Tag Archives: memories

A Story in Pictures

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

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

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

August … Foggy Morning Breakdown

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

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.

.

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

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.

💕

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

June Gardening Guide

Gardening became a lovely little side hobby of mine when we purchased our first home years ago. I loved learning about all the different types of trees and flowers in my yard. The gardening gene runs deep in my family. From my youngest memories, my family always had a garden full of veggies and beautiful flowers dotted the yard.

Snowball Hydrangeas were a staple in our yard growing up.

June is normally a month when your flowers and vegetables begin to show off in full beauty. The hard work of May and the other spring months pays off but it is not a time to relax just yet!!!

For a beautiful garden, June is a month when watering, weeding/hoeing, and monitoring for insects & disease can reap rewards. If these go unchecked during the summer months, it can definitely lead to disaster!!!

I love, love 💕 this water hose for watering plants!!! It is lightweight and easy to move around in the yard to water flowers during those drought filled days.

Wilkes County Hardware has the tools in order to help you be a successful gardener this summer. Don’t forget to stop by and consult with our staff if you have questions, concerns, or if you need gardening supplies. We will be there to assist you.

Black Wonder soil builder has been a garden favorite of our gardening customers!!! What a great way to supplement your soil and add much needed nutrients!!! You will definitely see the difference!!!

According to 2022 Blum’s Almanac, June is a great time to continue to plant tomatoes 🍅, eggplant, peppers 🌶, cabbage, beans, and celery. Sowing seeds for later transplanting…collards, cabbage, & cauliflower. Plant blackeye, crowder, and lady peas, squash, cucumber, and pumpkins 🎃.

Only a few of these are left! Gardening calendars still available.

In your flower garden, plant all types of lovely cut flowers like zinnias, marigolds, dahlias, calendula, nasturtium, phlox for later fall flowers. Remember to monitor your gardens carefully for insects 🕷, pests, or disease.

Deer 🦌 are always in my yard. I use the deer spray pictured here to keep activity at bay. It works well for me! Spray your plants routinely for 3 weeks to get the scent firmly established on the plants. Reapply if you have a heavy rain. After the 3 weeks, you should be able to apply once a month depending on the rain.
Plants looking stressed??? Use this concentrated spray to give your plants a boost! Good for struggling house plants too!!!

The “Best” days to plant 🪴 for June … 1-2, 8-11, 18-19, 23-24, 28-29.

We still have seeds left for planting!!!

The “Best” Weed killing days are June 16-17, 25-27. But these 3 barren signs (Leo, Gemini, Virgo) is usually a good time to spray weeds.

Wilkes County Hardware has several options available for your weed control needs.

Tuesday June 14 will bring the Strawberry 🍓 Moon!!! This moon is named after the wild strawberries that ripen in the month of June.

I love fresh strawberries!!! This dishpan makes it easy work. Yes, these dishpans are available at Wilkes County Hardware 😎

Also, Don’t forget to fly your American flag 🇺🇸 on June 14th for Flag Day!!

Need a new flag??? Don’t worry, you can drop off your old flag at Wilkes County Hardware too!

Happy Gardening Y’all!!! 👩🏻‍🌾👩🏻‍🌾

New ladies gardening t-shirt !! This one is selling fast!!!