Whitesburg KY

Hens were source of meat, eggs

Hello again!

How is everything in your little corner of the world? Grab a beverage as it sure is wintertime around here.

It seems the mountains I love so dearly are covered with a beautiful snow. The pictures are beautiful that have been posted on this contraption called Facebook.

I sure hope everyone who is miles from a store has a well stocked pantry, especially Richard Caudill as he lives on the mountain without access of going too far unless his sister Marcia Caudill takes him. Marcia is a very good sister, actually reminds me of myself as I tried to take care of all my younger siblings.

Ricky and Bryce Caudill are good about going on their four-wheelers to help anyone.

Sometimes my thoughts venture back to the days of growing up the few short years I lived at home at Roxana with Daddy and Mommy.

We lived in one house which was owned by Minnie Whitaker, high on the hill above the coal tipple just outside of Roxana.

Daddy would occasionally raise a hog for butchering in the winter. Mommy would have chickens that picked at the yard and grass. The chickens served dual purposes, meat and eggs.

Mom would prepare a fat hen for chicken and dumplings. First she would heat a teakettle of water until boiling. She would catch the chicken by grabbing it by the neck and the struggle was on. Mom was a small woman, and the hen was a task for her to kill. Sometimes it would get up and stagger and try to run off. Sometimes Mom would have to get an axe and cut its head off.

After Mom killed it she would pour boiling water over the feathers and pluck the feathers off. When all this was done, she would roll a piece of paper then light a match and singe the pinfeathers off.

Southern Ohio

Mom used every piece of chicken, including the head and feet. She would scrape the skin off the feet, cut the toes off, then the gizzard would be cut into and the gravels emptied out.

The inside was peeled off, and if the hen was laying there was something called the egg bag. Yes, that was cleaned and cooked too.

After everything was finished we had a delicious meal of chicken and dumplings.

One thing about it, watching Mommy do this procedure sure stuck with me for several years. My husband and I lived on a small farm, and we had chickens and we raised pigs.

One winter our sow had a litter of pigs while my husband was at work. To begin with, he had given instructions as what to do, which was to get in the pen while the pigs were being born, wipe them off and place them under the heat bulb.

I first balked at the idea, but when it actually happened I had a choice. I had to either to do as instructed or let the pigs die, which meant losing money too. So I bit my lip and helped with the piglets.

The only problem was that I was expecting a baby and could hardly bend over, but I managed.

In the fall, after the farmers were done with the cornfields we would go out in the fields and pick up corn that had been left. Sometimes cold weather would be setting in, and this was a job that would make my little hands crack and bleed. I have never been one to shy away from working outside, no matter how cold or hot.

I never knew so many years ago that even though I wasn’t working at a paying job, I was laying the groundwork for what would later help me through a difficult divorce many years down the road. It also helped me get my house that I now live in and half of my husband’s retirement pension.

It was brought up during our divorce that I wasn’t allowed to go back to school, and how I had worked right beside husband to get what we had plus take care of the children, raise a garden and learn to can and sell extra produce.

I am so thankful for Mom teaching me things she never put me at doing. I learned by watching while never actually knowing I was learning.

I thank God for giving me a brain to refrain things, as it has really helped me when I had no one to turn to. Being married so young and moving away and having three children before I was 20, I did a lot of growing up the hard way. Over the years I actually grew up with my first three children, which was a good thing.

I have always regretted not having a formal education, though I sure was born with a head full of common sense. I have found there are college-educated people who lack common sense, or their brains are in other places besides their head.

My only regret is that I didn’t stand up for myself when I was younger. I am thankful a way was made for me.

I live on a meager income and as I can pay my taxes no one is going to tell me to get out as I own my house. As long as I can afford a car it will be in my name alone, as no one will tell me where to go or when to come back.

Ma Crow and Trina Emig of the Lady Slipper’s Bluegrass Band are enjoying a stay in the Smokey Mountains.

The two Slippers have videos of themselves playing music on the deck with it snowing. Needless to say, it is wonderful.

Lady Slippers will be at Downtown Music on High Street in Hamilton, the first Monday in February.

Les and Pat Wagner are trying to stay warm. I am wrong; Pat is trying to stay warm as Les doesn’t get as cold as Pat does.

Hello to Doyle and Betty Ison. I am glad we dodged the bullet and snow missed us.

I stopped to see Johnny and Ann Calihan for a few minutes, and then I talked to Ann on the phone until we both were run down. The phone, not us.

Hubert Caudill, who is Ann’s brother, and I had a good chat. Hello to Hayward Day and Kim, I enjoyed talking to you.

Polly Maucher, as quick as it gets warm, we need to get together and catch up on all that’s going on.

My sympathy goes to the family of Anne Jones who lived in Milan, Ind.

Betty Kelly, please be careful when you are out.

Once again this computer is acting up. I have to get someone to see what is causing it to act up or it may find a new home in my yard.

My nerves are shot as sickness is taking a toll on my patience.

Until next time, Rose Ballard, 9110 Lawrenceburg Rd., Harrison, Ohio 45030; email Bluegrassmama4@aol.com; telephone: 513-526-8512.

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