Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Scripture: Fruit

 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. ~Jesus, in John 15:5-8

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September Morn

The morrow was a bright September morn; The earth was beautiful as if new-born.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, September 27, 2013

Jewelweed and Hummingbirds

Jewelweed is a wildflower that grows in most states. It appears more around creek bottoms and other low areas.  It's sap is used for a variety of medicinal purposes, the most popular being a cure for poison oak.
Hummingbirds absolutely love it.

These photos were made at Rock Springs, a park on the Natchez Trace Parkway.  Every year in September, migrating hummingbirds stop there for some nectar and refreshment.

Looking for wildflowers and hummingbirds may be the best way to spend a September Sunday afternoon.

Can you find the hummingbird in the one above?

The hummingbird below was playing hide-and-seek with me.

Jewelweed may not grow in my yard, but I have some seed and will try to grow some next year. If they grow, it is sure to increase my hummingbird population.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Autumn comes in with a swath of color, and the brightest yellows come from goldenrod, growing wild along road sides and anywhere the seed can take root.  I love seeing it growing with purple iron weeds and other  wildflowers.  Sometimes, I cut it and bring it inside to enjoy.

Our family is not afflicted with allergies, so we look at goldenrod differently than some folks. It is not the main culprit in the allergy wars, however; ragweed causes many more allergy problems than goldenrod.  One of my students comes to class armed with tissues, and uses them all while she is there, her eyes watering and nose dripping constantly.  Her allergy medication causes her to be sleepy, so she can't take it while she is at school.  She will be more than happy when the last stalk of ragweed and goldenrod succumbs to frost. 

It may be at its peak now, so enjoy it even if you have to keep your distance.  Too soon, it will be replaced by the drab grays and browns of winter.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Muscadine Preserves

Yesterday, we took about a gallon of the muscadines and made preserves.  There was eight pints and a little extra when we were done.

These are not easy preserves to make, because you have to separate the pulp and hulls in order to take all the seed out before you can cook the preserves.  It took a lot of time, but hopefully, it will be worth it when we spread it on bagels and biscuits this winter.

 Thanks to my magic Ninja, the hulls and pulp were ground into small pieces, making it almost like a thick jelly.

 Sorry I don't have pictures for every step, but it was impossible when there was so much going on.

The house smelled fantastic as the preserves were cooking, and for a long time afterwards.  We did the obligatory taste test, and I think these sweet preserves will be worth every bit of the work!

Monday, September 23, 2013


Most of us associate the smell of burning leaves with autumn, but another scent some of us remember is the aroma of ripe muscadines.  If you are walking in the woods where the muscadines are abundant, you can smell them before you see them.

Looking for muscadines in the woods used to be one of my favorite things to do in the fall.  Many years ago, when my sons were still little boys, we spent one fine Sunday afternoon looking for some ripe muscadines.  We found them, a copious amount hanging from vines that had grown in the trees so high, it was impossible to reach them. The ground underneath the trees were covered with the ripe ones that had fallen.
There was a dead tree, similar to this one, that I sat on and picked up the muscadines for about an hour.  We got a bucket full, then walked home in the mellow late afternoon sunshine.  That night, my back began to itch, and I asked Hub to check to see if I had a tick.  Turns out I had thirty-five seed ticks, and Hub used alcohol and tweezers for about an hour before he got them all off.  I have never looked for muscadines in the woods again.

Lucky for me, we have luscious vines growing along the fence in the backyard that are full of muscadines this year.  We enjoyed spending time with our neighbors yesterday afternoon while we picked them.  So far, not a tick in sight!

Hmmm, wonder what I can do with all these muscadines?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Scripture: Covered

For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
As the waters cover the sea.

 ~Habakkuk 2:4

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Come on In, Fall!

A gentle rain began just after dark last night and continued all night.  We turned the air off and raised the windows, and the sound of the rain was like a lullaby.

This morning, it is cool and leaves are falling. Tomorrow, we will be at the fall equinox on our journey around the sun this year.  It has been a fine trip, so far.

I've heard it said that in the South, fall is our reward for making it through the summer.  While the ending of summer always makes me sad,  I'm looking forward to the luscious fall days ahead.

Friday, September 20, 2013

North Alabama State Fair

The weather this week has been perfect for the annual North Alabama State Fair, and hundreds of people took advantage of it last night.

Talk about a bad hair day!

The smell of corn dogs and funnel cakes hits you just as soon as you walk in the gate.

Apparently, there was a pageant before I got there.

Cute, but where would you put it when you came home?  I'm pretty sure it wouldn't fit in with my current d├ęcor.

If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest, craziest, most dysfunctional family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair. Because five minutes at the fair, you'll be going, 'you know, we're alright. We are dang near royalty.'
 ~Jeff Foxworthy

Thursday, September 19, 2013


These beautiful crabapples are for the birds--way too bitter for humans to eat in normal circumstances.
We have a flowering crabapple tree in our back yard, and it is beautiful in the springtime.  It produces tiny crabapples that the squirrels and birds share. 

There was a crabapple tree in the woods where we lived when I was very young.  The edible fruit it produced was much bigger than the ones in the photos,  although they were still sour enough to distort your face and close your eyes at the first bite.  We waited until after frost and the crabapples would turn golden.  I have never seen another tree like it; I suspect it was a cross between the small crabapple trees and an apple tree from some one's orchard.  We certainly enjoyed eating them, and Mama used them to make some tasty jelly.

My lil' ole sister and I were talking about that tree just the other day.  We still miss it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Harvest Moon

Tonight, we will have a harvest moon, the full moon before the autumnal equinox, which comes next Sunday.  The Farmer's Almanac says it got it name because farmers used the moonlight to finish harvesting their crops.

Most of the people I know don't have any crops to harvest, but hopefully, you can go outside to see it.  Maybe you could take a walk with someone you love and sing this song.

Shine On, Harvest Moon
             Lyrics by Jeff Richmond, Nora Bayes, Jack Norworth
The night was mighty dark so you could hardly see
For the moon refused to shine
Couple sitting underneath the willow tree
For love, they pined

Little Maid was kinda 'fraid of darkness
So she says "I think i'll go."
Boy began to sigh, looked up to the sky
Told the moon his little tale of woe

So shine on
Shine on harvest moon
Up in the sky
I ain't had no lovin' since January, February, June or July
Snow time ain't no time to stay outdoors and spoon
So shine on
Shine on harvest moon for me and my gal

Snow time ain't no time to stay outdoors and spoon
So shine on
Shine on harvest moon for me and my gal.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quilts in Red Bay

After we had toured the Smithsonian exhibit at Red Bay on Saturday, one of the workers there told us about some other events that were going on in town.  One was a quilt show at the library, which happened to be next door to the exhibit.

This Cathedral Windows quilt was made by Alabama First Lady Dianne Bentley.  The colorful middles are fabrics from Governor Bentley's old ties.

There were old quilts

and new quilts.

All were beautiful,

but the one below is my favorite.
I don't know Hazel Hall, but I know that she owned a treasure. 
She must have taken very good care of the quilt, because it is in mint condition.
There is nothing more beautiful to a quilt collector than a handmade label like this one. 
Rest in peace, Grany Burcham. I wonder if you had any idea that your quilt would be so admired sixty-six years after you made it.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Smithsonian Exhibit in Red Bay

Red Bay, Alabama is hosting a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian called "The Way We Worked."  It will be at the Weatherford Centre from September 14-October 25. The exhibit comes to Red Bay through a partnership between the Smithsonian, the National Archives, and Alabama Humanities Foundation, and the Alabama Tourism Department.

It is good for us to remember where we came from.  It is good for us to remember to be thankful.

This could be my mother, my grandmother, or my great-grandmother. 

 Working on a planter with a baby on her hip--all in a day's work.

The Alabama Music Hall of Fame also has an exhibit there.

Red Bay's famous daughter, singer Tammy Wynette, is
recognized, too.

The exhibit is open from 9 to 5 weekdays, and on the weekends during special events.  There is no admission charge, and the people there will make you feel right at home.