This Weeks News – Our thoughts and prayers are sent out for all servicemen and women serving our country who are not able to be home with their families during the holidays.

Sandi Chrietzberg Richards came from Ben Wheeler, Texas, and stayed until Sunday with her best friend, Kris Luebbert. Allen Luebbert and his daughter Alexus Owens went with them to Silver Dollar City on Saturday.

Looking through our new 2017 Ozark County Cookin’ is interesting – and makes me hungry as I find new recipes I want to try.

Remember: providing fresh food and water for outdoor pets and a warm place to sleep is extra important in the wintertime.

It looks like most of the leaves have fallen off my shade trees. The tree limbs are looking bare! Some folks have taken advantage of the nice weather to plant fall bulbs so they will bloom in the spring.

I appreciate all who do the extra work to put up Christmas decorations and lights for all of us to enjoy. Our neighbor, Tim Lee, has his yard looking very festive. Many years ago, I was a close friend and schoolmate with his mother, the late Mary Nesbitt Lee.

My great-granddaughter Tara Hensley Hendricksen and her son Gabe Hathcock from Arkansas visited her grandparents, Dave and Karen Davis in Udall for Thanksgiving.

Jerry Miller was hanging out her laundry on the clothesline Monday morning as I’m writing these items. Hanging clothes on the line is almost a forgotten art nowadays with our automatic washers and dryers. Seeing Jerry at work reminded me of past years when Saturdays were wash days for me when I was school age. My mother died when I was 13, and Daddy and I kept house, and I did all the laundry and would wash clothes on a washboard in a tub in the kitchen with hot water from the reservoir in the wood-burning cook stove. Then I would hang the clothes out on the line. In the winter, the clothes would freeze out on the line, and my fingers would get so cold they would stick to the clothes or the clothesline. Back then a good washboard was a treasured necessity. It took lots of scrubbing that was hard on the knuckles.   Really, those were pretty good days – because we didn’t know any better! I often wonder how today’s younger generations could accept these old-time methods. I doubt if they’d get very much washing done! Nowadays, it doesn’t take much effort: just open the lid to the washer, drop in the clothes and turn the water on. Simple – as long as the well doesn’t go dry.

When my first two babies were little, in 1940 and 1942, our dear neighbor lady, Eva Blackshear, did our laundry. She went to the creek to do her washing, and she did my laundry, including sparkling white clothes she boiled with lye soap in an iron kettle over a fire. She was God’s angel here on earth for us and our family.

In past years we had a cistern that caught the rain water from our two-story house. “Dug” wells were here and there, so if you didn’t have enough water at home, you took your washing to the creek, as Eva did.

Thinking of sparkling white clothes reminded me of the treasured white sacks the chicken feed and “laying mash” would come in. We would launder those feed sacks and use them for straining the syrup in the making of sorghum molasses back in the late 1930s and early 40s. Those were tiring, long days but also a joyous time too in the making of our favorite sweetener.

This time of year also reminds me that we butchered hogs when the weather got cold in the fall. We rendered the lard in an iron kettle outside over a fire and used some of it to make lye soap, something I learned to do after my mother passed away. We would let it set a few days in the kettle, covered, then go back with a butcher knife and cut it into bars and store them for use year-round. We used that soap for everything–the laundry and the dishes and ourselves. We didn’t have store bought bars of soap or boxes of powdered soap. It worked!

Yes, memories are made of this!  And no happenings today seem to compare to them.

Monday evening, the Gainesville Eastern Star chapter had its meeting with Paralee Rea and Jim McConnaughy in the East, and they enjoyed a good Thanksgiving time and dinner with guests from West Plains, Mountain Home and Theodosia chapters present. I certainly miss attending. My membership dates back over 55 years.

Last Weeks News – By the time many of you read these items, Tom Turkey will have made his supreme sacrifice for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner far and wide.

Happy birthday to my great-grandson Keith Davis of Udall today, Nov. 22. He’s 38. He and his daughter Jaycee keep in close contact; she is a teenager living with her mother near Lebanon.

I appreciate my daughter Kris who filled the bird feeders with sunflower seed. There are dozens of little finch birds at the feeder as I write. The wind is blowing the feeder is spinning around, but the little finch birds hang on. I also have one pear left on one of my two pear trees. I’ll have to watch it. If it falls to the ground it will be devoured by the animals.

In my past gardening days, I grew a row of sunflowers and planted my climbing green beans next to them to climb on them (and, as I’ve said before, a favorite variety was the cut-shorts). I have some cut-shorts for seed in my freezer now, so in the spring I hope to get some planted for the coming year. It’s amazing that you can take them out of the freezer and put them in a damp place in the kitchen window and usually they will sprout. Or you plant them right into the ground.

Speaking of gardens, some of my best memories are of Mearl and Beulah Satterfield’s delicious corn; they furnished hundreds of dozens of ears for many folks to can and freeze. Their old garden spot, about an acre, is quite bare now, I feel sure. But what a blessing it was for many of us through the years. Mearl would pick the best ears to sell, leaving Beulah and me to glean the remainder – which was great for us. His customers came from all over the area to buy their corn. Beulah and I would have a pickup bed full. I would bring it home and shuck it, and the cows enjoyed the shucks. I would can seven quarts at a time in my pressure canner and would also fill the freezer. I think there are still some bags of frozen corn in my freezer right now.

Leaves are covering me up out here now! But I like this time of year (although spring may be better). My chrysanthemums are still blooming, but we need rain.

I enjoyed my walnut crop in past years. I’ve read that this year hulled walnuts are bringing $15 per hundred pounds. In past years I was only paid $3 per hundred, making it cheap labor, but it was our only extra fall income. Bernie Poe’s boys had a huller. I would sell some and bring a bag home for the winter and crack them myself. I had a special rock with a low place in it and I cracked them with a hammer.

Many years ago, my father helped my mother, Jennie Ebrite Crawford, harvest walnuts from our trees and then helped her hull and crack the walnuts, picking out the kernels. I am blessed to have the treadle Singer sewing machine she bought with the $65 she saved up from her walnut money. She died in 1935 and I think the machine was purchased in 1934. It’s a treasure of mine and still makes a perfect stitch. We had about four big walnut trees at our home. My grandfather had sold Stark fruit trees and some were those large walnut trees that produced larger walnuts on them than some of the “wild” trees.

Matt Dixon told me he got off his medicines that were keeping him excessively handicapped. So far, he’s had good improvement. Our prayers are for him and his wife, Cimone, to have good holidays and better health all winter long.

I enjoyed a visit from my son Lyndon and Linaia and their two little granddaughters, Chloe and Quinn Wright, from Fair Grove here Sunday to spend the day with me.

Sandi Chrietzberg Richards is coming soon from Texas to visit my daughter Kris as they were schoolmates and best friends. She’s from Ben Wheeler, Texas, where her dad lives. They graduated together and have been best friends since high school.