Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The American Chestnut Tree.




The American Chestnut tree,
Once ruled supreme In the Appalachian Region of Southeastern Kentucky, where we lived.

This amazing tree, at one point was Kentucky's equal to the redwood trees of California .
It was coveted by loggers and farmers for its strong wood, and for being rot resistant
An airborne bark fungus accidentally introduced in the early 1900s, wiped out virtually all of them .
I recall some of the trees around us reaching 100 feet in height and up to 5 or more feet in diameter, many of them were still standing during the early 40s when I was growing up.
Dad said Chestnuts from the trees provided an immense supply of food for humans and wildlife.
Deer, turkey, squirrels, bears and even pigeons like them for food.
The Chestnut tree was also a valuable source for tannin furniture, ageless flooring, and split-rail fences.
My Grandpa Schell and his neighbors used Chestnut for split-rail fencing around their farms.
The Chestnut tree, that once dominated forests in Kentucky, sudden demise.
Left many wondering if the tree could ever make a come back .
I've heard the forest service is working on a new strand, that may be resistant to the fungus, and they are hopeful, it can make a come back some day .
Sad to say; for those of us who remember the beautiful American Chestnut tree, about all that remains of it today ,are the memories it left behind.

Until Next Time. God Bless.
My Meditations by, Coleman

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring Cleaning

 Spring time was  time of year to shed the sluggishness of winter!

It was believed by many old folks that the family needed a good “spring cleaning” after a sedentary winter of eating dried vegetables and salted meat.

 Each member of the family would have their dose of this mixture to purify their blood, thin or “cut” the blood, and make them feel better after the long winter.

Springtime tonics helped the blood rise like sap in trees, during spring they claimed. 

    
 Sulfur and molasses, Black-Draught...Coal Oil and Sassafras tea... Cod-Liver Oil... were some of the old folks remedies still in use when I was a young lad.

 Depended on availability and what they had in the home.

Spring OH "Spring" no Sulfur and Molasses please, us kids thought it was some kind of evil concoction  Mother and Dad had thought up to punish us for misbehavior or something .

The tonic did seemed to have some benefits though, we usually felt better in a few days after the taste went away. 

Doctors were too scarce and too expensive to be summoned to a country farm without grave reason back in them days.

 Family's did what they had too, to keep well, even if it meant taking a "Spring Cleaning" tonic, in the beginning of Spring .

 But I can honestly say to this day, I never did learn how to like the taste of that stuff, for some reason.

Until Next Time.  God Bless.

My Meditations by,  Coleman

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Apple butter thick enough to slice


If I had to choose one taste to remind me of childhood, it would be homemade biscuits... spread with homemade... apple butter.

Don't get much better than that.


Orchards have been around for a long time and  regarded as special places to those who like apples .

 Grandpa Elhannon Schell had such a place and mother and dad frequented it often in the fall, when  apples were getting ripe.


Their favorites for apple butter making, were the...Ida Red, McIntosh, Wine sap, and Jonathan.

Mothers recipe for "Apple Butter Thick Enough To Slice"
was not to complicated.

When Mother had her apples picked and ready, she washed them good, quartered them up and put them into her canning kettle, peelings core and all.

When the kettle was two thirds full she added some water to it and placed it on her wood burning cook stove.

After the first cooking stage the cooked apples were processed through a food colander which removed all the peel, core, seeds and stems.


Some cinnamon and sugar were added and the second faze of cooking began. 

Many people who are in the habit of making apple butter, take it from the fire before it is boiled near enough.

To make thick apple butter  it requires slow cooking and constant stirring until the apple butter becomes thick enough to where its hard to stir.

Then its placed into jars that have been preheated in water for a while.

The jar is covered with a heated lid...tightened... and let stand over night until the lid seals.

 When that is complete; You now have yourself some of the best  home-made apple butter in the world.

All you need to make it perfect is... some hot home made biscuits... fresh from the oven.

Until Next Time.  God Bless.

My Meditations by,  Coleman

 


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Rainbows and Leprechauns


Mother  was the story teller in our family.

 Her stories never seemed to grow old or out of style, no matter how often she told them .

Here is one about, Rainbows she told, of how God made a covenant with Noah, and signed the covenant with a Rainbow.

Genesis 9: 
 Verse 11...And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

 Verse 13... I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

Verse 15... And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.


Then mother shared with us... some of the... the magical things she had heard about rainbows.

That there is no real end to them, If you stood where you 'think' the rainbow ends, it would look to you as if it is standing in a different location all together.

Its one of Gods optical illusions in nature. It all depends on the angle of the sun and where the moisture is in the air.

And then there's the one she told about ...Leprechauns who were thought to be fairy-like creatures with a bit of a wild side.

 Legend has it that they're shoemakers who keep their profits in pots of gold, which they carry around with them. Sometimes their pots are so full that they spill the gold pieces on the ground.

According to the legend... Rainbows often hover over the spilled Gold.

I tried finding the end of the Rainbow, and that pot of Gold so many times... when I was a kid... but was never able to find either one.


 When I see God  so Gracefully span the horizon with a Rainbow today... I'm reminded of Mothers simplistic answer of how the Rainbow came to be, and how it will always be part of Gods promise to man, until the end of time.

Until Next Time.  God Bless.

My Meditations by,   Coleman