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!

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