“The best thing that happened to us and our marriage was buying this farm,” says Sheryl Childers of Morgan County.
Now married for 43 years, Sheryl and husband Mike actually started their beef cattle operation because of their children.
“Our kids were involved in 4-H and showed calves, so we really started very small by buying show steers for them. Over the years we bought more calves and eventually some cows,” explains Sheryl, adding that although her children are now grown, show calves are still part of the farm.
“We breed Chi-Angus crossed cattle with the intention of making some available for show calves, so show cattle are still an important part of our operation,” she says.
Sheryl says she still loves calving season every year, but their grandchildren have led Mike and Sheryl to a different sort of livestock showing: goats.
“Two of our grandkids started showing goats last year at the county fairs, and it’s been fun to see the little ones enjoying that,” she said.
In addition to spending time with her family on the farm, Sheryl says she still enjoys cooking for her family as well.
“I don’t do as much day-to-day cooking as I used to. Now I do more cooking on the weekends than I do during the week, and I still like to have any of the children and grandchildren that can be here for Sunday lunch at my house,” she says.
Sheryl learned to cook as a young girl, preparing meals for her father and stepmother who worked in a cotton mill.
“As soon as I could reach the stove, I had to have their lunch in the oven before I could go swim at the Y,” recalls Sheryl, adding that she learned to cook mostly on her own.
“I watched my grandmother, and home economics in high school helped some, but mostly I just got in the kitchen and tried to cook,” she explains.
Today her cooking by “feel” continues, sometimes causing her family to tease her about her inability to share many exact recipes.
“My daughters-in-law say I sabotage a recipe if I share it with them because I’ll forget I didn’t follow a recipe exactly, so I don’t include the changes I made. When they try to make something I’ve cooked and it doesn’t turn out the same, they’ll kid me that I changed the recipe on purpose, but I really don’t,” Sheryl says.
For this month’s Country Kitchen, Sheryl shares several of her family’s favorite recipes, like Lazy U Chocolate Cake and Calico Bean Pot, as well as some treats she often makes for the holidays, such as Crockpot Candy and Putting on the Ritz.