Thursday, December 31, 2015

How To Make Cold Process Soap

When ever I don the bonnet and hover over the washpot (in public), inevitably these questions will rise:

Do you make soap? Yes

Next question:


Here you go...

Will you do my laundry? Sure

How much? $100 per hour

Last question:


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

James L. "Jim" Gross, The Man Who Taught Me How To Fly...And To Land


We broke a shovel putting this great man into the ground.  He learned to fly when he was a young man and when he retired as a grey haired man he taught us how to land.  He left the sky to begin a career and a family and when both were grown he left the ground and returned to it, and took us with him.

  I remember doing "touch and gos" over Jim's watchful eye as he sat on the runway entrance as "Runway" the cat sat in his. He knew that the smooth morning air would be hospitable.

  As we stood with Jim's family on that cold December day to celebrate, friends were asked to share their "Jim" stories.

  Here's mine

November 23, 2005

Dear Friends,

Today is an anniversary for me and I would like to share my story.
I was doing my first short cross country solo on this day a few years ago (which took me the same amount of time the long one is supposed to take) out of Hartselle. When I got back to two open arms. My friend worrying about me and waiting for me.

I buried my Dad on his birthday this past April. When I think of him, in my minds eye I see him waiting for me in a beautiful country where he is at peace and can breathe freely. I buried my beloved Uncle 4 months later, as I had the honor of giving him his last sip of water on this earth he said, I'm tired, and in my minds eye he is resting 'neath the shade of the trees in that beautiful country. They are waiting for me to complete my cycle of life so I can be there with them.

All we can hope to leave on this earth is a legacy. I am a part of the legacy of Jim Gross as surely as I am a part of the legacy of my Dad and Uncle. As long as I live I will speak their name until I to shall arrive, cold & scared, and be welcomed home with open arms by The One Who loves me the most, Jesus. Until that time I had only gotten glimpses of Him in the lives that have touched mine.

Jim Gross was one of those lives.

I weep with you my friends,
Cheryl Patton

Friday, December 11, 2015

Did The Prodigal Son's Father Wave Goodbye?

  You know the wave is a funny thing. We wave goodbye, we wave hello. So what are we, as parents, spiritual or otherwise, supposed to do when a child goes away?

  Luke Chapter 15

"...But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness (for him);" v. 20. 

  The father had kept a watch and "a fattened calf" v. 23 ready for celebration. He had been waiting for the son to "come to himself" v. 17 and come home. When the father saw him, "he ran". v. 20 and if I were him I would probably be waving as I ran too.

  So why did the Prodigal Son's father let the son go? v. 12 Because he was his son, not his bond servant. If he was his bond servant he could have commanded that he stay.

  It doesn't take very long to spend "...all that he had" and "fall behind and be in want" and "get up and go to my father". v. 18

  So get that "best robe", "ring" and "sandals" v. 22 ready. He or she may be coming home...

  I'm saving my wave for that day.

Monday, August 31, 2015

What I Know About Goat Keeping...Thus Far

L-R: Tessie, Nub and Lilly
In 20+ years of goat keeping I have learned a few things and forgot most of them.
This is what I remember thus far:

Disclaimer: This is for information purposes only and is how I treat my goats and is not intended to treat or diagnose your goats where you live. Consult a local Veterinarian.


1.) Provide fresh clean water and add a little apple cider vinegar if possible. (1 cup per 30 gallons of water) A floating tank deicer is well worth the money in the winter time.

2.) Provide shelter so the goats can get out of the rain that is well drained and protected from the prevailing wind in winter time. Something with a wooden floor that can keep them off the wet ground is a big plus. Hay that is allowed to accumulate on the ground where spend their time is a big minus. 

3.) Keep a loose mineral/salt blend available free choice. The following works pretty well... Thus far.


1 pint food grade Diatomaceous Earth or Bentonite Clay
2 pints fine or extra fine Pink Himalayan salt or plain salt.

Optional Add:
About 3 ounces garlic powder (in hot weather)
About 3 ounces vitamin C powder (year round)

Keep this available at all times in something they can keep their feet out of, like an automatic dog feeder. This works well for all the other livestock that the goats may be pastured with.

4.) Allow goats to forage or graze freely.  Any changes to a goat's diet should be made gradually. Provide high quality horse hay (2-5 pounds per day per goat) in the Wintertime along with 1 pint per goat whole corn per day, if it's non- GMO, or 2 pint corn (non- GMO), Multi species non- GMO pellets, alfalfa/oat pellets or alfalfa/timothy pellets per day twice daily, divided. A trough that they can keep their feet out of works well for this. They don't need to stand in a wet area while they eat or sleep.

Note: It takes more energy for them to stay warm in the winter time (they need more feed) when the weather is cold and wet than clear and dry.

Pasture: If the soil pH is right the goats will provide the fertilizer. Here in North Alabama (above I-20) if there is excessive broomsage grass growing in the pasture, applying 2 ton per acre of lime is a good rule of thumb without a soil test. Local Farmers co-op's are a good place to start to find a lime spreader or to have it done for you. Ideally, Fall is the best time of year to have it spread so that the lime will work its way into the soil in time for Spring BUT anytime that the lime can be spread so that it can reach the soil (late winter/early spring when the grass is short) on a non windy day right before a gentle rain would be great.

Knowledge is power, and knowledge about where any bought hay comes is a plus. If any odd sort of plants spring up like a little low growing yellow waxy leaved plant (genetically modified rapeseed, I've been told) or a wicked, sawbladed leaf plant shows up in the pasture or yard or by the side of the road with a pretty purple flower at the top (thistle I've been told) removing it toot-sweet will be highly worth the effort.

5.) Check goats daily. If one seems a little "off" check it out. Keep Goat Nutri-Drench, Ivermectin, liquid anti-diarrhea medicine, red-cell, citric acid, injectable Vitamin B12, Collidal Silver and mineral oil on hand. Goats should have a healthy pink color to their inner eyelids when you pull down on them. I like to give all the livestock a dose of ivermectin in early Spring, during Full moon phase, to prevent
any potential lice/skin issues.

6.) Clear kids nose when they are born and dip navels in iodine solution. Give mom a tetanus toxid vaccination within 24 hours after she gives birth. Keep does and kids in together for at least 3 days. Keep them in a confined pasture for at least 30 days until the kids can keep up with mom. Do breeding when does will give birth in early spring. Disbud kids at about 1 month of age. I like to have it done when the signs are in the feet. 

7.) Have castration done at 6 months of age in males. Signs in the feet. Give males a jelly sandwich with about a teaspoon of vitamin c powder 3 days in a row occasionally.

8.) Avoid giving goats products labeled for deer.

9.) "Where there's breath there's hope." for a goat that is sick. (The Vitamin B12 injections work well for this at the onset if they look like they may not be well.  If 1000 type give 3 cc 1 time then again on the third day or if 5,000 type give 1cc then again on the third day,  IM, for large adult goats like the Nubians. This also helps to build their blood if they are anemic. If they get down and can no longer eat or drink on their own don't make them suffer to long but always look for a Miracle.

10.) Keep a guard animal that is compatible in stable fencing with the goats. Field fencing, the type with the squares, and an inner strand of electric fence wire that is run about 12"-18" off the ground on the inside (where the goats are) can help to keep them from climbing on it (the field fence). Goats are easily entertained by a pile of old
cement blocks or anything they can jump around on. The cement blocks, re- crete (concrete), bricks or rock pile can also keep their hoofs in shape.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

2009 Alabama Auto Racing Pioneers Hall of Fame Inductee William Frank "Bill" Patton

This is what I wrote about my Dad for his posthumous induction into the Alabama Auto Racing Pioneers 2009 Hall of Fame. We all raised our glasses of sweet ice tea in a toast to the old Dixie Speedway.

William Frank "Bill"   Patton

An Ensley boy, would drag race motorcycles locally on Sunday afternoons in the early 1950's.

Would win every other weekend as he and 1 other particular motorcyclist would out perform the other on alternating Sunday afternoons after a week of preparing their bikes for the next match.

After motorcycle racing, he moved on to drag racers about 1953 which he built himself.

Bill had 8 different trophies in his drag strip activities including the first professional drag race trophy ever presented in the Birmingham area.

He had tired of the dragstrip after filling his wife Shelby's piano top with trophys and built his first stock car racer in 1958 at their residence on Brooklane Drive in Hueytown, Alabama.

After complaints from the zoning board about all the car parts in the yard, the "Wildcat 445" Red & White racer was born. It had parts from every Buick engine since 1953 and had parts from many other cars in the body.

He raced it for the first time at the opening of the Dixie Speedway in Mid-March of 1959.

Bill made $75 per week working at TCI Fairfield works and he made more money in towing allowance on weekends starting with Dixie Speedway on Friday night, Montgomery Speedway on Saturday night and BIR on Sundays.

He wrecked at BIR in 1961 before his daughter Cheryl was born and after her birth the family moved from Hueytown to Woodstock, Alabama where the Buick Wildcat was reborn in Silver color. He worked nights at TCI and would come home, sleep, and then work on the racer after he woke up.

The "Wildcat 445" was reborn in Silver color and ran "like a scalded dog", taking him to Rookie of the Year.

He was a great motivator and was often teased about his welding ability.

He stopped racing in 1963 after the birth of his son Richard because Shelby could no longer travel with him to the races and he said "it wasn't fun anymore".

Before ending his stock car career he was offered a sponsorship by a prominent Birmingham area Buick car dealership.

Note: A motorcycle racer friend, Cecil Golden, won 3rd place in The Nationals with a motor built by my Dad.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Society Of Persevering Princesses

Mama and "Butch"
  When I think about the Society of Persevering Princesses I think of a woman. She had 2 small children, a girl and a boy. The girl just started 1st grade and the boy was 2 years younger.  The boy was born the year that Kennedy was shot.

  The Woman had started a new life by going back where she came from.  She was going to take over the family business from her Dad who raised chickens commercially when 20,000 chickens were served their daily meals from the lip of a wheel barrow that had 2 strong arms gripping the handles.

  These strong arms that snuggled her children and made the family their living were extended to the take care of the least of these.

  Unknown to the the woman, who was taking care of the most immediate needs of her family flock, the family's pet had a litter of puppies.

  The nature of a whelping dog is to hide her puppies away and this expecting dog had hidden away to have her little brood.  Unfortunately the dog had hidden herself away from the attentive eye of the woman and was discovered later with her tiny little brood -some half eaten with maggots -and they were still alive.

  The woman reached down and took the tiny little pathetic creatures and made the only choice that love could make. She held the pups wretched little bodies in her hand and then there by the farm carrion pit where the tears and sweat mixed together she sent the little pups back to The Source Of All Life -and she had to do it with her strong hands.

  Well that's what you call a Persevering Princess; and the woman's name?  Well, I call her Mama.