Nowadays, of course, we are not dependent upon the work of our hands in order to survive. If the time would come when we had to depend upon our own resources, we older folk would know how to do it. Too many of our younger generation doesn't have a clue.
With modern supermarkets on every corner, offering a dazzling array of foods, we can buy everything we need. However, for us raised in the country and nourished by country food, store bought goods are just not the same. Commercial products cannot compare with home-canned green beans, kraut made in a churn, and plump, cold-packed tomatoes. The additives in store bought food is scary, to say the least.
As cold weather drives us indoors, many of us get an urge to bake. The oven adds more warmth to the cozy house, and the spicy fragrance of cakes and pies speaks a hearty welcome to those who come in out of the cold. I hear an echo of Grandma's day as I cook a fresh pumpkin for pies, although Grandma never had it this easy.
Gone are the days when I took a knife and peeled the rind-with many a blister. All you have to do is cut the pumpkin open, remove the seeds, and cook chunks of it in the microwave oven (on high) until tender. The pulp can then be scraped out with a spoon. I put the pulp in the food processor for a few minutes, although a blender or mixer would work just as well.
It is time to get out the quilting frames for those who make quilts, time to relax and read, and pursue some of the hobbies that had to be shelved by summer's work. This has always been my favorite time of the year, and Thanksgiving Day was a bonus.
We have a few odds and ends to clear up before the start of the Christmas season. Elma Jarrell of Danville sent the poem "The Corn Song" by John Greenleaf Whittier. It brought back memories of Mom reciting, "Heap high the farmer's wintery hoard! Heap high the golden corn! No richer gift for autumn poured, from out her lavish horn!"
Ruby Ramsey Myers of Conway, SC wrote about parching corn when she was a child. At 88, she was one of 11 children, born and raised in Clay County. She added, "We didn't have potato chips or Fritos!"
The only response I received for the request for sulphured apples (from Phyllis Carroll of Gassaway) came from Bonnie Kirby of Alderson. She said her grandmother put peeled and sliced apples in a crock, and set a saucer of sulphur on top of the apples. She lit the sulphur with a match until it made a smouldering smoke. It was then covered with several layers of white cloth. They had to be soaked before using.
Let us thank the good Lord that we don't have to do things the way Grandma did!
I am now mailing books for Christmas giving. Books available are: "This Holler is My Home," "Homesick for the Hills," and "Laughter from the Hills." They are $15.33 each (which includes tax and postage) or three for $40. I will autograph them as you wish. Write to Alyce Faye Bragg at 2556 Ovapa Road, Ovapa, WV 25164 or email alycef...@citlink.net.