ftit FRANKLIN PRESS AND THE HIGHLANDS MACtfNUtf
friURSDAV;7iLy f, 193
Jt Highlands ffinzxtnimx
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The Birds of Franklin and Macon
"PHE following editorial, reprinted from The Franklin Press .of July
: 1931, was written by the late Stanhope Sams, LLD., literary ed
itor of the Columbia, South Carolina State, while spending his vaca
tion in Franklin: '
Among the attractions' of Franklin and Macon county that instantly
appeal to the visitor . . . after the first amazement of mountain and
valley . . . are the number, variety, and melodious chorus of the Birds.
Of course, this section is within the great Bird Realm of the South,
in which, perhaps, a larger number and wider variety of Birds may be
found than in any other section, unless it is "slightly excelled by the
Kensington region near Washington. But whatever advantage that
locality may have is due to the migrant Birds that flit across it, some
making their winter flight toward the Gulf, and others their spring
and mating flight toward the forests of the northern states and Can
ada. There must be, of course, many migrants, birds of passage, in
this mountain region of West North Carolina, but most of them
seem to be home Birds, residents and neighbors for the whole year.
And the county-side and town lawns and gardens offer an appealing
lure for the Birds. They love a grain-growing country. ,And they
love a country-side that abounds, as this does, in succulent terries
and a wonderful bird-taible of foods of great variety. The abundance,
also, of trees, groves, and forests, in the town and along all the
slopes, up to the umbrageous crowns of, Tnmont and her sister crests,
afford the Birds shelter by day and night and leafy places of retire-
ment and noon-day repose. For the Birds must have their shaded
One is almost astounded to hear, ringing clear and fresh from the
edge of garden or grove, the inspiring call of "Bob-White." This
never fails, in the early morning or in the cool of the afternoon, for
Bob-White walks in the garden in the cool of the day, as we are
told that God himself did in the arbors of Eden. The Franklin Bob
White is emboldened by the friendliness of his1 neighbors, and he
frequently visits, in his short sharp forays, the gardens and orchards
of the town.
Possibly the sweetest song that greets us from the groves and wood
is that of the Thrush the Wood-Thrush. Possibly the note of the
Hermit Thrush may ibe caught on the edges of the forests, for this
Bird loves the quiet and solitude of the deep woods, and no doubt
is heard with memorable frequency even from the hills and gardens
of Franklin. The Wood-Thrush is, however, the sweetest singer, to
our notion. His song has phrases and dulcet harmonies that haunt
us longer than even the "holy-holy" chant of the Hermit. And there
. are many Wood-Thrushes, and one may hear a Thrush note almost
any minute, if only one will himself be mute and listen and adore.
The squawking Jay, though not so large or handsome as his fel
lows of mid-South Carolina, who are famous among Jays, is yet a fine
looking bird. His cries, mostly imitative or stolen from the Hawk, are
enlivening as arc his presence and brusk busy-ness in interf erring with
other birds. He does a good deal of injury, but not enough- to justify
The Robin is, of course, the observed of all observers. He and his
less brilliant mate are part of every out-of-doors scene. His song is
rather monotonous, although it is sparkling and. cheery to most audit
ors. An exceedingly helpful bird to farmers and gardeners; tireless and
insatiate devourcr of hurtful insects and cut-worms. The bird kingdom,
without the Robin, would be Denmark without the Dane.
The splendid King-bird, Bee-Martin, or Tyrannus-tyrannus, head of
his clan, is a superb fighter and guardian of the air, gardens, fields
and woods. He drives off all bird-raiders including the Raptores, or
"The Flycatchers, especially Peto, the Least Flycatcher, are fairly fre
quent visitors on their aerial foray and safaris, against winged insects.
Peto may be long watched with keen interest as he darts out, plucks
his victim from the air, and returns to his carefully chosen perch of
The Mocking-bird is rarer here than he is farther south, but his
department-store assortment of glorious chattering and mimricry is
heard many times every favorable day. While he is a greater artist
than, a greater virtuoso, than the Wood-Thrush, his whole repertory
is not so precious as the solitary and matchless song of the Thrush.
Another sweet singer of Israel is the little Song-Sparrow. But one
must pay rapt attention to catch his delicious and delicate grace notes
from some spray or tree-top or from the sequestered heart of tree or
bush. His song, like that of lute or zither, is the "chamiber-music" of
the bird choristers.
Nor should we neglect the "chirppings" that give his name to little
Chipping Sparrow, the small-boy chorister, wearing a white band,
doubtless some order bestowed upon him, over his bright little eyes.
The soft cooing of the uxorious (wife loving) Dove is now heard in
the mornings and late afternoons, as he murmurs delicious encourage
ment to his brooding mate a sweet, but somewhat too soothing and
melancholy a song.
The Cardinal seems somewhat shy in this commune of Birds. We do
not know why, but we have invariably caught his keen whistle, crack
ling like sharp whip-lashes on horns of elfland faintly blowitVg. Why,
we wonder, is the Cardinal . . , Red-bird ... so aloofish here, when
he is so warmly and neighborly friendly in other parts of the warm
south ? He should be heard and his startling loveliness seen oftener.
And there is, of course, the "nuzzling Nuthatch," uttering his
"cheerio" single note, quickly repeated, "as' if you thought he never
could recapture that first fine careless rapture." This was said or
sung of the "wise Thrush" (by Browning) but we like to apply it to
that listened-for second cheer of the little sprite as he clambers, head
first, DOWN the dizzy tree-trunk. He is, we believe, the only master
acrobat among the birds, that can achieve so easily this 6mart trick
... . .Business Manager
of running down tree boles as if he were hopping about on the lawn.
Red-Head, the glorious woodpecker so called, is a glamorous page
ant in himself, with his black and white uniform and his red crest.
His' song or cry, the latter a predatory ranging cry of the eagle or
hawk for, like the jay, he has borrowed-his slogan from fighting
kings , of the air is exceedingly, almost extravagantly, exhilarating.
It is a challenge to be up and dqing, a summons to battle.
There is also an occasional Golden Flicker. This Is a larger wood
pecker than Red-Head, and a more showy fellow, and his similar
ranging cry a little louder than .his, but he is not so friendly and
not "the free and flowing savage" that , Red-Head always is. He
bears a number of titles, like a member of the British peerage . . .
Flicker,' Golden Flicker, High-Hole (because of the unusual height
at which he builds his "better 'ole,") and Yellowhammer, This last
principally in the deep south.
We have seen here, also, the alluring Starling fondled and invited
in Europe (Russia is building 2,000,000 feed-houses for him !) but
ignorantly suspected in' this country a strikingly handsome bird,
worth his weight . in gold just as an adornment to the lawn or the
We have seen, also, a rare visitor, the Redstart, never forgotten,
once seen, because of the brightness of his uniform and the slender
grace of body and plumage. And, of course, Hawks and an Eagle
an occasional raider of the forests crdWs and blackbirds, and other
of the long-settled bird-residents.
If we have omitted any prominent or important Bird, . . . and all
Birds are important, to nature-lovers, farmers, gardeners, orchardists,
.'. . we trust they will forgive us. There lacks space and time for our
praise and fond devotions.
But we hope that the human neighbors' of these Birds, that are
doing so much to help .uplift the heavy weight of depression, by
their cheery songs and by their heroic and tremendous onslought on
the insect enemies of man and nature, will guard and nourish the
Birds, their earth-born companions and fellow mortals. They are the.
friends and helpers and vigilant sentinels and allies of all that must,
like them, draw their sustenance from Nature.
Big Potato Surplus Harr asses
Farmers; Pleases Consumers
A potato surplus has raised its
head above the crop production
horizon and is rapidly advancing
toward us consumers. Potato farm
ers aren't too happy about . it, but
buyers are pleased,' because surplus
usually walks arm-in-arm with
Potato farmers last year, aver
aged $1.32 a bushel for the early
crop. And that was a sufficiently
enticing figure that a lot of those
who normally grow 'only enough
for home use, decided to put two
to four acre's or more in "spuds"
this year. The 19 states which fig
ure in production of the very early
on through ithe intermediate crops
put 25 per cent more land into po
tato production than they did in
With this prospect of large sup
ply plus lower prices, there'll like
ly be increased amounts of pota
toes in the' market baskets of the
nation. Unless the late potato crop
changes the picture.
So highly is .the potato regarded
by scientists of the bureau of home
economics that they give it an im
portant place in the diet of people
of every income level. In their re
cent publication" "Diets to Fit the
Family Income," they include eight
to ninev servings a week in the
"emergency diet" for people oi
very low incomes. That means 11
pounds of potatoes a week for a
family of four, or 19 pounds for a
family, of seven.
And for the liberal diet, for
people who can afford a wide va
riety of foods, they list one serv
ing of potatoes apiece a day nine
pounds a week for a family of four,
16 pounds for a family of seven.
Not much fewer potatoes than in
the emergency diet.
These dietary plans would put
our yearly ' consumption figure at
165 pounds each for people of tht
lower incomes, and 155 pound
apiece; for people of well-to-do
These are interesting totals, in
view of the fact that in 1932, it
was estimated that an average of
150 pounds of potatoes a person
was ( "made way with." That is
what is called a "disappearance
figure," however, and the "average
of potatoes eaten would be some
where below that amount. ;
,Thc potato has been the inno
cent victim of a widespread notion
that it is exceptionally fattening.
Weight conscious Americans have
come to look with suspicion on it
simply because it is listed among
the starchy foods.
Actually 78 per ' cent of this
sturdy vegetable is water-HDnly 11
to 21 per cent being starch. One
medium size potato totals 100 cal
orics. But so does each of the fol
lowing: 1 large apple, 1." large
orange, 1 medium baking' powder
biscuit, Vt tablespoons French sal
ad dressing. And since 3,000 cal
ories is estimated to be the daily
calorie total needed by the aver
age fairly active adult man, a med
ium size potato a day could hardly
take the iblanre for his having , to
let out his belf several holes.
Americans who are trying to keep
their youthful figures should cut
out several other types of food
before they do the potato, say diet
icians. Foods such as sugar, fats,
and oils which are considerably
more fattening and which carry
none of the potato's minerals and
vitamins. : ' ,
The potato has dietary virtues
that have been ignored by the gen
eral public. It is a fair source of
vitamin. C. Weight for weight it
has a fourth as much of this vita
min as do oranges and lemons,
which are sO rich in it half as
much as that of tomatoes. It also
has a . little of vitamins A, B, and
The potato makes an important
contribution to the diet, too,
through its minerals particularly
iron and phosphorus.
The indifference of some people
to this vegetable is partly due to
its being badly prepared so much
of the time, Appearance, flavor,
and food "value are all influenced
by the cooking technique.
Cooking in the skin whether in
baking, boiling, or steaming con
serves the maximum amount of. a
potatoe's food value.
Baking potatoes isn't usually as
sociated with summer cookery, but
the two are not necessarily in
compatible. As soon as the potato
is mature it can be, baked. The
temperature best for baking 400
to 425 degrees F. dextrinizes the
starch, caramelizes some of the
surface sugar, and therefore changes
The pleasing mealiness of a bak-'
ed potato is gradually lost as the
potato cools or steams. So the
cook should do some pretty close
timing, to get it done just as din
ner ' is ready. To let the steam
escape and thus prevent sogginess
developing, cut a cross on one side
of the baked potato as soon as you
get it out" of the oven. Then pick
it up (in a cloth to keep from
getting burned) and squeeze it a
bit, to loosen up the "innards" and
make a little of it bulge up into
that cross-cut slash. If dinner is
to be delayed a bit, remove from
the skins, mash, and beat up with
cream or butter, pile back into the
skins and reheat.
The skin tells whether or not
the potato is mature enough to
bake. If it curls tip, or as men in
the trade "say "if it is feathered,"
the potato is immature.. If the skin
is set and firm the potato is ma
ture. Boiling potatoes. It is simply im
possible to pare a potato so as
not to have considerable food loss,
and the loss is increased with va
rieties that slough .'' badly. A large
percentage of the minerals is in
the cortical layerjust under the
skin. Cooking in the skin also pre
vents the escape of certain , volatile
compounds and so results in a dif
ferent flavoi; than boiling when
Have the water already boiling
rapidly when, you put the potatoes
in, and then cook them with the
water boiling rapidly and continu
ously. Too vigorous boiling, how
ever, makes potatoes, especially
pared ones, go . tq pieces more
As soon as the potatoes are done,
take them from the boiling water
and remove the skins. They'll get ,
waterlogged if you leave them in
the water, and will be less flaky
when mashed if you delay remov
ing the skins. , v - .
Steaming potatoes in the skins,
too, saves nutrients. The steaming
should be rapid, and the skins re
moved at once, for maximum meal
iness, minimum danger of soggi
ness. As to preparing potatoes there
are the usual ways: au gratin, shoe
strings, chips, and hash, browned.
And you remember Lyonnaise po
tatoes: fry some chopped onion a
few minutes, then add your diced
Then there's potato O'Brien, for
which you mix diced potatoes, chop
ped onions, and green peppers or
pimiento, and. seasonings. Cook in
a little fat; at low heat.
A quick potato soup recipe has
the milk heated in a double boil
er and then adds it to butter-flour'
thickening, stirring constantly, and
then puts in grated raw potatoes
and, onion seasonings, and cooks 10
A good curry dish is made with
chopped onion and grated cheese.
Cook the chopped onion in a little
fat until it is a golden brOwn, add
diced cooked potatoes, and curry
povyder that i has been mixed in a
little cold water, pour into a serv
ing dish, sprinkle grated cheese,
over the top and serve at once.
Many mid-summer farm tasks
about the farm and home require
information and suggestions which
State college specialists are offer
ing on the Carolina farm feature
Some crops are being harvested;
others are just being started, and
there are others not yet ready for
harvest' which are being cultivated.
The agricultural experts are ar
ranging their discussions to' con
form with timely practices.
Insects and plant diseases . take
their toll yearly. Yet many dollars
could be saved each farmer if he
would follow preventative and con
Already this year the flea beetle
has damaged thousands of dollars
worth of tobacco in northwestern
With a favorable season and no
"control practices, the iboll weevil
may cut cotton production sharply
this season. However, by the ap
plication of prescribed methods,
farmers can check the weevil at
tacks. The Carolina farm features
schedule in full for the week of
June 28 July 3 follows: Monday,
John A. Arey, "Making Good Hay;"
Tuesday, M. E. Gardner, "Selling
Fruits and Vegetables;" Wednes
day, S. L. Clement, "Supply and
Export Situation of American To
bacco;" Thursday. Miss Ruth Cur
rent, "State College Farm and
Home Week ;" Friday, C. F. Par
rish; "Timely Poultry Practices;",
and Saturday, 4-H Club program.
N. C. Poultrymen
Rank High In U. S.
RALEIGH, N. C. June 3I.r
Hatcherymen and poultrymen of
North Carolina rank high in the
United States in both breed im
provement and Pullorum disease
control work, reports H. S. Wil
fong, senior poultrymen of the
state department of agriculture who
recently returned from the- con
ference on the national poultry im
provement plan which was held in
The conference was attended by
delegates representing 41 participat-'
'These representatives were in
agreement that this plan is the
means whereby poultry and hatch
ery products will be standardized
throughout the nation in regard to
name and quality, or, as the pre
amble of the plan states, 'the
primary purpose of the national
poultry improvement plan is to
identify authoritatively poultry
breeding stock, hatching eggs 'and
chicks by describing them in
terms uniform acceptable in all
parts of the country'," Mr. Wilfong
No major changes were made in
the present plan, but several amend
ments were adopted that will be
beneficial to poultry of the state,
including a special section 'which
will enable turkey breeders to co
operate, he said.