Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Historical home in Barr shines

Thanks to the Democrat-Record for publishing this story on a historical home in our area. It just happens to belong to two of our best friends.  Check the beautiful spread in the newspaper for a look at more of the photos of the Crockett house. 

Nestled out in the country on Crockett Road in Eastern Tate County is one of the area’s most interesting historical homes.  Now occupied by Randy and Susan Crockett, the 120 year-old home is a sanctuary for birds, flowers, and friends.

Originally a dogtrot house consisting of two rooms and a porch, the house has had several renovations over the years, but the original log walls are still visible in the main part of the house. The house had been vacant for a period of six years following the death of Annie Dee Crockett who was born (1900) and died (1986) in the log cabin built by her father Samuel B. Crockett.

Miss Annie Dee never married.  She enjoyed a full life there in the little house where she tended flowers and was visited often by friends and relatives.

 According to Randy Crockett, the house had an addition that was in bad repair when he moved in, so he tore that out and remodeled the kitchen area.  “There is nothing straight about this house,” says Susan. “We knew the floors were not even and the windows were crooked. The house sits on logs for the foundation, so it is too low to the ground for anyone to get under.”  They later found out that Samuel Crockett was blind in one eye, which might explain why things are not quite straight.

Susan thinks Samuel Crockett used hand tools to construct the two-room structure.  Eventually the dogtrot was enclosed and a front porch added.  It had two original fireplaces.  The front door to the house today is the one that was placed there when that first renovation occurred.

Also original is one wooden gate post and decorative wire fencing of the period. On either side of the gate stand cedar trees, well over one hundred years old. Some believe these to be the oldest standing cedars in the county.

Cistern signed by Walter B. Crockett
Susan, who is an avid gardener and bird watcher, says she knew she loved Randy when they got married but says, “I would have married him for the dirt.”  She says she is blessed with great soil on the place thanks to Miss Annie Dee’s love of flowers and the vacant state of the yard for six years that let leaves and grass compost and enrich the soil.

Unusual objects are found in the flower beds surrounding the house include an antique plow, chamber pot,
old wash bucket and fountain turned bird bath. “People know I love old rusty things,” says Susan. “They give me things, and if they are not working, I plant them.”

One of those objects is a “planted” cistern that is signed by Randy’s great-granddaddy, Walter Barnard Crockett.  The inscription reads WBC January 31, 1922.  While Walter Crocket did not live in the house, he was a relative of the home’s owners, and put in wells and cisterns for a living.

On days when the temperatures are not near 100, the Crockett’s can sit on their back patio and watch the hummingbirds that come back every year.  “This year we have had about 200,” says Susan.  “If it rains or cools off, I have almost a solid wall of birds.  You always have a few mean birds that want to be the only one to drink from a particular feeder.  I call those birds ‘meanies’.” She estimates that she is making two gallons of nectar a day. 

The Crocketts do light construction, painting and minor renovations. After a hard day at work in the Mississippi heat, who wouldn’t like to sit on the back patio of a 120-year-old house, watching birds and looking at flowers, while horses slowly swat their tails in the nearby pasture.  The Crocketts feel very much at home.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Big Dose of Horse Medicine

I haven't felt great lately.  Today, instead of going to bed after church or reading a book, I decided to do something about it.  The perfect pre-fall weather triggered in me the need for a ritual that has been part of my whole life, except for the past 11 years or so.

Every Sunday in my childhood times, I went with my Daddy to the farm and rode his old mare Penny (whom you have read about before) while he did small tasks, always keeping an eye on me.

"I sure wish we had an arena to ride in," I'd say.  "Go ride in the orchard," was his reply.  "Be happy with what you've got."  I had it all and didn't know it.

We rode down what is now Dandridge Road, across Highway 305, down in the "bottom" land.  Later I graduated to other horses and brought my three children with me.  They rode ponies that balked and ran up banks, just to make them squeal.  The kids finally won, and we ended up with a couple of good ponies.

I was so lucky that when Daddy was unable to take us on a Sunday ride, we had a nearby farm neighbor who led us on great trails.  We rode around cotton fields and over ditches.  Sometimes I'd look back and see the smallest pony, Nugget, chest-deep in ditch water while the other horses were taking it about knee-level.  The kids just stuck their feet out and rode through.

My youngest daughter and I continued the Sunday afternoon riding ritual when we had our last show horse at a local trainer's barn.  As soon as we got home from church, we shed our Sunday clothes and put on jeans and boots and headed over to the barn for a lesson or just some riding.

Until today, I hadn't ridden since we sold that last show horse in 2003.  The Sunday ritual called, and I put on my back brace and went to ride.

Growing up with Quarter-type horses, I wasn't sure about this spotted saddle horse my daughter put me on, but we got along great.  My back was sore, the stirrups rubbed my bone spur in the wrong place—even my saddle squeaked with neglect.  This is the saddle I bought for another daughter and paid it off $25 a month for what seemed like forever.

That saddle is like me.  Still looks OK at a distance, but its parts are a little dry and rusty.  But on this beautiful, slightly cool day, I felt totally rejuvenated.  I may be in some health professional's office this week, but it was so worth it.  Sometimes things get in your blood that just can't be ignored.

Oh, and we had some pretty good conversation on the trail.  My heart is happy.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Here She Is

For the price of a ticket ($1) you might be the lucky person to win this
beautiful row quilt made by members of
Loose Threads Quilters.  Proceeds go to the
Comfort Quilt Project that provides lap quilts for cancer patients
at West Clinic in Southaven.
Quilt hanging at Cotton Treasures in Senatobia.  Tickets available
at Cotton Treasures, Tin Roof Market, both in Senatobia; and at Sit and Rock in Oxford. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wrapped in Comfort

If you have never been a cancer patient, never had a friend or relative who is a cancer patient, never been to a cancer treatment center, you cannot image the reaction of Wings Coordinator Karen Sudduth at West Clinic in Southaven, when Loose Threads delivers their bi-annual shipment of quilts.

Karen cries every time.

Treatment rooms are cold sometimes.  Many patients come without someone to hold their hands unless it by one of the wonderful volunteers at the clinic.  Karen says when she gives a patient one of our quilts, she is rewarded with a huge smile, sometimes a tear.  What makes someone feel more loved than being covered in a hand-made quilt?  
President Virginia Rhynes (left) and Elinor Baker
present Karen Sudduth (center) with
a recent quilt shipment.

I hope they spend their treatment time looking at each fabric in their quilt.  Many will be reminded of quilts long ago made by their grandmothers, quilts found in attics, quilts still on their beds.

Loose Threads quilters in Senatobia have been making Comfort Quilt, little lap size quilts, for the patients at West Clinic for three years now.

While we have had many donations of fabric, our "stash" is running low.  Last spring while on our quilting retreat in Alabama, we saw a row quilt and were inspired.  That's a quilt where each member donates a row.
No rules except in the width of the row.

Members show off some of the quilts in the last shipment

We came home and looked through our stash and decided to make a row quilt to raffle.  Funds will be used to replenish our "stash" of fabric or to buy batting and other supplies to make our quilts.   Many members bring their own fabric from home.

Yellows, grays and reds are the colors of our quilt.  If you can imaging turning these ladies loose to do their own thing, you can imagine that the rows were all different. Yet when we put them together and Chantay Rhone at Cotton Treasurers quilted it……..we have pure magic.

Row quilt in progress.  It could be yours!

Yes, this is a plea to support our Comfort Quilt raffle. You can purchase tickets at Cotton Treasures where you can see and touch the quilt and at Tin Roof Market, both in Senatobia.  We hope to add other merchants to the list soon.

The patients may have received the gift of the quilt, but the real gift is ours.

Chances $1 • 6 for $5 • 24 for $20