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Beginners Guide to Fall Lawn Care and The Art of “Mowology” 101

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Living through a Southern Summer means consistently mowing the lawn is a necessity. I spent many summers on a riding mower going round and round until the yard was completely finished. Dad was usually busy completing the trimming around trees working the humming weed eater. Dad’s lawn always looked spectacular with the blades of grass all trimmed up, gleaming brightly in the warm summer sunshine.

Pool fun versus mowing the grass.. well there’s no debate on that one y’all 😂

The “art” mowing, or the phrase I’ll use today, “Mowology”, is not only your ability to keep up with mowing of the growing green grass AND the overall maintenance of the lawn. Let that sink in for a minute… that is a HUGE definition! Mowing & lawn maintenance requires a hunk of time on the homeowner part, just like that hunk of grass in your yard that has you currently stumped. You’re probably thinking to yourself… what on earth should I do next??? Weed control or pest control or should I just “kiss it up to heaven” and just let it go???

And we all know that keeping your lawn looking fabulous doesn’t come easily. It is hard work!!! Even as I write this, my dad still does ALL of his lawn maintenance. He just simply enjoys doing it. Dad would be in my book, “A Mowologist, at heart”. Why??? He is motivated to keep his lawn/yard looking great year round, he has the “heart” for an amazing lawn. Ultimately, don’t we all want that???

Cookie enjoys just sitting in the grass watching over her domain

Whether you are an active participant in your lawn care or not, it is good to know some basic details about what should be done and when, so your hard earned money is being utilized to the ultimate extent!

Put your hard earned money to use! Knowledge is powerful!

Now is an excellent time to walk your lawn to survey it to see how you wish to proceed for a beautiful lawn next spring… yes, y’all are reading that correctly.

Check the verbiage in the Almanac… it’s time to put emphasis on the lawn!

August and September are actually THE most important months for lawn care! For all of y’all who are excellent “mowologists” out there, be proactive and think ahead towards next spring. What should you be focusing on FIRST?? Continue to read below in order to find the BEST option available for your lawn this Fall.

The following information is a portion of my research based findings. Several of our customers have asked for help/questions in regards to lawn care for the Fall season. This is only a few helpful tips!

Option one:The Ultimate Mowologist”…. I’ve got this lawn under control & I’m looking ahead to Fall Y’all:

1. Apply Fertilizer. A little fertilization towards end of the brutal summer heat will give your lawn a boost going into Fall. Your lawn is tired and possibly even a little stressed. As a result, your lawn could use more nitrogen. Lawns that lack nitrogen may also be missing other two vital nutrients, such as phosphorus and potassium. Yes… y’all guessed it, these are the essential elements found in fertilizer.

This is a nitrogen rich product that would be an amazing additive to your lawn this Fall, sprinkle onto your lawn after aeration.
We also have basic fertilizer options

2. If you are just simply unsure to fertilize or not??? Stop by and pick up a soil test. Your lawn will go dormant with or without fertilizer as temperatures begin to cool down. By adding a boost of fertilizer, you can have a much more lush, vibrant yard come springtime.

Soil test can take the guess work out of your lawn care

3. Aerate – It is time to aerate lawns that are subject to heavy traffic or grown on clay soils. Yes, that is definitely us!!! Clay soil in the NC Foothills are a definite standard. Soil plugs should be broken up and scatter these plugs back into the lawn for best results.

4. Do you wish to Overseed OR do you need to Seed small bare patches that have emerged in your lawn? Overseeding can reduce weeds in your lawn by simply pushing them out with the thick layer of green, lush grass. Why should you overseed or seed bare patches now??? There are a few distinct reasons that make fall the best time to plant grass seed. The Fall months of September & Early October are ideally the best seeding times when the soil is still warm. With the combination of warm soil, warm daytime temperatures, and cool evenings encourages seed germination and establishment of newly sown cool-season grass. In general terms, you should plant cool-season grass seed at least 45 days before the “estimated date” of your first fall frost. Meaning, before soil and air temperatures drop to less favorable levels. Fall will typically brings more rain, which lessens the chance that these newly planted grass seeds may dry out, and reducing the need for extra watering on your part.

Small bags of grass seed are also available!

Option Two:The Tired Mowologist “…Summer has gotten the best of me y’all, but I’ve got this handled…

1. Weed control – As the summer wanes, weeds may have emerged in your lawn! Post-emergent herbicides are one way of removing weeds that have already sprouted if you can visibly see them in your lawn. Weed and Feed options are also available… stop by to see which one works best for you.

2. Insect control– did you notice Japanese beetles in your yard this season??? Mole issues ??? Believe it or not, these are all connected!!! Japanese beetles lay eggs in your lawn that turn into lawn grubs in late summer . The grubs eat and dig up your lawn roots in late summer, hibernate all winter long and then come back with a vengeance in spring…ready to destroy your lawn again. Moles eat grubs. Now is the time to get moving on grub control for your yard before the cooler weather sets in and the grubs move deeper into the ground, making it ineffective for any type of grub control to be impactful. Other signs of insects??? Stop by to see what would work best for your lawn and gardening needs this Fall.

If you purchased this product this summer, you might need to consider getting prepared for grub control 😳
Pet friendly grub control
Granular & concentrate available

Y’all might be wondering why did I give you two different choices ?? Here’s the answer. You should never fertilize, aerate, and seed the lawn at the same time as you are in the weed control cycle. It’s kinda like you are defeating your original purpose… Pick one area of focus and go with it! Option 2 with lawn weed control should be completed by Mid September. After three weeks of completion, you can come back to aerate & overseed/seed bare patches in your lawn if you deem it necessary this Fall.

Looking Ahead into Fall Y’all… “The Proactive Mowologists”

1. Water lawn as needed.

Need a new water hose???

2. Maintain your Mulch– a thick layer of mulch helps to prevent weeds.

3. Pull & spray weeds as needed

5. Fall is a great time to plant trees or shrubs.

6. Get ready to rake leaves!!! 🍂🍁🍁🍁

7. Check out your fall lawn & garden tools… are they in need of maintenance,cleaning, repair???? We can help with new handles, and sharpening.

8. Keep lawnmower blades sharpened. Dull blades mean uneven cutting in your lawn.

Fall is an amazing time of the year for the novice mowologist or even the pro who has been doing it well for years. The weather begins to cool down and the summer sweats subsides. What Mowologists isn’t looking forward to parking the mower in the garage for a few months of leisure as winter weather sets in and you get to trade it out for a snow shovel??? Right??? 😂

A Story in Pictures

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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 Paper Bag Experience

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I can remember going into our local community grocery stores at Martin Cheek’s or Alexander’s Grocery and shopping for a quick “go to item” and coming back to the car with item in tow tucked inside a paper bag.

Easy tuck under your arm… carrying a paper bag

My memories of helping my mom carry in the groceries from the car, and not ONE of those bags was plastic y’all.

I maybe telling my age but, paper bags were the only option at the local grocery store. Over my lifetime, things shifted and plastic bags have become the standard.

Plastic bags are everywhere!

As we approach the beginnings of year SEVEN in the hardware business, I realized the other day that paper bags are ONE thing our customers have grown accustomed to with each purchase inside our historic, hardware walls. Yes, we hand stamp our name on each individual paper bag! Bag stamping is a routine part of what we do each week.

We hand stamp our paper bags… various sizes available

Processing and writing this blog post, I began to wonder… Are businesses that offer paper bags perceived by the consumer as a more “customer service friendly” small business???? Is the overall atmosphere somehow uniquely different from a business that only offers plastic bags at checkout????

Wilkes County Hardware, established long ago in our town center… finding a home on 10th & D Street after the legacy of EE Eller’s thriving business here in this building from 1905-1941.

Humor me please… Think about this for a minute… where do you currently shop where plastic bags are the norm???? Grocery stores, big box stores??? Can you think of other locations with plastic bags???

Just a question… hardware style

Reviewing my current own shopping habits, I recall several stores in our area use plastic over paper bags. Good versus bad, paper or plastic, that is not a bone of contention that I’m undertaking today in the blog post. But, I must admit, I do love a good paper bag! And I do frequent some small shops that offer paper bags over plastic, which is part of the reason why I love these shops! But I must admit, it’s more than the paper bag, it is simply the overall shopping experience.

Y’all, don’t you feel a bit special with a cute paper bag from your purchase? It’s like the shop owner has taken a bit of extra pride, and care into their own livelihood. And marketing that small,unique business with the paper bag. Paper bags are easy for gift giving, reusing, or even recycling.

Our selection of paper bags ranges from small to larger size with handles

Further into my reflection, I would like to dive into & explore a tad more into my thoughts about the “atmosphere” in a business with paper bags at checkout versus plastic. Here’s a story I would like to share with y’all today…

I needed a couple of baby gifts, and I wanted to give each one a special gift. I stopped into, A Baby Celebration in our local downtown area. The shop was packed full of all sorts of sweet baby stuff!

A Baby Celebration, a sweet little baby shop in Downtown North Wilkesboro

As I finished up my purchases at the baby store, I’m thinking in my mind, now I need to gift wrap these and get these gifts to the new soon to be parents. It was almost like the owner read my mind. Maybe she sensed my stress of gift wrapping…having to head out to find the perfect gift wrapping paper or gift bag to place these sweet gifts into. But, that wasn’t the case! The owner then quickly pointed up to the display wall and she asked me to select a gift bag for each gift. I was tickled pink, and it was included in my visit!!! Customer service at its best y’all!

My point is, shopping small businesses can often come with perks you may not often be aware of! Shopping at small businesses, not only can you find quality merchandise, amazing service, friendly atmosphere, gift wrapping, & yes, even paper bags!

Our classic brown paper bag

Which brings me back to the thought of what could customers infer from small businesses where paper bags are standard?

In my mind, my inference about small businesses that offer that simple, classic paper bag is often a way to keep customers coming back into your store. Customers tend to associate such memorable things with your business… that cute paper bag you carefully placed items into, the excellent customer service you provided, or even the amazing products offered inside your store.

A view inside our hardware store

Regardless of whether it is the paper bag, or other reasons, as a small business owner, you want your customers to return often & regularly.

So y’all might be wondering why did we choose paper bags over plastic? Here’s our answer:

We quickly decided against plastic and opted for paper, check out our reasons why…

1. Nostalgia, when y’all enter our building you have literally stepped back into time. The age of our building dates back to the early 1900’s. We are offering our customers such an experience. I’ll call it, The Paper Bag Experience, stepping back into a time where life was a bit simpler, friendly service, shopping in an “old school”hardware store with the classic brown paper bags as standard fare for packaging.

Wilkes County Hardware is a classic old hardware store with the wood stove, working freight elevator, ladder wall and much more!

2. Classic Sophistication, let’s face it, a sweet,,little paper bag is much cooler than a slinky plastic bag😂 right???

3. Social responsibility, Paper bags have a few advantages over plastic when it comes to sustainability. Paper bags are recyclable and biodegradable.

4. Marketing to our customers, our goal is to ensure that every customer feels special! What is more unique & special than a stamped paper bag with our logo information on it???

5. One cool impact of using paper bags in our hardware store, paper bags are often used for gift giving.

In closing, the psychology behind paper v. plastic may not be resolved in this blog post today, but we are thankful that our customers keep returning and continue to support our small business at Wilkes County Hardware.

Richard & I truly appreciate your patronage as we launch into year SEVEN of the hardware business. The Paper Bag Experience has been impactful inside our historic walls. Shopping at Wilkes County Hardware is a definitely a unique experience. Whether you come for nostalgia, love of hardware stores, or locally sourced goods, we can neatly tuck them into a classic brown paper bag as you leave the checkout.

As always, thanks for reading & sharing my blog. I really appreciate my followers and your kind words. Thanks 😊

Unlocking the Mystery… Keys

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All keys are not created equal.

Keys… all different types!

The variety of keys could boggle the mind if y’all really stopped to think about it (house keys of all shapes & sizes, master lock , mailbox, car, boat, RV, & ATV keys)the list goes on and on!

Sometimes it takes a few minutes to survey all the different key blanks in order to find the right one before placing into the key machine. Our selection is vast.. and we continue to try to grow this portion of our hardware business

At Wilkes County Hardware we are known for making keys that work. We stand behind our keys. If ever a key doesn’t work, we will gladly replace it with one that will!

The key desk is usually one of the busiest places inside our store

I would guess that not many places are left in our town locally where you can go inside and get a key made accurately in a matter of a few minutes. And I’m not talking about putting money/key into a machine… taking a chance on the luck of getting it absolutely perfect… we are talking about getting your key duplicated by an individual using a key cutting machine. Keys are what we do well. Below are a few examples of what we do everyday for our customers.

We make keys the old fashioned way… not simply put into a machine to duplicate, using a key cutting machine like this one, we can cut out an extra groove if necessary.

A house key is probably the easiest to duplicate. Using the original key is the best way to ensure the most accurate duplication.

Most folks would be surprised how many keys we make in a single month.

Getting car keys duplicated can be a more of a dubious task. Many of today’s car keys are more costly to copy due to their anti-theft/electronic features. Car keys come in many varieties…chip keys, sidewinder keys, & fob keys if lost, can be a costly replacement.

Here’s one of the tools we use in order to determine if a customer has a automotive chip key

At Wilkes County Hardware, we can replicate most automotive chip keys. The vehicle should be present for a replacement chip key, or really any car key duplicate. It makes it so much easier!

The key machine hums all day long

Wilkes County Hardware has been receiving several calls related to lock shop services… ie, Can you come out to my house to rekey my locks? OR I have locked my keys inside my car, can you come get them out… 😳OR can you make me a new key from the switch???? No, we simply duplicate keys at Wilkes County Hardware.

Each week we receive multiple phone calls at the hardware store requesting information for lock services. We only duplicate keys at Wilkes County Hardware and rekey locks.

For many years Wilkes Hardware & Wilkes Lock Service were synonymous, and owned by one person. That is no longer the case. These two businesses have been separated from each other for over 17 plus years.

The old lock service sign is still on the store front… we hate to remove vintage signage

We are common neighbors on 10th Street with two very different businesses. We gladly refer all lock shop questions to our neighbors next door.

As a simple reminder, Wilkes County Hardware offers basic key cutting services, chip keys, & rekeying locks in our store. We are very blessed with an amazing staff who do a fabulous job of keys!

Wayne has been a master key guy inside Wilkes County Hardware for many years. We are blessed to have him on our staff.

Thank you for supporting our local hardware store business for the last SEVEN years!!! We appreciate your support always!!!

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Wayne taking time to examine the old lock on our front door, he is a man of many talents

August … Foggy Morning Breakdown

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When I looked outdoors this past Sunday morning from our front windows, I was extremely excited to see a thick layer of fog among the trees.

Sunday Morning August 7th
Monday August 8th, another foggy morning

For those of you who may not be aware of old weather folklore, every foggy morning in August, equates to a snowy day in the coming winter.

My grandparents always used to track the foggy mornings in August. I have found that I also like to capture foggy mornings with my camera to try to capture a moment of the quietness in nature.

This is the first year that I’m going to try to track my findings concerning the August morning fogs.

Fog hanging low into the trees

I’ve heard that folks used to put a large dried bean into a jar for each “big” morning fog. A smaller bean was used to indicate a “lesser ” fog. I don’t recall my grandparents ever doing this but Granny’s visual memory was acute. Granny would catalog these foggy mornings into her long term memory. As the snowy weather conditions were being talked about on the local news, she had those predictions from August to confirm or deny the pending weather track.

I’m not totally sure how accurate this method of predicting snowfall but I’m ready to give it a go for this coming winter.

A “light” August morning fog indicates a lighter dusting of snow.

So I’ve decided to revise my take on the bean jar plan… instead I’m using old keys as my guideline. Stay posted this month for keys in the jar update!!!

I’ll use the larger & smaller key method similar to the bean version that is traditionally used. So far, 2 keys in the jar!

Could this be a heavy snowfall winter???

December 2019… the largest snow for us to date!!! Wilkes County Hardware received over 16 inches of snowfall!!!!

Sonker Summers

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I really hadn’t thought much about Sonker since my teenage years but an early morning walk few weeks ago brought the word back into my vocabulary once again.

Our walking group had converged on the North Wilkesboro Greenway trail and we had begun talking about miscellaneous things, ie… who was doing what over the next few days… Summer fruits seemed to be on the agenda for discussion and the term Sonker came up… chiefly the origin of the term. One of my friends never had heard of the term and begun to ask questions about it and how it was similar or different from a fruit Cobbler.

My input into the conversation…Sonker was a common summer dessert in my home growing up and I also remembered my Granny used the term often. Cobbler wasn’t the commonly used term to describe the fruit-filled pan of goodness at our house nor in my extended family households.

Sonker can be made with any type of fruit. We often had fresh blueberries or cherries at home during the summer months.

As we continued our walk and daily topics of discussion changed, I made a mental note to ask my mom about the Sonker recipe later and if she knew anything about the origin of the name.

A week or so elapsed in time before I recalled the Sonker conversation on the Greenway when I was talking on the phone with my mom one afternoon. She immediately answered my questions. She recalled an article that she had read in Our State Magazine about Sonker. She relayed key details from the article, and encouraged me to go read more about it. Mom discussed the differences between her version of Sonker and Granny’s. Granny usually had leftover fresh biscuit dough which she topped with fruit. Mom’s recipe, y’all will be able to find at the end of the blog post today.

Granny would take her leftover scraps of biscuit dough to top her Sonker.

FYI, Mom is fantastic with last minute supper guests…she can whip up an easy dessert effortlessly. My sister & I often challenged her to this task, with extra guests at the table. Sonker was one of those perfect, easy desserts… baking and bubbling in the oven while supper was being served. The aroma filled the kitchen with goodness waiting patiently for the final feature, dessert fruit-filled Sonker.

Blueberry Summer Sonker

For those of y’all who are still wondering what on earth is Sonker??? Sonker is a deep-dish fruit “pie”, usually served in a square/rectangular baking pan. Sonker is supposed to be “juicier” than a typical cobbler. Sonker can be a dessert large enough to feed a family or accommodate guests in your home. Sonker is NOT a “fussy” dessert. The ease of recipe is part of the charm of Sonker. On the other hand, cobblers, tend to have more of a thick biscuit texture to the breading and the texture on top appears to be “cobbled”. The dough is dropped or spooned onto the top of the fruit typically in a cobbler. The end result of a well baked Sonker, in my opinion, showcases your fruit, cobblers often showcase the beautiful breading.

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Have an abundance of fruit??? Make a Sonker and freeze the rest of your fruit for a special Sonker treat for later on in the winter months

Upon my Mom’s urging to further read & research, I also learned that Surry County hosts a Sonker Trail and a festival each October. Surry County even has a classic Sweet Potato Sonker with a creamy/milky type “dip” which is a finishing feature of the Sweet Potato Sonker.

Y’all still might be thinking …really, IS a Cobbler the same thing as Sonker??? In my opinion, these two are very “close first cousins.” Honestly, I simply prefer to use Sonker to describe my fruit-filled deep dish pies.

According to the research articles I have read, the term “Sonker”, was derived from a Scottish word meaning straw saddle. The Sonker experts tell us that they suspect that cooks used the analogy of the crust likeness of the fruit-filled pie to compare it to the Scottish word.

North Carolina settlers have connections to Scotland via the Great Wagon Road

Also, the Sonker experts believe that the term Sonker originated in Surry and Wilkes Counties. I suspect that if you aren’t a “native” to these two geographic areas NOR your parents, you may not know the term Sonker.

My husband had no clue what Sonker was all about, even though he has lived in Wilkes his entire life BUT his parents were not “natives” of Wilkes. Cobbler is the term he definitely prefers to use for the fruit-filled dessert.

My sister, on the other hand, a Wilkes County native, who now lives out of state, is teaching her young daughter to make Sonker… thereby keeping the legacy of our mom’s recipe going strong.

I would suspect the term Sonker is locale specific. My grandparents lived in both Surry & Wilkes Counties during their lifetime. So I believe they were well connected to the locale and it was reflective within their vocabulary and local food choices. Sonker was definitely a sweet part of summer during my younger years. I hope to continue my Sonker Summers by experimenting with my mom’s classic recipe and just simply enjoying the “fruits of my labor”.

Your personal preference of the term Sonker or Cobbler could be ingrained into your vocabulary mindset. But cobbler makers & lovers, I hope that you will add Sonker into your vocabulary AND into your food palate. Let’s keep our local food history alive and growing! Go experience Sonker this Summer.

Mom’s basic recipe for Sonker :

Ingredients & Utensils

-Square baking pan (this recipe is easily doubled or even cut in half in order to accommodate the number of people you wish to feed, for my 8-9 inch square baker I use 3/4 cup instead of full recipe)

-1 stick melted butter

-1 cup self rising flour

-1 cup milk – (I added a dash of vanilla to mine but it is not necessary)

-1 cup sugar

-Fruit (fresh, frozen, or canned… use what you have on hand)

Fresh blueberries, a staple of Sonker Summertime

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Melt butter in baking pan.

3. Mix together milk, sugar, flour and dash of vanilla (if desired) into bowl as butter melts.

4. Once butter is melted, pour milk /flour/sugar mixture over the butter into pan. Do not stir!

5. Add fruit on top of milk/flour/sugar mixture. The breading will disperse throughout the Sonker as it bakes. Sprinkle extra sugar on top of fruit for extra sweetness if desired.

Canned fruit typically has plenty of extra sweetness, so skip the sugar topping if desired.

6. Bake until crust is golden brown.

7. Note: You may want to let your Sonker cool down for 10 minutes before eating. No one wants to get burned eating a hot Sonker.

8. Sonker is goes well with vanilla ice cream, enjoy y’all.

I believe y’all can find a few different versions of Sonker recipes online… this one is definitely nostalgic to me and my favorite one.

The Wooden Rocker

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I realized a few weeks ago that I had never really vocalized the importance of the wooden rocker in our family. It has always been a central part of our 27 years of married life. I hope y’all enjoy the Wooden Rocker a little bit more each time you visit us. Happy reading & rocking y’all!

Many people who stop by to shop with us will often say, “oh my goodness, you are sitting in Harry’s chair! “ True, HG loved that rocking chair but did y’all realize that chair has not always been a fixture at Wilkes County Hardware???

I never really had vocalized the story behind the rocker until a few weeks ago when I was speaking to Carl White as he visited with us at the hardware store. The seed was then planted for a new blog post.

The rocking chair actually appeared at Wilkes County Hardware after we purchased the store. The wooden rocker was actually one of the first furniture purchases that we made as a young married couple at Gray Brothers Furniture. I rocked my son as a tiny baby to soothe him into blissful slumber in that same wooden rocking chair.

Here’s a snapshot of the same areas… 2015 on the left ( shortly after we purchased the hardware store) and a few years later in 2019. The rocking chairs were added into our store & at first the staff was unsure where they go “fit”. We always found a place for one more chair.
Harry’s rocking chair was carried upstairs to safety after the flooding incident in 2020.
Eric Brown & Keegan Watson both worked to repair the rocker. Keegan ultimately had to take it apart safely at his workshop and secure the back. We are blessed 💕
Here’s our son, Benjamin full circle… in the old wooden rocking chair… circa 2019 visiting with Skye.

The rocking chair carried memories of our home to our new business. One of the things we wanted to bring to our new existing business was a more “homey”, welcoming, hardware store experience. Over time, the locals and staff became accustomed to the wooden rocking chair. It was now a “fixture” and a new portion of our store legacy. Harry loved that chair but he also sat down wherever there was an empty spot. He was never picky about where he was going to dwell for his daily visit.

The rocker is also featured on one of our logo t-shirts. Thanks to Cooks for creating the amazing graphic from my heart and mind and ultimately bringing it to reality.

For those of you who may not have been blessed to know Harry, he was an amazing individual. Harry loved life, each and every day. Harry was a dear husband to his sweet wife, a great family man, and cared deeply for his surrounding community.

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Harry spent a lot of time with us at Wilkes County Hardware. He was our resident advisor, & he greeted all of our customers with a smile. Harry would sit and talk with those who would take time to sit down with him while he rocked in the rocking chair. Harry loved people, engaging conversations, and in general terms, living a simple life.

Harry gave Richard & I love each and every day. I know in my heart in the first year of ownership of Wilkes County Hardware, he gave Richard confidence to keep going, pressing on to do what needed to be done, changing the layout of the hardware store, & adjusting to running a small business. Harry was one of our biggest supporters and we are eternally grateful for his love and friendship.

In the second and third years of ownership, he became an honorary family member. He was never far from our minds or hearts. His sudden parting left a huge hole in our hearts.

The plaque of remembrance on the wooden rocker was a great and powerful way to honor such an amazing man who brought so much love, new hardware store life memories, and blessings upon us. His lasting impact on our lives are ever changed. We have wonderful friendships formed as a result of his influence. One person truly can make a difference in the lives of many people.

Thanks to Mark Cook for making this happen 💕

As Harry would say, S’agapo

May the 4th be with you… I mean the workforce

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It would be easy to say that the way we work has changed significantly since Covid-19’s impact. Many people never stopped working during the shutdown, some temporarily worked for home, and others transitioned to full time work at home. Those in the skilled trades were considered essential workers, and their business boomed.

During Covid, it is my belief that the importance of Skilled Trade careers became appreciated, and valued by a larger population. Some might even say that these Skilled Trade careers are going to be “recession” proof… These careers will always be needed.

Elevator technician, Plumbers, Electricians, Welders… and many more career opportunities

But really… aren’t all careers important??? I never have understood why some people place more “value” on some careers than others. We all have value and worth in what we do. No stigma should ever be attached to any job or career path we choose.

Handcrafted woodworking

Today, May 4th is National Skilled Trades Day. This is observed annually on the first Wednesday in May. National Skilled Trades Day was established in 2019 by City Machine Technologies in Youngstown, Ohio. The purpose of the holiday was to raise awareness about the importance of skilled trades workforce in the United States, honor skilled trade workers, and also to create awareness about the skilled trades deficit in the United States.

Skilled trades are the individuals we call to repair our cars, complete complex electrical tasks, do plumbing repairs, build our homes, collect our blood, and ensure the health of our pets.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US will need close to 4 million skilled laborers to replace the nearly 8 million lost from the labor force during the pandemic. The pandemic created a significant labor shortage, and many Baby Boomers who left the skilled work force industries have chosen not to return. Some opted for early retirement rather than returning into the skilled workforce. Boomers are ready & waiting for a new generation to step into the skilled trades workforce.

For those highly skilled workers in trades such as welders, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and others, the rate of pay is actually higher on average than college graduates. This rate of pay could grow as the demand for these trade careers increase.

So how do we move to filling the gap in trade based careers ??? The answer is simple in my opinion. We need to talk about it and find solutions. Educators, parents, grandparents, and community leaders, this is a discussion about educating our younger generations about ALL options they have available for career paths.

Beautiful handcrafted items are definitely part of our cultural heritage and legacy of trade based skills

Trade based careers offer a more specialized approach to learning in a specific field, ie plumbing or electrical. The overall cost of a trade based education is significantly less. The time involved in the training can be completed in one to two years versus college, 4 years or more depending on the educational path that is chosen.

College education is great, but every student may not be in the right mindset for university level learning or ready for the debt that it could bring into their future. It sure could save a lot of time, money, and heartbreak by exploring all career options if your teen is not ready for college.

Did you know that student loan debt is the second largest consumer debt factor for many Americans? Mortgage debt ranks first in the consumer debt category.

Student loan debt is estimated at $1.75 trillion with the US federal government holding 92 percent of the debt in student loans.

Approximately 43.4 million people in US have student loan debt(this equates to 1 in 8 Americans). This to me is a heavy dose of information… 😳asking a lot of a young person to tackle… finding a career, paying the student debt, management of family bills and more! Wow!!!

Ultimately, all a parent wishes for their children to have in their chosen career path is happiness, success, financial freedom & security. Right??? Laying out all possibilities in future potential careers today seems to me to be the responsibility of parents, educational staff & other stakeholders in the lives of children.

In closing, isn’t the key to success in a career this… finding what you are passionate about and not treat it as just a job you go to everyday???? Just a thought.

Thanks for reading y’all

Earth Day

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Earth Day is here today on Friday April 22. The first Earth Day was celebrated back in 1970. Over 1 billion people, globally will recognize Earth Day!!!

A few days ago, I read about a photo sharing challenge related to Earth Day. As I read about it, I quickly realized that I had several photos on my camera roll that would fit each category for each day to post. My camera roll has lots of nature inspired pictures. My daily postings are available on my IG page and I would love some love on my photos if you are there on IG. I hope y’all enjoy the nature inspired photos and remember to be good to our Earth. 🌳

By the way, if y’all are interested in Earth Friendly products, please ask us what we have available. We are slowly expanding our earth friendly product line in lawn & garden & elsewhere inside the store. Well that could be a separate blog post y’all, so I’ll leave that there for now. Look for that in the future!!!

Here are the Earth Day photos that I submitted as my favorites in each category for the Earth Day photo contest… enjoy and head outside to snap a few pics of your own!!!

Sky
Water
Green
Garden
Animal
Flower
Trees

“The Earth has music for those who listen”

Mowing Grass

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The memories linger from the days of my youth, of the first signs of spring… Windows open, a freshly cut lawn, a light breeze blowing through the curtains, and the aroma of cut grass coming indoors. Spring had arrived!!!

I can remember spending hours on that red riding mower going round and round. Our yard was large and it took a good hour or so to finish everything when we mowed the lawn. I would take my place on the riding mower & dad was usually on the power tools, cleaning up the edges of the flower beds and working the push mower like a pro. We worked as a team to get the lawn looking good. Mom often worked in her flowers, while we were outside. Mom always had beautiful roses. I learned to love to be outside, and meet completion of a beautiful task, a well kept yard.

Today I would like to share a few tips I learned from my dad about mowing grass and keeping a nicely kept lawn. These may seem novel to you, but they are truly important for growing good grass.

1. Keep your equipment in good working order. Do the routine maintenance on your equipment & keep your blades sharp. Your lawnmower blades if dull, can create problems for you. Need new blades or blades sharpened??? We can do that!!!

We can sharpen your blade or you can purchase tools to do it yourself!!!
Need a good gas can to keep your mower powered up???

2. Never mow while the lawn is wet… patience is a virtue for a “Mowologist”

A good neighbor is one who doesn’t mow in the early morning hours… right???

3. Mulching your grass is good for your lawn, bagging grass takes those nutrients out of the yard.

4. Be aware of your blade settings, & don’t cut your grass too short. This may mean you cut your grass more frequently because you don’t want a situation where your grass gets too long and your mower bogs down with grass clippings, and then you have to rake the yard 😳

Just in case you need a new rake, we have those too 😉

5. Mix up your mowing patterns, it is good for grass growth.

6. Never mow grass into your flower beds!!! 😳😳😳Yep, I’ve watched people do this!!! Mow grass away from your flower beds and keep your flowers healthy & happy!!!

7. Your lawn is only as good as what you put into it. Curb appeal is a portion of your home value. If your curb appeal is amazing, that in turn, will help your overall home value. Homes with a well kept lawn & gardens could sell faster & for more money!!!

I don’t mow the lawn anymore, because of our work schedules…which puts us at work 6 days a week but, my dad still does his own lawn care. It is one of the things he truly enjoys doing AND he has one of the best looking yards in his neighborhood!!!! 🤩🤩🤩🤩

Whether you consider mowing as a chore or as a joyful gift to be immersed into the great outdoors, Wilkes County Hardware has invested in your lawn care needs. When y’all are ready to tackle that lawn this spring, we will be there to assist you whether you are novice “mowologist” or a veteran.

Speaking of being of novice… Have you been here before??? Going into a big box store and have serious questions that you need answers for and no one is around 😳, OR needing a product loaded into your car and no one is available 😬???If you have questions about your lawn, bug/pest control options for your lawn, our team should be able to assist you AND we load our customers purchases everyday!!!

Bagged goods can be quite heavy!!! We always load up our customers at Wilkes County Hardware.

Furthermore, did y’all realize that we have tools to make your yard work easier???? This is one area that we are trying to “grow” into. Many of these lawn care/mower maintenance products were not available at Wilkes County Hardware several years ago. Our customers were coming in asking for basic weed eating string, mower spark plugs, blades, etc and we now have them!!! Richard & I felt this was an area that we could definitely “grow”. Our “mowologists” regulars/customers know where these supplies are and they find them before gearing up to work in the yard.

Richard & I have have also expanded our lawn and garden product line over the last 6 years. We have lime, pre-emergents & post emergents weed control products for your lawn, and much more.

Just a small sampling of what we offer

Unsure, what a pre-emergent or post emergent products are??? A Pre- emergent is used to help prevent weed growth in your lawn… before they begin!!! Yes, that is definitely a win!!! Be very careful, you should not use a pre-emergent & grass seed at the same time😳. The pre-emergent will stop the growth of the grass seed as well as the weeds! Pick one to focus on for spring.

When is the best time to use a pre-emergent??? How do you know if it is warm enough??? Once the forsythia finishes blooming, pre-emergents can be used in your lawn.

Post emergent products for your lawn are used after the weeds have popped up into your lawn. Yes, Wilkes County Hardware has products that you can use safely in your lawn without killing the grass.

Let’s get growing & mowing this spring y’all!!!

Women Entrepreneurship in Downtown North Wilkesboro

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A view overlooking Downtown North Wilkesboro

My first memory of a Woman in business had to be my Granny. She owned a fabric shop in West End. It was a fun adventure to visit the fabric shop as a kid. I was old enough to rummage in the loose button barrels and play hide and seek with my cousin in between the fabric bolts. We always had a blast when we were there with her inside the fabric shop.

Upon a bit more reflection, I realized that my work ethic was strongly influenced by my parents. They both modeled an excellent work ethic… Hard work disguised as opportunities.

As I am writing this blog post today, it is International Women’s Day. A day to recognize the achievements of Women everywhere. March is a month where we acknowledge & honor the accomplishments of Women. So I thought why not focus on the Entrepreneurial Women of North Wilkesboro???

I began to really give this some serious attention a few weeks ago when I was driving in the downtown corridor of North Wilkesboro. An epiphany occurred to me…just within the North Wilkesboro downtown area, I realized that many business owners are women OR they “co-own” a business with their spouse. Meaning they are actively involved in the day to day activities of running a successful business!!!!

Don’t forget that Carolina Treasures, Copper Barrel & Key City Antiques are considered part of Main Street!! These businesses attract out of town folks all the time

I began to reflect on each of these businesses and the faces behind them… These ladies who are business owners, are definitely not afraid of hard work or working 6-7 days a week!!!

Each of these individual businesses have unique stories and services to offer to our greater community. We are truly blessed to have each and everyone of these businesses in downtown North Wilkesboro.

A view of the Downtown area from the Greenway

Please know that you are appreciated and I applaud your dedication to our community during the last few years. Doing business during Covid has brought us all unique challenges AND new opportunities for success. Thank you for handling it with grace & style.

The following is a short & working list of retail businesses in our North Wilkesboro Downtown corridor that reflect the designation of Women owned/managed according to my definition above in my blog post. Please feel free to tag any other local businesses that would fit into this description in our downtown area.

Carolina Treasures

Key City Antiques

6th & Main

The Block

Fruit of the Vine

Annatiques

Talia

Ivy Ridge Traditions

Baby Celebration

Hallmark

Wash House on Main

Vintage Home Studio

Gloria Sews

Gracefully Yours

Christina Younger Art

Lauren Waterhouse Photography

Cassie Stone Photography

Bliss

Wilkes County Hardware

Dom’s Bakery

Midtown Market

Our Oasis Nutrition

Cooks

Something Special Boutique

Southern Threads

Other noteworthy businesses which are not necessarily retail based but would be considered women owned businesses in our downtown area

Copper Barrel

David’s Car Care

Blair Properties

Our locally sourced products inside Wilkes County Hardware operating under the management of Women or husband/wife teams … we appreciate your support of local artisans!!!

Happy Frog Creations

Little Corner Pottery

Made In McGrady

Gia’s Pottery

Cindy’s Dishcloths

Gypsy Ridge Honey /Soaps

The Land of Canaan Kids Soaps

Old Mule BBQ Sauce

Brushy Mountain Granola

Carolina Kuduz Crazy

Carmik Insect Repellent

Betty Miller Baskets

The Wall of History…

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Wilkes County Hardware “Hall of Fame” wall seems to draw attention from locals and visitors alike. These photos of the previous owners line the wall near our checkout counter.

All the previous owners of our building in all of its past forms…

It’s also a great way to reveal to our customers a little bit of story history. Here’s your short history lesson today, Wilkes County Hardware style.

The far left picture is Mr. Eller. He ran EE Eller Produce in the early 1900’s. Chickens and turkeys were herded down the mountains into our building, processed, packed on ice, placed on the railroad down the street & headed out for sale.

EE Eller

The second one from the left is Mr. Yates. He began the hardware store in the 1940’s. He kept basic “supplies” for his moonshine buddies so they could keep production going. The hardware store buzzed with constant activity in our downtown area.

Mr. Yates

The third picture is Harvey Barlow. His picture was designed to look like Mr. Eller’s. Many locals still know Harvey, he owns & operates the lock shop next door to us. He actually owned the hardware store for several years. Believe it or not, we still have folks who come in looking for him, thinking he still owns the store 😳. That’s when you know they haven’t been in our store in a while…

Harvey Barlow

The last picture is Gerald Lankford. He owned the hardware store for the 10 years prior to our ownership. He grew the pool business inside our store exponentially, & graciously passed down the history of the building to us. We are very blessed & thankful to him for his wisdom & kindness.

Gerald Lankford

Once the store history unravels, many folks ask when will we put our picture up on the wall.

The traditional answer is always the same, our picture will go up when we sell the store. It’s just part of our legacy.

Eunoia… beautiful thinking

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“Balance is something we create, not find”.

Eunoia ( yoo- noy-uh) is the Greek word for “beautiful thinking”, or well balanced thinking. My word of intent for 2022 is Balance. Words of intent are always a work in progress, unlike resolutions which by the end of January sometimes seem unreasonable, or unrealistic . It is hard to believe that the end of January is already here!!! How are y’all doing with your yearly goals/intentions so far???

Balance means doing enough, not everything.

Is balance not the key in everything we do or don’t accomplish??? When things are in “balance” your internal rhythm is strong, & when it is “off”, it can be problematic.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”

Creating your own personal awareness of the balance in life… in all categories, such as…family, work, rest, health, & all other things can create growth. Growth & achieved balance in 2022, good intentions for 2022. 😊

A Prayer For Balance
Dear Lord,
I come to you in realization that my life is unbalanced. I know that I can achieve balance through you, so I come to you humbly asking for help in creating balance in my life.
Please help me in creating you as the priority & everything else will fall into place.
Give me the strength to say “no” when life calls me to, and not to just add something to my to do list.
Give me the peace to handle life when it feels disorganized & chaotic. Seeking you first for
peace & organization that brings everything back together.
Help me remember that I can’t do it all, but I can do what you have called me to do for your purpose.
Amen.

A look back at 2021…

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It’s hard to believe that 2022 is on the horizon!!! Here’s a glimpse of some of the new products & ideas we have brought into our hometown hardware store inside Wilkes County Hardware in 2021.

Premixed paint arrived on our shelves in January of 2021!!!
People just can’t enough of these!!!
These appeared in early spring months and sold out quickly
Amazing new BBQ sauces… made in NC
We opened our new pop up shop at Carolina Treasures on Main in 2021!!!
Expanding our line of Zep Cleaning products. Great stuff y’all
Added Black Wonder into our gardening line in 2021. Made locally in NC.
In 2021, we added a few new products to keep your furniture looking great.
Located at the front counter… just in case
Keegan’s cutting boards have been a huge hit in 2021!!! Thanks again for supporting local 💕
New shirt in 2021 in remembrance of Harry & our iconic wood stove
Beautiful handmade baskets inside our store all year long!!! These sell out quickly y’all!
Keys… a staple item of what we do well each & every day 😊
Beautiful hanging baskets, locally grown sold out quickly for Mother’s Day
This stuff y’all!!! Another great locally sourced item added into our store lineup in 2021. Amazing!!!
Local pottery pieces now available in 2021!!! Unique finds & treasures
As always, y’all continue to shop local with us to find your favorite Meyers Clean Day scents
The Big Easy Rocker has been a great selling item in 2021
Thankful that so many of our customers use the flag drop off box in 2021.
These products are fantastic!!! North Carolina based company and repelling animals in a safe way!!!
Y’all needed these and we had them!!!
Great sellers in the summer of 2021
Y’all asked for more organic/earth friendly products in our lawn & garden line and we added several in 2021
Keep odor off your hands in the kitchen with this locally made soap
Kuduz jelly & sauces have been flying off the shelves!!! A must try!!
Keegan added pens 🖊 into his woodwork line
Fall y’all.. thus was a huge hit
New in 2021!
Now in stock!!!
Added new food products from NC based company as the holidays grew closer
Happy Frog candles… y’all couldn’t get enough of these during the holidays season… more to come in 2022!
Good for any meal!!!
Good for all metal cleaning… we got y’all covered
Local honey… with comb & without!!! Local granola & more!!!
Did you know that we are on Instagram, Facebook & now Tik Tok ???
Live music!!! I hope y’all didn’t miss it during the holidays season…
Stove pipe, wood stove products & gloves are essential as the cooler weather sets in
New in December of 2021!!!
You are the nuts & bolts of what we do each & every day. Thank you for your support in 2021 & moving into 2022. Happy New Year!!!
Happy New Year from our family to yours !

2021 Favorite Photos

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Sharing my favorite photos from my camera roll from this past year. Hope y’all enjoy!

Cold morning walk on the Greenway
Joy loving her evening snuggle time with me
Bella… we miss you sweet girl
Cold winter morning
Waiting patiently for our Covid shot
Morning sunrise in April
Spring thoughts
Best buddies hugging for the first time in over a year.., 💕
Joy checking the neighborhood
Colorful sunrise
Yes!!!
Morning clouds
Prom time
Summer Evening Sunset
Hydrangeas in early bloom
Summer morning sunrise
July 4th fireworks
Walking among the corn stalks along the greenway path
Super senior year /Kindergarten photos… be still my heart ❤️, my boy is grown!
September sky in the morning
Fall is coming!!!
Nightlights of MerleFest
Fall clouds
Fall morning sunrise
Southern Christmas… blending the seasons together
December morning sunrise
Frosty Morning in the shadows
Wishing y’all a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from our house to yours!!!!🎄🎄

The Warmth & Sweetness of the Winter Chill

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The smell is distinctive… burning hardwood, and the aroma lingers inside our walls. That “smoky” odor of winter. Some people long for it each winter. The wood stove is an iconic part of our legacy and our history.

Our old classic wood stove has definitely kept that “Old School Hardware” feeling in place for our customers and also for us as business owners. This is one great thing about our store that I love… it is deeply rooted in local history.

Our wood stove is definitely one of the most recognizable features within the hardware store that people initially see once as they walk into the front entrance.

No matter what time of year it is, those who have never visited our hardware store, always ask about the wood stove. Hands automatically seem to go up in order to signify the sensation of warming by the stove, even in the heat of a summer day.

That sensation of warmth often brings back a burst of wonderful “old school hardware “ memories… and then you see the smile emerge on the faces of those who visit with us. The love of our “old school hardware store” grows💕.

Our hardware wood stove history dates back to circa 1930’s-1940’s. Nollie Neill, a Glascock stove historian, has been a wonderful source of information for me. What we know for sure is that our “old school” wood stove is a Giant 24N model made by Glascock. This model was not put into production until the mid 1930’s. Glascock Stove was located in Greensboro, NC.

24N signifies the model number

A bottom piece of our stove needed replacement in the 70’s. The stove maker, Glascock, was no longer in production mode. The last 24N rolled out of the Greensboro foundry in 1966.

Harvey, the hardware store owner at the time, headed down there anyway to the “graveyard” of old replacement parts and found the exact piece he needed to get the stove back into service.

Customers are usually curious about our Giant 24N wood stove. A few typical customer questions range from “Does it still work?” to “How old is it?” And most folks are surprised to find out the wood stove is WCH’s main source of heat in the winter!

Our hardware store Giant 24N wood stove cranks out a great deal of heat for the store. These models were designed to heat stores, schools, homes, garages, larger spaces that needed a good source of heat. Glascock met the demand all across NC.

Before the cold temperatures hit each year, the wood stove is regularly cleaned, polished, and maintained in order to keep it in the best possible condition for daily use in the cooler weather.

Cleaning & prepping for use each winter

We do keep a nice woodpile out behind the store so we can keep the “store fires” burning and our customers comfortable while they shop for essentials.

Wood stacking, wood carrying, all part of the job

All of our wood is bought from local sources. Richard & I like to purchase products from our neighbors in our community.

Our hardware store wood stove has become a gathering place for those in our community. People use it as a central meeting place to discuss news, and local events. Often our regular customers will come sit around the stove and just rock for a little bit before heading back out into the cold weather.

Harry loved to sit in this chair, both of these iconic symbols of WCH are featured on a logo t-shirt

Even during local downtown events in the winter our customers know they can drop by to warm by the fire before a horse carriage ride, stop in during Lightup Downtown, or just to wait and warm before for the Christmas parade is to begin.

To me, nothing is better on a cold, and snowy day to be warming around the wood stove. Locals seek to visit with us on these days, roaring fire always going & snow supplies in hand. Honestly, these are my favorite days.. the snow days around the wood stove at Wilkes County Hardware.

We even have had a few local media broadcast/advertising folks to showcase our store via the hardware store wood stove as a centerpiece. I guess it is just that “Old School” way of gathering around and slowing down in the busy world we live in today.

I’ll take “Old School” any day, going back to our roots/heritage— community building, & living at a slower pace. It has become an essential element of #thehardwarelife.

Thanksgiving

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My sister asked everyone today at Thanksgiving what we are thankful for… my reply was simple at the time but I wish to expand upon it… my thankfulness was wrapped around my family but there is so much more to be thankful for.

I’m thankful for not only my family, but the beauty each day brings us. Each sunrise and sunset is unique by our ultimate Creator.

I think the experience of the last few years has taught me that life is short . Each day is a treasured gift.

I’m very blessed to work with my spouse each day, which I never thought I would have the opportunity to do.

Blessings abound in the small things we have in our lives. May you be blessed this holiday season with Thanksgiving in your heart each & every day. Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours today.

Stories…Our Legacy

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A view from our town, a picturesque view. A story via photography

My last blog post commanded attention from my readers who connected with my story about Waiting.

My last blog post entitled, Waiting… featured photo

The messages sent to me were powerful, with beautiful scriptures, kind words & your personal stories of experience made my heart melt.

So many people who have battled cancer that I connect with everyday as a business owner reached out. Their stories they shared with me were amazing & a beautiful blessing. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with me.

If you haven’t read the blog post, Waiting, I would love for you to click back and give it a read. We all go through periods of waiting in life. Waiting on test results, waiting for changes in a career path, or just waiting patiently on God to show you a pathway.

All paths in life are not clearly defined… many times we wait for clarification and direction

As I said before, my experience was not unique, but I chose to share it because I felt it would create common ground experience for many ladies who have walked in the path of waiting for test results OR seeking answers to any type of situation/problem.

Writing is a dynamic way to connect with others. As a blogger, that influence extends across our community & even across the globe.

Storytelling goes well back into history. In the days before novels & books, stories were shared orally, musically or artistically and passed down through the generations. Stories help us to keep our past history alive, & keep us linked together.

Philadelphia, full of historical stories

I had a professor in college who was a gifted storyteller. US History was revealed to me as a story of events & the people behind it.

As an educator, the most powerful thing you can do is to connect your content to the student. Once the student gets the practical connections, the path learning is much easier.

Often as a hardware store owner, we are privy to a portion of a person’s story. The struggle of a DIY, pool ownership (the good, bad, & the ugly 😂) and even the success of a beautiful garden.

All are welcome

The longer Richard & I have been in downtown North Wilkesboro, the more folks we have had the opportunity to meet & get to know a small portion of their story.

Many stories are told around this wood stove

This week we met a gentleman who came by for a few keys, & he stayed to visit for a while. His story began to unravel. He told humorous stories which all made us laugh. He also revealed that his wife died this summer, she had a serious form of blood cancer.

My heart hurt for him. It was obvious he missed her tremendously. Once he told us his story, we understood more about him, his needs and empathized with his current situation.

So how do we share our unique life experiences in 2021??? We are all not bloggers, writers, gifted musicians, artists, or storytellers.

Do you look at Instagram stories???? OR Facebook stories, Snapchat, or even Tik Tok??

In the world of social media, we now have these little bits of video & images on our profile page called stories. The intent of those images is to give the viewer a quick glimpse of what is going on the “inside”of the life of that specific social media page.

After 24 hours those stories disappear and you must continue to add more of your own images in order to keep your story going.

Stories give us a way to stay connected to friends and family. A way to share triumphs, celebrations, fun times, sweet moments & even sad events in our lives. All are a significant part of living our lives.

Many of us are not public speakers who go across the country sharing their stories with others creating change. You may not be gifted storyteller OR even post out Facebook/IG stories everyday.

Your personal story & experiences create change just by sharing!!! Do you journal everyday? Share your family stories with younger generations???

We all share our life experiences with others… how are you sharing your story???

Our life stories cause us to adjust, change, & can create empathy for others who have faced similar experiences.

What I have learned as a blogger is that you should not be afraid to share your story. Your personal story creates bridges to others… connectedness. If you don’t tell your own story now, someone else will later…

Our personal story is why we are here. Your experiences could become a survival guide for someone else who is struggling with the same thing.

My wish for you… find a creative outlet for your unique personal story.

Go tell your story, inspire & encourage others.

Waiting

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I spent most of my day Tuesday, waiting… the technician would complete one test and then I would go sit and wait.

Waiting in situations like I described above can create anxiety & worry. No one I encountered seemed to be in that category. We were all waiting…

I began to wonder if these ladies were ok. Many were waiting for extra testing like me.

My prayers are with each one & I have no idea how each appointment turned out for each lady.

My appointment was at the Breast Clinic in Winston Salem.

Tuesday’s appointment brought a bit of peace & depth of knowledge of my current health situation.

I’m ok y’all. And this blog post is NOT intended to be about empathy for me. My journey over the last few months has created an tremendous amount of empathy for those who have walked the path of cancer treatment.

My mammogram in June found a series of small cysts. All of my test results from Tuesday revealed no significant changes. I’ll return back in 6 months for another round of testing.

But as I sat there with all these other women on Tuesday, in silence, I began to ponder about the whole scenario of waiting.

When we wait, we are staying “in one place”, or delaying action until something else happens…

We all have periods of waiting in life… when we wait, our trust & patience can deepen in God.

Back in June when I was anxious about my first set of results, my mom said to me, “if anything changes, we will deal with it together “. That definitely struck a cord with me. I would not be in this unknown journey alone. I would have family & friends to help and support me. Richard, and my sister have been constant pillars of support as well as my parents. My doctor navigated all of the questions, concerns & made connections with key providers for appointments. I have also made a few dietary changes & adjustments.

The anxiety began to wash away… finding strength in my waiting time.

Waiting serves a purpose in our lives, trust the process & be patient.

I also began to think about all the women who came before me, who found cancer as the end result of testing. Facing a tremendous health hurdle that would change the trajectory of their lives.

I would bet that most of us can name family or friends that have experienced this type of cancer.

Pink… the color of Breast Cancer Awareness

A friend of mine just finished her last round of chemotherapy. She has been a warrior throughout the whole process. I admire her determination and send her prayers each day for strength & courage.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you have delayed your mammogram for any reason, don’t delay it any longer. OR if you have noticed any changes, make an appointment to see your doctor NOW. Lobular breast cancer is not always detected as easily through a mammogram. The subtle changes will be your best indicator. Your health is too important to ignore signals from your body.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Women often wear many “hats” as professionals, mothers, caregivers, chef, & chief errand runner… need I say more? Often we don’t take time to care for our personal needs, and your health is crucial.

Mom’s often are busy… all day long!!! The tasks never seem to end.

My closing thoughts to y’all today…

1. Remember in times of waiting, our heart is strengthened.

2. Take care of & support the women in your lives.

3.Ladies, go get your annual mammograms and continue to do self examinations.

4. You will find me wearing pink each Saturday in October to serve as a reminder to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I’ll be wearing my pink Wilkes County Hardware logo gear & I hope to see y’all shopping local with us on Saturdays in October.

Sending love & prayers always to my readers.

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.

Supper vs. Dinner

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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 !!!