THAT FEELING OF FALL.

This post is just short and sweet.  This picture truly says fall to me:

Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

Not necessarily Halloween, but you get the feeling it’s close.  Pixabay.com has been a great source of inspiration for me over the last several years.  They send things to my email that they think I might appreciate and this one hit the nail on the head.  They even do it free, mostly.  Some creators expect payment before you can download, but most you can, as they call it, buying the creator a cup of coffee.  In other words, you can donate to their efforts, but you don’t have to, and the download is free.  This one was a freebie, but I did donate a dollar toward a cup of coffee.

I use a lot of these Pixabay pics in my writings.  I can usually find exactly what my writing mood is in there.  No, I am not affiliated or receive any type of payment for this share.  I just love sharing stuff that is either free or fun, in this case both.  I hope you take a moment to go visit them and view all the great stuff.  If, for nothing else, to get a good feeling in these trying times.  Enjoy!

 

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

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A JACK?

I wonder if it will ever stop?  I know that the state (or county) put a sign on east-bound I-76 just before our exit that states “services next exit “, but it is wrong-sort of.

Yes, there are the services listed, however; when you get to the bottom of the off-ramp (which just happens to be right by our little farm), there is nothing to tell anyone just where to go for those services.  It is another three miles to those services.  Oh, and at the bottom of the off ramp, there is nothing telling them which direction to turn!

This has been a problem for us since the day we moved onto the farm (over 20 years ago now).  I swear, everybody and their brother has to ask us something – or for something:

  • “Can you tell me where such-and-such is?”
  • “I ran out of gas, do you by chance have any to help me get to a gas station?”
  • “Can you tell me where the nearest gas station is?”

Those three questions are the most asked, but we also have some real beauties that have happened:

  • An elderly couple in a big, beautiful Caddy pulled into our driveway.  The man got out and rang our doorbell.  “I am sorry to bother you,” he said, “ but my wife really needs to use a bathroom.  Could she possibly use yours?”  Yes, we said yes.
  • While enjoying our Friday night cocktails one comfortable summer evening, we watched a Motorcyclist come down the off-ramp.  A pretty standard practice there as tons of Cyclists have done it in the past and continue to do so today.  This one was a bit different.  He got off the bike (which was not small by a long shot), pulled out his cane, and proceeded to step back to stretch his legs.  That’s when it happened. Just as he stepped clear of the motorcycle, it fell over.  He tried to catch it but it was obviously more than he could possibly handle. We got up from our comfortable porch chairs, walked across the highway over to him at the off ramp, and proceeded to lift his motorcycle back up for him.  He thanked us endlessly and even offered us money (we declined) and said he was just on his way back to Denver from Sturgis (he went to the bike rally up there) and just needed a bit of a break.  We kindly suggested he may want to look into getting a tric (tricycle motorcycle).  We all had a nice laugh and he went on his way.

It should also be noted that I am a mom that became a very light sleeper when I had my child.  I have never been able to sleep long or sound for a full eight-hours after I had her possibly because she was born with a disability, possibly just because it is a mom thing?  This last Friday proved, once again, that it is a very good thing.

It was around 11:30 p.m. Friday night, and the dogs started barking weirdly.  They have several types of bark, but there is one that signals there is something really strange outside.  This bark was one of those types.

They woke me and I went to the windows to see what was up.  Then I saw the vehicle lights which were aimed at our vehicles.  Definitely not a good sign!

There are several reasons people with vehicles are in front of our home in the middle of the night:

  1. Gotta pee.  This is by-far the biggest reason.
  2. Dog has got to pee. 
  3. Check directions.  Since the road signs do not clearly tell drivers where to go, they will drive by several times, stop, review maps or GPS and then figure it out.
  4. Change drivers because the current one is starting to drift off.

But, I have to say, this one was a first:

  • As I was walking toward the widow where our vehicles are parked, I could see the top of someone’s head bobbing toward our door.  The window was open because the night was cool and I leaned over and yelled out, “What do you want?”  The poor kid jumped a foot! (Ok, I have to be honest and say that this made me laugh-internally- even though I was mad for the middle of the night disturbance.)  He then proceeded to apologize profusely for the intrusion, but he/they had a bad flat tire.  He asked if I had a jack.  My first reflex action was “NO!!”  I told him there was a garage just on the other side of the overpass and he could go there.  (I knew full well that they were not open after 5p.m. any day, so the kid(s) would have to wait till morning.  Serves them right for bugging me in the middle of the night!)  After several more minutes of begging, offering the $20 he had for my trouble, and swearing he was not up to something bad; the mom in me gave in.  I told him to pull in by my car and I went out to help.  The tire was shredded so they must have been riding on it for a while. I got the jack out of my car, they proceeded to replace the tire and then the little fart offered the $20 again.  I said no and then he asked if it was OK to give me a hug?  He was going to visit he grandparents and I remined him of them.  I caved in and then wished them a safe trip.  Through all of this my sister, who fell asleep on the couch, did not budge – JERK!

I shared the story with my sister and we both laughed.  Then she said was that she was proud I tried to not help them as we have sworn to each other to quit doing it.  We have had too many bad experiences with strangers in the last 10 years and are trying to quit being so nice.  The problem is, we were not raised that way.  Our parents raised us with do unto others and help those that cannot help themselves growing up so its embedded in our D.N.A.

I guess that with the state of things in the U.S. right now, maybe this little act of kindness is good thing and possibly even appreciated?  A jack?  In the middle of the night?  Man, I have gotten soft!

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

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ARE YOU ALWAYS LOOKING FOR MORE?

I grew up on a farm, moved to the big city of Denver for 20 years, then choose to move back to farm life in 2000. City life is (and was) great fun – however – just not for me. I found I was always looking for more.
I do not hate big city life; there is much to be had there. It is still a lot of fun to go back and see all the unique things it offers – museums – zoos – specialty shows (Stock Show just came through) – and all the little out-of-the-way spots I know. The problem, the thrill is gone.
Don’t get me wrong; I loved living in Denver when I was young and unattached. My gal pals and I used to go out every weekend. Dancing and shooting pool were my most favorite activities back then. I was pretty good at both (ok, maybe not so much on the dancing side – but I did win a lot of trophies for shooting pool.) The stories I could tell of those younger days, but then I don’t want to keep you up at night.

pool-trophy

My thrill now is the farm and all the wonders it shows me. I was watering in the greenhouse yesterday and found a baby Praying Mantis – WOW! Here I thought it was too early for my cuties to be out and about? She was very tiny – but alive and well. We do not heat the whole greenhouse in the winter, just a part of the herbs and our ever-bearing strawberries. She was playing in with the strawberries (smart girl!).

bb-praying-mantis
The latest newbie came in an email I received from Farmers Almanac is regarding today – Groundhogs day. There is a special section that states this day was originally called Candlemas Day – this is something new to me:

For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far the snow will swirl until May;
For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day,
So far will the sun shine before May.

I do not know where this little quote came from (folklore they say) but I just fell in love with it. This is part of the fun of living on a small farm. I get to take a moment and enjoy these little oddities. I took a moment to do some digging and found that this is a traditional Christian festival that commemorated the ritual purification of Mary forty days after Jesus’ birth. I am a Christian, and I never knew this. Without the internet and the wonderful people at Farmers Almanac, I might never have known this!
The farm has so much to offer, and there is something new at least once a week (sometimes once a day). This date – February 2nd – will now hold a stronger meaning for me. When my January’s get to overloaded (like this last one has been), I will make it a point to place the phrase “Candlemas” on my calendars. This will be my hint to myself to seek out something out-of-the-norm new. So here are some more bits of obscure facts I found for this day:
• It is also called the Festival Day of the Candles, from the past when there was no electric for lighting. A year’s supply of candles was blessed on this day for the church.
• Candles, symbolic for Christians, are to remind us of Jesus – The light of the world.
• Midpoint of winter – half way between the spring and winter equinoxes.
• Folklore again, stated the Christmas season lasted 40-days – until February 2nd.
• Another lovely old saying: “The Snowdrop (we have these on the farm), in the purest white array, First rears her head on Candlemas Day.”

snowdrop-flowers-2

• This is also the day for you procrastinators to put away your Christmas ornaments.

The next one’s to look forward to will be Valentine’s day (yes, I do know about this one) and Kissing Friday (see, here’s another I know nothing of – gasp!), alas, this one ended in the 1940’s boo hoo!

prarie-dogs-kissing

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DO YOU EVER GET CARRIED AWAY IN THE MOMENT?

Happens to me every fall.  I just can’t help myself.  I have tried. I keep myself busy with harvesting and crafting and food processing – but it just can’t stop it.  Those pesky childhood memories come flooding back every fall.

There is so much work that has to be done right now.

  • Canning, cooking, freezing, dehydrating.
  • Digging up old and prepping for new in the spring.
  • Start or end projects for the holidays
  • Then there are all the decorations – dig it out, put it up, take it down, pack it away.
  • Clean up/out the house for winter ready (basically the same as spring cleaning, but now is more to get the dust out and keep the bugs out.).
  • Pack away the spring/summer clothes and get out the fall winter clothes – and don’t forget the boots!
  • Finish any critter roofs that need to be tacked down and/or sealed.
  • Shear up any walls that got knocked around by winds.
  • Mow everything one last time (that takes two days in itself).
  • Get the tank water heaters out and make sure they are working (for critters and the fish pond in the front yard.).
  • Fix any doors, windows and shutters on all buildings.
  • Re-insulate, caulk, or trim any place that may have lost it over the summer.

This is just part of my to-do-list before the first frost hits.  One weather forecast said colder than normal; the other said warmer than normal, pretty sure I do not even know what NORMAL is anymore?!

I started to water what is left of the gardens, and heard some kids (very young) laughing as a truck drove by; and that was all it took!  I had to come in and write up my last blog (cool dad #2) while it was fresh in my mind.  (OH, for those wondering – the memory is great – only lasts about 5 minutes, but it is great! Lol)

Then I realized I left the water running in the strawberry plot – oops!  Oh well, been meaning to do that anyway.  The temps are still in the mid 80’s here during the day, and only dropping to around 40 at night (actually just before dawn), so they are safe with the flooding.

This weekend is supposed to be a bit cooler.  We have “volunteer” trees that have to come down, and some nasty rats that need some bubble gum!  I just hope my mind can stick to the task at hand?  Fall and Winter are my most favorite seasons simply because of all the delightful memories!  How about you?  Do you get carried away in the moment too?

dsc_0003  (Too many volunteers right on the fence line – both sides!)

dsc_0005   dsc_0004

dsc_0006

(You may not be able to tell from these pics, but each hill from the rats is about a foot tall!  They have even invaded our corn patch – jerks!)

OH NO – NOT ANOTHER COOL DAD STORY?

To properly explain this one, I am going to have to write you a picture:

  • Two sisters, one about four the other about six.
  • It is early1960’s in Wisconsin.
  • Our farm is several miles from the nearest major highway, so a trip is required for everything.
  • The main road: County Trunk W.
  • The type of road: 2-lane, HUGE hills (cannot see the other side until you are on top of them type hills).
  • And so our story begins:

It is a beautiful fall day.  The leaves are either turning or falling, and this part of Wisconsin has such an amazing variety of trees that you are awestruck by colors.  The air is crisp, even in the mid-afternoon.  Dad decides we have to go to the grocery store in Adell (not the closest city, but a larger selection) to pick up some stuff.  We are taking the farm truck (I have no clue year, make or model – have to ask my older sister since she totaled it – but that’s another story).  No seatbelts (neither in it or required to have it- go figure?).

Dad grabs the girls and throws them into the front seat of the truck, then slides in on the driver’s side and starts her up.  Varoom, rumble, rumble, rumble (yes, this is how an old farm pickup truck sounds) and off we go.

From the end of our driveway, you turn onto County Trunk W and go east toward Adell.  We sit at the top of a hill, so the start is fun picking up speed on the way down.  Now remember, it is early 1960’s so cops really didn’t look for speeders on all the county roads (most of them were still gravel anyway – now ours.)

Down the hill, up a smaller one, and over – picking up some more speed.  Down again, up again, down again; this continues for about five or six miles, and THERE IT IS – SKUNK HILL.  The reason for the name is because of all the dead skunks on it.  You cannot see over to the other side, so there is no time to slow down.

  • Once over,
    • you see it,
      • it’s dead – and
        • your car/truck will stink for a month

It was the tallest hill around.  Dad was beatin feet to get up that puppy.  Hit the top and it happened, up we went off the seat into the air!  Squeals of joy and laughter rung out!  Dad was laughing even harder at us and our excitement just over a jump on a hill.  Great joy in the little things.  The laughter did not stop for another 3 or so miles until we got to the store.

NOW, some of you will be seeing the danger here.

Some of you will be seeing bad parenting here.

But some of you, just some of you will see this:

calvin-n-hobbes-laughing

  silly-minion-1

silly-minions-2

farm-dad-1

     great-dad2

Our parents were great!  Loving, funny, caring, sharing, encouraging, outstanding.  So please do not judge too harshly the decade we grew up in because it was all good. 

They were not rich, but our lives were.  If I could, I would wish that all children would have at least a couple of summers, and maybe a few falls, on a farm.

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How Cool is Your Dad?

Our dad was AWESOME (yes, you must sing the last word here!)!  Our parents were outstanding but in completely different ways.  It took the two of them to create we three monster sisters, but this story is about Dad.

Fall brings back more memories of Dad than Mom.  He kept the farm rolling.  He worked a full-time job in Milwaukee, at the same time carried a full-time job working our 80-acre farm.  That’s a lot of working and a lot of stress.  The amazing part is he always found time for us.  He included us in all parts of the farm.

In Wisconsin, we had to do a chore every spring called “picking rock” – yes, we hand picked up large rocks in the fields.  This had to be done before the plows could come through or they would cause major damage to the equipment.  My little sister was about 4-years old when she was initiated.

pushing-boulder-up-hill

We had this great little gray Massey Ferguson tractor.  It was the littlest one on our farm and a perfect fit for little girls.  Dad hooked up one of the flatbed trailers to the tractor, lifted us three girls up on the flatbed, and out to the fields we went.

Once in the field, Dad put the youngest (only four remember) into the driver’s seat, tied a wooden block to her gas pedal foot, put the tractor in the lowest gear and off she started.  My older sister, I, and my dad then would walk the field alongside the trailer finding, picking up, and loading all the rocks about softball size and up onto the wagon.  Easy right?  WRONG!

The best thing our parents gave us is our sense of humor; it is also the worst.  The baby sister and I were always at each other; it was our “thing.”  She now had a perfect advantage.  It all started out innocent enough, scooting along in the tractor.  Nice and smooth, slow and steady.  If we had a fairly big rock her job was to stop until we had it loaded (Yep – here it comes).

She did her job perfectly with Dad.  Just as well with our eldest sister.  Then there was me.  First, it started out as it should, moving along, picking up and loading rocks.  Then she saw me pick up a rock that was obviously very heavy and awkward for me.

She stopped the wagon.

Waited for me to get right up to it to set down the rock.

Then purposely bolted ahead so I could not set down the rock (little jerk)!

What made matters worse for me, was Dad laughing.  Our older sister joined in, and I was once again the brunt of the joke.  The more they laughed, the more she did it, the angrier I became – which made them all laugh harder.

dont-throw-rocks-sign  (or little sisters)

Dad would eventually compose himself and reprimand baby sister – sort of.  She would be good for a while, then start back up again.  This became the family ritual every rock picking season.  Funny how a person can get used to good-hearting ribbing, but others will call it a form of abuse.  To me, it was just normal family fun farm stuff.

3-sister-stones

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FARM KIDS AND FLYING HAY.

We had an 80-acre farm in Wisconsin that grew veggies for canning for winter food.  We also grew wheat, corn, and hay for the winter critters.  We raised beef cattle, had horses for fun, and a 4-H project with rabbits that got way out of control but filled the freezers with meat for a year (that’s another story).

One of my fondest memories growing up was of making hay.  Now before you panic, let me explain.  These were the old, small bales, the ones that usually weighed between 50-80 pounds and a normal adult could pick up and throw around.  This process became a family tradition.

We were the family with all the land and all the equipment, so when it came time to doing something like making hay, it was an extended family event.  Cousins, Aunts, Uncles and even some close family friends would be involved.  The parents and older kids worked the fields, while the kids got to work up in the haystack in the barn (I know, we were ripped off!).  The lower starting levels were not bad; but as the stack grew and the gap between the top of the hay and the top of the barn got smaller, the heat got more intense.  I don’t remember anyone passing out, but I also do not remember anyone coming out of there dry.

hay-baler-pic

(This is close to what ours was like, except back then there were no side racks, the hay came off the baler and we pulled it onto the wagon and stacked it.  The wheels were also up front and in back instead of in the middle)

The only major issue I remember is at the end of one season; the kids were allowed to go out and ride the last wagon of hay back (huge praise for our kid work).  My dad’s brother, Uncle Vern, was the tractor driver that day.  The wagon was full, we were all on top, and he was cruising back to the house.

The road from the hay field to the barn had only one stop.  The problem was it was at an intersection that sat at the bottom of a very steep hill (appropriately there also happened to be an old cemetery right across the street from where we had to stop – a very spooky cemetery!).  Well, Uncle Vern knew how bad this intersection was so he had been watching the top of the hill as we approached.  Instead of coming to a complete stop Uncle stood up, looked both ways one more time and then gunned the tractor.   (Everyone hated that turn because you couldn’t see anyone coming until they were already over the hill and just about on that intersection…this is why I said the cemetery was: appropriately placed there – eeek!).  He started the turn, was going a bit too fast, the hay on the wagon was not tied down (ya, no one even thought to do it back then), and we all tipped over!  The hay and the kids flew.  The tractor and, surprisingly, the wagon remained on their wheels.

UNCLE VERN STOPPED!

Parents from the house were watching from the top of the hay barn and saw us all fly.  Immediately they came rushing down the hill to help.  One group stopped traffic up by our driveway on the top of the hill.  Another group went to stop traffic in the other directions.  The rest ran to our aid.  You should have seen their faces.

NO ONE WAS HURT – NOT EVEN A SCRATCH, AND WE WERE LAUGHING!

 calvin-n-hobbes-laughing

Yep, crazy farm kids, had a blast flying off the top of the bales into the ditch.  It was grassy and semi-soft.  We were on the top of the stacked bales, so nothing landed on top of us, and besides; we all had jumped from greater heights inside the barn into the straw pile.  We thought it was fun – scary, but fun.  Later, eventually, so did our parents.

hay-wagon-pic

(This is very close to what it looked like before the dump.  The bales were stacked the same way, only add one more top row – 5 high – and we sat on top.) Ahhh,  childhood memories!

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SO WHAT’S WRONG WITH A YOUNG ADDICTION?

Don’t you just love a good addiction?  My first one started when I was only seven years old, and my parents put me into 4-H.  We had cattle, horses and lots of other farming things that I could have worked on and taken to the fair – but nooo – I chose to take a shot at knitting.  YES, with yarn – now how scary is that?

I have no clue what attracted me to it.  My mother would crochet once in a while (in a very long while), but it was not one of her passions.  I still remember the very first pair of needles I picked up.  I swear there was some type of chemical on them that the moment I touched them I became obsessed!  It was (and still very much is) an addiction.  The very first thing I ever created was called “The Pixie Slipper” – I won first prize – blue ribbon.  It was the ugliest thing anyone ever suggested for a pattern.  Real easy to do for a first-timer, but still ugly.  What brought all this up?  The pattern is back – EEEKKK!

You can find tons of all types of handmade slippers (and just about everything else) on eBay or Etsy.  I have searched and used both, but this one just made me giggle:

pixie-slippers

(you can click on the pic to take you to the site for more info)

Other than the major curling in the toes, it is pretty much the same old pattern.  Funny, the whole thing is just one big square?!?  If you go here: https://www.etsy.com/market/pixie_slippers  you can find a ton of variations to this project – who would have thought?

I remember putting such effort into that project.  There was just something about the feel of the needles that hooked me (yes, pun intended).  It then became the different feel of the yarns and fibers.  When I went to the fair after judging, I spotted so many other beautiful projects that kids just like me had done, and I was instantly drugged!  I would never be the same innocent me again – yarn – the culprit!

Now that I am older (notice I did not say wiser!?), I have come to realize it was not the yarn’s fault…it was the needles!  Well, it’s not really their fault either…it’s my tiny hands and fingers and MY PIANO TEACHER!!  Dun, dun, daaaa – the plot thickens!

hands-on-piano

Her method of teaching us (yep, little sis and I both had to take piano lessons – mom insisted!) was to wack the back of our hands if we didn’t reach an octave.  (Those that are lucky and have never had to, check out a piano some time – try to reach eight keys with your thumb on one and pinky on the other – that’s an octave.)  I couldn’t because of my short little fingers.  But, if I lowered my hand I could just reach the corners and make it – NOT ALLOWED – WACK! 

“You must pretend you have a golf ball stuck under your palm – this is how you must play!”  Wack – again…never did get that setup – BUT – I still tried.  Then on I was always sticking something in my hands, between my fingers (ok, sometimes up the nose – hee hee), working and trying to make them longer.  Didn’t work.  So, instead, I learned how to be more creative.  My favorite reading is “how-to’s” and love learning new things and techniques.  I love to write, draw, paint and all the other fun things you do with fingers…but the best, and most favorite, is still the original – KNITTING!

 

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THE FIRST TIME I TRIED TO DIE (no, not on purpose!).

To this day I cannot keep my hands off baby animals.  Don’t care what kind of animal it is, just as long as it is in baby form.  Adults, not so much.

On a farm, there is always some type of babies being born.  If it wasn’t my 4-H rabbits, it was the cousin’s pig.  Well, one fine year we had a Welsh Pony, her name was Dolly.  She was a booger!  The meanest pony I ever met.  Once you got the bridle and saddle on her, she was fun to ride.  Trying to get them on without her stepping on your foot or trying to nip you was another story.  I don’t know where or when it happened, but she got pregnant and had a colt.  A beautiful black and white spotted thing just like her.

dolley and baby

I can’t tell you how many times dad warned us NOT to go near Dolly.  She was very protective of her baby, as a mother should be.  Did I listen?  Nope!  I would go out there for hours and try to get close enough to touch the baby.

There was a small shed out in their pen with the door and window blown out.  Dolly would hide in there with her baby, and I knew it.  I would crawl up to the side of the building and try to reach in to get to touch the baby.  Never worked.

One day I decided I was just going to do it!  Just who did this pony think was the boss anyway?  So, I put on my little cowboy boots, grabbed my coat and off I went.  I marched right into that pen, right up to the pony and that was the last thing I remember of that encounter.

Apparently, she knew she was the boss and the moment I got too close, she decided to show me.  Swung her butt around and planted a hoof square on my head – knocked me out cold.  I was lucky for two reasons:

  1.  Dolly did not want to come after me for more damage once I was down.
  2. Dad saw the whole thing.

He managed to get me to the house (back then you didn’t just rush off to the hospital or doctor, you tried to handle it at home first.) where mom took over and eventually I came around.

Now, I’m not going to say I was okay.  As far as “ok” – that is still left to be determined (sure hope not)!  However, I was an idiot back then, and I will continue to prove this to you in my future family stories. (FYI – Dad’s nickname for me was “Dumb Shit” for a reason.)

headache dog

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THAT DAY MY YOUNGER SISTER “ALMOST” DIED?

This is the start of something new for my blog.  These are still Helberg Farm Stories, but they are from our family past.  I have decided to share some of my fondest memories one day a week, then current happenings another.  Hope you enjoy reading these as much as I loved living them.

This first one happened when my younger sister was 4, and I was 6 (and yes, I do remember it very well).  (F.Y.I.  my younger sister will be “D” and older will be “M”, in case they do not agree with my humor – hee hee)

It was a normal spring day in Wisconsin.  It had rained the night before, so everything was very wet (a Wisconsin natural state of being).  Mom was tired of hearing us fight – AGAIN – so she kicked us outside.  Looking around for a bit, riding became the order of the day.

Now that I think back on it all we were pretty lucky.  Our farm was eighty acres of rolling hills, woods, creek, and pond.  We also had great neighbors that would let us ride on their properties.  John’s Woods (the name we gave it) was an excellent place to ride and let the child imaginations run wild.  It was about 2 miles long with a perfect square cut out in the middle of it.  This is where a ton of our stories happened.  But for today, this one was actually up by the house.

The family garden was about 100 feet long and about 25 feet across.  We had to grow enough to harvest and process to get us through the next fall.  A wooden fence protected the two sides to the field.  We had horses but also raised beef calves and wintered YMCA horses, so we needed the pasture land for all of them.  Our riding this wet morning took us to that area of the pasture.

Mom was in the kitchen cleaning it up which included doing dishes.  The window over the sink for the dishes faced the garden and that part of the pasture – or most of it.  The far end corner could not be seen clearly from this window.  This, I believe, is what made this story most funny (for me anyway, mom didn’t think so.).

I do not remember what game we were playing that day.  I just remember the race.  There was a huge apple tree next to the long side of the garden, but on the pasture side of the fence.  Our goal was to run our horses up to that apple tree, touch it, and race back to the barn.  First back, of course, wins.

My horse, Folly, was a beautiful red and white pinto.  And she was fast!  My sister’s horse was an off-white buckskin with black mane and tail.  Her name was Highstockings because she had four black legs from hoof to knee.  Looked just like she had on high stockings (duh!?!).

pinto   buckskin

Well, we got out to the tree just fine, but on the return trip Highstockings did not make the far garden corner, she lost her footing and rolled over my sister (remember she is only four years old).  Folly, into the moment, ran straight for the barn.  I jumped off and ran to the house and yelled “D.’s dead.”  Mom freaked out as she only caught the tail of the horse making the corner, but did not see the whole fall.

barrell race horse

(yep, we pretended we were this fast!)

Mom and dad both ran out across the back yard and leaped the fence – then stopped dead in their tracks.  Not only was D. just fine, but she had the reins of the horse up to its mouth held firm in her tiny fist.  She had pulled the horses’ head down till its nose was even with her face, which was now covered in mud.  Her little 4-year-old fist was punching the horse in the nose while she was yelling, “Don’t ever do that again!” (Like it was the horse’s fault we were so stupid?)

To the day they died, my parents loved telling this story.  It took all they had not to laugh hysterically at this mud-drenched, 4-year-old little girl, punching a full grown horse (not a pony mind you, we had HORSES!) because it had lost its footing due to her stupidity on taking the corner so fast when it was this wet.  Of course, now it is one of the thousands of great stories we love to tell when the family gets together.

pony vs horse

(Ok, regular horses not Draft horses – but you get the size difference!)

(My only regret sharing these is that the amazing pictures I had saved from back then were all destroyed in our house fire in 2014 – maybe some of my extended family back there will read this and have some to share with me?  Yes, Cousins, that is a hint!)

muddy kid

(This is pretty close to what she looked like, just darker hair and a bit more mud on the face.  The puddle looked the same.)

 
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