Monthly Archives: August 2010

Leather Britches

Leather Britches

If these logs could only talk they would surely tell of the LEATHER BRITCHES hung here in days gone by.

This was a popular way of preserving (drying) green beans for use in the winter. They would use a large darning needle and thread it with strong thread (I used quilting thread). They would tie the thread around the first bean to keep it from slipping through, I just used an old button tied to the thread. Then they began stringing the beans, one at a time, pushing the needle and thread through the center of each bean and drawing the bean down towards the knotted button, leaving a bit of thread on the other end to use for hanging in a dry place.

The beans become shriveled and wrinkled as they dry. They can be removed from hanging as needed and dropped into a pot of water with perhaps a ham bone or some bacon for flavor. I have been told that we have all but lost the variety of bean that our ancestors used. It had a hull that remained tender during the drying process. When we get moved up here full time, and I can make a garden, I will have to try some heirloom bean varieties and find one suitable to eat after drying. I hear the “Barnes Mountain Cornfield Bean” is a good one.

Until then, I guess mine will only be “decoration”. a great conversation grabber about an older time.

The Porch Swing

The Porch Swing

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the back porch there is a swing ……

 

 

……..  and sitting in it transforms me back into the past. I am once again a child spending a summer month at my grandparent’s farm in Alabama.

There was a swing on Mema’s porch too, and I spent many hours there. The memories of which are much too precious and personal to write in great detail here. Sometimes the porch swing was a retreat to contemplate a childish transgression. Sometimes I was there to just soak in the simple pleasure of a warm lazy summer day and watch the huge spider in the corner of the eaves (thankfully on the outside of the screen) catch flies in his web.

The swing was sometimes a rocket to the moon, sometimes a boat on the Nile, sometimes a train to Paris, or a hot-air balloon soaring through the clouds. Once it was a basket that left me for the garden fairies to find and rescue me from the hairy goblin that lived under the porch. Often it was a cradle to rock the dolls I played with and hummed lullabies to. And sometimes the swing was a flower-covered prop in a ballet in which my cousin Cindy and I were the stars.

Sometimes it was the place to swing with wild abandon and sing Zippidy Doo Da loudly and off-key I admit, out of sheer happiness. The song would always end with me jumping out of the swing as if it was the grand finale and I was taking a bow while hundreds of adoring fans applauded.

I planned my whole future from that old swing, I cried, I laughed, I sang, I pondered, I imagined and I dreamed.

 

Now sitting here in the reality of those childhood dreams, I know how wonderfully a loving God has brought my life full circle. Now my own porch swing is a place to remember and reflect on how it has all turned out. I don’t think there is a goblin under this porch; I think he has moved out to live under the ugly fake plastic rock that covers the well pump.