Little White Plastic Boots.

I find it funny, as I grow older, the things I do and don’t remember. I know that it is normal for the human brain to block out really horrible things that happen, but there are times that it seems I blocked out the physical pain and I am not sure why?

My prime example of this came back as a partial dream the other night. Most dreams, I feel, are just an extension of things that happened during the day. Things that may have affected me, more than I realized, at that moment. This one was a blast-from-the-past wild one. Have no clue what brought it up from the depths of my overloaded brain.

When I was about six or seven, I had these great little white plastic (Rubber was too expensive for a little farm kid to play in), and I loved them. I could just slip them on and terrorize the farm. They were my favorite shoes back then. They were stiff as a board, light-weight, and all mine!

kids plastic boots (They were like this only all white, no special designs, bows, or faces. Faces came later with Peter Max.)
One afternoon a bad storm was coming in, and Dad said he was going to run out and close the sliding barn doors before it rained – I ran to help.

The sliding doors were on the back side of the barn, and they were HUGE! You may have seen smaller versions being converted into bedroom doors on the DIY channels or social media. These were at least twice the size. We had them open to throw out hay for the cows and horses to eat. Then we would also throw down straw which:
1) Kept the area mostly dry.
2) Critters loved to sleep on it – a form of insulation.
3) If the pile we threw out was big enough, it was great fun to jump down on it.

sliding barn doors
(This is what most of you know – picture a single one as big as the whole opening, and not so pretty. That was what just one of the sliding barn doors was.)

Dad went straight to the door on the left as it was closest to the hay.

I squealed out, “I’ll get the other one daddy.”

Running and bouncing over to the other huge door. I never even thought about looking where I was going. Here is where the memory gets weird.

I remember seeing the board because I knew it would give me the boost up I needed to close the big door. I do not remember seeing the rusty nail until I had already bounced (yes – not just stepped but I pounced on it) on it and the top of the nail was sticking out of the top of my beautiful white plastic boot. Red was shooting all over the boot.
rusty nail in board (Old barn boards required about 4-inch long nails.)

  • I remember dad stomping on the board and yanking me off the nail, but I don’t remember the pain.
  • I remember the blood trail that followed us all the way up to the house, as dad scooped me up and ran as fast as he could to the house.
  • I remember my foot being placed in something wet, but I don’t remember if it was hot or cold.

The next thing I remember is that ugly shot I was getting at the doctor’s office. Then there was the cast that he wrapped my little foot and half my leg in. The worst that I remember was the awful words he said to my parents:
“She will have to stay in the cast this summer…” He went on to give them other instructions, but all I remember is “all summer,” and I remember the crying.

That was a close second to my worst summer in history.
• No participation in the haymaking with friends and family.
• No riding the horses in the water because I couldn’t get the darn thing wet.
• No running  jumping and playing with the other kids in the back yard, hay mow or fields.
• No swimming and baths were just nasty. Took both my parents to help me. One held the leg out of the tub and up in the air, the other did the washing – no fun at all.
• I know there were more shots, but I don’t remember the pain of them either.

The strangest thing about this story is, as much as I remember loving those little white plastic boots; I have no clue where they went after stepping on the nail. I never saw them again.

the MIND,

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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 2 – Summer.

In keeping with my fond memories of what our home was like, I move on to the next season.

Summers were filled with running amok.  Dad was one of those “real dad” type guys.  When it came to my baby sister, maybe too much so.  He tried very hard to make sure we had all that we needed and more.

We had horses, eighty acres to ride them on, and very wild imaginations.  Dad also got to know our neighbor with fantastic woods, so we could ride their lane when we needed a different scene for our imaginations.

We played at a pretend secluded cabin in the woods.  The horses were placed in a make-shift corral we made from downed logs. The fact that they were downed, to begin with, should have been a hint to us.  On more than one occasion the beasties got lose.  They, of course, were intelligent enough to head straight back to the farm where they are well fed.  We, of course, never learned not to do that.  Grumbling and walking all the way back to the farm became a, several times a week, task.  The best part is we would do the same stupid stuff every summer.  Ride the horses into the woods, slap them into a make-shift coral, and expect them to just stay in the rickety thing – duh.

While in the woods, we would dream of hunting and fishing for our meals.  A branch of the Milwaukee River broke through our back fourty and again at the end of the neighbor’s woods.  There were turtles, frogs, and great eating fish in that stream.  Sometimes we would actually go fishing, but most times we just caught turtles and frogs to play with.

kids playing in creekThis reminds me of our pond.  It was only there in the first part of summer as it was created from winter snowmelt.  No fish, no turtles, some frogs, but lots of blood-suckers.  The first couple of years we didn’t think about it.  If the day was hot and we were not riding the horses, we would chase them into the pond and grab onto their tales.  I still remember the feeling of being dragged through the cool water.

If we were riding, my younger sister had to make sure to stay AWAY from the pond.  If she allowed the horse to get into the water up to its knees, the darn thing would drop and roll on her.  At first, I thought it was just the one horse.  But she had a couple of others after that one, and they did the same thing. Now, I know it was just their way of getting rid of her.  Don’t worry; she never got hurt when they flipped.  I felt sorrier for the horses, as she would catch up with them and punch them in the nose (ya, like that would hurt the horse?) for dumping her.

One exceptionally warm summer the pond was still up in July.  The only reason I remember this is because of the blood-suckers (leeches).  We (our cousins and my younger sister) all decided to go for a dip because of the heat.  It started out fun, then my sister came up out of the water in her bikini and had blood-suckers all over her belly.  We freaked out and started whacking her stomach to get them off.  Eventually, it worked, but her belly was red for the rest of the day.  Mom banned us from the pond the rest of that summer.

leech picture

As the summer waned, mom would get the Aldens Catalog (a mail-order Sears-type catalog) in the mail.  We would all gather together to go through it and pick out our school clothes for the upcoming school year.  A few weeks later we would come home from riding horses all day to find several large packages piled on the dining room table.  It was like an early Christmas!  We couldn’t wait to rip them open and try them all on.  Then the hard part was trying to decide what to wear on the first day of school.

This also marked the end of all our summer fun and the start of fall school year – bummer.

aldens catalog pic

Tis the season for reminding siblings that revenge is sweet.

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DO YOU MISS HOME? Part 1 – Spring.

I am not talking about where you may live now. I am talking about that feeling of home you got when you were young. This time of year, I get very homesick for those fond family home memories.

I decided that my way to handle it this year is to share a bit of my Wisconsin home life from back in the 1960’s. I will be posting “Spring” today. Then over the next 10 days, I will share, Summer, Fall, and Winter (just in time for the Christmas). I hope you will enjoy my memories and share some of your own.

Maybe I was just very blessed to have the childhood I had.  Sure, some bad things happened, but you get up, get over it, and get on with life.  One of my little sister’s fav saying is:
“Ya just need to pull up your big girl panties and move on already.”

My home life, compared to others, apparently was outstanding!
Spring on the farm meant:
• Picking Rock
• Planting the fields.
• The beginning of hay season.
• Planting the family garden.
• Catching tadpoles, baby turtles, and whatever else we would get away with.
• The end of the school year and the beginning of the summer fun days.
I bet a bunch of you stopped at the “picking rock” statement. You need to understand the big picture here. So, here goes:

A big, strapping, dark haired, blue eyed, father of three daughters. The daughter’s ages roughly four, six, and eleven. Three girls that, through the grace of their mother, were each blessed with a very warped sense of humor.

The youngest, being too small to actually pick up most of the rocks, was harnessed with the task of driving the tractor. I specifically say harnessed because she was. It was just a small Massey Ferguson tractor, but she was still too little to reach the pedals or do anything more than drive it in a straight line. Dad strapped a block of wood to her foot to reach the pedal to stop, and then tied her into the seat so she wouldn’t slip off. He had her stomp on the clutch to stop the tractor; he would put it in gear at the very lowest speed, and away she went. It only took her about three tries of popping the clutch and killing the motor, but she finally got a feel for it. Then the fun began.

old fashioned rock picking(Ok this pic is a bit before my time, but you get the idea. We did not have cell phones or cameras in the field while picking rock. But rocks this big were occasionally dug up.)
She, on the tractor, was to simply pull the flatbed wagon in a straight line down the field. Keep in mind this is the slowest speed so the three of us could walk along, pick up the big rock, and place it on the wagon (FYI, our mom had one of the best rock gardens around by the time we sold the farm). Dad would get the biggest rocks. My elder sister the next size down. My job was to pick up anything that would not fit through the plow tines. No problem – right? Wrong.
My little Speed Racer sister on the tractor was getting bored. She started watching us picking up the rocks. The first time she pulled the stunt, it was on me. I had found a larger than my normal size rock. It was a bugger just to get it out of the ground, never-the-less me pick it up, but I did it. I was struggling to get it to the wagon. Speed Racer’s job was to stop the tractor when she saw we were having a hard time with any rocks. A major part of her task was to give us time to unload it.

She saw I was struggling.

She stopped.

I approached the wagon and lifted my monster to place it on the wagon and…

She took her foot off the clutch and lurched forward.

I dropped the rock on the ground (missing my foot by inches.).

kid picking up big rock

Dad, who of course had been watching the whole thing was trying to reprimand Speed Racer, but could not stop laughing long enough to get the words out. This became a family tradition.
Up until the day we sold the farm, Speed Racer got to drive the tractor, we got to load the rocks, and I was forced to chase a wagon every spring picking season.
Even though this “tradition” was not one of my favorites at the time, I remember it very fondly today.
I hope you join me for my next post so we can visit our family summer traditions.

Tis the season for reminding siblings who is the boss. 

(When I figure out who it is, I will let you know.)

dancing kittens-saved

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Today’s Friday funny is very simple.  Just click on the link.  It will take you to YouTube.  This is one that I have never seen or heard before.  Please share if you have and if you can remember where/why!  Also let me know if you laughed as hard as I did?


Kremit The Frog – Piggy Got Back


Hope you enjoy your Friday Fun Day!!


Spring Break stinks!  It is hard enough for a Grandma of 57 to care for her Grandson of 8 using regular daily routines.  Then the school system throws in all of these extra breaks.

Every other Friday is only a half day.  Used to be the only “break” was during Christmas, now they have a Fall and a Spring Break too!  I have custody of him, so it is a never ending mental endurance just to keep up with him.  During the extended times off, I have to come up with things to occupy his mind even more.

Lucky this Grandma is a crafter and gardener!  The last three days have been really cool and rainy (of course – just because the kids are off-grrr), so they qualified for crafting days!  I come fully prepared to handle this battle.

This is the target:

n n max 3 29 17

My Grandson is holding his second favorite cat, Max.

The tools needed to complete the job:


The final product for today:

(It’s up to you to decide who did which project.)

One last bit of fun to share with you.  My cousin, who lives in Alaska, sent me this pic this morning:

Jeffys AK skyline 3-28-17

His skies are awesome, but check out the snow they still have – eeek!

Happy Spring Y’All!!




DO YOU LOVE RESEARCHING? Or a visit to South Dakota?

I absolutely love researching!  I think it goes hand-in-hand with my passion for digging in the garden and trying new things.  When I research I have to watch myself closely.  I get side-tracked very easily.  I was cleaning up my email this morning and I get one from Mother Nature Network titled : Mount Rushmore’s Hidden Chamber.   SO COOL!!

If you have seen the National Treasure movies – specifically the 2nd one Book of Secrets, then you may find this interesting also.


The article goes on to say that there is actually a cave that was built into Mount Rushmore.  It was never completed, but the concept was pretty awesome.  They wanted the cave to house some of American history – including the creation of the Monument.


I know this has nothing to do with farming or gardening, but it does have to do with travel.  We have been researching places to take my grandson to this summer.  Those of you that have been following me know how much of a challenge this is.  He is A.D.H.D./Autistic – meaning – very VERY low attention span.

He has never flown and we are just not prepared for that fiasco yet – so staying on the ground is a must. I love to drive, always have, so this is not a problem.  (It is one of my let my mind wander times.)  The others in the car with me (usually my sister) may sleep part of the time, which leaves me to my own thoughts.  Most of them are about the farm and changes I would love to see accomplished.  So, I guess this is sort of in the relm of discussion – researching a possible trip to North Dakota.

Well, this article caught my eye because I have not been back to see that site since they started building the carving of Crazy Horse Memorial.  It is one thing to see the completed faces, totally better seeing one created.  It is amazing seeing them up close and personal!  Since my grandson loves rocks, fossils and digging; thought he might just like this too.  Now if we can see the cave that would make our visit worth the drive.

Days like this I wonder how we, as the human species, can create something as outstanding at this; but then turn around and belittle, degrade, and damage each other and our earth?

I would love to hear from any of you that live near, or have recently visited the site!  I may have to check into a train ride to it since he loves trains also.


(Yes, I know they do not look this way anymore, but it still would be fun to see the inside of one like this that has been refurbished!)

For now, I guess I will just have to stick with my researching.  Maybe I should switch topic to “how to tie your wild grandchild down in the car for a road trip?”  Before you all think I am an evil grandma from hell, I did purchase many “fidget” toys for him.  He also has his own tablet for reading and games (games mostly).  I do have things that SHOULD keep him occupied, however he gets bored with them so fast that none of them work.  Maybe I will just have to drive really, really fast.

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Is Yours the Mother of All Fights?

Mom was creative, outgoing, and seemed to find the fun in everything.  Her sense-of-humor was beyond reproach!  My little sister (yes, the same one I share the farm with now) and I fought like cats and dogs constantly!  One day, Mom stepped into one of our blow-outs and handed each of us a butter knife.

butter-knife Now, for those of you that do not know your way around a kitchen, a butter knife is just that – a blade no sharper than to cut butter.  WE FREAKED OUT – mom just handed each of us a knife!  What were we supposed to do with it?

When she put them in our hands she yelled:

“Now try to kill each other!”

In a very firm voice, I must say!  We just stood there looking at the knives and looking at her, then back at each other.  She started mumbling something under her breath, turned and walked out of the room.  We were still standing there mortified!

Mom gave us each a knife – MOM GAVE US EACH A KNIFE – WHAT??  After what felt like an eternity, we sat down right where we were standing.  Knives still in hand we glanced at them and then to each other.  This whole shocking situation must have gone on for at least an hour.

Then, as we sisters always did, we scooted closer to one another.  We began questioning what was wrong with mom, and just what were we supposed to do with these knives?  We were, in fact, only about 5 and 7 years old at the time – what were we going to do with any kind of knife?

Well, Mom, the smartie that she was, knew that we never really wanted to kill each other, but she was fed up with our fighting.  Pulling out a real possibility of damage caused the two sisters to band together (she was so smart) to solve our dilemma.

The thing about the two of us that disturbed mom is how we could be so mean to each other, but should an outside source attack one or the other, we immediately bonded together against the foe!  She and her siblings were never like that, so she just could not fathom why we could not play nice with each other.  We remained this way until…oh wait, we still do it on occasion!?

However, no matter how many times we fought, bit, punched, or ran off on one another; mom managed to flip it into a her vs. us situation.  She had this fantastic way of defusing any issue.  To this day, whenever my sister and I have any issues we cannot resolve; one or the other of us will hold up our fisted hand like we still have that butter knife in it and wave it at the other.  Within seconds neither of us can stop laughing.  This small memory of our mother still calms any of our tense circumstances.

We have also created a new stress-relief moment….75¢… that is all either of us needs to say, at any given bad moment, to result in instant smiling relief (want to know why, read my past blog: ).

Mom embedded many outstanding mom-isms into us as we grew.  A great many times we had no clue, at the time, what was happening.  Now, as we are old enough to understand all the true meanings of her methods, I am in awe of her!  How did she manage to stay sane with all of us wack-jobs around her?  How did she manage to not only keep her humorous nature but somehow instill it into her children?  What an amazing woman she was!  Thank you mom!!


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We subscribe to Countryside Magazine. It is one of the few we actually enjoy and use!  It has everything for small farming, hobby or backyard garden/farming, recipes tried-and-true methods; you name it, they have it (have had it or will have it).  Perfect for anyone wanting to grow their own food.

A few years back they ran a series on “oven canning” which included several recipes for Bread-in-a-jar.  My sister and I were intrigued, so we gave it a shot.  Besides being fun to make, they were the perfect sizes to eat.  They made a fantastic gift for just about any occasion.  We did banana, blueberry, chocolate chip, spice, pumpkin and plain sweet bread.  Then, because we are so crafty, we added a sticky label with ingredients (for allergies), then decorated with bows, ribbons, and a tag.  We received so many compliments on it that we were amazed!

Well, with the house fire all of our saved and categorized Countryside issues were lost.  Along with those the bread-in-a-jar and oven canning secrets – UNTIL NOW!

I subscribe online to it is out of Australia, but a lot of what I get from them can be done anywhere in the world (mainly recipes and crafts).  The latest wonder that they delivered to my email inbox was about Banana Bread-in-a-jar!  WOOO HOOO – oh excited me!!

This is what the completed plan looks like:


I was so happy to find it I just had to write this up and share it! Hope you all give it a shot. The bread’s we made up (about 30 jars) sat on our pantry shelf for at least a year (maybe a couple of months more) and were still just as fresh and yummy as day one!

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As the sun started to go down, the party was still going.  Uncle Vern (my dad’s brother) was usually tending to the grill by now, finishing up whatever was left to cook.  The “old hats” at the party knew it was time to break out the coolers to pack up their share of the food.  The kids were still all over the farm.


As the sun disappeared, more fun began.  The adults moved into the garage (it was called the garage, but it was also a workshop and had enough room for tractors and farming equipment in the back – all moved out of course for this shindig.), and the kids came down from the hay loft to start chasing things in the dark.

We had a great huge yard light.  It lit up everything corner of the center of our driveway (Picture a huge gravel circle with a house, garage, huge machine shed, barn and pump/tack house all around it – this was the center of our driveway – about the size of 10 full-size trampolines).

The garage doors were wide open, so it was easy for the adults to watch us.  The little kids, by now, were settling into their parent’s laps or finding a soft spot on the lawn to curl up on.  (Funny – I say “little” kids like I was so big – NOT – I was always the short one.  During this time I could have only have been around  8 or 9 years old – LMAO.)  We, the older kids, were now chasing fireflies (lightening bugs to some of you) and ducking from bats and moths that were compelled to go to the light.


IT NEVER FAILED – a moth would get stuck in my hair!  I inherited my father’s thick curly hair – oh lucky me!  Even though mom cut it short every spring, the darn critters would still get all tangled up in it.  To this day, I can’t stand MILLER MOTHS!! Grrr!!!  They would crunch as you tried to wrestle them out – yuck!


Slowly but surely, the crowd would start to dwindle down.  The closest friends and family were always the last to shuffle out.  Usually, there were a few stragglers that would spend the night. Why not?  Our place was enormous, and dad was always up for cooking to a passel of people.  Guests always meant an awesome breakfast the next morning!

Exhausted but extremely content, mom and dad would shuffle us girls off to bed.  All the fun and joy from all the play of the day was not strong enough to keep our eyelids from closing.  Sweet dreams all around! 

  •   No worries about tomorrow. 
    •   No fears about the night. 
      • Just great memories until the next family corn roast!