redwindmill

A windmill in Texas…I need one of these!

Howdy Sugar Pies! First off, I just want to thank you so much for coming over here to The Farmhouse. I know there are thousands of  wonderful blogs to read out there and yet you take the time to come visit me… and so many of you leave such sweet comments too…oh what an encouragement ya’ll are! Thank you so much!!

Well, I’m so excited about this post! My hubby, daughter Summer and I took a road trip down to Texas a few weeks back and on the way we decided to stop off at my hubby’s mama’s old home-place in Oklahoma! We’ve heard the charming stories of her growing-up days  for years and now we were going to see and stand right where she experienced the first several years of her life on the farm.

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When we crossed from Missouri into Oklahoma, we were greeted by this giant handsome Indian statue. (I took this with my iphone.) We were entering Cherokee Nation…part of my husbands roots. Although he has a very small percentage of Indian heritage in him—from his Grandma Cox’s side—he’s proud of it just the same…actually he starts singing the “Cherokee People! Cherokee Tribe! So Proud to Live…” song. Oh boy.

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We drove miles and miles, passing farm after farm,  all the while I kept thinking about the movie The Trip to Bountiful!

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The bittersweet story of a dear, sweet lady’s quest to return to her home-place one more time (one of my favorite movies!). Hubby and I both agreed that perhaps this summer, we need to take his mama Ruth back to see her old home-place…one more time.

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In the late afternoon we finally drove into the town of Bennington, Oklahoma. Relics and buildings of the past seemed to welcome us with a nostalgic “howdy-do”. My mama-in-law Ruth said this little service station had the first Coca Cola cooler in town (which sat outdoors) where you lift the lid and reached in to pull out your soda. She confessed, as a youngin’, lifting out a Root Beer, prying off the cap with the bottle opener attached to the front of the cooler and then taking a big gulp. She didn’t like the taste so she mashed the cap back on and put it back…then decided on an orange soda instead! Uh. Oh. That happened right here.

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The old post office, now a gun repair shop…

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Here is a view of this same gas station and post office 40 years ago. Harvey Snodgrass was the mailman back in the day (just thought I’d throw that in! Lol!)

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We found the road to the home-place and realized we passed the property when we spotted this cute cow in the road which stood there as if to say “Yer goin’ the wrong way…mooove yer car in the other direction”. Okay, cute brown cow!

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So turn around we did…Ahhh…here we are! The old Cox Home-place!

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The place where mama Ruth grew up with her papa, mama, 6 sisters and 2 brothers! (She’s the little girl in the middle).
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Years later the Cox family grew and grew! My hubby is the little boy on the left standing in front of Mama Ruth.

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The property had a rusty barbwire fence and a gate that was locked…so we had to climb over it to get in…it wasn’t as easy as it looks…at least for me…my cowboy boots were slippery on the metal rails…Lord have mercy! He did (have mercy)…I got over!

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The Daffodil bulbs that Grandma Jennie Mae planted over 75 years ago were still blooming!

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In fact she had planted bulbs on either side of the pathway to the front door…here they are, still coming up!  When I showed this photo to Mama Ruth tears came to her eyes…”such sweet memories!!” she gushed. She explained that her two older sisters had gone to Tulsa and brought back daffodil and tulip bulbs for Mama Jennie Mae who loved flowers.
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Here is Jennie Mae’s tulip patch…not quite ready to bloom yet!
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I have to say that I was giddy and in awe! To think a whole lifetime ago my hubby’s grandparents, his mama Ruth and her siblings, lived here with no running water, no electricity, and no indoor plumbing, they worked, prayed, planted, played, cooked, cleaned, danced, sang, raised hogs, milked the cows, fed the chickens, drew water from the well, washed clothes in a kettle over a fire, picked berries, canned vegetables, churned butter, put up jars of homemade jam, baked biscuits and cornbread, had the preacher over for Chicken ‘n Dumplin’s suppers cooked on a wood stove and sat on the front porch in the evening to rest a spell…all right here!
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This is about where their farmhouse sat.
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Mama Ruth didn’t have a picture of her old house but gave me this one…she said it looked almost identical to it.

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Jennie Mae’s garden was in the clearing on the right.

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In my recent blog post, Hoedowns and Sweet Berry Hand-pies, I talked about the Saturday night hoedowns at the Cox homestead…the towns-folk came with their banjos, guitars, mandolins and fiddles. Voices in sweet harmony filled the summer air…farmers in their overalls and gals in country dresses twirled to the lively bluegrass music under the sparkling stars and glowing moonlight. That happened right here darlin’s!

img_0531You know, standing right there on the dirt of the old home-place all of Mama Ruth’s stories came alive!  I could imagine all the happy memories that were made here. She was with me a few years back when I purchased this print (it’s hanging in my Hillbilly bathroom)  and said their Saturday night gatherings looked exactly like this!  How fun is that?! It’s so down-home and filled with the joyful goodness of having old fashioned fun with family and friends! I want to marry this picture! Yee Haw!

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Little O’ me and my cutie Summer Rose so excited to be here!

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Well, it was getting late and we still had quite a drive yet ahead of us to get to Texas so we had to say goodbye to this special place…

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My hubby was the first to hike it over the fence…I’m just glad no one took a picture of me! Hee Hee!

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After we got back I shared all of the home-place photos with my mama-in-law Ruth. Of course she was so thrilled and thankful to have a glimpse of how things look now. She took out her photo album of a trip she took back home to Bennington about 40 years ago. Here she is (on the left) with her cousin-in-law Ollie Mae. Ollie Mae was like a sister to Ruth’s mama, Jennie Mae. She helped with the birth of Ruth and Ruth’s siblings. She was always ready and willing to sit with any family member that took ill from time to time so Jennie Mae could get some rest. Folks just pitched in to help back then…whatever was needed when a family hit hard times, from birthin’ babies…to washing dishes, cooking meals, feeding the chickens or watering the horses. Doesn’t Miss Ollie Mae have such a sweet and gentle face!

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Ollie Mae and Aunt Altha (pronounced Ain’t Althie with a southern twang!) enjoying  conversation about old times out on the front porch.

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More of the Cox family’s dear friends from the town of Bennington, Oklahoma. The Horner Family.  From left to right, Jack, Frankie Gene, Esta Mae, Frank, Curtis and Kenneth. Aren’t they the cutest! Love the overalls and cowboy hats…true Oklahoma style!

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Aunt Dellie and Uncle Lester Cox, Ruth’s dads brother. Adorable!!

Just about a week ago I received a memoir about the Cox Family farm history from Ruth’s sister Frances. What a treasure to read in detail how life was back in the day on the very land we stood on.

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To quote Frances, she wrote “Life as a farmers wife was back breaking labor. Her day started before sun-up with breakfast (prepared on a wood burning stove) hot biscuits topped with sweet butter (Jennie Mae home-churned her own), country gravy, homemade Blackberry, wild plum & pear jams and jellies, sorghum molasses made at the community mill, home cured ham, side pork and fresh eggs still warm from the hens nest. As a special treat some mornings we would get chocolate gravy to go with those fluffy biscuits….” (Did she say “Chocolate Gravy? I need me some-o-that!)

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(Folk Art by Walt Curlee, find his prints here)

Frances writes, “Mom always had a big garden…”

feedingchickens“…she raised chickens and turkeys. What a fun and exciting day it was when the big boxes with ventilated holes arrived by mail order from Sears Roebuck & Company. These boxes were full of little yellow fuzz balls all cheeping loudly. Yes, this was the annual start of young fryers that provided those delicious chicken & dumplings meals or Sunday dinner of fried chicken all crispy and enough drum sticks to please the soul. The fruits of her labor provided wonderful ‘comfort food’.

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“Customarily we had three hot meals a day. We called lunch Dinner and what we now call Dinner was Supper. For dinner and or supper there was fresh baked corn bread with a lathering of home churned sweet butter, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, tomato-onion & green pepper relish with fried potatoes or when in season, new potatoes creamed with garden fresh green peas, all served with milk or fruit jars filled with iced tea made from sparkling water drawn from the deep well in  the yard. A coal lamp provided soft light for our table during evening meals. I can still remember the excitement and smell of a new brightly colored oil cloth for the kitchen table. The lamp cast shadows on the walls in the room and we would linger after eating or even during meals and entertain ourselves making shadow animal figures on the wall…”

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“…Mom was never sure just how many she would have for Sunday dinner. Dad often would invite people from church to come and share our meals. After Sunday dinner they would retire to the front porch, sit leaning back against the wall in straight back chairs. Customarily because we had no indoor plumbing, Mom would pitch the dirty dish water out the back kitchen door. This moist dirt provided grubs and red worms for fishing. All she had to do was turn a shovel of dirt to find enough bait for a morning or afternoon of fishing which yield catfish and perch…It was on one such Sunday afternoon that Dad took the visiting preacher out to sit and chat. Seeking more shade from the hot summer sun and unbeknownst to Mom, he placed their chairs in the backyard, just outside the kitchen door. Yep…you guessed it. After washing the dishes, Mom proceeded to the kitchen door and pitched the dirty dish water all over Dad and the preacher! My guess is he did not soon forget his Sunday dinner at the Cox’s!”
~Frances Cox Fisler
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Well, after hearing stories about all the scrumptious country food I decided to whip up a batch of Big O’ Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits.
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I don’t make these every morning like Grandma Jennie Mae, but every now and then they are a yummy treat.
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My secret to getting the biscuits fluffy and flaky is to tri- fold the dough like a “love letter” …
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…then roll it out with “love” to 1 inch thick and repeat this process about 4 times.
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See all those flaky layers? That’ the “love letter” secret!
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Spread them with some Blackberry jam and go to town! I’ll be sharing this biscuit recipe soon on the Home Cookin’ page!
Well, I sure hope you enjoyed this trip down an Oklahoma memory lane! It’s fun to learn about the good-old-days and even more fun to take bits and pieces of  those old fashioned ways and try to incorporate them in our life today. I feel so blessed to have married into this precious family, I want to do what I can to preserve the goodness of this wholesome, hard working, and joy-filled, American farm way of life in my own little way. That’s why I’m a farmgirl at heart!
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This week is a BIG week for my family! My oldest daughter Ashley due to have her baby girl this Friday!! My first grand-daughter!
It’s  a C-section so I would love it if you said a prayer for her and sweet Polly June. Pictures will be forthcoming!
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I’m on Instagram now @sugarpiefarmhouse…come follow me!
Also, I recently added some fun new products on the sidebar at the top to check out!
And my music is back!!
God bless your darlin’ heart!
Aunt Ruthie

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