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Author Archives: Sheila Ingle

Our Spring Gardens

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PLANT THREE ROWS OF PEAS:
Peace of mind
Peace of heart
Peace of soul

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PLANT FOUR ROWS OF SQUASH:
Squash gossip
Squash indifference
Squash grumbling
Squash selfishness

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PLANT FOUR ROWS OF LETTUCE:
Lettuce be faithful
Lettuce be kind
Lettuce be patient
Lettuce really love one another

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NO GARDEN IS WITHOUT TURNIPS:
Turnip for meetings
Turnip for service
Turnip to help one another

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TO CONCLUDE OUR GARDEN WE MUST HAVE THYME:
Thyme for each other
Thyme for family
Thyme for friends

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Water freely with patience and cultivate with love. There is much fruit in your garden because you reap what you sow. ~Unknown

Whether it is a flower garden or a vegetable garden, they both require hard work to flourish. My grandmother Lulu always had a vegetable garden on Mirror Lake Farm in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Her family and friends ate from its bounty all year long. A ginormous freezer chest in her basement was full at the end of the summer and ready to fill up again in the spring. Besides freezing the vegetables, the sleeping porch was full of Mason jars, always within hands-reach. Even into her 80’s, she worked a smaller plot.

The phrase “garden to table” was not used when Lulu was living, but that was the way she lived. It was her lifestyle.

In the late 1920’s, when she was twenty-eight and the mother of two boys and a daughter, Lulu and my grandfather moved to the farm on Mt. Eden Road. While the two-story farm house was built, they lived in the garage. This wooden building was basically one room. She washed dishes and clothes in a tin tub and cooked on a wood stove. There was a porcelain tub for bathing, and water came from the well. Every day, she fed the workers who built her home. She kept a coffee pot full and made biscuits each day to fill them up.

With all this going on every day, she was active in their church and home schooled her children. Lucile Hitt Collins was a generous, Southern lady, who had the gift of hospitality.

I believe Lulu knew what the above poem is talking about. Her own garden of daily living was an unselfish one, and she gave of her time to make the lives of others better. All through her life, I saw her taking joy from the flowers and vegetables in her garden. Every year, toward the end of February or the first of March, she would call my mom to tell her that the daffodils were finally blooming. Winters in that part of Kentucky sometimes isolated her from her friends and the town, so a sign of spring was time to celebrate. Those daffodils spoke joy and warmth to her.

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So what shall I plant in my daily garden? What about you?

As Roy. T. Bennett said, ““Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people.”

 

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“Charleston Receipts”

I was born at Roper Hospital in Charleston and brought home to a first floor apartment at 128 Wentworth Street (photo below). My grandparents lived in another apartment above us on the second floor.

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From that point on, I have been all about Charleston, SC, even though we only lived there for my first three years.

One of the cookbooks my mother owned, and I now have, is the first edition of Charleston Receipts, published by the Junior League of Charleston. Hers was published in 1950, the first printing., and is well worn. This is the oldest Junior League cookbook still in print. It contains 750 recipes, Gullah verses, and sketches by various Charleston artists. In many ways, I believe it is a history book of my birthplace, not just a culinary history.

Elizabeth O’Neill Verner designed the green cover, and her sketches of St. Philip’s Church and St. Michael’s Church are included. Gullah cooks and Charleston hostesses both served these dishes for decades. The recipes were influenced by the family cooks, many of whom spoke the Gullah dialect, a centuries-old Atlantic Creole language that is illustrated and preserved throughout the pages of Charleston Receipts.
Raised in Kentucky, my daddy had never eaten grits until his freshman year at the Citadel. When he declined to spoon any grits onto his plate at his first breakfast, he was invited by an upperclassman to enjoy the whole bowl. For an extra taste of it, another bowl was provided from the kitchen. From then on, his favorite breakfast was grits, eggs, bacon, and biscuits.
Hominy or grits has always been a favorite in the low country of South Carolina. A poem included in this cookbook with the section on hominy and rice says:
Never call it “Hominy Grits”
Or you will give Charlestonians fits!
When it comes from the mill, it’s “grist”;
After you cook it well, I wisht,
You serve “hominy”! Do not skimp;
Serve butter with it and lots of shrimp.
In 1948, Charlestonians Martha Lynch Humphreys and Margaret B. Walker devoted themselves to compiling family recipes, most of which had never been documented. After four months of compiling and organizing, they decided on printing 2,000 copies. They sold out in four days!
“Yes, it is a collection of recipes, but the word “receipt” was used, and this is why.
Julie Daniels, a past president of the community-minded Junior League of Charleston calls it a document of a different, more leisurely time. “This was when people enjoyed supper at 3 o’clock in the afternoon,” says Daniels, “it’s when you’d bring out the china and the nice silverware. They celebrated the food.” Daniels says “some of these recipes are as old as Southern cooking itself.”
In browsing through this specialty cookbook, I believe that the majority of dishes are what we call comfort food today. Cream, butter, cheese, bacon, and sugar are used in abundance.
This legend was inducted into the McIlhenny Hall of Fame, an award given for book sales that exceed 100,000 copies.

 

Here are a couple of receipts.
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Peppermint Stick Ice Cream Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

1 cup milk

1 pint heavy cream

1/2 pound peppermint stick candy, crushed

Directions:

1. Heat milk in top of double-boiler; add candy and stir constantly until dissolved.

2. Pour into tray of refrigerator and chill.

3. Whip cream until thickened, but not stiff, and fold into chilled candy mixture.

4. Pour back into tray freeze with control set at coldest point, until firm. Stir once or twice during freezing.

5. Serve with hot fudge sauce.

Mrs. John Laurens (May Rose)

The ladies of the Charleston Junior League prepared this dish for Queen Elizabeth II during her 1957 trip to the U.S., and presented her with a copy of Charleston Receipts:

How could you chop off its cute little head?

Cooter Soup

1 large or 2 small “yellow belly” cooters (preferably female)
1 large onion, chopped
Salt, to taste
2 teaspoons allspice
Red pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons dry sherry
4 quarts water
1 small Irish potato, diced
12 whole cloves
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
Flour to thicken

Kill cooter by chopping off head. Let it stand inverted until thoroughly drained, then plunge into boiling water for five minutes. Crack the shall all around very carefully, so as not to cut the eggs which are lodged near surface. The edible parts are the front and hind quarters and a strip of white meat adhering to the back of the shell, the liver and the eggs. Remove all outer skin, which peels very easily if water is hot enough. Wash thoroughly and allow to stand in cold water a short while, or place in refrigerator overnight.

Boil cooter meat, onion and potato in the water, and cook until meat drops from bones – about 2 hours. Remove all bones and skin and cut meat up with scissors. Return meat to stock, add spices and simmer. Brown flour in skillet, mix with 1 cup of stock to smooth paste and thicken soup. Twenty minutes before serving add cooter eggs. Add sherry and garnish with thin slices of lemon. Serves 6-8.

-Mrs. Clarence Steinhart (Kitty Ford)

 

Charleston has a landscape that encourages intimacy and partisanship. I have heard it said that an inoculation to the sights and smells of the Carolina lowcountry is an almost irreversible antidote to the charms of other landscapes, other alien geographies. You can be moved profoundly by other vistas, by other oceans, by soaring mountain ranges, but you can never be seduced. You can even forsake the lowcountry, renounce it for other climates, but you can never completely escape the sensuous, semitropical pull of Charleston and her marshes. Pat Conroy

Delving into Charleston Receipts places Charleston on your own dining room table wherever you live.

Charleston Library Society

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Established December 28th, 1748 by nineteen young gentlemen of various trades and professions wishing to avail themselves of the latest publications from Great Britain, these men wished not only to keep abreast of the intellectual issues of the day but also to “save their descendants from sinking into savagery.” Ten pounds sterling bought their first order.

The initial group consisted of nine mer­­­­chants, two lawyers, a schoolmaster, a physician, two planters and a peruke maker (wig-maker).

  • Alexander Baron, schoolmaster from Scotland
  • Morton Brailsford, merchant
  • Samuel Brailsford, merchant
  • Robert Brisbane, merchant
  • John Cooper, merchant and distiller
  • James Grindlay, lawyer
  • William Logan, merchant
  • Alexander McCauley, peruke (wig) maker
  • Patrick McKie, physican
  • Thomas Middleton, planter
  • John Neufville, merchant
  • Thomas Sacheverell, planter
  • John Sinclair, merchant
  • Charles Stevenson, merchant
  • Peter Timothy, printer
  • Joseph Wragg, merchant
  • Samuel Wragg, merchant

 

First, they ordered pamphlets and magazines from London that had been printed the year before. Then they started ordering books; copies of classical books were a priority. The society was “in a large measure, a social club,” and by 1750 had about 160 members. Leaders in Charlestown’s society coveted membership.

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View of Charleston by W.R. Miller, 1853

Below is a water rice mill drawing view of SC John Drayton, original bound books, and an early painting.

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As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”

This organization paved the way for the founding of the College of Charleston in 1770; a goal of the membership was to promote education. By purchasing scientific instruments and providing regional exhibits, they promoted the study of the regional natural history. This was the origins for the founding of the Charleston Museum (the first in America) in 1773.

This collection was quite mobile. At first, elected librarians safeguarded the Library’s materials in their homes. In 1755, William Henderson was elected librarian of the Society, and collecting he moved the collections into the Free School (of which he was headmaster) on Broad Street. From 1765 until 1778, it resided in the upstairs of Gabriel Manigault’s liquor warehouse. In 1792, the collection was transferred to the upper floor of the Statehouse, currently the County Courthouse at Broad and Meeting.

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From 1835 until its 1914 move to the current King Street location, the Charleston Library Society occupied the Bank of South Carolina building at the corner of Church and Broad Streets. For their building fund, they sold “brick” memberships to the public.

This video takes us up the steps and inside the Library.

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Open for luncheons, author events, weddings, research, meetings, and whiling away a morning in the middle of another world, the Library is a popular venue in Charleston today. The newspaper collection dates back to 1732. The materials housed in the Library Society’s Archives and Special Collections contain more than 14,500 rare books, 5,000 rare and semi-rare pamphlets, 400 manuscript collections, and 470 maps and plats.

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“In 1914 the Library Society moved to its current location at 164 King Street. This was the first building to house our collection that was designed and built for the Society. Here, in this new building, members like DuBose Heyward, John Bennett, Beatrice Witte Ravenel, Albert Simons, Josephine Pinckney, and many others, studied and read and wrote, diligently weaving the cultural fabric of 20th-century Charleston.”

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Aren’t we grateful that those 19 young men believed in the importance of reading?

Louis L’Amour put it this way, “For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time.”

     

 

 

Hobos During the Great Depression — Sheila Ingle

HiStoryThruTheAges

Today I’m happy to welcome author Sheila Ingle as she shares some of the history behind her latest story. Read through to the end to find out how to enter for a chance to win Tales of a Cosmic Possum.

It was the worst of times. President Franklin D. Roosevelt described America during the Great Depression as a nation “dying by inches.”

When the stock market crashed on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, people lost everything. Not only their jobs and their money, but also their homes, cars, and peace of mind.

A hobo is a traveling vagabond who goes on and off trains looking for work. Hobos couldn’t buy tickets, so they sneaked onto trains. They would run beside the train, grab onto to it, and then climb in. Hence, the name riding the rails.

 In Union, South Carolina, there was a hobo camp/jungle where the Buffalo…

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“Brave Elizabeth”

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Brave Elizabeth is a biography of Elizabeth Jackson, the mother of President Andrew Jackson.

I believe that environment and heredity influence a person, and it was fascinating to me to research the mother of one of our Presidents; here is a snippet of her life.

Andrew and Elizabeth Jackson were living in Boneybefore, Ireland, in 1764. They were tenant farmers and not making enough money from their crops and sheep to make ends meet. Taxes continued to go up, and the weather continued to cast blights on their harvests. The Scotch-Irish couple worked hard, but life under the British rule was a hard-scrabbble existence. Disrespect and prejudice for their Presbyterian religion was also challenging.

A new life in a new land captured their thoughts.

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In April, 1765, Andrew and Elizabeth Jackson crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the colonies with their two children. Hugh was two, and Robert only a babe. The eight week voyage from Larne, Ireland, was uneventful.

They bought land close to Elizabeth’s family and erected a small one-room cabin. They planted crops and started over. Happily for two years, the Jacksons worked hard and struggled to eke out a living in this red clay, but in March, 1767, an accident occurred.

While chopping wood on a cold, spring day, Andrew Jackson had an accident and died shortly thereafter. Elizabeth, nine months pregnant with their third son, was a widow at thirty with all the responsibilities of a single mother in 18th Century America.

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Though small in stature, Elizabeth was strong and resilient in spirit. She adapted to life’s changes and disappointments and put other’s needs before herself. Working hard and pushing forward through challenges was the model she set for her sons.

After Andrew’s death, her sister and brother-in-law, Jane and James Crawford, asked Elizabeth to move in with their family. Jane had been sick for several years and needed help with the housekeeping. Their eight children needed more supervision than she could give, so the Jacksons joined the Crawford household.

“I was born in South Carolina, as I have been told at the plantation whereon James Crawford lived about one mile from the Carolina road of the Waxhaw Creek……”
— Andrew Jackson, 1824

Busy with the daily chores of planning and preparing meals for 14 individuals in a fireplace, tending to the needs of 11 children and her ailing sister, mending, spinning, managing a garden, churning, etc., Elizabeth continued to weave cloth for the community. She earned money from the neighbors by selling it and was known for the quality and expertise of her work.

Elizabeth wanted her sons to have a formal education. All three attended the church and community schools, but Hugh and Robert had more aptitude for outdoor activities, and they wanted to farm. Andy learned to read at an early age, and his mother thought he might become a minister. His personality was not for a scholar’s life though, and the Revolutionary War interrupted his education.

Elizabeth’s faith in God and His Providence was a major ingredient in her character. She had a small Bible that she carried in her pocket and prayed often.  She taught her sons the importance of obedience to the Bible’s teachings and encouraged them in their loyalty to each other and the rest of their family. Elizabeth urged deeds and words honoring God, family, and country. She and her family attended the Waxhaws Presbyterian Church.

The Waxhaws settlement was connected to Charleston via the Catawba Path, also known as the Camden Salisbury Road, with many travelers. Merchants and Indian traders carried their wares to markets. Farmers drove their cattle to sale. New settlers in the Conestoga wagons or on foot were daily visitors. All of these travelers kept trade, culture, and news flowing into the upcountry where the Jackson family lived. Because of the proximity of the Crawford home, visitors kept them in the know with information and intelligence.

On June, 20, 1779, sixteen-year-old Hugh died after the Battle of Stono Ferry near Charlestown. The two hour battle was not a win for the Patriots, but the militia fought bravely. Hugh was not wounded but died of heat exhaustion.

Elizabeth nursed the dying and wounded after the Battle of Waxhaws. She hid with her family from the British, as they stole and burned the patriots’ farms.

Robert and Andy were under the command of the experienced Major William Richardson Davie. Because of his youth, only 13, Andy served as a messenger. Guerrilla warfare and destruction was the aim of both sides, and enemy neighbors paid back old insults.

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Then in the spring of 1781 both Robert and Andy were captured by the British, along with others in the Waxhaws militia. They were taken to the Camden Jail. Smallpox was in every cell, and before long both boys were afflicted.

Elizabeth Jackson was determined to rescue her sons from this hell hole. She audaciously went to see Lord Rawdon and asked for him to add her sons’ names to a prisoner exchange that was in the works. He was not unhappy to release two sick prisoners.

Their mother nursed them for several weeks, but Robert was too weak and died. She never left Andy’s side until he could walk by himself.

     Horrific tales about how the Patriots were being treated on the British prison ships in the harbor of Charlestown began to circulate. Elizabeth found out that several of her nephews were on those ships suffering with cholera. Knowing their chances to survive were small without some kind of nursing, Elizabeth and a couple of women from the Waxhaws community decided they needed to go help the young men. In the fall of 1781, three women left home on a mission of mercy.

Elizabeth’s nephews survived, but she did not. She caught cholera and was buried in an unmarked grave in Charleston.

Elizabeth taught her sons the (1) difference between right and wrong, freedom and oppression (2) the importance of helping family and friends (2) reverence for truth, justice, and freedom, (3) a deep patriotic devotion to country.

      Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson was a Patriot, a SC Revolutionary War Heroine, and the mother of President Andrew Jackson. Her story is worth remembering.

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Be Kind

Over the past week, I have been slammed with reading about kindness or hearing stories about how being kind can change lives. I thought I would share a few with you.

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I read a story about a bubbly, older woman visiting a book store. Talking to the clerk, she added chocolate to her stack for her husband waiting patiently in the car. Then a college student slammed down heavy tomes on the counter beside her. Looking at his face, she grabbed up the books and said, “Put these on my bill.” The young man loudly protested, but she was determined. She decided he needed chocolate candy, too. As he walked out the door with his sack, he turned back to her with an uncertain smile, “Bless you, ma’am.”

“Why did you do that, ma’am? Wasn’t that a little crazy? You didn’t know that boy from Adam’s house cat,” asked the woman, as she packed up the smiling customer’s buys.

“Oh, my son is incarcerated now. Drugs just took him over. Nothing we could do or say helped him. I tried to bring him up right, love him, and teach him the difference between right and wrong, but somehow he chose another path. Maybe, just maybe, if someone had been kind to him, it would have made a difference.”

Still smiling, she reached inside her purse and handed the clerk a piece of chocolate. “Be kind,” and she bounced out the door.

Then this morning, our teacher read the familiar story of the Good Samaritan, as part of our lesson. There was a little bit of enmity between the Samaritans and the Jews, and that is putting it mildly. Luke 10 describes a Jewish traveler who is attacked by thieves and left by the road for dead. First, a Jewish priest and then a Levite see the man and walk on by. Next a Samaritan journeyed on that same road, saw the naked and bruised man, stopped,  and put oil and wine on his wounds. But that wasn’t all; the Samaritan took the hurt man to an inn to be cared for and paid for his stay. Jesus tells us to do the same as the Samaritan and be kind.

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We have precious neighbors: Emily and her three children are the best. We hadn’t been home long today when Emily, her eight-year-old daughter Eliza, and cousin knocked on the door. They had seen our dogs Kita and Folly in the middle of one of the roads close to our house. There are plenty of neighborhood dogs around us, and all enjoy walking. With two days of rain, there had been no walks. Somehow the two escape artists opened the gate and found freedom. The girls wanted to help catch them and were following John when the two dogs came bounding up the sidewalk. Sweet Eliza told me we were always doing nice things for them, and today was their day to help us. Emily and I both smiled at that.

What a sweet heart this child has! She knows about being kind.

Do you remember a movie called “Pay It Forward?” A teacher gave an assignment to his class middle schoolers to design a project that would change the world. Seventh grade Trevor decides that good deeds for others would be a novel adventure. The title of the movie is the title of his project. And, yes, kindness changes lives even in a movie.

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Seems like kindness should be our first choice…. will you join me?

 

Cotton Mill Women — Sheila Ingle

HiStoryThruTheAges

Today I’m happy to welcome author Sheila Ingle as she shares about the history behind her story. Read through to the end to find out how to enter to win a copy of her book, “Tales of a Cosmic Possum”.

Cotton mills in North and South Carolina hit a boom in the late nineteenth century, and hundreds of mills were built. They advertised for workers from the mountains and the farms. Employment benefits were posted, and company men visited homes to encourage families to move to the mill villages. Mill workers were promised a home, a school for their children, and a weekly pay check. For those, bound to worn-out farms, a mill village sounded like the “promised land.” They traded a lifestyle governed by the seasons to a lifestyle controlled by a mill whistle.

Adjusting to life in mill villages was not easy. Work hours were long, and the…

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