This is the start of something new for my blog. These are still Helberg Farm Stories, but they are from our family past. I have decided to share some of my fondest memories one day a week, then current happenings another. Hope you enjoy reading these as much as I loved living them.
This first one happened when my younger sister was 4, and I was 6 (and yes, I do remember it very well). (F.Y.I. my younger sister will be “D” and older will be “M”, in case they do not agree with my humor – hee hee)
It was a normal spring day in Wisconsin. It had rained the night before, so everything was very wet (a Wisconsin natural state of being). Mom was tired of hearing us fight – AGAIN – so she kicked us outside. Looking around for a bit, riding became the order of the day.
Now that I think back on it all we were pretty lucky. Our farm was eighty acres of rolling hills, woods, creek, and pond. We also had great neighbors that would let us ride on their properties. John’s Woods (the name we gave it) was an excellent place to ride and let the child imaginations run wild. It was about 2 miles long with a perfect square cut out in the middle of it. This is where a ton of our stories happened. But for today, this one was actually up by the house.
The family garden was about 100 feet long and about 25 feet across. We had to grow enough to harvest and process to get us through the next fall. A wooden fence protected the two sides to the field. We had horses but also raised beef calves and wintered YMCA horses, so we needed the pasture land for all of them. Our riding this wet morning took us to that area of the pasture.
Mom was in the kitchen cleaning it up which included doing dishes. The window over the sink for the dishes faced the garden and that part of the pasture – or most of it. The far end corner could not be seen clearly from this window. This, I believe, is what made this story most funny (for me anyway, mom didn’t think so.).
I do not remember what game we were playing that day. I just remember the race. There was a huge apple tree next to the long side of the garden, but on the pasture side of the fence. Our goal was to run our horses up to that apple tree, touch it, and race back to the barn. First back, of course, wins.
My horse, Folly, was a beautiful red and white pinto. And she was fast! My sister’s horse was an off-white buckskin with black mane and tail. Her name was Highstockings because she had four black legs from hoof to knee. Looked just like she had on high stockings (duh!?!).
Well, we got out to the tree just fine, but on the return trip Highstockings did not make the far garden corner, she lost her footing and rolled over my sister (remember she is only four years old). Folly, into the moment, ran straight for the barn. I jumped off and ran to the house and yelled “D.’s dead.” Mom freaked out as she only caught the tail of the horse making the corner, but did not see the whole fall.
(yep, we pretended we were this fast!)
Mom and dad both ran out across the back yard and leaped the fence – then stopped dead in their tracks. Not only was D. just fine, but she had the reins of the horse up to its mouth held firm in her tiny fist. She had pulled the horses’ head down till its nose was even with her face, which was now covered in mud. Her little 4-year-old fist was punching the horse in the nose while she was yelling, “Don’t ever do that again!” (Like it was the horse’s fault we were so stupid?)
To the day they died, my parents loved telling this story. It took all they had not to laugh hysterically at this mud-drenched, 4-year-old little girl, punching a full grown horse (not a pony mind you, we had HORSES!) because it had lost its footing due to her stupidity on taking the corner so fast when it was this wet. Of course, now it is one of the thousands of great stories we love to tell when the family gets together.
(Ok, regular horses not Draft horses – but you get the size difference!)
(My only regret sharing these is that the amazing pictures I had saved from back then were all destroyed in our house fire in 2014 – maybe some of my extended family back there will read this and have some to share with me? Yes, Cousins, that is a hint!)
(This is pretty close to what she looked like, just darker hair and a bit more mud on the face. The puddle looked the same.)