Tipper at Blind Pig & the Acorn had been hosting a lot of Spooky October stories. My story isn't nearly as scary as some, but it has always been a puzzling incident to my mother and me.
I grew up in a house that my parent's built, so there was no 'past', no scary incidents that had happened in this house. The whole thing started when I was about fifteen years old. My mom always had a lot of trouble going to sleep at night, and I enjoyed staying up late, so we were up together a lot.
As a rule, we washed our dishes after supper and covered them with a clean dish towel~leaving them in the dish drying rack. One night, we were both reading and we heard the dishes 'shift' in the dish rack. Nothing unusual. But every night they seemed to 'shift' louder and louder. To the point that we got up and would go look at them. They hadn't moved.
Finally, the noise escalated to sound like the dishes were falling and breaking all over the floor. But nothing was ever moved. We started putting the dishes up at night~still heard them 'breaking'. It wasn't like a dish or two moved, it was like they were being thrown all over the room, yet nothing was ever broken.
To irritate us more, my dad purposely stayed up every once in a while to hear the 'racket'. Never made a sound. If he or my brother was up, no sound ever came from that kitchen.
This went on for years~and it was loud!It was still happening when I married and moved away. My mom doesn't know when it stopped, but gradually, years later, the sounds stopped with no explanation as to what it was.
My daughters thought I should also mention that this last week, our stereo has turned itself on all-by-itself three days in a row, LOL! I guess the old thing is going out~well, we thinkthat's what it is.
Have any of you heard of Dumb Suppers (sometimes called dummy suppers)? This is a very new thing to me. And it's so interesting that people actually did this sort of thing (maybe still do?) that I'm surprised I never heard of it before now.
The purpose of a dumb supper is for a young, unmarried woman to see the 'spirit' of the man that she is going to marry. The meal is prepared in complete silence~no talking (dumb) whatsoever. Most people believed that you had to walk backwards while cooking and serving the dumb supper.
When the dinner is done, an extra place is set at the table and the young girl (or girls if done in a group), open all the windows and doors and take their place at the table and bow their head. Sometimes all the lights are blown out, as well. The 'phantom' husbands are supposed to enter in silence. Each girl should be able to recognize the 'husband' that sits down beside her. If no one appears, it means that she will never marry. If only a dark blob appears, it means she will die within the year.
There are quite a few versions of this 'supper'. Some involve making the dinner using thimblefuls for ingredients instead of spoons and cups. In some versions, they see the 'reflection' of their husbands face in their empty plates.
Have any of you heard of this? Have any of you ever been to one?
There are a lot of superstitions about cats, but it wasn't until I moved to this little mountain community that I realized many people still believe them.
We are 'cat' people, and many of our neighbors think that we are a little bit odd because of it. Of course, they may think that for other reasons, too, LOL!
Most are especially leary of our two black cats, as a lot of them seem to associate them with witches. A neighbor recently commented to me "You sure do have a lot of black animals", like it was something very strange. (We have two black cats, one black dog, and several black chickens).
A few years ago, when the man came to assess our house for fire insurance, he stopped in the middle of the kitchen and stared at our cat, Brina.Finally he said, "You have a black cat?" (Like she had just appeared there on her own!). I finally had to pick her up and put her outside, as he seemed too afraid to look at the rest of the house! It was a very odd experience.
It is good luck for a stray black cat to visit your home, but bad luck if it decides to take of residence there.
It is bad luck to cross a black cat's trail. So if one crosses the road in front of you, you must turn around and find another way to get where you were going. (A neighbor told my mother that he would never, ever run over a black cat, even if he had to run off the road!).
It is very bad luck to kill a cat. (I'm thankful for this one!).
And surprisingly, it is very bad luck to be photographed with a cat!
Do you know any superstitions about cats? And do you know any people that are still superstitious about them?
Although many yarb doctors were men, it was the local Granny Woman that was called in when it was time for an Ozark Mountain woman to have her baby.
Granny women, yarb (herb) doctors in their own right, served as local midwives. Their skills and secrets were handed down from generation to generation, each generation revising and improving the 'recipes' as they learned new skills. They used a variety of herbs (yarbs) in their work. A Granny Woman often gave the mother-to-be slippery elm bark tea to speed delivery, blackberry tea to prevent hemorrhaging, and raspberry to relax uterine muscles.
Folk Beliefs that Granny Women used included letting the woman hold her husband's hat to symbolize her husband in the room, opening all the doors and windows (if there were any windows in the cabin) to 'open' to birth canal, and of course, putting an ax or large knife under the bed to 'cut' the pain.
Granny women were prevalent in mountain communities up until about WWII. Do any of you know any stories about Granny Women?
Our muscadines are ripe~well, at least some of them. I haven't made jelly in quite a few years, so I wasn't sure I was up to the task, but once I got started, I really enjoyed it!
First, I turned all those gorgeous little muscadines into juice. That was the longest process of this project. I put the juice into the refrigerator overnight and then strained it through cheesecloth the next morning. I had seven cups of muscadine juice.
This is the recipe that I used:
5 cups of juice
1/2 tsp. of butter (to reduce the foam)
one tablespoon of lemon juice
six cups of sugar
one package of Ball pectin
1. I mixed the five cups of juice, lemon juice, butter, and the pectin in a large Dutch oven and brought the mixuture to a full rolling boil.
2. Then, I added the sugar all at once, bringing all of that to a full rolling boil and letting it boil for one minute~stirring constantly.
3. I skimmed the small amount of foam off of the top and put in my ready jars! This made four pints of jelly.
I did not seal the jars, so they will be kept in the refrigerator. I also sent a pint and a half next door to my parents. If more are ripe this week, I'll probably seal and water-bath the next batch.
My name is Mary L. Briggs (a.k.a. Rose Mary).I am a Christian wife of 24 years to a wonderful husband and mom to two grown daughters. We live in the mountains, in a cordwood cabin that we built ourselves--with a lot of help from family. It was a hard six year job, but we are very happy with the results. I love keeping my home and working on being the wife and mom that God wants me to be. I enjoy reading, crafting, quilting, herb gardening, writing, and cooking.