The snow has been falling. I hope to see some accumulation in the morning. The best part about snow is that it is never too cold when it comes. We hit 57 degrees today and it felt like summer. The trough water thawed and didn't require a shovel to break the ice.
Joseph brought his Christmas tree for the goats to eat. I'm grateful for the all natural Christmas tree farm down the road, 7 g's Farm . In less than an hour the girls had reduced it to kindling wood. Their breath smells like Christmas. Next year I should list our farm as a drop off for, uh, recycling?
Today was feed day, both human and animal. I love going to the feed stores on cold days. Folks stand around and visit; the wood stoves burn. Nobody wants to go back into the cold or back home to chores in chilly weather. I'm never more in my element than at the feed store. Too bad they take all of my money.
Near home is Maddox Feeds. The owners Janice and Terri are dear. Their sons Joshua and Caleb work in the family business too. Terri tries to talk us out of everything that we go in to buy. It is a strange sales technique, but we always spend money. I think he is a Jedi. Janice, his wife, is precious. She mans (or womans) the counter, keeps track of orders, and fellowships with the people. We get a monthly newsletter from Maddox which is complete with prayer requests for customers who have fallen on hard times. It is a dear community of people.
Farther away is Midway Farm Supply. They are another sweet family with three red headed sons like their father. Lynn is always at the counter with a smile. The personalities of the stores are distinctly different but they are equally wonderful. Each has something that this little farm needs. Midway has the advantage of being about 3 miles from my friend of 24 years home, Cindy. Nice.
Once again I have spent the feed budget, but the cabinets and the hay feeders are filled. Tonight the goats and sheep will ward off chill with the warmth that comes from orchard and alfalfa hay.
As for the people feed, shopping isn't so colorful or unique. Sam's Club, Walmart, and a quick stop into Publix. However, this evening's meal captures the essence of some of my favorite things: efficiency, frugality, and economy. Fifteen bean soup is the absolute pinnacle and realization of those things. Using the ham bone from the Christmas ham and a $2.48 bag of fifteen bean mix, a $.33 box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, and, if you are really decadent, a $.75 head of cabbage cooked and covered in butter, salt, and pepper. Bam! you have half a gallon of soup beans and a delicious, warm, filling, and very nutritious meal. It just doesn't get any better. If everything in life could be so.
Incidentally the cast iron skillet pictured above was my maternal great-grandmother's, Helen Amanda McKenzie Jones, born 1880. She had eight children with her first husband Alonzo McKenzie, married a man with 7(?), and they had one together. When he passed away she finished his term as jailer and was elected in the following term. The skillet is c.1900. Grandma Jones actually moved (from where I don't know) to Flatwoods, KY, in a covered wagon. For all I know she got this skillet from her mother. It has seen the times change. From campfire to glass top range it has received its heat from an ever changing list of sources. Every egg, slice of cornbread, baked bean, fried potato, or grilled cheese I ever ate in my mother's kitchen was cooked in that skillet. As long as that skillet is in my kitchen George will be at his best behavior. We went through many a non-stick skillet this past 29 years. I'm done with 'em, they're for wimps. I bought the red silicone cover for the handle because it gets hot. This skillet brought me in and I'm sure it can take me out. Keep it seasoned and the heat low, it'll treat you right. Did you know that cooking in iron cookware actually improves your iron levels? That should make you feel good. It should also cause you to re-think all of your cookware.