Old barns are all so interesting and unique. Their character, style and design shared so much about the times. They are quickly becoming a thing of the past. They are being replaced by cookie cutter metal buildings. I can vividly remember my grandfather’s barn. It…
Month: October 2015
So many of the events that made Christmas so memorable we no longer do. One of those events was Christmas Caroling. The Saturday night before Christmas our church family would go caroling around the little town of Climax Springs. I remember one very memorable night…
Growing up there were four children in our family. Usually if we got anything like a record player or bike we got only one for all of us to use. That meant sharing. I remember that a year or so into having a bike my youngest brother decided to take it apart to see how it worked and see if he could put it back together. Well, you already know how that story ended.
The first year we got a sled we loved it. There was a big hill in the hog lot. The pigs had trampled out most of the brush so it was fairly smooth. The only problem with sledding the hill was the brush and fence at the bottom of the hill. There was no way to slow down or stop before reaching it. Being the tough country kids we were, we took turns going down, screaming each time someone reached the fence. Sometimes we jumped off before making contact, other times were rode it out. Over and over we took turns going down that hill and crashing.
As we got older the sled was worse for the wear. We looked for new ways to sled ride in the snow. We took the hood off of an old car that was sitting in the cow lot. We tied it to the truck. Someone would drive the truck while the others took turns riding on the sled/hood. I guess you could call that our extreme sport. The hood would glide beautifully for a while, but as soon as the truck slowed down the hood would slide towards the truck. We would all roll off. One thing for sure sled riding brought us lots of fun and laughter.
There were many activities during the fall of the year. One of those was deer hunting. Although that activity has been around since the settling of this country, it has not always been regulated as it is now. My family always participated, not for the sport of it, but for food on the table. Most families we knew hunted for this reason. It was an important part of the provisions for our food supply each winter.
There was always a little target practice prior to hunting. Sometimes that was shooting walnuts out of a tree. My father had a bit of an edge on my brothers. On one occasion he lined up five walnuts on the tree. He hit all five. Needless to say they were amazed. Other times it might be shooting cans from a fence post.
Often other family members and neighbors would join my father and brothers on the big hunt. That meant some extra big meals would need to be prepared. Mother would begin preparations. Usually a big pot of ham and beans or homemade noodles and chicken. Whatever she fixed, you can be sure there were some delicious hot rolls on the side.
By mid-morning some of the hunters had trailed in. There was word of one or more hunters getting their deer. A big noon meal filled with mother’s delicious home cooking, a mouth full of deer tales and lots of laughter brought all the hunting to a halt for a short while. The persistent hunters were back in the timber for another round as soon as lunch had settled a bit. Sometimes that looked like a napping carpet of camoflague on the living room floor. Naps over they would hit the trail for their next hunting excursion.
My mother loved birds.
There was always a few ceramic ones nestled on the shelves at her house. The Christmas tree was always adorned with some birds and there was a picture of birds hanging on the wall.
Birds were so much a part of the sights and sounds of farm life. The windows were always open in nice weather. There was no air conditioning. You would wake to the sound of birds chirping. Sometimes the yard would be covered with robins, a sure sign spring had arrived. A mother bird would fly into a nearby tree with a worm in her mouth to feed her babies. Woodpeckers, or as my friend’s little one called them, treeknockers would be busy chipping a hole in the tree next to the house. Two or three tiny hummingbirds worked tirelessly getting nectar from the flowers in mother’s garden. Three or four buzzards would circle high above the farm, a sign that some forest creature was dead or dying.
The evening rang in with the crisp clear sound of the whippoorwill. On hot summer evenings the voice of the rain-crow floated through the window letting us know the weather was hot and conditions were just right for an approaching storm.
The silence of the darkness was broken with the sound of a distant owl. This is only a mention of a few of the birds that nested in my childhood memories.
We live such busy hurried lives in closed up air-conditioned houses we miss the birds and their sweet calls and messages. They have amazing instincts in caring for themselves and their young. They are an amazing part of God’s beautiful creation and orderly design. How could we not see!! God reminds us to live as the birds, not worrying about tomorrow, knowing that He will provide our needs. A true walk of faith.
My mother loved roosters so I painted some roosters. We decorated her kitchen with roosters. Growing up chickens were always a part of the landscape, either penned up to grow out for meat or egg-layers running loose. We mostly raised them for our winter meat…
I love fresh garden veggies. With just two of us we can’t eat it all. But I can’t stand to see anything go to waste. So I am always on the lookout for new ways to perserve foods. Our friend gave us a big box of cabbage. I decided to make saurkraut. I have never made any before but I do like it. I decided to look for a recipe on line. I’m not real handy with looking up things on internet. Our internet service is very poor. I ask my son to find me a recipe. I have canning books but they don’t give those extra helpful tips and options I thought I needed. They write it as if everyone has had experience canning saurkraut.
As we chatted over the phone, I expressed my concern about being able to make it. My son started laughing. “Mom, he said, they made saurkraut when people didn’t have much of anything to work with. I’m sure you can make kraut.” My husband chimed in, “Saurkraut was the food that got Christopher Columbus to the new world.” I had never heard that before. It wasn’t in my history books. I had two guys instructing me as if there was nothing to it. But they had never made kraut before either.
The recipes for making kraut seems more than a bit unappealing. But they say the health benefits are wonderful. I got out my 2 gallon crock and began filling it with shredded cabbage. I put 1/3 cup of salt for every 3 pounds of cabbage. I layered the salt and cabbage until the crock was pretty full. I gently packed it down using a wooden spoon until the cabbage was covered with its own juices. This took a few hours of squeezing and then letting it rest. I covered the cabbage with cheesecloth, tucking in the sides to keep the cabbage in the juices. I filled a gallon freezer bag with some water. I placed it over the cabbage to keep it from being exposed to any air. It had to sit in the crock for 3 weeks. I left it about 3 weeks. Amazing results.
So often we don’t do things because we don’t know how. What wonderful things we miss out on when we don’t give it a try.
I like saurkraut as a side dish, but today I tried something new. I prepared some pulled pork. My son loves to bake. He sent us a loaf of sour douh rye bread. I made a sandwich with the pulled pork, saurkraut and sour dough rye. Delicious!!
This painting is an illustration from my book The Old Shepherd Song. It reflects Jesus life from Bethlehem to servant-shepherd to the cross. For over 50 years the Osceola School held an annual Christmas Program. The program was the complete story of Jesus birth. It…
My mother shared this story with me many times. It seemed to be one of those memories that latched onto her heart. She wanted me to paint a picture of it. I started it a long time ago but could not get it to come to life. She had macular degeneration and was unable to see much of the picture by then.
As we often sat on the front porch she would begin to share the story. Daddy always worked late so mother was left to do the evening chores. He had traded a car for his first herd of cows. Most of them were milk cows. Every evening the cows had to be driven in from the far pasture to be milked. Not a problem except for the fact that daddy kept a big black bull in the herd. Mother was a wonderful mother. We were all pretty little then. She did not want to leave us alone to go that far from the house. She was afraid the big black bull would turn on us so she did the only thing she could think of.
There was a big sycamore tree between the barnlot and the far field. There were four big trunks shooting up from the base of the tree. From the tree she could see us. She would put us between the tree trunks with strict orders for us to stay there. We would huddle between the trunks watching intently for mother to return.
Within a few minutes she would be driving the cows by and into the barn lot. Every now and then the big black bull would pause and look back at mother. She would just talk quietly to the cows and tell them to move on. Once the cows were in the barn lot she would come back for us. I’m sure each time she carried out this evening chore she was concerned for our safety and probably hers as well. It was never noticeable if she was afraid, but years later, listening to her share the story, it was obvious she had been concerned. I am reminded of all the extra miles my mother went to provide and care for us. She was a loving and caring mother who always put our needs before her wants and probably many of her needs. Missing her so much today.
If you have been reading my stories you know that I have created some childrens’ books. The illustrations are painted with acrylics. I thought it would be fun to share some of the illustrations from Mrs. Food’s Special Guest. Yes, there really was a Mrs. Food. When my husband was a kid she would call his mom and get permission to have him come and mow her grass.
This particular day she had not only ask him to mow but also bring his gun and get a couple of squirrels for her special company who was coming that day. . Being 11 he was pretty excited. He enjoyed hunting. His dad had taught him how to get a squirrel. And as long as he obeyed the rules and took extra good care of dad’s gun, he could use it.
When he finally arrived in the yard he was grabbed by men in black suits and thrown into a big black car. Of course they took his gun away.
He threw quit a fit and was very upset he had lost his dad’s gun. He knew he would be in big trouble for losing it. He still did not realize these men were the Secret Service. He eventually was rescued by Mrs. Food’s daughter. He was invited into the house and was introduced to the special guest, President Truman. As Mrs. Food introduced him to the president he learned that President Truman was a student of his grandfather’s.
President Truman shared some fun stories about his grandfather. That was pretty exciting since his grandfather had passed before he got to meet him. He did get his gun back and it was a day he would never forget.
In his early years his grandfather taught in the Jordon school area and married a woman from this area. It sometimes seems like such a small world.
The book is called Mrs. Food’s Special Guest. It is available on Amazon.
Taking a little time each day to reflect has been an amazing journey. The past becomes blended with the present. My childhood experiences have become richer and full of meaning and purpose. My present experiences seems so much more important. Maybe you just call that…