February 25, 2013

A Hemingway Thought...

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."
~ Ernest Hemingway

February 18, 2013

What is South of the Gnat Line?

  • It's a Geographic State of Mind ~
  • It's where all my Friends and Neighbors Meet Me at the Fence ~
  • It's Black-eyed Peas on New Year's Day ~
  • It's a Dirt Road Path leading to Wonder ~
  • It's where "sweet" is the only Tea ~
  • It's where all Directions lead South ~
  • It's the Greater Rural Outback of Georgia's own Down Under ~
  • It's where Muggy is a Season ~
  • It's where Nike has "Just Do it", and the South has "Brang it!"
  • It's where Dandelion Wishes come from Butterfly Kisses ~
  • It's Fireworks and Watermelon on the 4th of July ~
  • It's all about the Change of Seasons ~
  • It's Coon Huntin' on a Friday Night ~
  • It's where being Southern is a Southern Tradition ~
  • It's where inside every Southern Gal is a Diva named Scarlett ~
  • It's Real Life in the Real South!


Copyright © 2013

All Rights Reserved.

February 16, 2013

Sounds of the Dirt Road

Saturday morning sounds around the Dirt Road Farm:

Distant neighbors driving cattle;

the call of my lamb;

bleating of the goats leaving the barn;

chickens conducting their morning routines;

softness of a distant train announcing its passage through;

and overhead the silence of the moving gray skies... 

The skies - they narrate the day.

February 14, 2013

First Grade Love: Regurgitated


In 1967, starting “big school” meant entering the first grade.  It was an exciting time for a six year old as entering the first grade represented experiencing many of Life’s firsts:  first book satchel, first pair of saddle oxfords, first fat pencils and lined tablets, reading with Dick & Jane, first lunch boxes (mine was “Twiggy”), and, most especially, experiencing first time puppy love.

I attended Leslie Steele Elementary school in Decatur and I have vivid memories of visiting the school for the very first time.  My mother escorted me down the large hallway that, regardless of how recently the floors had been waxed, had the distinct effervescent scent of new crayons, cupcakes and old vomit.  Upon entering my classroom, my first grade teacher introduced herself. She was at least six months from retiring and her name was Mrs. Gross.  Girl Scouts' ['Thin Mints'] honor – her name was “Mrs. Gross”(Cross my heart…)

I sat in the very first desk of the very middle row of Mrs. Gross’ first grade class.  Right behind me sat the cutest boy in the entire, whole first grade. His name was David and I had the most gushing crush on him.

I was beyond smitten.

He had a golden tan all year long and the Biggest. Brownest. Eyes. He was rather shy and didn't talk very much, but that was okay - his cuteness spoke volumes and I could talk plenty for the both of us!

It was a Monday and I was still giddy from an all-day Saturday shopping spree with my grandmother at downtown Atlanta’s Rich’s Department store.  No amount of Bridge Mix and hot cashews from the candy counter or even lunch on the Bridge could top my excitement over wearing a brand new navy wool jumper ensemble to school that day.

The morning work had passed quickly; it was time for lunch followed by a quick run outside for recess. David had not seemed himself all day despite my best efforts to be my entertaining version of precious and chatty in my fabulous new outfit. After returning to the classroom, Mrs. Gross began the afternoon lesson on the chalkboard.

And that’s when IT happened.

I suddenly felt a warm and somewhat heavy sensation on the back of my head, down my neck and across my shoulders. Then, the aroma hit me.

My cherished first grade love - David - had thrown up his lunch all. over. the back of me.

The highly coveted position of front and center was now the focal point of David’s long withheld and unexpressed love in the form of dripping chunks of Monday’s cafeteria special.  Needless to say, “Chatty” was ready to leave the building.

Mrs. Gross sent us both to the office – David to the first aid clinic…  and Me?  I was sent to an outlying room of isolation UHway from everyone within gag-reflex distance.  Meanwhile, a phone call had been made and my [former Marine] father was on his way to collect me and my condition.

Upon his arrival, his assessment, and the onset of the Eau de` vomit fragrance wafting over him, I was immediately demoted to the rank of my father’s bird dogs and sentenced to ride home in the back of his truck, thus avoiding all retching possibilities.

Apparently, vomit stamina is not a priority of Semper Fi.

That would be the first and last time I would ever wear that outfit to school.  Gushing crushes of love?  Who’s to say how many times a person must suffer from Love Regurgitated before it’s the real thing.

Copyright © 2013
All Rights Reserved.

"First Grade Love: Regurgitated" has been featured on Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop here:

February 11, 2013

From a Son of the Texas South!

"The world's not a very comfortable place if you have a nightmare to face." 
- Tommy Lee Jones

February 8, 2013

BBQ Review: The Butt Hutt BAR-B-Q (Athens, GA)

Butt Hutt BAR-B-Q
480 Macon Hwy.
Athens, Georgia 30605
Open 7 Days a Week!
Offers Lunch & Dinner
Sun – Tues: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Wed – Thur: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Fri & Sat.: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Catering Available!
Other Locations, too!

Named #1 BBQ in the SEC: after our visit - we couldn't agree more!

South of the Gnat Line made a road-trip up to Athens, Georgia to stop in and have lunch at the Butt Hutt Bar-B-Q.  Its location is excellent-in, excellent-out and right on the fringe of the UGA campus on the Macon Hwy.  The intoxicating aroma of hickory smoke hits you in the parking lot even before you get out of your car!  The staff greets you when you enter the restaurant as if you’re arriving at a family gathering – they’re just that friendly!

Fried Pickles with "What-What Sauce"

The Butt Hutt BBQ offers a great lunch menu that will fill you up with great lunch portions and a price that you can easily live with.  We had the Fried Pickles appetizer basket along with our Buttwich basket and Rib basket.  Hands-down, their ribs are excellent!  They provide lots of choices for sides and since living in the Hash belt of the South, I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to have Brunswick Stew!  They make their own Home. Made. Chips.  (to die for!).

The Buttwich Basket with Brunswick Stew!
Chopped Pork smoked to perfection!

Confession:  I could have eaten the fried pickles until the next day….I categorize them as “Appetizer Heaven!”

Then there’s the “What-What Sauce.”


No, you said, “What.” What? No, “What-What.”  I have no idea What is in the “What-What Sauce” but it's What to have for dipping.  With just the right amount of kick, it’s that crazy kind of good.

Butt Hutt's Ribs fall right off the bone!  Can't wait to go back to order more!
Their Home. Made. Chips. are a MUST!
Their full menu features chopped pork, chicken, turkey, ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, salads, sides, desserts, a children’s menu and MORE!!!  Eat-in, Take-out, Tail-gating, Catering....they aim to please!  They also have a full service bar, live music and special events.

Just days before we made our visit, the Butt Hutt had a special “College Football National Signing Day” event with all the coverage and stop-in’s from those signing with UGA.  Alumni players were stopping by all day as well.  You can keep up with all their events and their schedule of live music by “Liking” their Facebook page and checking out their website as well.

Don't miss out on the best BBQ experience in the Athens, Georgia region!  The Butt Hutt is a come on in and stay awhile style BBQ restaurant; you never know just who will be stopping in and chances are, you'll know everyone by the time you leave out for home!

Visit South of the Gnat Line's Facebook page to see more photos from our visit!  If you're not already a fan - be sure to "Like" us and get ready for our next 'road trip'!

February 4, 2013

What She Said

"Anything to do with the South resonates with me, because I'm Southern." - Mary Steenburgen

February 1, 2013

Sweet is the Only Tea

Tea is to the South what coffee is to everyone’s morning routine.  And sweet is the only tea south of the Mason Dixon line.  When out to eat at restaurants, the possibility that I would have to ask for “sweet tea”  Kills. My. Soul.  In rural Georgia, most every restaurant and roadside eatery keep pitchers of sweet tea on every table – at all times.

Know this: if you drop in here at the Dirt Road Farm, you’ll be served sweet tea.

If you require unsweetened iced tea upon your visit, please give me, at least, one week’s notice to think about it.

Here’s the easiest way to make your own Southern Iced Tea using your coffee maker:

  • You’ll need 4 Luzianne Family Size Tea Bags.

  • Fill your coffee pot with 8 cups of cold water.

  • Run your coffee maker with tea bags in your filter basket (just like making coffee).

  • Once the tea is finished brewing, pour the hot tea into a half-gallon pitcher.

  • Add three (3) scoops of sugar.
NOTES on Sugar:  Truth be told, I don’t measure the sugar – I just know “what it looks like” when I scoop it!

  • Stir the hot tea mixture until all of the sugar is completely dissolved.

  • Filling the pitcher, add cold water to dilute; keep refrigerated.

  • How to serve:  Fill glass with ice and pour tea over ice.  A fresh sprig of mint in the hot Summer months makes it exceptionally refreshing.

Copyright © 2013
All Rights Reserved.