Summers on the farm (Chicken and Corn)

I had the greatest intentions of keeping up with all the changes around here and blogging about them.  Yeah, right!  Life as always intervenes:)  I think I shall work to renew that promise.  Cross your fingers.

Today, however, I made something that takes me back to much younger days…..  Growing up in Eastern NC, on a farm, with extended family was a wonderful life.  I realize that now, looking back through the years.  I don’t know that I could have been convinced of that at the time.  In the summer we worked really, really hard.  The men in the family growing tobacco, corn, soybeans and hay.  Those were the crops that paid the bills.  The women grew our food.  Grandmama had a garden, as did my Aunt Pat and Mama.  These were not small gardens by any means.  I would say easily an acre to an acre and a half each.   This did not include the sweet corn, the potatoes or the peanuts.  We kids, well we were cheap labor, for the regular crops but especially for the gardens.    If you weren’t barning tobacco, you were in the garden.  It was nothing to get up in the morning and barn tobacco all day, finish supper, get the kitchen clean, shower and start shelling beans.  Once shelled or snapped or whatever, we cleaned them and put them up for later.  We canned or froze most of our food for the winter.   The ebb and flow of what was ready to harvest defined what you did each day.

Excellent example  – For my whole childhood and teenage years July the 4th meant something else in addition to the usual meaning.  July the 4th weekend was when the sweet corn was ready.  The men left at the crack of dawn to pull the corn.  The ladies and kids were waiting under the shade tree to start shucking.  We would be in a circle with a tobacco sheet laid out in the middle.   We would shuck and the husks and silks went on the tobacco sheet.   Once the ears were shucked and cleaned they were blanched and cooled in coolers of ice water.  Then really nice ears were selected to be frozen on the cob, the rest was cut off the cob.  The kids who weren’t old enough to wield a paring knife ran the ears of corn in and the cobs out.  Then the corn was bagged and hauled to the freezers.  The best part of the day was dinner……..  Grandmama always made Chicken and Corn.  Simply the best roasted chicken and roasted corn.  I would always put some vinegar from the cucumbers, onions and tomatoes on my corn.  Life could get no sweeter.  Somehow, no-one wrote down exactly how Grandmama cooked it.  We would get close but no cigar so to speak.  I have worked on that recipe for a while.  Today – nailed it!


Chicken and Corn

  • 1 chicken about 4-5 pounds
  • 16 ears of fresh sweet corn
  • salt
  • pepper
  • canola or olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   Cut up a chicken and put in a roaster or heavy dutch oven. Salt and pepper the chicken, drizzle a little canola or olive oil over it.  Roast for 45 minutes, turning the chicken over half way.  When the time is up take it out of the oven.  Leave the oven at 400 and whatever you do don’t get rid of the drippings.

Meanwhile,  you will need about 16 ears of corn.  Shuck and silk it, blanch it for 3 minutes and cool in ice bath.  Cut the corn off the cob and pick out any remaining silks.  When the 45 minutes are up.  Put the corn in the pot with the chicken.  Salt and pepper it.  Arrange the chicken skin side up on/in the corn.  Add enough water to just cover the corn.  Put it back in the oven for another 40 minutes.  Stir it, taste it and add salt and pepper as needed.  Stir again and put it back in for another 20 minutes.

Take it out of the oven and gaze in awe at the deliciousness you have created.  Then sit down and enjoy.  Make sure to put a little cucumber vinegar on the corn for the full bliss.

Cucumbers, onions (scallions) and tomatoes in vinegar

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • sugar

Mix the vinegar and water at a 50/50 ratio.  Add salt, pepper and sugar.  Taste and adjust to your liking.  (you are making a quick pickle brine essentially).  Slice the cukes, scallions and tomatoes into the brine.  Let them sit for a little while – maybe 20-30 minutes if you can wait that long.  Munch.

Hope you try this and enjoy.

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Long Time No Speak

Hello.  I haven’t spoken to you in a long time.  Life here has been somewhat on the crazy side.  I put the house up for sale……  The whole summer I worked like crazy out at the farm.  I cut weeds, moved wood and generally cleaned.  The house finally sold on November 30th.  I had purchased a camper to stay in once I sold the house.  Can I just say that trying to set up a camper to live in is waaay more trouble than it is worth.  I did finally manage to move in but I was homeless for nearly 2 weeks.  The people who bought my house wanted my chicken coop – so I quickly purchased another one.  The ladies went ahead and moved out to the farm.  I stayed with my former neighbors for a week then moved out to my new neighbors for several days.  I finally moved in the week before Christmas.

The adventure began that day!!!!

More later!


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The first greening……

Today I went to see if the pecan trees were leafing out.  The farm was glowing with many different shades of green.  Such a beautiful place.

The pecans are leafing out!

The pecans are leafing out!

The daffodils had some flowers, which made me so happy.  I was afraid that they had been damaged when the brush was cleared on Valentine’s Day.

DSC_0157 DSC_0161

I feel like a kid at Christmas every time I go out to the farm.  I look around and I can’t believe that this place is mine.  I will get to live here – soon I hope.   The “grass” is growing and I’ll need to bush hog again soon.   I don’t get to play at the farm this weekend.  I have to clean the house.  My realtor is having photos taken for the listing – it most likely will do better if it’s clean.  It will officially be for sale next week.

I’m moving on to a wonderful place, a place I will create for myself and my kids.


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A new blog beginning……

So it has been precisely 1 year and 11 months since I last posted on my blog.  Since then my world has changed as much or more than it did the previous 2 years.  I survived breast cancer beginning in June of 2011.  I made it through diagnosis, a double mastectomy, port placement, chemotherapy, the agony of tissue expanders, radiation therapy, a total hysterectomy and finally reconstruction of my breasts.  In the midst of this my beloved father was diagnosed with Stage 4 (metastatic) colon cancer.  He too joined the whirlwind that is cancer.  To my sorrow, despite a hell of a fight, daddy didn’t make it.  I lost him on February 1, 2013.  The day following his funeral my mother was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer.  This after surviving colon cancer 25 years earlier.  She too, put up a hell of fight, trying every possible option.   She didn’t make it either, dying on November 2, 2013.  I was left with a wonderful Stepmother and a wonderful Stepfather, my brother and stepsister.  I have my beloved daughter and son, but somewhere in there I lost my husband.  You hear that serious illness will either bring you closer together or will tear you apart, we fell into the later category.

That’s how I found myself at nearly 51 starting over.   Over the last 8 months I’ve done a lot of soul searching, crying and mourning the loss of nearly 20 years of my life.  I have 2 marvelous children to show for it, a cat, a full time dog and a part time dog.

With the freedom of being single, the “hell yeah, I can do it” attitude from my father and a small inheritance from my mother I’m fulfilling an old dream.  I have bought land, long neglected and plan to sell my home of nearly 17 years.  Then I will build myself a little house on my farm.  I’m going back to the farm life I swore I would never go back to so many years ago.  I’ve got a little tractor, a really cute chicken coop and 8 young ladies who will help me make my dream a reality.

So come along for the ride…..Things are never dull here.

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The Garden

The Baby Garden - Day 2

The Baby Garden – Day 2

Sorry, I’ve been gone a while.  Many things are happening in my world.  Some good, some bad.  I am trying to find a middle road where I can remain intact.  For the past 3 weeks or so I have been working on creating a garden.

I grew up on a tobacco farm in Eastern North Carolina.  We had a large garden as we grew and preserved most all of our vegetables.  I HATED it.  I bitched and moaned and groaned the entire time each summer.  We would work like mad to harvest, prepare and store the produce.  Sweet corn was planted in a separate field.  It usually was ready sometime around the first of July.  My dad, granddad and uncle along with the men who worked for them would go at dawn and pull the ears of corn.  The kids and older ladies would sit under the pecan trees with tobacco sheets (large burlap sheets) spread in front of us.  We would shuck all the corn.  Then it would go inside to the younger women who would wash and blanch the corn.  We would cool it down in ice.  Then the perfect ears were bagged whole.  The rest was cut off the cob and bagged.  Then it was placed in the freezers.

The rest of the produce was prepared along all summer long.  Really looking back veggies have never been so good.  My family has string beans that have been in our family for five generations.  We save seed every year.  I am the only one left with seeds.  I miss those beans – they are the best.   So now for the irony.

I now live in a neighborhood.  I guess it qualifies as Suburbian.   I finally convinced my husband to let me take over the side yard in back for a garden.  My prior attempts haven’t gone well – too much slope and too much clay in the soil.  My new idea –  raised beds.  We had to take our wood privacy fence down for the city to repair a storm drain that runs under our property.  We have decided to not put it back up and use a radio frequency collar system to keep the dogs in. So I now have a lot of wood available.

I have been popping boards off the fence and measuring them.  My husband bless him, has been cutting boards and constructing the beds.  I have been tormenting my children for 3 weeks now getting the beds in place and mixing the compost, vermiculite and peat moss for the soil.

Above is the fruit of our labor.  Nearly finished with the last 3 beds.  Just need to pick up Vermiculite and mix in – then the rest of the plants.

I have a baby garden!!

Well Deserved Reward - Day

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THURSDAY, JULY 7, 2011 9:11 PM, CDT

  • I believe I promised a glimpse back into my journey when I started this blog.  Tonight I give you my first post.
  • Test Results
 – So we are 2 weeks into the journey.  We met with the Breast Surgeon today and the Plastic Surgeon for final operative plan.  Based on the histology reports my cancer is moderately differentiated.  It is strongly Estrogen receptor positive (98%), Progesterone receptor positive (84%), and HER-2 negative.  This is good news. This type of cancer responds well to hormone based chemotherapy.  The breast MRI sized the tumor at 2.8 cm – smaller yeah.  No other tumor either side.  No worrisome nodes.  The CT scan of my chest, abdomen and pelvis were negative for metastasis.  There were a couple of enlarged nodes in the right axilla.  My bone scans were also negative for metastasis.  This puts me at a Stage 2A for now.  Final stage will be determined by final pathology after the surgery. 
  • I have decided to remove both of my breasts for several reasons.  1.  The cancer is mixed ductal and lobular and there is a small but increased risk of primary breast cancer in the opposite breast.  2.  My family history sucks.  3.  I have lumps everywhere on both sides and I really don’t think I can handle another lump after this one.  4.  It didn’t show up on a mammogram – so how do we monitor the other side?  Also the new ones will match.

My head is in a good place for now.  I am cracking boob jokes.  I plan to work up until surgery.

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When Time Is Not Enough…..

I sit here tonight thinking after drowning my sorrows in a bottle (hic) of my current favorite wine. (Apothic Red) On February first I lost my father to metastatic colon cancer. My daddy – my knight in shining armor. I have always been his shadow – the child most like him. I still expect the phone to ring and to hear his voice on the other end of the line. I could always call him and get a good dose of reality and love. Now he’s gone and I don’t have that voice to depend on. I didn’t have enough time to spend with him – my children didn’t have enough time to know the wonderful man he was.

Today I get the news that my mother has metastatic pancreatic cancer. She has already beaten colon cancer 25 years ago and now she faces that battle again. Her odds are half the odds my father had to survive a year 23% to 48%. My mother and I have a complicated relationship. She didn’t like my father very much when they split – I was just like him – ergo she didn’t like me very much. After many years I have come to realize I love my mother – I just don’t like her very much. Now as the medical professional in the family I am the tower of support – that is my part to play. I am the hard ass who says cure is not a possibility – at this point it is palliation only. I am the one who bursts all the optimistic bubbles that say all will be well. I sit here and revisit my own mortality as I too have had the cancer diagnosis. I wonder what badness is running through my veins that I am unaware of. I wonder how I will tell my children that their Granny will most likely not survive the year. Why is this my burden to bear – why can’t I have goodness and light to share? How soon will I have to tell my children that I too am dying? Tell them that I am mortal and will not live to see another year.

I think others see the cancer diagnosis, the surgery, the chemo and the radiation and think your fight is over – you won – you beat the cancer. But that is so not the end of the story. Every thing you do is predicated with the thought that this could be the last time – your last chance for “blank”. I hope that as a society we learn that therein lays fallacy. Those who have had a cancer diagnosis are never free from that diagnosis – we live each day in fear that the beast will return. We fear that we will not be strong enough to defeat it this time. Realize this and be gentle……..

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The Great Fake Boobie Knitalong

Today I’m joining several of my friends from the indigodragonfly Ravelry group in a Knitalong.

This is my second KAL (Knitalong) but it is perhaps the most personally important one I’ll ever do. We are knitting a beautiful scarf by Anne Hanson of Knitspot fame called Aria Delicato. We are knitting it in a very special yarn “Yes They’re Fake – The Real Ones Tried To Kill Me” Yes, the same yarn whose picture was my first post on this blog. I named this yarn and gave input into the colour design in an auction to benefit a Canadian Charity The Canadian Breast Cancer Support Fund last June. Kim McBrien of indigodragonfly very generously donated her time and talent to support the fund. I was very fortunate during my treatment for Breast Cancer and financially did not have any difficulty. But so many are not so fortunate and this was a way for me to give back (and get yummy yarn too;)

Rayna AKA CrystalDiva is one of my new very good Canadian friends and a proud possessor of one the 4 skeins in existence. She is blogging the story of the KAL here CrystalDiva. Please read her blog as I think she does a wonderful job of introducing the KAL. She is planning to continue to blog through this and I probably will too. I am however, very new at this blogging business – so I’ll continue to link to her.

Now I’m gonna start knitting!

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Becoming a wondrous thing…..

I thought tonight about the marvel that is knitting. You take 2 sticks and some string. Then you make a knot. You use the sticks to manipulate the string and soon – you have something. A scarf, gloves, socks, a sweater, really anything you want. You choose yarn that speaks to you, that has a feel that you want to constantly touch. What color is your mood today? Soon that yarn with the help of you and your sticks has become a wondrous thing. Even better you have become a creator. Better yet – you have a new wondrous thing to wear and use……..

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So……. Yesterday was my 20th annual 29th Birthday. I find it mind boggling that I am 49 years young. I can very easily think back to when I thought people my age were nearly dead. They certainly shouldn’t do the things that I do as a routine. Inside my head where it counts I’m merely a wiser version of me in my twenties. Granted, I have places that hurt in the morning when I wake up and I don’t remember doing anything to myself. There is certainly a lot more of me now than when I was in my twenties but, otherwise I’m still the same me. It’s quite interesting.

My hubby and kids gave me a wonderful birthday gift. I got 2 volumes of Emily Dickinson’s poetry circa 1898. Lovely little green and gilt volumes. I love books and I love old books even more. That musty smell that wafts up from the pages, used to tell me that I was about to go on an adventure in my head. Don’t get me wrong I love my Nook and my iPad. I love the fact that I can instantly get a new book to read, but, inside I am still a bibliophile. The weight of the book in my hands, the touch of the cover, the feel of the pages as they turn are tactile adjuncts to the wonders you are reading. I love to see my books all lined up on the shelf – all the stories just waiting for me. This was an awesome and unexpected birthday gift, they did good.

On the knitting front I am sewing up The Red Sweater From Hell(RSFH). I am gonna get this thing finished prior to the 4th anniversary of it’s start. I cannot play with any of my luscious indigodragonfly yarn until it is done. This particular carrot is working very well. Especially since I indulged myself in a lot more of it for my Birthday Present to myself. So off to hit the RSFH again….. Until next time.

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