NEWS FROM THE HILLS

A tiny white butterfly has followed me around all day. As we walked by the creek side, where the pink spikes of smartweed (also called lady’s thumb) were blooming in dense masses, it hovered above them. Then it floated above the yellow-eyed asters which were beginning to bloom, and inspected some purple clover blossoms.

It seemed to be saying “good-bye” to summer. A few tomatoes still cling to dead vines, and there are some late green beans hanging tenaciously to the vines. It is about over for another season, and Mother Nature is shutting down the garden.

The hunters in our family remark that mast is very scarce this year, and the apple crop failed. It will make it hard for the woodland creatures to survive this winter, but perhaps it is just God’s way of keeping the balance of nature in check.

Fortunately, our garden did well this summer. We were able to can plenty of vegetables and stock the cellar. There is such a feeling of satisfaction to see the glass jars of food on the cellar shelves, and the supply of frozen food in the deep freezer.

It is the same warm feeling a person gets when the winter’s supply of firewood is cut and stacked in neat piles in the woodshed. It is with confidence that we can face winter’s blast of cold, knowing we will be warm and fed.

There is nothing any cozier than to see a house, especially at dusk, with a curl of wood smoke coming from the chimney and the windows lit from within by lamp light. You can imagine a family grouped around a table covered with a red and white checked tablecloth, eating their evening meal. It may be a simple home, and simple food, but where there is love abounding for God and each other, they have all the riches of the world.

In Proverbs 15-17, it reads, “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.” In other words, it is better to have a pot full of wild greens in a home saturated with love, than to have filet mignon in a home filled with hatred and discontent.

I can remember when we lived in the old farmhouse in Jackson County, and times were really hard for us. Most of the time our evening meal consisted of soup beans and cornbread. (Never heard of that? It was white or Navy beans and we called pinto beans brown beans. We still do.)

Although our menu may have been meager, we were happy with our two little ones (Mike and Patty) and it was one of the most peaceful times in our marriage. Love is the ingredient that brings contentment.

We had a request a few weeks ago from Joanne Conley from Charleston for cough syrup made from pine needles. I am not sure that this is what she wanted, especially the first recipe. My sister Mary Ellen sent these to me, and she is responsible for any repercussions.

No. 1.  Mix 1/3 cup of coarsely ground white pine bark in a jar and cover it with 2/3 cup of boiling water. When cool, add ½ cup whiskey, seal the jar and let it set overnight, shaking the jar occasionally. Next day, strain it and add one cup of honey to the liquid. Mix until the liquid is blended and it is ready to use.  Dosage:  One tablespoon for an adult and one teaspoon for a child.

No. 2.  Use tender new shoots of white pine, stripped of their needles and peeled. Boil until tender and simmer in a rich sugar syrup.

My son-in-law Randy once recommended hemlock tea when I had a bad cold, and all I could think of was Socrates drinking the cup of hemlock. Thank goodness, it was not the same thing. Mary Ellen added that Edelene Wood, the skilled wild foods expert, brought hemlock tea to one of their wild food dinners. She poured boiling water over hemlock needles and steeped it for about 20 minutes, then strained it. Sweetened with honey, it would make a fine remedy for coughs.

Carol Kerns of Bethany Beach, Delaware sent the words to a song that she thought might be the one that someone wanted previously. There was no title, but here are the words:

In a far and distant city

Dying at the close of day

Was a fair headed boy

Who’d wandered far from home.

Take this message to my Mother

When my work on earth is through

Tell her that her boy will meet her

In the land beyond the blue.

CHORUS:

Tell my Mother, I will meet her

When our work of love and labor all are through

When the good of earth shall gather

With the faithful and the true.

Tell her that her boy will meet her

In the land beyond the blue.

 

To the old home came a message

‘Twas for Mother from her boy

But alas, the message came, it was too late

For that day, the angels took her

With the faithful and the true

And tonight she dwells with Willie

In the land beyond the blue.

Betty Lee Daniel of Beckley sent the words to a song that her mother and aunts sang to her when she was little (she is 83) and she sang to her daughters.  What she is searching for is the background of the song, and adds that they were all teachers so maybe they made it up!

It begins, “A tiny turned-up nose,

Two cheeks just like a rose

So sweet from head to toes

That little girl of mine.”

CHORUS:

No one will ever know

Just what her coming has meant

She’s all the world to me

She’s something heaven has sent

That little girl of mine.

 

Two eyes that shine so bright

Two arms that hold me tight

Two lips that kiss good night

That little girl of mine.

 

Elmer Bullard of Kenna needs a recipe for pickled cabbage—this is not the same as sauerkraut.  Does anyone have it?

“Laughter from the Hills” my new book, (autographed) can be obtained from the West Virginia Book Company, phone 888-982-7472. The cost is $18.23 per copy, which includes tax and mailing costs. I am mailing them out also, autographed as you wish. E-mail alycefaye@citlink.net or write to 2556 Summers Fork Road, Ovapa, WV, 25164.

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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