They’ve turned three plots of their three acres off Bain’s Gap Road into gardens where they’re growing, among other vegetables, squash, green beans, peppers and tomatoes -- lots of tomatoes. Sherry believes no one can ever have too many tomatoes.
“You can put them in anything,” she said. “They’re good in chili, vegetable soup, spaghetti -- practically anything. We eat them year.”
Sherry makes a lot of pepper jelly using the various peppers from their gardens.
There’s an apple tree and a crabapple tree on their property.
“I did some research and found out that crabapples are good to add to any jelly because they give it more acid and that makes it set up better,” she said. “I added some to mine and it turned out fine.”
Sherry said the trouble she and Mike go to in order to have a lot of vegetables is well worth it as wintertime approaches.
“It’s a lot of trouble, but we don’t really mind it, because we enjoy it so much all year long,” she said. “I have an herb garden that we really like. “We use a lot of herbs in our cooking.”
Sherry has 40 chickens and a rooster named Foghorn. “Michael named him,” she said. “He calls him Foghorn, but I just call him Fog.”
They sell most of the brown eggs and green eggs the chickens lay to Garfreick’s Restaurant in Oxford. She enjoys gathering the eggs and said she sometimes gets up to 30 a day.
The green eggs come from their Araucanas chickens. The eggs are actually blue-green shades that range from turquoise to deep olive. These unusual breed of chickens get their name from the Indian tribe of Chili, where they were first discovered.
“It’s actually calming and relaxing to watch them,” said Sherry. “I even talk to them. They all have different personalities. Its just fun to watch them.”
Sherry worked 20 years at Springs in Piedmont, mostly at the Fifth Avenue plant.
She had a variety of jobs through the years and was a quilter when it closed. She said her favorite job was running a machine called the Phoenix which made pillow shams.
“It was a little stressful, but if you paid attention to it, it wasn’t so bad,” she said.
Sherry is the daughter of the late David and Irene (Boozer) West and the sister of Elaine Williams. Her brother, Tim, died four years ago. She was receptionist and bookkeeper for David and Tim at their business, West Garage, for several years. After the deaths of David and Tim, the business is no longer run by family, and Sherry misses working there.
“I really did like it,” she said. “So many people would come in every day and I’d get to meet them and talk to them. I never knew who I’d get to meet from one day to the next. I made a lot of friends there.”
Sherry likes to work in her flowers and plants and, up until a few years ago, she liked to fish. She attended Jacksonville High School.
She and Mike will be married 45 years in August. They have a son and daughter-in-law, Dirk and Lisa, who live outside of Jacksonville, and a grandson, Drew, 19, who graduated from White Plains High School last year. They lost a daughter, Shanna, when she was 12, and a grandson, Dak, when he was 18.
Mike always liked making rustic stick furniture and, once Sherry began helping him, she also fell in love with it. They’ve made lots of chairs, couches and tables as well as wreaths, baskets and walking sticks that they sold at trade days and craft fairs.
“I’d like to be doing it now,” said Sherry. “But with the economy the way it is, people don’t have the money to buy it, and we understand that. We would get a permit to go into the Talladega National Forest to gather the wood. We took Dak and Drew with us when they were little. Being little boys, they loved being out in the woods.”
The Evans do a lot of outdoor cooking. They have a smoker, a gas charcoal grill and a fireplace grill. They do a lot of stir fry dishes, using vegetables from their garden. One of Sherry’s favorite stir fry dishes has asparagus in it. He puts up a lot of Hot Pepper Jelly for her and Mike to have year round. She also likes Cabbage Salad and, one of her favorite desserts, Lauren’s Sour Cream Pound Cake, came from her niece, Lauren West Alldredge.
Contact Margaret at: email@example.com.
Stir Fry Asparagus
3 T. butter
1 ½ t. chicken bouillon granules
1/8 t. celery salt
1/8 t. black pepper
1 ½ lbs. fresh asparagus, washed, cut and trimmed into 2” lengths (about 4 cups)
1 t. soy sauce
Melt butter and bouillon granules, celery, salt and pepper. Mix together. Add asparagus, toss to coat. Cover and cook three minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in soy sauce. Serve immediately.
Hot Pepper Jelly
3 c. finely chopped sweet peppers
1 c. finely chopped green tomatoes
½ c. hot peppers, finely chopped
1 c. white vinegar
½ c. apple cider vinegar
7 c. sugar
2 pkgs. Pectin
1 box Sure Jell
Sterilize 6 (8 oz.) canning jars and lids. Place peppers and tomatoes in a large sauce pan over high heat. Mix vinegar and fruit pectin into peppers and tomatoes. Stir constantly.
Bring to a full rolling boil. Stir in sugar. Return to a rolling boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add Sure Jell and boil 2 1/2 minutes. Quickly add to jars, filling ¼ inch of the top. Cover with flat lids and screw on bands tightly.
Place jars in rack and slowly lower jars into water bath canner. Water should cover jars completely. Water should be hot, but not boiling. Bring water to a boil. Process for five minutes.
2 qts. chopped cabbage
1 chopped bell pepper
½ c. sugar
1 ½ t. mustard seed
1 t. salt
4 small onions or 1 large
1 t. celery seed
2/3 t. turmeric
2/3 c. white vinegar
Mix first 8 ingredients (not vinegar). Let stand for two hours, covered, then add vinegar. Mix well. Keep covered in the refrigerator. Chill and serve. Will keep three weeks in the refrigerator.
Lauren's Sour Cream Pound Cake
2 sticks butter
3 c. sugar
3 c. flour
1/4 t. baking soda (fresh)
1 c. sour cream
1 t. vanilla
½ t. lemon juice
\¼ t. almond flavoring
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Add extracts. Sift flour three times. Measure. Add soda and sift again. Add flour, alternating with sour cream. Pour into greased and floured bundt pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cook one hour and 10 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.