Oh No, One More Cooking Mishap!

One of my hard biscuits
One of my hard biscuits
     Just when I thought I couldn’t top anything I’ve already done in the kitchen, tonight I made homemade biscuits. It wouldn’t be such a big deal had I not ever made homemade biscuits before, but sadly this wasn’t my first try. 
     I have a collection of old rolling pins in my kitchen and I’ve used them all at one time or another. My mother is a top notch biscuit maker and I’ve watched and helped her many times, so I really don’t have an excuse for this disaster.  Unless….
     My grandson was at my house and I was a little distracted.  Now, that’s a good excuse.  I feel better now.
     I didn’t realize it at the time when I was cutting the oil into the flour, but I was using plain flour.  In case there are some of you reading this and don’t know, it’s OK to use plain or self-rising flour to make biscuits, but if you use plain, you should add salt and baking powder.  If you don’t, you get biscuits like the one in the above photo.  It’s not a pretty sight.
     When I placed the biscuits before my spouse and daughter-in-law, I told them that the first one who made fun of my bread was going to get hit up side the head with one of my biscuits!  That quietened them down.  Even when we were eating them, and April was grinning like an opossum, I didn’t realize what I’d done wrong.  It wasn’t until I was describing them to my mother and she asked what kind of flour I used, did I realize what I’d done wrong.  I used plain flour and didn’t add salt or baking powder. 
     Speaking of my mother, when she bakes biscuits, they are small and not real thick.  My siblings and I grew to love her bread so much, that none of us can hardly stand those big, thick, fluffy biscuits.  When I’m served bread and it happens to be one of those thick biscuits, I open them up, pull out the middle, and then eat only the tops and bottoms. 
     We want our biscuits to crunch when we pour homemade gravy over them. if they don’t, then to us, they are not real country style biscuits.  I think this is one time my siblings would be proud of me.  My biscuits crunched even after soaking in gravy for a while.
     I really don’t feel that badly about my biscuit disaster.  Many of you have emailed me and bravely shared your cooking mishaps, but were to ashamed to post them here.  If I wasn’t such a nice person, I’d include them in this post and share your names and disasters with the world! At least it would make me not look so bad to my readers.
     April and Braxton spent the week with Mike and I.  Eric was in Columbus Ohio for training and orientation.  It’s been a great week having both of them here.  They’ve been gone now a little over an hour and we already miss them. 
     Braxton was a great baby this week.  That child is so adorable, precious, perfect and such a fun little thing.  Hearing that sweet little laugh when we talked to him tightened the hold he already had on our hearts. The next time he comes for a visit, maybe I’ll burn the biscuits too.

Prayer Habits

I need your help.

I’m working on a book about prayer.  To help me understand where I should focus some of my attention, I need to hear from you.  I’m posting some questions here and would like for you to answer them as honestly as possible.  If you are comfortable with answering them within the comment section that will be fine, but copy/pasting the questions with your answers into an email will work also.  darlenesnyder@bellsouth.net I just want to hear from as many of you as possible. Please be as honest as possible.  All of us have bad habits and find it diffcult to pray at some time or the other.

Let’s get started.  Here are the questions:

 

 Are you a Christian?

 

Do you attend church?

 

How often do you pray?

 

What are some things you pray about?

 

Do your pray through-out the day/night?

 

Do you ever bow down onto your knees and pray?              

If yes, where and when do you do this? 

How often?

 

Do you find that when you pray, your mind drifts?

How does this make you feel?

What are some things you could do to keep this from happening?

 

Do you pray while at church?     If so, how often?              

 

Has God spoken to you through prayer?

Explain.

 

How often do you pray for people other than your family?

 

Do you have a daily prayer routine?

 

What do you believe you can do to improve your prayer life?

 

If there were a proven technique that would improve your prayer life, would you want to know about it?

 

Share an instance when you know without a doubt God answered a prayer that you prayed.

 

List what you consider to be your good prayer habits and your bad.

 

Add any other information regarding prayer that you want to share.

 

 

TOBACCO FIELDS AND HIGH HEELS

 

By Darlene G. Snyder (find me on facebook)

A Kentucky tobacco field

A Kentucky tobacco field

Beautiful Kentucky

Beautiful Kentucky tobacco field

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 
Tobacco in the barn and in the field

Tobacco in the barn and in the field

yellowed tobacco - ready to cut

yellowed tobacco – ready to cut

Tobacco that's been cut and loaded on wagons

While riding recently, Mike and I sped by an enormous field of tobacco. I asked him to pull to the side of the road and stop.  I jumped off our 750 Honda and began to take a few photographs. In Kentucky, fields of tobacco are getting to be a rare sight.  With the tobacco buy-out program, more and more farmers have been forced to find alternative means for financial resources.

 

 

As a youth growing up on a farm, tobacco became an obstacle on my course towards independence and freedom. I’d wanted to slip on high heels, but I have to put on work shoes. Many weekends were spent working in tobacco. My free time wasn’t actually free. I eventually came to despise tobacco. My father always reminded me that tobacco was what bought clothes for me as well as helped put food on our table.  That of course, meant nothing to a sixteen-year-old girl trying to escape the realities of farm life.

 

Now as I look back, I can find some things that I enjoyed about tobacco fields. I recall fondly the annual burning of tobacco beds.  This consisted of an area in a field about 9 ft wide and 100 ft long. Wood piled onto the bed and burned killed off the weeds. Daddy would rake the fire and ashes to make sure every inch was covered. 

 

This was usually done at dusk, and of course with the wide-open fire, we’d roast wieners and marshmallows; I loved being outside, watching the fire lick the night air.  That part never seemed to be a chore, but I’m sure it was for my father after working as a heavy equipment operator all day. He did have my brothers who were always there helping.

 

The one job I especially hated came after the plants grew in those beds became adults and ready to be pulled and planted.  Since I always feared worms and bugs and such, this job seemed to be particularly harrowing.  The process was to pull the plants from the ground, roots and all and pile them onto a burlap sack, laying them in the same direction.  We were to pull as many as we could as fast as we could.  Often others were waiting on us to get the plants pulled before they could set tobacco (plant) in the fields.

 

I usually pulled one plant at a time, shook the dirt off the plants and looked for worms and bugs.  If I saw one, I’d throw the tobacco down and jump back in fear.  After about an hour of this backbreaking job, my parents, siblings or other family would be so perturbed with my behavior that I’d be “sent to the house,” thankfully.

 

Setting tobacco consisted of two people sitting on a piece of equipment attached to the back of a tractor, which was referred to as a tobacco setter.  It had two seats and a contraption in between the seats that plants were dropped into. Those sitting on the setter faced the opposite direction from where the tractor was headed. The plants were set into the ground by the contraption.  Occasionally, when one was missed, those of us who followed the setter had to set the plants into the ground by hand.  This was another backbreaking job. 

 

Once tobacco setting was completed, the next job we had to do was chopping weeds out of the tobacco.  The correct way to do this was using a chopping hoe, gently cut at the weeds without bothering the tobacco.  I always accidentally chopped down many tobacco plants.  I really didn’t always do this purposely, but I was accused of chopping the tobacco to be sent to the house, again.  I never realized what the big deal was anyway it was just a plant.  The lecture I received later was always about how much money the tobacco brought into our household. 

I was never required to participate in the next process, however my mother, sister and I made sure there was an abundance of food for the men working in the fields.  This was a time for spraying the tobacco for worms and bugs and topping tobacco.  This job entailed breaking off the blooms to get rid of the succors.  These succors were like new growth. After spraying again, and waiting two or three weeks for the tobacco to turn from the dark green color to a golden yellow, it was time to cut the tobacco.  First sticks had to be dropped in the rows of tobacco, and then the plant was cut with a knife that some refer to as a tommy-hawk or a tobacco knife.  Spheres were fitted onto the sticks and the tobacco was thrust through the sphere onto the stick. There usually were five or six stalks on each stick. The tobacco was left in the fields two or three days to wilt before being loaded onto wagons.  Once the tobacco was loaded onto the wagon, it was hauled to the barn to be hung from rails to cure.

 After curing, and coming into case, this was when the tobacco was soft enough; it was thrown down to the ground.  Tobacco usually came into case after a rain or a heavy fog. In Kentucky, this was around November.  The tobacco had to be booked, which was the process of piling it and covering it with plastic. Now it was time for it to be stripped from the stalk.  The tobacco was sorted into three or four grades depending on color.  Once there was approximately seventy-five pounds in a bale, it was pressed and stacked, waiting to be loaded and hauled to the warehouse to sell.

 

All of us were expected to help with stripping tobacco.  The stripping room attached to the barn had electricity in order that we have lights so that we could strip tobacco each evening.  There was a wood burning stove inside, with stovepipes running out the side of the building to keep smoke out.  We ate supper many times in the stripping room.  Usually we ate soups or beans and cornbread.  The pots sat on top of the stove to keep the food warm.

 

Everyone had a job to do. The bouncer was the person assigned to carry the tobacco into the room, and carry out the stalks out once the tobacco was stripped from it. He also, pressed the tobacco.  Often time’s two people were assigned to this job.  The rest of the people stood in front of the wall-to-wall table, stripped the tobacco, and listened to country music on the radio.  The music served only to further irritate me, since I hated country music – still do. Eventually, if I complained enough and messed up everyone’s routine, I’d be sent to the house once again.  Oh what punishment!

 

The first time I was ever at the warehouse was after I got married.  Each year daddy and my brothers hauled truckloads of baled tobacco to the warehouse where it was auctioned off to the highest bidder.  We always looked forward to this time, because we knew there was money in the house! Selling tobacco came just in time for Christmas.

 

I swore I would never marry a farmer, but I did.  He swears that I made him sign a contract that kept me out of the tobacco fields.  I do remember telling him that he should know he wasn’t marrying a work hand.  He must have taken me seriously, as I’ve not been near a tobacco field since we married until I took the above photographs.

 

I’m thankful for my tobacco field memories, but I don’t miss being around it one bit.  I hated it so much that I’ve never smoked or put a cigarette in my mouth.  I’ll stick to wearing my high heels and dress up clothes.  That’s more like my style.

I’d like to hear any of your tobacco field memories.  Sign in and post a comment here.

Thanks,

Darlene

 

 

 

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