It was spring break and my brother, sister, and I were staying at our grandparent’s farmhouse during school recess. Each day my grandfather prepared the thawed soil for vegetable plants and my grandmother would cook. On the last morning of the holiday, she baked a dozen buttermilk biscuits and set them out to cool. Shutting the lights off to the kitchen, she then made her way out of the house to relax on the outside porch stoop.
While I played, I saw my grandmother was alone and decided to join her on the stairs. While we sat, two bees landed upon a set of bluebonnets which were blooming next to the porch stairs. We watched the bees for some time until my grandmother turned to me and told me they were collecting pollen to make honey. Then, in her normal fashion, she began to tell one of her tales.
Many, many years ago in a fabled town called Donbridge, a young inventor named John Woodlock lived on a small farm with his daughters Lavinia and Sarah. He was a creative man having found solutions to automating most of his farm chores by creating elaborate inventions which were the jealousy and marvel of the town. But if it was not for these unique talents and creative mind the town would not have survived their most dire time.
Berry season arrived and when the townsfolks went to Sharp’s General Store a poster was hanging in the window: Sugar gone! Out searching for some. Be back soon, Prissy Sharp. The news stunned the Donbridgians as unknown to them, their southern compatriots had battled sugar cane beetles which busily destroyed the sugar crop. The townsfolks soon panicked as sugar was a major part of preserving berries.
Mr. Woodlock, who was sitting near the sentry bell in the town square, was whittling bark into a fishing bobber. Seeing the commotion at the store he began to overhear the people discussing the sugar shortage. Pausing his fiddling, he began thinking of a solution and started to head home. As he walked through the great field of Donbridge he became fascinated with the bees which buzzed about the wildflowers. Mr. Woodlock watched in fascination and thought that if he could find their hive, the town could use honey for their preserves.
When Mr. Woodlock arrived home, he went to his cupboard for a glass and soon realized he was in the baking pantry.
His hands were covered with flour which he wiped on his pants. In that moment, he stared at the white marks left on his clothes from the flour. Grinning, he gathered a small jar of flour and headed back to the field. When he reached the wildflowers, he scattered the flour into the air which landed on the bees coating them in white. He waited and soon the bees took to the sky and Mr. Woodlock, seeing them now very clearly against the sky, followed them.
The bees traveled to a large hollow tree in the forest. Knowing it was the great beehive, Mr. Woodlock traveled back to his home, gathered his supplies and returned, filling 80 mason jars with honey. He then headed back to the town square and saw that the townsfolks were still waiting at the General Store. Mr. Woodlock waved to the people and as they came over, he handed each person honey jars to complete their canning. From that day on, Mr. Woodlock gathered honey for the town and they never had a sugar shortage again.
When my grandmother finished her story, she got up and began to head into the house. As she did, a blue car pulled into the driveway and an old man emerged holding a mason jar. “Jules, I have your honey, minus the flour,” the old man said. “Thank you, John. Can’t you stay?” she asked. “I really can’t, Jules. I have some inventing to do” and with that the man turned back to his car and drove off. My Grandmother smiled as she headed into the house. “Come on,” she said, “those Buttermilk Biscuits are probably cool by now and this honey will go nicely with them.”
Written by RD Vincent
Author, Donbridge Series
2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1. Mix all ingredients together into bowl.
2. Pour dough onto a floured surface.
3. Knead dough lightly.
4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
5. Roll into 1/2-inch-thick circle using flour.
6. Use a biscuit cutter or a 2-inch diameter juice glass, cut dough into circles and place on greased baking sheet.
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.