Farmers Market

Soap Making Class and Blueberries

Soap Making Class and Blueberries

It is powerful when you write a column stating all of the benefits of a product and people use that product and see results instantly. What am I talking about? Handmade soap.
When I wrote about making and using handcrafted soap a few weeks ago, I never expected the response that I received from you, dear readers. You came out to the market, bought a bar and tried it out for yourselves. The very best part, though, was hearing so many of you tell me that your eczema improved tremendously after taking a bath with the soap. Listening to your testimonies over and over was beautiful music to my ears, and I am so glad that you found relief.
We have the power to take charge of our health. The good Lord gave us the brains, and the knowledge is everywhere, we just have to take the time to study on it. We have come to rely on pharmaceuticals to cure all of our ills when there is a natural pharmacy out in our yard with healing herbs. Many remedies can be made up by our own hands- without all of the harmful side effects.
For instance, it is common this time of year to use DEET as a mosquito repellent for your skin. Yes, it may ward off those thirsty blood suckers, but that is a stout chemical! I would caution you to use it only in extreme cases as it will take the paint off your shoes, and it will remove your toenail polish. Ask me how I know.
A much more gentle repellant is Lemongrass. Washing with a mild Lemongrass soap will also repel mosquitos in most cases, and you don’t have to worry about ruining your fancy pedicure.Come by and see me under the pink tent at the Locust Farmers Market and grab a bar and see for yourself.
If you are interested in learning how to make handmade soap, I am offering a Hot Process Soapmaking demonstration at Sweet Harvest Homestead on Saturday, July 23rd from 10:00-11:30.
Come out to Stanfield and enjoy some Southern hospitality. While you are here, I will show you step by step how I make our very own sweet harvest homestead soap. Come hungry! I can’t have you to my home without feeding you. We will have my famous ham and beans, a fresh green salad with homemade basil dressing, cornbread, cake, and tea.
You will go home with a bar of soap, my soap making booklet and new knowledge.
Classes are limited to 10 people, and spots are reserved with payment. $40 per person or two for $70.For more information, you can email me at or call 704-877-5227.
Now, about the blueberries; Our middle son, Wesley has a summer job of picking and selling blueberries for a friend of ours. If you would like some locally grown, pesticide free, heart healthy blueberries, come and see us at the farmers market, Wesley will have his berries there. Come early, though; those babies were sold out in two hours the last time he was there.

That’s the news from the homestead, see you next week.


Summer Afternoon


“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
Henry James

The garden at Sweet Harvest is starting to produce many fine vegetables.  Tomatoes, cucumbers and squash are ripe and ready to be picked.  The herbs are growing in profusion and the basil that was cut early this morning was made into my favorite summertime salad dressing.   It will be delicious over a bed of freshly picked greens for a light evening meal.

Our evenings are spent outside, watching the sunset from chairs strategically placed at a clearing on our land for the best view.  Sometimes we celebrate the day’s splendid end with a glass of chilled wine and linger long enough to watch the lightening bugs start looking for their mates with their bright blinking.  That is when I like to leave my chair and sit on the ground at the base of an ancient hickory tree.  Leaning against that old tree gives me a sense of well- being and protection.  It is warm and comforting and the tiny lights from the blinking beetles in the leaves are like having a twinkling light show, just for me.

Summertime is my favorite season of all.  Of course, I’ll probably say that about autumn, winter and spring once they arrive, but for now, I am blissfully soaking in the sweetness of summertime.

With the abundance of yellow squash from the garden, I enjoy making a relish that goes well with just about anything.  It is sweet and tangy and makes a delicious accompaniment to beans, sausages and oddly enough, it makes a great sandwich spread.

The recipe for Summer Squash Relish was given to me by Mrs. Dora Efird and has become a family favorite. This is sure to become a favorite in your home too!  I have relatives that ask for this as their Christmas present every year.

  • 10 cups shredded yellow summer squash
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons canning salt
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 3 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon each celery seed, ground mustard and ground turmeric

 In a large pot, combine sugar, vinegar and seasonings; bring to a boil. Add squash mixture; onions and green pepper.  Return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Carefully ladle hot mixture into six hot 1-pint jars, leaving 1/2-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot mixture. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw on bands until fingertip tight.

Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil; process for 15 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Refrigerate remaining relish for up to 1 week. Yield: 6 pints.

*I will have jars of this Summer Squash Relish made up to sell at the Locust Farmers Market this Thursday, June 30th if you would rather buy some ready made.*

Thank you all for taking the time to let me know that you enjoy reading my column.  Writing about our little homestead brings me so much joy and sharing with like-minded people like you, is icing on the cake!

That’s the news from the homestead, see you next week

Fish Stew with Kale


This is a recipe that I whipped up last week after I left the farmers market with an abundance of kale.

My family loved it.  Check it out, it might be a new favorite in your family too!

Fish Stew with Kale

1 –TBS lard
1-Vadilia Onion (diced)
1-12 ounce bag of frozen flounder
1-16 ounce bag scallops
1-small bag fingerling potatoes or 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes (diced)
1-can chopped tomatoes
4-large handfuls of fresh kale ( stems torn out)
1-jar clam juice
4 cups vegetable broth


Heat the lard in a large stock pot and add diced onions. Saute until brown. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 30 minutes.

Serve with hot cornbread.

I Remember Mama

Honeysuckle Vine around our old Persimmon Tree


The flowers around our homestead are bursting with a profusion of color.  The wild roses down by the stream are in full bloom, and when old Mother Westwind and her Merry Little Breezes pass by, the fragrance is carried all the way up to the house.

When I stand at the kitchen window and wash my dishes, I can look out and see flowers in bloom all along the thorny branches of the blackberry bush.  Those tiny, white blossoms will soon turn into deep purple, sweet berries that I will make into cobblers and ice cream, come July.

When I go out to feed the chickens in the evening, I pass by a honeysuckle vine that grows around an old persimmon tree.   The vine has started to bloom now and even though I am a grown woman, I must stop and pick a blossom, pull the stamen out from the bottom and taste the sweet nectar.

Honeysuckle will always remind me of my mother.  I remember the first time I tasted the sweetness that the flower holds.  I couldn’t have been more than two years old, and my mother was barely 21 when she showed me that mysterious treat.  I remember the taste on my tongue and her gentle smile at my surprised reaction.

Mother’s day is coming up this weekend.    I always made a big deal of Mother’s day for my mother, because she was so good to my brother and me.  (It took getting married and leaving home to realize that.)  She was raised in an extremely difficult situation, but she and my father never let that show through in our upbringing.

We lost my sweet, kind and gentle mother six years ago to pancreatic cancer, two days after her 56th birthday.   For several years afterward, I was terribly sad on Mother’s day because she was gone.   What a fool I was, for I am a mother and have three beautiful reasons to celebrate the day.   Sometimes we get so busy mourning what we have lost that we forget to be grateful for what we have.  Thankfully, I saw the light and no longer feel sad.

For many years, we took my mother to the Walker Sister’s cabin in the Smokies on Mother’s day and had a picnic.   We would take along a blanket and fried chicken with all the fixings.  It was a great way to spend an afternoon.  I will do that with my family this Sunday. We will be bringing some homemade cookies too because after all,  it’s not a picnic without something sweet.

Here is a recipe for a great traveling cookie that I make with good old fashioned lard.  Yes, I said lard.  Everything old is new again, and lard is in that camp.  Store bought lard is okay, but if you can find someone who raises pigs and renders their fat, you will have yourself a super delicious treat!  I have found the best lard at The Naked Pig in Oakboro.

Lemon Cookies

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup Naked Pig lard

¾ cup sugar

1 egg

1TBS milk

1 TBS Powdered *Real Lemon Brand Powdered Flavoring*

2 cups self-rising flour.

Cream together first five ingredients then add flour.  Roll into 1 inch balls and bake at 350 for 8 minutes.

Be sure to stop by and see me at the Locust Farmer’s Market on Thursday, May 5th from 11-4.  I’ll have all sorts of goods for sale.  Jams, Jellies, Handcrafted Soap, Herbal Salves, Homemade Bread and I might just have some of these Lemon Cookies.

That’s the news from the homestead, see you next week!

Grape Jelly

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Few things can transport us to another time and place like fragrances.

Yesterday, as I made up this batch of grape jelly, I was taken back to the kitchen of my Great Grandmother Lynn.  Her house always smelled of green beans cooking in fatback and, for an old southern girl like me, the smell of fatback is always a good memory.

How in the world do grapes and green beans smell alike?  I am not sure but in the beginning stages of heating them up, they do!  After the juice is extracted, the sweet, grape scent comes forth and it is divine!  It nearly didn’t even get made into jelly as we all just wanted to keep it and drink it ourselves.

I look forward to seeing you all at the Farmers Market in Locust today from 2-6. We will have freshly made Grape Jelly, Strawberry Jam, Handcrafted Soap and Art Cards.

See you soon!

First Day of Farmers Market, May 7th.

Mark your calendars! May 7th from 2-6p.m. will be the first day of the Locust Farmers Market!
I am SO excited to see all of YOU again!
Along with my soap I will have breads, jams, jellies and on special days a homemade candy or fudge.

My goal is to bring what you want to the market so, I have a question for you, what are some of your favorite things to buy at the Farmers Market?