Dark Skies and Beautiful Light

“Only in darkness can we catch a glimpse of the fullest light“

We lost a dear friend late last week. It has been extremely difficult for me, Richard, and our entire staff to digest this loss. Monty was truly an amazing person. Those of you who also know him, will absolutely agree with me on that. His joyful laugh was infectious and he brought a lively nature into every conversation.

Monty has been a significant part of our team for the last few years. Monty’s work ethic, and life experiences was a model that other staff members noticed and worked to exemplify his success. Monty had the heart of a true entrepreneur. He was willing to take risks, try anything new, and discuss the potential and possibilities of “the what ifs”.

Monty came to Wilkes County Hardware during the Covid years. We couldn’t have been more blessed by his steadfast presence each day. His business experience was invaluable to both of us.
Monty was always the first one to acknowledge a customer who needed assistance. He also would step in and help out with any task… pictured here, Monty is helping Richard with measuring rope.

I’ve tried to wrap in my mind the impact he has left upon all of us… mentor, friend, and most definitely “hardware store dad” and dear friend to all of our staff. As a good dad model, Monty always had a kind heart, offering food those who were hungry, and even advice when you needed it. I’m not sure that I can fully grasp, and vocalize everything Monty has done for us. His daily life impact will be long lasting. Monty’s actions demonstrated that he truly cared for all of us and wanted only the BEST for every single staff member at Wilkes County Hardware and everyone he encountered in the surrounding community.

When the Smithey’s building burned last summer, Monty and Diane spent several hours with us as we watched and waited to see if our building would be impacted by the fire. We appreciate your friendship and love.

Grief is hard. I ask that y’all send prayers to Monty’s family, as the journey of grief is beginning. Monty loved his family. We also covet your prayers as we grieve and try to transition to life without him inside our store. Monty will remain a key part of our heart inside Wilkes County Hardware and we will carry his love with us forever.

Thank you Monty for bringing beautiful light into our world. We will miss you dearly 💕.

Nuts and Bolts

Work… the mechanical manifestation of energy, according to science. Work it could be said, is the “nuts and bolts “ of what we do each and every day. After all, nuts and bolts are not the whole of a project, they are only a portion of a project.

The successful concept of work today creates within the soul a feeling of pride, satisfaction of a job well done, and contribution back into your greater community in some type of capacity. Today I’m offering y’all an inside look at our hardware work… the “nuts and bolts” view of what we do each day.

Walking inside Wilkes County Hardware may take you back into a time of nostalgia… viewing our old building, wood stove, historic elevator, or even remembering a time when hardware stores used to be full service for the customer. We still do that each and every day. Our customers always come first! Customers are the essential element in our business, and that is why we are customer service oriented in what we do! Wilkes County Hardware is definitely more than a place to go pick up a few nuts and bolts.

They just don’t build them like this anymore, check out the size of those beams y’all!
Elevator view from top down
Wood stove heat keeps us moving and going in the winter months.
Our nuts and bolts aisle

Yes, we have several folks who stop by to shop our extensive selection of nuts 🔩 and bolts… whether you are looking to purchase one or two or even multiple boxes. But did you know that we do the following things as well??

1. Key duplication

Wayne is a popular guy in our key area! We duplicate keys, rekey locks, can make chip keys … ask us if we can help you out with your key needs

2. Kerosene wick replacement

Wick repair is ongoing, unsure which wick you need? We can find that for you too!
A work area for repairs like kerosene wick repair, tool repair, lamp repair

3. Threading and pipe cutting

Galvanized and black pipe threaded… if you have never done this, it is a labor intensive job and takes time to do it well. Kudos to Richard who does most of this laborious task.

4. Glass cutting up to 36 inches

This custom piece was recently done for a customer and it is ready to go!

5. Chain cut to exact length

Our display showcases the chain we have in stock and ready to go home with you! Measure twice, cut once… cut chain CAN NOT be returned please know how much you need before we cut it for you.
Folks often ask about what we use our upstairs space for… we measure and cut chain, tubing, rope, do window screen repair, window glass cut, and pipe threading is all done upstairs.

6. Basic lamp repair

Have a lamp that is acting all weird.. we can fix it for you or you can do it yourself with these simple pieces
Light bulbs, extension cords, fuses, and basic electrical supplies we will help you find what you’re looking for in order to get your to do list completed

7. Tool handle replacement

Replace your own if you wish!
Or we can do it for you!
Our lawn and garden section is usually a busy spot year round. Ask us if you have questions about a project, or product.

8. Pool water testing for free!

Pool water testing is always a good idea when you’re a pool owner
Wilkes County Hardware keeps a variety of pool chemicals in stock for sale

9. Roll pipe cut to length (most hardware retailers sell the entire roll) and copper pipe

Roll pipe cut upstairs
Copper cut to length or sold by roll
Need to do a small plumbing repair? We can cut these to length as well This display is found on the plumbing aisle.

10. Gas and plumbing fittings … including a good selection of Pex and Shark Bite

Compression fittings and flared fittings of all sizes
Our plumbing aisle is a bustling place on most days

11. Vast selection of furnace filters

Ask us and we will gladly help you find your size of furnace filter

12. Window screen repair

This is a basic list of our service offerings.

13. Knife and scissor sharpening

Working on a knife 🔪 for sharpening

As y’all can see we work hard to be a full service hardware store for our customers. Our goal is to keep our customers coming back to us for all of the things that they need for any project. Thank you for being a great part of what we do each and every day whether it is a purchase of nuts and bolts, a key or even a bag of bird seed. We couldn’t be here without you!

Coles bird seed has become a very popular item for our regular customers
You need to clean it or scrub it, we can probably help you!!

And we have locally sourced items too!!!
Locally made soaps, candles, pottery, & woodworking
Stop by and find some “Great Stuff” that you didn’t know existed inside our historic walls. Sorry for the pun y’all.

So there it is… the “nuts and bolts” of the hardware life daily work. Stop by and see us soon. We appreciate your support of our small business. YOU are the part that holds all of our work together in our nuts and bolts analogy. Thank you for joining us in our journey of the hardware life for the last seven years.

Mr. EE Eller, Chickens and Turkeys… Nothing but Clucking, Gobbling, and Plucking out the Truth

Who is Mr. Eller you may ask???

He is the gentleman who built the current building that houses our hardware store in 2022. Mr. Eller placed his business, as you may have guessed, in our current building on the corner of 10th Street and D Street in North Wilkesboro.

Wilkes County Hardware in November 2022

To our best known facts, the building dates back to 1905. Mr. EE Eller was a premier poultry & produce dealer in North Wilkesboro. EE Eller Produce Co. was one of the largest turkey, and chicken wholesalers. EE Eller was a major processing center for local farmers to bring turkeys/chickens into North Wilkesboro. Ironically, it was probably one of the first poultry processing plants in our town.

An artist rendering of Wilkes Hardware from several years ago

Farmers would literally herd their turkeys from down the mountains in Ashe, Watauga, and Alleghany Counties in order to collect the cash proceeds from their labor filled task.

Eller’s staff would process/sell their flock. Could you imagine the sight that it must have been??? All of the sudden the flock of turkeys appeared on the roads in Wilkes!!!! Men guiding them with corn along the way, flocks of turkeys gobbling, wobbling with wings flying everywhere!!!! I would imagine that the sight of this was pretty common in the early 1900’s in rural Wilkes County. I bet the turkeys never suspected any “fowl play” on their journey. The old newspaper article did say that one of the largest turkey drives that ever was processed by Mr. Eller was 1,500 turkeys in one drive!!!

Signage like this one marked the path for local farmers to EE Eller’s Produce House. Thanks to Jerry Dameron for sharing this photo collection with me.

Once a flock of turkeys arrived at EE Eller Produce, they were processed/ dressed for shipped via train. Our local train station was just down the street from our current store location. The train destinations were mostly in Northern states after leaving the North Wilkesboro station. According to local oral history, it is estimated that Mr. Eller processed at his height of business, 1 million chickens and turkeys!!!! Guess that was all “gravy” for him after that!!!!

I have written about the history of our store before but, new facts have come to light! Let’s “de-feather” this poultry truth!

To those loyal readers of my blog, this will be new information for you. All the “plucky” truth, as we know it… A few months back, we were lucky to have a few family members of Mr. Eller to drop in for a quick visit. Up high on the wall held 4 pictures of what we had thought were the past 4 owners of the building, but it was ultimately revealed that the charcoal drawing on the far left was not Mr. EE Eller.

Many of y’all know this was the Wall of Fame inside our hardware store… check the wall the next time you shop with us, it maybe a “feather” shorter than before
Who really knows who this guy could be??? The truth is that we did not find any visible clues inside the frame or even on the back of this old charcoal drawing

Further reading and research has revealed that Mr. Eller moved from the corner of 10th and D Street building to Forester Avenue in 1941 to a larger location. Wilkes Hardware moved into the 10th Street location sometime later on, I haven’t been able to determine a definite date yet but we know it was sometime in the 1940’s.

It was fascinating to “pluck out” the facts about the origins of this historic building we currently reside in each day. As time allows, I’ll continue to research more about the history of Wilkes Hardware and even Mr. Eller. For now, I think we have “gobbled up” a few new fascinating facts about our historic past.

Hope I “beaked” your interest a bit in our history but just “winging it” and wishing y’all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

November

My morning usually starts with breakfast and a large mug of steaming, hot coffee. After breakfast, I usually try to check notifications on our social media and put out new stories on our most active social media accounts. My morning routine was in full swing today when I came across a post about the first day of November. It was a cute one, Bette Milder in her best Sanderson sister costume on the left side of the screen and on the right, Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold, of National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. The gist is that Christmas has officially begun today on November 1st.

In reality, yes, it probably has officially begun. Retailers have had all things Christmas up and in stores for a few weeks now… trees, lights, and decorations. Hallmark Christmas movies have been featured on the television for the last few weeks and I would bet some folks are ready to get onto a healthy dose of holiday spirit with Christmas lights, and trees .

So what happened to the season of Thanksgiving? It is now a holiday surrounded by a kickoff of the Christmas shopping season. I’m not debating the right or wrong way to celebrate the month of November in this blog post, but my thoughts are just reflection upon the season of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving… a time of gratitude, grace, thanks, blessings, and giving back to our community. After all, the smallest blessing can be received even from the tiniest of things in life.

Shouldn’t we hold the season of Thanksgiving in our hearts every single day???

Thanksgiving is now just 23 days away. What will I do differently over the next few weeks in preparation for this important holiday of Thanksgiving besides shopping for a turkey & dressing???

I’m actively working on my November “bucket list” and I don’t think putting up my Christmas tree is high on the list right now.

Here’s my current brainstorming plan…

What would you put on your November list???

1. Create a Thanksgiving playlist of music. ( FYI: I have a working playlist now and will continue to update it as the month progresses.)

2. Make & bake a pumpkin spice treat, pumpkin muffins??? Thanks mom for sharing the recipe.

3. Make Hot Apple Cider – Muddled with spices

Looking forward to this blend on a cool evening or Sunday afternoon

4. Fire pit and marshmallows

5. Friendsgiving fun.. it’s been a couple of years since we have done this, but going to try to do this again.

Pumpkin spice buttercream…. It was so delicious!!!

6. Try a new soup or stew recipe for a cool, “fallish” evening meal

I already have one soup recipe on my list to make so far!

7. Enjoy the simplicity of every day life in the season of Fall.

8. Gratitude posts… share posts that are inspiring and complete at least two a week on my personal IG page or Facebook page.

Sharing on my stories will be a constant in the month of November. Check back for posts and other updates.

9. Watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, with popcorn of course!

Popcorn is a definite movie treat!

10. Create a list of must watch Thanksgiving movies 🍿 or shows. This one will be a work in progress for 2022… so I’ll let you know what ends up on my list when it is finished.

Life is short. I can’t believe my son is grown now. It was just like yesterday he wanted to go turkey hunting with my dad while riding the golf cart. Treasure each day it is a unique gift.

November might actually turn out to be a nice month y’all, with more reflection about blessings, thanks, gratitude, family, friendship and slowing down to enjoy the last days of Fall.

Give thanks for a little, you will find a whole lot in return.

Fall is… A Mosaic of Everyday Beauty

The colors of Fall is distinctively different from any other season of the year. The Fall season is truly a mosaic of colors of the rainbow… green, gold, red, orange, & brown set against the bright blue sky.

Fall is… the joy of watching the trees turn colors over time

Our natural world which we have grown accustomed to during the summer, suddenly changes into a magical world of autumnal colors, happening almost overnight it seems. I’m sharing my favorite, everyday hardware life Fall photos with y’all today to celebrate the season of Fall using the caption of Fall is…

Fall is … Gorgeous sunrise and sunsets with beautiful golden hues showering the skies
Fall is… Picturesque views
Fall is… Enjoying the view from your own front window
Fall is…Trees showering with colors… red, yellow, and orange
Fall is… Leaves crunching at your feet as you walk
Did someone say leaves??? 🍁🍁🍁🍁Time to rake! 🍁🍁🍁🍁
My nephew used to say when the leaves fell in the fall, they were just making friends on the ground 🍁🍁🍁
Fall is… Finding pumpkins of all shapes & sizes
Fall is… Making all of your favorite apple recipes
Fall is… Brushy Mountain Apple Festival! Always the first Saturday in October
Fall is.. the beginning of festival & holiday season! We are so excited to be a small part of the new family friendly festival which will be hosted on Saturday October 29 4-8 pm
Fall is… Thanksgiving! Do I need to say more?? Yum!
Fall is… Getting ready for cooler nights by the fire pit
Wilkes County Hardware has got y’all covered for Fall logo gear. Stay warm with these sweatshirts or find a new long sleeve logo t-shirt to layer with for those cooler weather days of Fall🍁🍁🍁
Fall is … S’mores time
Fall is… Making your favorite soups, stews and comfort foods
Fall is… The perfect time to make a pan of cornbread
Fall is…Bringing the smells of fall inside as the weather cools down
Wilkes County Hardware has in stock Acorn Spice, Mum, and Apple Cider hand soaps to keep your favorite Fall scents inside your home.
Fall is… A great time to add some warm wood tones into your home decor
Fall is…A busy time for animals preparing for the upcoming winter season
Deer spray, & granular repellents are available at Wilkes County Hardware. For our bird lovers, we have new suet feeders & suet nuggets!
And of course, we have excellent choices for keeping the birds coming back to your feeders for the entire Fall season! No additives or fillers.
Fall is… Spotting the busy & maybe a bit of mischievous activity of critters along the Greenway
Fall is.. Stopping to just enjoy the scenery
Fall is… seeing the same places evolve into a new seasonal phase from the lush green trees to the barren & bare trees of late autumn.
Fall is… seeing the same places evolve into a new seasonal phase from the lush green trees to the barren & bare trees of late autumn.
Fall is… seeing the same places evolve into a new seasonal phase from the lush green trees to the barren & bare trees of late autumn.
Fall is… Finding those spooky, foggy morning memories
Fall is… Preparing for the first frost
Fall is.. Predicting the first fire of the season in the old wood stove inside our hardware store
Fall is… A Mosaic to be enjoyed by us all. Fall is… simply enjoying your surroundings everyday.
🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

A Story in Pictures

The Smithey Building has long been an anchor store on 10th Street. Our across the street neighbors for the last 7 years. Showcasing this 33,000 square foot building here in this early morning photo of Apple Festival from a few years ago
A storm unloaded a lot of water onto our front sidewalks & back parking lot in a matter of 8 minutes! Some of our 10th Street neighbors experienced water inside their buildings after the rain. One marked component of the storm was intense lightning.
The first capture of the flames from the fire on August 30, 2022 … Tuesday evening around 5:30pm as Richard & I saw the North Wilkesboro fire department pulling into 10th Street.
Firefighters are quickly getting the hoses out and getting ready to work
Wilkesboro firefighters also quickly responded to the fire and placed ladder truck into position
The smoke was getting more intense. Businesses on the same side as Smithey’s began to move valuable goods to safer areas. Other business owners from 10th & Main Street were there to help.
Cars were moved from 10th Street. It proved to be a challenge because of the firehoses, emergency vehicles, narrow openings, and difficulty finding a few of the car owners.
Around 6:45pm NW police asked all businesses/residents of 10th Street to vacate buildings due to safety concerns. We stayed across the street at Dom’s Bakery. We felt we should stay as our livelihood was in danger.
Firefighters were pushing a ton of water on the fire. Firefighters had to take the tanker trucks to nearby water towers to get more water. I think it was estimated that the fire consumed over 4 million gallons of water.
It was at times, difficult to watch. The smoke billowing from the building.
11-12 different fire departments responded to the fire.
The top floors have begun to fall through to the main floor of the Smithey building
A fork-like piece of heavy equipment was used. It was interesting to watch it maneuver onto 10th Street in between the hoses and the buildings.
Piercing through the old windows.. yes! The original facade was covered up with the existing Smithey exterior.
Some of these firefighters have worked all day long and will continue to work into the late night
Just no words.. 😢 Around 10:00-10:30 Wilkes Oil brought a truck to refuel the existing fire trucks. They have now been on scene for 5 hours.
Richard & I spoke to the fire scene chief before we left for the night around 11pm. The fire was definitely under control and being well managed. The street would remain closed and we could open with back door access on Wednesday morning
Firefighters worked all night long. Here’s a early morning photo from Wednesday morning. The extent of fire is quite visible.
These hoses are HUGE!!
At the height of the fire on Tuesday evening, firefighters had 4 different ladder trucks going at once!!! Wednesday morning, two remaining ladders are busy putting the flames down
The buildings next door were very lucky that no substantial fire damage occurred.
Water pouring through the roof
Some of these firefighters had been on shift for over 24 hours.. working at fire department or other jobs. Exhausted but dedicated! Thank you!
All ages of firefighters were on deck.. thanks for keeping our community safe.
📸credit: Monty 😊
Bringing in the heavy equipment for demolition

Demolition started with the little corner building… the old gas station side

Building Demolition took only a few hours. We could feel a few vibrations during the demolition inside our building
10th Street was opened for full traffic by 5pm.
All within 24 hours!!!
The demo/ grading team has done an amazing job! The bricks seem to be a popular item for onlookers to stop by to take a piece of the building with them.
We have heard many stories that so many people have shared with us over the last few days of experiences at Smithey’s Goodwill. A dear couple actually meet there and eventually married. 💕
We will miss our historic neighbors but looking forward to the next chapter that the new building will bring to our town, in whatever form. 📸 credit: Sonny

“The Chicken Ghost”

The tale I am about to unravel goes back way in history to the beginnings of our store… well, actually before it was a hardware store. Our original building was constructed in 1905.

In the early 1900’s, our building was known to all the residents of Wilkes as EE Eller Produce. Mr. Eller was a major poultry buyer/ dealer where local folks would bring in chickens, and turkeys for processing.

Here’s an old advertisement from local newspaper

The processed chickens & turkeys were loaded up on the railroad cars just down the street. The North Wilkesboro Train Station was a bustling center of commerce in our town.

It was a major operation that farmers routinely made their journey into North Wilkesboro from the surrounding mountain areas and nearby communities.

Signs like this one were placed along the route to guide local farmers towards EE Eller Produce. A big thank you to Jerry Dameron for sharing this picture with me!

I have been told that over 1 million chickens and turkeys were processed in year!!!! Now that you have just a bit of historical background information about our building, our story can officially begin. Here we go…

A few years back during the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival we had a gentleman who was visiting with us in the hardware store and he began to tell us about his experiences inside our old, historic store…. this gentleman had spent some time with our neighbor next door and he stayed in his “man cave”.

Our neighbor had let this man stay in his “man cave” for a few months until he could figure out where he wanted to go and what direction life would take him next. This gentleman said that he would often be awakened around 2 am.

He reported to us that he regularly heard at night… chains dragging across the floor and sounds of chickens. He never could see or find anything unusual once he went to investigate. This man then continued with his story, by stating “now I know all of this is true because I am a reincarnated Buddhist, Catholic priest, I can sense that things happened here”. After that statement, we just simply didn’t have any words.

Our conversation moved to other topics and we of course were super busy in the mix of Apple Festival Day and we all laughed about the story the man told us that day and continued on with our business. Maybe he was being a real “comedi- hen”… 😂

Sometimes when the shopkeepers bell rings attached to our front door, without an apparent reason, we always joke, “it must be the chicken ghost” going back to the gentleman’s story on that Apple Festival Saturday. Lots of times we think it is the wind catching the door, elevation change of the door position, etc. We can usually explain it away….

But it is hard to explain the random chicken feather that just floats down from the ceiling… you wouldn’t think that would still happen after all these years???

Now, I”ll share this piece of information with you as well… we have had a few paranormal/ghost hunters to come into our store to ask if they could set up after hours. They thought our store would be a great location to pick up paranormal activity. We have always declined the request of these folks.

The logo we choose is a chicken to honor our historic roots of our building

The last aspect of our story goes back to the blog post that I did a few weeks ago entitled “Messy Monday”, it was one of those very busy days and our cash register/credit card machine were not working-via no internet plus we had lots of other factors playing into that day that made it a very long and hard day. 

After supper, Richard went back to the store that night to try to make sense of the day, clean up somewhat, etc. He did not get back home until after 10:30 pm that night— here is what he told me the following day.

“I was standing near the front cash register looking down at something and all of the sudden I heard a huge SLAM sound on the front doors, ironically, the shopkeeper bell never moved.” He then continued by saying that he looked up because he just knew someone was outside possibly walking a dog on the street or someone had run into the front door from the outside… it was dark of course but nothing had alarmed or signaled on the cameras at the front door. He could see no one or nothing alarming. 

This picture was published on Facebook in 2021 after our store was closed on evening. A follower noted the figure was in the reflection of the window. No one was outside the building or inside when I snapped this picture

Could it be the “chicken ghost”???? I suspect it could be “fowl play”.   OR even a “poultry geist”😂.

Happy Halloween to all!!!

 

Supper vs. Dinner

Sometimes in conversation as I remember talking to my Granny at the end of the day, I would ask her what they both had for dinner. As she began to talk about her meal, I soon realized that she was referring to her mid-day meal, not her evening meal. My vocabulary was not the same as hers. I quickly learned that her view of supper/dinner was different from mine. Does it matter? Well, I guess it is all about perspective.

A major NC magazine in our state just recently published an article about Sunday Suppers. It was well done. I’m not going to rehash the intent of that article. But, it did bring back up all those supper/dinner conversations that I had with my granny came to my mind when I read the article.

So upon reflection, I began to ponder my usage of “dinner”. I use the term “dinner” all the time to gather my family to the table, but the reality is that we really are seated for “supper” instead.

Why supper??? The word supper is less formal. Dinner can be a full fledged event with fancy dinner napkins, china, etc. But, when we gather at home, it is not a formal affair. Our family is blessed to have passed down to us, the antique farm table that was in my mother-in-law’s kitchen. The table is definitely not formal by any means, and it is the only table around which we gather to eat. At this farm table we engage in the conversations about the day, hold discussions about local events/news, and let the puns roll. (Our form of making our son roll his eyes 👀 at us.). Supper at our house is a time to simply gather, eat together & unwind from the day.

This was modeled well in my family as a young child growing up. All four of us always ate together at the table in the kitchen. As they say, “old habits die hard”. Meals gathered as our family unit or shared with friends are a strong part of my memories of home.

Now in present day, the weekends are probably the most relaxing suppers we get to have as a family unit. Saturday evening supper is probably one of my favorite times. This tends to be the meal when we can relax, kick back at the end of the day. Saturday supper tends to be one of our Traeger nights- smoking a good piece of meat, or grilling up fish, or whatever is on sale at the grocery store! Do you guys do that too???

Saturday supper doesn’t have to be all fancy, high dollar meals that breaks your budget 💵. Sometimes supper is quite simple at our house–homemade chili beans, or biscuits in a Lodge skillet & country ham, maybe even soup and Traeger grilled cheese sandwich, or lastly, a crockpot meal that we all love.

So I guess when I call my family to say, “dinner is ready”, I really mean supper because that equates to family time. 😊

Happy Supper Saturday y’all !!!

2022 Memories and Favorite Photos

It’s hard to believe that 2022 is almost in the books! Sharing a few moments with y’all from our hardware life from this year in the form of pictorial memories and a few of my photo favorites.

We welcomed Cookie into our home in January. She was found abandoned at a local car wash, very thin and wet. The top pictures depict her thin size when she was found/first came home. On December 26th, 2022 she weighed in at the vet at 21 pounds…. She is definitely living the good life now.
Beautiful blooms in January 2022
January snow 2022
Hardware show in Orlando, back in person! Richard & Steve Foster
The freight elevator from a unique perspective, top down view … yes, it still works and we use it frequently
Afternoon Sun gleams in from the front windows
Spring Feature… thanks for sharing y’all
Friday morning friends 😊, a diverse group who gather together as they can on Friday mornings, to discuss business, and have a bit fun too.
Graduation 2022! Very proud of our son who has gained not only his high school diploma but his two year degree at WCC.
Spring Storm clouds
New Bern boats all aglow at night. Richard & I took a few days away to celebrate our anniversary in New Bern. What a beautiful town!
Cutie pie Joy enjoying life
August morning Fogs… did you keep count???
A photo collection of the fire at Smithey’s across the street. Very thankful for our amazing community of firefighters, police, who kept the fire/area under control.
September morning sunrise
Wet return for the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival in 2022
A very popular new t-shirt available at WCH this Fall. Thank y’all!
Amazing fall colors this year
The first annual Spooktacular was a tremendous success! So many people came out for this event this year. We hope to make it bigger and better next year!
November brings leaves 🍁 falling everywhere
Lighting up the night with Christmas lights… Light Up Downtown North Wilkesboro
Our view has dramatically changed with our neighbor gone, capturing this beautiful sunset after the time change in November
Mistletoe spotted in the height of a tree. My parents neighborhood has a ton of trees with mistletoe everywhere.
December… the festive month with Christmas trees and more!

As the book closes on 2022, I’m personally noting the ebb and flow of the year is often marked with highs and lows. The perspective and reflection of 2022 should be the focus on the blessings in life.

Wishing you and your family a blessed 2023. We await the new chapters in 2023 to see what blessings will mark the highlights of each of the 12 new chapters. Happy New Year to all!

Do you celebrate New Year’s with a traditional meal each year??? Pork chops, black eyed peas, cheese grits, cabbage and cornbread was on our menu for 2022 .

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

December 21st, Winter Solstice… no snow today but the cold temperatures are coming by the end of this week! Brrr 🥶

Today marks the first day of the winter season. Soup and stew season has already begun at our house and is a regular feature in our weekly menu.

There is simply nothing better than a hot bowl of soup and a melted, gooey grilled cheese to take the winter chill off after a long day at the hardware store.

Christmas is almost here… a wonderful time of the year!

During the Christmas season, I love to curl up on the couch and enjoy my favorite Christmas classic movies. This past weekend I stumbled upon a recipe from one of my favorite vintage movies, It Happened on 5th Avenue(1947).

Thankful for TCM and my small collection of Christmas classics that I have on DVD

Richard & I have watched this movie countless number of times, but as our conversation took a turn about the stew featured in the movie, I decided to do a quick internet search to find out more about the intriguing dish. Slumgullion Stew, an Irish stew, mentioned in the 5th Avenue movie, was easy enough to find a few different variations of the recipe. I settled on my favorite and then decided to give it a try and see if it will make the cut on our menu board for our family favorites.

It looks like I’ll be adding Slumgullion Stew to our menu board favorites soon!

One of the central characters in the movie, Mike, enters the room and instantly smells the fragrance of Slumgullion Stew cooking in the kitchen, which transports him to a memory of a better time in his life. This stew scene will ultimately mark the beginning of change for him.

Upon further reflection, many of those old, classic black and white movies have the theme of transformation for the main character in the movie. An iconic example is, It’s a Wonderful Life(1946). The central actor, George Bailey is transformed into a more appreciative person by the end of the movie.

Many of our Christmas favorites we have on DVD

Regardless if you love those old movies or not, I’ve decided to share my version of Slumgullion Stew with y’all today. I believe the original intention with the recipe/movie version is to use what you have. I did conclude that one unique feature of the stew is black eyed peas and pasta from my research.

A full crockpot of Slumgullion

There are different versions of Slumgullion are out there when you check the internet, but I’m sharing my take on the original movie stew pictured on the big screen.

Recipe for Slumgullion Stew

⁃ 1 to 2 lbs. of stew beef (cooked)

I used my leftovers from earlier in week

⁃ 2 cans of black eyed peas

⁃ Cubed carrots (add as many as you like)

⁃ Potato chunks (I added approximately 3-4 red potatoes)

⁃ 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce

⁃ 1 32 oz. Beef broth

⁃ 1 beef bullion cube with 1 cup water

⁃ Salt and pepper to taste

⁃ 1 tsp. Italian seasoning

⁃ 1 bay leaf

⁃ Pasta (macaroni noodles would be the traditional favorite)

⁃ Add all ingredients into a large crock pot for simmer on low for 8 hours or until vegetables are tender. Add pasta hour before serving.

Slumgullion, holds an earthy flavor profile

Special note: The recipe I found online added cabbage, and chopped red peppers. I opted to leave them out. The consistency of my final stew was soup like, which is what I intended since I added the pasta into the recipe. For a thicker stew like consistency add a flour roux.

Lastly, sharing my Classic Christmas Movies Favorites… in no particular order

1. White Christmas (1954)

2. It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947)

3. Going My Way (1944)

4. Shop Around the Corner (1940)

5. Bishop’s Wife (1948)

6. Holiday Inn (1942)

7. Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

8. Remember the Night (1940)

9. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

10. Holiday Affair (1949)

11. The Thin Man (1934)

Wishing everyone a fantastic holiday season and hoping that you will enjoy the most wonderful time of the year whether it is spent trying new recipes, establishing new Christmas traditions, gathering with friends and family, or even watching a few new classic Christmas movies .

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