My Arkansas, Then And Now

My Arkansas, Then And Now

Friday, February 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Johnny Cash

I grew up listening to Johnny Cash and still play his music to this day. One of the very first records I remember ever seeing was a big 78 rpm vinyl record of Johnny’s rendition of “Rock Island Line.”

Born February 26, 1932 into an Arkansas sharecropper family, the songs he churned out over his 40 year career have meaning and tell stories; some sad, tragic, historic and some even completely humorous. He was an icon from Arkansas and I don’t believe there will ever be another like him in the music industry. He was a unique, one of a kind performer. I saw him live in concert once with the Carter Family and the Statler Brothers. It was a great performance.

Happy Birthday, Johnny.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cherry Nut Bread

...beat the winter blues with good food

I’m staying inside longer these days because of the cold weather and when I’m in, I like to eat. I especially enjoy good sweet bread with my hot tea or coffee in the winter. I baked a cherry nut bread last night and it’s delicious. I am enjoying it with a hot cup of tea as I write this. Here’s the recipe if you’d care to try it.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
¼ cup of cooking oil
¾ cup of chopped pecans or walnuts if you prefer
1 cup of dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease the bottom and ½ inch up the sides of an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl combine the egg, milk and oil. Stir slightly to blend. Add this mixture to the dry ingredient bowl mixture in the large bowl. Stir until moistened then fold in the nuts and cherries. Stir until mixed. Pour into the greased loaf pan.

Bake for 50 – 55 minutes (depending on your oven).

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove from pan and place on wire rack or other appropriate surface until completely cool.

Slice and enjoy.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Looking Forward To Spring

All the cold weather this Winter with its frigid temperatures, snow, sleet, ice and bone-chilling wind has me looking forward more than ever to the warmer season of Spring and gardening season. My sister Janet is already wistfully looking through her Burpee seed catalogue from W. Atlee Burpee & Company.

She reminded me that she spent much of last year driving through the countryside where she lives, gathering seeds and saving seeds from the native plants. I’m hoping her work pays off and she gets some good seedling starts for her efforts. Saving seeds—whether from your own garden or from native plants—is a time-honored tradition.

The International Seed Saving Institute has some great information and resources concerning seed-saving. If you are interested in such an activity, or interested in purchasing heirloom seeds, you might want to check them out.

If you like tomatoes and want to save the seed from your own garden, you may enjoy the information at on how to save your tomato seeds for next year’s planting.

Burpee Seed Catalogue:

International Seed Saving Institute:


Saturday, February 6, 2010

On This Date In Arkansas History

…Willie Kavanaugh Hocker died

Who was Willie Hocker? She was the designer of the Arkansas state flag, one of only two women in the United States credited with state flag designs. Willie Hocker was born on July 21, 1862 in Kentucky, the youngest child of William K. and Virginia Brown Hocker, who moved their family to Arkansas in 1870, settling in Dudley Lake Township near Wabbaseka, Arkansas.

Hocker’s design was “a rectangular field of red, on which is placed a large white diamond, bordered by a wide band of blue—national colors. Across the diamond is the word ‘Arkansas’”—placed there by request of the committee—“and the blue stars, one above, two below the word. On the blue band are placed twenty-five white stars.” The diamond signifies that Arkansas is the only state where diamonds are mined. The twenty-five white stars represent Arkansas’s place as the twenty-fifth state admitted to the Union. The three blue stars represent the three nations, France, Spain, and the United States, whose flags had flown over the state. The Arkansas General Assembly adopted this design as the official state flag in February 1913. The flag remained unchanged until 1923, when the legislature added a fourth star to the diamond to represent the Confederacy. At first, there were two stars above the name and two below, but legislation in 1924 positioned a Confederate star above the state’s name and the original three below it.

Hocker received honors and acclaim for the rest of her life for her design of the Arkansas state flag. In 1929, she represented Arkansas at the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs’ Pageant of Famous Women of the United States.

Willie Hocker died at her home in Wabbaseka on February 6th, 1944.

Reference: Encyclopedia of Arkansas