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

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

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TURKEYS – WHO KNEW?

I just love when I stumble across something that I did not know before.  Anyone after the age of fifty can relate to this.  I love learning, so it is a pleasant surprise when something like this happens:

MMN.COM – Turkey Facts You Didn’t Know.

They actually have things that I had never even thought to think about before…

  • Where and how the turkey got its name.
  • Ben Franklin did not suggest the turkey as our national bird (this one threw me!).
  • And this one just is not right – You can tell male from female by its poop?!? (No, we had/have turkeys, and I NEVER checked this out. I can tell male from female just by looking at the bird.) What I want to know is who discovered this and why?
  • I never knew it was called a “snood” – the thinking on the top of their beak. I have seen the males get quite long when they are excited.  Hint, dead give-away it’s a male.

They listed other little factoids, but I knew all the rest.  You may find them interesting if you have never been around a domestic turkey.  Oh, and a been there-done that word or caution: YES, THEY CAN BE VERY MEAN!  Then again so can a rooster.  We had a rooster that would purposely hide behind anything the minute he heard my daughter’s voice.  When she got close enough he would come charging out at her, head down, wings flailing, and ready to throw spurs first into her legs.  Scary, but I burst out laughing every time because he never bothered me.  Could be because he came at me once, I kicked him and told him he would be freezer meat if he didn’t knock it off.  He never tried to attack me again.

We had one turkey, Whiskey was his name, and he would follow me around everywhere outside.  The first time I sat up in the garden after weeding away and found him squatting behind me, it freaked me out a bit.  Then it dawned on me that we raised almost all of our birds from babies.  He was one, and so I was kind of his mom.

My daughter was afraid of him too.  Not because he would try to attack her, but because he was big and scary when he would “fluff” (as we called it).  Males get all poofy, the tail feathers go up and spread out, the snood gets huge, long and droopy, and their whole body seems to swell up with pride in themselves.  Then they make this weird puffing noise (This site: http://www.wideopenspaces.com/sounds-turkeys-make-and-what-they-all-mean/ provides all the different sounds.  The cluck is the closest to what it sounds like.) while they follow you.  I just wrote it off as having too much air from being all puffed up like a balloon.

This lovely Thanksgiving Day, make sure you give thanks to this wonderful bird.  They are a real wonder of nature – like how can something that fat get all the way up in a tree?

(These two are wild ones.)

Whiskey with guinea

(This was our prize – Whiskey.  Oh, and if you read the full article, it mentions Guinea Birds in Turkey.  That is what the white bird is behind him.  Close up they have the head of a dinosaur.)

WHERE DO YOU DO “IT” AT?

Ok, most of you – get out of the gutter! I am talking about food processing here.
We have such a nice new house with outstanding new porches that it would be a shame not to use them every chance we get.
Well, the food processing season has come upon us once again. This time around we decided to do the messiest parts of the job outside whenever possible. The beginning project is beets.
Those of you have (and love) done up pickled beets know just how messy they get. The red in them, I swear, could dye the roughest of materials! With having such a beautiful, huge, new kitchen; the last thing we wanted to do was dye areas with bits of the red mess. Thus our decision to process them outside.
The cooking was done inside as that is easy enough to maintain, but the peeling and cutting are definitely done outside.
I sit on one side of the 8’x8’ area:

8-4 my fav process spot

My sister sits on the other:

8-4 d fav process spot

(Her delicate butt gets the extra chair pad – so not fair as mine is rutabaga style and deserves more!)
We have our garden tool box, music, some plants that will go back into the house come fall, and of course a place to set our drinks. The pics here are when we enjoy the area the most – early morning!
There is a yellow bug light bulb in the porch light to keep most of them at bay. The fun part is when we turn on the south door light (a regular 60-watt bulb), it will draw up all kinds of critters. The critters find their way to the front yard, and we can view them comfortably from our perch.
The honeysuckle is just past the porch which attracts some really cool critters: humming birds, humming bird moths, during the day we get a variety of bees and butterflies. I think I prefer the night ones; they are usually more interesting.
Once we have the base steps done in the house, it is time to venture to the veranda:

8-5 how we process foods-beets

If you look close at the bottom, you can see one of our many un-requested helpers doing what they normally do – sleep (animals!?). Also, note how smart my sister is! She remembered to put on her latex gloves BEFORE beginning – woo hoo smartie! We purchased boxes of the disposable things specifically for the beets and hot peppers. Now we need to have some type of auto-reminder not to touch your face when you are processing foods as you will end up with pepper juice in the eyes, and very pretty red dye streaks all over your face and neck (yes, been there, done that!).

If you enjoyed this (and maybe laughed a bit), then please check out my new blog: Life Lessons Lived where I share more bits and pieces of my humoristic life!

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Friday Funny: Ballet – OR – Did you catch that mouse?

Once upon a time, there was a little girl with very curly dark hair that loved to run and jump and play.  She had a horse to ride, dogs to run with, and a sister to get into trouble with.  Alas, this beautiful little girl was a klutz!

Her mother was full off cute old-fashioned sayings to explain her clumsiness in a way that would not make her feel sad or embarrassed:

  • “Keep doing that with your eyes and they will stay that way.” (After she would walk into the door because she had her eyes crossed.)
  • “Did you catch that mouse?“ (After she would trip and fall.)
  • “Here, you want to fight so bad, just take this butter knife and do it!” (After she and her sister got caught fighting – again!) (FYI: All they ever did was stare blankly from their mom to the knife, then to each other.  Sometimes it would end up in a mock sword fight.)

Well, that pretty young girl grew up to be a crusty, broken, old lady that still never watched where she was going.  This dizzy broad could not even pick up her feet high enough to get over a simple gate mat. 

gateway mat  (Take a good look at the cinder block in the top center)

Trip – slow motion fall – full body slam into the brick patio, iron arch entry frame, and of course planting her left side ribs squarely on top of a busted cinder block.  Her aim is impeccable!

5-6-17 bruised ribs (2)  Bruised Ribs (never had this before)

6-6 bruised knee Bloody and bruised knee – right by the replacement (because apparently a full replacement was not painful enough!).

 6-6 finger smash n tear (2)Ripped bloody finger from who knows what (thinking I may have tried to catch myself and missed?).

So, today’s lesson kids: 

Is it considered “ballet” if you spin as you fall, or can you use the excuse of “I am trying to catch a mouse” when none is present? 

Of course, you first have to stop laughing at yourself to declare either.  (FYI – not laughing now, hurts too much – boo hoo!)

DO YOU STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES?

Bad news.  Bad news.  Then more bad news.  I AM SOOO TIRED OF BAD NEWS!  I have started a new self-help campaign…seek out good news!  Here is one that I came across this week:

Love the smell of spring? Here’s where the season’s odors come from.

It was kind of sad and disgusting.  So I choose to turn it into a good thing.

I like to learn the scientific reason for the smells that I love (which was key to the above article), but I prefer my reasoning…it is because of my past.  Here are some examples:

A fresh cut hay field: This one catches me at the second it hits my nose (and it’s a big nose) and instantly throws me back to the 80-acre farm I grew up on.  It’s spring, and we have started the first of several cuttings to create bales for the winter ahead.  This follows with the families joining to bale the hay.  Kids playing in the hay, the fields, and with the horses.  Parents would gather in the shade of the large garage we had or maybe in the back yard covered with huge trees.  Fresh squeezed lemonade, sun tea, and beer were the drinks of choice (Oh, and the water for the kids always came from the hose.  We had a well with great tasting water!).

new mown hay

The air after the first big spring rain:  Once again I am flung back in time to kids with little plastic (yep plastic, not rubber – that was for city kids!) boots.  They were very floopy (is that a word?  Pronounced like soupy.) so we never bothered to wear any socks with them.  The puddles we splashed in would throw the water up and over the top of the boot, and our feet would float.  This made it even more fun because as you went running up on a puddle, your slippery foot would slide sideways and cause you to fall into the puddle instead of just splashing – laughter all around!

flowers in spring rain

Pine trees, rosemary, evergreens:  These smells are sort of the same and all lead to the same thing – CHRISTMAS!  I have had a few bad ones, but most of my Christmas’s were crammed with wonderful memories!  Once again all about family and friends all smiling, laughing, and sharing. (FYI: This smell always makes me feel better if I am sad or depressed.)

Fresh baked bread:  Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh baked (or baking) bread?  It never has a chance to completely cool in our house!  As soon as it’s touchable, we slice it up, butter, and eat it!  This one does not go back to my childhood, but it does include family.  Mom hated to cook.  Dad loved to cook.  I just do not remember any baking specifics (except Christmas cookies) until I moved in with my sister – she’s a bake-a-holic!  One of her specialties that I swear I can smell clear out in the barn is her bread.  She loves to make a variety of them and is always looking for a new recipe.  I have resolved myself to the fact that I will never be skinny.  I can blame it on genes, surgeries, no time for exercise – whatever- but I know the real reason is that I cannot keep my hands off her homemade bread – yum!!!

d star bread (This is one of her creations!)

With all the surgeries I have been through, I wondered what would be the worst to lose: sight, hearing, smell, touch?  I have already lost part of my hearing (major ear infection as a kid) and some ability to touch.  Getting older the eyesight fades (can sometimes be corrected), but I think the loss of smell would break my heart!  It is the one sense that can reincarnate good times no matter where I am in life.

Yep, when it comes to smells that float up my nose, happiness resides there not science.  I will continue to breathe deep and suck in all the fun fond memories that I can, while I can!

upclose dog nose

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WHY?

I have found the answer to the world’s oldest question.

WHY DID…

chicken 1

THE CHICKEN…

chicken 6

CROSS…

chicken 2

THE ROAD?

chicken 5

To run over and steal all the wonderful worms from my gardens as I work!

chicken 3

Hiding behind the garlic grasses will not save you from my wrath bird!

chicken 4

I swear if you girls were not laying 6+ eggs a day you would be freezer meat! (I still have about a dozen other birds you know?!?  And they are staying OUT of my gardens!)

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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!!

NEW SUNRISE, NEW MOMENT, NEW DAY – WHAT FUN WILL IT BRING?

Today day is going to be fun Friday!  I have decided that things in the world (in general) have been way too serious and it is bumming me out – big time!  So, I have decided that one day a week – Friday – I am going to delegate my writing to something off-the-wall, fun, funny, or just all around cute. (Not like my writing isn’t already semi-silly, but I want to push it a bit farther.)

This may be about things on the farm, or it may be related to something I saw or read.  Today is something I read via my email newsletter from them:

Newborn mountain lion is the poster kitten for wildlife corridors by MNN

mountain-lion-kitten-photo national parks(Photo by National Park Service)

Now how can anyone resist that face?  The story that goes with it is also wonderful!  I strongly urge you to read it and, if so inclined, sign up for their new letter.  It a wonderful read about all kinds of earth-related items.  Since this is Earth Day Month – perfect time to do so!

On a more silly note,

4-6-17 unwanted secretary

Apparently, this is my secretary/assistant today?  I have knocked it off my desk several times, but it keeps popping up on something.  Maybe it just is trying to get me to throw it outside?  There are a number of wild birds perched in the tree outside the door.  Pretty sure they would love it if I did!

Then there are these freakazoids:

 

Apparently, they do not know  IT’S APRIL!  Bloomin fools, with fool being the operative word here.

This extra little fun kicker just happened over the last couple weeks:

mic n rick caddy 4-7-16

I remember when my brother-in-law bought this beautiful old caddy (can’t remember it’s year – 60’s something), and it immediately went into their garage.  That was decades ago, and it was in there or storage ever since.  He had always wanted to fix it up – but life goes on as it does.  Now he has passed it down to his son and grandson, and the two are having a blast rebuilding it!  Can’t wait to see this beauty in action when they are done.

Finally, for this fun Friday, I would be amiss if I did not do something for the farmer in me.  So I will leave you now with this beautiful thought that someone shared with me:

super power bacon

CAN YOU FARM WITHOUT SEWING?  (or sewing gone all wrong)

I do not consider myself a very good seamstress.  I am very proud of my yarn art, crafting, painting, card making, gardening and many other things, I can even change the tires and oil on my vehicles;  but sewing not so much.  One of the many reasons maybe that on my very first attempt I ran my finger over (mom could not quit laughing at the threads hanging from the finger when I asked for her help!?).  Since half that finger is now gone, no worries – right?

finger-after

Then there was my first attempt at trying to make a piece of clothing.  Three rainy days in Wisconsin.  I was in my late teens.  I had purchased my first sewing machine, all the tools of the trade, and a great pattern for a jacket like the one Don Johnson (look him up youngsters, yes he was/is an actor) had with the patches on the elbows (from the TV show).  It was gonna be great!

Three cold, rainy days I worked away at it.  Three soggy, nasty, frigid days I gave to that sucker.  Then, on the third day, the angels sang “it is finished” – sort of.  I went into the bathroom so I could see how it looked in the mirror.  One sleeve was about four inches shorter than the other – IDIOT!  HOW DID YOU NOT NOTICE THAT??  That left a scar for many, many years to come.

sewing sleves off (Not my jacket but same issue.  Just make my bad sleeve about six more inches shorter than the other – boo hoo!!)

I limited my sewing abilities to hand embroidery and hand patching (got pretty good at both), and sewing or mending very simple things.  If there was a big project to be done, I passed it off to my mother with a lot of begging – pleeeease!!

The old sewing machine she had, managed to stay with her through all our moves.  It was a Singer, but it had these cool knob thingys.  You selected the knob by the picture that was on it.  Stuffed it into a hole on the machine and then turned it to match the line for your selection and – bam – you were sewing a special stitch!  She loved that machine.

old singer sewing mach(closest pic I could find to hers)

When she passed, it stayed with us – at least until the fire.

When we started rebuilding our lives, I knew one of the major things we were going to need was a new sewing machine.  You cannot properly manage a farm without means of patching and mending.  So, “NEW” is the operative word here!  I had no clue how much the “new” beasties had changed.  I knew that vehicles, music and the like had upgraded to digital; but I was blind-sided by how much sewing machines had transitioned that direction too.

brother sewing machineThey are still the same basic size and shape as the have always been, but the computer programming in these suckers is scary!  I had to read the instruction manual (yes, guys – I do that from time-to-time) just to figure out how to make a straight stitch!?  I am not a computer dummy by any means, nor am I a proficient geek about them; however, this new one really did scare me!

My sewing was rough at best before; now it was pure torture!  I am determined to get a handle on this monster, how soon that will be is anyone’s guess.  I managed to make some basic flannel curtains for our smoke room/porch.  They turned out really nice (which was great for my seamstress ego)!  My thought is to keep it all simple and basic for now.  One day I hope to try a new stitch a week, not now mind you.  Oh, and this devil has an embroidery feature to it that the only thing I have to do is program the picture and change colors when it stops and tells me to – show off!  It can do in hours what it takes me days to do by hand.  Not sure I like that?embroidery pic 1

Sure it’s pretty.  Yes, it is fast.  But does it put the blood, sweat, and tears – oh and the love – into its work?  I think not!  Ha Ha machine – gotcha there!  (F.Y.I.  I got REALLY STUPID and purchased a serger at the same time as the Beastie.  Can you say, IDIOT!?)

love heart pic 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

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YOU ARE KIDDING, RIGHT?

I get a great newsletter from a group called MNN (Mother Nature Network).  It carries a ton of different bits of information.  The latest one that caught my eye had something to do with me, or so I thought.

What is microsleep – and did you experience it?

guy-micro-sleeping

Microsleep – I thought it was going to be information that could tell me why I can’t seem to get more than 4 hours sleep a night – nope!

The article states that a bunch of us (me included) go through micro – sleeps during our day – WHAT???  Apparently, I have been doing this for decades and didn’t even know it had a name.  I hate to say it, but I am also guilty of the driving micro – ouch!

The article goes on to tell me that the only cure is to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night (yes, I am laughing hysterically right now).  Well, that was just a big help wasn’t it – not!

sleepy-squirrel

It is nice to know that I am not alone when I do this.  It is also nice to know that it can happen to anyone at any time.  It would be better to know ways to stop or cure it.  Here are my tried-and-true methods for handling this epidemic:

1)      THE MICRO IN THE CAR CURES:

  1. Bag-o-chips: doesn’t matter what kind you favor. The crunching seems to help to keep me alert.
  2. Heavy duty mint gum: (or cinnamon if you prefer) the taste and smell help to keep me from drifting off.
  3. Open windows: WARNING”  this one may cause your sleeping passenger (in this case my sister usually) to slap you upside the head for making her freeze.
  4. Turn up music: “WARNING AGAIN” for the same reason the open window may not work – – unless it happens to be her favorite rock song.
  5. Sing along with the song: “HUGE WARNING” If you cannot carry a note, do not attempt this method of staying awake.  It may cause a black eye and several bruises (especially if you don’t get the hint!).

Well weary warriors, hope these micro shares help you in your endeavors.  A little side note:  Should you microsleep when you are gardening – got with it!  My suggestion is to simply lay down on the warm ground and take a good nap.  If you are really lucky, no one will ever know, and you can wake up refreshed!

laughing-seal

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