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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THRILLED FINDING MY NEW GUEST!

Gardens and gardening is a never ending adventure for me.  Every time I go out to them, I find something wonderful and amazing.  Today is her day:

gardenspider-1

She is a common garden spider for out here.  The funny part is the first five years on our little piece of heaven; we did not see any of them?  Then, in the 6 year, they were everywhere.  We had a fun one that made a next on the old chicken shed.  The front of it was all chicken wire to let the sun in, and she found that to be a perfect spot for feeding.  We also have one of our well pumps right beside that spot.  Well, we would go to water the animals and turn on that pump, and she would spaz out. She was a massive predator!  The minute her web wiggled, even a tiny bit, she was all over it.  Most of the day she was very lazy and just hung out in the middle sunning herself.  But the first time I was trying to untangle the hose for the chicken water and splashed her web – I freaked out (my turn I guess, haha).  She came bolting across to where I hit her web, and I must have jumped back a foot at least!  They are not a small spider:

gardenspider-2

My fingers are right behind her in this shot, and she is not even full grown yet! Eeek!!  Her body alone gets about as big as a ping-pong ball, and those legs stretch out about three inches from that.  She actually has a pretty silver streaking going on, but I was at the wrong angle for the picture to properly show that.

Considering how aggressive she is toward bad bugs, how she doesn’t bother me if I don’t bother her, and I caught her eating a wasp – she is welcome to stay and call the greenhouse home!  Now I just need to remember that she is in there because this web is up as high as my head, and the place we turn on the swamp cooler pump is right behind her.  Would hate to not be paying attention and have her right on my face – double EEEK!!!  Happy gardening you all – and keep your heads up!
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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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IS THERE ANYTHING BETTER THAN A RAINY DAY?

There is just something about a rainy day that I just love.  I can’t quite pin it down to one single thing.  Maybe it is because I hold so many great reasons:

  • Rainwater is best for all the plants.  Veg, flower, bush and tree all look and act so much better with rain water.  Even more so than our well-water.
  • A steady rain (like what is going on now) makes me feel major creative!  Writing, sewing, knitting, crocheting, even cooking (SHOCKER – for me anyway, I normally do not do the cooking here, and it is not one of my passions – love the eating part, but my Sis does the awesome cooking in our household).
  • Something calming for me in the sound of the rain falling, especially on a tin roof (our outbuildings all have tin roofs).
  • The sound of the wind whipping up, rain pouring down, throw in some lightning and thunder and I can fall right to sleep (hee hee- I know, it keeps most people up but not me – so weird).
  • Then there is the childhood part of it.  When I was young, we couldn’t wait for the rain to come.  It meant fresh fruits and veggies to pick and eat, mud puddles to stomp around in, and the added benefit of hot cocoa when we finally came into the house soaking wet and cold.  It meant something warm and comforting for me.  Snow does the same thing.

I am much older now; I also have osteoarthritis (in all my joints) which can mean some painful moments on these types of days.  I believe my contentment overrides the pain.  Maybe it is also seeing something accomplished.  I used to work in offices and factories.  At the end of the day, I always felt like I didn’t accomplish anything.  There was still a pile of work left to be done on the next day, and it all looked the same.  Now I can work on a project and actually see that it is complete.  The next day will bring a new project.  Sure, I have some projects that take more time than others, but the overall feeling is of accomplishment.

So, this morning is time to finish a sewing project for a friend’s horses:

8-25 sew proj

Then vacuum seal some meat:

8-25 vac sealer

Maybe work some more on knitting projects:

8-25 knit work

Then later I have to fry up some chicken and cook some rice to put on zucchini boats to be grilled this weekend (notice, the least fav thing to do is last – hee hee).

Then I usually end my days by sitting in my recliner and working on the yarn projects again.  I never have just one going at a time.  Right now I am working on 5.  A couple of these are birthday gifts; a couple are going to be sold in my Etsy shop, and the other is one that I am actually doing just for me – woo hoo!

Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer and sunny (boo hoo), so I guess it’s time to do the “real work” – PROCESSING HARVEST  yum!

 

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GOT SO EXCITED ALMOST WET MYSELF!

I hate cell phones!  Having said that, I have come to rely on mine way too much.  I get notices on EVERYTHING about everyone – ridiculous!   But this is now a fact of my life.

One of the notices I get is of value.  I get breaking news information – local and the world (don’t care about national right now due to politics – another thing I hate!).  Well, the text I received a few moments ago was really exciting.

The Winter Park Ski Train is trying to run again. WOO HOO!!  (9 News Winter Park Train)

This is even better because I am not a skier.  Not anymore anyway.  I was back in the 70’s to 90’s, but you get to a certain point in your life when you realize that the fun is not worth the broken bones or joints (my case – joints).

I do love winter.  I love the mountains.  I love train rides.  I love sitting in the lodge with my hot toddy next to a huge fireplace watching someone fall on the slope.  I also have a great excuse – my 7- year old grandson!  He has never been on a train, and we really want to give him the experience.  If they decide to run it the full season, we may have to book tickets.

If you are coming to Colorado in the “snow season” I highly recommend using the train.  So much better than trying to drive those slopes with that amount of traffic.  Winter Park also has a ton of fun other stuff to do.  (Side funny: I caught news anchors on National Channel this morning singing a Christmas song – – – guess it just shows how desperate we all are to get rid of all the political B.S.!)

winter park snow scene

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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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IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN, ARE YOU LOSING IT?

I find it funny how sometimes I don’t even have to look at a calendar to know what time of the year it is.  It’s not the flowers or the trees; it’s our peacock.  I know, peacock?  Time of year?  This farm gal has gone off the deep end of a shallow pool – ha ha, not!

When it is very warm or very cold the peacock looks like this:

DSC_0022  DSC_0020

Full, beautiful bunch of tail feathers – definitely something to be proud of (and he is).  F.Y.I., they are very vain birds.  We catch him constantly sitting, staring at his reflection in our windows.  So wrong!

They also make great guard dogs.  Nothing gets close to or in our yards without this monster spouting out (if you have never heard one, go to the Denver Zoo -it’s loaded with them, and they are noisy).  The downside to that is we live next to an interstate highway, and on/off ramp for it, and a railroad track.  If any one of those makes an unusual sound (huge bang from train starting up, jake-brake from a semi trying to slow down, etc.), he squawks off.  During the day I don’t mind, but one a.m., I’m looking for a shoe to throw at him (he perches up in the tree outside my window at night – jerk!)!

Well, all I have to do is look for the tell-tale signs in the yard:

DSC_0003

DSC_0002

DSC_0001

 

 

 

 

 

And I will know EXACTLY what time of year it is…

It’s peacock humiliation time – WOOO HOOO!!

DSC_0006

Notice how even he does not want to show his face when his tail looks like this – LMAO!  All of the feathers will drop off before the temps get much lower.  Then he will start to put on new ones before winter.  In the spring we go through the same process – PEACOCK FEATHERS EVERYWHERE!

We had hundreds of them before the fire (boo hoo, all gone), and I was worried.  Silly me!

p feathers 1-yr 8-16-16

This is what we have collected just this year.  The last two years we just let them fly.  This is the feathers of two molting’s sitting there.  Going to have to get a bigger pot to put them in soon – eeek!

 

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SO NOW WHAT DO I DO? OVER 50? (-OR- If you have the guts)

Going a bit off topic today.  This is due to several article/blogs I have been reading.   I have some helpful news (I hope) to share with some of you that are interested.  I found out that a ton of people over 50 (and some over 30) do not know where to start if they are tired of the same old job, the same old routine, the same old, same old.  I would love to know if you know of, or at least heard of, the Aptitude Test?

Those of you that have heard of this and maybe have taken it, you can go now if you want.  Stick around if you would like to be ENLIGHTENED (this is where you are all supposed to go “ooohhh, aaahhhh” ).

enlightenment

I have taken the test 3 times.  The first time I was in my 20’s and semi-lost.  The jobs in Wisconsin died.  Uprooted myself (later my family) to Denver, Colorado (just because I one of my goals in life was to see the Rocky Mountains), and took whatever job I could get just to have an income.

Rocky Mountains-lookout mtn

My first job in Colorado was not bad, but it was through a temp agency.  Apparently, it was hard to get verifications off your application/resume’ from another state.  So, a majority of my applications were turned down simply because no one wanted to make the long distance call (now it’s all via internet…ahh the simpler days – lol).  So I went to the work force for help.

LOW AND BEHOLD I WAS SAVED!

 dancing kittens-saved

A wonderful person there turned me on to the APTITUDE TEST!  What a marvel of modern science that was (just a little F.Y.I. – this was in the early 80’s so it was done via pencil and paper – SHOCKER I KNOW!!).  A simple test that you just basically answer yes, no, like, dislike, or somewhere in the middle on most all of the questions.  Through this process of elimination, it spits out results that tell you what your beautiful mind is best suited for – AMAZING!  It doesn’t just look at what you have experienced or learned in life, but it looks at your hobbies and things you would like to do if given the opportunity.  WOW!  What a great idea – actually put people into jobs they would like to do!

So, for those of you searching, wishing, dreaming, or just curious, here are some free sites on the net that you can check out:

https://www.whatcareerisrightforme.com/

http://www.free-online-aptitude-test.com/career-aptitude-tests.htm

http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Aptitude-Tests-Career-Assessment  (this one looks so interesting, thinking it’s time for me to take one again – woo hoo!  Can’t wait to see what it says about me now!?!)

If you are confused about the results – don’t be afraid to ask!  You need to keep in mind that they are generalized answers – for example,  you did the test, and it tells you that you would be great in the customer service industry…so, some jobs you might like would be:

  • Retail Service or possibly Management  (Create the next Wal-Mart)
  • Social Services (Section 8 Voucher Program Manager – help people find decent, affordable housing)
  • Public Servants (police, firefighter, ambulance attendant)
  • Basically, anything that involves connecting to people, usually on an individual level.

So don’t get scared or discouraged if you do not know how to read the results.  You can ask any of these places/people for help:

  • Local High School Guidance Counselor
  • Local Work Force Center
  • Local College or Community College
  • Me, I would love to help you work it out.  It was part of what I used to do when I worked for the Government (yep, I was a Section 8 Voucher Program Manager – I helped people find decent, safe, and affordable places to live).

Good Luck and enjoy it – it is out there to help you!

goforit good luck

 

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ALRIGHT, JUST WHERE DID THESE COME FROM?

We get a ton of unusual things that happen here on our little farm.  The floods brought up odd looking snakes, beavers, opossum and who know what else has flowed down our way that is hiding yet in the field (we only have about 20 acres).
Every year has brought new surprises.  This year has brought a load of rain.  With the temps we have had, everything should be all dried out by now (that is the ones that are not man irrigated), they are not.  Here is one example of our odd summer season:

8 1 guess we are wet

From far away they just look like little white bumps in our field behind the chickens.  Look again:

8-1 mucho mushrooms

THESE MONSTERS ARE HUGE! (My foot is a women’s size 9)

8-1 size of our shrooms

There are only 4 or 5 of them out there, but the size is what shook my world.  HUGE is putting it mildly.  The sad part is that they are not edible – boo hoo!!  Especially since we love shrooms and put them in everything!  Fresh in a salad, fried loaded on a good steak, mixed with eggs for an outstanding omelet (ok, making myself really hungry now – hee hee), or one of several other goodies.  They just compliment so nicely.

We are lucky, though.  We have an outstanding mushroom farm not too far from us.  They grow several types, and THEY ARE EXCELLENT!  When we go there, we purchase bags and bags of them.  Most of them come home and get dehydrated, but several cups of them get fried up – yummm!

Ok, now I’ve done it!  Gonna have to take a trip there this weekend and get some more.  Since we have a side of beef coming in about a month for the freezer, better have some shrooms ready for it!

sidabeef

(Sorry Vegetarians, but I do love my meat with my veggies!)

QUOTE CHALLENGE – DAY 3, Thanx Oscar Wilde!

This one is actually a quote from Oscar Wilde

No good deed plack

 Perfect example:

Good Samaritan

I know there are those of you out there who still believe that good deeds will be rewarded.  You go right on believing that if it makes you feel good.  As for me, not a chance.

I do believe and follow the following:

  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (this one gets tricky)
  • An eye for an eye (and I usually am not the one doing the “for an eye” bit – but I have been lucky enough to witness the results – woo hoo!)
  • Bad things come in 3’s (or 4’s or 5’s or 6’s…)
  • Smile, it makes people wonder what you are up to. (This was from my mother.  She would do this to people she didn’t like just cuz it would freak them out – LOL)
  • Murphy’s Laws: For those of you that are not familiar with it:

murphys laws

If you are not laughing with me by now, you need to see your doctor.  Life is just too darn short not to push harder to see the humor in as much of it as possible!

Laugh on people, laugh on!!

laugh wrinkles  i said trim

(now that’s funny!)

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