Aug. 24, 2015 @ 04:51 PM

Column: Back to school a refuge for some

I’ll be thinking about that minority of students who look forward to school when I see those buses on the road again. Some will escape work at home, some the violence and abuse common to their daily lives, and some the loneliness of neglect.

Aug. 23, 2015 @ 10:11 AM

Fall is not the time to trim your hydrangeas

The Caldwell Extension Center is your local connection to N.C. State University agricultural research and knowledge, and we receive a variety of questions year round. I want to share a few recent questions that have been asked at the Caldwell Extension Center.

Aug. 23, 2015 @ 10:07 AM

Column: Mama and me -- we were together to the end

At 8:42 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, my mama died at Caldwell Hospice. Two days later, we buried her beside her infant son, Jeffrey, whose grave she tended for more than 50 years. The next day, I woke up with nothing to do — no caregiving, no sitting by the bedside, no funeral planning, nothing but to do but learn to live in a world without my mama.

Aug. 18, 2015 @ 04:39 PM

Column: The winding paths to completing college

The pressure is on for returning juniors at four-year schools as fall semester requires a plan of action for beginning of the last four semesters for degree completion. No time is left for taking irrelevant courses or making mistakes in scheduling since necessary credits must be met.

Aug. 18, 2015 @ 04:35 PM

Column: Somehow we've gone off the rails

What happened to us? Something has gone terribly wrong with our thinking. We’ve become a mean, spiteful, hateful, cynical, jaded country, and someone needs to figure out the how and why so maybe we can be fixed. Somehow being mean to each other has become “cool” while gentle people who care and show it are considered weak and gullible.

Aug. 16, 2015 @ 01:54 AM

Column: How could I know they would all live?

Two people have no need of nearly 25 tomato plants, especially when trying to grow them in two small, raised beds and a limited container garden. Yet, I still bought them and planted them and nurtured them, and now it is August, and we are drowning in tomatoes of all sorts.

Aug. 16, 2015 @ 01:53 AM

Drying tomatoes saves their flavor for the future

What does one do with the tomato that is leftover after a single slice has produced the perfect sandwich? Refrigeration is out. Refrigerator temperatures destroy the principle flavor compounds in tomatoes and render their flesh mealy and unpalatable. Putting it in a zipper baggy on the counter is a dicey proposition. Tomatoes aren’t really acidic enough for that to be safe.

Aug. 09, 2015 @ 03:00 AM

Rose disease increasingly common

Knockout roses are one of the most popular plants in area landscapes. Released in 2000, it is known for its profuse blooms and carefree habit. A relatively new disease called rose rosette may be changing that, though.

Aug. 09, 2015 @ 02:59 AM

In defense of the South's green beans

No apologies will be offered for cooking green beans for an hour or longer in this epistle. Really it’s a matter of marketing. Critics say they are overcooked. I prefer to think of them as tender.

Aug. 10, 2015 @ 04:00 PM

'Watchman' contains nugget that became 'Mockingbird'

Rather than deeming the arrival of "Go Set a Watchman" unwelcome, it serves us to examine the book with care, in particular the scene at the courthouse where Jean Louise secretly watches her father at a meeting of the Maycomb County Citizen’s Council.

Aug. 04, 2015 @ 04:16 PM

Column: How I got the ugliest lamp ever made

It’s not my nature to brag. I’ve never been one to toot my own horn, but once in a while I feel led to do so. That leading overwhelmed me this week so, with your permission of course, please allow me to heap praise on myself as one might smother their pancakes with maple syrup.

Aug. 01, 2015 @ 08:31 AM

Column: Not all things that sting can fly

When people think of stinging insects, they think of bees and wasps, not caterpillars. However, there are several species of caterpillars that sting. They usually show up at this time of year and are most often found feeding on the leaves of trees and shrubs.

Aug. 01, 2015 @ 08:27 AM

Don't let that rind go to waste

I’ve had this nagging desire to take my love of watermelon into a new realm of Southern culinary cliché — pickled watermelon rind. The reason is simple. I was raised by a frugal woman who doesn’t like waste.

Jul. 30, 2015 @ 02:41 PM

Davenport College had demanding schedule

Recently the Caldwell Heritage Museum was given a copy of the Davenport College Handbook for Students for the school year 1927-28. I have written about Davenport before, but I don’t recall ever seeing one of their handbooks. I will be sharing information both today and in next week’s column as well.

Jul. 28, 2015 @ 04:25 PM

Column: Summer goes, but not fast enough

“How’s your summer going, Mr. Watts?” a total stranger asked me right out of the blue last week. People I’m not at all familiar with are always talking to me. I’m not certain why. Some even pat me on the back as if we had been friends since birth. I hate that. At any rate, I answered the stranger’s question as politely and honestly as I could.

Jul. 23, 2015 @ 05:07 PM

Column: Evolution of drug store recounted

During my tenure as director of the Caldwell Heritage Museum, I saw references to Marley Drug Store. I didn’t know very much about it until Mike Gibbons shared items with me that are the basis for this article.

Jul. 22, 2015 @ 04:39 PM

Column: Hanging out at the 'Young Ladies Club'

There are other activities going on in the pool beside the swim team. A few members are swimming laps and a group of ladies are usually gathering in the middle of the remaining swim lanes. They huddle up there a few mornings each week. I have found myself watching them work through their water aerobics class sponsored by the center. They circle up near the lifeguard stand halfway down the length of the pool. According to the lifeguards, this is their spot. They have claimed it.

Jul. 16, 2015 @ 03:52 PM

Church calendar for July 17, 2015

Jul. 16, 2015 @ 02:30 PM

Column: Finishing Reconstruction ... maybe?

Sadly, the renewed controversy over the Confederate flag in the last few weeks has brought up an important point. People do not really know their history and are often duped by advertising and the media. There are a large proportion of individuals who could not provide one ounce of historical information regarding Southern history or the Civil War and have simply bought products with the symbol on it because it was “cool” or the flag seemed to make the product somehow more important.

Jul. 13, 2015 @ 06:19 PM

Column: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

When speaking on the spur of the moment, it’s easy to fall into that humiliating place. I can have mercy on the ridiculed ones since I remember my own blunder around 10 years of age when I ventured into a conversation with a little bit of knowledge.

Jul. 12, 2015 @ 08:53 AM

Summer brings the best tomatoes

The summertime tomato really is the only one worth eating. Those cardboard cutouts that parade through the grocery stores all winter long aren’t worth bothering with.

Jul. 12, 2015 @ 08:51 AM

Tomato flavor comes from the 'shoulders'

Scientists have been studying tomatoes for decades. Fairly recently, they discovered something interesting about the flavor of tomatoes.

Jul. 09, 2015 @ 08:23 AM

Books tell story of Spanish in Catawba Valley

A Morganton man has self-published two books that describe the earliest colonial history of America when Spain attempted to add North America to its empire.

Jul. 06, 2015 @ 08:43 AM

Column: A letter to poet Linda Ellis

As you search the Internet for mention of your poem, “The Dash,” perhaps you will find this letter. I do hope so. After your recent lawsuit against the Caldwell County Schools for copyright infringement, you might want feedback about how people now perceive you, and you might find some things to contemplate in light of the message of your popular poem.

Jul. 05, 2015 @ 06:59 AM

Column: Bugs in garden may be good or bad

All bugs serve an essential function in the ecosystem, even if it is difficult to sometimes see their immediate benefit. Some bugs decompose plants, giving us compost. Most are a food source for something higher up on the food chain.