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Monday, October 28, 2013

Pecans in Caldwell

When I looked out the kitchen window this morning and saw Shubert on his hands and knees under the pecan tree, I wondered if he was picking up scattered broken limbs. I went back to my dishes and when he opened the storm door and asked me to hand him a bowl, I realized he had his shirt-tail full of pecans!
It has been a peculiar Fall here. There was so much rain this summer and early Fall, the growing season seems to have been affected. Pecans usually do not fall until most of the leaves are on the ground. But I followed him outside and realized if we didn't gather the pecans soon the squirrels would beat us to them. I called Brenda, telling her how many pecans were already down, and asked her if our granddaughters would like to help gather them up.


The largest pecan tree in August of this year.

Shelby and Paige quickly picked up pecans that have fallen from the two trees in their great-grandmother, Lois Blalock's, yard. They shared stories with me that they remembered about the past when Lois, "Maw Maw", was still alive. 
Paige remembered Maw Maw teaching her about pecans. She and Shelby were chattering along, competing with the squirrels! But they got the job done ~ before the squirrels could come back! Payton couldn't help today, but maybe next time she will be able to come, too.



"Maw Maw taught us how to pick up the pecans," one of the girls told me. "She told us to begin under the tree and go in a circle picking up the pecans as we went out toward the edges." Paige showed me how there were more directly under the tree by the trunk, so she said Maw Maw must have known what she was talking about.
Papa Shubert added a few more to the girls' box of pecans, but he had already worked enough for the morning, so quickly left the rest for them.

Shelby and Paige both said that this year is not like other years. The leaves are not covering the pecans. They remember having to hunt for the pecans. Shelby told me that she remembers when Maw Maw was alive and still able to pick up pecans, she loved to show them the ones hiding under the leaves. Paige said that when they pushed away the leaves, Maw Maw always made them put the leaves back because she loved how they looked on the ground. She loved how the ground looked like Fall.



Maw Maw would sit on the front porch after she got to the point where she was unable to pick up pecans and crack some of the ones the family picked up. All of the family helped. Shelby said she would pick up a bowl full and take them to her and she would crack those, watching the girls pick up more, calling out to them, telling them to make sure they looked carefully and not miss the ones hiding under the leaves! Paige and Shelby both agreed that it was sad when she was not strong enough to crack the pecans any longer.
They have both learned life-long lessons from their great-grandmother. It was heart-warming to listen to them talk about her, remembering her with such love and respect while working under the same trees that she had labored under for many years. I could imagine them all together in my mind's eye having such fun gathering up the pecans. I believe Mrs. Blalock is smiling tonight remembering those times, as well.


Sources:

Photos:
Taken by Judith Richards Shubert, Digital Format, October 28, 2013


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Grandma Gailey's Peanut Butter Cookies made by Angie

I first published Grandma Gailey's Peanut Butter Cookie recipe on November 17, 2008 here. It appears in our Family Cookbook, One Slice at a Time; however, in the cookbook there are 4 ingredients that have been left out. The recipe published on the blog and the one Angie used in this delicious plate of peanut butter cookies yesterday has all the "stuff" to make all of the Pruett grandchildren declare them "deeelicious!"

Grandma Gailey's Peanut Butter Cookies
Made by Granddaughter Angie Pruett

A peanut butter cookie is one of the simple pleasures that all of us have enjoyed, either as a child or an adult. Whether Grandma used to make them for you or you discovered the sheer joy of making them yourself after you starting baking, they are addictive and super easy.

I remember my Grandma Gailey used to bake dozens of them for me and my siblings and cousins to take to school functions. She did this for many years. They were always a hit!

Here is her version.

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring


Mix together with hands. (She said this was very important! However, I use a dough hook on my KitchenAid counter-top mixer.) Pinch off small amount; roll it into a ball and then flatten it.

Place on pan and make crisscross designs on top with fork. Bake in slow oven.

NOTE:
I think you should probably use an ungreased cookie sheet and place cookies 2-3 inches apart. Moisten fork with water each time you press tines into cookie dough. Cook at 325 degrees for approximately 10-12 minutes or until done.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Make it a Fall Family Tradition

My Caldwell, North Carolina, family have worked with the folks who own and operate McKee's Corn Maze in Rougemont for several years. There have been times when Gail, Shelby, Gailey, and Troy have all worked there during the month of October preceding Halloween. The McKee's arrange to have the corn maze haunted during the last couple of weeks and the frightening fun is really ramped up!
As we all get ready for Fall to burst with all its glorious colors, the Corn Maze is the perfect place to visit right now to get us in the mood! Go on out and see Vickie and David McKee and their terrific assistants. Then go back when the place is haunted; you'll make it a tradition in your family!
Judy and Bob Shubert
Granddaughter Shelby Blalock 
Entrance to the McKee Maze
Cedar Creek Farm on Kiger Road
 One Maze Entrance
 White Pumpkins

 One of Two Small Donkeys
 Goats

 Latta's Egg Ranch
 Rhode Island Red Chickens

 Tractor at Each End of Maze
 Decorated Round Hay Bale
 Shubert Cutting into Hickory Nuts
 Beautiful Annuals
 Neat Gourds
 Locally Grown Pumpkins
 Fall Flowers
 ? Another Exit or Entrance ?
 An Exit
 Pumpkins and Flowers
 Shelby working
 A New McKee's Sign
 Red Barn with Green Roof
 Fall Flowers and Scarecrow
 Those Pumpkins Again
 Hayride Driver
Taking a Hayride 
 Great Pumpkins
 David and Gail Explain the Maze
Those on Hayride Return
Only Few Cars Left in Parking Lot
Going Home for the Day

Sources:
Photos
Taken by Judith Richards Shubert, October 5, 2013, Digital format.

McKee's Cedar Creek Farm; http://www.mckeecornfieldmaze.com/; accessed October 5, 2013.
McKee's Cornfield Maze on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/McKeeCornFieldMaze

Pumpkin Fudge for Halloween

Photo By: WILLANDJENN2004
A few years ago I was given a small pie pumpkin from a cousin's garden in Maryville, Tennessee. It was so cute! I looked at it and didn't have the foggiest idea of what to do with it! But Margaret assured me it was the easiest thing in the world to cut open, take the seeds and stringy "mess" out of the middle, cut the flesh away from the outer peeling of the pumpkin and cook it. So I decided to try it. I found better instructions in an old cookbook, followed them faithfully, and it turned out beautifully. I had pumpkin puree that I could use in any recipe I chose. Then I found several recipes for Pumpkin Fudge that sounded good and decided to try my hand at that.

I can no longer find the recipe I used for that initial batch of fudge using my fresh pumpkin, but I do remember how delicious it tasted. Everyone raved about it; no one in my family had tasted pumpkin fudge before, so I guess the taste was something brand new and exciting.

I found a recipe on  Allrecipes.com that must be similar but it uses marshmallow creme and white chocolate pieces. The chocolate fudge I make at Christmas is the one found on the Kraft Marshmallow Creme jar and it is the one my family loves.


The only thing about this recipe I found to be WRONG is this: You need to add the marshmallow creme AFTER removing from heat along with the chips. The recipe says to bring back to boil for 18 minutes once it's been added. This counteracts the effects of the marshmallow creme!  SO Boil the sugar, milk, pumpkin and butter together. Boil until it reaches 234 F. on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat, and add chips, marshmallow creme, vanilla and spices. 

PUMPKIN FUDGE

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup white chocolate chips
7 ounces marshmallow creme
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:
1. Line a 9x9-inch pan with aluminum foil, and set aside.

2. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat milk and butter over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

3. Mix in pumpkin puree and cinnamon; bring back to a boil. Stir in marshmallow creme and butter. Bring to a rolling boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 18 minutes.

4. Remove from heat, and add white chocolate chips and vanilla. Stir until creamy and all chips are melted. Pour into prepared pan. Cool, remove from pan, and cut into squares. Store in a cool, dry place.

OTHER HELPFUL HINTS:
Use a heavy pan that will cook the candy evenly: a porcelain enamel cast iron pan would be great. Use good quality ingredients always, and a heavy-duty aluminum foil to line the 9x9 pan. Do not start timing the 18 minutes until AFTER the mixture has come to a true rolling boil ~ in other words, you can stir it and it doesn't stop boiling. It would be best to use a candy thermometer. The humidity will affect your candy ~ don't make it on a day that is rainy or that has a high humidity. If you do, you will need to boil it longer the final time and let it reach a temperature on the candy thermometer of 236-240 degrees. Have everything ready before you start to cook. Once you start, there is no time to hunt for ingredients or open containers, or chop pecans. Have fun!

SOURCES:
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2013 Allrecipes.com
Photo By: WILLANDJENN2004

Friday, October 4, 2013

Where's My Momma?

The little grey calf was bawling this afternoon when I looked out the window. He isn't a new-born calf, but fairly young. The Blalocks now have 9 or 10 baby calves on the place. I slipped out back with my camera to see if I could find them at play, but all of the others were in another pasture and Baby Grey was the only one there looking for her momma. She quickly found her among the black heifers who have not delivered and the two greys in the fenced area behind the house.




Baby Grey and her Momma #5

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When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.

--Chief Tecumseh

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