Friday, October 15, 2010

Fair Food

This year we made our pilgrimage to the Mississippi State Fair to help celebrate our daughter's 7th birthday.  We explored the agricultural exhibits, the car show, and sought out the blue ribbon prizes for jams, jellies, and quilts.  We went through the fun house and the Catarpillar ride, and got sneezed on by something called a zebu at the petting zoo.  But really y'all, we came for the food.  Arthur had a freshly battered and fried Pronto Pup (that's a corn dog in the vernacular) and the rest of us had freshly roasted corn that is grilled and then shucked and dipped in butter.  It was fabulous.  Of course we also went by the biscuit booth for a free biscuit filled with cane syrup (which they made in the booth next door).  And we had to go watch them make Malone's Taffy and try a warm piece (and buy a bag).  The rest of the day was spent listening to the sounds of the fair ("... half beautiful woman, half ugly snake, come see the Snake Lady, no arms, no legs, not a bone in her body...") and seeing who could find the weirdest food.  I think I won, as evidenced by the photo.
Fair days to you all,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Desparate Plea for Help!

Dear Friends and Family,
Tonight I experienced a moment of triumph at the dinner table.  I sat in stunned silence as my son (formed from McNuggets and pizza) devoured a plateful of Roasted Cod and Mushroom Ragout and then asked for seconds.  (recipe found in your mom's Good Housekeeping, October issue)  Yes, I know  I reside in Mississippi, folks, but it is possible to get my family to consume non-fried fish.
But now the pressure is on.  Is it possible to serve other healthy dinners that are simple to prepare?  I fear I am in a rut and so now I cry out to you, (not you, Mom) is there anyone out there who would mind  sharing their family recipe that meets the criteria of relative health and simple prep?  Anyone?

P.S. The chicken ladies are fine; I mucked out the coop today so I don't want to talk about them right now. Not the best part of keeping chickens, but worth it.  So far.  The picture above is of my pretty mama, Betty, who is one of the finest grandmas around (though I have nightmares about a dish called "American Chopped Suey").

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Good Friends and Chicken Poop

The Acton Family recently enjoyed the company of the Case Family, and I have been reaquainted with a few life lessons.  Here's a short recap:

  1. Good friends, new or old,  can enjoy each other's company over a shared meal or a shared chore and have a grand time.
  2. When two or more boys associate, they will turn any portable object into a gun or a sword and have a glorious time bashing each other with it.
  3. If eight children play together, then adult conversations will never be concluded.  
  4. I envy the way children can gravitate toward one another and become bosom buddies within fifteen minutes.  
  5. Presbytery always takes longer than expected.
Our new friends gifted us with their presence in our home Monday and Tuesday, and then before they left they gave me a tube of Chicken Poop Lip Junk, (  inspired by my joking that I planned on giving said fertilizer as gifts for Christmas in Mason jars with little gingham squares around the lid.   Truly, it is a blessing when friends find each other through God's grace.

We hope that all our good friends can come and visit, and please, remember to bring some Mason jars.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Typical Monday: The children and I head down to Laurel to do the weekly grocery shopping.  We stop by a friend's house and stay too long visiting and having a grand time.  I drag the children out and we zip over to Wal-mart.  An hour and a half later, the frazzled family heads home to unload groceries and eat a sandwich.  Of course I fix their lunch after the groceries are in, and then I head on out to check on my chickens and collect the eggs.  It is 104 degrees of miserable outside and I am focusing on getting back to the cool air-conditioned air in the house.  I always talk to my chicken ladies, but this day they are not really talking back to me. Huh. So I stroll over to the lid of the laying box and get down and stick my head (as usual) under the lid to see if we have any eggs today, but we don't because the enormous snake coiled in the nesting box where my face is ate them all.
This is where Monday went horribly wrong.
I am a little unclear about the order in which the following events occurred, because I lost my head for approx. 45 minutes.  My son says I was freaking out and kept shrieking even when I was in the house on the phone with an assortment of people.  My father-in-law told me to take the dog out there, and she would take care of the snake.  So after putting on my knee-high rubber boots (I don't know why this was so important for me, but I had on little strappy sandals before) I get the dog on the leash and take her up to the coop.  The chickens are watching all of this in silence.  So I open up the coop which previously has been so desireable  and forbidden to the dog.  She sniffs the door once, then turns her head and looks at me.  I immediately realize that Rosy is a lot smarter than I have ever given her credit for.  She won't go in,  and I can't blame her.
Insert Hero:  My husband rushes home after my blubbering call and grabs a shovel.  He races to the coop, throws open the door, and looks in.  And takes a step back.  This is a big snake, and it looks very comfortable.  And Big.  "Go get the gun." So off I go to get the gun.   Hero blasts the snake to bits (I have to clean the bits out later) and then shovels most of the remains which are still twitching into the woods.
I have learned several things about myself from this experience.  I am not cut out to be a farm wife.  I am a big baby when when it comes to predators and my chickens.  Most distressing of all, I have serious doubts now about dispatching my chickens now when they are no longer productive as was the plan.   I am much more alert when I open the henhouse door, and also my husband is a hero.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What's in a Name?

For future reference, chicken charlie is a charming euphemism my father uses to refer to chicken excrement. I will be blogging primarily about my new little flock of chickens and also of anything else on my mind. My husband has been encouraging me for months to blog, and I do appreciate his efforts; also I harbor suspicions that he is tired of listening to me prattle on about my brood.

So, for anyone who cares, my day-old chicks were mailed (yup) to me on March 15, and I recieved them on March 17 of this year. We ordered them from, and they are great. One of my little Dominickers didn't make it, but we were refunded accordingly. They lived in Spare Oom until they outgrew my largest cardboard box, and then we moved them out into the carport in a biddy pen perched on sawhorses. After much gnashing of teeth and tearing of clothing, the chicken coop and yard was built (thank you Paw-Paw) and the ladies moved in. Yes, this henhouse is rooster-free, and no, you don't need roosters for eggs. See Chickens for Dummies. Taught me all I know.

On August 2, a mere 20 weeks from hatching, I found two blue eggs in my laying boxes. So Proud! My Easter-Eggers are good producers; they put the Rhode Island Reds to shame. (4 Easter Eggers, 4 Rhode Island Reds, and 3 Dominickers).

I cannot express the satisfaction I get when I see my little flock rush out of the coop at the sound of my voice. They are such funny creatures! My children have already integrated them into the family, especially my girls, who save bits of lunch and supper to take out to the chickens.

So, for today, the egg count is 6 so far.