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tnhomeandfarm.com | Summer 2013
Suds & Buds
Meet the two moms behind Made on Acorn Hill’s soaps, salves and scrubs
Farm-based B&Bs welcome visitors for peaceful getaways
Treats to Beat the Heat
Published for the family members of the Tennessee Farm Bureau
A Warm Welcome to Summer
With this issue, we welcome the season of sprinklers and sparklers, squash and sweet corn. From getaways in the country (page 38) to farm animals in the city (page 28), you’ll find a few ideas on travel destinations within the state. Even if you stay home, we also offer several ways to cool off this summer, from frozen dessert recipes (page 18) to air-conditioned memories (page 48). Though you can always expect the Tennessee heat and humidity, we hope for the sake of our state’s farmers that it’s not as dry as last year – something you probably experienced whether you have acres of crops or a small backyard garden. If you’re new to gardening, flip to page 14 to find tips on growing your own fruits and veggies in raised beds and containers. Already got a green thumb? If you grow tomatoes – or buy them from your neighborhood farmer – snap a photo of your most misshapen ’mater to enter in our inaugural Ugly Tomato Photo Contest. Read more on page 26, and find details on this online-only contest at our website, tnhomeandfarm.com . Of course, this is not to be confused with the 18th Annual Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation Photo Contest, which continues through July 31. Find the entry form on page 45, and don't forget to visit our website to vote in the Readers’ Choice part of the contest during the month of August. One lucky reader will also win products from Made on Acorn Hill, including their goat milk soaps. Read their story on page 10, and go online to enter the giveaway. We hope you enjoy this issue, and let us know what you think by emailing us, finding us on Facebook or writing us a letter. Thanks for reading! Jessy Yancey, managing editor firstname.lastname@example.org
An official publication of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation © 2013 TFBF
Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation
Ten n essee
Editor Pettus Read circulation manager Stacey Warner Board of directors President Lacy Upchurch, Vice President Jeff Aiken Directors at large Charles Hancock, David Richesin, Catherine Via district directors Malcolm Burchfiel, James Haskew, Eric Mayberry, Dan Hancock, David Mitchell state fb women’s chairman Jane May Advisory directors Dr. Larry Arrington, Jimmy McAllister Chief administrative officer Joe Pearson Executive Vice President Rhedona Rose treasurer Wayne Harris Comptroller Tim Dodd
Tennessee Home & Farm is produced for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation by Journal Communications Inc. Managing Editor Jessy Yancey Content coordinator Rachel Bertone Proofreading manager Raven Petty Photography Director Jeffrey S. Otto Photography team Jeff Adkins, Michael Conti, Brian McCord, Wendy Jo O'Barr, Frank Ordonez Videography team Mike Chow, Mark Forester Creative services director Christina Carden Lead Designer Laura Gallagher Creative Services team Stacey Allis, Becca Ary, Alison Hunter, Kara Leiby, Kacey Passmore, Kris Sexton, Jake Shores, Matt West Web services director Allison Davis Web team David Day, Yamel Hall, John Hood, Erica Lampley, Nels Noseworthy, Jill Ridenour, Richard Stevens I.T. Team Daniel Cantrell, Mike Harley Ad Production Manager Katie Middendorf Senior Graphic Designer Vikki Williams Ad Production Team Krystin Lemmon, Patricia Moisan Controller Chris Dudley accounting Team Diana Iafrate, Maria McFarland, Lisa Owens Distribution director Gary Smith audience Development director Deanna Nelson Sales support manager Sara Quint Chairman Greg Thurman President/Publisher Bob Schwartzman Executive Vice President Ray Langen sr. V.P./operations Casey Hester sr. v.p./Agribusiness Kim Newsom Holmberg v.p./Agribusiness sales Rhonda Graham SR. Integrated Media Manager Robin Robertson For advertising information, contact Robin Robertson, (800) 333-8842, ext. 227, or by email at email@example.com. Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Tennessee Home & Farm (USPS No. 022-305) Issued quarterly by the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, 147 Bear Creek Pike, Columbia, TN 38401, (931) 388-7872. Periodical permit paid at Columbia, TN, and additional entry offices. Postmaster: send address corrections to: Tennessee Home & Farm Executive Offices, P.O. Box 313, Columbia, TN 38402-0313. Subscribe or change address Contact your county Farm Bureau office. TH&F is included in your $25 Farm Bureau annual dues; no other purchase necessary. Advertising Policy All advertising accepted is subject to publisher’s approval. Advertisers must assume all liability for their advertising content. Publisher and sponsor maintain the right to cancel advertising for nonpayment or reader complaint about service or product. Publisher does not accept political or alcoholic beverage ads, nor does publisher prescreen or guarantee advertiser service or products. Publisher assumes no liability for products or services advertised in Tennessee Home & Farm. Please recycle this magazine
See What’s Happening Online
Share your Photos Have you entered our annual photo contest yet? Find an entry form on page 45, or visit tnhomeand farm.com/photocontest to enter online. Win TN Products Who doesn’t like free stuff – especially if it’s made here in Tennesseee? Don’t miss any of our giveaways by signing up for our monthly emails at tnhomeandfarm.com/ newsletter.
Try New Summer Recipes Are you overrun with squash and other summer staples? Find recipes such as Garden-Stuffed Squash, Corn Chowder and Peach-Blackberry Crisp online at tnhomeandfarm.com/summerrecipes.
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Contents Summer 2013
Letters and feedback from our readers Cousin Sed comes to visit with postage due
5 Read All About It
8 Everything but the Kitchen Sink 10 Suds & Buds 14 Gardening
Gardening, cooking and around the house Two Madison county moms make soaps, salves and salt scrubs Learn to grow your own groceries Goo Goo Pie, Strawberry Lemonade Ice Pops, Peaches & Cream Freezer Pie and other treats to beat the heat
18 Frozen Delights
26 Short Rows
Agriculture, rural life and Farm Bureau Membership Nashville Zoo preserves heritage breeds of farm animals Q&A with a fourth-generation farmer whose operation has flourished during his time at the helm
28 Moo at the Zoo
31 Farmside Chat
34 Truly Tennessee
Travel, events, arts and local culture Taylors of Tabernacle have held reunions in West Tennessee since 1826 Farm-based B&Bs welcome visitors for peaceful getaways Cool off at the Creek Cafe in Jefferson City Things to do, places to see Play it cool in the summer heat by plugging in your imagination
36 A Family Tradition 38 Rural Respite
43 Restaurant Review
cover story: page 18
44 Events & Festivals
Beat the heat with freezer treats that feature Tennessee products. Our recipe for Sorghum Ice Cream uses both milk – which goes from cow to local grocery store in 48 hours – and sorghum syrup harvested from a plant grown here. Plus, you don’t even have to own an ice cream maker. Photo by Jeffrey S. Otto
48 View From the Back Porch
Mailbox Clarification Spring Cleaning Correction
“DIY: Silk Tie-Dyed Easter Eggs” from our Spring 2013 issue is intended to be a craft project only; the dyed eggs are not meant to be consumed.
Crazy for Strawberry Cake
Since this recipe was published [“Strawberry Sheet Cake,” Summer 2011] I have made it so many times it’s not funny. It’s by far my favorite cake of all time. It has won over my 5-year-old grandchild, my 77-year-old sibling and everyone in between. Now, if there is a family function or a neighbor get together I am expected to make “my” strawberry cake. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. Can’t wait until you come up with something else, say, blackberry or raspberry? Brenda Davis via farmflavor.com I have made this cake numerous times. I also do a a variation with peach instead of strawberry that my family loves. This is the best recipe I have had in years. It is always a hit. Not one complaint. Betty Crowe via tnhomeandfarm.com Editor’s note: Find the recipe online at farmflavor.com/strawberry-sheet-cake.
I found the spring issue of your magazine to be interesting. However, there was an error [in the View From the Back Porch essay,“The Spring Scheme”]. It said, “For the duration of the seven days (of Passover) Jews were to eat unleavened bread, so their homes were thoroughly cleaned on the first day of Passover week in order to remove all traces of leaven.” First of all, the leaven is removed before the holiday begins. We can’t have it in the home, so all the cleaning is done beforehand. People start weeks ahead [and spend the week] cooking for the seders (family home service and meals). Secondly, the holiday is eight days long (outside of Israel), not seven. Judy via email Editor’s note: Thanks for setting us straight on the practices of Passover. We apologize for this oversight, and we’ve updated the story online to reflect these corrections.
A Taste of Louisiana
My mom and I ate at Crawdaddy’s a couple months ago. We loved it! I had the red beans and rice, but my mom got a sampler with Alligator Bites, which made me super jealous. Excited to try Papa Boudreaux’s Cajun Cafe that was featured this month [“Straight From the Bayou,” Spring 2013]! Debra via tnhomeandfarm.com After seeing your article, we visited Papa Boudreaux’s Cajun Cafe in Franklin and the food was great! I have never had better gumbo, and the étouffée was outstanding. We will be back. Donna Barnett via tnhomeandfarm.com
From the Fans
Love this magazine and appreciate its healthy approach to eating, living and just enjoying life in and around Tennessee! K. Manning via tnhomeandfarm.com
Christy Short Maryville
I am really happy to get the magazine! It reminds me of why I so love Tennessee. The chocolate zucchini brownie recipe from a few years back is one I get to share with many of my friends here in West Virginia. Melanie Files via email Editor’s note: We’re happy to hear, Melanie! For new readers or those who don’t hold on to every issue of H&F, you can find the Chocolate Zucchini Bread recipe online at farmflavor.com/ chocolate-zucchini-bread.
Cooking Up Success
We knew Tyler Brown [“Growing His Ingredients,” Spring 2013] when he was a young lad and are friends with his mom and dad. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Way to go! Dick & Margaret McDermott via tnhomeandfarm.com
Questions, comments and story ideas can be sent to: Jessy Yancey, 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read all about it
What’s in the Box?
Cousin Sed comes to stay with postage due
As I pulled in the long gravel driveway of Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie’s farm the other day, the yellow glow of light coming from Aunt Sadie’s “Gone With the Wind” hurricane lamp in the window of their white frame house was surely a welcome sight. I knocked on the back door, but I wasn’t met by Aunt Sadie wiping her hands on her apron as usual. Instead, I heard a call from inside telling me to come on in. There, standing at the kitchen table, were Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie looking inside a medium-sized box with USPS markings on it. I could see they had just opened the package because the table was littered with packing peanuts. The elderly couple had strange looks on their faces that told me that something quite unusual had just occurred. one day, but you just never knew about Sed. We always heard he did real well working at a major electric company up near the Canadian border.” Aunt Sadie chimed in. “And then this morning we get a call from the post office lady telling us there is a package there for us with postage due,” she said. “We go down there and pay the postage and bring this package home expecting some shortbread from Sid’s cousin up in Michigan. Thelma always sends some this time of the year, you know.” “When we got home and opened the box, this is what was inside,” said Uncle Sid as he pulled a glass urn from the box. “It seems cousin Sed passed away recently and left orders to be cremated, plus to have himself mailed to us. I knew he said he would come back some day to stay on the farm, but not to stay with us forever and especially with postage due. Only Sed would mail himself back to his relatives in a USPS box.” As I stood there looking at the two holding the ashes of cousin Sed among the remains of packing peanuts and a postage due slip, I couldn’t hold it back any longer. They too could see my expression, and the three of us burst into laughter. Cousin Sed had returned as he said he would, knowing Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie would see that he was taken care of. I guess that is what family is all about – we accept you no matter how you arrive, even with postage due. I went back by their house a few days later to find out what the final outcome was for their guest. Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie had placed the urn on a special shelf by the fuse box in the utility room. They thought Sed would have enjoyed being next to something electrical. H&F
There were Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie looking inside a box with USPS markings on it. The strange looks on their faces told me that something quite unusual had just occurred.
I expressed my greetings and made the customary remarks about the weather but could tell they were not very interested in getting into casual talk. Neither one could take their eyes off the box, so I knew I had to find out what it contained. I became a part of a very unusual happening by asking one simple question: “What’s in the box?” Aunt Sadie looked at me from over her glasses and said, “It’s Sid’s cousin Sed.” Of course, that sort of took me by surprise, and I asked another silly question: “He’s in the box?” Uncle Sid now looked at me from over his glasses and said, “Boy, this is a very serious matter.” Aunt Sadie gave me a somewhat sideways grin. “Your Uncle Sid had a cousin that was a little bit different than most folks,” she began. “When electricity first came to these parts, he would go out and stand under the transformers for hours. He was very smart, but just a little different.” Uncle Sid now took a seat and joined in telling the story of Sed. “He enjoyed the farm here but just never fit in, and one day just left to go up north to work,” Uncle Sid said. “He said he would come back to stay on the farm for keeps
About the Author
Pettus L. Read is editor of the Tennessee Farm Bureau News and director of communications for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. His favorite columns have been collected into a book titled Read All About It, which you can buy at tnhomeandfarm.com/store .
You’re a Peach
In-season peaches combine with vanilla ice cream, a gingersnap cookie crust and homemade almond brittle in our recipe for Peaches & Cream Freezer Pie.
see Page 21
Everything but the Kitchen Sink
Gardening, Cooking and Around the House
It’s summertime, and the heat is on. To keep your grass and garden alive this season, follow these simple tips: • Choose the right tool for watering. A standard garden hose and nozzle is the least efficient way to water because much gets lost as mist. Instead, use a soaker hose or sprinkler wand. • Be sure not to overwater. A good rule of thumb: A lawn needs 1 inch of water per week, and perennial plants will need from 1 to 2 inches per week. Check plant tags for watering annuals. • Don’t soak the plant’s foliage. Try to get into the shrub’s root zone so it can soak down to where the plant’s roots can reach it. • Mulch is great for keeping in moisture, but when applied too thickly, it forms a crust that prevents water from soaking in. Break up crusted mulch using a rake.
DIY: Placemat Pillows
Perk up your home décor with simple DIY placemat pillows. You’ll need a seam ripper, placemats, pins, stuffing and a sewing machine (unless you’re handy with a needle and thread). Here’s how to do it: 1. Carefully open one seam at the end of the placemat, and fill it with the stuffing. You’ll use approximately half a package of stuffing for an average-sized placemat. 2. Insert pins, and sew the seam closed. If needed, push the stuffing to the opposite side while you’re sewing, then fluff the pillow when you’re done. 3. If desired, add embellishments such as flowers or a coordinating trim.
Win a Cookbook
What’s for dinner? Breakfast! No matter the time of day, pancakes, eggs and bacon are often on the menu at the home of Lindsay Landis of the blog Love & Olive Oil. The Nashville blogger just released her second cookbook, Breakfast for Dinner, written with her husband, Taylor Hackbarth. The 160-page book features more than 60 breakfast dishes that have been reworked into satisfying dinner (and dessert) recipes, including Breakfast Sausage Ravioli, Espresso Baked Beans, Doughnut Fudge Sundaes and Maple Bacon Cupcakes. We’re giving away a copy of Breakfast for Dinner to one lucky reader! During the month of June, enter to win the cookbook at tnhomeandfarm.com/breakfastfordinner. Find out how to buy Landis’ cookbooks – her Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook highlights recipes using an eggless version of raw dough – and discover more of her recipes at her blog, loveandoliveoil.com .
June is National Dairy Month. Celebrate Tennessee dairy farmers with this recipe that calls for three dairy products: cheese, milk and sour cream.
Country Ham & Cheese Biscuits
Estimated prep time: 20-30 minutes Cook time: 8-10 minutes Makes: 12 biscuits 2 cups unbleached self-rising flour ¼ cup shortening 1 cup cooked country ham, finely chopped 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese ¼ cup milk or buttermilk 2 ½ tablespoons butter or margarine, melted 1 cup sour cream 1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 2. Measure flour into a medium to large bowl. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 3. Add ham, cheese, milk or buttermilk, and sour cream. Mix until well blended. 4. Knead gently on a lightly floured surface for 2-3 strokes. Roll dough about ½-inch thick. Cut without twisting cutter. 5. Bake on ungreased baking sheet for 8-10 minutes. Brush tops with melted butter. Serve warm. This recipe from Regina Gregson in Dyer County is featured in Country Classics Volume II , published by the Tennessee Farm Bureau Women. To order, call (931) 388-7872 ext. 2217.
Go to tnhomeand farm.com/dairy for more June Dairy Month recipes.
Story by Carol Cowan Photography by Martin Cherry
Two madison county moms make goat milk soaps and natural Skin Care products
don’t know …’ We considered ourselves pretty busy without adding a business to it. But that’s kind of the nature of our friendship. Ashley’s the we-can-doanything friend,” Holmes says. With that, Made on Acorn Hill was born. Amid their soap making, Bausch and Holmes were also busy developing herbal skin care salves for their own use. When the soap business began to take off, it seemed only natural to market their skin care products as well. “Inspiration comes from the most curious of places sometimes,” Bausch notes. “Everything we make is an overflow of something in our own lives.” For instance, Bausch’s son Josiah was born with cystic fibrosis, a disease that causes a sticky mucus to clog certain organs, particularly the lungs. Helping her son breathe more easily provided the impetus to create Breathe Easy salve. “We wanted to infuse thyme as the herbal oil, for its known bacteriafighting properties, and the essential oils (peppermint, eucalyptus and menthol crystals) to help open congested sinuses and soothe airways,” she explains. “It works wonderfully on adults and is still gentle enough that we put it on our babies (just not on faces or near eyes).” It became so popular that they have since added a Breathe Easy soap as well as a Breathe Easy salt soak to sprinkle in the tub or hot shower.
Hill are selling like virtual hotcakes online as well as finding their way into shops and boutiques throughout Tennessee and beyond. The two women who started the company just two years ago say they are so busy keeping up with demand – spreading strictly through word-of-mouth – that they haven’t had time to actually try to grow their business yet. Imagine what will happen when they do.
It all started one day in October 2010, when close friends and Madison County Farm Bureau members Ashley Bausch and Mandy Holmes met for lunch. Ashley and her husband Eric Bausch, a counselor at a drug and alcohol treatment center for boys, have a small farm in Jackson where they raise goats and chickens, keep bees, and have plenty of dogs, cats and children running around. Mandy and her husband Jacob Holmes, a real estate attorney, live with their children in a neighborhood in town. The two busy young moms, who at the time had nine children between them (now they have 11), chatted about how they both longed to create handmade Christmas gifts. “We talked about candles, and I don’t remember what all,” Holmes says. “We had a long list, just dreaming of things we could make. We ended up deciding on goat milk soap, mostly because Ashley had the milk and the goats, and she had made soap one time before.” The two friends pooled their money
Soaps, salves and salt scrubs by Made on Acorn
and bought supplies. They made three types of soap using cardboard boxes as molds. They cut big blocks into bars with a kitchen knife, wrapped each in muslin and tied with jute, and gave it away. Soon, Bausch and Holmes started getting phone calls asking if they had more. “People started asking, ‘Do you sell it? I’ll buy some.’ I remember telling people, ‘No, we don’t sell it.’ I was turning people down,” Holmes recalls. But folks kept asking, and the pair decided to make another batch – 180 bars – to sell. “We thought, if nobody buys it, we’ll just have soap for the rest of our lives,” Holmes says. The soap was gone in two weeks. Bausch and Holmes used the money to double their next batch. It sold within a week of being finished. “That’s when I remember a moment, standing in my driveway, and Ashley said, ‘So, what do you think about starting a business?’ And I was like, ‘I
Made by Mamas
Mandy Holmes (top left) and Ashley Bausch (bottom right) make Made on Acorn Hill soaps using goat milk, lye and a combination of oils. A chemical reaction turns the ingredients into soap and consumes the lye, leaving behind gentle cleansing bars with colors naturally derived from plants, herbs and spices. Other products include salves, hard lotion bars and lip balm.
“We constantly marvel at how something positive always seems to come from something hard,” Bausch says. “Josiah is such a dear, wonderful blessing, even though CF is hard. And who knows if we ever would have been inspired to create Breathe Easy if it weren’t for one mama’s heart-cry to help her child.” Necessity being the mother of invention, these two mothers likewise formulated a diaper cream called Little Bums and a first aid salve they call Mama’s Kiss. Their “real jobs,” as they call their mothering, provide the perfect test market for their products, right down to the packaging. “We really wanted a metal tin that had a screw top, so all our metal tins have screw tops. If your hands are greasy or slick, you can get it open,” Holmes says. Balancing a fledgling business and their “real jobs” is a trick the two say they are still learning. Some parts of their venture involve the family. Bausch’s husband milks the goats; Holmes’ husband designed the company logo and labels, and built new wooden soap molds; little ones help ready tins, wrap packages and affix labels. A local printer prints their labels, and beeswax comes from a local beekeeper. But Bausch and Holmes remain Made on Acorn Hill’s chief creators, researchers, chemists and cooks – as well as principal dispensers of mama’s kisses. H&F
Currently, Made on Acorn Hill’s soaps, salves, scrubs and other products are sold at local shops in Alamo, Christiana, College Grove, Henderson, Humboldt, Hixson, Jackson, Knoxville, Memphis, Milan, Nashville, Paris and Tullahoma. Find a complete list of retail stores that stock their products at tnhomeandfarm.com/made. You can also order their products online directly from madeonacornhill.com or by calling (731) 313-7766. And there’s more – we’re giving away some Made on Acorn Hill products! Find out more details about the giveaway and how to enter this web-exclusive contest at tnhomeandfarm.com/made.
Get the Goods
Learn to grow fruits and veggies in containers, raised beds and window boxes
I have always wanted to know where my food comes from, and that’s most easily done when I grow it in my yard. While my garden has expanded over the years along with my appetite for homegrown produce, you really don’t need a huge piece of property to grow some of your food. People often tell me they don’t have the space to grow a garden. They don’t think they have the room or time to grow good food. Gardening is easier than you think, and there are plenty of ways to get started on a small-scale garden. go and fill it a third full with soil, add a layer of compost and organic fertilizer, and then fill the bed up to the lip with more soil.
Choose pots for container gardens based on plant requirements. Blueberries, for example, do well in large pots. I have five 10-gallon containers with three different varieties of berries (you need two varieties to get cross pollination). When growing root vegetables or leafy greens, the combinations that can co-exist in containers are virtually endless. Plant one pot that contains several different herbs, another pot with an assortment of greens and another of ornamentals, such as coleuses and roses. Dwarf fruit trees require more sunlight and water, and their pots will need to be larger, but you can create a decorative assortment of pots without having to dig up your lawn.
I use raised beds because they make gardening easier. Unlike tilling up the soil in a large patch of land, raised beds rely on soil that you bring in, which increases plant health and decreases tasks like weeding. Make sure that you can reach every point in your raised bed without having to step into it. I recommend a bed that is 4 by 4 feet. Western Cedar is a good choice for your lumber because it’s slow to rot. Choose the place where the bed will
Nontraditional gardens offer plenty of ways to grow with only a small
About the Author
P. Allen Smith is an award-winning designer, gardener and lifestyle expert. He is the host of two public television programs, a syndicated 30-minute show and his own radio program and is also the author of the best-selling Garden Home series of books. Learn more at pallensmith.com.
Tomatoes: Ripe tomatoes should be firm and uniform in color. During hot weather, tomatoes soften quickly, so pick them often even if they are slightly immature. If a killing frost is predicted, go ahead and bring in the green tomatoes. Those that have started to lose their chlorophyll (light green or yellow in color) will ripen off the vine. Immature green tomatoes can be used for relish or chow-chow.
Peppers: Hot peppers can be picked at any time. Sweet or bell varieties need to mature on the plant. These are ready to harvest when they reach 3 to 4 inches in length, are firm to the touch and have even color depending on the variety – whether green, red, purple, orange or yellow.
Photo Courtesy of Jane Colclasure
Summer Squash: Gather summer squash when they are young and tender, about 4 to 5 inches in length. Old, large fruits with tough skins should be removed from the vine and thrown away. This will encourage more flowers and fruit. Patty pan squash is ready at 3 to 4 inches in diameter with skin still soft enough to puncture. With the exception of Hubbard, squash should be cut with about 1 inch of the stem.
The Inside Scoop
No garden? No problem! Herbs can grow indoors in containers. They have just two needs – sunlight and a well-drained soil mix. Simply place the pots near a window (preferably facing south or west) and avoid overwatering, as herbs don’t like soggy soil.
amount of space and sunlight. In a windowsill garden, I like the look of a row of pots planted with herbs that grow well indoors, such as chives, parsley and mint. Make sure you have a good drainage system; otherwise, your plants will be susceptible to rot. Hanging baskets are another great option, particularly if you have a fire escape. One hanging basket can grow two heads of lettuce, a slew of herbs and virtually any root vegetable. Because it stays outside, it will get plenty of sun and rain. A pallet garden is one method I haven’t tried yet, but I’d like to. Box in four sides of a shipping pallet made of untreated wood. You can hang the pallet on the wall for a space-saving vertical garden or position it on the ground. Then fill the inside with soil, and plant your vegetables in the open spaces between the slats of wood. If you have a patio where you can hang it, a pallet garden can grow a good amount of food while taking up only a little outdoor space.
Photo Courtesy of Kelly Quinn
Easy Does It
In any small-space garden, I suggest intercropping, which involves combining plants in close quarters to save space. The plants you choose must have related requirements and growing habits. For instance, deeprooted carrots make good companions to shallow-rooted lettuce. Corn, squash and beans also do well when planted together, as the squash shades the soil while the corn provides a structure for the beans to climb. When you plant your seeds, choose plant sizes that can grow well together. This spring I’ll plant lettuce as a ground cover and snap peas to grow up stakes. Once the weather warms up, I’ll add tomatoes in between the snap peas. When the peas are done producing, the tomatoes will have plenty of room to grow up the stakes. Whatever you choose, plant things that you want to eat so that your fondness for gardening continues to grow to larger pots and plots. H&F
Photo Courtesy of Mark Fonville
P. Allen Smith transplants lettuce into a raised bed. Above: Herbs grow in container pots that can be moved inside or outside.
Cool off this summer with freezer pies, pops and ice cream treats using Tennessee products
Photography by Jeffrey S. Otto
can add almost anything you desire to a dairy or simple syrup base. This collection of ice pops, freezer pies and other sweet treats shows off several recipes that are uniquely Tennessee.
Summertime in this state means fresh fruits, and strawberries are first to ripen. Combine them with a refreshing mixture of lemonade and fresh herbs, and freeze for a sweet-sour crushed ice mixture or, my preference, Mexican-style ice pops known as paletas. In this simple recipe, strawberries can easily be replaced with other seasonal berries such as blueberries, blackberries or raspberries. Our midsummer produce stands and farmers markets would lead one to believe that peaches are a top crop in Tennessee, but we’re limited by our state’s late spring frosts. So in addition to what we can find locally, we rely on our next-door neighbor, Georgia, to share her peach bounty with us. Peaches are packed with several major nutrients, including vitamins A and C and potassium. With just 38 calories per medium peach, they’re an excellent source of fiber, good for blood sugar and naturally fat free. Our peaches-andcream icebox pie pairs the ripe fruit with almonds to enter the flavor stratosphere. I took it up another notch by adding creamy vanilla and a praline crunch. However, fresh fruit just scratches the surface of possibilities. Our Goo Goo Cluster-inspired freezer pie features the chocolate, caramel, peanuts and marshmallows found in the Nashville-based Standard Candy Co.’s most famous confection. (The candy, invented 101 years ago, claims the title of the world’s first combination candy bar.) Sorghum’s uniquely rich flavor also deserves a nod, as Tennessee (along with Kentucky) leads the nation in sorghum production. When I first made sorghum ice cream, I used cream and eggs. This slightly lighter version uses low-fat milk but remains every bit as rich. The latte hue will keep people guessing, “What is this beautiful stuff?” (Turn the page to learn more about sorghum and what distinguishes the syrupy end product of this grain crop from molasses.) While some of us have old-fashioned hand-crank ice cream makers and others have the slick European style, a food processor or blender will do the trick. Simply pour the prepared liquid into a freezer-safe container and forget about it for a few days. Then pull it out of the freezer, puree it and place it back in the cold. It resets nicely and is ready to scoop. H&F
To make homemade frozen desserts, you
Strawberry Lemonade Ice Pops
Estimated prep time: 15 minutes Freezer time: 8 hours Makes: About 4 cups 1 cup water 1 cup sugar 3 cups fresh strawberries or other berries of your choice ½ cup fresh lemon juice ½ cup fresh herbs such as mint and/or rosemary, loosely packed, optional 1. In a medium saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally until slightly thickened (to the consistency of corn syrup), about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. 2. Place strawberries and lemon juice (and herbs, if using) in blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. If using herbs, puree until they are very well chopped. Slowly pour in simple syrup until well combined. Pour into ice pop molds, and freeze for about 8 hours. For frozen smoothies or scoopable flavored ice, freeze the mixture in a freezer-safe container for 8 hours. Then place mixture in blender/processor and puree until smooth. Blend longer for a smoothie texture, or refreeze for scooping.
Goo Goo Pie
Estimated prep time: 10 minutes Freezer time: 5 hours Makes: 6-8 servings 1 chocolate cookie pie crust (for an 8-inch pie pan; store-bought or homemade) 1 cup marshmallow creme ¹⁄₃ cup caramel sauce 2 cups vanilla ice cream 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 cup peanuts, lightly salted 1-2 Goo Goo Clusters, chopped, optional 1. Layer marshmallow creme evenly over the pie crust. Spoon caramel over marshmallow layer. Follow with the ice cream. 2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate with the vegetable oil for about 1 minute. Stir and melt for another minute, if necessary. Spoon quickly over the ice cream. 3. Cover with the peanuts (and Goo Goo Cluster pieces, if using), and freeze for several hours before serving.
Peaches & Cream Freezer Pie
Estimated prep time: 30 minutes Freezer time: 5 hours Makes: 6-8 servings 2 cups gingersnap crumbs ¹⁄₃ cup butter, melted 4 cups vanilla ice cream, slightly softened 2 cups fresh peaches, peeled and coarsely chopped 1 teaspoon almond extract
Sorghum Ice Cream
Estimated prep time: 15 minutes Freezer time: 8 hours Makes: 5 cups 4 cups 2% milk 2 eggs ½ cup sorghum syrup ½ cup brown sugar ½ teaspoon salt 1. In a medium saucepan, gently whisk together all ingredients over low heat until just bubbly. Set aside to cool. 2. Freeze in a conventional ice cream freezer, or place in a freezer-safe container and freeze until set, about 8 hours. 3. If using second method, chip frozen mixture into food processor or blender in chunks. Puree until very creamy but not liquefied. Refreeze until ready to serve. Tip: Serve with a mixture of local berries and a drizzle of sorghum. It’s also amazing with coconut cake or with sliced bananas and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.
What Is Sorghum?
Don’t mistake the tall, broadleaf plant with corn, which it resembles in the field. And certainly, aficionados say, don’t confuse it with plain old sugar cane that yields molasses. In Tennessee, sorghum cane is harvested during September and October. Some sorghum producers, such as Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill in Monterey, extract the juice from freshly cut plants right in the field. The bright green juice then goes back to the mill, where it is kept heated in a holding tank. To avoid spoilage and produce the best syrup, they cook it the next day, thickening it into light amber syrup that is then bottled. Ten gallons of raw sorghum juice yields about 1 gallon of syrup. According to the National Sweet Sorghum Producers and Processors Association, a single tablespoon of sorghum syrup supplies all of the average adult’s daily potassium needs. It’s also high in antioxidants and contains 300 mg of protein, 30 mg of calcium, 20 mg of magnesium and 11 mg of phosphorus – all in 1 tablespoon. In fact, sorghum is 100 percent natural and contains no chemical additives of any kind. Find out where to buy sorghum syrup at tnhomeand farm.com/tennessee-sorghum.
¼ cup butter ½ cup sugar 2 tablespoons corn syrup 1 ½ cups slivered almonds 1. Combine cookie crumbs and butter. Line a standard loaf pan with plastic wrap. Press crumb mixture into pan. Combine ice cream, peaches and extract until well mixed. Spoon over crumb mixture. Freeze for several hours. 2. In a heavy saucepan, combine all brittle ingredients. Stir constantly over medium heat until mixture is bubbly and almonds are lightly browned. Spoon onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Set aside to cool. 3. When pie is fully frozen, turn out and slice onto serving plates. Sprinkle with almond brittle.
Find more freezer-based recipes, including S’mores Ice Cream Sandwiches and Avocado Lemon Ice Cream, online at tnhomeand farm.com/frozen-desserts.
About the Author
Mary Carter is a Tennessee-based food stylist, food writer and recipe developer. Whether she is promoting a cookbook on QVC, baking her signature cookies for the local farmers market or teaching cooking classes, she is dedicated to preparing delicious and beautiful food.
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Identity Theft Restoration & Consultation Services
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• $850 value • $5 off monthly monitoring • Free smoke detector OR free keychain remote for quick access – you pick!
*Offer valid for new installations only. 36-month monitoring agreement required at $31.99 per month ($1,151.64). $99 customer installation charge. Form of payment must be by credit card or electronic charge to your checking or savings account. Offer applies to homeowners only. Local permit fees may apply. Certain restrictions may apply. Other rate plans available. Cannot be combined with any other offer. PowerLink, LLC TN. Cert. #C-0332.
• Consultation and restoration services • Comparable services can cost $10-$15 per month per individual • Through a limited power of attorney personalized licensed investigators work on member’s behalf to restore credit and save members countless hours of frustration If you have been a victim of identity theft, call (877) 329-3911.
*You must be an active member of the Tennessee Farm Bureau for a minimum of 60 days to be eligible. Membership eligibility and offer subject to change without notice.
Keep Loved Ones SAFE at HOME
Help them stay safe with Personal Emergency Response Protection ADT Home Health – (800) 315-4200
With a personal emergency response system from America’s No. 1 security company, help is just the push of a button away. Tennessee Farm Bureau Special Member Savings: • $28.00 Installation • FREE Activation • $29.95 Monthly Monitoring • Save $97.00 the first year (28% discount)
ADT Disclaimer: License information available at www.ADT.com or by calling 800.ADT.ASAP. ©2013 ADT LLC dba ADT Security Services. All rights reserved. ADT, the ADT logo, and the product/service names listed in this document are marks and/or registered marks. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. All systems and services are sold, installed and monitored by ADT Security Services and not by The Tennessee Farm Bureau. ADT Security Services is not affiliated with Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation.
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*This card is not an insurance benefit and will not offer additional savings on pharmacy discounts offered through insurance plans.
Steering the Way
Turn to Page 28 to Learn about Milking Devon steers And other Heritage Breeds of farm animals at the Nashville Zoo’s Grassmere Historic Farm.
Agriculture, Rural Life and Farm Bureau Membership
did you know?
What Is the Average Age of a U.S. Farmer?
average age of a farmer in 1945
average age of a farmer in 1974 average age of a farmer in 2012
percent of farmers today over the age of 55 Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Ag History in Action
Become an agriculture historian at the West Tennessee Agricultural Museum in Milan. The free museum presents life-sized displays that show everyday challenges early settlers faced when arriving in a new territory. From one-room schoolhouses to historical farm equipment, visitors can experience life on the farm as it was more than 100 years ago. For more information and visiting hours, visit milan.tennessee.edu/ museum or call (731) 686-8067.
Farm Facts: Tomatoes
Tennessee knows its tomatoes, ranking fourth in the nation in production of fresh-market tomatoes in 2011 (the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture). Here are a few more stats about this top crop: • In 2011, Tennessee tomatoes contributed $37.62 million to the state’s economy. • The tomato is the fourth most popular fresh-market vegetable behind potatoes, lettuce and onions. • The USDA counts some 25,000 different tomato varieties. • Americans eat between 22 and 24 pounds of tomatoes per person per year. • More than half of U.S. tomatoes are consumed in the form of ketchup and tomato sauce. Do you grow tomatoes? If you think you’ve produced the ugliest of the bunch, enter our Ugly Tomato Photo Contest online at tnhomeandfarm.com/ugly.
to good health
Seven Tips for Seniors
Tennessee Rural Health’s resident nurse of eight years, Candace Pullen, shares simple tips for healthy senior living: 1. Evaluate your social network. Who needs a Grumpy Gus around, really? Studies have shown in senior adults a strong social network of positive and equally healthy friends can contribute to your health and well-being. 2. If you smoke, quit. Smoking is a major risk factor for strokes, coronary heart disease and lower respiratory tract infections – all leading causes of death in those over 50 years of age. 3. Eat a healthy diet. Eating a variety of foods from each food group will help you get the nutrients you need. 4. Keep active. Exercising regularly is not only good for your body but also relieves stress. 5. Watch your step. Most falls by the elderly involve hazards in the home. Keep walkways clear of clutter. 6. Don’t forget your oral health. Gum disease may be a risk factor for stroke, heart and lung disease in older adults. 7. Use sunscreen. Sun exposure is the main cause of skin damage. For more healthy aging and living tips, visit trh.com and click on the Healthwise link on the bottom right of the page. Contact TRH Health Plans at (877) 874-8323.
Prescription Drugs Discounts
Do Farm Bureau members receive a discount on prescription drugs?
Members receive discounts of up to 40 percent off the retail price of more than 20,000 different prescription drugs.
How do I use the discount?
It’s easy! Simply take your membership card to a participating pharmacy. The pharmacist will enter the numbers on the back of the membership card into their system and the discount will be applied.
How do I find a participating pharmacy, check the cost of a prescription or reprint a card?
Almost all chain and independent pharmacies participate in the program. The cost of prescriptions may vary from pharmacy to pharmacy. Participating pharmacies, costs of drugs or replacement cards can be found at tnfarmbureau.org/memberbenefits in the Health section of the webpage.
How does this relate to insurance or Medicare?
This is a point-of-sale discount, not insurance. If you don’t have insurance, you’ve likely been paying the full price for prescriptions, so it’s almost a guarantee to help. If you’re on Medicare and don’t have prescription drug coverage or a discount, this member benefit will also help you save.
Can I combine this discount with other discounts offered through my insurance plan?
In most cases the pharmacy will not allow the combining of discounts. Keep in mind that many insurance plans don’t discount all drugs.
I like saving money. Where can I learn more about other Farm Bureau member benefits?
Go to tnfarmbureau.org/ memberbenefits or call the Member Benefits help line at 1-877-363-9100.
Nashville Zoo showcases heritage breed farm animals
Story by Nancy Henderson Photography by Martin Cherry & Jeffrey S. Otto
Photo Courtesy of Amiee Stubbs
Dutch barn door at the Nashville Zoo’s Grassmere Historic Farm, a silver-laced Wyandotte chicken named Pearl clucks softly as a young couple stops to snap photos of her black and white plumage. In a pasture nearby, Tipton and Boone, two Milking Devon steers, playfully nudge each other.
“It’s interesting working with them because they know they have [dangerous horns],” jokes Hall Whitaker, the zoo’s supervisor of contact areas. “We tread lightly in their company.” Pearl and her bovine neighbors are among nine different heritage breed species currently housed on 10 sprawling acres at one end of the zoo property. A replica of a real working farm, the exhibit opened to the public when the zoo relocated in 1999. (The main house, which dates back to 1810, is the farm’s only original structure.) But it wasn’t until about two years ago that zookeepers began adding a collection of what they deem “historically significant” livestock animals once treasured by farmers for their multiple purposes. “They owned cattle that could not only plow fields but provide meat and milk and a variety of other things. Horses provided lots of different benefits; chickens were the same way,” says Jim Bartoo, the zoo’s marketing and public relations director. “[Over the years] farms started focusing on animals that did the best at one particular thing, like Angus cows producing meat. People stopped buying and breeding animals like these because they were no longer the top animal in any one category.” At Grassmere Historic Farm, however, the heritage breeds are the stars. In one pasture, three Belted Galloway heifers – Duffy, Maisey and Kenzie – munch on grass, their black bodies girdled by wide white bands, hence the nicknames panda or Oreo cows. Smaller and hairier than most cattle, these hardy animals were first imported to the U.S. in the 1940s from Galloway, Scotland. Sharing the heifers’ pen is Stormy, an energetic black miniature pony. “He came from a Mennonite farm and pulled a cart,” says Whitaker. “Originally he lived at the petting zoo, but he likes to run so he’s happier here.” Other heritage breeds on display include Kane, a black Clydesdale; Dawn, a Gypsy Vanner draft horse with
Perched atop the bottom half of a wooden
“feathering” around her feet; Hank the mule, who’s popular with the kids; three long-haired Cotswold sheep – Nigel, Bojangles and Otto – who, years ago, would have been coveted for their luxurious wool; and Brownie, an African pygmy goat cross who lost one of his horns in a bout of head-butting. Bartoo stresses the need to conserve heritage breeds, which are considered endangered, even though they may not seem as glamorous as other animals. “You can build something that’s outstandingly beautiful, be it as exotic as an exhibit for a siamang [a Sumatran monkey] swinging through the trees or as [grounded in history] as a family farm that you’d see in the 1800s,” he notes. “Young children are just as amazed by horses and sheep and cows as they are by tigers and bears and lions. “Furthermore,” Bartoo adds, “it’s important for people to understand that farms as our parents and grandparents knew them are gone. That’s what this is supposed to do: give people an idea of what a farm was like when their grandparents and greatgrandparents were growing up.” H&F
By the Numbers 1999
Nashville Zoo’s Grassmere Historic Farm opened
If You Go ...
Nashville Zoo at Grassmere Address: 3777 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211 Website: nashvillezoo.org Phone: (615) 833-1534 Price: $10-15 for zoo admission, which includes a self-guided tour of Grassmere Historic Farm. Croft House guided tours and gardening demonstrations available at various times. Summer hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
The original house on the property was built
Acres in the farm exhibit
Heritage breeds of animals at the farm
Hall Whitaker supervises the Nashville Zoo’s farm exhibit, which includes Belted Galloway cows (top) and three Cotswold sheep named Nigel, Bojangles and Otto (bottom left).
Meet Mark Klepper
Q&A with a farmer who has found success in growing his fourth-generation farm
What on your farm makes you most proud?
When I started farming full-time, we had 100 acres and about 40 cows. Now we have 1,900 acres and a diversified mix of crops and livestock. I’m pretty proud of the growth of the farm and being able to farm on that large of a scale in East Tennessee. the challenge of being my own boss, the challenge of making the farm profitable without another income. You have to love it because it takes lots of time to do it right, but I would not be farming the way I farm if not for the Farm Bureau and the people I met through them. they choose to farm, but they can be whatever they want to be. I want them to be able to live out their dreams like I live mine every day on the farm.
What advice do you have for other young farmers?
Find a mentor, start small and work your way up. Have good credit or get credit – you can’t farm without money. Don’t be afraid to try new things – look outside the box.
As a poultry farmer, how do you discuss animal welfare with people removed from farm life?
I try to inform them of what I do, and I don’t try to hide anything from them. I encourage people to come out on the farm to look and actually see what I do, and explain that not everything you see on the Internet and TV is true. I compare it with something they can relate to. On a cold winter day that is 30 degrees with the wind blowing or raining or snowing, would you want to be inside in a controlled environment or outside? I just try to explain that chickens are really no different than we are for the most part. They want to be comfortable, and on my farm we strive to keep our animals comfortable. That’s the No. 1 priority: Keep them comfortable, fed, watered and well taken care of. – Melissa Burniston
What is your biggest challenge?
Finding the time to do everything I want to do, and still having quality family time with very little help on the farm.
What made you decide to farm?
My dad worked a public job and farmed on the side. He worked all the time – he worked the public job to keep the farm going. I didn’t want to work to keep the farm up; I wanted to farm for a living. I love working with animals, just love being outside, so I always knew I wanted to figure out how to make a living doing what I loved – and that meant expanding our operation. I like
Do you want your children to continue the family farm?
My son Evan farms as much as I do every day; his “farm” is just (using his imagination) on the floor of our house. He has his tractors, he drives the trucks, he does it all – I guess it’s in his blood. Times can change, but I hope both he and my son that’s on the way will choose farming! It will be here if
The Dirt on the Farm
Farm Family: Mark Klepper, his wife, Cindy (who keeps the books), his father, Allen, and an uncle Farm Location: Near Baileyton in Greene County Land Area: 1,900 acres Livestock and Crops: Corn, soybeans, wheat, cattle and broilers (chickens raised for meat) Farm Legacy: Mark and Cindy’s son Evan (and another son on the way) will be the fifth generation.
jeffrey s. otto
Be Their Guest
Looking to vacation locally this summer? We profile a couple of farm bed-and-breakfasts that invite visitors to escape urban or suburban life for a few days of rural respite. Lairdland Farm Bed & Breakfast in Cornersville already has its rocking chairs waiting for you.
see Page 38
Travel, Events, Arts and Local Culture
Give Them a Hand
Grab the family and head to Hands On! Museum in Johnson City as the interactive destination celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2013. The regional museum features more than 20 permanent exhibits suited for all ages, as well as several rotating exhibits. Explore the ark exhibit, where you’ll find 100 different types of taxidermied wild animals from around the globe, or learn about hydro-power and the historical use of waterways for commerce and travel at the Waterplay Dam. For more information on the museum’s exhibits and programs, visit handsonmuseum.org or call (423) 434-4263.
pick TN products
Chow Down on Chow-Chow
For a sweet or spicy flavor boost to your hot dog, spoon on some Tennessee Chow-Chow. Sugarplum Foods in Cottontown makes the tasty relish the oldfashioned way – chopping, salting, draining, cooking and canning. Their chow-chow – a mixture of green tomatoes, cabbage, bell peppers, onions, spices and apple cider vinegar – comes in mild, hot and extra hot. Learn more at
sugarplumfoods. com. Find more
Live From the Loveless
What do Emmylou Harris, Marty Stuart, Joey + Rory and Riders in the Sky have in common? All have taken the stage at Music City Roots, a live concert and radio show held at the Loveless Cafe Barn in Nashville. The weekly concert, hosted by fellow musician Jim Lauderdale, launched in 2009 as an effort to revive the city’s legacy of live musical radio production. Each week, a variety of artists – from local favorites to Americana legends – perform short sets and participate in live radio interviews over the course of two hours. Music City Roots, held on Wednesday evenings, costs just $10 per ticket or $5 with a student ID. Thanks to its success in Nashville, the show recently expanded to Chattanooga as Scenic City Roots, a monthly show at Track 29 on the historic Chattanooga Choo-Choo campus. For more information and to see a list of upcoming artists, visit musiccityroots.com or call (615) 669-1627.
locally made foods at picktn products.org.
Stay active this summer at Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in June. The recreation area extends for 17,000 acres through western Tennessee and Kentucky. Along with more than 200 acres of scenic hiking trails, visitors can also enjoy fishing, camping, horseback riding, hunting and more. For more information about Land Between The Lakes and the park’s anniversary celebration, visit lbl.org or call (800) 525-7077.
photo courtesy of u.s. forest service land between the lakes
Tennessee Farm Bureau Goes to Washington
Our state’s agriculture heritage is headed to the nation’s capital. The Smithsonian National Museum of American History reached out to farmers and agribusiness personnel, including the Tennessee Farm Bureau’s very own Pettus Read, to consult on an Agriculture and Innovation project that will be part of a new exhibit at the museum in Washington, D.C. Stories, photographs and ephemera will be used to record and preserve the innovations and experiences of the agriculture world. Read is helping to look for the right stories that will show visitors the ways farmers make a difference in everyone’s lives. “We will not just be looking for objects to place in an exhibit, but true life stories and photos from farm families,” Read says. The first donation came from Spring Hill dairy farmer Pat Campbell. The exhibition also will explore the change in American agriculture through objects such as Eli Whitney’s cotton gin and the 1920s Fordson tractor. Learn more at americanenterprise.si.edu .
A Festival for Fiddlers
Tap your toes to the sweet sound of bluegrass music at the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival. This free annual festival takes place every year on the weekend closest to Independence Day. The two-day event features craft booths, barbecue, Southern-fried delicacies and lots of live music. This year’s jamboree takes place July 5-6 at the Town Square in Smithville. To find out more, visit smithvillejamboree.com or call (615) 597-8500.
Taylor descendants have gathered annually at Brownsville homestead since 1826
Story by Jessica Mozo Photography by Michael Conti
Tabernacle Kinfolk Camp Meeting is the mother of all family reunions. Every July, roughly 700 descendants of the Taylor family converge at Tabernacle United Methodist Church near Brownsville for a weeklong reunion and spiritual revival filled with laughter, tears, hugs and lots of good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation.
“Some families go years without seeing each other, but we make a point to see each other at least once every year,” says Mac Thornton, a descendant of family patriarch Howell Taylor. “It’s in our genes. People keep coming back because they always have. It’s been passed down from generation to generation, and it’s pretty high on the priority list of things to do.” Rev. Howell Taylor (1754-1845) moved his family from Virginia to Tennessee in 1817. The Taylors established roots in Haywood County in 1826, setting up the original family homestead and Methodist church. Like clockwork, hundreds of Taylor’s descendants have gravitated back to their ancestral homeland near Brownsville every year since. They camp in rustic cabins at the 11-acre Tabernacle Family Campground and attend three church services daily. “The revival part of the reunion is so powerful and has been really instrumental in the lives of people who camp,” says Susan Thornton, Taylor family historian and a Nashville general contractor. “The reunion keeps the revival going, and vice versa.” Mac Thornton likens attending Camp Meeting to getting your batteries recharged. “You go away refreshed. It gives you a whole new perspective on life,” he explains. “There’s still a feeling of freedom. Kids can play barefoot in the dirt. It’s a holiday for them. I still have great memories of playing with my cousins every year at Camp Meeting. Everybody there has an interesting life, and you can just walk from cabin to cabin and visit with people.” Many family members plan their yearly vacations around the Camp Meeting. Sarah Thornton Jenks, Mac Thornton’s niece, says finding an employer who would give her that week off every July was a prerequisite for accepting her job. “It’s hard to articulate how important Camp Meeting is to us,” says Jenks, who lives in Memphis. “It renews our spirits. It’s about growing up with a sense of
You might say the annual Taylors of
purpose and belonging, and people knowing who you are.” Jenks has gone to the reunion since birth and now attends with her husband and their two children. “If you ask my children, they’d rather go to Camp Meeting than Disney World,” she says. Between church services, there are games (softball, pingpong and “Who Sir, Me Sir” are favorites), a Heritage Walk through the family cemetery and lots of Southern comfort food. The campground is divided into 36 camps, each with its own open-air kitchen. Camps have anywhere from 10 to 50 family members. A typical breakfast might include scrambled eggs, sausage, homemade biscuits, hash, cheese grits, fruit and coffee. Dinner might be fried chicken, cornbread, mashed potatoes and gravy, okra, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, and peach cobbler. “The food is farm-to-table,” Susan Thornton says. “The corn, tomatoes and okra are right out of local gardens. The meal is part of the convivial merriment of the place.” Family members fly in from as far away as Ireland and Spain. “You don’t want to miss a year, because you miss a lot,” Susan Thornton says. “The older people care about the young people. There’s so much of wanting to know who people are – wanting to be involved and engaged in their lives.” Despite being the oldest continuous family camp meeting in the world, she insists the Taylor family isn’t all that different than other families. “Everybody has the same number of ancestors. We just happen to know a lot more of ours,” she says. Mac Thornton puts it in simpler terms: “We have just stuck together.” H&F
Calling All Taylors of Tabernacle
The 2013 Taylors of Tabernacle Kinfolk Camp Meeting happens July 12-18. Only Taylor family descendants and their guests are permitted to camp overnight, but church services are open to the public. Respectful visitors are welcome to visit the family cemetery and campground at their own risk. Neither cars nor pets are allowed on the campground. Lodging and meals for visitors are available in Brownsville, about 6 miles from the church and campground. For more information, visit taylorsoftabernacle.com.
Ru r a l Respite
Farm-based B&Bs welcome visitors for peaceful getaways
Story by Jessica Mozo
concept conjures up mental images of city-based Victorian homes laced with antiques and fine china. But across Tennessee, a number of farm families have added bed-and-breakfast inns to their property, creating a new source of revenue on the farm and beckoning city-dwellers to savor the B&B experience in the quiet countryside.
Norman and Sarah Ball operate Blue Mountain Mist Country Inn & Cottages on their 60-acre Smoky Mountain farm. Sarah’s family ties to the area date back to the 1780s, when her ancestor Robert Shields moved his family from Virginia to Tennessee. A mountain overlooking the farm is named Shields Mountain in their honor. “My parents bought this farm in the 1930s. He was a mail carrier and she was a schoolteacher, but they loved farming,” Sarah Ball says. “They raised cattle and grew tobacco and had a huge garden.” By 1987, Sarah had been a teacher for 16 years, and Norman, a former high school principal, was working as an architectural draftsman. “I was ready to do something else, and we had stayed in a couple of B&Bs,” Ball says. “I couldn’t get the
For many travelers, the bed-and-breakfast
idea off my mind – I wanted to build an inn on our farm, with rolling hills and mountains all around us.” Her husband drew the plans for an inn with 12 guest rooms, and it soon became a reality. They later added five cottages for couples and a Victorianstyle guesthouse next to the inn. “We have a walking trail, ponds, picnic areas, and hammocks here and there,” Ball says. Other relaxing spots include a plant-filled garden room with skylights. Two of her three children have joined the family business. One son is the cook, another son is office manager, and a daughter-in-law is the inn’s massage therapist and wedding coordinator. “We serve a hearty breakfast,
A gazebo at Blue Mountain Mist Country Inn & Cottages overlooks East Tennessee vistas near Sevierville. Photo Courtesy of Z-Man Photo
Jim Blackburn and his employee Suzanne Cole sit on the front porch of one of the cabins at Lairdland Farm Bed & Breakfast in Cornersville; Mammy & Pappy's Bed and Breakfast in Springville has four guest rooms in the house, which was built in 1899.
starting with fresh fruit with Norman’s signature topping,” Ball says, listing off strawberry-stuffed French toast, biscuits and gravy, and breakfast casserole among their offerings. “And we serve drinks and homemade pies and cakes in the evenings.” Ball says many guests have become their lifelong friends. “It’s like getting ready for company coming every day, and that gives me satisfaction,” she says. “I feel this was God’s plan for my life, and now our boys have come on board. It’s been a family love. It’s part of us.” Danny and Katie Williams of Springville operate Mammy & Pappy’s Bed & Breakfast on their 153-acre century farm. The Williamses met because of the farm – when the two were seniors in high school, Danny hauled hay for Katie’s father. Now, they’ve been married 43 years. They opened the bed-and-breakfast in 2006 in an effort to save her childhood home. “The house I grew up in was built in 1899, and this farm has been in my family since 1865,” Katie Williams says. “I didn’t want to see the house torn down, so we spent 26 months renovating it into a four-bedroom bedand-breakfast. About 90 percent of the furnishings are what I grew up with. Our house was used for a lot of family
reunions growing up, so it likes to have company.” Mammy & Pappy’s quickly became a popular destination for weddings and reunions, so in 2009, they built a twostory reception hall with four additional guest rooms upstairs. Guests wake up to a full country breakfast with homemade biscuits, their choice of meat, potatoes and fruit. “Your stay also includes an evening snack, and I often make pecan pie with pecans from our property,” Williams says. Jim Blackburn of Cornersville never intended to open a bed-andbreakfast. “I had always wanted a cabin, and I found one from the 1800s about 20 miles from here,” says Blackburn, who owns the 500-acre farm that has been in his family since the 1830s. “So we jacked it up and brought it here. After I restored it, friends started asking how much I’d charge to let them stay in it for a weekend.” The first guests stayed in the cabin in 1995, and Lairdland Farm Bed & Breakfast was born. Blackburn built a second cabin from antique lumber in 2000. Both cabins have central heat and air, full kitchens, TVs, woodburning fireplaces and outdoor grills. “We stock the kitchens with country ham biscuits, pastries, cereals, coffee
and juice so guests can eat breakfast at their leisure,” Blackburn says. People often ask Blackburn what there is to do at Lairdland Farm. “I tell them, ‘You can hike or bring horses to ride on our 15 miles of trails. Or you can ride bicycles or go antique shopping,’ ” he says. “But most people just want to sit on the porch and swing. And they say, ‘That’s exactly what I’m going to do.’ ” H&F
if you go ...
Blue Mountain Mist Country Inn & Cottages Sevierville (800) 497-2335 bluemountainmist.com Mammy & Pappy’s Bed and Breakfast Springville (731) 642-8129 mammy-pappysbb.com Lairdland Farm Bed & Breakfast Cornersville (888) 231-8631
Springville Sevierville Cornersville
Cool Off at the Creek
Young couple helps make downtown Jefferson City’s dining scene a real treat
The pure enjoyment seen on every face as palate meets panini is evidence of why the Creek Cafe in Jefferson City has received accolades throughout East Tennessee. Owner Spencer Jones’ eyes tear up with grateful emotion when talking about success after barely two years in business. “We don’t deserve it,” he says. However, diners beg to disagree. TripAdvisor.com ranked it the No. 1 restaurant in Jefferson City, and a contest sponsored by WBIR-TV in Knoxville awarded it for having the best ice cream in East Tennessee. “We never had food in mind when we started this,” Jones says. He and his wife, Libby, originally intended to create a place where the community could gather and visit over a cup of coffee. “But then, we started thinking, ‘What do people in the South do when they come together? They eat! We’re famous for that.’ ” And eat they do. The couple opened the cafe in the fall of 2011, and it’s now the town’s pipeline to paninis, wraps, deli sandwiches, soups, white chicken chili, salads and made-from-scratch desserts, from classic banana splits to the popular Nutella dessert panini. The recipes were perfected in the Joneses’ home kitchen, where Libby designed a menu using as many local food products as possible, including the favorite Rocky Mountain Fudge ice cream, one of a dozen different f lavors made at Sevierville’s Apple Valley Creamery. The turkey basil panini and the white chicken chili are house favorites, along with tomato basil soup. “People get upset if they come on a day when we’re not serving the tomato basil,” Jones says. The building that now houses the Creek Cafe was home to several businesses over the course of 70 years before the Joneses bought it in 2010. The couple spent months peeling back layers of outdated interior decor to reveal handsome wood floors and beautiful tin ceiling tiles in near-pristine condition. A recent remodeling of the basement area included construction of a new prep kitchen that enabled an expansion of the menu, as well as the ability to make more of the cafe’s foods in-house, including the chicken for the California Chicken Salad and the “Chicken Salad” Salad, made-from-scratch salad dressings and all of their soups. Jones hopes the repurposing of the building will start a trend that others will follow to continue the revitalization of downtown Jefferson City. – Anne Braly
The Dish on the Creek Cafe
Location: 110 E. Old Andrew Johnson Hwy., Jefferson City, TN 37760 (about 30 miles east of Knoxville off U.S. Hwy. 11 E.) Phone: (865) 308-9084 Website: thecreekdowntown.com Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Closed Sundays. Reservations are recommended for larger crowds, which can be seated in an adjoining room. As always, please call ahead before traveling long distances.
Tennessee Events & Festivals
of statewide interest scheduled in June, July and August. Most of these events are provided to us by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. You can view a complete listing of statewide events on their website at tnvacation.com. To learn how to include your local events in this section, please visit tnhomeandfarm.com/events. Due to space constraints, we are unable to list all of the events provided. Events are subject to date change or cancellation. Please call the contact listed before traveling long distances to attend.
June 14-15, Nashville
This listing includes a selection of events
lively music festival. Enjoy great food and see local jazz and blues musicians perform. CONTACT: (615) 726-5867, jumptojefferson.com
Jefferson Street Jazz & Blues Festival | Bring the whole family to this
June 14-15, Oak Ridge
Lavender Festival | Historic Jackson
Square hosts this herb fair featuring the farmers market, music throughout the day, enticing food, vendors selling herb plants and herbal products, handmade soap, jewelry, pottery, culinary and garden items, as well as arts and crafts. CONTACT: (865) 483-0961, jacksonsquarelavenderfestival.org
June 15, Bell Buckle
June 1, Coopertown
Join in the celebration as Coopertown presents its first annual Coopertown Barrel Festival. This outdoor event honors the heritage of the cooper, as well as the founders of the town. Enjoy live music, carnival games, local food, talents and wares from the community. CONTACT: (615) 382-4470, coopertowntn.org
Coopertown Barrel Festival |
tradition with music, cloggers, games, crafts and the cutting of the world’s largest Moon Pie. CONTACT: (931) 389-9663, bellbucklechamber.com
Bell Buckle’s RC & Moon Pie Festival | Celebrate a true Southern
June 18, Spring Hill
Fruits of the Backyard | This free
June 1, Athens
June 4-8, Memphis
breed event with more than 800 horses including hunter/jumpers, American Saddlebreds, Roaster and Hackney ponies and Tennessee Walking Horses. CONTACT: (901) 754-0009, gchs.org
Germantown Charity Horse Show | Don’t miss this exciting all-
Month at the National Moofest Dairy Festival. Participate in ice cream and dairy-themed contests, enjoy music, arts and crafts, food and more. CONTACT: nationalmoofest.com
National Moofest Dairy Festival | Celebrate June Dairy
educational event offers visitors a chance to learn about the production of small fruits like grapes and blueberries, and how they can easily be grown in the backyard. The field day also trains guests on maintaining the more traditional “fruits” of their yards, such as beautiful shrubs and lush lawns. Begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Middle Tennessee Research & Education Center. Contact: (731) 425-4768, middletennessee.tennessee.edu.
June 21-22, Oak Ridge June 8, Memphis
Secret City Festival | This 11th
June 6-9, Nashville
CMA Music Festival | “Country
Music’s Biggest Party” brings country fans from all over the world to see some of the genre’s biggest artists for four days and nights of live music. CONTACT: (800) 262-3378, cmafest.com
June 7-9, Johnson City
festival in downtown Johnson City has children’s entertainment, live music and more. CONTACT: blueplum.org
Blue Plum Art & Music Festival | This outdoor music and arts
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., tour six Master Gardener home gardens from East Memphis to Germantown. Experts will speak throughout the day, including a live taping of the “Family Plot” WKNO-TV series on gardening Speaker topics include herbs, hydrangeas, lasagna gardening, roses, wild birds, irises, chickens, rain barrels, window boxes, cacti, containers and Ask a Master Gardener. CONTACT: (901) 752-1207, memphisareamastergardeners.org
Memphis Area Master Gardeners Annual Public Garden Tour | From
annual citywide celebration commemorates the 68th anniversary ending of WWII and features the largest multi-battle WWII reenactment in the South, as well as tours of Manhattan Project sites, children’s festival, arts, crafts and more. CONTACT: (865) 425-3610, secretcityfestival.com
June 21-Aug. 10, Gatlinburg
June 13-16, Manchester
A 100-acre village brings together the best performers in rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, Americana, hip-hop, electronica and more at this four-day festival. This year’s lineup includes legends such as Paul McCartney and popular British band Mumford & Sons. CONTACT: (931) 728-7635, bonnaroo.com
June 7-15, Chattanooga
Bonnaroo Music Festival |
annual celebration features storytellers, musicians and cloggers at different locations along the Parkway. CONTACT: (865) 436-0500, gatlinburg.com
Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales | The 7th anniversary of this
Riverbend Festival | Make your way
to this internationally award-winning 9-day music festival! Enjoy multiple stages of diverse music on the waterfront plus fireworks, a 5K and 10K run and a children’s village. CONTACT: (423) 756-2211, riverbendfestival.com
June 27, Springfield
Tobacco Beef & More | The Mid-
South’s beef and tobacco producers will want to attend this free educational event which features the state’s leading experts on topics such as animal health, forage, burley and dark fired tobacco production. Tobacco Beef & More begins at 7:00 a.m.
at the Highland Rim Research & Education Center. CONTACT: (731) 425-4768, email@example.com.
June 28-30, Knoxville
Kuumba Festival | This fun event
showcases local African-American art and artists, featuring entertainers performing on three stages, live demonstrations and food vendors. CONTACT: knoxville.org
June 30, Lancaster
Lancaster Parade | Take part in the
celebration of “One Nation Under God” as patriots from all over Middle Tennessee come to participate in this year’s 9th annual Independence Day parade beginning at 6 p.m. (line up at 5). Stay for Bluegrass on the Greens, a special concert performance by the 129th Army Band, great barbecue, apple pie, homemade ice cream and a spectacular fireworks show at dark thirty. bring your lawn chairs and be a part of small town U.S.A. celebrating in a big way! CONTACT: (615) 683-6131, lancasterparade.org
It’s Time to Enter the 18th Annual Tennessee Farm Bureau Photo Contest
Pull out your camera and start snapping! Submit your best photos in our annual contest, and you could be named the grand-prize winner. To enter, fill out the form below and mail your prints to us. Or, visit tnhomeandfarm.com/photocontest to upload your digital photos and enter online. Winners will be announced in the winter issue of Tennessee Home & Farm, which publishes in late November 2013. The grand-prize winner receives $200, and runners-up will be awarded $100 cash prizes. Entries must be postmarked (or submitted online) by July 31.
July 3-4, Gatlinburg
Midnight Independence Day Parade | The “First July Fourth Parade
of the Nation” kicks off at midnight on July 4. Floats, balloons and marching bands pay tribute to our country. CONTACT: (865) 436-4178, gatlinburg.com
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Located in the address label of this magazine above your name. For example: #123456789#
July 4, Nashville
Music City July Fourth Spectacular | This annual event is
Nashville’s largest one-day party. Enjoy live music, family activities, food and one of the nation’s best fireworks displays. CONTACT: (800) 657-6910
Tennessee Farm Bureau Photo Contest P.O. Box 313, Columbia, TN 38402-0313
Official Rules: Only high-quality photos accepted; no digital storage options. To enter, attach this entry form to back of photo. (Make copies of entry form if more than one are needed.) Any size up to 8-by-10 inches is accepted. Digital media storage devices are not accepted. Submit high-resolution digital photos at tnhomeandfarm.com/photocontest. Only three entries per person. Only Tennessee Farm Bureau members with a valid membership number (including immediate family members) are eligible to enter. To avoid legal entanglements, make sure permission has been given for use of photos. Employees of Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, Tennessee Farmers Insurance Cos., county Farm Bureaus or their families are not eligible. Professional photographers (paid for photo services) are not eligible. Entries must be postmarked by July 31, 2013. Photos will not be returned and become property of TFBF and Journal Communications; they may be used in TFBF publications with photo credit given. For photo contest questions, call Misty McNeese, (931) 388-7872 ext. 2211. For online entry form questions, call Jessy Yancey, (615) 771-5557, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mail entry to:
July 12-20, Kingsport
Kingsport Fun Fest | Live
concerts, children’s activities and hot-air balloons fill this familyfriendly festival. CONTACT: (800) 743-5282, funfest.net
Eagle Reclaimed Lumber LLC
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grow, cook, eat, learn
Browse “berry” delicious recipes at farmflavor.com.
215 Cannon Ave. Murfreesboro, TN (615) 624-8238
July 4, Knoxville
July 12-13, Ripley
Aug. 1-4, Jamestown
Festival on the Fourth | This patriotic celebration features live entertainment, family fun and more beginning at 4:30 p.m. at World’s Fair Park. CONTACT: (865) 215-4248, cityofknoxville.org
July 4, Chattanooga
honors area tomato growers with carnival rides, a petting zoo, games, crafts, live music and tomato tastings. CONTACT: (731) 635-9541, lauderdalecountytn.org
Lauderdale County Tomato Festival | This two-day celebration
127 Corridor Sale | The world’s longest yard sale stretches for 675 miles along U.S. Highway 127. CONTACT: (800) 327-3945, 127sale.com
Aug. 3-4, Cleveland
July 12-14, Murfreesboro
Cherokee Days of Recognition |
games and rides at Lake Winnepesaukah to celebrate our nation. CONTACT: (877) 525-3946, lakewinnie.com
Independence Day Weekend Fireworks | Explosive fireworks, food,
36th Annual Uncle Dave Macon Days Festival | This festival honors
July 4, Knoxville
the memory of Uncle Dave Macon, one of the first Grand Ole Opry superstars and features music, arts and crafts, food, storytelling and competitions. CONTACT: (800) 716-7560, uncledavemacondays.com
Living history, authentic crafts and food are front and center at the 30th annual Cherokee Days of Recognition, held at Red Clay State Historic Park. CONTACT: tn.gov/environment/parks/RedClay
Aug. 9-10, Jackson
Independence Day Parade | Floats,
animals and antique cars parade down Kingston Pike at 9:30 a.m. on the morning of July 4. CONTACT: knoxville.org/events
Rock-A-Billy Festival | Head to
July 13, Lebanon
4th Annual Tojo Creek Gourd Gala | Local gourd artists will display
July 5-6, Smithville
Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree & Crafts Festival | This fun-filled
festival features various state and national bluegrass championships, jam sessions and juried craft exhibitors. CONTACT: (615) 597-4163, smithvillejamboree.com
their art, provide demonstrations, and answer questions about gourds and gourd art. Admission is free, and visitors will find a great selection of gourd art and craft for sale. CONTACT: tojocreek.com
Jackson for the world’s largest gathering of Rock-A-Billy artists and musicians at the International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame Museum. CONTACT: (731) 427-6262, rockabillyhall.org
Aug. 10, East Nashville
Tomato Art Fest | This artsy festival
July 26-28, Rutledge
July 5-7, Granville
Genealogy Festival & Family Reunion | In celebration of July being
Genealogy Month, the historic town of Granville will conduct a Genealogy Festival with noted speakers, genealogy booths, tours, family reunions, music, craftsmen and family fun for all ages. It’s also the final weekend of the Sutton Homestead’s Hats Off to Our Past exhibit. CONTACT: (931) 653-4151, granvilletn.com
encampment, arts and cultural exposition, tomato wars, entertainment and more at this fun festival. CONTACT: (865) 828-4222, graingercountytomatofestival.com
Grainger County Tomato Festival | Don’t miss out on Civil War
at Five Points in East Nashville celebrates the tomato as a uniter, not a divider. Events include a dog-friendly 5K, tomato fairy costume contest, New Orleans-style parade, bobbing for tomatoes, tomato recipe contest and much more. CONTACT: tomatoartfest.com
Aug. 10-16, Memphis
Aug. 1-3, Gatlinburg
Elvis Week | This year marks the 36th anniversary of the celebration of Elvis Presley’s music, movies and life. The event includes a candlelight vigil. CONTACT: (800) 238-2000, elvis.com
Aug. 17-18, Halls
July 11, Jackson
Tennessee State Square and Round Dance Convention |
Summer Celebration Lawn & Garden Show | Colorful blooms and
lush foliage will not only lift spirits, but also spark creative ideas and offer lessons in horticulture management that can save homeowners timeand money. Hear fascinating presentations from the region’s leading gardening experts. Walk through beautiful garden displays and get plant problems diagnosed. Plus, you can purchase great performing plants at the Master Gardener Plant Sale. Admission is $5.00 for adults and free for children 17 and under. The Celebration begins at 10:00 a.m. at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center. CONTACT: (731) 425-4768, west.tennessee.edu.
Square dancing is the official folk dance of Tennessee. Square dancers from around the state will gather for three days of dancing, shopping and more. Spectators welcome at no charge. CONTACT: (615) 542-2866
Wings Over Halls Air Show | See historic warbirds, team aerodynamics show and a super decathlon aerobatic act. The event, held at Dyersburg Army Air Base, features more than 30 World War II-era planes. Gates open daily at 10 a.m. with shows beginning at 1:30 p.m. Spectators are also invited to visit the aircraft on the ramp before and after the show. CONTACT: (731) 836-7400, dyaab.us
Aug. 21-31, Shelbyville
75th Annual Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration |
Aug. 2-10, Franklin
Celebrating its ninth year, the theme of this year’s fair is “Rock Around the Fair.” Guests can enjoy food, fun, competitive exhibits and more. CONTACT: williamsoncountyfair.org
July 11-27, Elizabethton
Williamson County Fair |
The world championship show of Tennessee’s native breed of show horse. Division champions will be crowned, and the World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse will be named. CONTACT: (931) 684-5951, twhnc.com
“Liberty! The Saga of Sycamore Shoals” | Tennessee’s official outdoor
drama continues for a three-weekend run – Thursdays through Saturdays – in Fort Watauga Amphitheater. CONTACT: sycamoreshoalstn.org
Aug. 30-31, Jackson
African Street Festival | Join in the
celebration of African-American cultural awareness with entertainment, workshops, educational seminars and more. CONTACT: (731) 267-3212, saaca.com
view from the back porch
Playing It Cool
To successfully beat the summer heat, plug in to your imagination
The sun had barely arisen on this clear summer day. Yet Hayes, the neighbor kid, my siblings and I had already put in a full morning. We romped through the wooded path that connected our ranch home and Hayes’ rough-hewn dogtrot house. Later, when the relentless sun scorched us, we’d seek the shadowy breezeway separating his family’s bedrooms from the kitchen. But first, during our play in the woods we discovered an impressive four-foot shed snakeskin near a moss-covered log. “Rattlesnake,” Hayes said with confidence. The more likely species was king, a danger only to the eggs in his family’s hen house. (I’ve since heard about folks placing porcelain white doorknobs and golf balls in chicken houses to trick considered the father of air conditioning. People were less inclined to depend on the capricious breeze of nature once houses were artificially cooled. While I lament less time spent in porch swings and hammocks, I can’t really say I regret the reliability and comfort of artificially cooled air. Refreshed from my air condition binge, I wandered into the bedroom I shared with my younger sister. I could hear the kids outside chanting, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send Pete right over.” I admired their perseverance through the sticky humidity that had transformed this dog day into something more akin to a dead dog day of summer. I opened our closet door. There, amid puzzles and cards, games of Scrabble, Operation, and Candy Land, and our stuffed animal menagerie, I found what I was looking for. The plain black clothcovered book was my secret weapon against summer heat. I don’t recall its exact title but I well remember the awesome subject it covered: Norway. The word alone still gives me goosebumps. I’ll never know how a book about a Scandinavian country worked its way into my possession. And I don’t know that I actually learned much about this exotic land – I believe I thought a fjord was Norwegian for “Ford,” my daddy’s brand of truck. Nonetheless, I was thoroughly captivated by the “Land of the Midnight Sun” and its wintry landscape, far, far removed from my own sun-soaked South. I could sit for hours on the floor of our closet, contemplating Norwegian wonders, happily lost in an ice-capade fantasy. Only delighted screams mixed with laughter wafting in from outside could break my midsummer winter fantasy. That sound could only mean my comrades had pulled out the garden hose and fired up the sprinkler. In one of the most delightful rituals of summer, they were now immersing themselves repeatedly in a kind of action-packed baptism. I closed my book and hurried to join them, eager to receive my own seasonal anointment. H&F
As fried as the proverbial egg on a sizzling
sidewalk, I melted away from our outdoor play, listening to the siren song calling me indoors.
egg-stealing snakes. If the foreign objects are swallowed, the reptiles die from a combination of indigestion and stupidity.) A sand pile at Hayes’ house proved a wonderful spot for building frog houses. We did some shedding of our own, flinging off flip-flops, and dug deep into the sand. Released from vulcanized rubber, our unadorned feet wiggled with delight at the cooling moisture under the sand. We covered our feet, patting the sand in place, then carefully slid out our toes. Tiny dark sand caves for homeless amphibians remained. Next we scrounged up shuttlecocks and racquets. None of us knew the rules of badminton. But that didn’t stop us from gleefully whacking at the webby plastic objects, aiming more for opponents than points. We tried to scrounge up a croquet set, but a couple of the balls and most of the wickets were missing. Besides, by now, even our prodigious energy had waned as the sun had waxed onward and upward. As fried as the proverbial egg on a sizzling sidewalk, I melted away from our outdoor play, listening to the siren song calling me indoors. I tippied-toed inside, hoping to avoid Mama. If she saw me acting like a human blockade in front of the air conditioner, she would shoo me away. Even now, I still love the magic of an air conditioner. One time, I visited the tiny Apalachicola, Fla., museum that pays tribute to John Gorrie, the physician and inventor
About the Author
Nancy Dorman-Hickson, author, writer/editor and speaker, co-wrote Diplomacy and Diamonds, the memoir of Joanne King Herring. She has also edited the “Tennessee Living” section of Southern Living and served on the staff of Progressive Farmer. Read more at nancydormanhickson.com.