Grandma was GREEN before the term was coined!

posted Aug 18, 2009, 5:25 AM by Laura Carlson



Today there is a lot of hype on saving the environment...the hot term is “Green” talking about using renewable resources that do not pollute our world or use irreplacable elements from nature. Lost in all the interviews with builders and big time recyclers is the the simple truth that going saving the environment has to start on an individual level and move up the chain of bureaucracy – rather than start with new laws imposed on businesses and individuals.

Both of my grandmothers were “green” before the term was ever coined to mean enviromentally friendly. Grandmother Elliott made quilts from sewing scraps and the “good” fabric left in worn-out garments. She crocheted rag rugs and chair seat cushions from old nylon stockings, from worn out socks, and from truly worn out clothes. She called it “getting all the good out of it” - be it a garment, household utensils, or other items. She shared what she had with family and friends as well as those in need. After she died un-expectedly, my mom found in her house her closets and dresser drawers had only the clothes she was really using – no worn-out underwear in the back of a drawer or dresses long past wearing. Her cabinets only contained dishes, appliances, spices, foods that were used daily. When she had used something up – it was really all gone with very little left for the trash can.

Grandmother Gramling was just a frugal in the kitchen and around the house. She cooked creatively and often planned meals around several reincarnations of a main dish. The last bit of any leftovers went into her freezer soup container until the container was full – then it was time for homemade soup from the tablespoons of beans, carrots, meats that were in the quart container frozen in layers as they were added. All sorts of glass jars were saved and used to can vegetables and store home-made jams and jellies. Grandmother's Pear Honey Preserves in a recycled mustard jar sealed with parafin wax with the original lid screwed on as added sealing was a special gift when I first got married. Tin cans were used and reused for pressure pot canning. Grandmother had a device that cut off the old lid and made the tin can top ready to put a new lid on the can – with each use, the can got a little shorter and held a little less. Neither of my grandmothers needed any one to haul off their trash. What little actually got thrown out was sorted by what the chickens would eat, what the eats and dogs would eat, what could be added to the compost pile, what would burn, and what needed to be put in the rubbish pile. A 55 gallon barrel in the back-yard served as trash incinerator.

Grandmother Gramling frustrated her family because she would not use a gift item – be it clothing or linens or household appliance – until she had worn out whatever it would replace. Growing up she would often point out items in her hall closet – gifts that had been opened but were still in their boxes complete with gift card – and remind me that if she died before she got to use any of those gifts the person who gave the gift should get it back!!! When she put a towel or dishcloth in the rag bag, you can rest assured it was really worn out. Having lived and kept house through the depression, her motto was use what you have for what you need – use it up – wear it out – make it do – rather than replace or purchase new.

Living green before it was the “in” thing to do. Combating today's problems with inflation and economic uncertainty by following Grandmother's advice from the 1950's to see what is on hand that might fill our needs – reuse, recycle, make it do, then use it up before buying new makes sense. Don't buy it – saves more money than the best sale around!!

------------------------Laura G. Carlson, July 17, 2009

Spring night fishing on SML

posted May 28, 2009, 6:34 AM by Unknown user

The alewives (small baitfish in the herring family) are spawning at night on Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia so the stripers are feeding on top.  Topwater action is so exciting that it's easy to lose track of time...

Everything is quiet except for the faint splashing of alewives getting it on all along the shoreline.  You twitch your rod-tip and make your topwater plug gurgle, usually a thunderstick or devilhorse,  then stop and let the ripples you can see in the moonlight dissipate.

Off in the distance you hear the big splash of striper hitting a alewife.  You twitch your rodtip again and the thunderstick gives a small splash and a gurgle.   Then KABOOOMMM!!!!  a fountain of water erupts as a striper CRUSHES your thunderstick and the fight is ON!

Your drag screams as the striper heads for deep water, then he falters as you turn his head and then you frantically reel line in and struggle to keep the line tight as he runs back at the boat.   You run to the stern and keep the line away from the motor as the striper passes by and then your drag starts screaming again.

A few minutes of back and forth and then the striper is played out and you quickly land him and then get him back in the water and pull him back and forth to get water moving over his gills.   The striper revives and with a quick thrash of his tail lunges away from the boat.

As you are untangling your line and lure from the net and calm down from the adrenaline rush, you hear another alewife get crushed somewhere in the darkness...  You decide you'll stay just 30 more minutes then you'll head home and get some sleep....   Hours later you finally call it a night and dread getting up for work in a few hours.

Karla learns to drive a tractor without damage

posted Apr 10, 2009, 6:46 AM by Karla Carlson   [ updated Apr 16, 2009, 8:17 AM by Brian Carlson ]

Over the pig pickin' weekend Karla learned to drive Randy's tractor.  When the opportunity was offered she jumped right on board.  So out to the tractor shed instructions were received and off she went.  Round and round and down to the back field.  We are pleased to say that no damage occurred during this event, unlike the shooting of the pump house.  Here are some great pics of the event.  Come June Karla is excited to be able to begin helping mow the grass.

Pig Pickin

posted Apr 7, 2009, 9:08 AM by Laura Carlson   [ updated Apr 8, 2009, 10:25 AM by Brian Carlson ]

2009 Pig Pickin  

  A good time was had by family and friends on March 28 at the ?10th? annual Carlson Family Pig Pickin.  Kathryn had a really good time playing in the rainwater gulley on the west side of the tractor shed.  Gentle rain came and went during the day.  Temperatures were mild...and the pig was cooked to perfection! 

    Friends from Nashville, TN as well as family from NC and Salt Lake City joined us for the full experience of a South Caroling Low Country Pig Cookin. 
    In addition to the Pig - put on the grill in the early morning so he could cook slowly until our 2 PM dinner time - there was the famous Grandaddy BBQ sauce, BBQ hash from Lee Sausage Company, plenty of white rice, an assortment of salads, vegetables and desserts, plenty of sweet iced tea, lemonade, and water from the deep well. 

    The rain showers kept the children entertained.  Mary Ellen's girls had a bright yellow umbrella they enjoyed using to walk around the yard in the rain.  Kathryn managed to get 4 outfits wet and muddy before the afternoon was over.  Visiting and watching the children play in the rain kept everyone entertained.  The tractor shed and the white tent kept us all dry.


Testing Google Sites

posted Apr 2, 2009, 7:41 AM by Unknown user

Our old web host, Site5, moved our site to a new server and borked our old CMS system.  I'm giving Google Sites a test run to see if it will work as a replacement.

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