Saturday, May 24, 2014

That Old Cotton Field Back Home

Logo from Walker Woodworking website. 

I've written about picking cotton in a blog a did a year or so ago, but this post is about a cotton field that has disappeared.  We were in Cleveland County last week, and I went over to visit my former next-door neighbor (Janet Walker).  Janet was just a little kid when I used to go down to her house to pick cotton with her mother, Selma Withrow*.  I loved that particular field because at the end of the field there was a wonderful honey locust tree that in the fall produced brown pods that had a sweet pulp.  One could squeeze out a bit of sugary treat which was nice after a day of picking cotton.  This was better than sucking on a lollipop.

I knew that Janet's son, Travis, had a woodworking shop, but I had no idea that what he really has is a 10,000 sq. ft. woodworking "factory"  that occupies most of that former cotton field.  In 1996 Travis was working as a paramedic when he began woodworking as a hobby.  He borrowed a few thousand dollars from his grandmother, hoping to turn his hobby into a small side business. From the little garage where he was the only woodworker, in eighteen years he has expanded and now has a successful business that employs 28 people.  Cleveland County must be very proud of this local entrepreneur.
Travis, founder and CEO of Walker Woodworking. 

Travis took Dan and me on a tour of the "factory".  Here are some of what we saw.  It was amazing.
3/4″ domestic plywood is the very best and most expensive material you can use for cabinet construction.
Wood is cut from a digital design. 
I love these beautiful dovetail joints in the drawers.
Part of the assembly room.

A large screen where the customer can see the proposed kitchen design.

Little did I know when I was picking cotton some 60+ years ago that one day a successful woodworking shop would occupy the space.  I know that Selma would be very proud to see what exists in that former cotton field where she and I spent many happy days picking cotton. Happy for me anyway, because I got paid and that's how I earned my spending money in those days. 

This blog post shows only a mere hint of what Walker Woodworking creates.  Check out their current website and a new website  that is under construction to see the wonderful cabinetry they have designed and constructed, the many awards they have won and meet the wonderful staff of the company.

* Not only did I spend many a day with Selma Withrow picking cotton, but she was also my piano teacher, the director of the youth choir in my church, and the glee director at my high school. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

One of my Talented Cleveland County Cousins

Birthday cake by Debbie Bridges.
Debbie Wilson Bridges is known for her famous cakes, and I finally had an opportunity to savor one.  Oh soooo good.  Debbie is my second cousin, once removed. (Debbie's grandfather and my father were first cousins, so Shelva, Debbie's mother and I are second cousins, and that makes Debbie my second cousin, once removed, if I remember the genealogy correctly.) 

Dan and I were planning a trip to Cleveland County to coincide with my friend, Peggy Rhyne's birthday, so I asked Debbie to make a birthday cake for PJ, and while she was at it, to make another one for Dan and me to bring home. 

Both cakes were a delicious, moist pound cake with chocolate fudge frosting.
Pound cake frosted with chocolate fudge frosting.

Peggy Rhyne enjoyed her cake and later shared it with some of our former classmates at a luncheon.  Rave reviews from all!!!!!
Peggy is happy with her cake.
Peggy's birthday cake. 

The cake that Dan and I brought home was frosted with chocolate fudge frosting and topped with pecans.  It was half gone before we even got home with it, with a little help from friends and family.
Only half of our cake left when we got home. 

A wonder if Debbie made her own wedding cake????
Debbie and Eddie enjoying their wedding cake a few years ago.

When the cakes were delivered, Debbie sent along a beautiful crocheted doily for me.  Not only can she bake, but she creates lovely crocheted things.  The doily has found a new home on the little round side table in our dining room. 
This intricate crocheted doily is perfect on this little round table.
Isn't this lovely? 
Debbie the cakes were beautiful and delicious and the doily is exquisite.  Thank you O Talented Cousin of Mine!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Strawberry Charlotte

Strawberry Charlotte Cake.

I ran across this recipe and thought it would be the perfect dessert for Mother's Day.  And I was right.  It was perfect!

Bake an eight inch sponge cake, and while the cake is baking make a strawberry sauce (strawberries and sugar blended).

Sponge cake out of oven.

Blend strawberries and sugar to make a sauce.

Place the cooled cake layer on the bottom of an 8 inch springform pan and spread 1/4 cup of strawberry sauce on top of the sponge cake.

Place cake in springform pan and spread top of cake with strawberry sauce.

Halve strawberries and fit them on top of sponge cake. 
Arrange strawberry halves on top of cake with cut sides out.

Make strawberry whipped cream.  Whip cream, add strawberry sauce and gelatin and refrigerate overnight.

Spread strawberry whipped cream on top of cake.

Remove from springform pan and brush warm apricot preserves on outside of strawberries and cake.

Add crushed pistachios to outside of cake.
Remove from springform pan, brush apricot preserves on outer edges of strawberries and cake and add crushed pistachios to side of cake.  
Finished cake garnished with a strawberry fan on top.

Keep finished cake refrigerated until ready to serve.
Drizzle strawberry sauce on cake and ready to eat.


I found this recipe in Joy of Baking and for the recipe and instructions on making this, including a video, go to this website.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Our Own Little Spiderwort

Spiderwort flowers.
Every May since we moved into this house forty years ago, this little blue spiderwort has bloomed out on the side hill.  I think it is the prettiest little purple (blue?) flower.  This year we seem to have three plants, and I hope it continues to spread.
Our three little Tradescantia plants on the bank.

This plant is related to the plant you may know as Wandering Jew or Zebrina. 
I usually have a hanging basket of the purple Zebrina, and I plan to go to the Farmer's Market today and get one.  We were there yesterday, and I forgot to get my Zebrina.
Purple Zebrina.

I don't know if the previous owner, who was quite a gardener, planted this or perhaps some bird just happened to drop some seeds in the bank.  Whatever, I look forward to this beautiful little blue flower blooming each year. Spiderworts can easily be propagated with cuttings which should be taken in the spring or early summer. Each year I think about taking cuttings and then forget, but this year I'm going to remember. 

p.s. I'm back from the Farmer's Market and here is the hanging basket of Zebrina I found.
Our hanging basket of purple Zebrina.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ava's Graduation/Livermush Party

A plate of nicely fried livermush.

My friend Ava graduated on Saturday from WTCC and in honor of her graduation she threw a Livermush Party.  I grew up in Cleveland County and Ava grew up in the next county over, Rutherford., so we both know all about livermush.  Our counties are known for the best livermush in North Carolina.  I think of livermush as the pate' of the South.

Ava has a degree in journalism from UNC and she is a professional photographer, nevertheless she went back to school at Wake Tech and got a degree in graphic design.  I have followed her work with great interest, and I must say her work is amazing.
Pizza with livermush.

Livermush was at the center of the party, including a livermush pizza.  Or livermush with homemade pimento cheese.  Or livermush on banana nut bread.

The cake honored Ava's induction into Phi Theta Kappa honor society. 
It was a fun party with a group of congenial folks. 
Ava's party. (Photo by Julian Barlow)
Catherine, Khai, and Heather perusing Ava's portfolio.

Ava (Photo by Julian Barlow).

Dan is having fun at the party.
Ava's husband, Bill. (Photo by Julian Barlow).
Ava's son Woody.

Ava's son Julian and Catherine Stelpflug.

Now I need to find an excuse to have a livermush party. 

To see the marvelous job Ava can do check out her online portfolio.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

How I've Become a Kansas Jayhawks Basketball Fan

One of Broughton High School's star basketball players in the 2013 graduating class, Devonte' Graham, has committed to play college basketball at Kansas where he will be a freshman this fall.  I've followed Devonte' since middle school where he and my grandson Zach have been on the same school basketball teams through senior high school at Broughton in Raleigh, NC.

When I first saw Devonte' play he must have been in the seventh grade, and I commented, "Who is that kid?" A lady in back of me replied, "That's my grandson,"  Her grandson was a terrific player then and now he's heading to Kansas to play college basketball. 
Devonte' playing for Raleigh Caps in State Finals. (Photo by Ava Barlow)

Devonte' playing in the State Finals for Broughton High School in 2013. (Photo by Ava Barlow)

 Devonte' led the Broughton Basketball Team to the State Championship in 2013.

This past year Devonte' attended prep school at Brewster in New Hampshire.  He had a sterling basketball season there.  After being recruited by a number of colleges including NC State, Virginia, Providence and Kansas among others, he chose Kansas.

 Now I have become a Jayhawks fan, and you bet I'll be watching every Kansas game that is televised when possible.  Devonte' is not only a great point guard, but he is a very nice young man, and I predict great things for him. Check out the following link to learn more about Devonte' choosing Kansas.
Devonte' picks Kansas.