The Ozarks Almanac

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Another round of ice on the way, the weatherman warns

There is another ice storm on the way, according to the weatherman. The National Weather Service says there will be an ice storm north of a line from Pittsburg, Kansas, to Rolla, Missouri. That's us.
Much of what was on the wires and trees melted today, so we hope if we get more ice, the electrical lines will be able to handle it, and so will the tree limbs.
The warning is for tonight and all tomorrow morning.
There was plenty of ice on the river birch at noon, but by nightfall most had melted.

Texas cafe promotes "Peace Through Pancakes"

"Make plenty. They go like hotcakes."
My wife went to visit her people in Texas over Christmas. She came back with gifts, including a box of Kerbey Lane Cafe gingerbread pancake mix. It was minus  one cup of mix, because when nephew Canon, 6, saw her packing the box to bring back home to me he said, "Oh, gingerbread pancakes, that's what I want for breakfast." Of course, he got pancakes the next morning, made by Aunt Dee, who spoils him, and I don't blame her. She knew Uncle R.D. back up in the Missouri Ozarks would not mind sharing.

Those pancakes really hit the spot this morning, the second day of Icemageddon in Southern Missouri. The thermometer with a sensor on my front porch reads 33.9 degrees, so maybe quite a bit of the ice on the power lines will melt and make room for the second wave of freezing rain that is supposedly coming in late tonight to continue until 10 a.m., when my Sunday School class starts. If the weatherman is accurate, I guess I'll be missing church again Sunday. Maybe I'll make up for it with another batch of gingerbread pancakes.

My first gingerbread pancakes ever in my life were served to me for breakfast at the Kerbey Lane Cafe on Kerbey Lane in Austin when I went down to visit Delaine's home state and meet her family. They were fine pancakes, mighty fine.

The story Delaine told was that Kerbey Lane Cafe, located in a renovated old house, was supposedly started years ago by some hippies who grew most of the food themselves on a communal farm outside Austin. I don't know where she heard that story, or maybe she was just pulling my leg, for she is prone to do that. I believed that for years, and I tried from time to time to replicate the gingerbread pancakes here in the kitchen.

Now, I have the official Kerbey Lane Cafe pancake mix, so I can have gingerbread pancakes from time to time until the mix runs out.

As I made the pancakes this morning, I read the package, and it seems to try to promote some kind of hippie ethic on it. "Peace Through Pancakes" is one of the slogans on one side.

What's interesting is that there is a website address on it, and I checked it out. I also found a couple of other articles about Kerbey Lane Cafe, one on The Austin Chronicle site and one on Culture Map Austin.

Here's an article from 2010: The Austin Chronicle.

Here's an article from 2015: Culture Map Austin.

The Austin Chronicle article shows that the restaurant company owners, not hippies and not communal farm dwellers, did indeed try to use locally grown produce and meat for the items on their menu. Reading the newer Culture Map article, I'm not quite sure that is the case with the new management, headed up by the son of the couple that started it.

So those hippies, if ever they were such, have gone all corporate capitalist on us now. Not that I, a far-right conservative, mind that at all, although I hope they still have that commitment to local growers and local food.

The Kerbey Lane empire has grown to seven restaurants in and around Austin, and the goal is to build in other states. They also hope to go national with their pancake mix. It would be nice to be able to go to Aldi, Kroger, Price Chopper or Walmart to find a box of gingerbread pancake mix on cold mornings like we are experiencing this weekend.

"PEACE THROUGH PANCAKES"

Friday, January 13, 2017

"Icemageddon" hits the Ozarks again

This ice-covered feeder was almost empty before I refilled it.
Man, oh man, I hope this ice storm doesn't knock the power out. I've heard it called "Icemageddon," and I'm sure hoping that it doesn't turn out to be as bad as that sounds.

Now, you can read all about the ice storm the National Weather Service has named Jupiter on the internet or in your newspaper. Or you can turn on The Weather Channel or your local TV station. Those sources will tell you a lot more and show you dramatic pictures. I can't add much to that, so I'll just tell you about my day spent watching the ice build up. If you aren't interested, I don't blame you.

My supervisor at my day job called me a little before 6 and told me not to come in because freezing rain was falling, and she worried I might get stranded there in the afternoon. It's 30 miles away in the next county.

Normally, I would have been at work by 6 a.m., but I decided today to wait and go in late after I determined the chances of being stranded. The boss determined that for me.

I've had a full day of doing some of my favorite things: reading, writing, listening to the radio, drinking coffee, talking to my wife, playing with our standard poodles. When you grow up in the hardscrabble Ozarks, it doesn't take much to make you happy.

All morning I would step outside from time to time to check the weather. The rain that started here before 6 a.m. is still falling slowly at 2 p.m., so there is a layer of ice. I went out and replenished the bird feeders, for the birds have been on them all morning. I knocked the ice off the top of one so I could move the latches on the lid.

I measured the thickness of the ice at about 3/8 of an inch. I don't know if that is correct, but it is what I got. Don't consider it official.

I walked around the yard looking at various trees and shurbs. They're all frozen, of course.

I'm just hoping that the ice doesn't do what it did back in January 2007. That knocked our power out here for three nights. Fortunately, we had an office for the magazine we were publishing at that time, so we took an air mattress and spent the nights there, because that building was not affected by the power outage.

After my time outside, my wife and I ate a hot lunch, leftovers from yesterday, a dish of chicken, rice, mushroom soup, peppers, garlic and other tasty vegetables and spices. I added a large side dish of greens seasoned with bacon and a big slap of buttered cornbread. All washed down with strong, hot coffee. Fine, mighty fine.

Not a bad day, and It won't be a bad weekend either, as long as the power doesn't go off.

Look at the ice buildup on our red buckeye bush in the front yard.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Time to start planning your spring, summer and fall gardens

With Christmas over and New Year's Day also past and out of the way, I'm ready to think about gardening.

Well, the truth is I didn't stop thinking about gardening, not even after clearing out my garden beds in the fall.

We've already been getting seed catalogs, so that works to keep me thinking about planting and harvesting, too.

The Ozarks Almanac has a Twitter account (feel free to follow), and one account we follow is Chickens on Camera. (@chickensoncam). That account led us to this page about mapping your summer garden.

That web page is a good starting point to plan your garden. I'd suggest you get a resource from your university extension regarding planting times and days until harvest. Figure out when your last frost date is typically, and you can figure out how to have two, maybe three gardens, a spring garden, summer garden and fall garden.

The Ozarks Almanac had a spring garden that provided us with a lot of fresh greens (see the picture above), followed by a summer garden of tomatoes, beans and a ton of squash and cucumbers.

It was fine, mighty fine eating. We are looking forward to more of the same this year.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A battle, a song and an Ozarks connection

Today is the Eighth of January, and that brings to mind a battle with a bit of an Ozarks connection.
The battle is the Battle of New Orleans that started on Jan. 8, 1815, and brought an end to the War of 1812. The Ozarks connection is a song titled "The Battle of New Orleans," written by an Ozarks schoolteacher to an old fiddle tyne played by Ozarks fiddlers, titled "Eighth of January."
Here's Jimmy Driftwood singing:





Jimmy Driftwood's real name was James Corbitt Morris, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, and he claimed to have written the song in 1936 while he was a teacher. The song was a way to get students interested in history and to teach them the difference between the American Revolution and the War of 1812.
Driftwood recorded his original version in 1958, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, but it did not achieve much airplay, owing to the use of the words "hell" and "damn." He must have been a real Ozarks character to sing a song like that to Arkansas schoolchildren back in the 1930s and 1940s.
Driftwood took an existing fiddle tune, "Eighth of January," that had been written sometime after the battle and was also known as "Jackson's Victory," referring to Gen. Andrew Jackson.
The Library of Congress reports that a couple of ethnographers recorded versions of the fiddle tune played by Oklahoma dust bowl migrant workers in California. It was a popular tune at square dances.

Driftwood, who continued to collect and write songs, eventually became a performer on the Grand Ole Opry, the Ozark Jubilee and the Louisiana Hayride. It was at the Hayride in Shreveport that he met Johnny Horton in 1959. Driftwood toned down the lyrics for Horton who recorded it that year and put it atop the country music chart for over 10 weeks and the pop music chart for six weeks.
It is one of the top 100 Western songs of all time, according to the Western Writers of America.
Jimmy Driftwood led in the founding of the Arkansas Folk Festival and the Ozark Folk Center. He died in 1998.

Map of Missouri counties


Map Courtesy of Digital Map Store