On the way to Sarah Jackson’s house, Bitty slowed the car a bit, giving Myra Jean a long look. “I should tell you about Sarah. She doesn’t go to our church anymore. She was driven over to the Methodists by Miss Simmons and her ilk.”
“What did they do to her?” asked Myra Jean.
“After her daddy Mr. Jackson passed on, Sarah ran the dairy farm all on her own. Apparently, Miss Simmons didn’t think that was suitable work for a lady. She just criticized Sarah one too many times. You know how she is.” Myra Jean nodded. Miss Simmons had once referred to her with saccharine pity as a “Yankee spinster forced to work for a living.”
Sarah Jackson’s farm was well-kept and appeared prosperous. About half a dozen cows grazed near the barn. Inside the large corral was a smaller area with a high fence containing a herd of lively white goats. “Well, those are new!” said Bitty.
Just then, Sarah came out of the barn, brushing hay from her overalls. “Oh! Is it that time already? I was going to change into something decent.”
“Don’t ever change,” laughed Bitty. “Myra Jean won’t mind.”
As they walked into the house, Sarah explained about the goats. “As the cows have gotten older, I haven’t had the cash to replace them. I was able to make a trade for a few goats. The vegetarians and health nuts at the resorts pay top dollar for the milk and cheese.”
Inside the utilitarian kitchen, Bitty cut bread while Sarah washed up at the pump on the back porch. Myra Jean noticed an icebox in the corner and kerosene lanterns arranged strategically around the room. Bitty explained, “There’s a Delco battery plant in the barn to run the milking machine, electric churn and refrigerator. She isn’t on the telephone, either.”
Sarah came back with a pitcher of cold water and took some soft cheese and preserves from the icebox to spread on the bread. Myra Jean tried the cheese and said, “Interesting.”
“Never had goat cheese before? Try some of this fig jam with it,” Sarah said. The figs tasted like honey and combined perfectly with the rich cheese.
Time passed quickly as the three women chatted. At Bitty’s suggestion, Sarah gave Myra Jean a tour of the barn, explaining how the electric Surge milker worked and how she churned stored the milk. “I have an adapter so I can use the milking machine on the goats too, but they kick up such a fuss I usually milk them by hand.” When the cows started lining up at the barn door, Bitty and Myra Jean took the hint and said goodbye, leaving Sarah to the milking.
As they drove away, Myra Jean asked Bitty where they would get the flour for the cake. “That’s the last stop,” she answered, “at the mill just outside of town.”
“I liked Sarah. She’s a character.” Myra Jean said.
“When Amos and I first moved here from Richmond, she was the only person who really made us feel welcome,” Bitty answered. “She took us in hand and introduced us to everybody. In fact, it’s her carrot cake recipe we’re using.”
This is the last ingredient in the carrot cake treasure hunt. I hope you enjoyed the trip.