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Gardening Guide May 9-16, 2021

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Spring flowers are blooming beautifully… my peonies are looking absolutely gorgeous this year. This is the week to be in the garden!!! May is a busy season of planning, planting and growing. Tomatoes plants are going in the ground this week!!!

Garden boutiques are the best!!!

“As I work in the garden, the garden works on me”…

According to Blum’s Almanac
Zucchini, squash, green beans, cucumbers anyone???
Tomato planting time has arrived!!!
Authentic whiskey barrels make excellent flower planters

Single Daisy

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This little stem broke off a few days ago from a grocery store bouquet of flowers . I hated to see it go in the trash can. It seems to be thriving in a tiny crystal bowl with a bit of water. I was amazed to see it still looking so great today.

To all mom’s out there following my blog, let me be one of the first to wish you a blessed Mother’s Day.

May you always be resilient like this flower… blooming beautifully in midst of calm or chaos. As storms arise in your journey, may you be grateful for the rain to help the blooming flowers grow, and find sunshine to light your path.

Blue skies and sunshine outside our back door at Wilkes County Hardware

Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

The Clothesline

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I was walking around the hardware store yesterday checking the shelves for products that needed replenishment. I came upon a roll of clothesline. My mind began to instantly wander from the task at hand. My productivity waned… I was lost in my thoughts.

We sell clothesline at Wilkes County Hardware, even the old fashioned cotton type & clothespins

The memories came flooding back of my mom’s clothesline when I was growing up. We spent the Saturdays putting the sheets, & towels onto the clothesline. It was a time saver for mom, not having to run the dryer all day after working all week.

My sister and I both had “jobs” while we were assisting hanging clothes on the clothesline. We both were too young to reach the clothesline for ourselves. We had it down to a well-oiled system. One of us carried the old metal dishpan outside into the fresh, clean air towards the line. Of course the clothespins were in hand too. Once we were at the line, I handed mom each piece of laundry from the dishpan, while my younger sister, delved out the clothespins. Mom hung the laundry in sync with the wind. The whole process didn’t take long.

Mom used an old metal dishpan like this one, wet laundry was too heavy in the laundry basket… of course I asked her why she used this when I was little…

Now, memories are often nostalgic… so I must say that my mom’s memories of these Saturdays at the clothesline are probably different from ours. She probably remembers the trips out to the clothesline where we both complained about the weather being too hot, or bees flying too closely, or even those hateful chestnut burrs that were close by waiting to prey on our innocence toes/feet in the late summer/early fall months. I know complaints were definitely lodged… but we always finished our task, hanging the laundry out to dry.

Oh… those chestnut burrs were rough on the feet!!!

I’m glad my sister & I were able to experience so many wonderful things during our childhood that are now seemingly falling away into the past.

Everyone used to have a clothesline… now I bet that if you still have a clothesline in 2021, you are a rare lucky person.

Back to nostalgia, as we both grew older, mom sent us out to the clothesline to hang or even harvest the freshly dried clothes. I took them down while my sister held the fresh loot.

I can still smell the scent of the sheets & towels dried outdoors. Nothing was better than those air dried sheets on your bed at night.

However, I do recall, that towels and washcloths from the line were not a favorite of mine. They were a little too rough for my liking. We used the line mostly for sheets anyways.

My dad eventually took the old chestnut trees down and made way for some new backyard landscaping as I got older. The clothesline was used less frequently as we got older.

But that clothesline was a constant in my backyard during my childhood. Things change as do people. I will always cherish those good memories of times spent together at the clothesline, soaking up the fresh outdoor air & sunshine.

Hope

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The Spring season & Easter holiday always brings a sense of hope.

Spring is beginning to emerge in all of its glory, with the grand rebirth of nature. The first flowers bloom, trees are sprouting the first tiny green leaves, & the grass awakens from its winter slumber. Birds are busy nesting, and their chirping can be heard from early mornings to late in the evening.

Easter for many people is a significant religious experience… the love of God and his Grace forever changed the world… bringing HOPE to all.

Spring of 2021 just “feels” very different from Spring 2020, which was fully immersed in the Covid pandemic.

As I recall, this time last year, our reality was very different. As a nation, we were focused on Covid, shutdowns, & finding new ways of doing business. Many businesses closed. 2020 was also spent on how to control the spread of the virus, & let’s not forget the shortages of key products. I think the list is lengthy, so I’ll not continue.

Clorox wipes, toilet paper, N95 masks, and so much more…

Our focus as business owners at Wilkes County Hardware last spring was on “essential business operations”.

When many states across the US shutdown spring of 2020, our state did also. Hardware stores were considered to be essential.

For a few months, curbside service was offered in order to keep our customers & employees safe. We are still offering call ahead curbside for anyone who wants it even still now.

Last spring we dealt with consistent shortages of all types of items. This was a new problem that we had never encountered as a business owners.

Store stock merchandise had always been always readily available prior to Covid. Trying to find alternatives or other venders was difficult at times AND still continues into 2021 spring season.

I will say that finding solutions to living during a pandemic did prove to be a challenge and how to manage a business during it all, felt at times, all encompassing.

HOPE kept us going.

I’ll conclude with one of my favorite quotes concerning hope. “May all your choices reflect your hopes not your fears”. Well done Nelson Mandela…

Let’s Talk Turkey

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Many local residents of Wilkes County probably do not realize the important connection of Thanksgiving and our historic building. So today it is time to talk some serious turkey history!  Our local newspaper, the Wilkes Journal Patriot, published a newspaper article several years ago about the famous turkey drives in Wilkes County.  I am basing some of my facts and information on that old news article and information from local oral history, that we love to tell to our customers and newcomers to our store. I hope you enjoy the “Turkey Tale” today.

EE Eller Produce Co.  was one of the largest turkey and chicken wholesalers, and a major processing center for local farmers to bring turkeys/chickens into North Wilkesboro. Ironically, it was the first poultry processing plants in our town, well before the days of Holly Farms, & of course later on Tyson. Mr. Eller placed his business, as you may have guessed, yep, in our current building on the corner of 10th Street and D Street in North Wilkesboro.

Farmers would literally herd their turkeys from down the mountains in Ashe, Watauga, & Alleghany Counties in order to 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,  flock of turkeys gobbling, 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!!!

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 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!!!!

So Thanksgiving has a new meaning for us as store owners. We are caretakers of not only our business, but caretakers of local Thanksgiving history. Our town is rich in local history and our building that we reside in today as a hardware store is a great part of that legacy. We are grateful, thankful and blessed. Thank you to all who continue to support our local business, you are giving life to our local history as well.

In closing, Wayne, one of our employees will tell you that every once in while he will see a lone feather coming flying out of the ceiling.  We all joke that it is the chicken ghost or the “poultrygiest”. I have never witnessed this, but he has many more years inside this building.  Ok, enough of the “turkey talk” and time to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

 

 

FYI: IF you have not read the post, “The Chicken Ghost” , check it out

“The Chicken Ghost”

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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 the late 1800’s and was burned in a fire. The owners rebuilt and instead of a wooden structure, & replaced it with brick, our current building today. 

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

The processed animals were loaded up on the Railroad tracks just down the street. It was a major operation that farmers routinely made their journey into North Wilkesboro. 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 wake up around 2 am.

He reported 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”. Lol 😂 how strange right???

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 without an apparent reason, we always joke, “it must be the chicken ghost” going back to the gentleman’s story on Apple Festival. 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….

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 it would be a great location and the paranormal activity was showing up on equipment. We have always declined the request of these folks.

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. 

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

Happy Halloween to all!!!

 

Gardening Guide May 4th-8th 2021

Gardening is the best “dirt therapy” AND you get tomatoes. For many gardeners, this is probably a very true statement…

Over the last few weeks, we have had numerous questions on when to plant tomatoes. Our standard answer has been when the fear of frost has passed.. usually sometime after Mother’s Day.

According to the almanac gardening guide, the best time to plant tomatoes is in the sign of cancer. The next cancer sign is May 14-16.

Check out the gardening guide for this week. Y’all will have a few good planting days ahead. The details are in today’s photos… have a great week in the garden 🪴 y’all !!!

Have a great week in the garden y’all!!!