I SWEAR, SOMETHING’S LIVING IN THERE!

We recently lost the last of our chickens.  This is not something new, as farmers we know there will always be predators that attack all parts of a farm.

  • Prairie dogs making leg-breaking holes in animal pastures.
  • Gophers-from-hell eating the roots of our asparagus.
  • Snakes popping up when you least expect them (luckily, I only had a Rattler once -knock on wood!).
  • Skunks hiding in the cat barn to sleep with a warm, furry, bundle of cats and eat their food (yes, one of them crawled out from the cat bed box on a frigid winter day and scared the snot out of me. I calmly said: “Good Morning.” Then backed out of the barn rather fast.).
  • An opossum choosing to hang out in our barn to avoid bad storms (the little sucker hung around for over a week, and popped up in a variety of places.).

oppossum

I want to find out what monster is living in my chicken barn, but a big part of me is also afraid.  Just my luck, it will lunge at me when I discover it (eeek!!). My sister was so nice and brought up the option that it might be a badger – great?!?  Yes, we do have those out here, but we have not seen any on our property since we first bought the farm (2000).  We initially had one living on the side of the hill by the pond.  We left it alone, and it left us alone.  Roughly four years later, it disappeared.  We have not noticed any living signs on our property since (would like it to stay that way – mean critters!).

badger

During cold winter times, we purchase the critter foods and put them immediately into containers.  Then the empty bags are piled up until spring and then put into the trash.  We usually put bags into bags and simply leave them until the weather is warmer for dragging the empties to our trash.  Things have been so strange this year, that the bags have piled up.  My fear is my monster is hiding in that pile.

I have left the barn door open the last several nights (since the loss of our last chicken) in hopes that whatever got stuck in the barn has now made its way out.  Today is the day of discovery.  My task, since the winds-from-hell have subsided, is to get in there and pull everything out.  We stored large dog kennels, that we used for various reasons, in there.  I have peeked into those already and no monsters.  I do want to drag them out so I can get back in the corner behind them.   Wish me luck that all meanies are gone!

Here’s to spring cleaning – eeek!

spring cleaning

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ALL RIGHT, What Are You Trying To Tell Me?

Apparently, I am going to have to have a talk with my house critters AGAIN!  I don’t know if it is because I am a farm girl, because I love critters, or because I instinctively watch nature, but something is trying to tell me something.

This time every year we get critters in the house:

  • Ladybugs
  • Spiders
  • Mice
  • An occasional snake (yep – actually the cat brought it in, but it was just a baby snake – eek!)

We know the routine of the mice (have not found their entry point yet – grr!), and traps work perfectly according to the barn cats (they get the snapped goodies).

cat w mouse

Ladybugs only come in every few years, and they usually bunch in the corner of the ceiling.  The weird part is they disappear after about a month, and not a single body is found anywhere in the house??  By the time they disappear, it is very cold and/or snowy outside, so I am sure they do not go back out – so where is their “panic” room? The issue this year is my spiders.

Now I really thought my spiders and I had a pretty good understanding:

“Stay on the ceiling, up out of reach, and you live.  Get down to my feet, and you die.”

Simple, easy to understand, a beneficial agreement that has been adhered to for almost a decade now.  At least that was until about October of this year.  I have been killing (just by stepping on) at least five spiders per week since about the first of October.  WHAT THE HECK??  They are in our home year-round but understand that their place is on the ceiling and up in the skylight.  Why are they all down at my feet?  Do they all have a death wish now?

Most of the above pics are small spiders.  The Garden (Orb – the one with the yellow stripe legs) spider is bigger and usually hangs out in the barn or greenhouse, basically an outside critter just like the Crab spider (the one with the pointy back that looks like a shell).  The other three, along with the Daddy Long Legs are found in our home.

I started this post in early October.  It is now the 20th of November, and I have still been finding at least 3-5 per week down at my level for a death sentence.  This one I almost stepped on BARE FOOTED this morning heading to the bathroom:

wind spider 11-20-19 (the front mandibles are barely visible but look for the darker brown tips to see how long they are)

I can’t stand these guys!  They are not native to Colorado and do not like the cold (it will die in the cold or, as I found, in too much water).  They are called Wind Scorpion Spiders, and we have been told that they most likely came in on military gear coming back from a very dry desert climate.  THEY DO NOT BITE HUMANS, which was the first thing we had looked into.  Never-the-less I just can’t stand looking at them.  This one is normal size – about the size of a half-dollar (that’s with leg and mandible reach).  I even prefer the garden spider to this thing, maybe because it does not look like a spider to me. (Got to tell you I am creeping myself out right now – yuck!!)

I have seen a Wolf spider too up-close and personal for my liking, so I know about them.  Black Widows were in the pine bushes in my home in Denver, so I know what they look like and where to watch for them.  I was bitten by a Brown Recluse, so I am extremely wary of them.  But none of those freak me out like the Wind Scorpion – not sure exactly why?

The simple fact is that too many spiders have shown up not just in the house, but specifically downstairs (my turf) and at my stomping level.  This is not the norm and not in our agreement!  I am pretty sure they are all trying to tell me something about the environment, but my spider-eeze is not working very well this year.

So, for now, I will continue my daily discussions with the general household insect staff about the house rules and how to avoid death.  I hope that they will all just settle down in the fact that I do not have their natural instincts regarding the ecosystem, I cannot speak their language, and I will have to deal with whatever good Ole Mom Nature decides to throw at us.  Wish me luck!

nice mom nature         grumpy me

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You Just Gotta Love This One!

This is my “short and sweet” for today.

Predictions of any kind intrigue me.  Old wives tales, folklore, you name it, and I love to read up on it.  My latest e-newsletter from Farmer’s Almanac is one I have not heard before:

Like Snow? Count The Number of Fogs!

by Farmers’ Almanac Staff | Posted In: WeatherFeatured

fog

We have had one heavy fog morning this first week of August, so I will try to keep track of this whole concept and see how we do over the next 6-8 months.

I have to admit that I also love the fog, the rain, and a great thunderstorm.

We have been breaking some heat records over the last few weeks, so it will be really interesting to see what cooks up this winter.  Perhaps it’s time to break out the long underwear?

long underwear  (Ooo – I want a pair with duck feet – hee hee)

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THIS IS A FIRST!

When we moved to the farm, we neglected to check out weather patterns.  In the long run, this was a good thing.  It was the first of three years of the worst drought Colorado had seen in 100+ years.  It was the perfect time for us to learn all about water usage (in the right spot at the right time) and conservation.

water conservation

This year we have the complete opposite.  We are mid-June and still very green.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the green (it’s not my Irish roots, but my garden roots), it’s just that this much of it here at this time of year is very odd.

Usually, we get less rain and higher temps about now.  The gardens pop up like gangbusters and bring all the weeds with them.  The biggest benefit of our dryer weather is that it is much easier to keep the weeds semi under control (all gardeners know you cannot completely control weeds – physically impossible).  With all the rains and cooler temps, the weeds are thick and thriving – grrr!

coyote HELP

It’s just been so strange:

  • Green everywhere, even where the farmers are not using their sprinkler systems.
  • Humidity – that is a major “ugly” word out here. It’s supposed to be dry and easier to breathe.
  • Thrown off mowing schedule – this just ticks me off! Normally only mow once a week or even every two weeks.  Now it’s every couple of days – I don’t have that kind of time?!
  • More moisture – not necessarily a bad thing, just not normal. With more moisture comes all the extras we don’t usually have: Mushrooms (not edible and on/in everything), thick prolific weeds, wet everything in the mornings, and humidity – ugh!

Mushrooms in grass

You would think that a kid from Wisconsin would appreciate and be used to “wet” – nope – been in Colorado long enough to know that dry in the morning is helpful for gardeners.  I like to get my mowing done in the early mornings.  It’s better for the grass and, for here, less wind.  It usually means fewer bugs.  Now the bugs and my allergies are running amok.

sneezing   (Thank you, Dave – so true!)

Guess I just need to stop bitching, appreciate the moisture (because it may not be here later), pull up my big-girl-panties, and get my chores done.

Happy Gardening Everyone!!

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THE 50s SUCK! (Promise not to laugh too hard?)

(Oops – was supposed to post this on my other blog – www.lifelessonslived.com, but not enough coffee I guess.  Accidentally posted in here so some of my followers may see this one twice.  Sorry, will try to be more awake next time – dang dragging again!)

I’m not talking about the decade of the 1950s.  I am talking about the ages of 50 to 59 in life.

Since this year I will be finally moving out of the 50s, I have earned the right to share how disgusting my 50s were for me.  I will start by sharing the obvious things:

  • SAGGING
  • BAGGING
  • TAGGING
  • DRAGGING

(WARNING: Heavy laughter may follow.)

Sagging: The obvious one that everyone talks about.  You hit 50 and all of a sudden EVERYTHING starts to sag.  Now, I was endowed with a rather large front end. I should say cursed!  It has been a burden all of my life, and every time I thought I had a chance to remove part (most) of it, something else happened.  My timing was ALWAYS off, now I have issues with high blood pressure, so it’s an iffy surgery.  To those of you out there with the same affliction all, I can tell you is DON’T WAIT FOR THAT RIGHT MOMENT – GET IT DONE NOW!  The reason is obvious – sagging big-time later in life (and it is not a pretty sight at the beach).

 

 

(Droopy’s cheeks and camel humps – put that on the front of a woman and that’s a sight of wanting to go blind for!)

Bagging: Another semi-obvious occurrence that happens when one gets older.  My over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder does not support as it used to.  (Yes, I am talking about my bra.)  I still buy the same brand as it has never failed me; however, now they do not seem to hold up as long as they used to.  I am blaming bagging.  If the boulders were not so baggy (kind of goes with the saggy automatically), the holder-upper would not be so strained therefore could last longer?  Perhaps. Then there is the backside.  I have a pronounced bootie to match my saggies upfront.  This part I am blaming on having a desk job too long connected with my love of all things pastry.  Yes, it is my own fault – but did the sucker have to go so far into baggy era?  I mean a little drooping I can understand, but when you trip over yourself stepping backward it’s not a good thing!

 

 

Tagging:  This one some of you may be lucky enough to have never had to deal with – skin tags (age spots are in this category as well).  I was scratching my shoulder in the back, and my fingernail caught something.  I thought maybe I had scratched myself there without knowing and now accidentally ripped off the scar tissue.  But NOOOO – I actually ripped off a skin tag!?  That tiny sucker bleed like I had slashed open my back?  I swear that these are produced by nasty little Age Gremlins that sneak into my room at night and spit on me.  They were never on my body until after age 50, and now they are showing up in the strangest places (damn Age Gremlins!)?

 

 

Dragging:  I am not talking about the effects of sagging or even bagging (although when I bend over to pick up something, it could be construed as such.), I am talking about lack of sleep.  Our favorite over 50 phrase appears to be “my butt is dragging” which interpreted means: I need more sleep.  It becomes impossible to get more than 4-6 hours of sleep per night without some type of over-the-counter medication.  Then when I do get up, I seem to be yawning all day long.

butt dragging

When I was in my twenties and thirties, I was proud of the fact that I was able to work two or three jobs at a time, go to classes to better myself part time, and raise my disabled daughter (including her 20 years of surgeries).  I bought a home, a vehicle and even found time to take mini-vacations with my daughter and mom.  Now I would love a vacation – but this time to someplace quiet, peaceful, and out in the middle of nowhere.  Throw in a huge snuggle chair next to an awesome fireplace for reading, and a hot tub to really relax (FYI – if you can put that in a “cabin in the woods” form and I may never leave.  Something very soothing about sitting in a hot tub while the snow is falling gently outside.  (Yes – been there, done that.)

 

 

We purchased a stationary bike after my surgeries to help my knees maintain strength.  It’s stationary alright.  It sits there laughing at me every day.  First, I kept it downstairs right outside my bedroom so I would have the incentive to get on it every morning.  That didn’t work because I MUST have my morning coffee before anything!  Then we moved it upstairs right smack in the middle of the living room.  This was last New Year day (2018), and I was really into the step counting thing for a while (per my sisters challenge to me).  Then, as always, something happened.  In this case, it was grown kids that we tried to help that shit on us, and we had to clean up the mess.  That was followed by a tornado and the death of our oldest sister (unexpected).  Last, but not least, thing was grandsons nose-bleeds-from-hell.  Ended up taking him to a specialist to get the suckers to stop (would pour out of his nose like he was some nasty red faucet? Yuck!).  Thus, bike on a back burner.

stationary bike from hell

Here we are in a new year with new goals (mine, remember, is to have a boring year – no drama) and I have only sat on that monster twice – SHAME ON ME!  This morning my sister threw it in my face.  She was up at the butt-crack of midnight and:

    • On the bike for 30-minutes (Fricken Speed Racer-grr)
    • Cleaned the kitchen.
    • Planted more seed starts.
    • Made a bunch more waffles to freeze for the grandson
    • Made up a pot of Chicken Alfredo AND noodles this time (last was in potpie form)

 

  • Took a shower
  • Got dressed and ready for work
  • Made her lunch and oatmeal for her breakfast.

WHAT A SHOW OFF!  Dang – the guilt it too much!  Now I have to get back on the monster and hope my saggy baggy backend doesn’t slide off the seat!

pissed old lady

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OLD FAITHFUL DOES IT FOR ME AGAIN!

Just when I thought I knew a boat-load of growing, gardening, and preserving foodstuff, along comes my old faithful Farmers Almanac and throws me for a loop.

12 Uses For Apples You Probably Didn’t Know About

by Beth Herman

Half of the unique uses I did know, but there is also half that I did not know:

  • #5. Remove Excess Salt from Soups and Casseroles – WOW!
  • #8 Combat Dandruff – go figure!
  • #11 I would never do. Apples are way too yummy and expensive to use as crafts.

What great little tidbits of information they were so kind to share.  I just had to pass their share on to you.

I love that they have been around for over a century since 1792 to be exact.  They have garnered so many amazing bits of information.  I can’t just call it gardening help, because they offer so much more.  They still create (in print no less) a fantastic almanac faithfully every year with loads of information to deal with the year ahead.  I LOVE THAT!

Old farmers almanac

Every single one of the emails I receive from them contains something that I just need to read or know more about.  I don’t think there was ever an email from them that I did not get some new information.

One of the biggest reasons we chose this place to build our farm/retirement life was because we were amazed at the information sharing, right from day one.

The day we moved out here we had a huge moving van with all our Denver belongings in it.  I clearly remember that we (moving men and us) were struggling with getting the 100+-year-old piano out of the van and into the old farmhouse (grass and tiny little wheels do not go together).  After someone finally figured out that laying down the wood planks they used for unloading onto the grass would make a great walkway for the piano to roll; an old Ford Bronco pulled into our driveway.

A man all dressed up in a head-to-toe white suit stepped out and watched our maneuvering of the piano.  Once I was sure everyone had it, I went over to the guy.  My initial thought was terror “OMG, we just bought a place that has toxic waste, and the EPA was here to shut us down or make us bare the expense of cleaning it up!”  As I got closer, he smiled and said:

“Got bees?”

WHAT?  I was flabbergasted!  Got bees?  We were now close enough to hear each other and he began explaining that he was a beekeeper and with the drought, noticed that we had a pond.  He would love to put some bees on our property and pulled in to say hello and would it be ok?

happy bee

This is how we initially met one of our best friends – Keith and his wife, Judy.  We share information and help here just like the Farmers Almanac has done for centuries, except we have only been here 18 years.

We have made tons of fantastic friends here, and each has different things to share.  I love that we may all have different political views and religious beliefs but have a common love of the land and all things growing.

Hmm, maybe if we can elect world leaders that thought more about caring for the land and sharing useful information to improve life, we would all live in a great world.

(I LOVE this song – had to end with this – enjoy!)

wonderful world phrase

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SPIDERS – FRIEND OR FOE?

If you are squeamish about spiders, I suggest you move on now!

Living on a small rural farm, we tend to get tons of spiders.  The spiders and I have an understanding: You stay up on the ceiling, and you live.  Come down to my level, and you die!  It is working, for the most part.  I recently read a new article shared by my friends at the Smithsonian…Why Should or Shoudn’t You Kill Spiders in Your Home by Joanie Faletto of Curiosity.com.

I love to share the stuff I read, especially when it includes something that I did not know before.  This article explained that what I call Daddy Long Legs is actually called a Cellar Spider.  The interesting part is these friends of mine (yep, I even hold them to move them to plants that need more natural protectors)  kill Black Widow spiders (one of my long nemesis).

I have seen many of both.  Thankfully never been bit by the Black Widow (knock-on-wood), but have been bit by the Brown Recluse – nasty monsters!  Now that I know my friendly Daddy Long Legs can keep at least one of the monsters at bay, I will have to bring many more up around the house.

This is what the Recluse looks like – remember it is a very semi-small spider.  No bigger than the Black Widow:

brown recluse spider

(Sometimes called the “fiddle back” spider – look close on the head area and you can see a type of fiddle)  This is what the bite on my leg looked like just before I finally went to my doctor about it:

Brown-recluse-spider-bite-1

I am a tough old bird, and I have my mother’s high tolerance for pain.  I tried just using peroxide as I do with most cuts, that was my downfall.  According to my doctor, the peroxide and bandage did the wrong thing – kept it moist – instead of keeping it clean.  When moist, it will just get worse – and it did.

This is what it looks like now:

scar-now.jpg

I think, at least for now, I have decided to continue to allow the spiders in our home – within reason.  Recluse beware – I will destroy any and all I find!

cartoon squashed spider

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ONCE MORE WE TRAVEL INTO THE LAND OF THE LOST.

I was not sure how to approach the interesting thing that happens this time of year.  Yes, it is a new year, but it is also re-visitation time for garden prep season.  With this season comes the attack of  The Gardening Catalogs from Hell – dun dun daaa!

seed catalogs

Those of you that have been gardeners for more than a year are fully aware of this danger.  You receive so many catalogs, filled with so much fun stuff; you become a Seed Catalog Junkie.  Sad but true, this is a disease.  I have been lucky enough to not become infected.  I limit myself to the task of making only the final decisions.  My sister, however, is severely infected.

The ritual is for me to pick up the mail and gently place all garden and seed catalogs into her favorite chair.  Her fav chair is on the mud porch (where she smokes – yuckie I know, but another bad habit she has), where she is solitary most of the time.  Friday nights we hold game night in there, and the dogs get to stay in there at night or days that are super cold.

In her solitary confinement, she meditates on the varieties, colors, sizes, shapes, prices, and shipping.  All of these things are used in determining who will be the prize winners and receive our selections.

1st place winner-ugly dog

It must be noted that all of our entries are from organic, natural, and mostly heirloom variety sellers.  We do not get into anything GMO and only look at hybrids in flowers.  Each year we try to select something that we have never tried to grow before (Last year was melons and winter squash – in the greenhouse.  Had some tricks to learn, but it worked – woohoo!).  Tried peanuts once – big mistake but an interesting grow.  Until we tried, I did not know that they had to grow up, down, back into the ground to create the peanut.  Weirdest thing I have ever seen a food plant do.  Not much for peanuts anyway (love P.B.J. though-yum).

peanut plant

My secluded sister spends about two months going through all the catalogs (starts around Thanksgiving) and then presents me with her selections about mid-January.  The poor thing comes to me like the Hunchback of Notre Dame; all bent out of shape, glazed eyes, staggering – it’s sad.

hunchback   (yes, hee hee, her hair does look like that – she’s gonna kill me for this post.)

I gingerly accept the catalogs and various spreadsheets from her (including all the scribbles, highlights, and sticky notes) and quietly slip into the office to review.

I then have to remember to ask her if she checked all her findings against our current seed collection.  You would think by now either she or I would remember do to this first – not.  Angry, frustrated, and mentally over-worked she snatches back the documents and heads back to her solitary confinement.

angry kitty face

Once again she emerges from the bowels of the porch and presents me with the “updated” documents, and once again I gingerly accept them.  I do fail to mention that I have, while she was re-working everything, dug up last year’s seed order inventory, compared it to our spreadsheets on planting and growing progress, and created an updated inventory with which to begin this new year list. Finally:

TADA –  HOUSTON WE HAVE LIFT OFF!

AB snowman

Gold stars all around! 

This new year’s seed orders are complete and thus sailing into charted waters and:

our bounty 2016    A boon be the bounty ahead.   Arrrgg Matie.

 

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Do You Miss Home? Part 4 – Winter.

A true child’s story of winter.

When winter finally set in the snow would start.  I am sure we must have had snow-days due to the heavy snowfalls, but I don’t remember them.  I do remember spending almost every daytime second outside.  We didn’t care how cold it was; it didn’t matter.  You know how they dress the kid from A Christmas Story all bundled up – that was how all of us looked every time we went out to play.  My little sister and I would just flop down on the heavy blanket of snow and roll all the way down the hill.  It was a blast and a beautiful memory – even the struggle trying to climb back up to do it all again.

kid in full snowsuit (Yes – we looked EXACTLY like this every winter!)

Christmas was a wondrous time, but winter itself was (still is) my thrill.  Snow drifts would build over six feet high and get a frozen, crusty layer on the top of them.  That was always our snow forts.  We would start hollowing the drifts out and make tunnels, doorways, windows all along the drifts.  As long as the weather stayed freezing, the drifts would stay in that shape from playtime to playtime.

These pics give you the idea. However, we were never such woosies that we had to use portable fire pits. (Mainly because we did not have them back then.)  Oh, and NO DRINKS of any kind.  When we got cold enough, into the house, we would go, and mom always had hot cocoa on the stove waiting.  A bowl of marsh mellow’s on the side, please.

The kids on top of the snowbank are exactly what we looked like.  Not so many trees, more steep rolling hills.  When dad came through the driveway, around the barns and sheds with the tractor and front end blade;  the snow would really pile up on the banks, and then the fun would begin.

old tractor and plow

(Yep, this was like ours but no Quonset, we had a machine shed -bigger than a Quonset – that kept all of our farm equipment.)

We also did not have sleds we had saucers and one huge bad-ass toboggan.  The toboggan held the whole family if we squished together, it was huge!  The saucers were the most fun for us.  Not only did they go downhill the fastest, but they were lighter/easier to lug back up the hill, and could easily be hooked on ropes behind that little tractor and pull us all over the place.  Our large field off the yards and gardens was our favorite.  Plenty of room to swing way out when sledding.  Think of water skiing only sitting down on a big metal saucer (yes, our original ones were metal – never grab without gloves metal), hanging onto the heavy rope handle that was tied to the tractor.  Dad’s job: Take corners fast enough to swing us wide and try to dump us off our sleds – happened every time.  Dad 3, daughters 0.

Kids saucer-plastic      This is a new version of our old favorite, and yes, if I had the opportunity to try one today – I would!

kids saucer-metal   This one is almost exactly like ours – but no tow-rope or connectors for it, and the handles were a heavier rope type, not floppy like these nylon-cloth ones.  Man, could it fly down the fields and across the snow!  Think about your car sliding around on icy roads.  That would be us only laughing about it all the way.

When it gets right down to it, I still believe that winter is my favorite of the seasons.  The others have their merits, but winter is:

  • Family
    • Christmas
      • Fun
        • Warmth
          • Sharing
            • Playing
              • HOME

Tis the season to remind us that snow is here specifically for the kid in us all.

winter-time for home

(Oh, and a Merry Christmas to all!)

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DO YOU MISS HOME? Part 3 – Fall.

A true child’s story.

In the fall the whole family was engaged in putting up food.  I remember a huge walk-in, dirt floor, always cold pantry in the basement.  Three walls were lined with shelves for the tons of processed food jars to be properly placed on.  The center of the room had a huge wooden box.  This was where all the potatoes (that is the ones that we did not eat raw) went.  I dream of having something like that in our home now.  I also want to see it stocked full by the first frost.  Has not happened yet, but I have a goal.

The best part of fall was all the taste-testing:

  • Pick it fresh from the vine, tree, root, or wherever it may be growing and munch.
  • Sample ALL jams, jellies, sauces, preserves – before they are done and packed.
  • Enjoy the first of everything made at Thanksgiving with family and friends.

(Not us, but you get the idea just by the faces of these kids.)

While doing my research for this post, I was saddened by the fact that I do not have any more cherished family photo memories.  The fire of 2014 took them all out.  The fact that my wonderful photo memories are gone also helped me to see something that I didn’t before.  I went looking for pics that would be as similar as possible to my original memories.  I was shocked to discover that almost all the photos that came up in my searches were not of kids in real gardens.  A real garden (like what we grew up on) has:

  • No wooden or plastic borders.
  • Simple dirt, maybe a bit of straw, for walkways between the rows.
  • Kids that will get FILTHY while picking all the good stuffs (cuz everything on a kid with dirt turns into mud.).
  • Parents watching the kids all the time because they will eat all the food before you have time to process it.
  • Weeds that will continue to pop up no matter how much you work on them.
  • Not massive acres tended by dozens of people, but a simple backyard size that is managed by using just the family members.
  • Everyone is always smiling because you can see before you the labors of a job done in love, and a job well done.

I remember being down on the ground with bare legs getting full of dirt.  Using both hands (no gloves) to dig into the dirt and pull out potatoes and carrots.  Crawling along the row with those same dirty knees to pick every last one of the beans, peas, and all the other tiny veggies.  Heaven forbids if we missed even one. Oh almost forgot, the children were allowed to go back into the garden area when we were all done gathering the processing foods, to gleen off what may have been missed.  It was never much – but it was fun looking.  At this point, we were allowed to tear the snot out of the garden.  It’s always more fun to tear things apart than to build them.

like our garden 1

(Close, but this is city and has sheds that we did not have back then.  Also picture it about 10-times bigger.)

It would take days, sometimes weeks, to get everything processed and put up in the basement, dirt floor pantry.  I remember walking ever so carefully down those cement stairs to the basement, arms loaded with great foods.  Hang a tight right and straight on to the pantry door.  Watch your step because you had to step down to the dirt floor.  Always, someone older would take the jars of deliciousness from our arms and place them in proper order on the shelves.

The items still left from the year before were brought forward, and the new year’s yummies were placed in line behind them. Next stop – Thanksgiving Day!

We always held the family Thanksgiving party at our farm.  All morning (and most years the night before) were spent bringing up the stored goodies and prepping them for the day of feasting.  I say a “day” of feasting as our family did not just do the one meal.  People started showing up about 10:00 a.m. and some did not leave till after 10:00 p.m.

We had a huge dining room area with a huge rectangle table in the middle of it.  To give you the scope of huge – we also had an antique upright piano, a rounded glass china cabinet, as well as a couple of storage cabinets – oh and an outstanding tree/chair coat rack. (Mom had this thing for tiger wood – we still do.)  All of these things were in the same room as the dining room table.  Granted, the table leaf was added for these special occasions, but how it all fit in, with all of the people getting around it to fill plates, all day long; amazes me to this day.

(The piano and cabinet are identical to ours.  The table is similar, but the chairs were not so fancy.  I just remember hiding under there when our dad’s dad came to visit.  It was a very German thing to chase the little kids and pinch them – I have no idea why?)

Later in the day, the football games would start.  The men would retire with their plates of food into the living room and start screaming and yelling at the poor TV.  The women would gather in the kitchen which was always the place of interesting conversations, and a lot of laughing. (There is a WHOLE other story around “kitchens” and my memories.  Saved for another day.).  The kids would shoot outside like bullets at the first chance to flee.  We had horses, a hay barn, straw mounds with rope swings, and if we were lucky to have a good snow before Thanksgiving, snow to sled on down our steep hills.

kids going off to dream build

Our wonderful 80-acre farm was a fantastic place to grow up.  The limitations were only held back by our own imaginations.

Tis the season for reminding siblings that fresh veggies are better when shared.

I can fly - kid

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