Friday, July 10, 2009

Ms. Daisy

This poor bedraggled flower!!

We had some pea size hail, heavy pouring rain (3 1/2 inches), and wind. But when I saw this Fiesta Daisy the next day it just made me smile. And when I look at this picture I chuckle!!

Ms. Daisy was larger then most, in fact most of the others hadn't even opened up yet!! So here is a proud Ms. Daisy, first on the scene, large, and beautiful!! Then boom!!! Mother Nature plays one of her little tricks on her. But does she fall down on the ground, swishing and swaying in the rain and mud?! No, not at all.

She has held her head up high and proud!! She is having a "bad hair day" now but I still see the bright and cheerful yellow on her face. Ms. Daisy is working hard to fulfill her purpose in life which is to provide seeds for next years Daisy Children.

Doesn't Ms. Daisy look just like a Mother!!!! ha ha

I will let each of you determine your own "moral to the story".........

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In The Field…..

My daddy was a wheat farmer. Wheat farmers do lots of field work. Usually farmers had a son or two to help out when they get old enough. My daddy had three girls! But I remember mama saying that daddy was always so proud of his girls. He taught us everything we needed to know to help out around the farm just as if we were boys. And this was great for us. We grew up knowing many things that our girls friends knew nothing about.

We started helping daddy when we were very young. When daddy would go out in the early spring to start working on the tractors or combine to get them ready for the work ahead one of us girls were always with him to help out. Our job was to fetch daddy tools when he was under or on top or inside of the machinery. And during the time when tools were not needing fetched we had a putty knife and we scraped grease and dirt off of the gears and other parts of the tractor or combine. This was not only to keep us busy but also help keep the machinery running better to not have all of this build up of gunk. At least that is what daddy told us! I always thought this was fun to make everything look clean again. And by fetching tools I learned the names of all of the different wrenches, hammers, pliers, and bolts. This was helpful information most girls did not know.

During harvest time I remember when we still had the old combine that had to be pulled by a tractor. Daddy would drive the tractor and Shirley Jean would drive the steering wheel on the combine. I think she also had to lift the front of the combine up and down.
Then later daddy had a combine that could be driven by itself. This was very modern and much nicer for cutting wheat. Daddy would drive the combine and Janice and I got to take turns riding in the bin where the wheat was being dumped into. I am not sure why we thought this was so much fun. Maybe because it was sort of like swimming. You could wiggle around and get down into the wheat and have it cover you up to your waist. As a kid I never paid any attention to the dirt, the itchy chaff, or the squished bugs. It was fun to have a big yellow grasshopper crawling on you. But don’t squish one of those green stick bugs! They smelled yucky.
After a few times around the field with the combine daddy would stop to dump the wheat into the truck. Each of us girls had our turns as we got old enough to drive to help with this part of harvest. We drove the truck under the auger on the combine so the wheat would land in the center of the truck. Then we had to climb into the back of the truck and take the scoop shovel and scoop the wheat towards the corners of the truck. The wheat had to be spread out level before we drove it into town to the elevator. You couldn’t drive real fast because the wheat would blow out of the back of the truck. Every piece of grain was important so you tried not to lose even one.

Harvest time was an exciting time but also a big worry to daddy. Once the wheat was ready to cut it had to be cut right then. If you waited too long the grains of wheat would fall out of the head of wheat and be lost. Daddy was always worried it would rain. You couldn’t cut the wheat when it was wet and you couldn’t get into the fields when they were muddy. Many times I remember daddy cutting wheat and having to make big circles around patches where there was a mud hole. And boy it was big time trouble when the combine got stuck in the mud when daddy would get a little too close to a mud puddle. It would take a tractor to finally get the combine out.
Once the wheat was all cut then it was time to plow the fields. Again all three of us girls did this as we got old enough to learn to drive the tractor. The first tractor I remember daddy having was a small red one. It had a wheel on the side of it that turned around and around when ever the tractor was running. I realize now it was used to put the belt on that went to the threshing machine. That was used in earlier years before I was born.

In my years of growing up daddy always had two tractors. First Shirley and daddy each drove one. Then later on it was Shirley and Janice or daddy and Janice. And finally it was my turn. Janice and I drove the two tractors. After Janice left home it was daddy and I. Usually he did one field while I was over in another field. Many times it was just me because daddy was also working as a television repairman and had to do those jobs too. But it was always a family event in the early morning. After we had a big breakfast, on the farm I grew up always having a big breakfast, then all of us headed outside to get the tractors ready for the field. You had to fill them with gas, water in the radiator, and grease all of the zerts. Mama would get the big tin ice jug filled with ice and water to take along out to the field.
I would start the tractor up and head out to the field. Daddy would usually open the field. This meant that he did the first two rounds. The first round was a little hard because you didn’t want to run through a fence. All of the fields that we had you could see our farm house from the field. It would be really far away but you could see it. When the sun got high in the sky I would be looking toward the house because mama would get up on the cow lot fence and wave a big white tea towel to let me know it was time to come in and eat dinner. After dinner I had to put gas in the tractor again and check everything out. Then I would work in the field until the sun would set and it started getting dark.

I remember one time when I was all most finished with this one field. There was just a little bit left in the middle. I thought I could go ahead and get it done before going home. It was starting to get dark. But just one or two more rounds and it would be done. It was getting darker. Maybe just a couple of more rounds, it is just a small area. Finally it was getting dark enough that it was hard to see but I was so close and I was thinking how proud I would be to know I had finished this field. Pretty soon I saw daddy walking across the field. He stopped me and asked what I was doing. I told him I was trying to finish this field, I was so close to being done. We didn’t see daddy smile very often, he was usually pretty serious. Daddy smiled at me and told me that it was okay, I could go on to the house and he would finish it. That smile let me know that he was proud of me that I was trying to finish my job. It gave me a warm feeling.

When my sisters and I were still living at home and plowing time was over, it was time to have a celebration. This was one of only a few times that our family would go do a fun thing as a family. It would be in the hot time of summer and daddy took us all down to Bluff Creek south of town for a picnic. This was a great adventure for us. Here we would take our shoes off and go wading. And once in a while there would be an area where it was deeper, almost up to our knees, and we would sit down in the water and play. After playing in the creek for a while mama called us over to the car where she had the blanket on the ground and we had a picnic. One time I remember daddy teasing mama, I don’t remember anything except seeing mama running around the car laughing and daddy chasing her. It was so neat to see them doing this because this was not a normal occurrence with daddy. We were all laughing and having such a grand time.

I use to get so bored just sitting on that tractor doing field work. You just go around and around and around. And on those hot days I would sunburn so easy. Daddy fix up the tractor with an umbrella for me. After we did plowing we had to disc the fields, sometimes twice before it was time to use the spring tooth. I enjoyed the time to spring tooth. You didn’t have to worry about staying in the lines! You went across the fields from corner to corner instead of around and around and it didn’t matter if you messed up where you were. This time of the year was getting close to fall and so many times I didn’t get to use the spring tooth much because I would be back in school. Then later still daddy would get the drill and plant wheat back onto all of the fields. And it would all be ready next spring for us to start all over again.

All of this field work was a chore and we grumbled many times, but all three of us girls were very lucky because daddy and mama would pay for our tuitions and other things to go to college. All three of us never had to worry about money while in college except to pay for our clothes and meals on weekends.
This was our pay for being daddy’s Sons!!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Frozen In Time!

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month. ~Henry Van Dyke

Wow, the last week has been crazy! I thought Spring was here. I have been outside working in my flower beds, enjoying my flowers, until this last week!!
Then winter came sneeking back. It waited until the dark of night and then, quiet as a snowflake falling, dumped the snow, sleet and ice on us.
But at least where I live we didn't get the foot or more like some places.
And when I went outside the next morning it was kind of fun! The sleet and ice was a thin sheet frozen on top of the snow and every step I took it would crunch, crunch, crunch.......
I have never gotten over feeling like a kid when I get out in the snow!!
And then I went to check on my flowers. Oh my!!! I couldn't believe how neat they all were. They had been Frozen In Time!! It is just amazing what nature can do with a little rain and then a freezing night!! The drops of rain were frozen right where they fell!!
Here are some of the pictures I took......

Friday, March 13, 2009

Visiting the Farm

I had a nice day yesterday visiting a friend of mine. She and her family live on a farm. I was raised on a farm and really miss it.
I can't say that I miss some of the chores I had to do as a child, like cleaning out the rabbit pens, or washing out the cows watering tank. Yuck!!
But I do miss the animals and the country life, and my afternoons in the pasture.

I lived on the farm during my young years, until I got married and left home. I don't remember the pressure of getting the wheat planted on time, or the worry of the rain and hail storms coming right at wheat harvest time.
What I remember is the relaxed, peaceful times when I would take a walk in our pasture. There was always so many adventures there.
Much different then walking on a sidewalk around my neighborhood now days.

A lizard runs across the path. Where is he going so fast!
A horny toad sits on a rock watching me. I catch him and hold him for a while looking at his funny horny skin. Then I put him back down and he scurries away.
A cockle burr gets caught in my pant leg, or a sandburr in my sock. Ouch, I reach down and pull it out.
Look, there is a bare space on the ground filled with small rocks. I found a small piece of petrified wood!
A small amount of water is in the dry wash in the pasture. I pull off my shoes and socks and play in the water and mud. Oh, I better be careful, I see a couple of crawdads! Look at them run backwards when I get close. How funny!
In a bigger puddle I see tadpoles, some have two legs growing all ready!

Then I get to the area where a big patch of sunflowers are growing. They are taller then I am. I start bending some of them over and make a path into them and then a whole area.
I have a new play house!! I sit down and watch the bugs and butterflies go by.
Finally I decide it is time to walk back up to the house. The adventure continues as I go back up the path.
A big yellow grasshopper jumps and lands right on my shirt! I grab him in my fingers and black tobacco comes out his mouth. I laugh and toss him in the air and he flies off.

What a wonderful afternoon I have had. An adventure as great as any safari!!
And it was right at home.

All of these memories come back to me as I am walking around my friends yard on the farm.
She has different animals then what we had. But I still love to be on a farm again.

Here are some pictures I took yesterday:

Farm Goats

Galloway Beef Calves

Her Pet Chickens

Puppy to Grow up to Protect the Goats

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Getting Older

Well, I can't believe it. I am getting old! And today I feel even older! When I got my mail today I had a letter that had my new Medicare Card in it!! Golly, I won't be 65 for four more months!!! They didn't have to send it so early!!

I don't really feel that old. And my up coming birthday is not bothering me that much really. But I can remember when my mother turned 50. I was still fairly young and I told her, "Gee mom, you are half a century old!". She told me in later years that she really didn't feel that old until I told her that!

My "older" sister told me today, " I love being old. There are so many advantages and deductions that you can get." I guess she is right. Golly, we both are retired and can do what we want!! Now what can be better then that! ha ha

All of this is leading up to more memories I have been having. I have some of my father's old toys. He loved toys even when he was older. His toys were special toys that he kept in a special drawer. We only got to play with them when we asked permission and then we had to handle them very carefully. We only played with them for a short while and then had to put them away again in his special drawer. But because of this, I have some wonderful toys today that were my fathers.

This photo is of the original metal Slinky and the original box it came in. Also pictured is a metal top. You wind the string around the top, hold the end of the string with the metal washer between your fingers and throw it out onto the floor. Notice the holes in the side of the top, that would let it whistle while it spun.

Here are two tin toys. Very simple but fun. The clown would sit on a string that two people held very tight and the clown would "walk" down the string. The other item is a spinning disk. It says on it, "Blow On It See It Spin".

Such simple things but they were so much fun to play with! So life goes on, I get older, but I try to keep my life simple. Life for me is fun.
I think I was taught how to enjoy the simple things in life.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Valentines Day I Remember

Do you remember when it was Valentines Day we took a card to everyone in our class at school? They were these small Valentine cards that were in a large book and you had to poke them out of the cardboard pages.

It was very important to look at each card, read it, and pick out certain ones for certain people.
I would pick out favorite ones for my best friends and try to find mushy ones to give to the boys I liked. Of course these boys probably never even read them! You had to be careful not to give a mushy one to someone you didn’t like!

When I was young and going to grade school at Washington, I think it was when I was in the second grade, daddy would drive me to school in his truck on his way to work at Martis Electric. It was just daddy and myself. This Valentines Day I had my arms full. With a heavy coat and mittens on, I also had a book, my lunch box, and my box of Valentines for all of my class.
It was a cold and blustery day. We weren’t really late but all of the kids were already inside and I knew I had to hurry. As I opened the truck door and stepped down out of the truck I dropped all of the items I was carrying.
The valentines started blowing across the playground and I started crying! I couldn’t lose all of these special valentines, everyone else would have valentines to give out!
I felt despair as only a child can feel. Daddy had to hurry to work but he turned off the truck, got out and started picking up valentines. He calmed me down and told me it would be okay, we would find all of them. He helped me get all of my valentines picked up. And we did find all of them! He wasn’t mad, he just helped me.
I do not remember exactly what daddy said but I remember the weight of the world was off of my shoulders at that moment. Daddy was my hero!! For a long time, years in fact, I remembered that time as a special love I felt from my daddy, just for me.
It has always been a special Valentine Day…..

This is a Valentine Card my mother gave to daddy before they were married. It would have been before 1932.....

Friday, January 9, 2009

Chicken Dinner on the Farm

Yum yumm…. It is hard for me to believe after all of the chicken I ate growing up that I still like chicken today. Mama fixed fried chicken at least once a week for supper and sometimes more. With five in our family we would eat a whole chicken in one meal. The fried chicken that mother fixed was nothing like the chicken you buy in the grocery stores today.
We raised our own chickens and they were taken at a much smaller size then the ones you buy now. They were so tender and fresh tasting. Daddy would always get the wishbone piece, Shirley the breast bone, Janice a wing, mother the ribs and I liked the thigh, it had a lot of meat on it. The rest of the pieces would be distributed so that we each had two pieces to eat.
On many Sundays we ate chicken and noodles or chicken and dumplings. These chickens were ones that had gotten larger and older and were always cooked with homemade noodles or dumplings. We had some older hens that we would keep to lay eggs but after they had become a year or two old they would be used for this meal. And a new chicken would take its place for laying eggs. I felt the best part of using these older laying chickens were the eggs that would be in their egg sack inside them, they were just the yolk, no egg white yet, and in varying sizes. Mom would cook these with the noodles. They were so good.

But the story I want to tell is of all that had to be done to get these chickens to the table!
It all started in early spring. Mama would go to the hatchery in town to buy the baby chickens. Many times I got to go with her. It was exciting to walk in and hear all the noise! Cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep…. You could hardly hear yourself talk. There would be cardboard boxes with dividers in them, and holes in the top and sides. Several boxes would be stacked on top of each other. These were all full of baby chicks. I loved to stick my finger in one of the holes in the side of a box and feel the fuzzy chick inside. Mama would always buy White Leghorn chickens. I think it was at least 100 baby chickens that she bought. The babies were all so fuzzy and bright yellow. Once in while there would be two or three that had a little black fuzz on them or even one that was all black. But when all of them grew they would have white feathers and yellow feet.

We kept these chicks in a small brooder house. There would be straw on the floor and one or two light bulbs, with a metal shade on top of it, hanging down from the low ceiling, close to the floor so the baby chicks could huddle under it to stay warm. Then food and water had to be put out for them twice a day. As the chicks grew and had feathers we could let them out of the brooder house during the day into a small fenced in area. In the evening we would go out and have to chase them back in to the brooder house for the night.
As they grew and became about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds in size the day would come when we spent the whole day dressing and cleaning chickens. Mama had a long wire with a hook on the end. She would go into the small fence area and use the hook to grab a chicken around the leg. We caught about 6 at a time. As Janice and I were standing there holding a chicken by the legs in each hand, mama would take a large sharp butcher knife and cut the head off of the chicken she was holding. She would just lie it on the ground and put its head under her foot and cut right through the neck. This never did seem to bother her or us. It was just part of things that we did on the farm.

After its head was cut off she would let go of it and jump back. It would start flopping all over the yard. After all of the heads were off we waited until they were done flopping and then go pick them up. Mama would go into the house and bring out a large bucket that had been filled half full of water and heated to boiling on the stove. Then she took a chicken, holding it by the feet, and dunked it into the hot water, swished it around a bit and took it out. She would hand it to Janice or me and we started pulling all of the feathers off of the chicken. We had to get them all off. Mama would always inspect them to be sure we had all of the feathers off.
Then we would carry it inside and holding it over a lit burner on our kitchen stove we singed all of the little hairs and a few furry feathers that were left on the chicken. But we still were not done! Now we had a huge bowl of water that we put the chicken in and with a sharp paring knife you scraped all of the skin of the chicken to clean off the singed hair and pull out any pin feathers that were still there. Again mama would have to inspect it to be sure it was clean enough and ready to be cut up.
This part was a little hard to do. Mama did most of them but as we got old enough she taught us how to cut up a chicken. It was done a certain way. Mainly so that you could cut through the joints instead of trying to cut through a bone. Also it divided up the chicken into certain pieces for eating. The chicken would then be put into a bag and placed into the freezer. We kept most of the chickens in the freezer to eat for the rest of the summer and through the winter.

The best part of this whole operation is that Janice and I got paid for helping!! We received 10 cents for picking the feathers off each chicken, and 10 cents for singeing and scraping a chicken. And when we were old enough to cut up a chicken we received 25 cents for each one we cut up!! It was a big pay day for us!!
Janice and I each usually did about 10 chickens in a day and mama would do lots more. All of the chickens would be cleaned and frozen within just 2 or 3 days.
I would sure enjoy having one of these small fresh chickens for dinner today! There is just nothing like it any more.