Monday, December 15, 2008

A Christmas I Remember

Christmas mornings for me were always just like the books that you read. My sister and I woke up, always very very early, and since I slept upstairs near my parents bed, I would ask if I could get up. Of course they would say it is not morning yet and after a while I would ask again. Finally after Janice would wake up also in a nearby bedroom then they would let us get up.
We would run downstairs to see what our special gift was, sitting on our special chair and to see what was in our Christmas Stocking. The night before mama would help us set a dinning room chair right in front of the Christmas Tree, one for each of us three girls. We left cookies on a plate on each chair and hung our Christmas stocking on the back of the chair. We always used one of mama’s nylon hose for our stocking. You could get so much more in it!! (This was before Panty hose!)
I don’t remember believing that Santa Claus came, I knew it was mama and daddy filling our stockings. They filled them mostly with apples, oranges and peanuts in the shell. I went to bed and thought they must get up in the middle of the night and put things on our chair and in our stockings. That part I never could figure out. How did they do that without me waking up. As I became older it finally dawned on me that they just did it before they went to bed! ha
We didn’t get a new doll every Christmas. A new doll was a very special gift that we received just a few times as we grew up. My very special friend, my Judy doll, I had as long as I could remember and I loved her very much. When I had my tonsils taken out in the hospital I had to have Judy with me in the hospital bed. And before I would let them give me a shot or anything they had to give it to Judy first. But over the last couple of years before this special Christmas all of her hair had fallen off, it was just glued on when she was new. I felt so sad that she was bald. And I guess I thought she was ugly. This Christmas the folks asked me if I wanted a new doll for Christmas. I said "no" what I want is new hair for my Judy doll!
So what did I see sitting on my Christmas chair that Christmas morning?! Judy, with a whole new head of hair, beautiful golden curls all over!! I was so very very happy!! I remember I started crying I was so happy. And I told mama that now I know what it means to cry because you are so happy. That was the first time I had ever experienced that. I never could figure out how they had that done without me knowing it. I had to have Judy with me all of the time. In later years mama told me they had gone all the way to Wichita, 60 miles, to a doll place and bought the wig and they told daddy how to glue it onto Judy. Daddy even had to buy special glue.
I still have Judy and she is still wearing the same wig. It is tangled now so you can’t comb it but it is still beautiful and I still love Judy as much as ever.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Consoling Factors for Recession

I enjoy quotes and really like this one....

In times of recession and shrinking money, the arts is one of the great consoling factors because you can turn to books and paintings and literature for insights into the human condition which greed and money can't buy.- Joan Bakewell, British broadcasting personality

I want to add to this quote with the idea that Photography and Nature are two things that also can console and present enjoyment, and are also things that greed and money can't buy or take away from you.
Here are a few to console you and to enjoy.....

Catching the Sun

Garden Blues

Rosey Pink

White Spider

Yellow Summer Days

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Playing in the Pasture

One of my favorite things to do on the farm was to go play in the pasture. This was a 20 acre area that was used to keep our cattle in. It was like going out into the wild!
There were so many things to do and see.
Just to walk around in the pasture was an adventure.
There were large bare areas where grass and weeds would not grow. Daddy told us that these areas were volcanic ash and that there had once been a volcano is the area. This always fascinated me. I could just see a big volcano spewing out ash and smoke, probably east of us where the city dump was at. At least this is what I had decided. And in these bare areas were always lots of rocks. We could find all different shapes and colors. The best ones were the petrified wood and the agates. I always had a bucket of rocks around the farm and my favorites would be in my rock collection sitting on a shelf in my room. One year mama even helped us to make plaster of paris molds that we stuck these rocks into to make a keepsake. I still have one of these that mama had sitting on the back porch even after they had moved to town.

While you were looking for rocks in these areas you could see a lizard run by. I would chase him and try to catch him and once in a while I would. The horny toads were easier to catch and there were more of them. I would usually be carrying home a horny toad as I walked back to the house. Sometimes I would keep a horny toad in a large coffee can for a few days but the folks would have me turn them loose after a while so they would not die. I do remember once when I caught one of those lizards. I tied a strong thread around its neck and put a safety pin on the other end of the thread and wore it to school like a pin! That was fun! A live lizard for a pin!! Most of my friends thought it was neat but I think most of the other kids thought I was goofy! Then when I came home I had to let it go again.

After a big rain there would be a new adventure in the pasture. There was a dry wash that ran through it. Most of the time there was not water in it but after a good rain there always was. There were three areas along this wash that would hold a pool of water for several days or even longer if we had more rains. Then you could go to these pools of water and find crawdads and tadpoles and all kinds of water bugs. I liked to play with the crawdads best. You could walk barefoot in the water and when you would get near a crawdad they would run real fast backwards! It was so funny! I knew not to get to close because they had pinchers that would nip your toe but they never seemed to want to do that, they would just run from you. To see them run backwards was so much fun.

Another fun thing with this dry wash was the gold that I could find in it! Just ask my cousin Savilla she knows about this gold! She and I would go out with our little shovels and buckets and dig for it. In this wash were places where the water would rush through the pasture and leave a deep washed out area, it would leave a bare wall of dirt three or four feet high. Here is where we found our gold. We would dig into this wall of dirt and find blue-gray colored dirt, (clay), just a strip of it, a vein of gold!! We would keep digging, taking the blue-gray dirt and placing it in our bucket, and follow the vein back into the wall of dirt. After a while we would be rich!

Sunflowers were another adventure in the pasture. The wild sunflowers would grow so very tall. At least 6 foot or more. In the pasture there would be huge patches that had just sunflowers growing side by side. This area was just like a jungle to my sister and I. We would try to walk through them and then we would start bending them over by standing on the stems. And we could make a “room” in the middle of the patch. Sometimes we made a path and made a second room! We had a play house made out of sunflowers!
In the pasture is also where I developed my interest in insects. Of course there were many of them around. I would just sit out in the middle of the pasture, in one of the bare spaces, or by the pools, or even in the sunflower house, and love to watch the bugs. But this will be another story!

City kids didn’t know what they were missing . Although we did enjoy playing in the city parks once or twice a year when there would be a picnic or something that the folks would take us to. But my favorite place to play was in our pasture… Kansas in the Wild!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Winter Ice Storm

Winter weather has not arrived here yet this year.
I was looking thorough the pictures from last winters ice storm. It came on December 12th. Even though it produced a lot of destruction I found through my camera lens it could also be beautiful.

The morning after as the sun came up it was like walking in a fantasy land. The glitter and gleam was every where you looked. And with a slight breeze you hear the crinkle and crackle of the shimmering ice.

Mother nature had produced an artists paradise. Chandeliers of ice covered limbs. And looking close you see the promise of Spring is still there.

The ice does not last long. I enjoy having four seasons in each year.
Without Winter the Spring would not seem so pleasant.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I am not sure what started us raising turkeys on the farm. We never had very many at a time and I know we sold most of them. But it was always an exciting adventure. Turkeys are not the smartest of birds, they are dumb!

We started in the spring with the little baby turkeys. About 15 I think. They were more of a cream color rather then the pretty yellow a baby chicken was. They also had a longer neck. They really were kind of ugly for a baby! And they took more care then a baby chicken. So we had a large box, like one a TV would come in, newspaper all over the bottom of the box, with a light bulb hanging over it. We kept this on our back porch until they were large enough to be let outside to live on their own. It was interesting when we fed them. We mixed up this powdery chicken mash with cottage cheese! They loved this food and would gobble it up so fast that they were climbing on top of each other.

Once they were old enough to be left outside they had shelter in the barn. The rest of the time they were able to roam where ever they wanted on the farm. We had to chase them into the barn each evening. When ever it started to rain or storm we would have to go chase them into the barn because otherwise they would stand out in it and get all wet. Then they could catch a cold and die. They wouldn’t go into the barn on their own. Dumb birds!

You would have to check our cow tank several times a day too because they would try to sit on the side of the tank and many times would fall in. Since they didn’t know how to swim they would drown. We never had trouble with chickens doing that but there were always turkeys ending up in the tank. Mama would drag them out of the tank and take them into the house to dry them off. Sometimes I remember her lighting the oven of our gas stove to sit them on the lid to keep them warm while she dried them off. Dumb birds!
When someone drove into the farm yard we had to go out and shoo the turkeys away. They always wanted to fly onto the top of the cars. Of course company was not very happy with scratches on their cars.

But after all of this, these bright white large birds were so pretty and fun to watch when they displayed their feathers. They would puff up and love to strut around dragging their wings on the ground. Several males would march around each other trying to see who was the biggest and the toughest.

Then in early fall it was time to sell them. Mama put an ad in the Anthony Republican, our city newspaper. We also had a large metal stand that daddy made that was put out by the highway at the end of our driveway. “Live Turkeys For Sale”. Mama would pick out two or three to keep for ourselves. These she killed, cleaned and put in the freezer for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

When it came time to eat one of these large turkeys all of the work was forgotten. Turkey and dressing was one of the favorite meals in our family. It seemed they weren’t so dumb anymore.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Fall Leaves

Our Fall colors have finally showed up here. We don't have as much as usual it seems but there are a couple of my trees that have turned pretty just in the last few days. We had a hard freeze so I am sure that helped. Here are three of my favorite photos that I took just today.
Don't forget that most of my photos I am selling, in 8x10 or 11x14 sizes. Just let me know.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wash Day

It is Monday morning and when I was growing up on the farm this was always washday. Washing clothes was an all day project. It was a lot of work. When I was young we did not have automatic washing machines or dryers.
There was a small building just outside the back door of our house. This was the wash house. It did not have any heat or air conditioning. Inside the wash house was the washing machine with the wringer, the wash bench, and two big galvanized wash tubs. The washing machine was electric but all of the rest of the process was done by hand.
Mama did all of the washing every Monday but when we were not in school we had to help. First, we sorted the clothes into piles. These were put into laundry baskets and carried outside into the wash house. We had hot and cold water facets in the washhouse, which we hooked a hose to and filled up the tub on the washing machine. We set the wash bench beside the washing machine and set the two wash tubs on it. These two tubs were also filled with water. One had warm water and the second one had cold water. You always rinsed the clothes in the warm water first. After we took the clothes out of the rinse tubs, we put the clothes in the empty laundry basket that was setting on an old chair. Everything was set up so that the wringer on the washing machine could be put over the washer, or each of the rinse tubs and laundry basket as needed.
When it was time to start washing clothes we put a load in the washing machine, along with Cheer soap, and turned it on. It would swish the clothes back and forth. We let them wash a while and then turn the machine off and turn on the wringer. With the wringer over the washer you put a piece of clothing into the wringer and the two rollers would roll the clothing through to the other side while squeezing out all of the water and drop it into the tub of warm water on the other side. Put another load of clothes into the washing machine and start it going again. All of the clothes were washed and rinsed in the same water that was put in each tub. That is why you always wash the white things first and work your way through until you did the darkest colors last. Then we picked the clothes up and down out of the rinse water to get the soap out of them. Bring the ringer around so it was between the two rinse tubs and again put the clothes through the ringer to squeeze out the water and drop them into the second rinse tub. Pick up the clothes and rinse up and down for a second time. Now they were clean and free of soap. For the third time you put them into the ringer, now turned around so that it was over the laundry basket.
It was now time to go hang them out on the clothes line. Mama had a child’s wagon that two laundry baskets would set in and when she had two baskets full and ready to be hung we would pull the wagon out into the farm yard where the clothes line was. Hang each piece up a certain way with at least two clothes pins. Jeans and daddy’s overalls were hung by the legs. Blouses were also hung upside down. Bed sheets were laid clear over the clothes line and then pinned. Towels hung by the end.
You had to watch the weather. If it started to rain, you had to go running out and bring all of the clothes inside. On the other hand, if it was a rainy day you still did the washing on Monday but the drying was done inside the house. We had a large metal drying rack that opened up like an umbrella. It had cord strung from corner to corner all around so there was room for lots of clothes. This was placed over the floor furnace.
I remember playing outside and seeing a big brown cloud in the south, coming towards our farm. It was a dust storm! I ran in the house and told mama then we had to hurry really fast to take all of the clothes off the clothes line and into the house.
It was also fun in the really cold winter time when mama would bring in daddy’s overalls. They were so thick and heavy that they usually did not get dry before the end of the day in the winter. They would be frozen stiff, mama would stand them up in a corner in the house, and we would laugh because mama was standing daddy up in the corner! I remember once pretending I was dancing with daddy!
Mama finally had an automatic washer and dryer after all of us girls were gone from home. But I still remember how wonderful all of the clothes smelled when they were dried outside, and how nice the house would smell when all of the clothes were drying in the house whenever they had to be brought in to dry.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Red Hills of Kansas

The Red Hills in South Central Kansas are really pretty.

I grew up in South Central Kansas and remember I use to always pick out the red-brown crayola when I wanted to color the ground in a coloring book. I always wondered why people would say the ground was just brown or dark brown. I knew it was red-brown. It was not until I was grown and moved away from southern Kansas that I found out not all dirt is red. The first time I walked in a muddy garden in northern Kansas I thought I was walking in black tar! I never did get my new white tennis shoes white again.

Here are a few photos of the beautiful Red Hills of Kansas.

Monday, October 20, 2008


The Trick and Treaters are about to arrive. I hope we have nice weather for all of them. I remember it always being such a fun time when I was young. We lived a little ways out of town and so mom would drive us into town to go trick and treating. We would always go to our preachers house, Uncle Howards, and Aunt Bethals. Then we would go to Aunt Annies. This was special because she always had a bowl of candy at the door for everyone, but when she saw that it was grandkids or nieces and nephews she would reach behind the door and get a special bowl of candy that had candy bars in it! And we are not talking about the little bite size bars kids get these days. You very seldom received any good candy like Aunt Annie gave us. You got popcorn balls, apples, cookies, and lots of hard candy and once in a while one of the little Hershey's miniature candy bars. Aunt Annie gave us the regular size candy bars!! Then mom would stay and visit with Aunt Annie while we walked up and down the street going to houses. It was always so exciting.

One Halloween I really remember is the Halloween that I was sick and I did not get to go trick and treating. I thought it was the worst day of my life!! But mom told me she would go to the store and buy me my favorite candy and bring it home to me. I told her I wanted Tootsie Roll Pops. She gave me a whole box just before my sisters, Janice and Shirley, left to go trick and treating. I wasn’t quite as sad then. But later when Janice and Shirley came home and had a whole sack of candy I was feeling very sorry for myself again. And then daddy came over and handed me a sack. I looked in, dumped it on my bed, and saw handfuls of penny candy!! There must have been a hundred pieces!!! That would be a dollar worth!! I had more candy then Janice and Shirley even did!!
I think that was the best Halloween I ever had and I didn’t even get to go trick and treating!!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I have always liked Sunflowers, even before it was popular to like them. It was fun this late summer taking pictures of them. I tried to get some pictures that were different then the usual and also dodge the bees flying around! One day I even had a hummingbird fly right in front of my face. It was so surprising to not only see it but to hear the buzzing of the wings. But he was much too fast for me to get a picture. Maybe next time.



Monday, October 13, 2008

Born in a CAR!!

Born in a CAR!
I was born June 21, 1944. The first day of summer! I was several years old before I finally learned the actual date of my birth. I just always told everyone that I was born on the first day of summer. That was a special day I thought.

My birth was quite an event even though I was the third girl born to my parents. I was born during wheat harvest. Wheat harvest was a busy time as each farmer did his own cutting with his own combine and tractor. A large combine was pulled by a tractor. One person driving the tractor and another person driving the lifts, etc on the combine. Also a person with the truck that the wheat was dumped into. Daddy had at least two hired hands at this time. And mama had to fixed lunch for all of them each day.

I of course do not remember all of the details of my birth but I have been told the story over the years. We lived 6 miles out of town. When mama started going into labor daddy knew it was time to start into town. Driving in a old Chevrolet car daddy starting going down the old dirt roads. As he arrived at the edge of town, where the railroad track was, I decided I didn’t want to wait any longer to come into this world. There was a very long wheat train going across the tracks. These trains had 50 or more wheat cars on them and did not move real fast. Daddy decided he would try to go down along the tracks and get to the back of the train faster. But it was slightly muddy and I was getting closer to saying hi to the new world. So daddy got back onto the road and mama always told me that “your daddy caught you” when I was born. I think mama said they always had an old blanket in the car to help keep your legs warm when traveling and she wrapped me up in that. Daddy was so worried and when the train finally got across the road he hurried on to the hospital. Mama said she wasn’t worried now that I was born. She was asking daddy if he cared if she named me Joleen. Daddy said very tensely “I don’t care what you name her, just keep her warm!” When they arrived at the hospital daddy pulled up to the emergency door and started honking the horn. Mama told daddy to just go inside and get someone but daddy would’t leave her. So he just kept honking the horn until someone finally came out.

There was not any more to the story that I remember. But all my life I have always bragged that I was born in a car!



This photo is the first photo I sold. It was taken on an early spring evening as the moon was coming up.
If you are interested in purchasing any of the photos you see listed in the "Photos to Sell" section please just email me for details.

The Beginning

This is the beginning of my new Blog. I hope to be able to share with others things that I enjoy.