The Indians and pioneers made their lye by pouring water over wood ashes and letting it drain through, then straining and reboiling. It wants to be the color of weak tea. Half gallon of ashes will be plenty. Pour one quart of water over the ashes and let set in an iiron, wood, or granite container for 20 minutes. Then pour off and strain through a cloth. Two teacupsful of the boiling lye water is all that iis needed. Pour over one pint of sifted meal and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir until thick, then drop by spoonsful in meat broth in which some of the meat has been left.
Source: "From My Ozark Cupboard, A Basic Ozark Cook Book", by Cora Pinkley-Call, 1950