Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spring Garden Fair!

Although the predictions were for severe thunderstorms and torrential rains, it turned out to be beautiful!

There was a variety of wonderful music just outside the building we were in...

we enjoyed gospel, bluegrass and patriotic music all day!

Josiah was asked to re-inact as Tom Sawyer again this year and to sell cane poles and bean tee-pees.

He sold out long before the festival ended.  You can see they are in the process of doing some restoration work on the building on the right - it is an original to the farm circa 1850!

Elijah sold worms to go with his brother's fishing poles and water. He really cleaned up on the water!

We were set up in the little blue house
that you see behind Elijah.

This was the school house for the children who
lived on this farm in the 1850's.

Underneath is the spring house with an ice cold
flowing spring.

Our little school house had visitors all day long - this festival was one of the best attended we have ever seen!

We were told by many that you could smell the heavenly scent of my soaps and teas outside!  And the scents filled the school house - almost everyone who walked in the door inhaled deeply and told us how wonderful it smelled!

My two new soaps, Avocado Dilly Bar and My Tennessee Woods, were very popular as were my shampoo bars.

It was wonderful to see so many faithful customers who have
become friends!  I also enjoyed meeting many new people, answering questions and trying to help them decide on their

We had one young lady buy some Aches Away Salve for her back pain.  She was very skeptical and warned me that she was going to go right to the car and try it.  I just smiled.  She was back in an hour.  She had applied it and gotten part way home when the relief was so great that she turned around and came back for another tube! 

We had another lady limping with knee pain.  I had her sit and gave her a sample of the Aches Away to help her.  She applied it in my shop and left with a sweet thank you. 

She was back in less than an hour to purchase a tube of the Aches Away salve saying it had really helped with the pain. Instances like these really make this work worthwhile.  I love helping others!

Josiah doesn't normally wear this type of hat...he was chosen to be a judge in the Eden's Ridge Gee-Haw Whimmy Diddle Contest.  The winners from the adult and children's divisions will compete in Asheville at the National Gee-Haw Whimmy Diddle Contest....seriously.  The National Champion lives in this area and he came to officiate the contest.

Elijah wanted to participate this year again.  He won a couple of years ago in the children's division. Each person competing is assigned a judge to count how many times they can gee and haw in a given amount of time.

Here Elijah is competing in front of his can see Josiah judging in the background. It isn't as easy as it also have to do it behind your back!

Elijah had been practicing and evidently it paid off - he won the children's division for Eden's Ridge and the right to compete in the Nationals.

The gentleman behind Elijah in the dark hat is the National Gee-Haw Whimmy Diddle champion.  It appears we might be making a trip to Asheville, NC in the future!

It was a wonderful weekend and all of us had a great time...we will be doing one more fair this coming weekend at the Appalachian State Fairgrounds in Gray TN and then we will be settling back in and getting busy with farm and garden projects.

I'm looking forward to being home again.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Packing UP!

We're busy packing up for our festival this weekend.  I hope to see some of you there!  The boys have been busy getting the farm ready for our farm-sitter who will take care of our animals and watch over things while we are gone.

Josiah started a project this week that I have longed for since we moved here.  I'm SO EXCITED!  I'll tell you all about it when we get back - complete with pictures!

I'll also be posting plenty of pictures of the festival next week - we always have a wonderful time as a family!

Have a glorious weekend!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Join me this weekend!

I'll be at the Spring Garden Fair at Exchange Place Living History Farm this weekend in Kingsport, TN. This is a beautiful 1850's farmstead and this weekend you can visit and see the normal springtime activities that took place on a farm in this era. You can tour the buildings to see how simply they lived! There will be "sheep to shawl" demonstrations, a working blacksmith, demonstrations of traditional farming methods, heritage breeds of animals on display, children's activities, "ol' fashioned food" and traditional music.  All of this takes place on the beautiful grounds of this historical farm!

You will also find thousands of plants and trees, herbs, natives, heirlooms, perennials, garden art, and of course, I'll be there with my soaps, salves and teas!

There will be speakers throughout the day giving talks on gardening, farming and other related topics.  There will also be a " Porch Sale!"

The hours are Saturday April 24th from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday April 25th from 12 noon to 5 pm. The admission is very reasonable!  Adults $1 and children 50 cents.  On Sunday, at 2:00 pm, you will be able to watch the Edens Ridge Whimmy Diddle Competition...I'll bet my boys will participate!

I hope to meet some of you there this weekend!



Monday, April 19, 2010

And the winner is....

There were so many wonderful names it was hard to choose, but Tina won with her entry of "Dilly Bar!" I will be making a slight modification and the new name will be "Avocado Dilly Bar".

Thank you all for your wonderful entries.  I'm working on quite a few new soaps this year so there will be more contests to come!

Tina, please email me with your choice of soap and your address and your package will be sent your way. Thank you for the lovely name!



Thursday, April 15, 2010

Southern Fried Sweet Potatoes - A recipe

Jeremy turned 20 this week.  In my home, my children get to pick their birthday dinners - I'll pretty much cook anything they want...within reason.  Jeremy picked the following:  a salad with coconut ranch dressing, southern fried chicken, corn, southern fried sweet potatoes, biscuits and milk gravy and a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  I mentioned this menu to a friend who asked..."what are fried sweet potatoes?".  I thought about revoking her southern cooking license!  But I love her too much and she's taught me so much about cooking I just couldn't do that!

I can remember eating fried sweet potatoes at my Grandma's house when I was a little girl. So...I thought I'd share the recipe for this delicious side dish.  Just a warning...these are Southern fried sweet potatoes so that should tell you right there that this recipe involves butter and sugar.....a good bit of butter and sugar! They aren't served terribly often in my home so I don't mind.

Start the day before you want to serve this dish.  Bake your sweet potatoes until soft when poked with a fork. Take them out of the oven and let them cool - you can leave them till the next day.  They will look like this:

The day you want to make the dish peel your sweet potatoes.  This is really easy - the skins will have pretty much separated from the meat of the potato - just use your fingers and peel them off.  The skins are great for the compost pile or your worm bin!

Your peeled potatoes should look something like this.

Now it is time to slice them!  The smaller potatoes just slice in half length-wise.  Some of the thicker potatoes may need to be sliced into thirds length-wise.  You want long thin slices - they are easier to fry this way.  Lay your slices on a cookie sheet or into a long pan.  I like to use a pan.  Then sprinkle them with sugar. I did mention we'd be using sugar didn't I?

They should look like this.  Next, you need to fire up the cast iron skillet!  Put some butter in the skillet and let it melt.  The amount of butter will depend on the size of the skillet and the amount you are cooking. I was feeding a lot of people so I used an entire stick in my largest cast iron skillet.  When the butter is melted and hot you will begin adding the sweet potatoes.  Keep them in a single layer as best you can.

You want to cook them until the butter and sugar caramelize, then flip the slices over and let it caramelize the other side.  Once I get all the slices in the pan, I brush any sugar left on the cookie sheet or in the pan on top of the potatoes in the skillet.  Waste not, want not..Grandma always said that! Her hips were a dead give away!

Be very careful at this point.  The potatoes can go from caramelized to burned in a flash!  Watch your heat!

The final dish...

I can't begin to tell you how delicious this is....or how quickly it will disappear!



Friday, April 9, 2010

Soap Naming Contest!

I've been busy in my soap kitchen!  I have two new soaps curing on the shelf and they will be ready in a couple of weeks.  You'll be seeing lots of new soaps this summer - guess my creative side is on overdrive right now.

I've had a lot of requests for some more "manly" scents and I'm happy to present to you a new soap called "My Tennessee Woods"!  This soap is a beautiful off-white bar with no added herbs.  My Tennessee Woods is lightly scented with the essential oils of some of Tennessee's most beautiful trees.  This bar has a wonderful lather and smells like a walk in the forest! I knew what it's name would be before I even poured this soap into the mold!

However, I need a little help naming this next soap.  I'm very excited about this soap!  It is a very moisturizing soap filled with Aloe butter and Avocado Oil!  This soap has a light sprinkle of organic dill throughout and is very lightly scented with the essential oil of Dill.

As it stands, the name is Aloe, Avocado & Dill.  I'm counting on your creative juices to help me improve it's name! Of course the best way to accomplish this is with a contest!  And with a contest there has to be rules and prizes...

The Rules
1. Contest begins now and ends at midnight on April 18th.
2. Name will be chosen by my family.  Although there *is* a winner, we are not obligated to use your name...after all..we might choose one of our own!
3. You can't be related to me and win.
4. You may enter as many times as you like.
5. Suggestions must be left in the comment section of this post or sent in email.
6. Winner will be announced Monday, April 19th.

And now we have...
The Prize!
Winner gets a free bar of the soap they name and one other soap of their choosing.
I even pay the shipping!

Always wanted to try my soap but never got around to it? Now's the time...perhaps you can try it absolutely free! 



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Survival Seeds...A Review

A reader sent me the following email:

My husband recently learned about a website advertising a "Survival Seed Bank". I wondered what you would think of it. From what I've read (with your posts being prominent in my reading on this topic), it seems unnecessary to have this specialized of a container for seeds, even to preserve their fertility long-term. The price offered for this many seeds seems shockingly high & the text suggests that heirloom seeds are hard to find. I certainly think that big ag companies are buying up & controlling as many seeds as possible, but I still think there are quite a number of sources for quality seeds today. What is your take on this product?
This reader included a link with her email, which I have deleted for obvious reasons. I visited this site and boy was I amazed! Although I agreed with a few things they said, for the most part I felt like there was some fear-mongering, exaggeration and even some mis-leading going on. So, here's my thoughts.

Hard times are fact for most they are already here. I believe, with this Administration, things will get worse. I believe you should begin to grow at least some of your own food - it saves a lot of money and right now we can all use that since Congress is spending it faster than we can make it. I think at the very least you should purchase some seeds and put them in your freezer for the future. But I will say this, when you are in the middle of difficult times, it is not the time to learn a new skill that your family might depend upon for food. Get some experience now, even if it is on a small scale.

I agree that you need to purchase heirloom seeds. Heirloom plants tend to have better taste because they weren't bred for shelf life and shipping ability. You can then save your seeds. If you are diligent in this, you won't need to purchase seeds again unless you want to try something new.

Supposedly this "package" will grow a one acre garden. The sales pitch is filled with pictures of beautiful baskets overflowing with gorgeous veggies. In my experience, that isn't how it begins for most people. It takes time and experience to bring in this kind of harvest. They make it sound, and look, very easy. 

They also lost me with the "heirloom seeds are getting scarce" mantra and by the time I got to the price I was angry. This is just the type of sales pitch that plays on the fears of people who don't have a clue about gardening. No one who has any experience in gardening or seed purchasing would fall for this "deal". Heirloom seeds are fairly easy to find - even at Walmart!

In this "package" you only get 22 varieies of seeds. Here is a list with the number of seeds included in the "package". 

October Bean (200), Black Valentine Bean (300), Bountiful Bean (200), Detroit Dark Red Beet (300), Copenhagen Market Cabbage (300), Stowell's Evergree Corn (250), Reid's Yellow Dent Corn (300), Bushy Cucumber (90), Yellow Parma Onion (1000), Bloomsdale Spinach (400), Scarlet Nantez Carrot (1,050), Red Salad Bowl Lettuce (1750), Oakleaf Lettuce (1750), Hale's Best Melon(175), Green Arrow Pea (500), Fordhook Giant Chard (200), Brandywine Tomato (200), California Wonder Pepper (200), Early Jalapeno (200), French Breakfast Radish (900), Waltham Butternut Squash (40), Rossa Bianca Eggplant(50)
Granted they are generous in their quantities but think about it - wouldn't you rather have more variety and less quantity of seeds? Anyone planning on planting 300 cabbage plants? 1750 lettuce plants? Think about this - if you went to a store that only had 22 choices scattered over the entire growing season would you continue to shop at that store?  

I've grown quite a few of these varieties. Some of them are good and some of them...well...better choices could have been made - for example, the Rossa Bianca eggplant is ok but there are other eggplant varieties that far surpass it in taste and productivity in my opinion. 

Where are the cherry tomatoes?  paste tomatoes? For goodness sake - where are the watermelons? broccoli? okra? bunching onions? snow peas? kale? mustard greens? red, yellow, orange peppers? summer squash? zucchini? 

They throw in a few extras, seed saving information, gardening information and a solution to "jump start your seeds" so they will "grow like crazy". Each of these "survival seed packages" are placed in a waterproof container with a "very expensive dessicant" to keep seeds fresh for 20 years. Sorry folks, some varieties just don't have that shelf life no matter how well you store them. Dessicants are easy to find and not that expensive. My advice, keep your seeds dry and put them in the freezer.

The cost of this lovely package...sit down now...have a cup of tea handy...perhaps my Energize Me tea to help you recover quickly... deep breath now...$165.00 with shipping and handling!

Take my advice and keep on walking....right on over to Fedco seeds or many of the other fine sellers of heirloom seeds. You can grow a huge, lovely family garden filled with variety from spring till first frost for much less than that....much less! Buy a little bit more than you need...a little bit! I do this so that if there was a seed shortage the next year or if I couldn't save seed for some reason I would still have enough seed to grow a huge garden again. We spent much less than $100 this year on seeds - including herbs, medicinal herbs, flowers and plenty of produce and veggies! We even added a lot of new varieties. The seeds we ordered were heirloom seeds except for one hybrid tomato that we grow because I'm impatient for that first tomato sandwich.

If you need help picking tried and true varieties, learning when and what to plant and need other great gardening information, let me recommend my Perpetual Garden Calendar! This calendar is filled with gardening advice for every month of the year and you keep and use it every year - no need to purchase it ever again! I still have mine from 6 years ago and use it diligently! You will also find gardening tips, recipes, a seed longevity chart, a frost-zone conversion chart and much more!

Here's what a recent customer had to say after receiving her Perpetual Garden Calendar in the mail:

Cheri...I LOVE the garden calendar.  I was sooo overwhelmed by what to plant, when to plant, if to plant seeds or buy sets.  The calendar is a life-saver!  I'm sure there will be lots of questions as I go along, but, at least, I'll know WHAT to ask the nursery people and my friends who garden.  Thanks sooo much for passing along your wealth of knowledge.  Your calendar will bless our table, our canned goods shelf, our budget, and our family!  The best $20 ever spent on "food."  Christy D.
Let my calendar make your gardening a little bit easier year after year! Try some of the varieties we grow that are listed in my calendar , they've been tried and tested and are delicious and prolific!  

Let's garden together this year!



Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Tomb is Empty!

He did the will of His Father that I might learn to walk in His footsteps.

He was persecuted and betrayed that I might know He understands when I am.

He was beaten that I might be healed.

He took on my sin that I might be sinless.

He laid down His life, that I might live.

He rose again so that I could.

He prepares a place for me so that one day I will have a place.

He will come again....may I endeavor daily to be ready.

May your Resurrection Day be a blessed time....take stop, to still and to reflect on the magnificent gift we were all given.



Friday, April 2, 2010

Good News!

Praising the Father for another chance for Todd.  Please keep this precious family in your prayers!


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