Wednesday, March 30, 2011


  Last Friday, my wife, Mom, and Dad took a trip back in time by traveling to Lumpkin, Ga. to the 1850 village of Westville. Since 1970 Westville has been a living museum of a lost way of Southern life and the day to day skills it took just to survive.
  I first visited back in the 70's on a school field trip. I took both of my sons when they were about the same age. Today we walked its dirt roads and stepped into the log cabins. Smelled fresh cat-head bisquits cooking on an open hearth fire, and ate delicious apple-egg casserole. We talked to the re-enactors and asked questions about life 161 years ago.
  Today they are having a craft day to let visitors come (mainly school kids) and learn old time skills. The blacksmiths demonstrated heating up,beating, and bending basic bar stock into everyday utensils. The kids learned to weave oak strips into baskets, how to make your own soap, and your own candles. The soap and candles were the skills I was most interested in today, as I plan on making my own at home.
  "Big Momma" and my Mom enjoyed the farm house open hearth cooking the best. They said it was like watching a live 1850 version of the Food Channel. We visited all 30 of the buildings, and waved at the children as they rode the wagon that was pulled by a pair of mules through town. My Dad and I talked of old time farming, he grew up living a very similar life. He knows oh too well what its like walking behind a pair of those mules in the hot southern sun. He grew up being the son of a share cropper. He would get off the school bus, change clothes, and hit the fields everyday to help his Dad bring home a crop to live on.
  He says this visit to Westville is nice, but its different when you had to live it. I know I can't go back and live like my Dad did, but most of my life I've tried to. I was born at least 100 years too late. I love farming for the table and raising my animals. There's nothing like gathering your own eggs and taking them to the table, or picking the peas you planted a few months before. I may never get the big acreage I dream of, or the chance to only farm, fish, and hunt for a living.....but I'll die trying!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


  RIB IT, RIB IT!!! Early this morning it was a froggy(foggy) start to the day. Not real bad where you can't see, but a kind of a low spooky fog like the ghosts are out and hovering through the hills and hollows. It was low to the ground so it burnt off quickly as the sun climbed up in the sky.
  I stopped by the U.S.D.A. Dept. to see if they had any info on dairy/meat goat programs and the possibility of any grants. They said they were unaware of any such critters. Oh well, it's not the first time I've been told no, and it won't be the last. I'll just have to figure out something on my own.
  I want to get some more goats and try to make some money with milk, butter, cheese, and the occaisional meat purchase. I figure with the growing number of immigrants the demand would be there. I also want to sell  some eggs as my chickens fire up production. We normally have more than my family can use. So why not?
  My lovely wife, a.k.a. "Big Momma", told me she was ready to plant our herb garden and for me to have everything ready when she got home. I went to the compost bin and dug up 4 - 5 gallon buckets full of potting soil. Iwent down to the barn and got the seeds, hand trowels, clay pots, and styrofoam cups. An old coke tray will be used to hold the cups.
  When she got home and changed clothes, she filled 5 or 6 pots with cilantro and I set out 6 cups of beefsteak tomatoes and 6 or 7 cups of Doe Hill peppers. While we were working, the wind got up pretty good and it started "snowing" . The wind blew hard enough to tear the white blooms of my Bradford pear trees off. Even though it's March in Alabama it looked like a snowstorm. I wish it was Fall. As it is, my pickup is half pollen yellow & half snow white from the blooms.
  Welcome to Springtime in Dixie!!

Jim Cobb


  We are down one vehicle today. I think the fuel pump on our little pickup truck is going out, so I'll have double duty today. I've got to carry one to school and one to work.
  I ran some errands and swung by Mom and Dad's. Mom had some presents for me. My Grandmother's butter churn, a metal water dipper, and an old Peach snuff can. The churn I know is over 100 years old. It's great to have some of my families heirlooms. My Grandma had 8 children so I never had much that was hers.
  Now when I see or use the old churn it will help me remember Grandma. We use to go fishing when I was a little boy. She loved going catfishing. She loved her family, and she loved her snuff. She made the best chicken and dumplins you ever tasted!!  If you didn't think so, just ask her she'd tell you so!!!
  I miss Ma.

   Jim Cobb

Monday, March 21, 2011


  One child had to work, one stayed home. "Big Momma" wanted to go to the hunting club to see what the property looked like. The foresters are select cutting our 2,500 acre land lease. So away we go! We spent the day checking in on the boys, riding over the property, and visiting with my cousin "Hawkeye".
  We took our Boston Terrier "Mr. Jingles" with us so he could enjoy running around camp. Late Saturday evening, we grilled hamburgers, pork chops, and corn on the cobb wrapped in foil with onions and peppers. "Big Momma" fixed Spainish rice with buttered garlic bread for supper.
  It was a late night, but worth the trip. I miss the woods after hunting season is over. It was nice to be back. The moon was supposed to be the largest full moon it has been in 18 years. But somehow it paled in its beauty next to "Big Momma" standing next to the grill.

P.S.- Please bare with me a lot of photos are coming as soon as this ole boy can learn from his Sons how to post them.
        Jim Cobb Coleman

Friday, March 18, 2011


  As a graduate of St. Patrick's School in Bullfrog Bottom, Alabama I enjoy St. Pat's Day. I try to listen to some Irish tunes, wear the mandatory green color of the day, and finish up by watching, in my opinion, the best "Leprechaun" movie ever made, the Quiet Man with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.
  I stopped off at Hubbard's Grocery Store and picked up some yeast and a bread pan. This weekend "Big Momma" and I are going to try our hand at making some homemade bread. While I was there I got a call from my cousin and best friend "Hawkeye". He was going to our hunting club for the weekend and needed some wood pallets for firewood. We use them to start our campfires.
  "Hawkeye" is 5 years younger than me. I remember the day they brought him home from being born. We have played, camped, hunted, fished, married, divorced, drank, fought, cussed, and cried together. He's the only man, other than my Father, I trust.
  Looking in the mirror tonight, I see my Daddy coming on in my face. I know one day he'll be gone as so many of our family members are. It's comforting to know that I'll still have someone to help me remember one day. Hopefully we'll have more tales to tell then too.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


  This morning "Big Momma" had a Dr's appointment,so I got to play chauffeur. Nothings wrong, its just a regular checkup. After the appointment, we grabbed some lunch and I took her to work. Since I brought her to work I'd have to pick her up and take her home this evening. Since I had some time to kill in between I went by and checked in on my Mom and Dad . They were fussing a little with each other so I knew they were doing fine.
  My next stop was at the County Extension Office. I am a Master Gardener through them and I needed some info. I own some goats and I've been wanting to improve and expand my herd. I would like to get into dairy/meat goats instead of the brush cutters I have.
  After saying HOWDY with old friends, I got what I came for. A copy of the Alabama Meat Goat & Sheep Producers Small Ruminant Pocket Guide, and some important phone numbers for other offices and people who might could point me in the right direction.
  Since I'm a poor country farmer I might be eligible for a grant that could help me start my goat operation. They have such programs in other counties, why not mine? It's worth looking into , besides the worst that could happen is they tell me no. I haven't had much luck finding a job lately, maybe I could wind up working for myself on the farm. That would be heaven! Finally a job I could love.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


   A small, hard storm system blew through this morning. We had a soft steady rain, and then 5 or 10 minutes of frog strangling rain and hard wind. This went on from 5:30 am until around 11 o'clock. Then, as fast as it came it was over.
  My youngest son "Pumpkin Head" is off this week for spring break. He is a junior at Bullfrog Bottom High School. "Pumpkin Head" is 16 years old, 6 foot 2 inches tall, and around 240 lbs. I call him this because of his thick curly red hair. Any way, we rode in to town today to get our ears lowered. Both of us are about as shaggy as a sheepdog.
  We swung by Hubbards Grocery Store to pick up some coffee beans. Tonight I will get to try out my NEW 39 year old coffee grinder. I picked it up at a second hand store for $9.00. I know its 39 because it was given as a goodbye gift in 1972 in Danville, Il.. This info along with the givers and recievers names are burned into the bottom and sides of the grinder. Is that cool or what? Its old, but solid. No nails, joints. It's solid enough to go another 39 years.
  This afternoon I grabbed my chainsaw and cut down a portion of brush and limbs from behind the house. About the time I was getting tired of cutting, "Big Momma" (my sweet little wife-all 5foot 100lbs of her) came home. Now it's chick time! This past weekend we picked up 6 Rhode Island Red and 6 Black Sex Link chicks to replace my old ones that had laid out.
  Out in the yard they can scratch, and peck, and flap their wings, and chase each other around. My baby and I relax a while sitting on the front porch watching the little babies play and the sun go down.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Howdy folks! Welcome to BULLFROGBOTTOM, my version Heaven here on Earth. We move slow here,we've actually been passed by turtles a few times. Here, we try to live like our ancestors did in L.A.(lower Alabama). I grew up living a normal Southern-country lifestyle, but today that's just about all gone.
            It's still there, you just have to look real hard to find it. We'll plant our gardens and try to keep the deer and rabbits off of it,raise our chickens, hogs, and goats for the table. Gather firewood , build hothouses, henhouses, woodsheds, and barns. We'll visit craft shows, Native American Pow Wows, Mountain Man Rendevous, nurseries, and hunting camps.
           I'll try to pass on tasty down home country recipes,gardening tips, funny stories of real life, and an occasional spooky Southern legend. I'll take you fishing, frog giggin, and I might show you some ugly old gators. We can chase wild hawgs and other game and take it from the woods to the table.
           Come evening time we can start a campfire,pull the cork out of the jug, and search for all the answers between the cup and the embers. Pull up a stump and come join me. If the Good Lord's willing and the creek don't rise I'll see ya'll here tomorrow.
                                          Jim Cobb Coleman