• Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Meta

There’s Always Something

Do you ever run out of something to write about?  If I had a quarter for every time I’ve been asked this question, I’d buy all my Grands ice cream cones every week.  

            When I committed to write this weekly column eleven years ago, I had many stories about my young Grands.  My friend, writing mentor, and fellow Herald-Citizen columnist, Jennie Ivey, told me that when I ran out of those stories, I could look around, listen, and read, and there would always be something to write about.  Jennie was right. 

            The problem is too many things.  Topics swirl in my head and I sometimes begin several columns before choosing one.  But this week, that didn’t work.  Bits and pieces keep churning in my thoughts.

            Last Monday for the first time our oldest Grand, age 16, drove alone to our house, and my eyes watered, a lump filled my throat.  Samuel came to spend the night with Husband and me. This Grand began staying overnight when he was a toddler.  By the time he was three, he stayed one night a week.  Thru the years, he and his siblings have taken turns – each week one spends the night at our house.

            The next day, before Samuel drove his family’s little red truck out of our driveway, we hugged and he said, “Thanks, Gran. I had lots of fun.”  Right now, this Grand knows love through food.  When we feed him, he’s happy. I’m thankful every time he takes his overnight turn because there’ll be the day when he’ll say, “It’s okay.  You can skip me.”  Then I’ll wipe big tears.

            You know that June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable month, don’t you?  I thought June was Dairy Month.  According to nationaldaycalendar.com, this month also celebrates cats, the great outdoors, country cooking, turkey lovers (shouldn’t that be November?), zoos and aquariums, accordion awareness, and more. Twenty-five in all. 

            I could write about fruits and vegetables.  About garden-fresh green onions and lettuce available now and buying produce at Farmer’s Market. My mouth waters for summer tomatoes and a mess of green beans. 

             Bird-watching is entertaining.  When birds began building a nest in my new bluebird box, I was as excited as a first-time daddy who passes out cigars.  From a distance, I watched birds dart in and out of the small hole and thought they were really brightly colored bluebirds. Using binoculars, Husband identified them as tree swallows.

            I studied tree swallows and blue birds in my bird identification book and then discovered that for years I’ve called House Finches by the wrong name: Purple Finches. I learn something every single day.

            It’s time for the WCTE Great TV Auction!  Check it out at https://wcte.givesmart.com

            Why is it that minutes after I carry my laptop computer outside to write my neighbor starts mowing his yard?             Grands. National Days. Animals. Local happenings. There’s always something to write about.  And for backup, there’s a bulging folder labeled ‘Possible Columns’ filled with notes beginning 2011.

You got any Strawberry Jam?

“Hey, Gran, you got any strawberry jam?” When my Grands ask this, they mean homemade Strawberry Freezer Jam and they know the answer is yes.  

            As long as I can slice and chop and stir and pour, there’ll always be strawberry jam in my freezer.  It’s a family tradition. Mom served homemade jellies and jams alongside hot Martha White biscuits, and her strawberry jam was my favorite.

            After I married, Mom gave me jars of strawberry jam for my birthday. It was a gift of work and love; she picked the berries from Dad’s and her strawberry patch and washed, chopped, and cooked. My children ate peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches so I get a bit sentimental when my Grands do the same.

            Last week as I watched twelve-year-old Annabel stir peanut butter and jam together in a bowl and then spread it on bread to make her sandwich, I remembered that both her mother and I had done the same at her age. And another Grand, age 10, takes PB & J sandwiches in his school lunch bag every day so he makes five sandwiches at one time and freezes them to have throughout the week. 

            Strawberry jam isn’t just for biscuits and sandwiches.  Have you tried it on cornbread?  That’s 10-year-old Lucy’s favorite.  Her older sister, Elsie slathers sour dough rolls with butter and jam.   Muffins baked with a spoonful of jam in the middle are a treat. A plain soda cracker topped with strawberry jam would probably be tasty – a bite of salty sweetness.

            Strawberry Freezer Jam could be called Congealed Strawberry Sugar since the ingredients are twice as much sugar as fruit and pectin.  One time to cut cost, I used a less expensive store-brand sugar and the jam never “set-up,” but it was delicious ice cream topping.  I learned my lesson: use name brand, high quality sugar. 

            But all pectin may be the same. Because only store-brand pectin was available where I shopped recently, I took a chance and bought two boxes.  Last week, I made six recipes of jam, four with expensive name brand pectin that I’d bought earlier, and two with the cheaper store-brand.  There’s not a smidgen of difference in the taste or consistency.  

            I’m sentimental about jam jars.  Store bought jelly jars and recycled grape jelly jars work well, but my granny’s snuff glasses with tin tops that Mom filled fifty years ago are my favorites.  Last week, my Grand teased me as she wiped clean the tops of the filled jars and put lids on them.  “Gran, what if someone thinks it’s snuff?” she asked.   

            Six recipes make a lot of jam – thirty cups!  All eight Grands, those who live across town and those who live an airplane ride away, eat it.  And jam in tightly sealed plastic containers travels well inside a suitcase.

            A day spent making jam is a day well spent.  It isn’t just about good eating for my Grands – it’s also reliving happy memories.

Congrats to Grad’s Parents

He wore his blue mortar board and blue gown with pride.  When his name was called, he held his head high and grinned ear-to-ear as the school’s headmaster placed a diploma in his hand.  Like all graduates, he’d successfully completed the course of study, but no one needed to ask what his plans were after graduation.  When the next school year begins in August, Micah will be in first grade.

            As parents and grandparents took pictures, I thought of my longtime friend who questioned why schools held graduation ceremonies for young children.  In fact, she hardly recognized her children’s high school graduations because they were expected to graduate from universities and then complete masters’ degrees, and preferably, doctorates.  After that, the family would celebrate. 

            Thirty years ago, I understood my friend’s reasoning, but now I’m glad to celebrate each and every successful step of education.  I applauded my Grand as he graduated from kindergarten and his big sister who graduated from 8th grade.

            Across our county many graduation ceremonies, ranging from preschool through doctorate degrees,have been held recently.  Children can graduate many times, depending on the exit grade of their schools: preschool, kindergarten, 4th grade, 8th grade, high school, Tennessee Tech University.

            During graduation ceremonies, speakers congratulate, challenge, inspire, and encourage the graduates.  But who does the same for the parents?  Why isn’t there a graduation speech for parents?

            Congratulations, parents!  Enjoy the moment.  Breathe deeply.  Relax. You did your part. Take a few days off and gloat.  Pat yourself and your new graduates on the back.  Your children’s successes are your successes. 

            You fed, clothed, transported, and bought books, paper, pencils, and poster board.  You helped your children with school work at home and patiently watched, or did your own work nearby, while they finally figured out how to solve the last math equation. 

            You wiped tears and hugged. You heard about teachers who gave too much homework and teachers who didn’t grade fairly and friends who weren’t really friends. 

             Now, challenge your children to continue learning.  Show them, by your example that in real life, outside a classroom, there are opportunities to learn. Challenge them to learn something new every day, even though it won’t be on a test. 

            Read. Read. Read. Read aloud.  Read silently. Read together. Read signs and books and newspapers (printed and online) and the back of a cereal box and Lego directions. 

            Show children that learning is fun.  Play games. There’s a fine line between letting children win and squashing children’s confidence by always losing.  Let them experience victory and defeat.  

            Encourage children to try. The quote I kept on my classroom wall read, “It’s okay to try and fail, and try and fail again.  But it’s not okay to try and fail, and fail to try again.”  Share your successes and failures.

            Parents, no matter the age of your graduates, they will always be your children.  And they’ll always want you to celebrate with them.  So, celebrate all graduations.  You’re making happy memories.

Bacon is Mighty Good Eating

Bacon doesn’t have to be cooked in long, flat slices.  Twist it, roll it, or fold it.  

            Bacon spirals are the all the rage, according to some online sources, and they are simple to make.  Preheat the oven to 350º or 375ºF and line a baking sheet, that has sides, with aluminum foil.  Spray the foil with a cooking spray.  Twist each piece of bacon a few times and place it on baking sheet.  Bake about 30 minutes until the bacon is browned and crisp enough to hold its shape. 

            Because the bacon is twisted, many slices can be baked on one pan.  To make Spiced Bacon Twists, coat slices with a mixture of brown sugar, mustard powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper.    

            While reading online about bacon spirals, an advertisement for bacon roses popped up.  A half-dozen bacon roses in a vase is $45.00 and a dozen in a loose bouquet is available for $66.00.  Prices don’t include tax and shipping.  There are special offers for Father’s Day gifts, and the ad boasts that bacon roses were popular gifts for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

            What’s a bacon rose?  A bacon slice rolled tightly and topped with brown sugar.  You can make this special gift.  Thread a toothpick through a bacon strip at one end, then roll up tightly about one-third of the way.  Twist the bacon strip clockwise to form points for rose petals.  Secure the bottom of the rolled bacon with two crisscrossed toothpicks so the rose will stand up. 

            Place bacon roses on a foil-lined baking pan with sides or in a muffin tin. Sprinkle each rose with a pinch of brown sugar and bake about 20 minutes in a 400 ºF oven.  Cool, remove the toothpicks, and stick a skewer into the bottom of each rose so it looks like a rose on a stem.  Your cost will be much less than $66.00 per dozen.

            Bacon roses aren’t as delicious as Special Oven Bacon, a tried-and-true recipe. Lay thick bacon slices, cut in half, on a broiling pan or a baking pan. Sprinkle a mixture of ¾ cup brown sugar and one heaping tablespoon flour over the bacon.  Then sprinkle with ½ cup finely chopped pecans and bake at 350º F for thirty minutes. 

            Have you tried folded bacon?  When my friend served really thick short slices of bacon, I learned a new way to cook it.  Fold a slice in half, end to end, and then cook your favorite way – fried in a black skillet, baked in the oven, or microwaved.  Folded bacon cooks evenly and the perfect size for a BLT, and it’s easy – much too easy – to pick up for a mid-morning snack.

            I baked a whole pan of bacon – some twisted, some rolled, some folded.  No matter the shape, crispy bacon is mighty good eating.  As long as it’s ‘pig bacon,’ as my Grand said when he was 5, and not turkey bacon that his mother sometimes served.

P. S. Because I made only 4 roses, I baked them in ramekins.

How to Cook Bacon

It’s easy to fry bacon like our grandmothers did.  They put bacon slices in black iron skillets and fried it until it was done. Now, detailed directions are printed on packages:  place bacon slices in a single layer in an unheated skillet.  Cook on medium heat 8-10 minutes or to desired crispness, turning occasionally. 

            You might follow the microwave directions.  Line a microwavable plate with three layers of paper towels.  Lay bacon slices in a single layer on the towels and cover with another towel.  Microwave about one minute per slice, depending on desired doneness. 

            What if you want to cook a lot of bacon? Bake it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with foil. Place bacon slices in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Bake until desired crispness, 15 to 25 minutes. 

            I’ve used all three methods and there are pros and cons. Bacon is crispier when fried the old-fashioned way in a skillet.  To get good bacon drippings for a mess of fresh green beans or to grease a black skillet to bake cornbread, fry bacon.  But frying makes a mess; the grease splatters everywhere. 

            A slice of bacon never gets done evenly in the microwave.  It’s hard to know how long to cook it because some slices are thinner, some thicker, and microwaves are different.  A friend owns a pan especially made for cooking bacon in the microwave and she swears by it.

            I bake bacon if I need more than a few slices.  About thirty years ago when I worked in the kitchen at a boys’ summer camp, I learned to bake it. It takes a lot of bacon to feed 100 boys!  After cleaning up after supper, we kitchen help filled huge pans, the size that fits inside industrial ovens, with over 300 bacon slices.  The next morning, we put the pans in cold ovens and turned the oven temperature to 400°FThe bacon cooked while Mrs. White mixed, rolled, and cut out biscuits, and the rest of us cracked eggs to be scrambled and got out fruit, jelly, and juice.  By then, the bacon would be done. 

            A few years ago, Husband helped at a fund-raiser pancake breakfast and learned a different way to cook bacon.  Drop slices in a big kettle of hot grease.  No doubt that works well if you’re outside and have a long-handled scooper.

            I’m told that bacon cooked in an air fryer is the best ever. “Crunchy outside, chewy inside, dark around the edges…just perfect!” an ad reads.  When I get an air fryer, I’ll try it.

            I was inspired to write this column when I read that spiral twisted bacon cooks best and I saw a recipe for bacon roses, but I got side-tracked thinking of the many ways to cook one of my favorite meats.  Next Wednesday, I’ll write about spiral bacon and bacon roses. Be sure you have brown sugar on hand.

Celebrate Mothers

Anna Jarvis who organized the first Mother’s Day celebration wouldn’t be happy with the ways we celebrate this day.  She wanted to honor her deceased mother, an activist that campaigned for more sanitary conditions during the Civil War. After the war, her mom worked to reconcile Confederate and Union families in their community.

             So, on May 10, 1908, Jarvis held a small service to honor her mother at her West Virginia Methodist Episcopal Church.  The idea caught on quickly and spread across our country and celebrations were held in churches.  In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making the second Sunday in May an official holiday.  

            But a few years later, Jarvis was horrified that the day had become commercialized and she campaigned to have the national holiday rescinded.  One biographer wrote that Jarvis had envisioned the holiday as a homecoming, a day to honor your mother, the one who dedicated her life to you. 

            No doubt Jarvis never imagined Mother’s Day as we know it.  For the past two decades, it has been the most popular day of the year to dine out.  National florist associations rate the week as the most important holiday week and for the greeting-card industry Mother’s Day is the third-largest holiday, behind Christmas and Valentine’s Day.   Americans spent almost $26 billion – yes, billion – on Mother’s Day in 2019 according to the National Retail Federation.  Jewelry, restaurant meals, special outings, flowers, and gift cards topped the spending list.  The average spent per person was almost $200.

            Those large numbers surprise me, but celebrating mothers is worth every effort, every penny.  I say that as a daughter, a mother, and grandmother.  As a kid in a small-town church, I liked Mother’s Day when I wore a red carnation corsage and Dad stuck a red rose in his lapel.  Granny’s white flower corsage honored her deceased mother.  I liked when mothers – the oldest, the youngest, the one with the most children – were recognized at church and given pots of blooming flowers.

            I liked that Dad took our family out to eat on Mother’s Day.  Although, the Dixie Café’s fried chicken wasn’t as good as Mom’s, it was the one day that she didn’t cook Sunday dinner.  I treasure wearing the mother’s ring that Mom and her two sisters gave Grandma Gladys for Mother’s Day; those stones carry love thru three generations.

            My favorite cards were the ones my children made from construction paper and drew lopsided flowers and crooked hearts.  When Daughter was a teen-ager, she and her friends gave their mothers a surprise luncheon to celebrate Mother’s Day.  One year when only Son and I were home, he bought Kentucky Fried Chicken and we ate while sitting at a concrete picnic table at Burgress Falls.            

Now, I’m happy to celebrate Daughter and Daughter2, the mothers of my Grands. They should be honored because Anna Jarvis was right – they dedicate their lives to their children.  They deserve every chicken dinner, every ring, and every card.

The Power of Storytelling

“Are you telling me a story?” Dad asked.  These words take me back to when I was eight years old and stood in our family’s vegetable garden.  Young 6-inch-tall corn plants lay on the ground.  I held a hoe and kicked dirt off its blade.  I looked down. I’d told Dad that I couldn’t tell weeds from the corn plants and I didn’t mean to chop down the corn.  I wouldn’t look up after Dad asked his question.       

            He stood towering above me waiting for my answer, the answer Dad knew if I told the truth.  I didn’t like working in the garden, especially hoeing around plants.  So, I thought if I chopped down the corn plants, instead of chopping just the weeds and making mounds of dirt around the corn plants, Dad would never make me hoe again.

            He saw right through my plan and I cried and Dad spoke sternly about telling the truth and being honest and trying to get out of work and I had to hoe the rest of the row of corn.  At least, that’s what I remember and that’s my story.

            Story.  A word with many definitions.  Dad softened his question by saying story, not lie.  As a kid, I was told to not accuse anyone of lying – it wasn’t nice.  But it was okay to tell a story or a little white lie, especially if the truth might hurt someone’s feelings.  Outright lying was never allowed.

            When someone says, “Did you hear the story about ________?” most of us stop what we’re doing and listen.  The storyteller has our attention and we’re ready to hear about someone or something or somewhere.  The story might be gossip or rumors.  It might be factual or made-up.  It doesn’t matter – we’re suckers for a good story.

            Who tells stories?  Everyone.  Cave dwellers’ stories are etched on stone walls. Ancient Greeks created myths and legends about Hercules and Pandora’s Box.  The Bible is a collection of stories by many writers.  Shakespeare’s and Aesop’s stories, centuries old, are still read and studied.  Today, we read stories in newspapers, magazines, books, and on-line. 

            But stories are most enjoyed when they are shared aloud.  Who can forget the stories told by a favorite uncle? He told the same family stories at the Thanksgiving dinner table every year and we laughed when he began because we knew the ending.  Children tell stories when they share what happened at school or during soccer practice.  Everyone tells stories.

            I’m looking forward to hearing some really good stories at Storyfest this Saturday, May 1st.  It’s a free storytelling festival from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and we can stay all day or drop in for an hour or so.  Look for the big tent in Dogwood Park behind the Cookeville History Museum at 40 East Broad Street.   

            We’ll be entertained by professional and amateur storytellers and there might be a story or two like the one I told Dad.

What’s Growing under the Mailbox?

Have you noticed the lavender and purple groundcover flowers in yards this spring?  My thrift has never been prettier.  It’s so pretty that I posted a picture on Facebook and while friends who commented agree the blossoms are pretty, some do not agree on what’s growing under my mailbox.

            Isn’t that phlox? Creeping phlox? Plox?  Moss phlox?  “Aren’t the plants with purple blooms thrift and those with white blooms candy tuft?” asked someone who grew up in Giles County, Tennessee.

            I learned on a trusted gardening website that Phlox subulate, a low-growing perennial, is known as creeping phlox or moss phlox and is also called thrift and is a member of the phlox family.  And according the owner of a local nursey and garden center, both names are used.  The garden center stocks phlox in many colors: white, lavender, and shades of pink and red, and when customers ask for thrift, they are asking for phlox.  Candy tuft is a different plant. 

            The names phlox and thrift may be regional, and thrift is probably an old-fashioned name. The comments under my Facebook post shows that many of us who call it thrift learned the name from our mothers and grandmothers. 

            Mom grew thrift.  For as long as I can remember at my childhood home, lavender thrift covered the four-foot bank between the yard and driveway and draped over the stacked rock wall by the driveway.  Every spring, blossoms covered the bank and throughout the rest of the year, thrift was a green ground cover.              About thirty years ago, Husband and I transplanted many plants from my parents’ yard.  I expected that a couple of years later, the plants would spread and thrift would cover the ground around our azalea bushes.  Mom warned me that the shaded area I’d chosen to plant wasn’t the best for growing thrift, and she was right.  It didn’t flourish, but it lived and eventually it spread, but never like Mom’s.

            Many years later, after Mom and Dad’s deaths, in the middle of summer when the green plants were wilted, a young man mowed our yard and cut weeds using a weed-eater.  He cut my thrift to the ground.  I cried and told myself it was only plants, and I should have told him not to cut the groundcover near the azalea bushes.  

            I dug up some of the roots and transplanted them to an area in a small flower bed that was in full sunshine, and the next spring, I tended those few green sprigs as if they were in intensive care.  They survived and when Husband and I moved four years ago, I transplanted enough thrift to cover a one-foot square and I added plants that I bought at the local garden center

            So, the blanket of lavender and dark pink thrift under my mailbox isn’t just beautiful, it’s a happy childhood memory that I was determined to capture and enjoy. 

            Call it thrift or phlox – it’s all the same.

Tribute to Beverly Cleary

As I read a recent obituary for award-winning author Beverly Cleary, I wondered if the AP writer knew Henry Huggins and Otis Spofford and Ellen Tebbits and Beatrice (Beezus) Quimby and her little sister, Ramona?  Did the writer know they lived on Klickitat Street?  That children loved to read these names aloud? That we teachers could hand students any book written by Beverly Cleary and know it would entertain and encourage readers?

            Beverly Cleary’s first book, Henry Huggins was published in 1950 when she was in her early 30’s and introduced Henry’s neighbors, Otis, Ellen, Beezus, and Ramona.  They were kids who played in each other’s backyards and went to school together.  Cleary worked as a librarian when a little boy asked, “Where’s the books about kids like us?”  There were books about kids who had nannies and servants and were well-behaved and talked proper, but none about kids who did chores and got dirty and said things to each other that they’d never say to adults.  So, Cleary wrote about adventures of normal kids who got mad and did silly things that made readers laugh out loud.

            Fifty-five books by Cleary have been published, some in twenty-nine languages, and over 85 million of her books have been sold.  In 2009, her series of books about Ramona were made into a movie. Her first books were aimed at young readers, but Cleary also wrote books for middle grade students, teenagers, and her memoirs.  Her books received many awards, including the prestigious Newberry Medal Award, the top children’s literature award.  The awards she liked best were state awards that were based on votes by children.

            Cleary remained humble and knew her readers well.  For thirty years she answered her fan mail herself, and when she received letters from children whose parents were divorced she wrote a book for them.  “Dear Mr. Henshaw” is a series of letters between a sixth-grade boy and his favorite author, and that boy connects with every reader who has ever been lonely.

            My favorite Cleary books are about Ralph S. (Smart) Mouse, and I just learned that she created Ralph to hook her own son on reading.  I remember struggling young readers who successfully read about a curious mouse that learned to ride a red toy motorcycle and became best friends with the owner of the motorcycle, Keith.  After I’d read aloud The Mouse and the Motorcycle to students, many wanted to know about Ralph’s other adventures in the sequels.

            Cleary’s books have stood the test of time.  As I read about Ralph S. Mouse to a young Grand, he rolled a red car across the living room rug and when Ralph’s motorcycle flipped in the air so did my Grand’s red car.  “Can a mouse really talk?” my Grand asked.  Only to children and only Ralph.  “What if all animals could talk?’              That’s the magic of books.  The what ifs and the connections between the characters, the listener, and the reader.  I’m thankful Mrs. Cleary created such magic.

Watching for Bluebirds

Most people purchase a home security camera to monitor their front and back doors.  A small wireless camera that takes video clips and photos is perfect to see visitors, animals and people, who are at your doorstep.  A phone app sends a picture, can also capture audio, and even allows you to speak to visitors. 

            But my friend doesn’t use this small camera to monitor doors. She watches what goes on inside her bluebird box.  When she recently showed me videos of Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird building a nest, I wanted a bluebird box in my yard.  This is one time that it was as easy said as done.

            Another friend, a member of the Cookeville Bluebird Club, put me in touch with the Don Hazel who builds and installs bluebird boxes and now I have one.  Don, president of Tennessee Bluebird Society, became interested in providing homes for bluebirds because during past decades the bluebird population decreased about 90%.  Bluebirds nest inside a cavity, such as old woodpecker holes or crevices in a building, but since there are fewer natural nesting places, they accept bluebird boxes.

            Many people have had bluebird boxes for years, and the formation of a local bluebird club has increased interest during the last year.  The club installed ten boxes at Cane Creek Park and four at Dogwood Park, and the club receives monitoring reports from a total of 53 boxes in the Cookeville areas. To join the club or learn more about bluebirds, email cookevillebluebirds@gmail.com and you might want to check out the Tennessee Bluebird Society Facebook group.

            I was excited when I saw a bird dart in and out of the small round opening on the front of my bird box, although it was a chickadee not a bluebird.  For two days, Mr. and Mrs. Chickadee carried blades of dry grass and bits of moss and then they were gone.  The bird box can be opened on the side to monitor the birds’ activities and to clean out the box so after ten days I removed the grass and moss. That day a male bluebird sat on top of the box.  He cocked his head from side-to-side, flew away, and returned carrying pine needles inside the box.  By the end of the day, he’d covered the bottom of the box and Mrs. Bluebird had flitted around outside the box.

            Success!  I expected to show off a bluebird nest, eggs, and chicks to my Grands and anyone who would quietly look inside the box. But the nest foundation has been abandoned. Sometimes Mr. Bluebird begins a nest, but Mrs. Bluebird wants a different home.  However, my friend who takes bluebird videos has assured me that Mrs. Bluebird can be fickle and they might return to my bird box.  

            I continue to monitor my bluebird box in hope that Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird will return and build a nest.  Maybe I should put out a welcome mat and a plate of mealworms mixed with cornmeal.  I’m trying to be patient.