I should have been an archeologist?

I should have been an archeologist or geologist. I may have missed my calling.

I took several geology classes at Baylor—as many as I could and still graduate on time with a business degree. Daddy wouldn’t hear of any major other than business even though history and rocks and things buried beneath the earth’s crust always held a special interest for me.  Who knows why certain people are drawn to certain things, but as I think back, there is a common thread in many of my memories.

I grew up living on the New Madrid Fault where earthquakes were a way of life. My best summer days were spent exploring the streams and trails in the Ozark Mountains and jumping from the rocky cliffs around Lake Norfork. Our delta fields often presented treasures such as arrowheads and other Indian artifacts.

And there are related snippets too, like buying a jar of rocks in Hot Springs and digging up pearly shells and pieces of rusty tin on the banks of Little River.

Obviously the Earth was filled with mystery. Literally.

Today as we install a sprinkler system and churn up dirt in our new backyard, I’ve been finding shards of creamware and pottery and chunks of heavy glass. Much like the sugary Florida beaches where a fresh batch of seashells wash up each morning, pieces of old stoneware and glass work themselves up from the ground daily. Okay, I’m sure most people prefer seashells to broken glass, but this sort of thing fascinates me.

I found this collection (below) during a five minute stroll through the backyard.

found in our garden.

To most, this may only look like trash, and back in the early 1900s, it probably was. Without city trash pickup, garbage was often tossed out the back yard to the pigs or dumped in low spots near streams. Paper and food items disintegrated but glass and pottery waits to be discovered.

To me, these broken pieces are treasures. Bits of history left behind. I enjoy these shards not only because of the unique craftsmanship represented, but I like to imagine the family who used the dinner plates etched with faint blue flowers. What were the people like who lived in these hills at the turn of the century?

i should have been an archeologist

This next piece was completely covered in mud. I didn’t realize there was a design until I rinsed it off.

I should have been an archeologist

And what a thrill to find a piece with preserved words. A few keystrokes later, I discovered this stamp was the mark of china manufacturer Edwin M. Knowles China Company. The three numbers indicate the date of this piece as 1918.

antique china shard

If you are still reading (thank you), I have one more piece—a heavy piece of glass with scalloped edges. This one reminds me of quartz.

old glass buried in the yard

I can’t imagine all the treasures buried beneath the surface of the Earth. Real treasures, never to be discovered.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Grace Grits and Gardening

Farm. Food. Garden. Life.

“You can either be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It all depends on how you view your life.”
― Paulo Coelho 

Musical Pairing:

Whole Wide World – Mindy Gledhill

How to: Chinese Fortune Teller

Chinese Fortune Tellers, made from regular notebook paper, provided inexpensive, homemade entertainment for my sister and me, especially on Saturday mornings while Momma enjoyed a wash and set and whatever else she did in the name of glamor at Lucille’s Beauty Shop. Yesterday’s child was easily amused, and the Chinese Fortune Teller was super intriguing. Yes, in the back room of the beauty shop (which was really Lucille’s living room), simple finger movements revealed my destiny according to color and number selection.

Life was easy.

how to make a chinese fortune teller

Following the step-by-step instructions HERE, I made a Chinese Fortune Teller, even folding it correctly the first try. Of course I took pictures of my effort along the way because that’s what I do. If you are visual like I am, a picture truly is worth a thousand words.

Chinese Fortune Teller

how to make a chinese fortune teller

In case you don’t remember the rules (or never knew because you are a youngster…), I’ll explain.

1. Choose one of the four colors. (My colors are pink, blue, green and yellow.)

2. Spell the color moving the fortune teller once for each letter. (Your fingers are inside the slits.) Pink = four movements.

3. Pick a number from those showing on the inside.

4. Count out the number, moving the fortune teller once for each number.

5. Pick a final number.

6. Life the flap and do what it says.

chinese fortune teller how to

Let me just say, taking pictures with one hand and working the Chinese Fortune Teller with the other is tricky and results in blurry photos.

There are (at least) three different ways to design your fortune teller.

Activities. I made mine with activities (i.e. each flap has an activity—great for a bored kid or a more fun way to assign chores.)

Answers. You can also design yours so that the inside flaps have basic answers to questions (i.e. “yes” “no” “absolutely” “are you crazy?” – think Magic 8 Ball). In this case, before the player chooses a color, he asks a question.

Fortune. Instead of activities or answers to questions, each flap includes a more traditional fortune. “You will soon receive great news.” That sort of thing.

Decorate your fortune teller however you wish (yes, you can add bling) just remember the outside part has four colors, the inside flaps have eight numbers. Underneath the numbers, eight activities or fortunes are written.

Does any of this make sense? Hope so.

Now I must go write a letter. My Chinese Fortune Teller told me to.

Grace Grits and Gardening

Farm. Food. Garden. Life.

“Before you leave, the fortune teller reminds you that the future is never set in stone.”
― Erin Morgenstern

Musical Pairing:

Yesterday’s Child – Roy Orbison

 

Peking Roast (a Keiser’s Kitchen recipe)

Peking Roast - vintage recipe made with black coffee

Whoa. It’s been a while since I posted a recipe from the famous Keiser’s Kitchen cookbook. (Famous to those who lived around Keiser, Arkansas in the 1970s.) I made this Peking Roast back in November for Game Day when Arkansas shut out LSU. Let’s say that again. “Arkansas Shut Out LSU.” What a perfect Keiser cookbook choice as it was contributed by Ruth Barnett and her son Craig (my like-a-brother best friend) was visiting for the weekend. See the connection?

Do you remember eating this roast as a child? I asked.

No, he said.

So that’s how that conversation went.

Craig and Me

This Peking Roast was delicious and simple because while we tailgated, the crockpot did most of the work. We did have to consult with Ruth via telephone because like many of the Keiser’s Kitchen recipes, the ingredients and/or directions are a bit vague per 21st century standards (i.e. add seasonings).

What seasonings? 

We decided that meant salt and pepper.

Unlike regular pot roasts, this one has a special ingredient —black coffee. The coffee gives the gravy a richness unlike water or broth. You can eat the meat with potatoes, your favorite side dish or salad, but I shredded the meat and made sliders. Perfect Game Day snack for celebrating a Hog Shut Out.

Peking Roast - shred the meat and make sliders

Peking Roast

Ingredients

  • 5 pound rump roast
  • garlic & onion (no measurements provided...)
  • 1 1/2 cups strong black coffee
  • 1 cup water
  • seasonings to taste (salt & pepper?)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (I used Rice vinegar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 to 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon marjoram

Instructions

  1. Cut slits through the meat. Insert slivers of garlic and onion into roast. (I used 2-3 spoonfuls of chopped garlic.) Mix vinegar, mustard, bay leaves, chili powder and marjoram. Pour over meat. Make sure it runs down into slits where the garlic and onion have been placed. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, place meat in a large heavy pot and well brown in oil on all sides. Pour in water and coffee and simmer on top of stove 4 to 6 hours. (I cooked mine in the crock pot on high for 6 hours. I also added the rest of the onion because why not?) If needed, additional water can be added. Salt and pepper 20 minutes before serving. The gravy may be thickened or left as is.
  3. Great served as sliders with cole slaw!
http://www.gracegritsgarden.com/2015/01/peking-roast.html

Peking Roast Sliders

Try it, you’ll like it. The Keiser ladies were great cooks! Still are, I’m sure.

 

Grace Grits and Gardening

Farm. Food. Garden. Life.

Ruth Barnett

Ruth Barnett

Here are two other classic Keiser’s Kitchen recipes I’ve tested so far:

Milky-Way-Cake.-Heavenly.-2

Milky Way Cake

Yum-Yum-Cake-2

Yum Yum Cake