Seasons Change

Good Sunday morning!!!



Sharing my “best of” summer morning sunrise photos from 2020. Did y’all know the first day of Fall is officially on the way this week… Tuesday September 22nd???



This morning our temperature was around 40… definitely beginning to feel more like fall mornings around here. Who is happy to see Fall coming??? 🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁

FYI: Most of these photos are taken right outside my in my backyard…



I’ll leave these words with y’all today as we prepare for the next season… I’m finding it maybe good wisdom for life in 2020…



“Every season is not a growing season, & every season will not bring a harvest. There are seasons of planting, watering, weeding & fertilizing the ground. All seasons are crucial & important. Have Faith in waiting through each season.”

Homegrown Tomatoes

I picked the first homegrown tomatoes from my grandparents tomato vines earlier this morning for them. My grandparents are 90 this year! Their garden is always sown with the seeds of life & love. The garden is actually mostly tomatoes, and a few other vegetables when you look at it, but it was truly a labor of love. My cousin actually planted most of the garden for them this year. Of course that makes the garden extra special to them.

Let’s talk about the mystique of a homegrown tomato. Granny has been anticipating the arrival of the first ripe tomato for the last week or so. Her plants have been loaded with with green tomatoes. Every time I visit them, we would go analyze those tomato plants and talk about how pretty they look, and wonder when the first one would ripen. I joked with Granny the other day and told her she needed to go on vacation so her tomatoes would ripen— one of those old Southern sayings. It is the mystique of the homegrown tomato… when will it ripen? How many will we have? Anticipating the taste of that first fresh tomato…

Well, it happened today, I think I actually picked about 5 red, ripe tomatoes! My grandparents were so excited about those first few tomatoes, as I was as well.

Gardening has always been a big part of my grandparents summers in the past years. Lots of great gardening advice has been taught to me by my grandparents-Passed down to all of us- kids, grandkids, & great grandchildren. We all cherish the gardening experience with the love, life and joy that our grandparents brought to the garden.

So what do you say is so great about a tomato? Oh, nothing is as good as a fresh tomato in a tossed salad. Lots of Southern folks love a good old tomato sandwich this time of year. I have never been a big fan of that one. BLT’s, fried green tomatoes, homemade tomato sauce, salsa… the list goes on and on…. ahh that must be the joy:)

Gardening tradition goes on at my house too. Growing tomatoes are on the top of my list to always have growing. Tomatoes ( tommy toes) are a bit of a snack for my son at our house this time of year. He will eat them off the vine- meaning they actually never make it into the house.

Elvis, our beagle basset dog- loves to eat tomatoes off the vine as well. I have moved my tomato plants this year to try to keep the tomato plants out of his view and out of his sight! Elvis literally eats them green or red… he doesn’t care!

Caring for our tomatoes requires watering, and sometimes pest control advice ( Wayne and Eddie are experts at Wilkes County Hardware for that ) . When I get a bit stumped, I seek them out to see how my gardening issue can be resolved. Obviously, I am not unique in that situation, many people have asked our store experts for help with gardening questions. Those guys are quite helpful and resourceful!

Often people come into Wilkes County Hardware to purchase tomato cages in order to help support the plants as they grow. I also put out several tomato cages around my grandparents tomato vines this spring to add that extra support they needed. What a difference it does make!

The winter of 2017 was the first year that Wilkes County Hardware sold tomato cages in the “off season”! Yes, we did— we had beautiful tomato cage Christmas trees out front of our hardware store on display and people wanted to make/purchase those. No mystery there, with a few zip ties and a tomato cage, and lights – the transformation was complete into a Christmas tree. It was a unique idea to share with our customers.

The mystique of a homegrown tomato might be truly a Southern experience- the anticipation of the harvest, waiting, predicting ripen time… I think those homegrown tomatoes always seem to appear around the arrival of Dog Days of Summer. Regardless, they are a great reminder to me of gardening with love, and the joy & anticipation of the harvest. Enjoy those delicious and beautiful homegrown tomatoes y’all!!!

Mason Jars

Tis the season for all things Mason— jars that is! Gardens are growing quickly with all of the rain that we have experienced here in Wilkes County over the last few weeks.

I always marveled at my grandparents garden— the soil was always seemingly better than my old, red clay dirt. So the question to Granny became-how did you do this, why is your garden so good? She just giggled and said,” potting soil and Black Kow worked into the soil makes a huge difference”.  I took a mental note that day and used this advice in my own herb/flower garden. It did make a difference!!! I was convinced.

Remarkably, one of the items that we began to sell pretty quickly once we bought Wilkes County Hardware was Black Kow and great potting soil. Our store had never sold anything like this before and the stuff was blowing off the shelves! It is now one of those staple items that we keep in stock, especially this time of the year. Yes, Mason Jars of all shapes and sizes are kept amongst the canning supplies at Wilkes County Hardware.  We can offer up assistance to those who need help with “bringing in the garden”.

Local gardens will start producing and the canning season will begin. I can remember my momma canning all sorts of goodies from the garden when I was growing up. Cucumbers (making pickles), green beans, tomatoes, beets, chow-chow, making sour-kraut, jams, jellies— the list was endless!!!! She and dad worked hard in the garden- weeding, harvesting, preparing to can, and then canning all the goodies.

I do have to admit when you grow up this way, gardening and canning, as a younger kid- I did not look forward to stringing beans to can, and helping in the hot kitchen while mom was canning. Now, I truly appreciate all those great experiences that I had as a kid. We always had plenty of those Mason Jars to fill them with our garden abundance.

Now, these jars have been passed to me to use. I am not one who has a big garden every year. Honestly, time keeps me from doing things like that now. I do have the love to grow things like my parents and grandparents do… flowers, herbs, and even a few tomato plants.

For a while these jars just sat on my garage shelf and I was unsure what I wanted to do with all of them. Now, I have a hard time finding one that is not in use.

What did I do with my Mason Jars? I have used them to store staple items in my pantry- dried beans, snacks, cereal, etc. My son can grab one of those clear Mason Jars  with his snack and carry it with him if he is watching tv- no extra bowls/containers to wash!!!!  Mason Jars are great for shopping too! I can open my pantry quickly and “see” how much of an item I have left before I head out to the grocery store. My refrigerator contains these Mason Jars- great for liquid items— like milk, juice, lemonade, etc. It may not be the same as “canning from the garden”, but my kitchen has that Southern feel even when you open up the cabinets, pantry , or refrigerator.

Mason jars are great for entertaining friends or family. When we eat on the back porch, I will often put foods within the jars to carry them outdoors. It is a great way to showcase a beautiful salad, soups, or even my favorite—ice cream!!!! The uses are endless!!!!

The last few times that I have taken a meal to family who needed a meal due to sickness, I have used Mason Jars in order to transport the food. People are pleasantly surprised with the different way to showcase the food.

Lastly, my most favorite way to use Mason Jars is to display beautiful flowers/herbs. I have several beautiful vases for flowers, and yet I gravitate towards the Mason Jar. To me nothing is so simple as Mason Jar full of flowers. It is true Southern beauty and grace on display in your home. Maybe it is the thought of my childhood and the great memories of those I love that makes it so special to me- a Mason Jar smiling with love.

Now every time that I walk by the Mason Jars in Wilkes County Hardware, I can smile with love and remembrance of a great garden abundance-love.

Daisies

One of my all time favorite flowers is the Daisy. I love the simplicity of this flower. Nothing is more beautiful than a field full of daisies in bloom. Daisies can symbolize new beginnings, purity, happiness, or even motherhood.  I just love that!!!

In 2015,  my family experienced a new beginning with the purchase of Wilkes County Hardware. One of the items at the top of our “to do list” was to make the store more inviting to ladies. I wanted to be a big part of this journey with my husband.

In the former years of ownership, ladies only came into our store to have a key made. By the way, WCH is known for the accuracy of our keys. Very few mistakes are made with our key cutting. If an issue arises with a key, we fix it, no charge!!!  Definitely not like the box store experience… Anyway, one of the first items was to create a more lady friendly shopping experience.  I wanted to keep it simple, like the daisy. Our store is rustic & vintage , like the daisy but it needed to “be soft around the edges” and happy to see you like the daisy. Wilkes County Hardware was no longer a place for just the men to gather, all are welcome!

So as hardware novices, we went off to our first hardware show in New Orleans. One of the our first purchases at the hardware show was Holland Bulbs—- you guessed it, flowers. We came back with lots of ideas and challenges to face. But we “plunged ahead”- no hardware puns intended,  goal one in progress….

Once word got out about the changes in store services, and items available for purchase, women began to shop with us. We began to sell items that had never been offered at Wilkes County Hardware such as, gardening supplies, & gardening accessories. It was a new local shopping experience could not be found anywhere else in our small hometown. Women were steadily coming in and felt comfortable shopping with us!!! Yes!!!! Success!!!

Now we are still trying to keep our message simple like the daisy- welcoming, & happy.  We gladly welcome all who visit our historic hardware store. It is always a pleasure to visit with locals and out of towners. It is definitely a unique shopping experience- not many people get to see a working freight elevator in the middle of the store!

Many of our local residents come by to get the basics they need for their home, or business, or they are seeking expert advice on a specific topic.

It is amazing to see how our “field of daisies” has changed so far… can’t wait to see what else will blossom in the future.