Sunday, December 11, 2016

Our Sharecroppers Are Decorating for Christmas


 


Are your Christmas gifts wrapped and ready?
Have you put up your tree?
Our SHARECROPPERS are beginning to decorate their SHOTGUN HOUSES. . .
and MS. HER CROW is headed their way with a load of cypress, cedar and pine trees. . .
cut from the banks of the PEMISCOT BAYOU (Dell Ditch). . .




They don't have a lot of money to spend on STORE-BOUGHT decorations. . .
so they make-do with what they have. . .or what can be found. . .

I think Cowboy has done the most decorating, so far. . .






We won't ask whose pants those are. . .
They look large enough for Santa, don't they? But, they're the right Christmas colors. . .




Cowboy's neighbors. . . the Turners. . . 
are waiting for the Christmas trees to arrive before finishing with their decorations. . .
but  they have started with. . .

a WREATH at the door. . .




and one for their prize laying hen, Harriet. . .




 Won't be long until our Sharecroppers will be ready for SANTA. . .
He'll be visiting CHRISTMAS EVE. . .at MIDNIGHT




He stops at the DUNCAN FARMSTEAD every Christmas Eve. . .
to visit with the animals. . .and to rest a little. . .
John and I spied him one Christmas. . .

Read about it at:




Young or Old. . .Rich or Poor. . .Make-do or Store-bought. . .
We all look forward to another Christmas together with family and friends. . .
on our little DELTA FARM.


**************



We are also featured in the HOLIDAY ISSUE OF DELTA CROSSROADS. . .
with my Granddaddy's Christmas Letter from 1938. . .
and other stories about Christmases Past with our family.

and turn to pages 31-36.



 HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY !!!!
FROM ALL OF US HERE AT THE FARM



 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Cotton In My Sack



I have a confession. . .I have never picked cotton long enough to fill a 'pick sack'. . .or even get enough to feel the weight of it as the bag is pulled behind me. . .Chop cotton--yes--I've done my share of that. . .No picking it, though. . .

When I was growing up, we still used cotton pickers in the fields, along with a small mechanical picker. . .Every Fall we had people come in to pick. . .many from Mexico and spoke little English. . .That vision of pickers in the field comes to mind every year about this time. . .




Once during my Senior year in High School, we went to several fields to pick cotton. . .The farmers had given us certain areas to pick so that we could raffle off a bale of cotton for class money. . .A bale back then weighed about 500 pounds. . .A lot of cotton. . .There were only a few girls in the class. . .more guys. . .so some of us females talked the guys into pulling the long heavy bag, while we all picked. . .It was still hard, back-breaking work. . .But ever since, I've intended to actually pick at least half of a pick sack. . .


 The morning came when I had to make a decision to try my hand at cotton picking with a six foot long bag. . .It was early dawn as I walked out to the field behind our home. . .Cloudy. . .Threatening rain. .  .


I have to admit, it was a little daunting as I looked out over the fields, trying to put myself in the place of the pickers and what they must have felt looking at those acres and acres of cotton before them. . .I was lucky. . .I had a back-up. . .I was doing it for fun, too. . .not as a matter of survival. . .


In the early light, I headed for the field. . .with visions of my all time favorite book by Lois Lenski. . .thinking about all those tenants and sharecroppers of the past. . .



This is proof positive that I actually did pick. . .but you'll note, I'm sure, that there's not much in the sack. . .or off the rows. . .And then. . .it began to sprinkle. . .Time for breakfast. . .

After that little shower (which was NOTHING). . .the skies cleared. . .I thought I'd give it another try. . .if nothing else than to get some good photos. . .With the cleared skies and warmer morning, the wind decided to pick up. . .I was spending more time holding onto my hat than picking cotton. . .


And those endless rows of white were getting no shorter. . .

 
I DID get the pick sack somewhat stuffed. . .


This is where I have a second confession. . .In the end,
I was cutting whole limbs of cotton. . .for my 'plain and simple farmhouse decor'. . .
A pick sack fills up quickly that way. . .

I certainly did not regret the experience. . .but by 10:00 I was tired. . .the wind was hard to stand up in. . .the bolls were cutting my fingers. . .my back was hurting from bending over. . .and I was hungry. . .
Time to call in the RECRUITS. . .



 
Mr. Roy Gaines made quick work of my endless rows of cotton with his John Deere. . .


As I sat in my rocker on the porch drinking coffee and watching. . .
I counted my blessings that my days of picking cotton by hand were over. . .(grin)


 




Friday, October 21, 2016

A Weekend of Broom Making



It's always a treat to share our knowledge about a traditional craft. . .so we jumped at the chance to spend two days at the Parking Archeological State Park, teaching one hundred Home Schoolers and their parents how to make a SIMPLE WHISK BROOM. . .We were part of several stations set up across the park that they visited during Home School Days. . .This year students learned about corn. . .making hominy. . .grinding corn. . .cooking kettle corn. . .making a corn shuck doll. . .and several other activities. . .


True, our whisk brooms weren't actually made of corn. . .although the straw is called Broomcorn. . .It is actually from the sorghum family. . .We fudged a little. . .In times past, though, many brooms WERE made of corn shucks, so we had photos of those for them to view. . .

Photo by Mel Harvey


  It was a perfect Fall weekend for Broom Making at the old Sawmill Schoolhouse, located in the park. . .In fact, the weather was so nice that we moved everyone outdoors to enjoy some of the last of our warm days. . .John gave each group of about 25 a little history about brooms and broom making. . .as Mel (Park Interpreter) and I kept him straight on his facts. . .He seemed to have a mindset that it was the Amish who perfected the flat brooms that we know. . .It wasn't. . .It was the Shakers who claim that honor. . .By the last workshop, we were still correcting him. . .It was all in fun. . .
Once our students had a little background. . .we began the broom making process. . .

Photo by Mel Harvey

with lots of one-on-one assistance. . .if necessary. . .

Photo by Mel Harvey

As with most crafts, broom making isn't hard if you have the right tools. . .See the board of twine on the ground? . . .That's the secret to a good tight broom. . .As the twine is wrapped around the bundle, the board keeps it taunt. . .
We had children from 5-15 years old trying their hand at it. . .The real prize was the finished product that each one took home with them. . .once John did the trimming. . .







Photo by Mel Harvey





I think all were happy with their creations. . .Lots of smiles and laughter. . .

I know that we had a really great two days. . .
We always enjoy working with everyone at the State Park. . .
They are a super bunch of people. . .

Mel learned to make a whisk broom, too, and ended up assisting us the last day. . . 


MEL HARVEY, PARK INTERPRETER


After the last group left. . .John and I headed over to the Visitor's Center picnic area for a quick snack before traveling. . .Others joined us. . .One brought the remainder of the kettle corn. . .and before we knew it, we almost had a party!!!!

Too quickly the sun began to set in the West, and it was time to head home. . .
with more memories of a wonderful weekend for our scrapbook. . .



By-the-way. . .
We've been invited to teach another workshop at the Park in May 2017. . .
for the Women's Weekend. . .
They'll be learning to make a Turkey Whisk. . .
Maybe we'll see you there?



Friday, October 14, 2016

Fall Photo Shoot for a New Primitive Magazine


It's FALL. . .and HARVEST SEASON. . .The Farmer's have been taking every good weather opportunity to get those crops out of the field. . .The highway in front of our home sees more traffic this time of the year than the other ten months together.  .
People, too, seem to be energized after the long hot Summer. . .It happens every year. . .and because of that, we are at our busiest. . .There doesn't seem to be enough time to squeeze in all the requests. . .but there is one that we couldn't turn down.


A new country magazine is in the planning stage to hit the newstands sometime in 2017. . .It will feature the SOUTH in a brand new way. . .highlighting our unique homeplaces. . .in the same PRIM fashion as 'A Primitive Place' and 'Mercantile Gathering'. . .but featuring the antiques and primitive CHARM of places in the South. . .influenced by our Southern CULTURE.
I was so excited when I heard from the Editor about this new concept for a PRIM MAGAZINE. . .even more so when she invited us to be a part of next Fall's issue. . .along with our COTTON FIELDS, LOG HOUSE, and PIONEER COSTUMES. . .
Of course, those photos had to be shot this year, since there is no COTTON open during the summer when the Fall Issue will be published. . .So it was into my pioneer clothing I went. . .influenced by the colonial French. . .for a morning of photos. . .John grabbed our camera and we took the ones I'm showing you today. . .The magazine photos taken by a professional are under wraps (or so they say). . .I can't show you those. . .sorry. . .












We're keeping our fingers crossed that John will finish the LOG HOUSE in the coming months, including the interior. . .If so, we'll have another photo shoot sometime next year. . .Won't it be fun to see how the pioneers lived inside this tiny log house?
I'll share more information about SOUTHERN PRIMITIVE MAGAZINE once it begins publishing. . .I can hardly wait. . .It's about time us DELTA FOLK are recognized nationally in such a positive way. . .Don't you agree?



A Note to Our Delta Friends: Please know that each time we are honored to be a part of magazines, documentaries, or anything else that brings our way of life to the forefront in a positive light, it also honors everyone tied to this Delta area. . .We hope it makes you feel a little prouder of the heritage of which you are a significant part. . .You and your families have given us this legacy. . .this story. . .that we are honored to make known to the rest of the world. . .and we thank you.