Abuse of Public Assistance

Note: This is a non-historical post, hysterical perhaps, but not historical.

A recent public announcement showed there are more families living on public assistance in Alabama than there are working families in the state, so I ask you, “Who is paying the bills for these families”? The answer is – hard-working families who are paying more and being taxed to death.

Alabama shares the distinction of having more welfare families than working families with sister states Maine, New York, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, South Carolina, Mississippi, New Mexico, Hawaii, and California. This is a club to which each of these states should be ashamed to belong. – dated Oct. 2013, Economic Policy Journal.com.

I am not alone in my resentment at supporting families in which one or both adults are perfectly capable of working and choose not to. Let’s look at some statistics for 2014.

In Alabama welfare recipients can receive benefits that are equivalent to $23,310. yearly, or to break it down further, that is about $11.21 per hour if the recipient worked full time, and they do nothing to earn it. A study by CATO showed there are 35 states where welfare benefits are higher than the salary for a full-time job at minimum wage so there is NO incentive for irresponsible people to work.

Let’s look at it another way, “The median salary in Alabama is $29,848. That means a person on welfare can make 78.1 percent of the state’s median salary and live at 136 percent of the federal poverty level” and qualify for all manner of assistance which working families cannot.

Abuse of public assistance programs is running rampant in this country. One only has to look at a few forums and web sites or listen to news broadcasts for an idea of how big a problem it is.

Fraud includes recipients who sell food stamps for pennies on the dollar and use the money to purchase non-food items, often while their children are receiving two free meals a day at school rather than at home.

Total number of Americans on welfare: 12,800,000; total number of Americans on food stamps: 46,700,000; total number of Americans on unemployment insurance: 5,600,000; percent of the U.S. population on welfare: 4.1%; total government spending on welfare annually (not to include food stamps or unemployment): $131.9 Billion dollars. –Source: Dept. of Commerce statistics.

To show the depth of the welfare abuse, the Washington Times reported that welfare spending has increased 32% during the Obama presidency – from $563 billion in fiscal year 2008 to $746 billion in fiscal year 2011. How long can this country stay solvent with welfare spending increasing at this rate?

We haven’t even touched on the number of children some of the families on public assistance have, and don’t tell me I don’t have the right to tell someone how many children they can have because as long as deductions from my paycheck are helping to support these families I have every right. Remember your parents saying, “As long as you live under my roof you will do as I say”? Same difference.

I had two children because I could not clothe, feed, educate, and provide for more than two yet families in which the medical cost of having the children is paid by Medicaid; the cost of feeding them is taken care of by programs such as Alabama Summer Food Service, WIC, Alabama Special Milk Program, Alabama School Breakfast and Lunch Program, and Alabama Food Assistance Program; and homes are warmed or cooled by allowances from the Alabama Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Alabama Weatherization Assistance program, etc. often have large families.

Liberals can ask how can anyone want to deny a family assistance with one of these programs, to which I reply it is a well known fact that another aspect of public assistance fraud is the large percentage of families who receive aid from multiple programs at the same time.

Drawing public assistance, (food assistance program or Medicaid) is not the end of the story. Families on those programs and others are entitled to free cell phones, and in fact, in Alabama a Medicaid recipient has to send a letter declining the phone otherwise it is sent as a matter of course. I think of this every month when I pay my cell bill. A family in public housing, drawing SSI, receiving the NSL’s free school lunch program, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families etc. may also qualify for free phones and free cell service.

I do not include the elderly, the disabled, those who have lost a job due to a plant closing or other circumstance beyond their control, or military veterans in my rant against public assistance. God knows a disabled veteran deserves every form of assistance possible, however, studies have shown that some welfare/public assistance recipients draw more in food assistance per month than some veterans’ benefits combined. See: http://gopthedailydose.com/2013/10/29/welfare-recipients-receive-benefits-permanently-disabled-combat-vet/

There have been bills introduced in Alabama that, if passed, would allow drug testing for some welfare recipients, make it a crime to defraud public assistance programs, require welfare recipients to show proof of trying to find employment, etc., but these measures are simply putting a band-aid on a scar.

Because of prison overcrowding the state is considering releasing criminals with time remaining on their sentences so it is unlikely someone caught selling food vouchers is going to prison and it is doubtful they’d even see a lapse in benefits. The legal system is not going to suddenly decide to get tough with public assistance abuse unless the system is overhauled from the ground floor up.

I agree with Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions – welfare should be viewed as a temporary measure and not as a permanent way of life. From presidential candidates down to the lowliest town mayor candidate may forego their bickering and mudslinging in the coming years, not promise reform they can’t deliver, and tell the American people one thing – what their strategy is for reversing this pattern and rewarding working families for making their own way. You don’t reward an unruly child, so why should you reward someone who chooses not to be a responsible worker with a free cell phone?

Wake up America and demand a change while there is time to reverse, or at least slow down, this downward spiral before working Americans are crushed under the weight of entitlement.

See: http://blog.al.com/wire/2014/01/governor_bentley_offers_unapol.html




The following article was published in the Evening Sun, Hanover, PA, by Martin’s niece, the awesome Brigitte Brady and it is so informative that I asked if I could share it. The photo is Brigitte doing a school program on nutrition with her “lab assistant”, Beaker. Why weren’t such classes that much fun when I was in school?

We are especially proud of Brigitte because her Grandma, the equally awesome, Mrs. Anna Zartman Brady, wrote a weekly column for the Evening Sun for some 30 odd years and Brigitte is following right along in her footsteps. I would love to see the paper compile her articles into book or CD form so that I could enjoy each and every one. I am so very blessed to be part of this wonderful family! – Blissful Meals Yall, THF.

Family Living Focus: Taste the rainbow of fresh and local produce
By Brigitte Brady
Family and Consumer Science Assistant

POSTED: 06/13/2014 11:46:11 AM EDT0 COMMENTS

One of my favorite things to do during the spring and early summer in York County is to stroll through one of the many local farm markets and savor the sight and fragrance of the just-picked produce. Everything is so ripe, so fresh and, best of all, nearly everything is locally grown. There is an abundance of great produce in season right now that it is easy to leave the market with my bag teeming with fruits and vegetables of every color of the rainbow. It is such a treat to have fresh, off-the-stalk green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes, crisp butter lettuces and a tasty array of sweet-tart berries to incorporate into my diet.

Buying local produce is rewarding to both the community and the consumer. Purchasing local fruits and vegetables helps support York County farms and businesses. Local produce purchases shorten the amount of time it takes to get the food from the farm to our tables, ensuring the freshest product possible. You may not be aware of this fact, but the longer a fruit or vegetable sits uneaten the more nutrients it loses. That being said, how much Vitamin C is really in that asparagus being shipped to the grocery from Peru, South America by the time it gets to York County? Buying local produce is starting to look a lot smarter and healthier.

So what is the key to selecting the most garden-fresh produce? The appearance, color and texture of the fruit or vegetable are crucial to determining its freshness. Bright, vibrant colors without dark spots, bruising or discoloration generally indicate a good product. Produce such as berries should be dry, firm, not mushy or shriveled; strawberries should have bright green caps intact and seeds should not be hard or brown. Greens such as lettuces and spinach should be crisp and not limp or brown around the edges. Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers should be vivid in color, firm and juicy, and free from bruising or scars. Green beans, also called string beans locally, should be firm and snap easily when bent. Smell is also an important factor when considering the freshness of a fruit or vegetable. The produce should have a light aroma indicative of its flavor. A strong scent or off scent is a sign that the product is past is peak of freshness and is on its way to spoiling. Use your best judgment. If it looks good enough to eat, it probably is!

Now that you have picked the perfect produce, properly washing and storing it will provide the best guarantee that the valuable nutrients will be maintained as long as possible. To clean most fruits and vegetables you must simply rinse them thoroughly under cold, running water. They should be placed in a plastic bag or wrapped in a paper towel and stored in the crisper of your refrigerator. For items such as lettuce heads and other leafy greens, be sure to separate the leaves to remove all the dirt. They should be dried, either by use of a salad spinner or a colander and paper towels; they can then be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to five days. Tomatoes are the exception to the refrigeration rule. They taste best at room temperature and chilling them actually expedites the ripening process. You should only refrigerate tomatoes if you cannot use them before they spoil.

My favorite spring and summer treat, the fresh berries, generally have the shortest shelf life. Still, with proper handling, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries will keep in your refrigerator three to five days and blueberries will keep for up to two weeks. The key is to not wash the berries until you are ready to eat them as extra moisture accelerates the ripening and spoiling processes. Also be sure to take them out of their original container and place them on a single layer in a shallow dish or tray. If you have too many berries to utilize before they spoil, they are easily frozen. Simply arrange the clean, dry berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet, freeze for one hour then place them in air-tight bags and store up to three months in the freezer.

Purchasing fresh, local produce is a wonderful way to add variety and nutrition to your diet. For more information regarding the types of produce available during the various growing seasons, the USDA website (www.usda.gov) and York County’s Chapter of Buy Fresh, Buy Local (www.buyfreshbuylocalyork.com) are very helpful resources. These sites can provide additional information, nutritional values, and a multitude of recipes to complement the produce that is in season. Remember the more colorful your plate is, the more nutrients you are consuming. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

Brigitte Brady is a Family and Consumer Science Assistant at Penn State Extension in York County. Penn State Extension in York County is at 112 Pleasant Acres Road, York PA, 17402, call 717-840-7408 or email brb18@psu.edu.




The following brief summary documents the presence of buffalo in the Southeast, particularly in present day Alabama.


© “On the high plains of North America, the buffalo was the economic basis of Native American life well into the nineteenth century. When European-American settlement began to encroach on the area early in that century, an estimated 30 million buffalo lived in a large area from present-day Texas in the South to northern Alberta. East and west, buffalo ranged from present-day New York state to Alabama and Mississippi, to Idaho and eastern Oregon.” – Johansen, Bruce. “The Encyclopedia of Native American Economic History”. 1999. Greenwood Press.

Southern states in which buffalo were documented include Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. One writer documented buffalo in Georgia to the middle of the state and in Mississippi to the coast, but stated he had found no primary source from the earliest settlement for buffalo in Alabama. He explained, however, that due to them being common in the neighboring states they were obviously present in Alabama but not documented by the early writers he had studied. Perhaps this was because in the mid-18th century Alabama was not yet a state and buffalo present in the area were lumped in with neighboring states or territories. [AL became a state in 1819, GA in 1788]. – “The Extermination of the American Bison”. 1889. U.S. Govt. Printing Office. Project Gutenberg.

Compare the first map below which dates from shortly after the French and Indian war (mid-18th century) with the second one from 1800 and note how the boundaries of Georgia have changed. In 1800, Georgia’s boundary has receded eastward and the area where Alabama will eventually be is labeled Mississippi Territory.

Southern-Colonies after F&I War


A little known account written in 1708 and published in 1988 documents buffalo in Alabama. The 18th century journal of Thomas Nairne was published by the University of Mississippi Press in 1988, and in it is found the following letter, penned by Nairne: “…the usuall divertion of the hunters was either to look for Bare [bear], fire a ring for Dear or go to the Clay pitts and shoot Buffaloes, for you must observe that in the spring and all sumer these cattle eat abundance of Clay. They find out such places as are saltish, which they like [lick] up in such quantities as if some hundreds of thousands of Bricks had been made out of them, and the paths leading to these holes are as many and well Trod, as those to the greatest Cowpens in Carolina…”.

The area Nairne was describing was on the Chattahoochee and crossing the Coosa, near present day Mongomery. – Nairne, Thomas, ed. By Alexander Moore. “Nairne’s Muskhogean Journals: The 1708 Expedition to the Mississippi River. U. of Miss. Press. 1988.

Thomas Foster says that buffalo were probably utilized by the Lower Creeks from the 1720’s or earlier. “In August 1739, at a Creek town on the Chattahoochee River (Russell County, Alabama), Oglethorpe’s men observed Creek men hunting turkeys, deer, geese, and buffalo. At another Creek town in Alabama, the white hunters observed that the Indians ‘spend much time in hunting deer, turkeys, and bison’.” He noted that by the 1770’s buffalo were probably becoming scarce in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. – “Archaeology of the Lower Muskogee Creek Indians 1715-1836”. 1970.

Sir Robert Montgomery described neighboring Georgia as the land between the Altamaha and the Savannah Rivers, “and abounding with large herds of deer, will buffalo’s, and most kinds of beasts, birds, …”. James Oglethorpe on his way to meet with the Creeks in Alabama encamped at Oconee River and the next day, “crossed the river and killed two buffaloes of which there are an abundance.”

Buffalo were prevalent in the area of Anniston, Alabama in the 1500’s according to author Ernest Callenbach who also noted the Army had a small herd of bison at the Depot there during present times. – “Bring Back the Buffalo!”. 1996.

An archaeological excavation at Moundville turned up bones which are thought to be bison. They weren’t positively identified as bison bones, but they did come from, “a very large mammal”, and there were distinct skinning marks on the bone further strengthening the belief that they were bison. – Knight, Vernon J. “Mound Excavations at Moundville”. 2010. Tuscaloosa.

“Before the days of white settlement in Alabama, herds of bison and elk grazed the prairies of the Black Belt and Wire-grass sections, and black bear and deer ranged the upland forests and river bottom canebrakes.” The author who penned those words went on to say that early explorers into Alabama found the Indians using hoes made from bison shoulder blades. – Writers Program (Ala.). “Alabama a Guide to the Deep South”. May 1941.

It is obviously safe to say that buffalo did once roam freely through Alabama, more’s the pity that “civilization” pushed them to the brink of extinction. Good day, – THF.© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.



[See the previous post for more on Alabama fruit and fruit growers.] Peaches are not native to America, though they arrived so early that some of the earliest writers thought them so. Spanish explorers are credited with introducing the peach, as it was documented growing commonly in Mexico 50 years after Cortez arrived and the Spanish are said to have grown it in St. Augustine, Florida by 1565. It was spread in part by the Jesuit and Franciscan fathers.

There are many accounts of the “Indian Peach”, and we will examine a few.

“The Indian Peach.—John Lawson who was in this country between 1700 and 1708, says in his New Voyage to Carolina (London, 1709), a propos of the peach: ‘I want to be satisfy’d about one sort of this Fruit, which the Indians claim as their own, and affirm they had it growing amongst them before any Europeans came to America. The Fruit I will describe as exactly as I can. The tree grows very large, most commonly as big as a handsome Apple-tree; the Flowers are of a reddish murrey Colour; the Fruit is rather more downy than the yellow Peach, and commonly very large and soft, being very full of Juice. They part very freely from the Stone, and the Stone is much thicker than all the other Peach Stones we have, which seems to me that it is a Spontaneous Fruit of America; yet in those Parts of America that we inhabit, I never could hear that any Peach-Trees were ever found growing in the Woods; neither have the foreign Indians that live remote from the English any other sort. And those living amongst us have a hundred of this sort for one of the other; they are a hardy Fruit, and are seldom damaged by the North-East Blasts, as others are. Of this sort we make Vinegar; wherefore we call them Vinegar-Peaches, and sometimes Indian peaches”.

Le Page Du Pratz wrote in 1758 that the natives had peaches and figs when the French settled in Louisiana in 1698. He thought they’d gotten them from the English in Carolina, but it is more commonly accepted that they came from the Spanish in Mexico or Florida.

Some years afterward, John Bartram said the peach and plum orchards still stood and bore fruit when he traveled through the Cherokee town, Sticoe, about the Savannah River [Georgia], and he found peaches growing near the ruins of a French town near Mobile, AL.

Du Pratz said, “Our colonists [French] plant the peach stones about the end of February, and suffer the trees to grow exposed to all weathers. In the third year they will gather from one tree at least two hundred peaches, and double that number for six or seven years more, when the tree dies irrecoverably. As new trees are so easily produced, the loss of the old ones is not the least regretted.”

John Lawson also noted that trees grew from stones and bore in three years. “Eating peaches in our orchards makes them come up so thick from the kernel, that we are forced to take a great deal of care to weed them out, otherwise they make our land a wilderness of peach trees. They generally bear so full that they break [a] great part of their limbs down.”

The Indian Peach was introduced into South Carolina from the Indians in Georgia and in 1806, it was, “looked upon a great rarity in South-Carolina, where it has just began to be cultivated”. It was described as having a deep brown skin when ripe, the flesh underneath the skin yellow, and beet red toward the stone.

The Indian Peach was somewhat of an anomaly in that old records say it could be grown true to form [at least for several generations] from seed while other peaches are grafted to get the desired result. It is ancient in origin by American standards although some nurseries still sell what they claim to be the Indian Blood Peach. How true these heirloom peaches may be to the original Indian Peach is not certain. Called by growers the Columbia peach, subsequent generations of the Indian were said to be growing inferior in quality when discussed in 1897 and it was noted that it was disappearing from the markets.

The “Genessee Farmer” said of it in 1833, “Thirty years ago when we [New York] had scarcely any other kind than the old Indian peach in the country, it was observed to come very true from the stone; and amongst the hundreds of trees produced in this way, we have not met with any distinguishable sub-variety.”

While I make no claim as to the authenticity of any such-named tree currently available on the market, perhaps those who are interested will be able to search heirloom fruit trees for the closest relative of the original Indian. Blissful Meals, THF.

Georgia State Horticultural Society. “Proceedings.” 1897. Augusta.
Hilton, William. “A Relation of a Discovery Lately Made on the Coasts of Florida”. 1664. Force Hist. Tracts.
Hedrick, U.P. “The Peaches of New York”. Albany. 1917.
Bartram, William. “Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida”. 1791.
Kalm, Peter. “Travels Into North America”. 1771.
Schecut, John Linnaeus Edward Whitridge. “Flora Carolinaeensis”. 1806. Charleston.
“Genessee Farmer and Gardener’s Journal.” Vol. 3. Sept. 21, 1833.

Product Warning



[This is another of a series of posts concerning our home updates, it is not historical in nature, so be advised.]

After working 5 full days sanding off the old finish from three hardwood floors, we used Minwax Wood Putty to fill the holes in the floor where nails were used to secure carpet tack strips. After 3 days, we went back expecting to sand the spots, clean up all traces of dust, and apply varnish to the floors. What we found were oily circles on the floor everywhere the putty had been used and the putty was still soft. Notice the name of the product is Minwax Wood Putty and there is nothing on the front of the container that gives any hint that the product will not harden.

At that point we looked on the back of the jar and read the fine print that says the product will not harden. I ask you, under what circumstances could you possibly want to use a wood putty that remains greasy and soft? If you use it on trim it will be a dust magnet and look terrible in a short time. If you use it on furniture be prepared to try and get the oily residue out of your clothing when you sit on the chair. If like us, you expect it to fill the holes in your nice hardwood floors, you’ve invited trouble.

This little fiasco caused us the loss of two weekends of progress between applying the putty, removing the putty, and next re-sanding around the perimeter of the rooms to finish removing the oily stains so the varnish will stick to the floor.

After reading reviews, we are by no means the only people who’ve made the mistake of applying the wood putty without reading ALL the information on the jar. One reader likened buying this product to buying a carton of milk and upon getting home finding a notation on the back of the carton that reads, “Do not drink”.

Hey Minwax – why not call your product what it is, “Minwax Non-hardening Wood Putty” so users know what they’re buying? End of rant, back to your regularly scheduled programming. – THF



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C. C. Langdon, of Landon Nurseries, Mobile, AL

C. C. Langdon, of Langdon Nurseries, Mobile, AL

“The history of fruit growing in the State begins with the peach, which was brought in by traders and Government agents among the Indians, long before the coming of white settlers. The well-known Indian peach is a development from early varieties. About the same time the apple was introduced. The home of the great Indian leader, Alexander McGillivray, at Little Tallasee, a few miles above Wetumpka was known as the ‘Apple Grove’.

Records show that nearly all the early pioneers brought peach stones. Many of our white fleshed varieties are traceable to these seedlings. In the beginning all trees came from seedlings, but as early as 1844 budding was actively practiced.

The Cling and Chinese are the earliest known forms. Among varieties known to have originated in the State are Tuskena, the Baldwin, the White July Cling and several others, all by Dr. W. O. Baldwin of Montgomery.

The Carter’s Blue or Lady Fitzpatrick apple originated at Mount Meigs, Montgomery County, and was first exhibited at the State fair held at Montgomery in 1856. The Duckett and Red Warrior apples and the Comak, Green Cluster, Horton and Nabours pears are of Alabama origin, but are now little cultivated.

R. R. Hunley of Harpersville, Talladega County, R. S. Owen of Tuscaloosa, Robert Harwell of Mobile, and C. C. Langdon of Citronelle were early fruit growers and writers on fruit culture in the journals of the day.”

The preceding paragraphs document Alabama’s contribution to fruit tree cultivation and remember some of the men instrumental in saving or creating the fruit. The following is a very brief look at both.

The Indian peach was brought from the Old World to Mexico during the 1500’s, and by a century later it was found grown by Native Americans in the Southeastern U.S. They have been called Cherokee peach and Indian blood peach. The great naturalist, John Bartram, assumed they were native, and William Penn observed wild peaches had spread as far as Philadelphia in 1683. The Indian peaches are rare today, seldom seen in markets.

While most stone fruit are grafted from budwood, the Indian peach can be grown from seed and the seed can be purchased online.

Mr. R. R. Hunley was a resident of Talladega, though that could have referred to the county rather than the town. He seems to have been quite the farmer, reporting on his progress with raising cattle, and several fruits, but is most commonly noted in connection with a Japanese peach. Mr. Hunley was referred to as, “the late R. R. Hunley”, in a Georgia Bulletin in connection with peaches distributed in 1877 and which remained in cultivation (published record 1907).

“General Lee originated with Judge Campbell, Pensacola, Florida from pits brought from Japan in 1860. In 1864 P. J. Berckmans received buds from R. R. Hunley of Alabama and in 1867 introduced the sort under the name General Lee. The American Pomological Society listed this peach in 1889 as General Lee but in 1897 shortened the name to Lee and so it appears in the Society’s catalog at the present time. We prefer the old name since when shortened it loses all significance as a commemorative appellation”.

Richard Ryland Hunley was born in Camden, South Carolina in 1826, died July 7, 1897 in Haynesville, Lowndes Co., AL. Hunley served on committees for the American Pomological Society and can be found as chairman in proceedings for same. He was postmaster for Talladega, 1884-1888 and in 1889, and served as mayor of Talladega. He was a son of Ransom Gayle Hunley and Caroline Matilda Forney [Matilda’s relatives included Peter Forney for whom the Peter Forney Chapter, DAR, Montgomery, AL is named]. He was a student at the University of Alabama, graduating in 1842, with a degree in horticulture. He is buried in Smyrna, Lowndes Co., AL.

Robert Harwell wrote to “The Horticulturist”, on March 15, 1848, noting that the magazine often discussed fruit culture in the North and West, but failed to advise, “Southern folks, who have been used to cultivating little else but corn and cotton”, and who knew little of fruit culture except for the peach. “And even the peach tree is left generally to take its own course, and to live or die, whichever is most convenient.”

He went on, “Many in this section feel anxious to raise the fine kinds of plums, cherries, apricots, and pears, but they fear that the climate will not answer. Plums, apricots, and cherries seem disposed to shed or drop all their blossoms just as the young fruit is forming, without the attack of any insect whatsoever. My apricot trees have just finished dropping their very last blossoms, to my very great disappointment.” He asked for advice on how to prevent the problem, and would probably be saddened to know that apricot culture in South Alabama remains uncertain today, but did note his peaches and apples did pretty well. “I have no doubt but pears will do well, and why plums, apricots, and cherries will not do well, is something that I feel particularly anxious to know”.

Harwell was well known for his efforts in growing fruit trees in Mobile, and early on propagated peach trees by grafting saying he set his grafts in November and December and lost no more than 5 trees out of a hundred [1855].

A Robert Harwell of Mobile County, AL, died in 1868, papers filed in the Probate Court on April 30, 1868. This may have been the Robert Harwell discussed in this article.

“Col. C. C. Langdon, of Citronelle, Ala., one of the most experienced and celebrated of Southern horticulturists, says that he has raised pears there twenty-three years and has never known the trees to blight. The White Doyenne is perfect there—beautiful, luscious, smooth; also Duchess, Bartlett, Buerre Superfine, Seckel, Edmonds and others succeed well. Citronelle is thirty-three miles above Mobile…”. Land there was said to be cheap, “a fine resort for people in impaired health…”. C. C. Langdon founded the newspaper in Citronelle and employed men known from war days.

On Feb. 18, 1889 it was reported that Col. Langdon , Secretary of State, was critically ill at the Exchange Hotel and was not expected to live through the night. He was 80+ years of age, “and long a prominent figure in Southern politics”. He served as President pro tem of the Alabama State Agricultural Society (1858). Charles Carter Langdon (Aug. 5, 1805, Southington, CT – June 8, 1889, Mobile, AL) was the son of Capt. Giles Langdon and Sarah Carter Langdon. He moved to Marion, AL in 1826-27 along with brothers Levi and Giles Nelson Langdon. C. C. ran for a seat in the Legislature in 1832 and 1833, was defeated, and about 1834 moved to Mobile. He ran again in 1838 on the Whig platform, and was defeated. He was editor of the “Mobile Daily Advertiser” in 1838 and was mayor of Mobile in 1849 and several subsequent years. He was a respected nurseryman at Langdon’s Station, near Citronelle, AL considered the largest in the state by 1858. He did eventually represent Mobile in the legislature for several terms, and unsuccessfully ran for governor of Alabama in 1872 and 1878. He was appointed Secretary of State in 1885, and confirmed by election in 1886. Probably due to his great interest in agriculture, he served as a Trustee for the Agricultural and Mechanical College at Auburn – today Auburn University. Langdon Hall is named for him.

The Langdon Nurseries in Mobile said of the Red May apple in 1888, “A native fruit found on most of the old settlements in this section; very hardy and uniformly productive, and hence its value; fruit variable in size from large, medium to small, nearly covered with red on a yellow background; flavor quite acid. Ripens last of May and Early June.”

Not much was found on the Tuskena peach, farmer’s Bulletins did note that there were Tuskena peaches and Tuscan peaches and debated whether or not they were the same peach – dated about 1920’s. In 1910, Alabama Dept. of Agriculture Bulletin noted that Dr. W. E. Baldwin, of Montgomery, had originated or introduced several excellent varieties, “among these are Tuskena, one of the earliest ripening forms of Lemon Cling…”

The Baldwin peach, “raised by Dr. Baldwin, of Montgomery, Ala. And ripening about the first of November, is a very superior fruit, and the finest late free-stone peach yet known. When we once get all these late Southern seedlings…we will have fine peaches, ripening in succession for five months, namely, from the beginning of June to the beginning or middle of November, and this more than hitherto has been met with in any country.

Dr. Baldwin wrote a letter in 1855 concerning a “native” apple called the Red Warrior saying, “The Red Warrior is a good winter apple, very large, red and striped with yellow, sometimes weighing twenty ounces and upwards. This Red Warrior is a native Indian seedling. I first traced its history and gave it its name”.

Dr. Baldwin was credited with finding the Nantahalee (also called Nantahala, Maiden’s Bosom) before 1855 on, “an old Indian farm eight miles from Montgomery, Alabama”.

Accounts say Carter’s Blue apple was growing in Mount Meigs, AL in 1840 but a century or so later was thought to have gone extinct until Lee Calhoun of Pittsboro, North Carolina reintroduced it by grafting scion wood obtained from the National Fruit Trust in Kent, England.

The originator of the Carter’s Blue apple was Colonel John C. Carter, born in 1832 in South Carolina, and died Dec. 5, 1880, age 47 or 48, in Montgomery Co., AL. He is buried in the Carter Family Cemetery in Mount Meigs. He married Margaret Shellman. Carter was a wealthy planter prior to the Civil War, served in the 24th Alabama Consolidated during the Civil War, and returned to farming in Montgomery Co., AL after the war.

The writer went on to discuss Alabama’s fine reputation for fruit growing saying superior apples were grown in every part of the state from Mobile to the Tennessee line. “Very excellent peaches” grew in all parts of the state as well as pears, cherries, and plums.

Anyone who grows fruit in Alabama is indebted to these men who pioneered fruit tree cultivation in the state. The next time you gather fruit from your orchard give them a little nod in recognition of their hard work.

The Langdon Nurseries near Mobile, was advertised as having, “the largest stock and choicest collection of Southern Grown Fruit Trees, Grape Vines, Ornamental Trees, Shrubs, Plants, Etc. ever before offered in the South”. Upon the death of C. C. Langdon, the nurseries, established around 1853 passed into the ownership of his nephew, Daniel W. Langdon.

Sources: Owen, Thomas and Owen, Marie Bankhead. “History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography. 1921.
“American Farmers’ Magazine”. Vol. 6, I. 11. May 1854.
Annual Report. New York State Dept. of Ag. Albany. 1917.
“Transactions”. IL State Horticultural Society. Chicago. 1879.
New York Times. Feb. 19, 1889.
“The American Cotton Planter and the Soil of the South”. Montgomery. Dec. 1858.
Obituary for Levi Langdon, brother of C. C. Langdon.
Brewer, Willis. “Alabama, Her History, Resources, War Record and Public Men from 1540-1872”. Mongtomery. 1872.
Official Register of the United States. 1889.
Obituary of Ransom Hunley.
“Talladega Messenger”, April 14, 1881, quoted in the “Montgomery Advertiser”.
University of Alabama. “A Register of the Officers and Students of the University of Alabama, 1831-1901.”
“Mobile Register”. May 12, 1868.
“The Cultivator”. April 1855.
“Our Home Journal”. Vol. 2. Nov. 18, 1871.
“The Gardeners’ Monthly and Horticulturist”. Aug. 1880.




Unruly children are not a problem solely relevant to current times, although most agree the situation worsens with each passing generation. The following is extracted from “Nurse”, Vol. 4, June 1916. Parents who let their children do as they please do the children no favor, they leave the naughty ones with no self-control, self-respect, or respect for others or the property of others, while parents who establish parameters for proper behavior raise children whom everyone enjoys being around and who go on to live productive lives. Let’s see what our expert had to say in 1916.

“Several years ago, it was my privilege to travel with four children who had been well brought up by very wise parents. In the course of our journeying we met a little woman whose one small child was a nuisance and an annoyance to all on shipboard and a source of much irritation generally. One day that mother came to me and laying her hand appealingly on my arm, said: ‘How do you make your children so nice?’

The mother of ‘my children’, as the little woman called them, and I had often talked this matter over so my answer was ready. We believed it was because, from the day of their birth, they had been taught the blessed lesson of obedience. The woman looked at me vaguely, as though she did not quite understand the language I spoke, and then said, in a tone of despair, ‘I suppose I ought to begin to teach Janie to mind me, but I had not thought her old enough.’ Poor woman! She had lost as many years as Janie was old. Poor Janie! She was badly behaved only because she had not been taught otherwise, and, if her father and mother at that late date were to take her training in hand, it meant a reconstruction period such as parents and child need never have encountered had they had the proper understanding of each other from the very beginning…’”.

The author went on to quote a book entitled, “The Training of Parents”, which said that the well-behaved child was not a natural-born angel; “he is well behaved because he has been well taught. Neither is the child who misbehaves, a natural fiend; he, too, is the result of his home training. That may sound very hopeless to those who have tried and tried and yet failed, but remember this: if you have failed, it is not because your child is impossible or unteachable, as so many parents claim. Of course your child loves you—that goes without saying—but have you taught him to mix with love that ingredient, respect, which is just as necessary to his happiness and yours?”

Parents of young children, ask yourselves this: Are my children sweet and loving, well-behaved and a pleasure for me and others to be around, bringing joy and pride to my life, or do you say no, maybe several times, but give in at the end and allow the child to do as it pleases? If the latter, you do the child an injustice. I will leave you with an example from our 1916 article.

A young child came to the table, put a foot onto the tablecloth, quite inappropriately, an act made worse by the fact the parents had guests witnessing the uncouth behavior. The child’s mother asked repeatedly for the child to remove its foot from the table. “Oh, but the table isn’t the place for Molly’s feet. Now, that is the place for Molly’s feet—right—down—there. No, I said not on the table—not—on—the—table, NOT—ON—THE—TABLE! Oh, well, it won’t hurt the tablecloth any”.

The mother had set the stage for Molly to be headstrong and unruly for life by not enforcing discipline when the child refused to do as she instructed, much the same as modern parents are to blame when children are noisy, boisterous, argumentative, and altogether unpleasant for all in earshot.

TOMATO SAUCE: Then and Now



I am not a fan of purchased canned tomato sauce, but it takes time and thought so I will use it when I need to, but I taste the dish as I add it in increments to avoid the strong, somewhat off-putting flavor produced when too much of it is used. There is no comparison to home-made sauce and hopefully with today’s method and the “back to the garden” movement currently in full swing, more will begin to enjoy the flavor of the real deal. The quality of tomato sauce is a debate that has been waged for over a century as noted below.

“What is called Tomato sauce in this country is only a libel on the real article. Vinegar, in quantities more or less large, and cayenne pepper are used in the preparation of it, and, as might be expected, these things overpower completely and kill that pleasant acid taste, quite sui generis, to which is mainly due the great charm of the Tomato. In some shops you can buy preserved Tomato sauce made in France, and this will be found very good if it is really of Gallic origin, a fact easily ascertained by opening a bottle and tasting it. If it tastes of Tomatoes it is good French Tomato sauce; if the compound is very acid and hot to the mouth – in other words, if vinegar and cayenne predominate—then it is the British form—to be avoided. Good French Tomato sauce, however, is not very cheap; and as Tomatoes can be bought in London—at a certain season of the year—at a very moderate rate, those who choose to take the trouble can provide themselves with a sufficient stock of good wholesome Tomato sauce, if they will attend the following directions. To ensure perfect success the Tomatoes should be gathered quite ripe on a bright sunny day, about one or two o’clock in the afternoon. Those who have no garden to grow Tomatoes in, or, having a garden look out in vain for a bright sunny day, must manage as best they can. Cut up the Tomatoes into quarters, and put them into a saucepan with salt quant. Suff[icient], a good handful of Basil, and three or four cloves of Garlic. A little water should be put into the saucepan to prevent the Tomatoes catching. When they are thoroughly done, turn them out upon a hair sieve, and wait till all the water has drained from them. Throw away this water, and proceed to pass the Tomatoes through the sieve. The pulp thus obtained is put into a saucepan to boil for about half an hour, and a moderate quantity of black pepper may be added to it according to taste. When the sauce is quite cold put it into wide-mouthed bottles, cork tightly, and tie up each cork with string or wire; dip the neck of each bottle into melted rosin, and you may put them away to be used when required. The bottles should be of moderate size, for, once opened, the sauce will no longer keep good. If, before putting on the wire, the bottles of sauce are placed upright in a large vessel of cold water, and this is put on the fire until the water boils, the preservation will be more certain still, and the sauce will keep good any length of time. Care must be taken, however, not to remove the bottles from this ‘bain-marie [a type of double-boiler] until the water has become perfectly cold.

Another way consists in letting the Tomato pulp reduce in a sauce-pan until it assumes the appearance of a very thick paste—car being taken to stir it constantly; when cool it is put away like jam in pots, and will keep any length of time. This is what is called ‘conserva’ in Italy, only in that country the Tomato pulp is reduced to the consistency of a thick paste by the action of the sun instead of that of the fire. To use the conserva a small quantity is dissolved in water. It makes very good sauce, but the taste is different from that of the fresh Tomato, or of the preserved sauce, described above.

Another way of preserving Tomatoes in countries where the heat of the sun is strong, consists in splitting them in halves and exposing them to the sun, taking care to take them in at night, and to turn over each individual half at least once a day, until they are quite dry. To make the sauce from these they should be soaked in cold water for six or seven hours; then boiled and passed through the sieve. The sauce thus obtained is slightly different in flavor from that made with conserva, or with the fresh fruit. To make suace for present use the process is nearly the same as that for preserving; but there are many varieties…

The article went on to suggest using fresh herbs (parsley, basil, marjoram, thyme, and laurel leaf with garlic or shallot) – “The Garden”. Oct. 19, 1872.

I will share this one for comparison, notice the early date. TOMATO SAUCE. “The Southern Agriculturist”. Vol. 8. Nov. 1835. Parboil the ripe Tomatoes until the skin will slip; peal [sic] and mash them; and add to every pound of the Tomatoes one ounce of butter, season with salt and pepper and simmer over a slow fire until perfectly cooked.

A modern tomato sauce to die for:

Make the sauce with tiny ripe tomatoes (like grape or cherry tomatoes) – any kind you like (heirloom are best), yellow, red, or black to suit your fancy. To about a pound of tomatoes in a mixing bowl, pour over a couple of Tablespoons of good olive oil and toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste. Roast in a 400 degree oven until the tomatoes are soft. Serve over pasta, in stews, or with anything that will benefit from the rich roasted flavor (perhaps baked fish, shrimp and grits, etc. or use for pizza sauce or to flavor gravy). Fresh herbs of choice, and garlic or shallot can be added.

Blissful meals yall, – THF.

Orange: Which Came First – the Fruit or the Color?



Which came first, the fruit or the color orange? The answer depends on whether we are tracing the English word or the Sanskrit or Old French versions which predate the English translation by several centuries. The fruit was known early, but described generally as being “yellow-red” or “red-yellow” in color.

The village of Orange in France was founded about 36 or 35 BC. It was named Arausio initially and the Principality of Orange was apparently named for that place and not for the color. The color was adopted by the House of Orange-Nassau after the sixteenth century, and the color began to be associated with Protestantism due to the afore-mentioned House of Orange siding with the Protestants in the French Wars of Religion (1562-1598) and the Dutch Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648).

The word was absorbed into Middle English from the Old French and Anglo-Norman orenge during the 13th century and was used for the fruit. It was roughly another three centuries before the word came to mean the color of the fruit. The color may have come from the word naranja, (Sanskrit) or naranj (Persian).

Let’s look quickly at the development of the word orange. Nathan Bailey defined it [1675] simply as the fruit grown in an orangery, but orenges [sic] were said to be little “balls of an orange color”. As late as 1869 Noah Webster’s etymological dictionary defined orange as fruit and orangery as a place where oranges were grown. He made no mention of it as a color. In 1887, Chambers defined it as a fruit and a color composed of red and yellow. Finally, in 1900 Walter Skeat said the word derived from narenge, “but with the initial n lost (in Italian), and then arenge became orenge by a popular etymology from gold. Naranja – an orange – Ital. arancio, an orange – Pers. Naranj, narinj, narang, an orange. “ – “A Concise Etymological Dictionary of the English Language.”.

The Orangemen or Orange Order is a Protestant fraternal society founded in Belfast in 1795/6 and named for William of Orange (Protestant) who defeated the Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

This was a very brief look at a broad topic, but those interested in more on the early history and etymology of the word can continue where I’ve left off. Let’s look at a few early mentions of the word in English.

Christopher Columbus reportedly brought oranges to the New World in 1493 and by the mid-16th century Spanish explorers, probably Ponce de Leon, had orange trees planted around St. Augustine, FL.

Jose de Acosta, 1590, wrote a page on the orange groves in the Indies.

George Sandys documented oranges growing while touring France and Italy in 1610.

Noah Biggs discussed the merits of oranges in 1651, London.

William Hughes said, “There are in America, in most of the Caribbee-Islands, many orange trees naturally growing in the woods and deserts, where are as yet no inhabitants nigh them; as upon Hispaniola and Cuba; but especially upon Jamaica, where are the most that ever I saw at a place called Orange-Bay, where they grow so plentifully, that they are the only trees of that place…”. [1672]

Richard Ligon found orange trees as well as lemons in Barbados, 1673.

The French Gardener, 1690, listed Bigarrades, China, Spanish, Genoa, Portugal, and Province oranges.

In The Present State of Europe, oranges and orange trees in flower were set before King James and his wife, 1698.

Richard Bradley documented the presence of oranges, lemons, etc. in English kitchens in 1727.

John Bartram and William Stork quoted a letter written from St. Augustine in 1765 saying oranges grew well in East Florida.

Thomas Ashe described groves of oranges in Louisiana and noted they, “thrive to the highest perfection”. – “Travels in America”. 1808.

Both sweet and sour oranges were growing around Charleston, SC by the early part of 1800. – Guthrie, William. “A New Geographical, Historical and Commercial Grammar.” Vol. II. 1815. Philadelphia.

Oranges from Florida were sold in the markets in Philadelphia by 1825/26 as noted by Karl Bernard. “Travels to North America During the Years 1825 and 1826”.

Oranges were left in Christmas stockings because they were expensive, having to be transported long distances to most households. Receiving apples, oranges, and nuts was a tradition that carried over into my own childhood. My uncle bought a case of each every year.

Eighteenth century cookery writers had various ways and means by which oranges were used. Below are a few simple early recipes.

ZEST OF CHINA ORANGES. Pare off the outside rind of the oranges very thin, and only strew it with fine powder-sugar as much as their own moisture will take, and dry them in a hot stove.

ORANGE CAKES. Take out the inside, picking out the seeds and skins; boil the rind till tender, changing the water; dry and chop it, put it to the inside; to one pound of this, one pound of sugar; boil it candy high, first well wetted; take it off the fire, stir in the orange, scald it: when almost cold drop it on plates. Dry the cakes in a stove. – Charlotte Mason. 1777.

TO PRESERVE ORANGE-FLOWERS. Pick the flowers, and little oranges and stalks and put them in your glasses, but one in a glass just fit for them, and boil the syrup till it is almost a jelly, then fill up your glasses; when they are cold, paper them up and keep them in a dry place. – Charles Carter. 1761.

ORANGE SHRUB. Take two gallons of soft Jamaica rum, one quart of fresh lime juice, eight pounds of refined loaf sugar, consolidate them together, then add twenty-four sweet oranges, and twenty-six lemons cut up fine; in about two weeks it will be ready for use. This will make very delightful Punch.

ORANGE COMPOTE. Is made without boiling the oranges; they are only to be peeled, cut in slices, the core taken out; add some syrup or sugar in powder, and the juice of an orange. William Jarrin. 1829.

ORANGE AND LEMON WHIPT CREAM. Rub or rasp on a piece of sugar the peel of two fine Seville oranges; scrape off the sugar as it imbibes the essence, mash it very fine, and add it to your cream. Lemon cream is made in the same manner.

Various authors gave recipes for orange marmalade, orange jelly, orange wine, orange brandy, orange shrub, etc. See a previous post regarding the early growth of oranges around New Orleans and Mobile.
Blissful Meals, yall. – THF.

A few more photos


The old barn will get rehabbed to shelter my goats as soon as the inside work is done.


Looking at the flowers on the pomegranates.



I will post after photos when…well, when it’s after – the work is still in progress. I wish I’d taken photos of all the lovely azaleas when they were in bloom. Good, evening, all. – THF


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