We awoke to snow covering our home in the hills, but the sun comes out sporadically and tries in earnest to melt it.

There are bare spots showing now, but the air is still quite cold.  The songbirds still flock to the bird feeder, with lots of bright cardinals and sassy blue jays.  The smaller birds pick up seed underneath the feeder, and there is a big brown dove in their midst.

Just as dawn arrived, I heard one lone songbird lift his voice and greet the morning.  It was an encouraging note, and one that bespoke of spring.  Spring surely is coming.  As certain as summer follows spring, autumn follows summer, and so spring follows winter.  It is time.

The past couple of weeks have been a nightmare.  It started with my being excessively sleepy, and a trip to Clay Primary Care.  All of this is fuzzy in my mind, but then I was sent to Braxton Memorial Hospital in Gassaway. This little hospital surprised me by the personal and constant care that I received there.  My personal care doctor kept trying to find a room in a hospital with a cardiac care physician, and there seemed to be no beds available in CAMC.  Finally, a room became available in Ruby Memorial at Morgantown.

This huge hospital seems to be spread all over a hillside, and I was placed in room in the new unit.  All my nurses seemed to be young and pretty, and I never suffered for constant care.  They were there for me, and always with a smiling face which was cheering.

The diagnosis was congestive heart failure, pneumonia and COPD.  I realize that my age is also a contributing factor, and I will have to be careful.  If God calls me home, I am ready to meet Him, but I would like to stay here a litter longer for my family’s sake.  I don’t know if I will be able to write my columns, and I have met so many friends through my writings.  Please pray for me to regain my strength.  Now that is enough about me.

We received a letter from Criss’ cousin’s wife, Priscilla McLaughlin of Ivydale, providing us with a recipe for dried pinto beans in a crock pot.  We are planning to try the recipe tonight, with the soaking of the dry beans. I have been put on a salt-free diet, and this sounds as if would be good.  In fact, Priscilla says that they are very good, and freeze well.

 

CROCK POT PINTO BEANS

1 lb. dried pinto beans

1 tsp. chili powder

½ tsp. dried oregano

¼ lb. lean ham, cut into small chunks

1 med. onion, chopped

Wash the beans, soak overnight in cold water.  Drain, dump into the crockpot.  Stir in the chili powder and oregano.  Add the ham, and salt and pepper to your liking.  (I will use some Mrs. Dash’s seasoning instead of salt.)

Cover with water.  Saute the onion in some butter and stir into crockpot.  Cover and cook on high for about five hours, or until tender.

We have a letter from Lydia Pierson of Elkview discussing cornbread.  She said that when she makes cornbread, she uses Jiffy corn meal mix, which she does not consider the “real thing!”  She has faint memories of her mother’s cornbread being baked in an iron skillet.

It is hard to print a recipe when you use “just a pinch of this and a dash of that.”  I will try to put one together.  First, heat oven to 450 degrees and put a couple of tablespoons of bacon grease in an iron skillet.  Place skillet in oven to heat.  Use a couple of cups of self-rising meal in bowl, and about 1/2 cup of self rising flour.  Add a tablespoon of sugar, one egg, and enough buttermilk to make a batter.  (This is where the rub comes in—you sort of have to know the “feel” of the batter.)  Pour batter into hot skillet and bake until brown.

I found a poem in my files that was written by my late Aunt Eva.  She was an accomplished and gifted writer, and I hope that I have inherited some of her genes.

 

SNOWY MEMORIES

By Eva Samples King

As I look across the fields and the hills,

That’s covered so deeply with snow,

I remember the many years of the past

And the winters of long, long ago.

The river with ice, was frozen so deep

The wagons crossed over with ease.

The people worked out in the icy blast

Until they would very near freeze.

We kids walked to school, with no overshoes,

But our shoes were solid and strong.

Our Dad kept busy, with work on the farm

He would work in the snow all day long.

We drew out the water, from a well in the yard,

The rope often covered with snow.

The water would splash on our stockings and feet

And my, how the cold wind did blow.

We helped with the milking, and fed all the pigs,

Then after our chores were all done,

We studied our books by the kerosene lamp,

Yes getting our lessons were fun.

We didn’t complain if the snow lasted long

As some folks are doing today.

It’s best to be cheerful for springtime is near

And the snow be melted away.