Posted in Back in the Day, The Hen & the Hammer, The Hen House, The Hungry Hen, The Scoop from the Coop, Things to Crow About, Uncategorized

Cookin’ with Cast Iron: A Little Bit of This & That

cfe25d82c2a132311c6c4e88d7542b3e--skillets-cookingI think Cast Iron is makin’ a comeback, even though in my mtns, it never really went away. I can walk into our Aunt Theresa’s house right now and find a gazillion of all shapes and sizes hangin’ from a beautiful rack my Uncle Eddie made.  It’s slim pickin’s at yardsales round here. That’s how prized they are. But in other places, where folks might not know much about em, you maybe able to score big time. Across tables, once in a blue moon, some will be peppered out and all the way across all because they sport a little rust or their famous, traditional black maybe a light grey. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that iron. Grab em if you see em. Walmart sells them as well as Farmer brand stores. (If you’re lookin’.) Lodge is a popular brand, although, I have a few that aren’t and they work just fine.  Rusted up or brand new, they need to be seasoned or fixed. And here’s how you tackle all that and some other little bits you might stumble upon along the way….

First, what’s Cast Iron good for? Well, you ain’t never had fried chicken or gravy like what we whip up in a Cast Iron. Dependin’ on how it’s Seasoned, folks fry up eggs, cook stews, beans and all kinds of goodies. My kids and I swear the best-grilled cheese you ever eat is made with a Cast Iron skillet on a wood stove. Its buttery, crispy, not soggy with a gooey and soft middle. Bacon comes out crispy and sausage nice and brown. Cornbread, biscuits, bread. The skies the limit, dependin’ on what ya got and what you want to do with it.

d6ec5d1a52a2f44c2791c0f16169b406--cast-iron-cooking-cast-iron-pansSecond, seasoning….

Most are intimidated by this but that’s just a shame. Might take a little doin’ but you won’t break a sweat. What you want to do is, lightly rub oil or lard into your Cast iron. Here, I copied these off of Southern Living….

How To Season Your Cast-Iron Skillet:

  1. Scrub skillet well in hot soapy water.
  2. Dry thoroughly.
  3. Spread a thin layer of melted shortening or vegetable oil over the skillet.
  4. Place it upside down on a middle oven rack at 375°. (Place foil on a lower rack to catch drips.)
  5. Bake 1 hour; let cool in the oven. (Source)

Personally, I put it upside down in the oven, but that’s just me.


How to clean?

Every soul out there who has it, has their own way of doin’ this. Some scrub out with coarse salt. Others use hot soapy water. Some yell, NO DAWN or soap that tears off the seasoning. No scrubbing things like brillo pads. No steel wool. I’ll throw soapy water on while it’s still hot. Swish it around as it boils everything off. Dump it and rinse it and then wipe a drop of oil back on. Whatever way you do it, just remember, DRY IT yourself, with a towel of paper after you’re done. Take a napkin, and rub your oil back into it. Lightly. It doesn’t have to drip grease. This is kind of like conditioning your hair. You don’t leave the conditioner on, do ya? No, you rinse, and your hair keeps what it needs. You won’t be rinsin’ your cast iron after this but you do want to work in enough lard or oil so it gets what it needs.

Why Cast iron? On a Practical Sense?

No chemicals. Lasts forever. Will most likely outlive us all– if kept properly. Heats and cooks food evenly– let your brain mellow on that one. Evenly. No Teflon to worry about, coatings wearin’ down that may not be safe to consume. It’s rough and touch and can take a lickin’. Drop a new style pan and it dents all to hell. Drop a Cast Iron, and pray the floor holds out. It’s made to last.

You can use it on the stove, on the camp-fire, on the grill, in the oven or on a wood stove. You can fry, saute, bake or whack your husband upside the head with it. Okay, so you may not want to take that last one literally. winks. The point is if the world came to an end tomorrow, chances are, the only thing that would survive are the cock roaches, my monster- in- law, and the Cast Iron. (Another joke on the Mother in Law. winks)

Seasoned right, it’s naturally nonstick. Again, this stuff is the Mac Daddy, work horse of the kitchen and you can grab it black as night or enamelled coated — I have both that I use for different things.

What if it’s rusty?

Did I cover this one? If I did. sorry, I’m multitasking. If it’s rusty, though, rework the Seasoning steps. That’s all. Rust doesn’t mean death. Again. this stuff is built to last!

Which for which?

What to cook in a Cast Iron (Black and Beautiful in its natural state) and what to cook in an enamel coated Cast Iron?

I save my Mater sauces, soups and stews for my Enamel. I fry meat, taters, even eggs, in my regular Cast Iron. I cook gravy (Southern Gravy), may fry fish, bacon, sausage and all those goodies in my regular Cast.

If things like eggs are sticking–it needs better seasoning. The Cast Iron, that is.

What the heck is this?

That lid goes to a Dutch Oven kind of Cast Iron. Those little pokey things is actually a self-baster. So when you pop that sucker in the oven or stove with, let’s say a whole chicken or roast, in it, then the steam collects to the top and those dotted-points, drips the juice and juice down on your prized meal. Now ain’t that genius?

If you bought one of these and it leaves a metallic taste in your mouth — or any cast iron for that matter– it just needs more seasoning. Wash, again with soapy water and keep seasoning. If you don’t have time to pop it in the oven, then start fryin all your sausage and bacon in it until that grease sinks into the iron and works it up. As you can see, I’m fryin’ sausage in mine. That’s fresh sausage, ya’ll. Mmmmm Mmmmm Goooooooood!!!!!

Still not sure what enamelled cast iron is? Still not sure what regular is? Below are some samples.


Regular Cast Iron


Enamel Covered Cast Iron


Any other questions hit me up!

Posted in Back in the Day, Chicken Scratch, Hen Pecked, Hogs, Pork, Things to Crow About, Uncategorized

Hog Butcherin’ Time


Across the scarcely covered mountains, an icy breeze brings a hint of a woodstove burnin’ from somewhere, where ya’ll know the folks are all toasty and warm. Inside, a there sits a hot cast iron, fresh sausage fryin’ or maybe a hearty sausage and tater soup simmers on the stove. Sure enough, bread or buttermilk biscuits are bakin’ in the oven. Its comfortin’ smell lingers through an entire household just anxiously waitin’. These things make the winter months worth sufferin’. I’m a Spring -hen myself. I like the grass between my toes. Love a river when the sun is warm. But even this chick has to admit, Some things just stir the soul durin’ the cold season and those things make it worth goin’ into. Hog butcherin’ might just be one of em.

I could probably live off the country sausage. Shoot, I ain’t never turned my nose up at Italian either. I love the way it smells when cookin’ and I love the way I feel after gobblin’ some up. We raised four hogs, this year. Two regular, mixed, Yorkshire and Tamworths. Maybe one was part Hereford. Then we tried out hand at two American Guinea Hogs. Those will hang up this weekend or next– dependin’ on the weather. Interested to know how those measure up…which will decide whether or not we raise em next year.

Still, for the past several weekends, my husband and Uncle have been knee deep in the butcher house. His hogs, my hogs, their hogs. It’s an age-long tradition that folks don’t do too much of anymore. Oh, they’ll buy one already raised or butchered up, but not many actually get in there and do it themselves from the little one too big. I know once I’ve butchered, it’s hard to keep em in the freezer. Folks wantin’ it, not to mention what we can easily eat ourselves. Bottom line, though, to me, it’s a clean meat. And by clean, I mean, I know what that hog ate from beginnin’ to end. I know it’s health as we were the one’s keepin’ it healthy. I know what’s in the seasoning of, the cookin’ of, the processin’ of. No preservatives. No big unpronounceable word-poisons. Just the meat. Clean. I can’t describe the deep satisfaction of that. When I serve it to my family, the deeply satisfied feelin’ that I am givin’ them somethin’ as healthy as I can possibly provide. Not to mention the lessons my children learn about traditions, about having a respect and responsibility, some control over their food.

Homesteaders — those who are coinin’ that phrase— are doin’ it and, most certainly, ones who live off grid. Whether you Cure the hams or cut pork chops or grind it all into sausage, though, there’s lots to be made and had from Hogs, which may be why some are jumpin’ in, on the whole, raisin’ them up again bandwagon.

Throughout this week–time permittin’– and possibly month–if time doesn’t turn out to e my friend, I’m going to post up recipes for pork and most likely, sausage. Hope you enjoy……

And if you are lookin’ for recipes in general, of what I already have, check out The Hungry Hen and all the categories within’!



Posted in Back in the Day, Chicken Scratch, Things to Crow About, Uncategorized

A Southern Tradition: Black- Eyed Peas, Cabbage, Greens & Pork

Grandma-Maude-Great-Grandma-Gertrude-and-Great-Aunt-Madge_thumb.jpgEvery. Single. Year. Grandma was firm on one rule. Not that she didn’t have many, but this particular one was like angering fate itself. As if it tipped the scales of all bad luck and curses. It was that serious. As if somewhere within’ her Blackwell roots, all tangled up there, written in the blood of her ancestors upon the stone of all stones…

On New Years Day, you better cook and eat Black-eyed Peas, Cabbage and Pork. If you don’t, you won’t have good luck, wealth and health in  the coming year.

Grandma would even make phone calls a day or so ahead of time reminding us all not to forget. And if you pulled some nonsense like, “Grandma, I don’t have time to cook that.” Then she’d reach through that phone snatchin’ you up by the nape of your neck with a death grip of a tone, a forewarnin’, and say, “Then you better come by my house and get some before its too late!”

Grandma’s dead and I seriously doubt she is gonna make a phone call to my house on New Years Day. Although I really wish she could. I can promise you, though, on my stove, every year the menu is the same….

Black-Eyed Peas, Cabbage, Pork and, oh yeah, Greens. I picked the Greens up from my time in North Carolina. I love em, so it’s easy to slip one more good luck charm in on the menu.

Even for a time, my own Mother would cook them on New Years Day. Maybe it was to avoid Grandma from kickin’ down the door and burnin’ her butt up with a switch if she didn’t. Maybe for one small period of time, my Mother actually had some sort of nostalgia for the past, Grandma’s traditions and all those who came before her.  Maybe.

Still, till this day, I have one Aunt who still cooks these things on New Years Day. She even gives me a yell, making sure I am doing it too just like Grandma once did. We catch snark from certain cousins, in-laws and family members for upholdin’ Grandma’s stern rule. Or, at least I do.

They scoff and say, “I make my own luck.I don’t need no make-believe tradition!” Or they say, “God takes care of me. That’s offensive to him.” They say other things but as we get older, we learn to tune people out.

For me and my Aunt, we don’t actually believe cooking these things will make or break us for the following year. We do it because its a tradition that my Grandma took literally. Grandma learned it from her Mother and Father. They learned it from theirs. Maybe none of them believed in it, maybe they did, but you can bet their bottom dollar that they did it regardless all because it was, as I said, a Tradition. It was passed down through their family and bloodline. It survived hard times, bad weather, no money, low supplies, sickness, death, and despair. It survived because they survived.

I cook these things on New Years Day because it meant something to my Grandma. All day, I end up thinking about her. Not the things that drove me nuts or put a wedge between us. I think about the good things, the few times I saw her smile, this meal being one of the few things that made her smile.


My kids learn or re-learn about where they come from. We’re mountain people. We have Roots here. Our kin spread far and wide. Some made and ran Moonshine. Some were Farmers. Some were Preachers. Some actually carved out a place for themselves when these mountains were no more than a wilderness, a hope for a good life to come, filled with dangers and hardships. They lived off the plants and wildlife. They gave birth and buried their dead in the soils and rocks we see now as nothin’ more than dirt and toe-stubbers.

I show my kids pictures of the Blackwell Clan, with the Blueridge Mountains behind them. All mostly dark-haired, wavy and thick. I try to give them a sense of placement. A sense of pride. A sense of beginning. I want them to know that they come from somewhere. And while the women could be mean, that’s what gave them the strength to fight their way through this world when the world owed them no favors.

IMG_1578I show them pictures of the Clarks and tell them the history of that name. Then, thanks to the books and pictures my Aunt Wanda gave me, I show them the little truths of their journey throughout the Ages, their place in many unfortunate wars including the historic battles they survived, even though their minds were never quite the same again.

Through these pictures, you could see my Grandfather, healthy when he just signed up for Service. Not fat, but meaty enough to be called a man. Proudly smiling in his uniform. Someone who was about to make something of himself. Then I show them the picture of him after Pearl Harbor and all that came in its aftermath. A shadow of himself, thin was drinking. He’d spend the rest of his life tryin’ to chase away the demons that war put in his head. The last years I saw him, in a wheel chair, half paralyzed from a stroke, unable to speak words clearly….shaking one fist at the TV shouting something incomprehensible in anger. All because a movie of Pearl Harbor was on. And oh yeah, the time Jacob’s Ladder played and his blood pressure went through the roof.

These Southern Traditions that most of you find pointless and funny are more than what they appear to be on the outside. We honour them because it brings to life our people who are not dead and gone. We remember them. And as long as we remember them, they live with us in our hearts, spirit and mind. What’s more depressing? Dying or realizing when you’re dead, it will be as if you never existed at all because no one remembers you. You passed nothing on. You left no mark upon this world. No imprint. Nothing of importance.

My Grandma’s tradition may not heal Cancer, but it is important. She bestowed unto me a sense of pride, worth, and the knowing that I come from a long line of women who suffered much but overcame even more. Women who were the heartbeats of their home. Women who knew how to survive even things like men and others, like, The Depression.

I think the problem with the world today is that we’ve been made to feel ashamed of who we are and where we come from,  or what collar we wear. Traditions are no longer taught or passed down. Our children are no longer taught the basics or skills. No one takes pride in where they come from and we no longer have a sense of placement, which means we no longer have a sense of worth. We have no more pride in ourselves than we do of anyone else because we no longer teach the next generation of what they gain to lose or what our ancesters faught to have.

We each have heritage and we are in danger of losing it. These traditions help me hold onto that. They help me hold onto Grandma, keep me grounded, and they help my children know a woman who is no longer here to drive them up a wall. As long as I uphold these things, as long as I instil these precious pieces into them, then they will always know they come from somewhere and those that came before them didn’t live and die as if they never lived or existed at all. And we become the stronger for it. And besides, I happen to love eating Black-Eyed Peas, Cabbage, Greens and Pork. So that helps. winks


Posted in Chicken Scratch, Things to Crow About, Uncategorized

A Storm is Coming! Quick, Grab all of the Bread and Milk!

file9331287220935We had some snow here in the mountains last night. We were well warned, which meant we had plenty of time to prepare. The truth is, we weren’t expected to have much but it was enough to cancel schools, prepare the roads and so on. And it was just enough, just a whisper of enough, to plant the seed of panic, a triggering of natural instincts to prepare for the worst. To send people out into the stores to buy as much bread and milk as possible.

Meanwhile, Social Media lit up with funny, sarcastic gifs of people emptying shelves, screaming their heads off with titles like, “OMG!One inch of snow coming! Quick! Buy all of the bread and milk!!!!!”

That led to insulting comments and the making fun of, while people asked the question, why bread and milk?

Now, while it came of no surprise people who live and were maybe raised in bigger cities would ask this question, I was a little stumped at those from the same mountains I come from or those who live in rural areas elsewhere. And then I thought to myself, this maybe why we’re losing touch with the younger generation or that we shouldn’t erase history because we are starting to disconnect, starting to lack empathy or understanding with those who came before us and well, frankly, survived a world of crap we can no longer imagine.

If you are one of those people who can’t fathom the reason why people buy milk and bread, then let me take you back into history, especially since when I Googled to see if others had written about the why’s and was shocked to see absolutely nothing of usefulness.

Our answer, in my opinion, lies under two umbrellas…. History and Nature.

Historically, when people couldn’t just pop into a grocery store to grab food, they did what? Grew it, traded for it, but no matter what, made it from scratch. If we yanked open a window into the past during any meal, we would see one thing in common despite what else or what little else they had.


My Grandma made bread damn near every day. Not yeast bread but biscuit bread. It wasn’t in little portions, either. She made it into a big slab. You broke off whatever piece you wanted. She ate it with every meal.  She even put it in her dang coffee and treated it as breakfast, lol!

Four things were common in her house and when I say common, I mean, if you had to take a guess at what Grandma was cookin’, your guesses came down to these…

  • Brown Beans
  • Green Beans & Taters
  • Mater Gravy
  • Bread

Rarely did I see Grandma cook meat. Now, she would throw meat in with the brown or green beans but she didn’t just break out a steak any day of the week and while she would fry chicken, the only time she ever really did was when company came over….special company. Special were those who didn’t live locally or a man who happened to be doin’ a man’s day’s work.

My crazy Aunt Joyce came to visit me one day and I remember her talkin’ bout her childhood. She clinched her cheeks by way of an awful scowl when said, “I used to be so sick of mater gravy. That’s all momma would ever feed us. And then here come company over and next thing I knew, she was fryin’ up chicken. Be derned if we got any either.” lol Aunt Joyce swore she’d never eat Mater gravy again but when I made it that day, I couldn’t keep her out of it.

Anyway, Grandma had a garden every year and in that garden, she fretted over four things. Cucumbers…because they were delicious and a summer treat…but more importantly, the taters (potatoes), maters (tomatoes), and beans (green). Her cupboard was stocked with all of them. The maters and beans were Canned and the taters went in the root cellar or somewhere cool and dark to live.

Grandma called these things Depression Food. The nessesities of life. You may not have liked them but you could easily survive on it.

And by “Depression“, I don’t mean it made you sad. This is something people are losing sight of. The Depression. The actual Depression when stock markets crashed and people struggled to survive. Jobs were like unicorns. Food was hard to buy. It was an awful period of time that my Grandmother lived through. And while she swore she never wanted to live through another one, she refused to forget just how they did it and said one way, was bread. With the maters, they would make mater gravy because if you lived in the country, you always had canned maters. If you were lucky enough to have a cow, you had milk. Milk, like bread, is very filling. But you could use the milk in other ways too. Kids drank it and you could make butter, or more importantly, more GRAVY. If you didn’t have milk, you could still make Gravy, using water. Regardless if you had meat or not, and most didn’t have meat and those that did, rarely did, gravy and bread would stick to your ribs and during a time when a day’s work was actually a day of hard laboured work, folks needed something that stuck to their ribs.

Now, I’m sure you’re wonderin’ why people are hoarding bread and milk now when there is no threat of a Depression on the horizon, and in truth, most can’t even imagine what one even felt like….

Learned behaviour.

My Grandma left an imprint on me. Despite how much she and I butted heads, certain things she said and did sunk in. For one, her ways of Canning and such. I stay stocked up. And while I don’t run to the stores to buy bread like many folks do, I have the means to make it if need be.With a woodstove, I have a heat source. If it’s summer, I have a firepit and grate I can cook on. Heck, I have grills.

Again, if you’re ever in a situation where food is scarce, bread fills you up. Doesn’t take much. In cases of Storms or Disasters on the horizon, we are triggered by a need to survive out anything even the unseen.

What if the power goes out? What if we can’t get out of our homes? Again, bread. Bread saves the day. It’s a learned behavior passed down from every previous ancester out there. It takes a bit for it to mold and it doesn’t have to be cooked. Doesn’t have to be refridgerated.

As far as Milk, that stretches from children and the need for milk. Again, it’s a filler. In the old world, it had more fat. Fat fills. Yes, if you become stranded in the summer, it can go bad, in the winter, it won’t. Drink milk with bread, and it helps with choking. (Another thing that is embedded into us from our ancestors). Children and even some adults drank milk at supper and all meals. Together, the fat from the milk along with the filling effects of the bread, well its more of a meal or feels like one.

Bottom line, you can criticize people for stocking up on bread and milk and say they should be more prepared, more stocked up anyway, but if you live in places where storage is limited, that can be hard to do. Plus, if you don’t have roots to a place more rural, the idea of that may seem absurd.

Still, when danger lurks around the corner, our mindset draws also from Nature, perhaps a more primitive part of ourselves.  When a storm is on the horizon, what do the animals do? They get out there and feed especially if their instincts tell them that they will be hunkered down for a few days all because of the weather. Certain animals hoard food. They go on the hunt and stock up. Our need to do the same kicks in. So most go and grab what instinctively they know will fill them up….bread and milk.

Posted in Chicken Scratch, Things to Crow About, Uncategorized

Bathrooms, Flags, Statues, Rights & Other Nonsense

26972e14efffffd1c7caa4282c2d6f14.jpgI’ve tried to keep my opinions to myself. Scratch that. I’ve been rather vocal with them in real life. Maybe I should say, I’ve tried to keep them off my blog, but then I wondered, why in the hell am I doing that? If I’m crowin’ bout it out here, then I should crow about it on, The Crowin’ Hen. Right?

And I realize a lot of what I am about to say may make a lot of people mad. Some of you are really sensitive about all this. So much so, you are willing to riot, physically fight, and destroy anyone or anything that doesn’t agree with you. And then on the other side, you have a lot of violent, no good people as well. Lost in the abyss of that void are people like me. Just regular, boring people like me trying to live a good and harmless life. Meaning, I’m not tryin’ to pee in your pastures, honey. I’m just tryin’ to get people to stop trashin’ mine.

First off, I’m not a stereotype. I appear to be white, but now days, who the hell knows what all is muckin’ about in my family tree. Ancestors are long gone and dead. They cant really pop back in to explain that one. And no, I wasn’t raised up bein’ told how proud we are for those ancestors ownin’ slaves. In fact, I don’t know of any that did. Not sayin’ they didn’t. Just sayin’ no one in my family wanted to be owned, much less taught us how to own another. No one sat around the dinner table wishin’ back the good old days where we were all livin’ in high cotton. We were too poor or on a budget to have cotton, folks. The only “Back in the Day” stories my Grandma told me were ones of dread and they had to do with the Great Depression. We weren’t taught to hate another because of their Color. We were taught how to grow things, not to waste– especially food, not to lie, never to cheat, and never stick our big fat noses in our neighbors business– although at times, even Grandma failed at that one.

A few of my Aunts tried to teach me about God while my Mother– broken by her own reasons– taught me how to raise my damn self and to be weary her men, who drank and swung a heavy fist. My goal as a kid– survive being a kid. I was poor, and not the good and honest kind. I was poor because my Momma didn’t wanna work and she didn’t care for her kid. I was poor like most folks around me, who were even though they worked, and those folks were of all colors. genders and sizes. If you were on welfare, you were ashamed to be on welfare. It wasn’t a badge of honor. Most like us, no matter how badly they could have used it, would have let their kids starve before going on it. Looking back now, Im not real damn sure how I didn’t starve. And I know I’m not saying starve your kids before getting it. I’m just explaining how things were then verses now. We lived frugally, modestly, and tried to do right by our churches and neighbors. If we had any sort of White Privilege, I never knew it. For the most part, the Police were fine as long as you listened. A jerk was a jerk whether they wore a badge or worked behind a register. And a jerk was gonna be a jerk no matter what Color or gender you were.

No one flew a Confederate Flag in my family when I was growing up. Some cousins had them hanging on their walls, and on T-shirts. We never thought that flag stood for slavery, though, or the South’s racist stand to keep slavery alive. We never looked at General Lee and thought, what a monster. And when someone said, “The South would rise again.”, it didn’t mean we would have slaves back. It meant we would one day be able to live a better life for a better wage. It meant that our people wouldn’t be beaten down in unsafe factories or jobs with little pay while their health and better years flew out the window as if they never existed in the first place. It meant freedom. That flag of ours meant freedom. ALL of us. No matter what Gender, Race or Religion. We’d be free and not beaten down like dogs by life, the economy, the government or anything. And it was a wake up call. A horrific, wake up call. That our ancestors stood against an unstoppable force – the Government– in an attempt to stop it. That meant life was turned upside down. Families were separated, died, starved, were murdered, raped or God knows what else. It meant brother stood against brother all because some politicians said so. And the lives lost never justified what little was gained. Do you know what we believed when it came to the Civil War? Why we think it was a ruse? From the blue collar position, the truth was loud and clear. If it was all about setting the black man free, then why did he struggle for so long after? And his life wasn’t rosey up North either. That’s the damnedest thing. No. the war was about politicians and what they wanted. Slavery was just the false reason to start the fight.

You see, when hard times set fire to a community, its a wildfire that doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t give a damn who your ancestors were or what color your skin is. Doesn’t give two shakes where you come from or how bad you had it. Doesn’t care how hard you’re tryin’ or how close you are to giving up or making it. It will burn through a Black Man’s home just as ruthlessly as it does a white man. When black babies go hungry, their bellies growl just as awful as a white child. But we don’t define kids as black and white in my community – where real mountain and country people roam. Hunger is hunger, and we do our best to prevent it regardless of one’s last name or color. I judge people by their deeds. How they treat me, my children and each other. If your a crap-head, then I don’t care if you are white, black or purple. You don’t get to come around me and my life and be a crap=head. Take your nonsense elsewhere.

Now, I know as sure as you, that there are some people out there that are filled with Hate. They may scream about Black people, but rest assured, they are screaming about me too. They just hate. Period. They hate Color, Religion, and they hate by Gender. They hate names, social standing, anything really. You know what we do with people like that where I am from?

We don’t give them our attention. We don’t give them our time. We don’t give them anything. Do you know what happens to someone who stands out there all by themselves screaming hate? Eventually they shut the hell up and go home because no one is there to scream to or about. No one is there to fight and argue. No. One. Is. There.

And here is something else I know. Hateful people come in all colors, shapes and sizes. You don’t get a pass because of your color. You don’t get a pass because your ancestors might be slaves. You don’t get a pass because you are white complaining against other white people. Hate is Hate no matter how you or anyone else tries to justify it. Its wrong. And sure enough, everyone hates something or someone. But that’s okay….we don’t need anyone’s approval to be who we need to be. To be who we are.

And let me tell you something else, when you scream about General Lee and call him names and that he is racist, you are showing your lack of education. Lee inherited slaves that he set free. He didn’t believe in slavery and he was one of few that would train a black man on an equal level as a white man. He also was quoted in saying how they were equal. Lee fought because he was a Virginian and Virginia has a deep sense of pride in it’s land and people. Back then, at least. To kill a neighbor or turn your back on your birth- state was like raising a hand to strike down God. And we won’t even go into how the South wasn’t even fighting to keep Slaves. I don’t care what your opinions are about the Civil War. I just care that many of you are so heartless, that you could care less if there was another one.

I believe in less Government. Live and let live. You do as you must and I’ll do, here on my land, what I must. As long as we harm no one and obey Laws. As long as we respect everyone’s right to live as they so desire to live. I don’t care what people do in their personal life. They can love a woman, a man, or themselves, for all I care, as long as everyone is consenting and backs off those who are under-aged and not consenting.

I don’t care if you hate our flag, just respect what it means to me and others. If it means hate to someone, you will know it sure enough. They’ll be out there screaming about it but as I said before, don’t give them an audience or any attention. They’ll go home sure enough. We choose what power their words have. We choose whether we react, whether they harm us, or whether we even give a damn. They can spew crap all day long, but it is our choice on whether we take it to heart.

And while I don’t care if someone is Gay or not, this whole Bathroom thing is insane as well. Why cant we just put one stall, Family restrooms everywhere? Then no one needs to feel invaded or denied their Rights. See, that’s the thing as well, you can’t push something on someone else if they are not comfortable with it. So create a situation where everyone can be happy. Im not sure why no one can agree to that? Instead, we seem focused on making everyone okay with what we want– and that’s never gonna happen. And why do we need other people to be okay with…US? Be You and Ill be ME. Happiness is not found in other peoples approval.

Last, but not least, who the hell cares anymore what Melania Trump’s shoes are? I’m sick and tired of our headlines always tearing down a woman– what she can wear, what she shouldn’t, she looks fat, ugly, old. Stop tryin’ to dictate what we look like and stop tearing my Sisters down because we dont fit into the “Stepford” box you;re trying to bury us in. I don’t care what shoes that woman was wearing. I care about the fact that North Korea just fired a weapon over Japan. I care about lifting each other up and taking care of those in my community who are in need. Im concerned with the cost and condition of our food. Im concerned about wages– about families where both adults work but still cant get by. I care about being segregated not by race but by how rich or poor we are. There’s the real threat. I care about people segregating themselves because you think you are the victim but really you’ve become the monster you’ve been screaming about. I care about whether or not I will have a retirement or if they will take my home because of the endless piles of doctor bills and taxes holding me under water. I care about our crooked government, of all crooked governments and the people stuffing Politicians pockets and paying off Media in order to distract and divide us. I care that they are not held accountable for false News or distorting facts to suit their own agenda and message. And the thousands of self-serving, selfish, lazy, no good con-artists in between that are taking advantage of an already horrible situation.

If all those people rioting took on the corruption of Washington, homelessness, human trafficking (Your present day form of slavery that doesn’t discriminate against color, lifestyle or gender), education, the economy and health, can you just imagine what we could accomplish? But in stead we argue over dead men, flags, bathrooms and shoes. And guess what happens after that? After all the statues are knocked down, after all of the schools are renamed, after bathrooms are open to one and all, after Melania Trump puts on sneakers, there will still be corruption, homelessness, education, economy and health problems, and human trafficking.   And I bet not one fist or curse word would be raised over any of that. Sad. Just sad.

Posted in Back in the Day, Canning & Preserving, Food Facts, From Scratch, Hen Cackle, Historical, The Scoop from the Coop, Things to Crow About, Uncategorized

Water Bath or Pressure Canner? And a Vintage Water Bath Chart.

1304176654-hey-who-s-the-designer-here-before-after-design-talk-oyxnog-clipartAre you like me? Ready to pull hair and scream over this whole: Water Bath or Pressure Canner debate? I feel you. I really, really feel you. And I can even understand why newbies to Canning are so freaked out. It’s not like the “Canning Police” and the “FDA” attempt to ease our mind any. They have more Do’s and Don’t’s than Grandma and her switched did.


And for those of us who were raised on our previous Ancestors, and how they did things, that’s a real struggle. I’d like to see the “Canning Police” or the “FDA” tell my Grandma or one of my Great Aunt’s how to Can. I’d love for them to say….

  • “You aren’t allowed to Can Potatoes”
  • “You aren’t allowed to Can Tomatoes in a Water Bath and if you Can, which better be in a PC (Pressure Canner), then that better have added Acid in it.”
  • “No Onions allowed!”
  • “Stick to a recipe to a T. If it calls for four cloves of Garlic, you better stick to 4 cloves. If not, you will kill the whole family.”

And last but not least….

  • “Best not EVER use a Water Bath to Can meat!!!!!”

My Grandma would have beat down the entire government. Canning police? Wouldn’t be a switch left on the tree.

Still, today, in nearly every Canning Group out there, the Nazi’s still shake a finger and the FDA is still beating fear into the Masses. And while I WILL NOT tell you what you can or can’t do, I did stumble onto this cool little vintage chart of rules for Water Bath Canners that probably swam around in every kitchen back in Grandma’s day. And I will offer one bit of advice. Not a demand,. Not a threat, just advice….

If you are Canning, do what you feel most comfortable with. I’ve used a Water Bath for everything before I finally bought a Pressure Canner a year ago. I don’t add acid to my Maters. I Can potatoes religiously. And the only difference I can offer you is this one:

PC’s Can in a shorter amount of time. Example: Canning Green Beans in a Water Bath Canner can take up to 4-41/2 hours. In a PC, 25 minutes.

Yep, that’s it. If you are on unfamiliar ground where Canning goes, a PC may make you feel safer but for those of us who were taught by Grandma and those before her, we also feel just fine the Water Bath way. So when it comes to Canning, so what the hell you want. Ask for advice by finding a great support group but a great support group doesn’t bleed and spew nothing but fear. If a Jar is bad, you will smell it. Sometimes you will see it but in case your glasses are fogged that day, the smell will tell you. That’s always worked for me.

And if a recipe calls for 4 cloves of Garlic, don’t think the entire family will die if you add 10. For the love of God, folks, stop trying to duct tape everyone into the same box. winks





Posted in The Hammered Hen, The Hen House, The Hungry Hen, The Scoop from the Coop, Things to Crow About

Bitterless Coffee & Sweet Tea

There’s a trick Grandma used to do that no one seems to know anymore. A way she made her coffee that made it taste unlike anything we’ve tasted since. Well, unless you know the trick, which, now days, quite a few are catching on thanks to Pinterest and Social Media.

A pinch of salt– add a pinch of salt, or, about 1/4th teaspoon for those who need exact measurements, to the coffee after you put it in the filter. If you are using the a reusable K-pod, for those with Keurigs, then do the exact same thing, only a smaller amount.

A pinch of salt will kick the bitter right out of your cups.

For those who can’t drink coffee because it causes heartburn, add a pinch or so of baking soda. Use this, instead of salt, which will actually combat the bitterness AND help illuminate the heartburn!

And if you want something that tastes expensively delicious but without the price tag or brand name, and that doesn’t have that nasty chemical aftertaste a lot of flavored coffees have, add cinnamon and or nutmeg to the coffee — not the cup, but let it brew with the coffee itself. Play with the amount– a couple of sprinkles or just a dash. Add one or both. You can even add a splash of extract like Vanilla.

I’ve made my coffee like this for years– with baking sofa, cinnamon and sometimes nutmeg. People always ask where I bought my coffee and those who can’t stand flavors, loved mine. They’re shocked with I tell them the Brand– one of the most common but cheapest on the grocery store shelf. Not to mention, shocked at the flavor.

I’m a cream in the cup kind of girl but for those times when I run out, a cup of coffee made this smooth, I can drink it black, no problem.

For tea, do the same thing. What happens is, the Baking Soda and or Salt attacks the Tannins in the tea, which is what can make Tea a bit bitter. Of course, the Tannins in the Tea is what Herbalists swoon over. They are what makes the healthy properties in Tea and what makes those properties combat so many ugly unwanteds. To read more about Tannins, check out:

The Healing Properties of Black & Green Tea

So give it a try next time you brew up a batch and let us know if you have any tricks you’ve been adding to yours! 😜