O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
Thy winds, thy wide gray skies!
Thy mists, that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag,
And all but cry with color! That gaunt crag,
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!
Long have I known a glory in it all,
But never knew I this;
Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart,--Lord I do fear;
Thou'st made the world too beautiful this year;
My soul is all but out of me,--let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.
By Edna St. Vincent Millay
Almost overnight, our hills have been touched by a celestial paint brush. Although the foliage is not yet at its peak, the scarlet and orange maples have come into their own, gleaming beside the sunny yellow ones. The hills from a distance resemble a giant patchwork quilt, but a bright orange maple standing alone against October's blue sky has a breath taking beauty.
Many times I have wondered—if this earth we dwell in has so much loveliness, then what will heaven be like? Our finite minds could never take in the glories of heaven, if this earth's beauty overwhelms us so. The Bible is vague concerning the description of heaven—our mind and senses will have to be expanded to take it in. We know that glories do await the children of God.
We got a taste of the glories of autumn this week when daughter Patty took me and her three little granddaughters on a Mule (RV) ride. The middle one, Lainee, told me, "Oh, Mommaw, we are going on a "venture." It was an adventure all right—we ended up at Buzzard Rock.
This was once a popular place for folks to hike and explore. When I was young, it could be reached only by a path through the woods. There was no road, and the rocks loomed high and forbidding in the air. The only way to get on top was to climb through a narrow split in the rock, which was hair-raising to say the least.
The first trip I can remember was on that narrow path through the woods with Mom and Daddy and all the children. Daddy took our farm horse, Old Topsy, for the younger children to ride. I refused to ride anyway, as I had a fear that the horse was going to fall over sideways. We took a picnic lunch and all of us climbed up through the split.
I was scared to death that one of the little ones would fall off the sheer face of the cliff. I ran around like a mommy setting hen, trying to keep all her little chickens in one bunch. Daddy showed us where he had carved his and Mom's initials on the top of the rock when they were courting. Through the years, there were hundreds of names and initials carved there, many of which have been obscured by the passing of time and encroaching vegetation.
Now, there has been a road built all the way to the top, which can be reached by RV's and a lot of nerve. Patty parked the Mule and we prepared to walk across the top, which actually is a series of rocks with sheer drop-offs on each side. The derecho that ravaged our hills this summer had uprooted huge trees that lay across our pathway. The trees' root systems were so shallow by growing right on the surface of the rock that they were easily toppled over.
We climbed over, under and through huge tree trunks and branches. Adrianna, age seven, Lainee, age five and Maddax, age four, scampered nimbly through the tree limbs, followed by Minnie, my Jack Russell terrier. I bumbled along, all the while yelling at the girls to walk in the middle of the path. Minnie would rush up to a sheer cliff and peep over, while my heart was in my throat. I felt like I did when my siblings were little.
It was a breath-taking view from the top of the rock, with layers of mountains fading away into infinity. The rock isn't visited much anymore, but it is a natural site worth visiting—if you don't have a fear of heights. The girls thought it was a great 'venture.
We have some more feedback about the chinquapins. Marilee Bibb says that her chinquapin tree has many burrs on one branch, but only one nut per burr. Jack Clark of Cleveland, TN, grew up in Raleigh County and doesn't ever recall seeing a chinquapin burr with more than one nut in it. Could it be that there is more than one variety? The chinquapins that I remember had a fuzzy husk with a long tail—and one nut in it. Hope someone can enlighten us!
Our friend Don Norman makes pies from scratch! He baked a pie one time for a church dinner, and went to get a knife to cut it. When he came back, there were five women examining his pie. One of them asked, "Did you make this pie crust?" He answered innocently, "Why, yes, doesn't everyone?"
We have too many recipes to print in one column, so we'll have to space them out. Ray McCune wanted a recipe for salt-rising bread that didn't start with potatoes. This sounds like a good one. Be prepared though—the starter will have a distinctive odor when it starts working. My sister Susie started to make some salt-risin' bread one time, and it smelled so bad she threw it out!
GRANDMOTHER BYRD'S SALT RISING BREAD
For the starter:
One cup milk
½ cup cornmeal
One tablespoon white sugar
One teaspoon salt
Heat the milk, stir in sugar, cornmeal and salt. Place in a jar and put in a warm place (or in a crock pot) with hot water in it. Let it set overnight or until it begins to foam. You can hear the gas escaping when it has fermented enough. The bubbles may take as long as 24 hours to form. Do not continue until the starter foams. It will begin to smell like salt risin' as it ferments.
For the sponge:
Two cups warm water
Two cups all purpose flour
Two tablespoons white sugar
Three tablespoons shortening
½ teaspoon baking soda
One tablespoon warm water
Six cups all purpose flour
When the starter is bubbly, it is time to make the "sponge." Place the starter in a medium-size bowl. Stir in two cups warm water, two tablespoons sugar, the shortening, and two cups of flour. Beat thoroughly. Put the bowl in a warm place to maintain an even temperature of 105-115 degrees.(I put mine in a gas oven—the pilot light keeps it about the right temperature.) Cover and let rise until light and full of bubbles. This takes about 2 ½ to 3 hours.
Dissolve the baking soda in one tablespoon warm water and combine with the sponge. Stir 5 ½ cups flour into the sponge, kneading in more flour as needed. Knead dough for ten minutes or until smooth and manageable. Cut dough in three parts. Shape dough and place in three greased loaf pans. Place covered pans in a warm place until it rounds to the top of the pans.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, bake for ten minutes, reduce temperature to 350 and bake for about 20 more minutes, until golden brown.