"The Mountains are calling and I must go"- John Muir

"The Mountains are calling and I must go"- John Muir

Monday, December 28, 2009

I made cheese!!

Hey ya'll,

            Well I don't know about you all, but I had one amazing Christmas! I got to spend a lot of time with my family, and that means the most to me, way more than any material gift. One of my presents from my mama, was a cheese making kit, is that not awesome!! This one makes mozzarella and ricotta cheese, all you need is milk.
    So I went to the store today and got a gallon of organic, pasteurized milk. It says that ultra-pasteurized milk will not work, and the more butter fat you have in the milk, the better it will taste. So a little while ago, I got out my kit, and followed the directions, and tada!!! Below you see a picture of my first cheese!! I am very excited, and it was oh so good!! And so easy! If you all want a kit, just go to http://www.cheesemaking.com/ and you can buy one, there are all different kinds, and they have anything you would ever need to make any kind of cheese or yogurt you could want!!

I am very excited, and I can not wait to make other kinds, and some yogurt!! I hope ya'll had a very blessed Christmas! I got rubber knee high boots for working in my garden, which came in handy in the 13 inches of snow we got which is still hanging around! I love it, except for getting stuck in it 5 times!!! And I got a black wool pea coat, some hiking boots, farmopoly, the movie Public enemies, which believe it or not is about my grand-father Melvin Purvis. So what did you all get, did you get to spend lots of time with your families? I hope so! Well, have a great week all!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Hey ya'll,

     Well we finally got some snow, and boy did we ever get some!! It started Friday night and hasn't stopped yet! We got about I would say 10-12 inches, the most we have seen in some time. The mountains above us got about 2 -3 feet!! It has been so beautiful here. I think we might have a white Christmas after all, because I don't think its going anywhere any time soon, and we are getting some more on Wednesday!! But I tell ya right now, it pays to be self sufficient, which I am not right now. We are out of everything, and I mean everything, and we are stuck!!!

    The picture you see below is behind our property, I love to walk through the woods when it snows!

Well, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, I will not be posting anything until after Christmas, I have a shirt and some tin punch pictures to finish, and this is going to be a crazy week, and my poor mama got swine flu, so I am helping her, and the day after Christmas is my birthday, so I am gonna be a busy girl!! God bless you all!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A beautiful appalachian day...

Hey ya'll,

It's been a while since I last wrote anything, but so much has been going on! We had our family Thanksgiving/Christmas annual get together this past Sunday, and boy was the food good! My mom and I made yeast rolls from scratch, creamy mashed tators, baked a ham, cooked Madison county(NC) greasy beans, corn casserole, made a cranberry pecan mold, black eye pea salad, and million dollar pie! And the best part of it all, is the left overs!! And it was good to see our family also. My brother and his kids played football in the yard and my sister, sister-in-law and my mom stayed in and gabbed. I didn't take any pictures like I normally do, I just didn't think about it.

We also had our first snowfall of the season, this is not from this year, it didn't stick, but boy did it pour like crazy! Big ole' fat flakes! It was very pretty, and perfect because we were putting up the Christmas tree!

Have any of you ever seen the movie " Last of the Mohican's"? I have seen it a million times, and I watched it this morning. It is from the book that was published in 1826, and it is about the French and Indian war of 1757. The movie was filmed on location in Chimney Rock Park, which I just so happen to live 5 miles from. It is such a magical, beautiful place, if you have never been, you are really missing out!

Well, I better run, I have white-wheat bread in the oven, and vegetable soup made entirely of vegetables from our summer and winter garden, and I have to work on my mom and husbands christmas presents, I am making my mom punched tin in a frame to hang on her wall, and my mom and I are making my husband a flannel shirt!! I am very excited!! I hope you all have a blessed week!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful, happy, nostalgic, blessed Thanksgiving!! I know we will! We are serving 50-60 people without family at our church, it will be great!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What happened to.....

Hey ya'll,

I think a lot during the day, mostly about random things, like the way things used to be a long time ago, even when I was young. For instants, what happened to families sitting down to dinner at a table, together, and praying. When I was little we did that, I was not allowed to sit in front of the TV to eat, I had to eat all my food before I could get up, and I had to ask for permission. Sometimes my mom would make me set the table, to teach me the correct way. And we would pray, and pass the food around, and use manners. What happened to that?

What happened to families spending quality time together? We never watched TV, when we did, we only had one channel, so we would watch a movie. But, most of the time, we played games, read, sang songs out of the church hymnal, or my mom would help me with my homework. And during the summer, I would stay outside until it was pitch black, or until my mom made me come inside.

What happened to trains? When my mom was little, she said they went everywhere on a train. And that was in the 50's. I love trains, not Amtrak, the old locomotives. I wish we still had them around, to ride on. It's just not the same on a Amtrak train. I think they should bring them back. But that's just my humble opinion. I think they are so romantic, and nostalgic, and simple.

And why did they stop delivering milk to your home? I would love to see a milk man deliver milk to my door in glass jars, that get reused! And I couldn't find a picture of one, but even when I was little in the 80's we had gas pump attendants. They were at every gas station we went to. I hate pumping gas! They would pump your gas, check your oil, clean your wind shield, you didn't even have to get out. If they would bring all these things back, they would create do many jobs! Train engineers, milk men, gas attendants, we wouldn't have to recycle milk jugs if they were glass again, and one more thing while I am on this subject, why did they stop packing flour and corn meal in sacks instead of paper? I would pay a few more dollars if I could keep the sack for towels! Oh my, I could go on like this all day! So I better stop now!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Puppy love, and homemade dog treats

Hey ya'll,

This is a picture of the love of my life, well in the animal kingdom anyway! Her name is Lucy, she is a 5 yr old Shi-tzu.

She filled a void in our lives, when my shi-tzu, Zack, of 15 yrs passed away. I went a whole year without a pet, without something to take care of. Every time I looked at puppies at the pet store or the animal shelter, my heart would hurt for Zack. And I always felt as if I was hurting him in some way by replacing him. I know what you are thinking, you are thinking he is dead, what difference does it make? I told my self that over and over again, but I just could not bring my self to love another dog. But at the same time something was missing from my life, and I couldn't figure out what it was. Until one day, our neighbor called. She used to breed shi-tzus and one of the puppies she sold was in need of a new home, or she would have to go to the shelter. So we talked it over and said what would it hurt to go and look.
When we went to her house the next day, I told my self I was not getting attached to another dog, its just to hard when they are gone, like loosing a child. We went in the living room, and she brought out 4 yr old Lucy, named after Lucy on charlie brown. She immediately jumped in my lap and started licking my mom. When she told us about all of her habits, and likes and dislikes, we knew it was fate. She looked and acted exactly like our dog Zack. We put her on her leash and walked her home. From then on, it was puppy love!! She is the greatest!! And the weird part is, when we let her out some times she will go up the hill behind our house, to Zack's grave and sit for a minute, no lie! We had never taken her up there! It is as if she is saying I will take care of them, she was paying her respects. The first time she did that, we both broke down and cried. She was meant for us. Her home before ours must have been an abusive one. She is terrified of loud noises,yelling, and if you pick up a stick outside she cowers down. So we do a lot of snuggling. She hates thunder and rain, and we fix her an egg every morning, and if you forget she will let you know. She loves car rides, and when you come home she always has something in her mouth to give you, food, her toy, a sock. What can I say, we are in love!! We have had her for over a yr now and I couldn't imagine life with out her!
My mom and I both agree that we are going to do things differently. We are feeding her healthier food, walking her more, taking her as many places as we safely can. We made her some dog treats, so here is the recipe, so you can make the love of your life something homemade! Lucy loves them, so I hope your dog will also!
Apple cheddar dog treats:
2 cups Barley flour ( we used wheat)
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1/3 cup apple sauce ( sugar free)
2 T oil
Mix it will 3 T water, roll out to 1/4 inch, and cut into what ever shapes you like, place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 min.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Mountains

The mountains where I live, are a source of peace and comfort for me. They are enchanting, and peaceful. There was a place where I grew up, that I would go to whenever I needed quiet. I would go through the woods, twigs snapping under my feet, never knowing what was ahead of me. Every now then I would meet a doe and her fawn. I would hear things moving around, and my imagination would get the best of me, which was always fun. And finally I would reach my destination, on top of the mountain we called home. You could see the tops of log cabins, old homesteads from the 1800's that had been abandoned, some still occupied. I would climb to the very top and sit with my eyes closed and let the breeze blow through my hair and touch my face. Sometime I would build a fort out of limbs and leaves and play house like all little girls do. I had many adventures up there. And I was always safe. I don't know if it was the feeling of safety you have as a child, knowing that my parents were not far away. Or if it was the peaceful feeling you get when you are in the mountains. A feeling of comfort always washes over me when I am gone for a few days and I come home and see the mountains welcoming me back like a mother with a warm hug.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Spinning Wheels, crochet hooks, and things for sell

Hey ya'll!!

I am very excited! My husband and I recently went to the fiber fair here in Asheville, because I want to see the rabbits, and I am getting into knitting, and crocheting, well trying to anyway. And as we were going along talking to all the vendors, my husband spotted a spinning wheel. Now, my husband, not to brag, can make anything wood related that he sets his eyes on, I have seen him do it. And we got to talking to a lady there that said if he could make a spinning wheel, a smaller version of the large one, she would order one from him, because there is a man who makes them and has a waiting list. So I got to thinking, if he can make one, and it works, any of you who might want one, please let me know, and I will let him know. As soon as he makes one I will post a picture of it.

Oh, and I am learning to crochet, and I need some smaller hooks, and also some tatting needles. If any of you know where I can order some off of the internet, that don't cost an arm and leg, please let me know.

And to let you all know, I am selling some things, and for some reason no one around here is calling about my ad in the paper. I used to work in a lab, and I have about 18 pairs of scrub pants and tops to sell. The sizes range from extra small, small, and medium. There are solid colors, prints, and they are in almost new condition, I took very good care of them. I also have a model 25 kodascope 8 reel for sale, in very good condition, and a book-Alice's adventures in wonderland and through the looking glass, and I think it is from 1904, and it is in perfect condition. The scrubs I am selling for $5 a piece, the 8-reel $80, and the book $50. If you would like to see pictures of the items please let me know. I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween. I know we did, we took my husbands cousin, her friend, and my step son out and went to a neighborhood that was full of little ghost, and goblins running around, it was perfect!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Hey ya'll,

Well it's all hallows eve! And boy is it the perfect day for it here where I live! The fog ascended on us, early this morning, spiraling down through the blue ridge mountains,that are now, orange, brown, red, and yellow, and look like they are on fire with autumn colors. But you can't see them today, all you can see today is fog, and mist. It has looked just like the sort of day you would see on a black and white Frankenstein movie! Very creepy! Normally, I love the fog around mountains, but not today, today, it is creepy! And it's perfect!

Speaking of old black and white horror movies, I have been watching a few today, and they are really something! It amazes me that those kind of effects were scary back then! I wish we were still scared of those old black and white movies with their cheesy effects, instead of the crap, and I mean crap, that we have to watch today! Well, may you all have the best, and safest candy filled Halloween!! Happy trick-or-treating!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Photography

Hey Ya'll,
So I am trying my darnedest to be a freelance photographer, and I found this website where you can upload your pics and they sell them for you. So I just wanted to let you all know about my dandy of a photography website. I have pictures of Cades Cove, barns, mountains, Madison county, NC, animals, plants, all kinds of things. And I am trying to add more, so please check it out!!! These are a few of the pictures that are for sale on my website, and here is the link: www.mckeecox.printroom.com

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hanging out clothes

Hey ya'll,
I love the smell and feel of clothes after you take them off the line, the sweet smell of sunshine! And not to mention, the feeling of saving energy, doing things the old way, and not relying on modern machines. And I hate the thought of winter coming, and taking that away from me! Do you guys hang clothes on the line during winter? What do those of you do, that are totally self sufficient? Do you have dryers?

Fall in the Appalachian mountains

Hey ya'll,

Oh I am so excited I could bust!! We have not had a good wholesome snow fall in a long time, because of droughts mostly, and we have rumors of snow flurries on Saturday!! Where I grew up in Madison County, NC we always had snow by Halloween, and now that we live at the bottom of a mountain instead of on top, we don't get the snow. I love snow! I don't know what it is about snow, I guess it is nostalgic, it reminds me of childhood ( I had the perfect childhood by the way). And I guess the image I have of snow is sleigh rides, snow cream, warm fuzzy things, and the days of old. It's just so much fun to go out, and hear the snow crunch under your feet, and smell it, yes it has a smell, and it is so peaceful and quiet. Now don't get me wrong, we have our fair share of bad weather, ice storms, trees falling, lots of bad wind and power outages, and I know some of you hate the snow, because some of you get way to much snow, I lived through a blizzard in the middle of no where, so I know snow isn't all that great sometimes, but I do love it!! I just hope living through it in a camper won't turn me off of it, I would hate that!

So in getting ready for fall, and our predicted bad winter to come, my mom and I have been canning diva's the past few weeks! We already put up the beans from my first garden, 5 bushels that is! Thank you Lord! Corn, pumpkin, okra, tomatoes, and all kinds of garden goodness!! But my favorite thing in the whole world to put up, and taste, and apples!!! We are so blessed to live in the middle of 5 apple orchards, and what they don't pick for the customers, we get to take home!! We have and will be picking and putting up apples for a few weeks to come! Apple butter, apple sauce, baked apples, they's stewed apples, I feel like bubba from forest gump!!
Some other things I love about fall, is picking out pumpkins!! And now that I am in my first year of marriage, and my hubby has an 8 yr old son, this is our first Halloween together, and we will be carving pumpkins, and taking him trick or treating!! I love the smell of pumpkin guts! And I know I am weird, but I also love to dig my hands into the pumpkin guts!!

There were so many things I wanted to share with you all, and now I can't remember them all. Oh well, that's the joy of a blog, I can always come back!! Peace and Love fellow bloggers!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Some thoughts...

Hey ya'll,

Well it's fall, my favorite time of year. And yet I am restless. There are so many things I want. Right now my husband and I live in a 25 foot camper, and we have for a year now. We are trying to save money for a house, a simple house and a small farm, but first a house. My husband works, but I can not find a job. There are none, and I am not alone, but it's very depressing. I can't even get any interviews.
I don't ask for much, just some chickens for eggs and because I think they are so sweet, and I have never had chickens.
And a house, this is the one we have plans for, but can not build, we can not seem to save any money, I clean a house once a week, but it's not enough right now.
And a grain mill, I love to make bread and I would love to make it from wheat I grind myself.

And this is my dream kitchen, but that's only a dream.

I need to find a way to make money, a craft, a side job, odd job, a work from home job would be nice since I had to sell my car, we now have a few extra bucks, but only one car. Does anyone have any ideas on a way to make some money? Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful for the camper, and we are blessed to have what we have, but I am ready to have a baby, and it's not easy spending your first year of marriage in a camper, and winter is really hard!! We get pretty rough winds around here. Well I guess I am through dreaming, scheming and venting for now. Hope you all have a good week!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our Garden

Hey ya'll,

I have not posted anything in a while, so I thought I would post some pictures of our first garden as a married couple. We are very proud of it, it did very well. The picture above is of our squash and zucchini. We had way to many, I put some up, gave some away, made 8 loaves of zucchini bread, and still had some left over.

This picture is of one of our bell pepper plants, I thought it was such a beautiful plant.

This is a picture of our okra plant, I think the blooms are very pretty.

These are some of our tomato plants, we also had some heirloom plants.

This is a picture of our pole beans, we also have butter beans. We were blessed enough to get 2 bushels of beans and then some, and we had some for dinner, and gave some away.

This is a picture of our corn, we had white, yellow, and candy corn.

This is one of our sugar baby watermelons. I had never had one, they are not as sweet as regular watermelon, and they are white and pink inside instead of red.

This is a view of the whole garden.

And this is my husband of 1 yr. picking a tomato.

And this was our first watermelon, but it got rotten on the end, and we had to cut it off before it ripened. If anyone know why that happens, can you let me know, because we have other watermelons, and I would hate to see it happen to them also.
We also had lots and lots of cucumbers, and one acorn squash. We were truly blessed, and now we have planted collards, turnips, lettuce, beets, brussel sprouts, we still have carrots, and broccoli. So I hope the Lord will bless our winter garden also. We had a rain scare yesterday, we were afraid the rain was so hard that it would wash everything away, but God protected it. Thank you Lord!!
Well until we meet again, peace and love everyone!!

The enchanting Blue Ridge Mountains I call home.


About Me

My photo
I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina, in a little camper, with my husband and family. We are trying to become self sufficient and live off the land. I am sick of all the sad news on TV, the economy, and the evil world we live in, so we are trying to make things as simple as possible and get back to the basics. I think if everyone did that, and had faith in God the world might be a better place. Follow along, as we live life in our little tin can, and try to make it a home, while learning to homestead.