Life in Old South Central Alabama

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South of Birmingham, Alabama, United States
I am an antique trader in central Alabama....I love old houses... My log home was built in 1817 by my ancestors Benjamin and Hannah Harless Wilson .............. Outside the house are herb gardens and lots of pass-along plants................ No one in Alabama is in a hurry about anything......... Visitors think that the garden needs weeding and the furniture needs polishing....I am a direct descendant of Joseph Towne, whose two sisters Rebecca Towne Nurse and Mary Towne Easty were hanged in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692 as witches. I am also a direct descendant of Pocahontas and husband John Rolfe.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cotton is in ... Gourds are out

I finally finished picking the last of the cotton from the side field. It is not hard to do, but it does take a lot of time.

 I used one of the old cotton baskets but not for show or nostalgia but because it is what works best. 

You can drag it along the row since it is so light weight.

 It is also very easy to ring with the cotton as you pull it from the plant.

Now I will quilt my Aunt Elizabeth's quilt top that she gave me. I use the cotton as batting with the seeds in it. 

I have quilts over 100 years old and the seeds are there. It was not necessary to have cotton ginned ( seeds removed ) in rural Alabama! 

The first cotton gins ( short for engine ) were little hand-cranked machines no bigger than a corn sheller.

 If I could find one I'd buy it and use it. I got out my quilting frame ( still working after 150 plus years) and will get the process started.

 I need Tasha Tudor to help me set this up.

The gourd crop is out of the field finally. I put them on this old iron bed that we call the Bachelor Bed because it belonged to my great grandfather's brother William who never married ( just like me! ). 

Neither did two of his sisters. Their mother died in 1891 and their father ( a cavalry soldier during the Civil War) sort of kept them at home. 

My great grandfather managed to get away and get married.

Gourds are not easy to clean when there are 100 to deal with, so I give them away as is and let someone else use the Brillo pad on them.

 I know this doesn't look like much of a crop but I've already given away a lot of them. 

I think I made about 150 this year. About a fourth of them rot and there is nothing that can be done to prevent this. 

Any of you want to plant some this year, let me know ( ) and I'll mail you a handful of seeds for free! 

Each gourd has about 100 plus seeds so it only takes cracking one open to provide plenty for all.

I found some egg gourds pictured on a blog and will go to Ebay tonight to locate some seeds. 

I really want to plant some drinking gourds this year but that means putting up some sort of fence line for them to climb up so the handles will grow straight.

 A simple line of wire will work. My problem is that the top soil in the garden is three feet deep so the vines grow twenty feet or more.

75 and Sunny in Alabama

It's a beautiful day here. I chose three quilts to air out.

On the right is a quilt my grandmother and two great grandmothers made in the 1920s. In the middle is a fan quilt featuring my favorite color, yellow. I bought it at an estate sale.

On the end is a pinwheel made by a lifelong friend of my mother who used chairs for quilting frames and could whip out a quilt in less than a week.

This is the front view of the house I live in. It was built in 1817 when my Wilson-Harless ancestors moved from Madison to Shelby County, Alabama.

The house looks smaller than it is. The front log room is 20x30 ft. with a 9 1/2 ft. ceiling of 4x8 beams.