"Simple like an uncarved block."
Tao te Ching

"Like an acorn that holds the promise of a thousand forests."

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Yesterday we got busy cleaning and clearing and planting our little plots of flowers and food, having decided we wanted Rhubarb in our mix of garden stuff, we had to go searching for the plant. Tennessee is not ideal for this cool weather produce, but we have been here 12 years and really missed those homemade Rhubarb Custard Pies. So off we went in search of a hopeful source for this wonderful pie plant. We live in the country and headed farther afield out into the rugged hills and vales of our mountain top.

We were going to see if the Mennonites who had moved from the north country of Pennsylvania had a southern tolerant Rhubarb plant we could buy for our garden. The community is called Muddy Pond and has a humorous story attached to the move from the north.
It seems these strange Yankees came to rugged Tennessee to search for cheap land and fell in love with the hills and hollows of an out of the way place where the terrain was almost straight up and down. The local landowners considered the land worthless for farming and used it to turn hogs loose in the spring to forage and then be rounded up in the fall for slaughter. The locals had a good laugh as they thought they had pulled a good one over on the hapless 'carpetbaggers' who probably would fail at taming the wilderness and have to go back north, a defeated group. The religious community had the last laugh (if they are willing to smirk a bit) because many years and much labor later they have a thriving farm community that attracts all of us outlanders to their stores, farm products and wood porch furniture. They are actually a thriving tourist attraction as well as the prosperous farmers they become in whatever part of the country they choose to cultivate.
Our first stop was the Greenhouses and we got our Rhubarb. That made us happy. I already had shopped at the Monterey Garden Club plant sale and our local Hardware store so we didn't need more plants for now. But you can't walk away without browsing a little.

Next stop was the leather shop where DH took his ease while I played Photographer.

I was so caught up in the buffalo pulled Amish Buggy that I didn't even go inside to inhale the fine leather fragrance and admire the saddles and all things leather that lure the Tennessee horse crowd in the door.

The general store has bulk foods and Fried Fruit Pies and I always stock up while I am in the neighborhood.

We still had a mission to finished because DH also wanted to plant some Sorghum seeds. Sorghum for the unenlightened is a sweet cane that can be pulverized and squeezed for the juice that is then boiled like Maple sap and rendered into a syrup or molasses. It is -nectar of the Gods - to many a southern 'born and bred, died in the wool, butter'n'biscuit with Sorghum slathered all over- maven'. It is DH's desire to be able to grow the cane and be able to break off a section for the sole purpose of chewing the cane and savoring the sweet juicy morsel.
I sure hope it lives up to his childhood memory of what it tasted like.

After procuring his wonderful seeds from one of the farmers we were headed home to put our precious plants and seeds in the ground.
Thanks for coming along for a tour of our countryside.
To see more and to stroll more visit Aisling's blog to see who else is out and about.


Lonely Rivers said...

Oh what a great Sunday drive you took us on. It made me want to jump in the car and drive out of the city to see what I could see - probably the other side of the mountain.

Gilly said...

Oh! I'd love to explore that Muddy Pond! The shop looked wonderful - those jams and preserves!! I'd come away with a box full!

But what are Fried Fruit Pies?? Is it the fruit that is fried, or the pies? And doesn't the fruit sort of dry up if its fried first and then baked??

Hope your rhubarb grows well - its nor my favourite fruit but Mr.G likes his rhbarb crumble!

Aisling said...

What a wonderful field trip! I enjoyed wandering along with you immensely! Sorry I'm days late in responding. My internet connection has been very unreliable this week!

One Woman's Journey said...

Thank you for the wonderful tour.
I feel as though I have been on a short get away (which I need).
Love fried pies. We have a similar store in my area.

Cloudhands said...

Hi Everyone, we've been off to the Smokies for a day trip, but we're back and I'm anxious to touch base with everyone.
Lonely Rivers,
Aren't day trips fun. I'm glad you could come along with us on Sun. to catch a view of our side of the mountain.

Fried pies are just little half moon pastries that are little pie crusts that a couple of spoonfuls of fruit filling has been put near the center and half of the pie dough is folded over and the edges crimped with a fork or the fingers and then slipped into a skillet of oil and cooked on the top of the stove. When the one side is golden the little pastry is turned and fried a little longer. Drain and then serve warm with ice cream or let cool and eat later. Some people even use dollops of custard or pudding for the fillings.

So glad you finally caught up with us. You and Kim are singing in the background as Dad is trying a new tact on getting you a worthy CD,

We had peach pies this trip. I think that there are many Mennonite communities here in Tennessee. I know that they make fine small utility sheds, gazebos and cabins as well as farming.

Anastasia said...

I just love your Sunday stroll posts!!! They are always so calming and beautiful!!

Cloudhands said...

My daughter Aisling at The Quiet Country House started the Sunday Strolls and invited her readers to link to her and share their strolls. I have been doing so for a little over a year. I am glad you enjoy the little excursions I take and hope you check out the other strollers as we all have our own versions and interests.