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Holler back

September 15, 2008

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Breakfast in the holler back in the woods, homegrown, homebrewed…  Fresh eggs scrambled with onions, and topped with fresh tomatoes, washed down with fresh milk.  That is a zero-mile, low carbon footprint breakfast!

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I live in a museum of sorts, my farm is old, my house is old, but the people I learned from were old fashioned and progressive too, and not always related to me.  I have patterned a large portion of how I carry out my life after the people who gave me this milking stool.  I have many mementos from them, that they gave to me, when they no longer were able to use them.  When they no longer could keep a family cow, I took them raw milk.  I listened to their stories of the old days, and cherished the tales every time I heard them again, and again.  A well-meaning friend made me a new beautiful stool, and now they are wondering why I won’t use it.  I have tried to explain that if I retire this milking stool, I will be breaking that tender thread that takes me everyday back to my childhood.  I treasure this stool, and I want to use it, I don’t want to have it on display somewhere in my house, I want to sit on it, and milk, and feel those memories flowing through my hands.  I like the heft of it when I pick it up, and I like the way it looks – useful, serviceable and loved.

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They gave me the seeds for these beans too, and taught me how to select the best seed.

One time they called, and asked me if I wanted some green beans.  Sure, I’ll come right down and get them, I replied.  When I got to their house, I expected to go out to the garden, and pick beans for them on shares.  But, they had two grocery sacks full of beans, cut, and ready to can.  What can I say?  That is a gift, a gift I will pass on someday.  In the meantime, I will continue to use my stool, and save their seeds.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2008 5:37 am

    Your right…your farm, your memories, your special items – they are all such gifts of your childhood. It’s wonderful to have those and that you cherish those and choose to pass those on.
    I know so many who do not have those, myself included, especially the memories. That’s a big part of why we farm and live the way we do with extended family on the farm. We are creating traditions, memories, journals of how to be self sufficient, leaving a low carbon footprint on the earth, helping to preserve it for future generations and special items to pass on to generations to come. I can only hope they appreciate it all as much as you do.

  2. September 16, 2008 6:21 am

    Sigh… I want neighbors like that. I want to be a neighbor like that! I want my kids to have memories and roots like that. What a truly precious gift you have been given! Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. September 16, 2008 6:42 am

    Love to hear about your memories and upbringing! Homegrown meals are the best. Back when I first started reading homesteading blogs I was amazed (and still am) at all the homemade goods and thought my family would starve if we had to get our meals from our home or local but this year I have preserved and froze as much as I could and many of our meals this summer were raised right here on the farm. It is such a wonderful feeling to sit down to a homegrown meal. My kids a really getting into it too.

  4. September 16, 2008 6:43 am

    I forgot to ask you. How do you sucessfully freeze with glass. I have had good and bad experiences recently. HELP!!!

  5. Judi In PA permalink
    September 16, 2008 7:48 am

    Good golly, I LOVE that milking stool. Red is my favorite color and I have an unquenchable thirst for milking stools, anything dairy related. I have been blessed on both sides of the family tree with parents, grandparents, greats, and so on who couldn’t throw a dog gone thing out. Yes, this is a blessing, but others see it as some type of compulsive disorder. I live on the old farm that was my grandparents, live in their old, old farmhouse in serious need of attention, use my grandma’s butter bowl and butter churn, snuggle under my other grandma’s quilts in her old bed, use my grandpa’s old tractor to plow our truckpatch, and the list goes on. I am constantly surrounded by my heritage and their inablility to throw stuff out! I descended from a long line of farmers and one blacksmith and the reason that I have been fortunate to inherit all these old family antiques is that they were so poor that they couldn’t go out, drive to the local Target, and buy all new stuff. They kept everything, saved everything, recycled, reused, restored and left virtually no carbon footprint because they had to. Not because it was hip or the cool thing to do, they did it because they had to. They were the first people to “go green”, not like these young punks of today who think they just invented it because Mother Earth is in serious trouble. My hats off to the my forefathers for the lifestyle they chose so that I can live like I do today. My hats off to you for mentioning it in your blog and respecting the gifts you have been given as well. Oh, and my hats off to all my cousins who allowed me to have “all the family junk” because that’s all it was to them!

  6. September 16, 2008 9:02 am

    What a wonderful post Nita! I too have items that link me back to the past that could be replaced by the more modern or at any rate “new” but I choose to honor my past and to be honest I think certain “old” things simply work better. Experience maybe. My old cast iron dutch oven and fry pans are one example. They have a great history and hopefully it’s only the beginning of it because they have a whole lot of years left.

  7. September 16, 2008 9:05 am

    What treasures in things and memories!

  8. September 16, 2008 9:06 am

    What a lovely memory and heartwarming story. I wish I could have some of those eggs!

  9. September 16, 2008 9:42 am

    Beautiful post. Passing things on is sacrosanct. I’m working three cast iron skillets right now, so I have two seasoned and ready for my kids, when the time is right.


  10. September 16, 2008 12:12 pm

    This is my very favorite post of yours and I’ve been reading your blog for a few months.

    I love older, valued, much used and loved tools. My extended family can’t figure out why I wanted Gram’s old step-stool and other old items. I tell my children the stories about these items and I hope someday they’ll still want to use them.

    I appreciate your point of view and your blog.


  11. September 16, 2008 12:41 pm

    What a sweet and sensitive post. Like LInda and you I am linked to the past by things that others used and loved. I was lucky enough to end up with my grandmother’s dining room table and I collect table stories about it. I have many of my own…Thanksgiving dinners where my uncle, my brothers and I had the Allied Union at our end of the table and just sort of stopped passing things when they got to us. and playing with my toy horses under there. Hiding under there when the grown ups watched scary movies. I was amazed when one of my mother’s cousins added her own stories, such as it being where they patched up her fanny when she got a bad cut climbing around in an old car. Your milking stool is precious and I don’t wonder that you love it.

  12. September 16, 2008 5:18 pm

    Oh man! What I wouldn’t give for a breakfast like that! Looks delicious.

    And that milking stool…what a treasure to have. Love the history of it and I can just imagine how it makes you feel when you pick it up to go milk….all those hands through all those years that have done the same thing. Just wonderful!

  13. September 17, 2008 8:50 am

    Man, I envy you your heritage! There are so many items I wish had been passed down to me from my grandparents…items my own parents relegated to various yard sales (when I wasn’t around) because they werent “worth anything.” But oh, how I wish I had them! I wish I had my grandmas straw hat and a hundred other daily-used items, and a family home that gets passed down through the generations.
    Ok, that breakfast looks fabulous! Keep writing about your everyday…your everyday is my dream in the making. Who knows, maybe one day one of my grandkids will wax nostalgic over a plastic five gallon bucket? (chuckling! y’know, we seem to have a few of those…) I learn from you every time I read one of your posts…a delight!
    It’s so nice to get a chance to stop in to your blog. Haven’t been here much lately. Thank you for your warm thoughts, prayers, and encouragement during this time of my husband’s loss of his mother. So glad to have you as a friend…love you, Nita 🙂


  14. September 17, 2008 9:09 am

    What a wonderful story! I wish I had someone like that in my life- full of country lore. They are so hard to find these days…

    Thanks for sharing. And I think the milking stool is beautiful!

  15. September 17, 2008 10:17 pm

    Debi, thanks that is so nice. I’m sure you’re family will appreciate all the care you are taking. They are learning things, and making memories that will be very important to them when they are older.

    Dina, how I miss those people. Their grandson that is my age, lives on their farm now, and he only comes out of the house to smoke. We did go there for his son’s high school graduation party, and I hadn’t been in that house for years. When I stepped into the back porch I could smell the tallow and lard and lye smells from all the soapmaking sessions over the years. It was heavenly and made me feel 6 again!

    Kim, your kids are young enough, that they might not remember when they’re older that there ever was time you didn’t raise your own food. Good job Girl!

    Judi, your life and farm sounds like mine, our house was stuffed to the gills. And is in need of major repairs! Some things however were used up or let go, so we have had to replace a lot of the items we know use. I think I inherited that pack rat OCD gene myself. I grew up being frugal, because it was a necessity, not a fad. But, I’m glad people are going back to that way of living, it just makes so much more sense. Sometimes it is frustrating though, I just read in someones writings the other day, that they had moved back to the land after spending too many years getting a higher education and they learned everything they needed to know in 7 years. Boy do I feel dumb, I’m still learning!!
    Thanks Judi, I’m glad the cousins gave you the “junk” too.

    Linda, thanks, and I agree, some older things work really well. I love my old 50’s Singer, I wouldn’t trade it for a Featherweight or a newer machine, and I couldn’t cook without our cast iron pans. I wish I had a penny for everytime those pans have slid around on the cookstove. I’d be rich.

    Kathie, thanks.

    Paula, thanks and I’m getting a little worried… do you have hens yet? I think you really must like eggs. 🙂

    Meadowlark, thanks, I don’t think I could give up my cast iron pans. They are so easy to cook in. Maybe I should start some for my kids hope chest, so I can keep mine!

    Kristianna, thanks for stopping by and I bet your kids will cherish those mementos like the stool, because you do. The oral history and the actual using of a simple item makes it special!

    TC, I love the stories and the idea of collecting them about your table. Isn’t funny how special everyday things can become. We giggled all day, picturing the boss doing his BD dance! No one wanted our kitchen table but me. My grandfather made it, and cats have sharpened their claws on it for 100 years. That’s rustic!

    Pamela, thanks, we eat pretty good around here, it is too far to go to the store! I love my stool too, everytime we get a new puppy I’m worried it will become a chew toy, or something will happen to it. I wish it could talk!

    Robbyn, thanks for stopping by, and you know, thanks for the wonderful tribute you wrote about Blanca, I think of it often. I think you’re right about the everyday things being important, more so than expensive antiques. I collected quilt tops for many years, and my favorite one isn’t worth alot, but the tiny patches were patched together out of snippets of fabric. Every time I see it, I think of how hard it must have been to make do like that, and it was too bad that someones family member just sold it. I bought it from a dealer.

    Sometimes I’m reluctant to write about everyday stuff, it seems too boring! Thanks for the kind words, and I’m still jealous of your limes!

    Taylor, thank you, you never know, there might be someone in your area that has stories to share.

  16. September 24, 2008 12:40 pm

    That breakfast looks YUMYY!


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