Tag Archives: Ozarks

photo of biscuits and gravy on a white plate.

A few days ago, someone on Twitter asked what biscuits and gravy was. I wrote, “They are only the most delicious and satisfying breakfast food in the world. It’s hot sausage cream gravy over baking powder and buttermilk biscuits.”

As you can tell, I think biscuits and gravy is my favorite food that is native to here in the Ozarks. It hasn’t always been that way because I have not always lived in the Ozarks.

Couldn’t Get Them in the North

Biscuits and gravy is a south-of-the-Mason-Dixon line sort of food. A few years ago, my daughter and I took a trip from here in Missouri to Pennsylvania where my family is from. While there, we went to a restaurant to have breakfast and she looked over the menu and said, “I don’t see the “biscuits and gravy”.

“Oh, honey, “ I said.  You won’t find them here. They don’t know what biscuits and gravy is.”

“Are you serious?” She asked.

“That’s right,” I replied. “Here they like French fries and gravy.”

‘”Really,” she asked.

“Yes really,” I replied but I digress. This is a post about biscuits and gravy.

Making My Own Biscuits and Gravy

One of the prerequisites of living in the Ozarks is knowing how to make good biscuits and gravy.

I start by baking the biscuits. according to the recipe on the package Personally, I like baking Grands biscuits, fresh and hot because my own creations often turn out like hockey pucks so I buy a tube of the commercial biscuits and start from there.

Next, I brown the sausage in a frying pan until it is thoroughly cooked. I set it aside.

I do make the gravy from scratch. I start by making a roux. To make the best roux, I start with some bacon grease that I saved from the last time we had bacon. I melt it in a frying pan on the stove and gradually add flour until the bacon grease is absorbed and browned slightly. I put some of it aside in case I need to thicken the mixture more. Next, I add milk and whisk the mixture until the milk thickens into a nice gravy. Add more milk or roux as needed to make the desired consistency.  I then add the sausage and salt and pepper to taste. When the biscuits are fully cooked and golden brown, the meal is ready to eat.

I like to split the biscuit in half and pour the gravy over it. My husband just likes to pour the gravy over the biscuit without exposing the fluffy inside. Whatever way you like it, biscuits and gravy is not only good for breakfast but can be eaten for supper as well.

Something Else I’ve Learned Lately

The nuances of biscuits and gravy aren’t all that I’ve learned. Because of all of the research that I did for Gourmet Weeds, (Purchase on my affiliate link on and support your local indie bookstore). I learned a lot of things that I didn’t know about foods we can forage here in the Ozarks. Not only that, but I also learned different ways of cooking those foraged foods.

Yes, I knew some of what I wrote about when we started Ozark Grannies’ Secrets, but I learned a lot from my co-author Kerry Kelley who was also a transplant from another part of the country. You can check out the post I wrote about her here. She is a treasure trove of valuable information about gardening, homeschooling, and homesteading in the Ozarks.

To learn more about purchasing books on, check out my article: A Neat Way to Purchase Books Online.

Kerry Kelley and I are publishing a book from Ozark Grannies’ Secrets about foraging and cooking foraged foods called Gourmet Weeds. Here’s a link to the Facebook page for the book.

Foraging is fun especially here in the Ozarks, but we have the most changeable weather in the country. When they say “If you don’t like the weather, don’t worry, it will change” is truer of the Ozarks than any other place I have been which is one of the reasons that we have such a diversity of plants and animals.

Another problem we have here in many areas of the Ozarks is the ability to get cell service and internet. These services are still spotty at times, especially along the rivers. Therefore it helps to learn the signs of incoming stormy weather.

Low Pressure Means Rain

Everyone has heard of an older person who says that the pain in their shoulders tells them when there’s going to be precipitation. Although many poo-poos this idea, there may actually be some scientific evidence that what this person is feeling is a change in the barometric pressure of the air. I know that at my age, I have started noticing that just before a weather event, my own arthritis begins to act up. Once the weather has passed, the arthritis pain subsides.


Another way to tell when the weather is going to change is by looking at the clouds. High fluffy clouds mean that there’s going to be good weather (at least until those clouds change). The lower the clouds hang in the sky, the more likely you’ll have weather. A high stacked cloud or thunderhead head indicates a thunderstorm is developing. A long rope of heavy clouds that hang low to the ground indicates that cyclonic or hail may be on its way.

Red Sky

There’s truth to the adage “Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.” A red sky at night indicates that the day will be sunny the following day.  A red sky in the morning, however, indicates that there is low air pressure and it is likely to rain that day.

How are Animals Behaving?

Insect-eating birds like swallows fly low right before the rain, and ants tend to build their anthills with higher, steeper sides. They become lazy and sluggish when it’s low. Also, if you notice that the bees and butterflies disappear from the flowers they usually visit, it means the storm is coming.

Rings around the Moon or Sun

If you see milky-white rings around the Sun or Moon, it’s a sign of extreme humidity and moisture coming closer to the Earth’s surface.

Curly Hair turns Frizzy

If you’re hiking and your curly hair goes crazy and your body’s perspiration doesn’t evaporate, this is indicative of high humidity in the air. This may or may not be a sign of incoming rain.

Where’s the Smoke?

If instead of smoke rising from a chimney, the smoke goes down the chimney, this indicates a low-pressure system and possible rain.


Wind speed, direction, and consistency are very indicative of what the weather is doing. If the wind velocity suddenly picks up, with swirling, gusty breezes, a front is approaching. A steady wind—moderate or light—is typically a sign of stable weather.

Changes in wind direction are one of the best indications of changes in the weather. East and northeast winds are the counterclockwise currents of a low-pressure center and often indicate stormy weather ahead.  Winds from the south often mean warm, humid conditions. They can bring rain, too, though often of a gentler variety than east winds. West and northwest winds are often harbingers of good weather—cool and crisp with a high barometer.


I have heard that dandelions close their flowers when a thunderstorm is approaching. I don’t think the dandelions in my yard got that memo because as I am writing this, I looked out at the dandelions in my yard and their flowers are open wide and I can hear thunder in the distance. They say the same about tulips and clover flowers as well.

Predicting the weather by observing nature improves with practice. If you really want to know if it is going to rain or not, I think that a good way is to watch weather forecasts and look for various ways that others say indicate rain. Now, observe what nature is doing around you. You can then write down what you observe and see if what you observe happens every time or even most of the time.  

Want to know more about me through the Author Cygnet Brown Profile Page

Excited About Our New Venture

Starting a New Book Series: Ozark Grannies’ Secrets

To join in more of the fun, check out Ozark Grannies’ Secrets on Facebook

Over the summer, I was selling cookies and books as well as some produce at the farmers’ market and even though there were times when we were busy, there were also times when we weren’t so I would talk with other vendors about things.

One of the topics was the fact that everyone liked my gardening books, but they didn’t just want general information, they wanted specific information about gardening in the Ozarks. If you know anything about the Ozarks, you know that we have a unique weather pattern. The statement that says “if you don’t like the weather, it will change” applies more to the Ozarks than any other part of the country maybe the world. This led us to thinking about how to better share the Ozarks with others through recipes and stories of people who can still share what makes the Ozarks so special.

This led to the idea that newcomers to the region probably won’t have a garden the first year, but just because they don’t have a garden doesn’t mean that they can’t eat from the land. The Ozarks has a rich landscape that produces all kinds of forageable foods many of which can’t be found in other places. Therefore, our book title is Gourmet Weeds. A gardening book is something we will want to write in the future.

Because it’s not the only book in the series, we decided we needed to have a brand for the series. we soon came up with the idea of Ozark Grannies’ Secrets. This series will cover a variety of topics that relate to the Ozarks.

What is an Ozark Granny?

What is an Ozark Granny? An Ozark Granny has often been referred to as an older woman who handles the home births of the backwoods families that didn’t have access to hospital care. However, an Ozark Granny is much more than that! Our series’ definition uses that extended definition when we call ourselves and anyone whose stories, we tell in the book who are Ozark Grannies.

More than just backwoods midwives, Ozark Grannies were the women with the knowledge of the old ways. They could make a meal of what they could find in their backyards or pantry shelves or woodsheds and knew how to heal using methods that were common to the area using home remedies. They had experience in gardening and could feed their families on a very low income. They had skills for making crafts from things that others would likely throw away.

The Series

In our book series, it is our intention to include recipes of different things that an Ozark Granny might have had in her recipe book or at least in her head. In this book, we are making it a point to specifically choose recipes in this book that at least one of the originators of the series has personally used. In future books, we hope to include recipes and stories from other Ozark grannies we meet around the Ozarks. If you live in the Ozarks and you have a recipe or story to share, we’d love to hear from you. Join our Facebook page and message us with your story and/or recipe.

Our First Book

Gourmet Weeds, Volume 1 is the name of the first of the Ozark Granny Secrets series.  In this book, we will be sharing our stories about these forageable foods, and the wonderful recipes where we have used these greens, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. You too can use in your meals using what’s growing in your backyard, the woods, or the fields. We only include recipes of our foraged foods that require only the addition of common store-bought staples.  No exotic ingredients are required.

Be sure to join our Facebook group and learn some Ozark Grannies’ Secrets and learn more about our progress on our first book of the Ozark Grannies’ Secrets series. Click here

Sexism and Racism

Ozarks Hillbilly

This past week I had the privilege of taking with some women who had similar views concerning social justice issues that I have. We talked about racial issues, gender issues, poverty and history. The American Civil War was the major catalyst of the conversation. We talked about racism and sexism and how unfortunately both are alive and well in this country. we talked about how much of the culture here still hold to the idea that somehow white Anglo Saxon males were still the Lord and master.

The Ozarks Stereotype

Part of what we talked about was how people from other parts of the country view people from the Ozarks. What comes to your mind when you think of the Ozarks? My guess is that when you think of the Ozarks, you might think about the characters from the television show the Beverly Hill Billies, or the characters in the movie Winter’s Bones (Won an Academy Award), or possibly the characters in the book Weight of Blood. Individuals of the Ozarks are often portrayed as poorly educated, clannish, and often bigoted red-necked, white trash who drink home- brewed moonshine, take meth and sit on the rocker on the front porch waiting for their government checks to arrive.

Ozarks Quilt

Homemade Crafts and Grandma’s Home Cooking And Good Music

Another face of the Ozarks are homemade crafts. Crafts around here include homemade quilts, hand knitted and crocheted items, hand spun and woven materials, artisan woodwork. Blacksmithing and farriering are both still practiced in the area.

The food around here is stick-to-your-ribs good. Breakfast wouldn’t be breakfast without homemade pork sausage and biscuits and gravy. Lunches and dinners might involve barbecued beef, chicken or pork or even fried chicken served with mashed potatoes and country gravy with a vegetable for a side. This time of year, dessert is likely to include fresh picked blackberries in a cobbler with homemade ice cream.


Recreational activities usually revolve around hunting, fishing, or canoeing. After a good day at the river or hiking in the woods, you would understand why the sidewalks roll up after five pm in the small Ozarks communities. You are too tired to think about going out.

The face of the Ozarks would not be complete without a word or two about the music. the instruments played in Ozarks music has included drums, guitars, fiddles, and at times a ceramic jug. Just south of where I am sitting and writing this blog, is the town of Mammoth Springs Arkansas, the inspiration for the Grand Ole Opery. One of the biggest towns in this area, West Plains has a street named after Porter Waggoner a pioneer in country music.


Porter Wagoner in 1999

The Future Face of The Ozarks

Recently,  I witnesses a new face in the Ozarks. I had the privilege of sitting in on The Oregon County Youth Council meeting (Oregon county, by the way is currently the poorest county in Missouri) where a group of enterprising high school students are looking to make the county a better place to live. Last night’s discussion was about starting a weekly county newspaper. Although six other papers (5 weeklies, 1 daily) service the county, they do not adequately serve the county. Because of the cost of the project, the group determined that it would be better to begin by creating an online paper and forgo the cost of printing on paper for the time being.

Already this summer, the youth council has sponsored two movie events in a local park where they paid a band to come in before the movie and play for the participants. In addition, there were games for the kids and most everything was pay as you are able for any who attended. They have another movie event planned for this weekend.

Finally, the County Youth Council plans to help needy students in one under-served school in the county by helping children get school supplies and backpacks. And they are planning to fund and build a self-sustaining tiny house complete with solar power as the first of what they hope will be a community of tiny homes that not only offer housing, but healthy organically grown food as well. The hope of the Ozarks appears to be in good hands.

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