Another Fun Year on the Farm – woohoo?

I do believe in God and Angels.  I also believe that he has a very warped sense of humor, and he is in cahoots with Mother Nature.

I like to think that Angels watch over us.  I used to think they helped to protect and guide us, now I think they are more like messengers.  Yes, they are watching us, but they do it just to report back to their boss.  We all know that the best way to get “in good with the Boss” is to make them laugh.  Pretty sure that my Angel is the Bosses Right-Hand-Man providing all the juicy info on me.

gossip gals

All I wished for this year was a boring year – no drama at all.  Nope, apparently, the powers that be decided it gets too dull for them if I’m not going through some type of issues.

It started out with my 10-year old Grandson stealing from me, then lying about it (like Grandma’s are stupid – really?!).  That was then followed up by a Bomb Cyclone – WHAT?  I had never heard of such a thing before, especially not here in Colorado.  Tornado (oh, wait – that was last year) yes, but Cyclone?

Our tools started disappearing?  We keep them specifically in a small shed that we worked very hard last year to turn into our “tool” shop.  First, I thought we had someone sneaking onto our property when we were not home or in the middle of the night.  I also questioned my own mental faculties, thinking I had used and just misplaced them.  I finally found one of my hammers sitting out in the pasture behind the chicken coop.   It was not sitting by anything that needed to be hammered, which could only mean one thing.  I questioned my Grandson, “Did you take out my tools, without asking, and not put them back?”

“OH, NOOO, GRANDMA!” Shot out of his mouth before I could even finish asking – a dead giveaway.

“Then how do we explain this hammer being found in the middle of the field behind the chickens?  You know, right where you have been playing.”

I got that I’m innocent look at first.

It soon turned into the Oh shit, I’ve been caught look.

Which then became the Quick, make up a story to get out of this look.

Yes, I have seen and know them all on him, and he just doesn’t get it.  There are only three of us in the house (unless you count the cat and she refuses to do any kind of work) and if my sister and myself did not do it, there is only one person left.  So, I put a lock on the tool shed.

  • Followed by a lock on the bigger shed.
  • Followed by a lock on the roofless greenhouse because he was sneaking in through there to get into stuff.
  • Followed by locks on all three of the barn doors.

The only thing that is not locked (yet) is the chicken coop.  It’s all stupidly sad because I use some type of tool around here almost daily and I have to unlock everything, get what I need, then lock it all back up again – EVERY SINGLE TIME NOW! Grr!!

multiple locks

Once we mostly had control of our tools again, we took on moving the mutts.  The older/bigger female – Corona – digs holes everywhere.  We only have about 3 plots where flowers once grew that are not completely torn up.  But, worse than her digging is the escape artist – Pig Dog (full name: Weiner Pig because he is one – jerk!).  He has escaped from the fully fenced and latticed front yard more times than I can count.  That’s bad enough, but each time he gets out, something dies.  Usually one of our cats or chickens.  I have tried:

  • 3 different collars
  • 2 different chains
  • Shock Collars
  • The old farmer method of tying a dead animal that he killed to his neck (worked with other farm dogs, but not this monster).

Nothing worked.  Now they have a separated pen of wood, t-posts, lattice, and wire.  He got out again.  So I moved his heavy-duty chain into that special area originally hooked up to the porch rail.  Oops – too close to the gate he slipped out of his collar (again) and was over the gate the minute I turned my back.  Now I am down to the heavy-duty chain, hooked to a separate post, and a choke collar (but hooked through both loops, so he doesn’t choke).  I hate to do it, but nothing else is working.  All the newer dog collars have plastic latches, and he snaps them apart in an instant.

bad dog 1    WHO ME?    bad dog 2

It rained last night and somewhere in the night that big-giant-panzie managed to slip out of the choke collar, open the gate big enough for both dogs to get through, and ended up back in the front yard again.  Now I am down to using the choke collar the way it is meant to be used.  When it warms up this weekend, I will try to get a dark cover on the outside of the whole pen.  My thought is that maybe if he can’t see it, he won’t try to get out after it – wish me luck…PLEASE!!

stupid chicken   Ah, life on a farm is never a dull moment.

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Interesting Tidbit for Today – April 3rd:

I love getting weird things in my email box (yes, I call it a box).  Things like the Smithsonian, Good Ole Days, Farmers Almanac, and even my M-W’s Word of the Day all deliver interesting factoids right to me.  Today I received an interesting thing from Farmers regarding horses – one of my most favorite subjects.

The History of the Pony Express.  I never knew things like the fact that it only ran for 18 months?  I really thought it ran for years and years.  Such a major milestone in our nation’s history and it was only around for a very short time – wild!

So, my post today is very short and sweet – if you want something different to read, check out the article.  There are several facts in there that I never knew.

Enjoy!

pony express pic of horses

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One More Sign Or Just Legend?

I just love stories like this one:

Rare oarfish, regarded as omens of natural disasters, found alive in Japan                          By Alex Stambaugh and Junko Ogura, CNN

Makes me wonder what the true reason is?

Owning or working anything that requires you to mess with nature, should make you think about these things.  The very least you should take notice of them.  I do believe that all things happen for a reason.  Our home was destroyed by a tornado late last summer.  Not the house so much, but the gardens and greenhouse.  I’m still not knowing what the reason was behind it, but I could drive myself nuts playing with theories:

  • First was punishment: We got disgusted, frustrated, and angry at all the people mooching off of us, so we threw them all out.  On is in jail – again –  but that is now for his own mother to worry about.
  • Second was preparation: Prepping us for something worse to be happening soon.
  • Third was par-for-the-course: Just when I think things are going better for us, something else pops up and shits on our parade.

That’s just three, but my list keeps building.  Then I read stories like the one above.  These are based on real news – things that are happening now.  Then they throw some flare like “legend has it” in there for reader interest.  Well, it works on me every time, especially when it has to do with nature.

One of my biggest why is this happening theory is based on the thought that someone, somewhere is trying to tell us something.  It could be something that we are not doing right?  Maybe it is something we are doing all wrong?  Maybe we should be doing more?  Maybe we should be doing it all differently?  These thoughts are also endless for me.

Now that we (humans that is) have evolved into such creatures of technology, we are better able to track and record things.  Simple things that we tracked just for the sake of tracking decades ago have now developed a purpose, and sometimes a greater meaning.  (WOW – do I sound deep here or what?).

Personally, I love the weather.  Humans have been trying to track and control it for centuries, and we still get it wrong.  I love to follow the old wife’s tales of the past:

  • If your barn animals have a thick coat come fall, you are going to have a harsh winter (not necessarily a full of snow winter, could just be extremely cold.).
  • Achy joints – the weather is going to change. (This one I do believe because mine will kill me when the weather does a severe change.).
  • It’s going to rain because the cows are all lying down. (NOT – those huge 4-legged monsters get just as tired as we do, but it is funny to see a whole feed of them on a hot sunny day lying down on the job.)
  • Head to the southwest corner of the lowest part of your home (like a basement) when a tornado hits. They say this isn’t true, but  – to this day – that is EXACTLY where I went and will continue to go when they strike.
  • If the Wooly Bear caterpillar has a thick coat, it will be a heavy snow winter. Have no clue on this one and here in Colorado I have not even seen many of the Wooly Bears. We did see one really early last spring – totally out of season. Then had that tornado in July – hmmm.  Maybe it was trying to tell us something?

My point is that I do believe in signs.  I think there are things all around us in nature that if we just stop and pay it a little bit of attention, we may just learn something.

I watch the skies for signs of rain or a bad storm.  I watch the soil to see if we are getting enough moisture for the gardens to make it, or will I have to put in a lot of extra time watering to help them out.  I watch the geese fly overhead and if they are traveling north or south (north for summer, south for winter as the saying goes).  Then again here in Colorado, this one can be a bit off.  We have geese here year around, but we only have snow geese in winter.  On a warm day, you can see them traveling north one moment then south a bit later?

I do keep a really close eye on the budding of the trees.  We have such odd weather here.  If it is too nice out too early and the trees start to bud, they could be in for trouble before they are ready.  We have lost blossoms many years because it would be 65+degrees in March then dump snow and below zero temps in April.  One year on two weekends (back-to-back no less) in April Friday reached up to the nineties, but by Monday we were below thirty and snowing like the east coast is now (ooo – new phrase: Snowing like the east coast in 2019!?!).

According to the article above and the tales connected to it, there may be a natural disaster headed for Japan within the next year.  The scientists even agreed that these rare creatures may have popped up because of some underwater change.  However, they also agree that this does not mean they are headed for another 2011 tsunami.  Will be interesting to check back on this post a year from now and see if anything happened?

Do you believe in the signs around you?  Do you even watch for them?

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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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HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR WATER?

A farmer or gardener perspective for decades now has been to avoid plastics as much as possible.  They do not biodegrade which, of course, is not good for the earth.  This was my main concern when it came to plastics, specifically plastic bottles.

no plastic bottles

To-go containers for us are usually cardboard, paper bags, or reusable containers.  Yes, some of the reusables are plastic, but they are the good plastic that gets recycled.  We do love our redo, reuse, repurpose things on the farm, but most of these things are items that will biodegrade.  If they don’t do that then they had better last forever.

Well, my blog buddies at The Whoot.com have found a new danger from plastic, and it has to do with drinking water purchased in plastic bottles.

Plastic Bottled Water Does Damage With Every Sip

They share some fantastic info-graphics describing how the plastics are labeled, what the label means, and what the level of danger is.  I have saved several of these graphics for our own future use, and I hope you will do the same.  They even have a mini-video explaining how/where the plastic danger is.

We found it easier years ago to just purchase the heavy-duty refillable water bottles and carry them wherever we go.  We can load ice cubes in them more easily, and even freeze part on some of them.  Nothing better when working out in a hot garden than a cold drink of water.  We also have the huge advantage of our own well.  Some people don’t care for the taste of well water, but we prefer it.  To us, some city waters taste tinny or sterile.  We have the added benefit of natural minerals in our water, nothing cooked out.

This week my plow-share is all about safe, drinkable, water.  Simple, short, and hopefully refreshing.

good water bottle

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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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ALL IS RIGHT WITH THE WORLD – maybe?

Well, this year is starting off just loverly – NOT!  It’s been three months since I last posted something for good reason – TOO MUCH DRAMA.  I’ve finally found my funny bone again, so I have taken back my life once again.  Time to remember that life goes on.

This is just a small part of what’s been going on:

  • The daughter was sent to rehab center – court ordered this time. Second time for her.  We will see.
  • Bullies have zeroed in on my Grandson. Awful verbal abuse: ”You should have died instead of your brother.” Just wrong in so many ways.  They targeted his feelings toward missing his dead brother (the fire was four years ago – April), which is BEYOND tolerance.  So, of course, I had to go ballistic on the school.  I wanted the parents, but they are not allowed to tell me who they are.  They said they would handle it.  Again, we will see.
  • The weather changes have brought “sustained” strong winds. We get gusts, no big deal.  When this round happened, it was vicious.  It’s been seven years since we put the double poly top on the greenhouse.  Took us the better part of the day to do it.  It took these wicked winds just moments to find a weakness (in the middle no less) and rip it wide open.

4-17 the cause 1

Looks like haze, but it’s not.  The winds were so strong and so continuous that they were picking up the dry dust/dirt from farmers fields, roads, and wherever and sandblasting everything.  A couple of times we could not see this overpass due to the thickness of the dirt.  April 17th, day after my 59th birthday – sucked!

4-17 the cause 2 This was just before it happened.

It all happened so fast; there was no way to catch or stop it.  You can see it popped open at the middle, grabbed the top layer and just flung it up and over. If you look close at the bottom layer at the opening, you can see where the wind was able to yank the clamp right out of the wood.

4-18 distruction 2

We put straps over the roof on either side of the opening, but two days later another sustained wind from the south grabbed the north end and ripped it the rest of the way off.

4-20 distruction 3 (2)

So, after a day’s worth of crying, I pulled up my big girl panties and started brainstorming.  How was I going to make lemonade from this huge lemon?  Viola′ – greenhouse part two, phase one:

4-23 phase 1 new life

Obviously, someone somewhere was trying to give us a hint that there is just too much on our plates right now.  Hense, the hint to downsize.  Phase one: build a wall in the middle of the greenhouse.  No, it’s not for the hot tub we dream of having one day again.  It’s for our new “seed/plant starter” area.

5-14-18 phase 2 new wall GH

Phase two has a partial plastic wall up.  There is a vent at the top center and will be screened, closeable windows on either end of both sides of the wall.  We are not worried about cooling, as the swamp cooler is on the north end and totally useless to us now.  It will be used for starting seeds and young plants.  Eventually, we will put some in-ground plots in there, just not right now.

There is a door in the center to transplant seedlings into our plots to the north (No they did not end up in Kansas.), or to easily move them to our other outdoor plots when ready.  It is downsizing without losing space.  It should be easier to maintain in the winter.  I am worried about it just being a single cover.  Not as strong as the double layer, but it will have to do for now (replacement double cover is out of our budget.).

Then (while I was reviewing everything) doing my extra watering needed now on the north side, and hating the 85+ degree weather we have been having – our bee guys showed up!  Ahhh, heavy sigh of relief!  When they come in the spring, I know everything will be alright in the world.  They had unloaded some the night before which, at sunrise, has them immediately seeking out water.  What was I doing?  Watering.  Where were the bees?  All over me – landing on my hands, arms, crawling up my legs, and forcing me to watch where I step in my own walkways.  I LOVE OUR BEES!!

I then went and picked up my Grandson from school that evening.  The school Counselor had called me and told me of what actions were taken against the bullies and assured me that things were going to be better.  He was smiling as he came running up to the car.  Always, the first question from me to him is, “ How was your day Punk-a-doodle (One of my many Nic-names for him)?”  His response was a very loud and squirrely “GREAT!”

Planted back into the moment again, all is right with the world.  We did not have blossoms during the winds-from-hell, so no lost fruit (actually some tiny fruits on the trees now).  Our spring flowers had not emerged, but they are here now.  Our little Downey Woodpecker is back up front.  And I saw my beautiful Red-headed Woodpecker on a fence post this morning.  Life goes on.

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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!)

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 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

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

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