Saturday, January 28, 2012

Let's All Go To The Ritz

"R-e-e--utz The-a-tur"

How many of you remember calling the Ritz for movie information
and hearing these words on the other end of the line?

And how many remember this:

 And, this:

I had a treat today--a surprise from John.
We went on a date to the Ritz! $2 tickets and $1 popcorn! 

It was so much fun and very nostalgic.
(For more Ritz Theater history and vintage photos,
Click Here)

I snapped these photos today:

"Two adults? Four dollars, please."

John wore his Retro 50s jacket for the occasion.

Mississippi County's smallest museum--
the old phone booth.

Ken Jackson, Assistant Director, on the right.

Every seat is a good one!

Ah, yes, the snacks. . .

 If you're interested in seeing more Classic Movies at the Ritz, please let the Arts Council know. I think these Saturdays would be wonderful outings for any age!

Email the Arts Council of Mississippi County at:

Or, better yet,

  Phone them  at 870-762-1744,
and maybe they'll answer:  
"Re-e-e--utz The-a-tur". . .

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cowboy's House

The weather has been warmer today,
so I decided to spend some time in the shotgun house we call "Cowboy's". 
Last fall, I decorated the front room for our tours, 
to give visitors the general idea of how the tenant farmers lived. 

I like spending time in these houses.

The ideas for furnishing Cowboy's house
didn't come from any museums displays 
or photos on the net 
or stories in a book. 
The ideas came from my own memories of people I knew 
and visited here on the farm when I was growing up. 
Even in the 60s, there were still many houses such as this on the farm. 

"Cowboy" was a real person 
who worked on Granddaddy's farms from the time he was a teenager. 
In 1930, he was working the farm at Roseland, AR, but when Granddaddy bought this farm, 
Cowboy moved here to tend the cattle. 
He was quite a character and definitely added "color" to the farm. 
Here he is shining  his car for the weekend.

He made such a colorful person--
and I think of him fondly--
that when John and I decided to eventually use our shotgun houses 
for a B and B (Bed and Barbeque), 
I knew immediately that one had to be in honor of Cowboy. 
I shopped thrift stores and antique shops for 
cowboy boots and shirts, cigar boxes, 
an iron bed, 
old quilts, 
a rocker and foot stool, 
a chest, and of course, 
a "honey pot".
It was great fun seeing it all come together.

See the Honey Pot? 

This summer, we plan to add windows, 
interior walls (covered in newpaper), ceilings, 
a kitchen, a bath 
and, yes, air conditioning. 
for now, 
I'm enjoying it as a hideout from the routine daily chores--
a place where I can get away, enjoy the quiet 
and be surrounded with my memories.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Making Pumpkin Butter, Part I

Yes, I know most people make pumpkin butter in the fall of each year.
But, John and I have learned that when winter comes along,
and it's too cold to work outside,
a day of canning is a lot more fun than watching the gray clouds.

Every fall, we collect pumpkins and store them in a cool place, 
where they'll keep for several months. 
We've stored these since November. Time to make "butter"
with a 1930s recipe.

So---let's cook the pumpkins!
Everyone has their favorite way. 
Some bake them with the skins on in the oven. 
Some boil them in water. 
Some roast them over a fire.
We've tried them all. but the following has been the best for us:

Cut the pumpkin in half. Remove the seeds.
Cut into wedges.
Then cut those wedges into large chunky pieces.

Place the chunks into a large pot with very little water.
Cook until tender but not "mushy".

Remove cooked pumpkin from the pot
and run through a sieve.
Isn't that simple?
("Modern" cooks can use a food processor.)

If you don't have the time to make pumpkin butter the next day, the pumpkin pulp/puree can be refrigerated  for several days.  Or, pulp freezes well for up to a year. Most of the time we choose to make the butter at a later date, because we usually process ten pumpkins or more! This pulp is also good in most pumpkin recipes, including pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread.

We'll make the pumpkin butter in Part II. . .

For now, sit down, relax, and dream about how good that Pumpkin Butter will taste on a fresh batch of biscuits! Or, on John's favorite--a peanut butter sandwich! More on that later. . .

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Real "Carpet Bag"

In the South, we normally don't like to use the word "carpet bagger", but today, I'll make an exception. I ran across this vintage sewing bag as I unpacked a few storage boxes. Immediately, I thought to myself, "Wow, this is a real carpet bag!" It was in some of Aunt Mamie's things, so I'm sure she's the one who made it. Tucked inside, I found a couple of crochet needles and bright gold yarn--the kind we had in the 60s.

There are only three pieces to the entire bag--a woven rug and two handles. Each end of the rug is slipped into a handle slot and tacked down with heavy cotton thread, leaving the rug "fringe" on the outside. Then the sides are sewn from the bottom up about 3/4 of the way, with the seams inside. That's it! 

This project would be super easy for young and old. I've seen woven rugs in bright colors at many of the discount stores, some for only $1. What an inexpensive gift this would make for anyone who does needlework. I'm definitely putting it in my idea book!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

1825 Log House On It's Way Up. . .

It won't be long before we'll see the 1825 log house taking shape. John built a tall crane out of cypress to assist in lifting the logs. Now that it's in place, the house should go up quickly----if----"Mother Nature" will cooperate.  Jeff (see Pickin', Singin' and Shootin') returned today to help with the house-raising, but "Betsy", John's 1947 Farmall tractor, had other ideas. She said it was way too cold and windy for her to start work today! She's a warm weather girl. . .

Many people don't realize that  as late as the 1920s, log houses were still very much in use here. When my Grandparents, Earl and Alice Magers, moved to Dell in 1916, they lived in a dog trot log house. Although she was only four years old, Aunt Mamie remembered it well. She and Aunt Naoma slept on the side that wasn't heated!

Not wanting to waste the day, John and Jeff decided to put cypress siding on the storage shed in back of the log house. Here they are, braving the cold. . .

Looks old, doesn't it? Obviously, there's more work to do, but now it's better protected from the winter weather. 

For more history on the log house, go to, link below.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

If Life Gives You Gumbo, Make Pottery!

When you see the word "gumbo", do you think about food? Well, here in the Arkansas Delta, we think of gumbo as that stuff that you don't want to walk through when it's wet because you'll probably lose you're shoes! And, you sure don't want to drive through it either. It's more than dirt. It's more than mud. Gumbo is a very thick, sticky clay that frustrates farmers and gardeners alike. Nothing will grow in it.

There's an old saying, "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Well, I have a cousin who did just that, except life didn't give him lemons, it gave him gumbo! Back in the 1980s, Bobby took that sticky, blue-gray goo and made beautiful pottery from it, just like the Native Americans living here centuries ago did. I'm lucky to own several pieces that have been stored for years. This year, out of their boxes they're coming! I want to enjoy and appreciate them once again! I've only found these three pieces, so far. More to come later. They're just what I need for the rustic look of our keeping room. And, I love that there's a history and connection between my cousin's pottery and the very soil I walk on every day. 

Isn't this piece great!?!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pickin', Singin', and Shootin'--Photographs, That Is

Joe Chipman has done it again! A new CD featuring more of his original songs will be out soon! Most people in Mississippi County, Arkansas know the wonderful talent Joe has for telling the stories about our Delta in his songs.

And, our 1930s country store will be featured on the cover! 

Joe brought his group of  musicians to The Farm today for the photo shoot.

Musicians Joe, Bob, and Jeff  have their spanking new overalls on!  

John and I got into the fun, too!

Of course, when you get musicians together, some pickin' and singin' will happen! I snapped several photos before the photographer arrived.

Joe's first CD was titled, Taming Mississippi County: Hard Times In Northeast Arkansas, and included original songs such as: "Hard Times", "Cotton Pickin' Time in the Delta", "Roll on Mississippi", "80 Rows of Cotton". Joe has a talent for producing a mix of original songs and narration that bring back memories of cotton farming as it once was.

Be sure and watch for the release of Joe's new album. And, if you would like a copy of his first CD, go to: OUR OLD COUNTRY STORE

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