Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oh, what a week!

It's just Wednesday, but there's been enough going on in our lives these past few days for me to write a book. I'm gonna try to give you the abridged version, though. Here's what we've been up over the last few days!
Sunday, our anniversary, was a glorious day. I woke up to breakfast in bed, we went to church where there was an announcement about it in the bulletin and we were recognized by the pastor, and Hubby had gotten a vase of pretty flowers placed in the church in honor of the day. We came home and I let him take a Sunday afternoon nap (his favorite) while I fixed a big pretty salad for lunch and we went out to the pool and enjoyed this pretty salad and some of the sweetest honey dew melon you've ever tasted. We swam for a few hours & floated around on two big floaties, holding hands. It was quite sweet & relaxing. Then we went with my parents to the Symphony again Sunday night since we enjoyed it so much last week, and we thought that my parents would enjoy it too. It was kinda a double anniversary celebration, considering their anniversary was Monday. We had a picnic and enjoyed the music and all in all it was an absolute perfect day- just like any anniversary should be.
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Here we are with my flowers. <3

Monday, Mama & Daddy's anniversary, I went to my class & we got to meet the Chief of the Catawba Indian Nation. Apparently, in the last few hundred years these particular Indians were so taken advantage of by white settlers in this area that they were proclaimed extinct by the government. On the reservation, they have several hundred people living there, but our professor didn't seem to think any of them were "full-blooded" anymore, seeing how they had to intermarry with other races in cultures to survive when they were nearly killed off. He was a funny and interesting fellow and I realized when he started talking to us that I had made an expectation of him based of several Indian stereotypes. His facial structure, demeanor, voice, and color looked nothing like what I thought it would. He had the color skin that looked like what a red-headed Scots man would look like if he had a nice summer tan. He was basically a mixture of white, Cherokee, Catawba, and Irish, I think. The Catawbas have an interesting story & it was really neat to get to hear about them from the Chief himself, and he was a really nice man.

Yesterday, our class went to Bethesda Presbyterian Church down towards Chester and visited a church and a cemetery that's been since the 1700s. It was such a cool place and I got lots of pictures of many, many ancient graves and tombstones, including one unique one that had the Mason's symbol upside down and a big skull and crossbones.
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We saw the graves of several local heroes including William Bratton, and the Bratton family's section of the graveyard. I walked around for quite sometime in the hot sun and sweated til I looked wet. I even sat down in the grass to get a better photo or so and one on my classmates freaked out telling me bugs were gonna get up my dress. I sweetly explained that I hadn't the tiniest care- I was the kinda girl who ain't happy unless she's got dirt under her nails. :) We're going down to Brattonsville itself today. After Monday's class, I drove in the rain to Gaffney and traipsed around downtown hunting for the burial site of Col. James Williams, a Patriot leader in the Battle of Kings Mountian, who had died in the battle and been buried there. I'm doing one of my research papers on this guy. I got soaked & probably looked a bit like a fool wondering around with a camera and & umbrella in that weather, but I got my picture of his gravesite. Here it is!
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After we had finished walking around the cemetery, we stood around talking to the Walkers, a father-son duo who were historians by hobby and doctors by profession who had given us the tour of the church and its grounds and come to find out he had a book specifically on James Williams and invited me to follow him to his house to get the book for me to borrow. Gratefully, I followed him to his house & exchanged a few pleasantries with his mother and thanked him and headed home. On the way, I realized that since Dr. Walker had been nice enough to have the Brattonsvile admission fee waved for us, I could use my three dollars in cash (yep, that's all the money I've got. Or well, had!) to buy some peaches. Whenever I take the back roads home to NC, I always pass several peach stands no matter what route I take, and the sweet smells of the fruit had been calling my name for a few weeks now, so I gave in and pulled into the peach stand in Filbert, where I've been going for pumpkins and peaches and watermelons every year since I was little. I found out that with my 3 dollars I could a bag of the "ice cream peaches" which are the ones that have bruises or are overly ripe and need to be used. Just a little hint, they are the sweetest too. So I picked out the least bruised ones and got me a small bag and headed home. With the windows down, and the radio up of course, I tore into those peaches like a starving girl in the wilderness. I mean I through being lady like out the window. With my hair a blowing and Tom Petty blaring out the speakers, I bit into that peach still warm from the Carolina sun (trust me, you have NEVER lived until you've taken a bite of a SC peach still warm from the sunshine!!) and as I did, precious, glorious, delicious peach juice dripped down my chin, down my chest, along my arms and down my elbows, and stained my flowerdy sundress all to pieces, but I coulda cared less. It was pure and tee-total heaven on earth. My bra was saturated in peach juice and sweat. As soon as I got home, I got chewed out by Hubby for not texting him more often about where I was since I made him worry. I'd probably done the same to him, so I apologized. No sooner than I got in, we turned back around and headed over to my grandparents' house to work in the garden. I took this picture of these roses when I got there.
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Jake made sure to take one of fruits of the massive volunteer plant that's grown up in the compost corale to see if my Pawpaw, an experienced gardener could tell us what the blasted thing is.
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See, the old owner of our house had a trash corale that was about 5 ft by 7 ft and it's too cumbersome to tear down so we've been using it as a compost pile, putting our grass and weed and other clippings in it to make compost for the next years garden. It grew up in the old trash corale, and this thing just came up one day and has grown so big, the plant leaves are 15 inches across and the plant itself as a perimeter of about 20 feet. The fruit seems like this combination of a pumpkin, squash, zuke, watermelon, and cucumber. It's weird. Anyways, they hadn't been working long when Grandma & I heard thunder in the distance, towards a wall of black clouds behind her house. We didn't even make it inside before we heard to the tornado siren going off, so we went and turned on the television and sure enough, one touched down in Waco/Fallston, up towards where J went to high school, and where his mom works as a teacher. We called and made sure she was safe and Mama, Daddy, Pawpaw, and Jake put up the tiller and packed everything up and headed inside right as lightning bolt smashed down behind the house. We got inside and sat in front of the TV and watched as a big tornado cell headed right towards us on screen. We all said a quick prayer for Mama & Daddy's house 7 or so miles to the southeast and our 7 or so miles to the northwest, and of course, for us all there at Grandma's. I felt like a row of sitting ducks and worried myself to death over our homes, and our friends and family that lived all over the counties shaded in the red tornado warning box on the weather. I started raining hard, and then golf-ball size hail started coming down and beat the poor garden everyone's worked so hard for down to a pulp. Those poor roses were gone. I'm so tired of rain. It is raining now.
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This is them out surveying the damage to garden, later after the storm passed. Notice that the corn is all laid over some. :(
Mama was visibly horrified that the pretty tomato plants she'd just set out and the squash plants she'd just picked from got beat and broken by the wind and ice. Trees laid over in the wind and we debated going down to the basement. Wind and water was blowing like I ain't never seen in my whole life and water came blowing in under the back door. It was scary. When it was all said and done, a tornado ended up blowing through just a few miles up the road from where we were. Trees were down all over the place and the interstate was shut down for a while. We ended up going to Rhonda's, a little country grill on the main road, for supper and watched as a rainbow crossed the sky.
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I called and checked on Brooke, who lived in the next town in the path of the storm and the poor thing had 3 trees down, and one right across her Tahoe. I felt so horrible for her. At least she was okay! Having survived the storm (although all of our vehicles now have round hail dents across the hoods, sadly!)we went our separate ways and stopped to check in on Aunt Sue & Uncle Ken. Aunt Sue has breast cancer and is doing okay, but the radiation treatments are giving her a hard time. Uncle Ken, a man with a thumb greener that the Green Giant himself, couldn't identify our mysterious volunteer vegetable either. If my pawpaw and J's uncle couldn't identify it, then Lord knows who could. Everybody seems to think the thing is a hybrid of something, or a mixture of several things. It's quite strange. Anyways, Ken showed us some beans he'd canned, and gave us a jar of apple jelly made from the apples off of Jake's mama's apple tree a few houses down, which is just now starting to bear fruit. I love that tree and it's boocoos of the best green apples you ever tasted. They make the absolute best pies and I look forward to them every year. I plan on making biscuits this weekend and opening the jar up. :) We went and visited with Jake's mama before we headed home. It ended up being nearly 11 o'clock before we made it home last night. What a day it was! I tell ya, I came home REAKING of summertime. My little paper thin sundress I'd worn all day was saturated in sweat, peach juice, bug spray, rain, and had dirt and food on it too. I smelled like pure Carolina summertime, and boy it was a smell to inhale. I definitely took a quick shower before I hit the hay.

Wouldn't ya know, this morning Jake would have a flat tire on his truck as well. This is just Wednesday morning, and I already feel like I've had enough adventures to last me a few weeks!!!

In other news, I've got a few nerdy things to share and a few recipes before I run.
I took this picture of a church in York last week and got to digging in the archives for my paper and found this picture of the same church- isn't history awesome like that?
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The recipe I wanted to share is from Taste of Home magazine, a 1990-something edition from a stack Mama gave me.
It's called Farmhouse Apple & Pork Pie, and as soon as I get more apples, especially those from my Mother in Law's amazing tree. I'm making it again. I had a picture of it, but I can't seem to find in on my hard drive. Here's the idea of the recipe:
In a cast iron skillet, brown up about 7 or 8 whole strips of bacon, and set aside. Using the bacon grease, brown up a whole onion or two if you like, and spoon them out and set that aside as well. Take a couple of boneless pork chops, cut into pieces, and roll them lightly in flour, salt, pepper & parsley and fry in the bacon grease, adding more oil or butter if needed. Once the pork is just browned on the outside, add in 5 small cut up apples, with peeling and no core, to the pan. Add back in the onions and crumbled up bacon, along with a 1/2 cup of Apple Cider and a splash of water. Mix it all together with some more parsley, pepper, coarse salt, nutmeg, and sage to taste. Put the whole skillet in the oven on 325 for a little over an hour in a half, depending on how "tender" you want the apples. You kinda have to eyeball it until you see the apples get really soft and the liquid has thickened up with the oil and flower to make an apple gravy over the pork, onions, and bacon. In the meantime, boil 4 big red skin potatoes and mash them up with some milk and butter once they get soft, making a chunky mashed potato topping for your pie. Once the pie is done, slather on the potatoes like your icing a cake, spinkle with parsley, and put under a broiler until the potatoes get a golden brown tint. Slice it up and serve it like Sheppard's pie. <3 J loooooooved it. It's so southern, hearty, and old fashioned. It's such a pretty hearty meal too. I can't wait to make it in the fall, when I get some mountain apples and cider. Sorry about the lack of pictures of it!!!

The other recipe was a from Cupcakes Take the Cake, a blog about cupcakes I read frequently, and it was for these beautiful blue cacoaco (did I spell that right?) cupcakes that I haven't yet made. I'll post the details whenever I finally do get around to making them. But, obviously, by the length of this post, life is crazy right now, so my baking adventures will need to wait til another day!
I'm going to the grandparents again today after class and I'm bringing my big pink rubber boots and getting into the garden. We've got rows of beans hanging full and they need to be picked. I'm gonna call Aunt Sue up and get her recipe for Dilly Beans and try to can some by the end of the week and hopefully, manage to finish a paper while I'm at it! Wish me luck with this JAM-PACKED, CRAZY week!


1 comment:

Black said...

That church is where Granny, Rob's grandmother, goes to church along with the rest of her family, excepting his mom and sister. It is BEAUTIFUL inside. I am so jealous of all those historical places you get to go. I would love to go on some of those trips. I bet they are so fun. Hope the rest of your week is great!