Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Birthday, Michael Landon

                                                                 Images from Wikipedia.

It is the birthday of Michael Landon, the first man who captured my heart.

  It was when he became Little Joe Cartwright on Bonanza (1959-1973) that I became attracted to him, and in my youthful mind, I plotted ways to get out to the Ponderosa and claim him for my own.
We would all gather around the television on Sunday nights to see what trouble our heroes would get into that week.  All the girls in our group loved him, some secretly, some who declared their love openly.  A few of them pretended to like Adam, but deep down, it was Little Joe all the way.  Poor Hoss!  No one loved Hoss, but we were always glad to see him when he rode up with Pa to rescue Little Joe.  When I started to high school, it was no longer cool to watch Bonanza, so my one-sided infatuation ended.

In 1974, Little Joe showed up in Little House on the Prairie, and morphed into Charles "Pa" Ingalls.  We loved that show when my sons were young, and they actually learned things from watching it.  I still watch Little House sometimes, especially the Christmas programs where Pa read the Bible aloud and no one filed a lawsuit to make him apologize. No one got on CNN and called Christians hateful and offensive. I miss those days.

After Little House ended in 1983, he starred as the angel Jonathan Smith in Highway to Heaven until 1989.

He died in 1991 from cancer, when he was only 54 years old.  We could really, really use some men like him today.  I still love and respect him after all these years. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

University of North Alabama fall color

The best thing about getting to work early at UNA is you can have your choice of parking places.

The second best thing is the light is perfect for capturing fall color when there are just a few people on campus.

These images were taken on October 28 using an Iphone 4. It does not, of course, come close to the beauty of the real thing.  I hope you can visit the campus in the next few days while these colors are showing off.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jeanne Robertson

Last night, we attended a performance by humorist Jeanne Robertson at the University of North Alabama. We had never seen her in person, but had seen her on YouTube clips and DVDs. 

We were there thirty minutes before the doors opened.  There was already a long line when we got there. It was worth the wait.

Ms. Robertson had the crowd laughing with her stories about things we deal with every day, like panty hose that won't stay up and taking casseroles to the sick.

Listen to one of her stories here and another one here.

Many thanks to the UNA Distinguished Events Program for sponsoring this show for the community at no charge. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Birds on wires

On random wires the rows of summer swallows

Wait for their liftoff. They will soon be gone

Before All Saints’ and before All Hallows’,

The changing time when we are most alone.

–May Sarton (1912–1995)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Nashville Flea Market

With everything going on last Saturday, we decided to go to the Nashville Flea Market.  There are lots of things we like about it, including it is a great excuse to stay outside all day.

There is such a wonderful and varied assortment of items for sale.

These huge balls of mums were only $15.  Unfortunately, they were too big to bring home in the car.

There was flipped furniture everywhere; again, we can't buy anything that won't fit in the car. 

I can't think of a single thing I need a piece of cow hide for.  If the need arises, I'll know where to get it.

I loved these antique baby shoes, but not enough to part with $45.  I got the picture instead for free.

One of the most unique booths was Rusty Rats Antiques & Vintage, owned by Jim Gray and Charlie Accavallo.  They make furniture and accessories from old car parts, like this table below.

This item below with the car hood is a bar/cabinet with lots of storage.  You can see me in the old cabinet on the right taking the picture (totally unplanned).

You can see more of their work at

We got there before nine, and by two our cart was full and our feet were killing us, so we called it a day even though we had not seen everything there.  We stopped at Logan's in Spring Hill for a late lunch, and ran into some good friends there.  After we visited and had lunch with them, we were ready to come home and take our shoes off.

It was a day we will long remember.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mama

Violet Beatrice Gean Stricklin
October 26, 1917-November 11, 2007

It's my mama's birthday.

The Earth raced around the Sun and the seasons changed ninety times while she was here.

She was uneducated, but wise.

Beautiful, work-roughened hands that were never still.

Her life was taking care of her family, and that she did well, even when the road was hard.

She did massive amounts of laundry on a wringer washer; her clothes lines full every sunny day expect Sunday.

She could coax nutritious vegetables out of tired clay soil, rising with the sun to do battle with weeds.

Her quilts still warm our beds and our hearts.

Known for her incomparable biscuits, she made enough in her lifetime to completely fill a Cracker Barrel.

More familiar with pain than joy, she endured.

She lived to see adult children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren.

We are educated, talented, well-traveled, scattered.

She lives in all of us.

Beadie Haynes, Marie Thompson, Mama, Geneva Gean

In heaven, we are promised a mansion, blissful rest.

I'll bet my mama's has a clothesline, white robes waving in the breeze.
Could be she's sitting on the porch, waiting for her children to get home.

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed. Proverbs 31: 27,28

Saturday, October 25, 2014

What Ya' Doing this Weekend?

The fourth weekend in October is a very popular one around here.  Looking for something to do? Try one of these:

 The Nashville Flea Market:  A fun way to spend a beautiful fall day, rambling around this huge flea market at the fairgrounds.  We always enjoy it when we get to go, but the October market is the biggest and best one all year.  We usually buy a big bag of kettle corn when we get there and munch on it all day!

Jack Daniels Barbecue Championship in Lynchburg, Tennessee.  We have gone a few times and it is something to behold.  Almost all the competitors give out samples and sell their barbecue plates for lunch.  There are many other activities, and Lynchburg has several quaint little shops. Of course, you can tour the distillery while you are there.  Don't plan to eating at Miss Mary Bobo's Restaurant unless you have booked reservations months ago.

The Athens Storytelling Festival in Athens, Alabama, is happening today, and they have a line-up of the best storytellers in the country.  It is on the courthouse square, and during the lunch break, you can stroll around town and eat at one of the restaurants within walking distance. It was at this festival when I last heard my all-time favorite teller, Kathryn Tucker Windham.

Although the leaves are late in turning this year, if you are in the mood for some leaf-peeping, take a ride on the Natchez Trace Parkway.   If you go north, take time to stop at Leipers Fork, Tennessee.

Closer to home, the Alabama Renaissance Faire is happening today and tomorrow at Wilson Park in downtown Florence. There is a Fall Fest downtown at 4 and UNA is playing football at home.

There are too many fall festivals and other activities going on to mention them all here.  The problem isn't finding something to do this week-end, but deciding what you want to do most. Don't waste this precious day; go out and make some memories!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sweet Potato Casserole

One of our traditional holiday dishes is Sweet Potato casserole.  I try to make it every Thanksgiving and Christmas, and on special occasions throughout the year.  There are dozens of recipes for it; here is how I make mine.

Wash three pounds of sweet potatoes and put them on to boil until they are soft.  It usually takes about 45 minutes.

Drain them in a colander and let them cool.

Remove the peelings.  It is really easy after the sweet potatoes are cooked.  Put in a large bowl and whip them until they are smooth.

Add one cup of sugar.  I know that is a lot of sugar, but it makes a big casserole.

Add three beaten eggs.

Add 1/2 cup milk.  I usually use half-and-half, but I was out so I used evaporated milk. It works just as well. You can also use pure cream if you are trying to gain some weight.  Mix it all together.

Add 1/2 stick soft butter and two teaspoons of vanilla.

Mix it all together one more time and put in a 9" x 13" casserole dish that has been sprayed with oil.

This part is finished and it is time to make the topping.

Use 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup self-rising flour, and 1 cup of chopped pecans in a bowl.  Mix them together.

When it looks like this, add 1/2 cup melted butter.  This part is a little messy, and I have found that the easiest way is mixing it with my hands.  I don't have a photo of that because I had butter all over my hands and couldn't use the camera.

Spread the  mixture over the top of the casserole.  Again, I use my hand because I can't seem to get it right with a spoon or fork. 
Bake in a 350 degree over for approximately 25 minutes.

We like ours browned like this, although others prefer it a little darker.  It is your casserole; bake it as long as you want to! Just watch it closely; it browns quickly at this point.

We took this casserole to a pot-luck supper the same day I made it.  It does my heart good to see people going back for seconds.  There wasn't any left, so I know the folks there loved it.  I will definitely make another one soon.