Echo from the Hills – October 30th, 2013
There was a glistening sheet of frost on the front lawn when we got up a few mornings ago. The car was covered in ice and the air was crisply cold.
The fodder shocks shivered in the morning air, and the maple tree dropped a few more leaves. It was time, of course, for the seasons to change, and for the warm weather to depart.
“To every thing there is a season, and time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up; A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance;
“A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
Solomon concludes his meditations with the 13th verse, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.” 14th verse, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.”
It is time now for the leaves to put on their fall colors and gradually drift to the ground, to cover and nourish the forest floor for another growing season. It is time to gather walnuts and hickory nuts; to dry and store them for the winter’s baking.
It is time for cold weather foods; soups and stews and heartier dishes. When I saw the frost, I immediately dragged out the soup kettle and started making vegetable-beef soup. Our son Matthew always said that when Mommy sees the first snowflake, she starts making a pot of soup! I didn’t wait for the snow flake, but the sight of frost was enough to inspire me.
It is time to put away the summer sandals and lighter clothing, and pull out the cold weather gear—boots, sweaters and coats. It is time to bring the potted plants and flowers indoors; to rake the leaves and mulch the perennials. It is time to prepare for colder weather.
My daughter Patty and I stopped at Capitol Market last week, and we were pleasantly surprised to find to find plenty of Jackson County vegetables there. Nice tomatoes, some half-runner green beans, lots of pumpkins and gourds, sweet potatoes, turnips and lovely chrysanthemums were displayed. Ruth Ann Moles of Elkview called and asked for a recipe for dilled green beans, and I figured it was too late for green beans. They are still on the market, so here is the recipe:
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon mustard seed
½ teaspoon dill seed
1 garlic clove
This is placed in each pint canning jar
Use tender green beans, string but leave whole. Wash and boil for five minutes. Take out of boiling water and chill in cold water. Pack tightly in jar.
Combine 5 cups vinegar, ½ cup canning salt, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, pour over beans and seal. Process in hot water bath for five minutes. Good after a few weeks.
My late Aunt Eva Samples King used to make these delicious beans, and she used fresh dill and a tiny pod of red pepper. She was such a generous person that you couldn’t visit her without carrying away some goody that she had canned. I miss her, and also her dilly beans.
We received a good cooking hint from Jennie Rose Williams (I love that name!) of Nitro that I would like to pass along. She writes, “When you cook and drain vegetables (such as a casserole or squash pie) save the broth and cool. I put it in a jar and freeze. It is good to use in soup or other recipes. Some of the stores sell it as ‘vegetable broth’. I already have mine!”
Major (ret.) Jack B. Stowers of Salt Lake City, Utah, (a former West Virginia hillbilly) has a new slant on aging. He is 90 years old and says, “You gotta be tough to be old!” One of my older friends told me last week that we’re not old—just mature. My cousin Jack Durbin of St. Albans sent me an interesting essay on aging. (Are my friends trying to tell me something?”
WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN
When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple…
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me,
And I shall spend my pension on caviar and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and a pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must wear clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for our children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple . . .
Actually, this sounds more like my mother than me. She was particular about her hair and clothes, and of course she didn’t swear or spit, but she did hoard ball point pens which she bummed. She lived to be 92, and the older she got the more outrageous things she would say. She loved a bargain, and once at a yard sale, she talked the lady down to 50 cents for a pair of shoes. When she got in the car, my daughter noticed that they were marked a quarter!