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!)

You can also check me out on:  www.lifelessonslived.com for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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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.

You can also check me out on:  www.lifelessonslived.com for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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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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All-New Fire 7 Tablet with Alexa, 7″ Display, 8 GB, Black – with Special Offers

 

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD THIS?

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!!

WHAT DOES THE GRANDMA SAY?

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.

national-treasure-2

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.

mount-rushmore

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.

old-passenger-train-car

(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: https://helbergfarmstories.com/2017/01/25/2295/ ).

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!!

thank-you-heart

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