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

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

Friday, December 2, 2011

One special Christmas


Hey y'all,

       I want to share my beautiful Christmas ornament with you all! Two Christmas's ago, my sweet mama hurt her back, she has ligament missing from between two vertebrae in her spine, and that in turn is pinching a  nerve and making her leg, hip, and foot hurt pretty much 24 hrs a day. Well, getting back to two yrs ago, when her back and leg first started hurting, she couldn't do anything, the only thing she could do was lay flat on her back, and my mama is not one to lay around, so I knew it was hurting her pretty bad. And all this took place in late Nov. and all through December, so she couldn't go Christmas shopping or do anything else for that matter. So that year she made my husband and I this beautiful ornament. And I will cherish it with all my heart until the day I die! This is the best gift I have ever gotten, not only because she made it, as bad as she was hurting, but because she put so much love into it, and because we overcame her troubles with God's help, and I will always remember that Christmas, and that year I vowed to make every Christmas after that even more special than the last! And my ornament reminds me of that every year when I pull it out to put it on the tree, Merry Christmas ya'll!!!  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hey y'all, it has been really busy around here! I just stared a new job, we have been taking turns taking care of my grandmother, and with the holidays upon us, I have not had much time to post anything, I hope to have more time soon, lots to tell! Oh and we may have our first snow fall of the season tomorrow!! I just wanted a say hi, I did not want any of you forgetting about me!! I am still here!
Oh, and I also wanted to tell you about this wonderful blog I came across just now, go check her out, and enter this awesome giveaway!
http://sweetbeecottage.blogspot.com

Well, Merry Christmas y'all!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

I hope everyone has a warm, safe Halloween! And I also hope no one over does it with the candy corn and gets a belly ache like I did!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mountain Boomers

Hey y'all,

    Ok, so two days ago I was out hanging clothes on what may be the last warm day of the season, and I got the  life scared out of me, and I will tell you why. The location of our clothes line is on the side of the house right next to the woods, and I mean woods, where bears, coyotes, foxes, all kinds of hairy scary things that will eat you live! We live in the beautiful mountains of Western NC, and right now the leaves are gorgeous, so I was enjoying the view of our colorful woods while hanging my clothes. Now, we hear snapping twigs, and rustling in the leaves  all the time, and I get kinda scared and then I brush it off as a rabbit or something cute. Well, this day I heard a twig snap and it sounded like freakin Sasquatch was in the woods 2 feet away! Then I heard lots of rustling in the leaves and a very loud boom! I then ran to the porch and grabbed my weapon of choice when I can't reach my gun in time, my trusty garden hoe. So I was armed and ready with my hoe at the clothes line ready to beat to death with the fury of tawanda  ( fried green tomatoes) what ever my come my way. And of course the noise stopped, so I put my hoe down and continued hanging my clothes. Then I heard the boom again, and what sounded like a limb falling, and more rustling. So hoe in hand again I was ready! Now, all kinds of thoughts were goin through my head, I have a great imagination ya know. First I thought of the tomato stealing black bear I named George that lives in our woods,  then I thought of a mad raccoon that had been trying to eat my chickens and likes to frequent our porch at night in search of dog food, then hungry, mad, desperate coyotes crossed my mind since I had heard them howl the night before, so imagination running wild at that point, I heard the boom again and it was getting closer. So remembering my husbands words in my head about swinging an ax, I chocked up on the hoe handle ready to swing, the noise was even closer, hear it comes... my heart was pounding in my head... and out of the woods.... came.... a..... squirrel... A SQUIRREL!!!! Wow, do I feel dumb! Now I know why they call them mountain boomers in WNC, a dang squirrel! So then I put the hoe down, hoped now one saw me, said a thank you to God for it not being what my imagination was dreaming up, and finished hanging my clothes, adventure over.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Seed Saver, is it a gimmick?

Hey Y'all,

    I recently came across this company, and I was wondering if it is legit, have any of you heard of it? You pay $69 and get enough seeds to grow 20,000 pounds of food and the seeds keep for 5 yrs. Has anyone out there bought one? Just curious!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lettuce recall and a trip to Cataloochee Valley




Hey Y'all!

       Husband and I spent the day Saturday in Cataloochee Valley, NC in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Elk were reintroduced there in in 2002, and they have grown in great number since. The valley also has several old homesteads, one church, and a school, which I found very fascinating. The three pictures above have the sweetest story to go along with them. We had spent the day, and we were trying to work our way out of the valley, but we were stuck in traffic because Cataloochee Valley is not a loop like Cades Cove, it is a two way dead end drive. So there were a bunch of people trying to get in and a bunch trying to get out, including about 15 people on horses scattered in between cars. While we were waiting for someone to give or find a way out, we saw about 20 elk in a field, so I got out with my handy dandy camera, and sat in the field to take pictures. In one field were all the elk, and across the road in another field was a bull (male elk) and a baby that looked very scared and jumpy. In the field I was sitting in were a bunch of cows (female elk) and their babies. One of the cows started getting really close to me and making a noise that sounded almost like a hurt rabbit. She started getting very frantic and was running around like she was looking for something. Then it dawned on me, that was her baby across the road, trying to get around the cars. Finally everyone driving realized what was going on and stopped to let the sweet baby cross the road, and when he did he ran very awkwardly like bambi on ice and went straight to his mama, it was quite the tear jerker! So I started snapping pictures as they met and the baby started nursing like he was starving! It was so sweet! When the baby was done, the mama started walking away and he followed with his tongue out. In one picture above, the mama reached her head down and the baby reaches his head up and they exchange sugars, which was one of the sweetest things I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing, you could really see the love in their eyes, makes me cry just typing it! If you have never been, I really recommend it. September thru November is the best time to go, really early in the morning or about 5 or 6 pm. I took 495 pictures, so that's why I only uploaded three!

 Now, onto the lettuce recall. I found a way around that, of course growing your own, but if you don't have the time, the room or you can not find seeds, see if your grocery store has living lettuce. Our store carries it from a local farm. The farmers dig the whole lettuce head up, and put roots and all in a plastic container, so it's still living when you buy it from the store. After you pick all the leaves off of it, plant it with the roots in a container, a pot, or  you could even put holes in the container it comes in and use that. It will grow more leaves, at least 2 or 3 more times. We did that with some living water cress we bought from the store and it kept producing water cress for about a month or two.
  Well, that's it for now,  I hope y'all have a blessed week!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Apple pie and my new pie bird!

Hey y'all!!
     Hubby bought me a pie bird! I have been wanting one of these for ever! Women used them years ago, it lets the steam escape so the pie doesn't bubble over! Not to mention it's really cute! This is the first apple pie of the season, we live in Hendersonville, NC and Hendersonville is known as " apple country" so we got some organic apples from the apple orchard down the road and I made a pie!! And boy was it good! Well God Bless y'all!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A very sad day for me...


                                          My sweet babies
                                          Their younger days, and if you notice their Mcdaddy is in there, I gave him away last year!
                                         

Hey y'all,
       This is a very sad day for me, this afternoon, a very sweet lady is coming to take my two rhode island reds home with her. It's not sad for them because she keeps hers for layers, and she is replacing her two reds that died, with mine. The reason for this is, I don't have a very big coop, and I don't have a very big run, I built it as big as I could afford to at the time. My husband had planned on building a much bigger one, but now I have other reasons for giving them away. They are picking on my sweet banty "little bit" so bad that I think they might kill her. I can not afford to build a bigger coop right now, and I don't have a permanent way to separate them. Also, last winter was really hard here, it stayed between 9 and 18 degrees all winter, it snowed about 12 inches in Nov. and it didnt melt until April. I have no way to heat the coop because its so small, and we also have a lot of family that we need to go see, and I don't have anyone I can trust to take care of them while I am gone. So, for these many reasons, I though it best to give them to a home where they can run around pen free and be spoiled as much as I spoil them and I know they will not be butchered. The reason I have to keep mine in a pen, is because we have coyotes, the hawks are really bad, and people don't put their dogs up, and we have had a few mean ones run through our yard. Little bit, my sweet banty, might be going to a friend of mine, but I will worry to death about her. She is the sweetest little chicken I have ever seen! But, she will not defend her self, and right now she is molting her feet and butt feathers and I am afraid that my friends chickens will not except and they might kill her, do you guys think that might happen? I am really scared for her, I wish I could keep her as a pet, but she will freeze to death this winter with out other chickens in the coop, and I am afraid she will get to lonely, do chickens need other chickens around them? I am going to have a very hard time giving her away, I actually sobbed the other night just thinking about it! Sad I know, but I get attached to animals really easy! But I guess it would be better for her to let her go, poor little thing :o( well, say a prayer for me, I need it!!!! God bless you all, hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Coffee Grounds

Hey y'all,
I have recently discovered many uses for brewed coffee grounds. I used to just throw them out in the trash, but I now save them if I can. 
I used them today for instance, to wash my hands. I know that sounds gross, but I had just cut up onion and garlic, and I hate for my hands to smell like onions, because it takes days to go away. I read a few yrs ago that coffee will take out odors, so I tried washing my hands in it, and voila! the onion smell was gone, and not only did it take the onion odor off my hands, it exfoliated, and made my skin sooo soft! So, the next time you have an odor on your hands, like onion, garlic, fish, what ever it may be, get a big hand full of coffee grounds from your coffee pot ( they have to be brewed first) and wash your hands with it like you would soap.

The next use brewed coffee grounds have, is taking some of the acid out of stews and soups. My mama always puts a teaspoon of coffee grounds in her soups, stews, or anything that might have a lot of tomato acid in it. She only does it though, if it is going to cook for a while, I wouldn't recomend it for raw or cold tomatoes.

And last but not least, I read last summer that brewed coffee grounds are great for your garden. During my quest to make the perfect compost, I did a little digging :o) and found out that coffee grounds have the nitrate that plants need so badly. So I now take the mornings coffee grounds and sprinkle them around my plants before I water them. I started doing it last summer and it actually helped. 
So, I just thought I would share this with you, go try them out! 
Oh, and before I go, do any of chicken owners out there, know of a good, sure fire way to get chicken bullies to stop pickin on the little guys? I have two rhode island reds that pick on my sweet little banty unmercifully! And we have both had just about enough of it!
God Bless!! 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Time to get back

Hey y'all,

   It has been so long since I posted anything. I have been so super busy, with chickens, our garden, summer vacation, family emergencies, ugh!!

    Our garden has been eating me alive, and don't get me wrong, I am very thankful to God for blessing us with a bountiful garden, but sheesh! Now I know what winter is really for, to rest!!!! We have been canning, freezing, drying, picking, hoeing, watering, eating :o) giving away! We have black eyed peas, butter beans, greasy beans, pole beans, heirloom tomatoes, red potato's, peppers, cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumbers, squash, zucchini,  and okra, and now we have greens, and I hope to plant some garlic. But boy o' boy it has worn me out!! And my sweet mama, started not feeling to good the other day, and all of a sudden her stomach started hurting really bad, she turned almost a grey color, started sweating so bad she was soaked, and I automatically thought, heart attack!!! We called an ambulance, and I had a panic attack, because I just knew I was gonna loose her, and I have never seen my mama in so much pain. They took her to the hospital and when we go there, she was fine, had her color back, smiling :o) So they checked her out from her head to her toes, and said it must have been a bad case of gastritis. Well, the next day it happened again, and this time she just waited it out, and after it happened she was exhausted, and slept from 2 in the afternoon until 8 the next morning. Well we started doing some research, and come to find out, it was the OTC Prilosec she has been taking for 3 yrs for her acid reflux. She stopped taking them, and she was fine, and has been ever since. She found out on the internet, that thousands of people have had horrible similar side affects like hers. And all the other health problems she has had in the past three yrs can now be blamed on Prilosec! Her VB12 deficiency, her calcium problems, Vit D problems, joint pain, exhaustion, and the list goes on and on!! So if you know some one that takes it, and has health issues, you might wanna tell them.
                                           
                                                   Folly Beach, SC I love that town!!!
                                             A lizard on a head stone in the Unitarian Church graveyard
                                            Me and my hubby and my step-son on Morris Island, SC
 
                                        And my fave picture I took of my hubby in his favorite hat!

Charleston is where we went  for out family vacation. One of my most favorite places in the whole wide world, mostly because all of my ancestors are from Charleston and a lot of them played major role in the shaping of the low country and SC. I found out the other day through ancestry.com that my great-great-great-great grandfather John Purvis died in chains in the provost dungeon for fighting with a back woods militia instead of the British army. I could go on all night about my ancestors. One of my favorite past times is SC history and ancestry. One more I have to tell you about or I will bust! My great-great-great-great grandfather Thomas Willcox was best friends with Benjamin Franklin and they became friends because my grandfather built and ran the very first paper mill in Colonial America! And through that mill he made the first ever colonial money!! Ok, enough of that! Well, now that it is getting closer to fall, I will have lots more time and things to blog about! I hope y'all are doing good! God Bless!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Turkeys!!





Hey y'all!

   Oh my goodness I have so much to catch up on! Its been a very busy time around here!  In the pictures above are wild turkeys that hung out in our yard for about a month, and I just feel in love!! It was a mama, daddy, and 9-10 babies, they were hard to count!  We fed and kept watch over them with great joy. But I am sad to say that all of a sudden they were gone, and we feared coyotes or hawks had gotten them, but then we saw just the daddy. It was almost like he was asking for help, he came and laid down in our yard and stayed all day, and I noticed he had a hurt foot, and I tired my best to get to him, and help him but I failed. He was all alone, and seemed worried or anxious. He went into the woods and that was the last we saw of any of them, I cried for days wondering if they were all dead, it was very sad, I am getting teary eyed just thinking about it. It makes my heart hurt, because they were so sweet, and they were such good parents. But I guess if you live in the mountains, in the woods, you have to see things like that. I pray that they just moved on and that they are alive and well.

    On a happier note, I grew black eyed peas for the first time this summer and I am happy to say they grew like crazy! And my greasy beans did very well this year too! For those of you that do not know about greasy beans, they are a delicacy here in the Appalachian mountains. In Madison county where I grew up, greasy beans were right along side ramps, people came from miles around to buy them and sometimes they would pay $20 or more for half a bushel! Crazy huh? Oh but they are so good, if you have never tried them, you have to do that, cook them with some bacon or fat back, mmmmmm good!! So on that note, I guess I better get to canning! I have lots more to share later! Oh! I was featured on a blog, www.southernasbiscuits.com and I am so happy! 8 of my items on etsy were also featured in treasuries! Just thought I was brag a little even though thats a major sin in my book, but I am just tickled pink!! Well God Bless you all!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Farmer's Prayer




Lord, bless the land you've given me, and may I always know as I tend each crop and creature you are the one who helps them grow. Grant me strength and wisdom; please protect me from all harm, and thank you for your gracious gift- the blessing of a farm. -  Robin Fogle

Friday, July 15, 2011

I am in love!



I love this guy, Michael Perry, what a looker, huh!!
It's been a while since I have posted anything, I have been really busy with the garden, chickens, and rival at church. But I am back, and I have a lot to tell ya about, but not tonight, gotta go fold laundry. Tonight, I thought i would just share this beautiful and very funny man with you, enjoy! If you like him as much as I do, he has a lot of videos on you tube!

  God Bless!
     Mckee

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I have decided to become a vegetarian...

Hey y'all,

   I have decided to become a vegetarian, I have been thinking about it for a while now, but I read "the kind diet" by Alicia Silverstone, and it pushed me to go all the way with it. So, are there any of you who are vegetarians or vegans, and have some advice for me? I could really use it!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kittens





Hey y'all!

  Me and my mama had been hearing bumping and scratching and babies crying in my mama's duct work. We thought it was mice again, or something worse, there is no telling when you live in the mountains and the woods. We had the duct work cleaned, my dad looked under the house and didn't see anything. So two days ago I heard the noises, I got brave, and I opened the vent and looked inside, and what did I see? I cat tail and a grey cat paw trying to get in the vent. So yesterday, me, my mama, and my aunt pulled the flashing out of the vent and lo and behold, behind it was a grey mama cat and 5 of the cutest little blue eyed babies you have ever seen!! The mama would not come out until we got all the babies and then she came out and left and never came back, I guess she was tired and stressed out and knew they would be alright. So, last night we fed them with a dropper, and took them to the no kill humane society here. I have to say I got very attached, but I don't think it would work well to have a cat and a litter box in a 25 foot camper!  They sure are cute and sweet! But what baby isn't cute?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Copper Heads

Hey Y'all,

     For some reason I have had snakes on my mind. I am deathly afraid of them, most people say that, but I really mean it, when I see one my throat will close up, I freeze, and I can not breath or think rationally. So I looked up Copper Heads on the internet, because I wanted to know more about them since we live in the woods and copper heads are very common around here in our mountains. So I found a website you all should really  check out, I learned a lot. www.copperhead-snakes.com It tells you everything you need to know. And while we are on the subject of snakes, does anyone know of a good way to get rid of them or keep them away? I am even more worried about it now that I have chickens.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pictures of my mountains... for Loretta



Hey Y'all! 

Since I don't have much to talk about right now, I thought I would post some pictures I have taken around where I live. 
Below, is a picture of triple falls, in Dupont State Park about 40 min. from my home.

 This next one, is a picture I took looking over the bridge that crosses the French broad river, into the beautiful small town of Marshall, called " jewel of the blue ridge". I grew up here on a farm deep in the Appalachian mountains.
 This one is a picture I took of a tobacco barn on the road I grew up on, in the Big Pine community, in Marshall, NC.
 This next one is one of my favorites. It is a sunset in Henderson county, NC.
 This one is a dragon fly, I am sure you can tell, on my mama's lily.
Well, that's all for now, I hope you enjoyed, I am selling all these that you see. I have not put them on my etsy site yet, because it cost to much to post a bunch of pictures. I do not have the money to buy mats whole sale right now, and my local craft store does not have a big selection, so I will sell it for $15.00 plus $2.00 shipping. But if you want a mat I can find one and I will sell it for $20.00. So if you want one, just let me know!! You can comment or send me a e-mail : mckeewp81@live.com.
 God Bless all! I will post more pics later.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

water cress

Hey y'all,

    Well it has been a long time since I posted anything, I guess cause there's not much going on here, it's been to dog  gone cold to get anything done!! But I did want to share a bit of interesting info with ya. My mama bought a big bunch of water cress, which is a lot like arugula, we eat it in salads, bu it is a bit spicier than arugula, anyway, she bought a bunch of it at our local grocery store with the roots still on it, around here they call it living greens. Well, just as an experiment she planted the roots in a pot outside and watered them, after we ate the greens off it, and about 3 weeks later she had a whole new bunch of water cress!! We ate that, and it has grown full 2 more times, and its still growing! And not only is it good, but its also very pretty! So I am gonna go get some of my fave lettuce they have at our grocery store, its called boston bibb, and see if I can't grow it a few times! We normally grow our own lettuce and greens, but the living lettuce at our store is from around here so I figure it can't  hurt! Have a blessed week y'all!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ramps!!

Hey y'all,

     It's that time again! It's ramp season!! My mama said I had ramps when I was little, but I don't remember them, and as strong as they are, you would think I would!! Except for that time, I have never had them, and I have lived deep in the mountains for most of my life. So My best friend Kim lives in Madison County where I was raised, and she and her husband invited us to their annual ramp fry, and I can't wait!! I love anything to do with garlic or onions, and ramps are a little of both. I have heard that the smell comes out of your pores for 3 or 4 days after you eat them, but it will be well worth it!! At least no one will bother me at wal-mart for a few days!! I might have the place to myself if I walk in there after having ramps!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Etsy Site

Hey, y'all,

      I just made a pillow and posted it on my etsy site. www.etsy.com/shop/mckeewp81
I made it from two vintage flour and salt sacks I found not to long ago. The back red and white striped flour sack is from a mill that was in Spartanburg, SC that is now closed. I am not sure of the origin of the salt sack on the front of the pillow, I think its from NY.  I am selling it for $12.50. I have another one I am working on also that was the front of the salt sack on this pillow. I also have other items I made and one that my sweet mama made, that are on my etsy site.
 
    

Friday, February 4, 2011

I am one happy girl...


Hey y'all,

   I am one happy girl right now, not because something grand happened, and not because money fell in my lap, none of that has happened. I am happy simply because as I type this, I can smell cornbread in a iron skillet greased with bacon I cooked in it,  in the oven, and homemade split pea soup on the stove, I am listening to my old time bluegrass station on Pandora, reading a book called "Cades Cove, a southern Appalachian community"  and looking at my Great Smokey Mountains trail map, and trying to find all the places I have read about in this book! All that combined, with a rainy foggy day here in the mountains (which I think makes the mountains so beautiful, I can feel the spirit of the mountains around me on days like this) is making this the perfect day to me!!  If you Love Cades Cove as much as I do, I highly recommend this book! You will learn so much you never knew! Here is one of many of my favorite things out of it, this was said by Mr. John McCaulley:

   " We looked after one another. If there was sickness in a family and a crop needed working, we'd all hear about it at church on Sunday.
  The next morning, on Monday morning, there'd be as many as 50 neighbors in that field and around that house doing up everything that had to be done.
   If somebody died, everybody left his own work and turned his attention to the dead person's family. There wouldn't be a single person working in those fields in the Cades Cove bottoms until the funeral was over. 
  If a widow was left, she and her children were cared for. Everybody saw to it that they didn't want for a thing. 
   The older folks were taken care of too, when they couldn't work no more. Nobody went to the poorhouse."  
 The author Durwood Dunn, goes on to say that the community also always got together and raised barns, built houses, plowed fields and anything that someone needed help with. I wish it was still that way, if it was people would be happier, and get along so much better. This book also talks about how the National park service ran the people of Cades Cove out, during the great depression, and tore down the houses that were not primitive enough for their grand vision. The people of Cades Cove were lied to, and treated very badly! You should really read this book, I really did learn a lot! And if you want to help with the houses still standing go to: cadescovepreservationtn.homestead.com they tell a lot more stories and have more pictures there, and tells you about a museum that has a lot of artifacts from the homes in the cove, and you can also become a member. Oh my gosh! Hiking, mountains, bluegrass and cornbread makes me so happy!!! Oh, by the way, the pics above are of a cabin in the cove, and me sitting in the doorway of the Elijah Oliver Home place. 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Moonshine and Bluegrass 180 Proof



Marvin "popcorn" Sutton lived in east TN not far from where I grew up. I never met him, but I wish I had. He was the last great moonshiner of our time. I really hate the way they did him, it just wasn't right. If you don't know about him, you should look it up, his story is everywhere, he was a true example of what Appalachian was and is.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

winter

I was sitting here this morning, feeling sorry for myself because we are snowed in, for the third time and I was thinking about spring, and summer, and flowers, and warm sunshine, and I started reading a book I got from the library called " The Avonlea Album" and there were pictures of Prince Edward Island in the snow, and quotes from books that L.M. Montgomery wrote, and this is one of them, that kinda made me feel better.

         " It was inter in our orchard of old delights then, - so truly winter that it was hard to believe summer had ever dwelt in it, or that spring would ever return to it. There were no birds to sing the music of the moon; and the path where the apple blossoms had fallen were heaped with less fragrant drifts. But it was a place of wonder on a moonlight night, when the snowy arcades shone like avenues of ivory and crystal and the bare trees cast fairy-like traceries upon them.


I hope you are all safe, warm, and happy, as you go about your day.

The enchanting Blue Ridge Mountains I call home.

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About Me

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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.