Friday, August 23, 2019

Watermelon Days

When I was young our family visited my Uncle Neil and Aunt Etta on their farm in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. I was probably eleven or twelve years old. We were there for a family reunion on my dad's side of the family, which included my Cherokee relatives. We had the usual southern food of black eyed peas, poke salad, green beans, new potatoes, BBQ beef brisket, and of course baking powder biscuits. The men gathered outside tending to the BBQ with the women were inside the kitchen tending to the sides.
I remember my Aunt and Uncle's house was modest; what I would call a double shotgun. Living room and kitchen on one side and bedroom bathroom and bedroom on the other side with a short hallway between the bedrooms. My Aunt and Uncle were taller than most in our family and very thin. Those days no one had air conditioning and it was hot and humid. Uncle Neil wore overalls and Aunt Etta wore a shirtwaist dress with small flowers. I remember Aunt Etta had white wispy hair.
When the meal was ready the food was laid out on the kitchen table buffet style. Everyone served themselves. The men ate outside and the women sat in the living room with plates propped on their laps. After the meal everyone went outside to sit in the shade and escape the indoor heat.  The men played horseshoes and the women sat at an outside table. There was a fan sitting on the table to stir up a slight breeze. The yard was all grass except a few shade trees, some shrubs and four o'clocks planted for color. The yard was fenced off from the pastures and there was a iron clothesline at the back of the yard.
After we sat a spell Aunt Etta asked us kids if we wanted some watermelon. Of course we all said yes. Aunt Etta took us to her bedroom and told us to each to get a watermelon for ourselves from under her iron post bed. Under Aunt Etta's bed was the coolest place in the house to store watermelons. I said "One whole watermelon for each of us, we can't eat all that". We'd just had a big meal after all. Aunt Etta said don't worry what you don't eat you can feed to the horses. Horses, I was in heaven for I loved horses. I wondered where the horses were.
We each carried our watermelon outside and ate what we could. Amazingly Uncle Neil's thoroughbred horses showed up at the fenceline about that time. Perhaps they could smell the sweet watermelon. I remember the horses were tall with chestnut colored coats. We made our way to the fenceline to share our watermelon with the horses. I kept looking at the horses and wishing I could ride one. I started begging my Uncle Neil to ride one of the horses. I told him I knew how to ride even though I'd only ridden a couple of rented plug horses before.
Finally my Uncle Neil relented and put a bridle on one horse and led him into the back yard. I had to be helped on the horse because he was so tall. Since I was only familiar with rented horses I gave a sharp kick with my feet and the horse took off at a full gallop headed straight for the clothesline poles. It happened so fast no one had time to react except yell, "Duck!, Duck!" The horse and I both ducked at the same time and we made it under the first clothesline pole.

About that time I pulled back on the reins and yelled, "Whoa". We made it under the next clothesline pole and came to an abrupt stop at the end of the yard. The group rushed up to me on the horse, but my Uncle Neil got there first and pulled me down. Everyone was so shocked and relieved I was ok, I didn't get in trouble for what happened. Later on my Uncle Neil explained his horses were trained to the smallest flick of the reins. I admitted I'd only ridden rented horses before. Although I asked to ride again since I now knew about the well trained horses, needless to say that was the end of riding the horses that day. Thankfully I survived my watermelon days.

(all images borrowed from net except first photo)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Fresh Corn Fritters

At the farmers market this past weekend, a farmer we know was selling "field corn".  I usually get white sweet corn, but I decided to try his corn. I planned on making fresh corn fritters. The field corn was long and thin, the cob was very pliable, and the kernels were very small, completely different than sweet corn.
Fresh corn fritters are quick and easy to make. I removed the corn from 4 ears. I added 1-1/2 cups of gluten free baking mix, 1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 tsp. of salt, pepper, and smoked paprika and tossed the mixture together with a spoon. To that mixture I added three beaten eggs.
The batter will look stiff and dry. You'll probably think, like I did, that it won't hold together. But it did! I heated a small amount of olive oil to medium hot in a cast iron frying pan. Drop by scant quarter cups and pat them slightly to fry. Let one side brown then flip over and brown the other side. Drain on paper towels. I'd say the total time to make these fresh corn fritters is 45 minutes. The recipe makes 12 generous sized fritters. If you don't want 12 fritters just cut the recipe in half. These fresh corn fritters are a wonderful way to use the abundant supply of summer corn. For variety you could add green onions, cheese, beans, other vegetables, or other herbs

The whole time I was making the fritters Gary was saying "Those will be good with ketchup". I say "No, ketchup doesn't go with these, try them without". He took one bite and forgot about the ketchup. This morning before his customary Monday jeep ride on the rough trail nearby, he asked could he take some of the corn fritters for his lunch. I said sure, they'll hold up in your lunch pail. Guess he like the fritters. Ha. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Vases in Colors

 Here are a few vases from the last firing. This one is lavender and is about 4 inches tall.
 This one is coral and is about 4 inches tall.
 This one is dark green and is about 3 inches tall.
This one is about 9 inches tall. The color is actually green and gold but the morning light shaded it blue. Ha. I'll be at the farmers market tomorrow from 7 am to 1 pm and it'll be the hottest day so far this summer. Ugh. I'm bringing a fan. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Sponge Holders

Everything in this kiln load turned out fine. Folks at the farmers market keep asking if I have any sponge holders so I decided to make some with my signature technique.
I have more pieces to show but I'm getting glare so I'll take more photos when I can mitigate the problem. I photoshopped the glare on these two but it's too time consuming to mess with. Stay tuned. Thanks for reading and for all  your comments.