
With the old warped gate and the last three metal fence posts, I created a 5:1 incline for the tomatoes to creep up if they grew at all. And they did grow like crazy after being stunted for about a month. As the vines grew, I lashed them to the fence with some ties I made form an old pair of pantyhose cut calamari style. What I have now is a wall-o-‘maters. They are loaded with green tomatoes, and I’ve been harvesting ripe tomatoes since July 4th weekend. I like this new arrangement very much. And it’s way easier than empty space that takes up so much space.
Here is a slide show of the damage.
Friday, June 26, 2009
stripped stems and dark green dookie pellets.
So I've been on a tomato hornworm
search and destroy mission.
I miss my little red hens.
They loved to follow me
on a worm-hunting adventure.
I'd pry the fat boys off the plants
and flick them at my girls' feet.
Did I ever tell you about
my first encounter with guacamole?
Thought it was prueed tomato hornworm.
That was back in 1973.
This picture is from Clemson's web site.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Southeastern US, the .7 means South Carolina, and the 29 means Spartanburg County. I like to see what the historians say about my antecedents. One of the most concentrated of the Spartan District tomes I’ve run across is a little self-published jewel called Indians, Bloodshed, Tears, Churches, and Schools – It All Started at Fort Gowen by James V. Gregory and James Walton Lawrence, Sr. 2003.
The idea for this book began with the authors’ and the National Park Service’s search for the original site of Fort Gowan, one in a string of several forts, all within a one-day’s walk (or run) of each other, built during the times of Tory, Indian, and outlaw gang attacks on the settlers in the South Carolina backcountry. Often mentioned are the dastardly deeds of the outlaw William “Bloody Bill” Bates along the Indian Line (Spartanburg Co. and Greenville Co. boundary). We also had another Bloody Bill in the region, William Cunningham, most noted for his attack at Walnut Grove Plantation near Roebuck. Bates reminds me of the pirate character, Stephen Bonnet, in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series. I imagine his maraudering band to be a lot like the gang of bandits who kidnapped Claire in A Breath of Snow and Ashes. Very nasty fellow.
Much of the information for Fort Gowen was gathered from aerial maps, the SC Archives, Greenville and Spartanburg County records, old newspaper articles, and the writings of local historians Dr. Lyman Draper, Dr J.B.O. Landrum, and Mann Batson. This little book reminded me that some of the greatest suffering and bloodshed before and during the American Revolution was borne by the original settlers of the backwoods Spartan District of South Carolina.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Folks, this album will continue to grow as I scan and upload the pictures to it. If you click the little blue picture icon in the lower right, you can see the complete album with captions for each picture. So, help me out, cousins, if you see something that needs correction, let me know.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Louise Bailey spoke on the cultural and historical dimensions of Henderson County. I came in a little late for that one, but was delighted to hear the story about Carl Sandburg having supper at her father's home where he enjoyed the fresh pole beans cooked with salt pork so much, not only did he have three helpings, he turned the serving bowl up and drank the pot liquor. His way of saying Henderson County pole beans are the best in the world, I reckon.
Mountain balladeer and stroyteller, Sheila Kay Adams, entertained us with her story, Whatever Happened to John Parrish's Boy, one of my favorites in her collection, Come Go Home with Me. I was very sorry to hear about the recent passing of her husband and performance partner, Jim.
Gary Carden, spoke on Western North Carolina stroytelling and folklore. He told stories about growing up with his grandparents in the mountains and how he came to study drama at Western Carolina. This session was the girls' favorite. I was going to ask him to tell the story about the trout who learned to walk on land, but we ran out of time. His play,The Prince of Dark Corners, about the Carolina bootlegger outlaw, Lewis Redmond is on DVD. I have a copy which I used in Tech Prep Chemistry when we study distillation.
Friday, April 17, 2009
I planted some broccoli and onions and Romaine lettuce and beets way back before Spring break, and they are up a right nice size now. I started tomatoes from seed, Rutgers and Park’s Whoppers, which are just about ready to put out. The nine-pack of vegetables were a good price at Lowes a couple of weeks ago. I got one pack of Roma tomatoes. I have seeds for cucumbers, birdhouse gourds, crooked-neck squash, and eggplant. They will go out in May. I’ll have to go buy some Jalapenos and bell peppers. As much as I like okra, I’ll pass on it this time. It comes in after school starts when I have no time. But retirement is not too far off.
No corn this time, but I can flat out grow corn. I’ll never forget the year, ’81 to be exact, Uncle Marion and I tended that humongous garden down at the farm right next to the lake. SIX acres of Merritt sweet corn. It was also the summer I first found I was pregnant with Elizabeth. Oh, Lord! I hoed and puked and hoed and puked. Then I pulled ears and puked and shucked and puked and blanched and puked and cut off and puked and bagged it for freezing and puked. Then I ate nary a kernel of it until Thanksgiving when the nausea went away. My uncle said, “You’re just like Momma. Always got to be growing something.” I never told him what a complement that was. He was the same way. What a wonderful trait to pass down. Ah, good times, good memories.
I suspect more and more people will venture out to plant some vegetables with the recession and all, and some may do it because it’s just plain “greener” to eat locally grown foods – a victory garden sort of. But whatever your reasons, I’m just curious to know what you are growing this summer. Tell me.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Thursday, January 1, 2009
We ate the traditional southern NY's Day fare, black-eyed peas and collard greens (you do know why we eat them, don't you?). I've learned how to gussy up the greens from my fancy chef son-in-law, though I still favor just a little bacon grease and chow chow on the side. On Tuesday, we smoked several pork loins with hickory, apple, and pecan woods. I let the loins soak up their juices for two days in giant zip-lock bags. OMG! they were delicious with the greens, sliced paper thin and piled on rolls and a little daub of Dukes on the bread. My youngest said it was the best meal I had made all year. Ha Ha Ha.