Archive for January, 2015

Homemade Doughnuts

Gladys Harman’s doughnut recipe.


My mother got this recipe from Gladys years and years ago and our family loved it so much that when I got married, this recipe came with me.  It is a little different as it takes the spice, Mace, which we love.  You can leave it out and you will have regular doughnuts.   This recipe will yield 12 dozen doughnuts and holes. You have to fry the holes-that is the best part!

The best time and our family tradition is to make doughnuts when it snows.  There is something about the lower air pressure, high humidity and a warm cozy house that make it prefect for soft, yummy doughnuts. And what else can you do on a snowy day that is more fun!

Mix together:

  • 6 pkgs or 6 T. dry yeast
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1 T. sugar-taken from the cup of sugar used later in the next step of the recipe

Let set about 5 mins until it starts to get bubbly.


  • 1-1/2 cup melted margarine (3 sticks)
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 6 tsp. mace (mace is a spice-similar to nutmeg but different)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 14 cups bread flour-add gradually until it forms a soft dough. (I first beat with beaters and then finish kneading by hand)

Cover dough with coating of vegetable oil and a cloth. Let rise until double in size-approximately 1 hour. Pouch down. Roll dough on counter sprinkled with flour to about 3/4 inch thick.  Cut out doughnuts and lay on cloth sprinkled with flour.

Jill rolling out doughnuts

Jill (our daughter) carrying on the family tradition, along with Obe and their friends John and Brenda Hedrick.  It snowed this week and she called me with questions about doughnuts!  I used some of her pictures but she forgot to sprinkle the cloth with flour to help keep the doughnuts from sticking.

Laying doughnuts on table

Let rise until double and deep-fat fry until golden on each side.


Immediately lay on paper towels to absorb extra fat a few minutes and dip into glaze. Lay on wire racks  or put on a rod to drain off extra glaze.




You will need to make this glaze about 3 times for this recipe.

Mix together and let set 5 mins.

  • 1/c cup cold water
  • 1 pkg unflavored gelation

Put in top of double-boiler pan (a pan set over boiling water)

  • Add a shake or two of salt and 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • Add 1 box or 1 lb. XXX sugar and beat just until mixed.

Dip warm doughnuts.

Homemade doughnuts get stale fast. Even if I want to serve them the next day I will freeze them.

My blog about Glady:  “I’ll Meet You in the Morning”.

I’ll Meet You In the Morning

A funeral or memorial service for a loved one is filled with many emotions and can be so hard but it is also so good.  It makes you pause and ponder life. You grieve the passing of life and mourn the deep sense of loss but it is also a time to reflect on the specialness of the person who has died.  I usually leave the service with a renewed sense of purpose and hope. Hope that believes God is who He says He is.  Hope in the reality of eternity in heaven for those who put their trust in Jesus Christ.  Hope that my life here on earth has purpose and meaning.  And a profound realization of the impact my life has on my circle of friends.

Merlin and Gladys

Recently we laid to rest a dear saint, Gladys Harman.  If you ever met Merlin and Gladys, you loved them.  You loved them because they loved you. Let me tell you a little bit about these kind-hearted, gentle farmers.

Harman Family

(Merlin and Gladys with their offspring; three children (Keith, Cynthia & Susie, their spouses and grandchildren)


Their farm, aptly named Mountain Breeze, is nestled at the foot of Little North Mountain.

Mountain Breeze Farm

If you followed the winding, curving road from their farm for several miles along the foothills there is a little church called  Zion Hill. This is where I first met Merlin and Gladys when I was just a young tyke about 4 years old. Our families were friends and we worshipped together every Sunday. They loved the earth;  Merlin was a dairy farmer and Gladys had a huge garden and well-kept flower beds that completely surrounded the old farm house with a huge porch and the white fence surrounding the yard. She was a good cook and knew how to butcher and can vegetables and fruits. And Gladys could make awesome homemade doughnuts, Sunshine Chiffon cake and potato chips. Occasionally our family would join them in their old wash house in the back yard where we fried lard cans full of golden, crispy chips in a big cast iron pot.  She used lard which came from butchering hogs.

One of my favorite stories about Gladys (I was too young to remember it happening) was when their oldest son was a tiny baby.  One Sunday evening they put the baby to bed and went to church.  Once there, people started asking where the baby was. Gladys matter-of-factly stated that he was asleep at home in bed.  It was his bedtime so she just put him to bed. The reaction of people made her start to worry and by the time the service was over she was anxious to hurry home. Needless to say, she never did it again!

Sometime after Gene moved to Powhatan from Newport News, he started going to Harrisonburg on his weekends off. He knew John Carl and Jewel Shenk and started hanging out at their place.  John Carl was from Newport News (Gene’s home area) and Jewel was Merlin’s sister. They lived in the tenant house on Mountain Breeze Farm.  (John Carl and Jewel were actually responsible for getting Gene and I together).  Gene would usually spend time at the farm, hanging out with Merlin while he fed cows and milked.  They developed a long-lasting friendship and as time went on, Merlin and Gladys became his home away from home.

When Gene asked me for our first date he had a brand-new, sporty, 1970 Ford Torino car.  It was a dark emerald green with a hood scoop.  Merlin’s young son, Keith, was given the job of washing the car. Keith sprayed water into the hood scoop and the car refused to start. Gene ended up driving Merlin’s blue Buick sedan, arriving at my house an hour late!  Their son, Keith, became the name sake of our first son.

One time Merlin and Gladys came to see us and help make chips.  Merlin spied my cast iron bell that I wanted to put on my deck but I did not have the mounting hanger. He stirred around in Gene’s scrap metal pile and found a discarded pair of “hip hooks”. This is a contraption that you put over the hip bones of a cow that goes down and needs help getting up. You can fasten the front-end loader of the tractor to the hooks and lift the cow to her feet.  Merlin went into the shop and it wasn’t look until he emerged with a perfect bracket for my bell.


An now, 42 years later, we celebrate her life. We remember…. and in our grief we rejoice in her glorious homegoing.  I love one of the songs sung at her memorial service; “I’ll Meet You in the Morning”.  Oh the blessed hope of seeing our loved ones again.  But until then, she is enjoying true bliss in the presence of Jesus, whom she dearly loved.

“I’ll Meet You in the Morning”

I’ll meet you in the morning by the bright riverside
When all sorrow has drifted away
I’ll be standing at the portals when the gates open wide
At the close of life’s long dreary day.
I’ll meet you in the morning with a how do you do
And we’ll sit down by the river and with rapture old aquaintance renew
You’ll know me in the morning by the smile that I wear
When I meet you in the morning in the city that’s built four square.
I will meet you in the morning at the end of the way
On the streets of that city of gold
Where we all can be together and be happy always
While the years and the ages shall roll.
I’ll meet you in the morning with a how do you do
And we’ll sit down by the river and with rapture old aquaintance renew
You’ll know me in the morning by the smile that I wear
When I meet you in the morning in the city that’s built four square.


Glady’s Doughnut recipe.



Rainy Day Cleanup


Today was one of those days: throw away, burn, salvage and cleanup.  This is not a house or yard cleanup, this is farm cleanup!!!  Only a farmer can truly appreciate how much stuff collects on a farm. Keith came with his excavator and dump truck so you know this is serious business! The men are all in a jovial mood with smiles on their faces, laughing and cutting up.  Gene is on the forklift gathering up the stuff (old metal shelves,  disk blades, discarded lawn mowers, pipes, axles, etc.) and Keith is smashing and loading it on the dump truck to haul to salvage.







They have a fire going for the burnables.  Phil is picking up, moving stuff around and making his own little pile of our junk to take to his home all the while muttering “such a shame”.  He stashed away an old leaf blower that somehow could become a log splitter. Keith spied several metal plates that were just what he needed to make some needed brackets. Not only do we have farm junk but outdated parts, discarded mowers and other equipment from the small engine repair business we had for years. It is so funny how hard it is to let stuff go. It can lay around for years and not be touched.  But pick it up to throw away…. there are instant ideas of possible uses!


My man is a stasher, he inherited that trait,  but it is often amazing to me how he finds ways to recycle and use his stashed treasures. I have seen pieces of three different bales rings put together into one, a wagon repurposed into something totally different than its original intent and the list could go on and on.  I remember shortly after we were married Gene salvaged a whole pile of fence posts from my dad’s burn pile and they served him well for many years.  This cleanup project is motivated by a bigger repurposing scheme. The old feed bunk barn from dairying days has become a terrible collection shed for stuff over the years. He wants to make it into a mixing shed for his cattle rations and loading area for his mixer wagon. And so the time comes…. the day and hour is not predictable….when the mood hits and it is cleanup time.  Today I say, “it is boys and their toys having fun smashing things!”