Sunday, December 25, 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

Cutting Down the Tree 2

 It was that time of year again.
Snow was deep.
Radiators were hot. 
The Old Farmer says get on your snowsuits
 and gloves and boots,
time to go GET THE TREE! 

He grabbed the saw and we headed out back.
Between the barns and down the hill, across the creek
and on to the stand of pines.  After picking the perfect tree
 The Old Farmer would cut it down.

The Old Farmer was a smart cookie, like most farmers
and outdoorsmen he was a great conservator
of nature. He never cut a tree down to the ground,
but above the bottom level of branches, trimming
them to leave one or two to grow upwards
into a new tree.


The tree was then brought home, across the field
and the creek, up the hill and between the barns,
to the back porch. There the Old Farmer put it in
a bucket of water to keep it fresh.


And there it sat...and sat....and sat.....
Finally on Christmas Eve it came into the back room
to warm up. Then into the dining room into the bay window
and in the old tree stand
Decorating was a work of art
First the strings of lights went on, then the bulbs.
The garlands gracefully placed around the tree and finally the tinsel.

The Old Farmer insisted that it be put on one strand at a time.
If you were caught doing three or four...well, they had to be redone.
The last touch was placing the star on the top! 



 So sitting by the glow of the tree I wish you
A Merry Christmas One and All ! 

(and if not Christmas may you have a good year!)


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Monday, December 12, 2016

Cutting Down The Tree















Once upon a time the Old Farmer and his brother 
found a big old two man saw in barn #2. 
They decided to see how long it would take to cut down
a really big tree with it.
Also providing the Old Farmer's children and the cousins
some entertainment in the effort!

There happened to be a really big old tree in the front woods
 (across from the house).
This tree must have been a good 4' diameter,
 but was largely hollowed on one side. 
Still sturdy but thought to be expendable as a future hazzard
 it was chosen for the experience. 

They started sawing mid morning. 
Continued sawing until lunch. 
Took a lunch break and came back to sawing.
And finally we were all told to stand back, and boom!





I guess it took about 4 hours  and several blisters laterto get through the treeand it gave us many years of fun afterwards, 
climbing up on it and running along the length. 

3  J's

For those who still live in the area, there was a tree towards the front
corner of the woods nearest the house. I have wondered if it has been
cut down with the building of new houses or is still in someones yard? 

Fairly high up the Old Farmer had carved the notation "3 J's".
I don't think it was that high originally, but grew higher as the tree grew.
(three J's referred to the three women in the family whose names began with J)



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Monday, December 5, 2016

Winter Fun On The Farm

Winter Fun On The Farm




The Old Famer's Children saw this as a fun opportunity.
We dug snow caves into the large banks of snow.

Dragged the old wood skis out of barn #2.

Once we were invited to go up on the escarpment
to toboggan down the BIG hill.
 

Someone had a toboggan, a long sled that
many people could get on at once. 

I do not think we made it all the way down
before tipping over!
 




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Monday, November 28, 2016

We Are All Related

Greetings friends and neighbors.  
So the first big holiday weekend is over. 
And memories of past holidays comes to the front.


The Old Farmer and The Old Farmer's Wife often hosted
holiday gatherings. Guests were greeted at the side door, which
is where the driveway ran up beside the house. 

Coats were gathered, greetings, kisses and hugs exchanged.
The children want to know where all the animals are.
One aunt complains if her coat is not gathered up promptly.
Cousins are off to play games. Uncle sets up home movie lights!


We try to duck the lights and the camera.
Dinner is served, the buffet laden with ham or turkey;
and macaroni salad and green beans and relish trays.
Flower cut radishes and little gerkin pickles, olives of all colors! 
Conversation flows with the ginger ale and beer.

Mitakuye Oyasin!


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Monday, November 21, 2016

The Telephone Party Line


A show of hands ... how many remember telephone party lines? 
Okay, how many have heard of a telephone party line?


The Old Farmer had an 8 household party line at the farmhouse.
If anyone in another home along the road was on the phone you could
listen in on their conversation, very impolite, and if they thought
they heard you pick up and not politely hang back up 
you would be called out on it, "hang up". 
or "is that you ......, hang up the phone or I'll tell your mother."

The phone would have a double ring or one long ring so you would
know if an incoming call was for you or someone else.
Eventually the house was updated to a two party line.
Then you knew who else was on the phone listening in! 

And of course you couldn't make a call or receive a call if the line was tied up
by another person on the party line.  
Long distance calls were very expensive and rarely occurred.
And when they did the clock was carefully watched...
Unfortunately a long distant call likely involved bad news.
If you accidentally picked up the phone when a neighbor
had a long distance call it was a matter of intense speculation
in hushed tones.


Sometimes Santa would call us on our phone. We got the old
have you been good this year, what do you want for Christmas,
if you have been bad I'll know it when I check my list and
you will get a lump of coal in your stocking! 

Then The Old Farmer's Children discovered the Beep Line. 
This would often involve young teens who discovered you could
dial your own number to get a busy signal, then you could hear
others talking between the beeps of the busy signal.
This was an early dating line, getting to know someone whose
voice you liked, getting on the beep line at the same time each day...
I don't know how many actually arranged a meet, it was a much
simpler time and certain standards were maintained,
it was innocent flirting. 




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Monday, November 14, 2016

Putting the Garden to Bed



In the fall there was a lot of leaf raking! 
Those big old maple trees had a lot of leaves. 
And the scent of burning leaves filled the air. 



 The Old Farmer would glean the vegetable garden (ie.clean picked). 
There might be some root vegetables to salvage. Old corn for the pigs.
Tomatoes! Yes, we love tomatoes in all their seasons, 
the green ones would be turned into green tomato mincemeat.
Then all the dead plants are plowed under for the winter to self compost.  

The flower garden was supervised by The Old Farmers Wife.
Dead foliage removed or pulled out. Mums were cut back.
Irises separated and replanted.
There would be a little burn pile at the corner of the
big garden for the plant waste, this would be added
to the soil when it was turned under. 

Soon a blanket of snow will cover it for the winter...

RECIPE 
MINCEMEAT
I will preface this by saying many people have a bad feeling for mincemeat.
They have mistaken conceptions that it contains meat! 
Some recipes have a strong flavor, this is usually cloves. 
Our recipe leaves out the cloves or only uses a touch. 
Give it a try, with raisins and citrus it smells heavenly while cooking down.

3 lbs green tomatoes, cored
3 lbs apples peeled and cored
2 oranges, with rind
cup of suet
2 lbs raisins
4 lbs brown sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbs salt
2 tbs cinnamon
1 tbs nutmeg 
Pinch or two of ground cloves

Put first 4 ingredients through coarse food grinder or mill.
Add everything to large pot and cook on low heat,
stirring often until thickens. Can to preserve.

The Old Farmer's wife was flexible and if there was a lime
or lemon around the house she might throw that in too. 
Makes great pies or turnovers or filled cookies.
Some people will mix them into muffins. 

If anyone has a recipe of green tomato pickles...?



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Friday, November 11, 2016

The Ceremony

I was in Fredericksburg today at the farmers market. They were having the veterans day observation just two blocks up the road so I walked up. There were over 40 beautiful bikes there with their vets : ) and an equal number of elder veterans. 


It was a beautiful sunny day with a light breeze. 15 veterans marched in with flags. 
Then 4 very young (rotc) marine lads carried in two flags, flanked with guards. 
While the Stars Spagled Banner played a stronger wind came up 
and snapped the flags on the flagpole, this seemed significant that it choose
 that moment and many in the crowd looked up at it.
There followed many speeches, some long and some short. I thought the best, short and sweet, was by The Honorable Bryce Reeves, state senator, 
and a former army man and airborne ranger. 


A memorable quote, perhaps not unique to Mr. Reeves,

 but one that certainly is worth remembering is
 "those who fail to prepare for war in times of peace, 
will pay with the blood of their sons in time of war".

Veterans Day


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Old Farmer's Daughter: God Bless Us, Everyone One !

The Old Farmer's Daughter: God Bless Us, Everyone One !: God Bless the U.S.A.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFt9D6ZIjOQ&feature=youtu.be Go Full Screen to fully enjoy this video... ...

God Bless Us, Everyone One !


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFt9D6ZIjOQ&feature=youtu.be
Go Full Screen to fully enjoy this video...


Monday, November 7, 2016

Changing Seasons

Leaves are falling,  geese are flying, mercury is dropping...
This means... FALL!
Now we are ready to be tucked in for the winter.
Next week, tucking in the garden!


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Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween, What May We Dare!


Leaves under our feet in the cool night air
Full moon in the sky, what may we dare? 
Brooms are flying, beware beware! 


The farm was on a rural country road with neighbors few. 
All the Old Farmer's children would go out together
looking around warily. There were about 7 houses in 1 mile uphill
and 3 houses in the mile to the north. It was a long trek with small reward. 

Then the fire department held a Halloween Party for the children.
There was apple bobbing and a Parade of costumes for different age groups.
One year the Old Farmer's Wife made a costume out of old draperies.
Shades of Scarlet O'Hara. It was a heavy red brocade.
A cane was spray painted silver and a bow tied on. The finishing touch
was a stuffed sheep toy with jingle bells in its ears! 


This costume was a prize winner that year! 
In later years we might go to stay in the suburbs or city
with a cousin and really cashed in on the candy :   )
But the lights of the city do not compare with memories
of the dark country roads!



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Monday, October 24, 2016

Lets Wind up the Sketches of the Barns with Barn Number One


(ONE WEEK TO ALL HALLOW'S EVE)

 Barn Number 1
Where we spent most of our time as kids. 
Ladders and beams and straw and slides.


This barn was built up against barn number 2. 

One time the Old Farmer's brother was chasing us kids.
We knew the barns like the back of our hands and ran down the stairs 

to the basementof this barn with our uncle hot on our heels
A missing step was leaped over and on we went.
The Old Farmer's brother went right into it! How lucky it was
that he suffered nothing more than bruises.
After a few weeks of the step not being fixed (we were all used to it)
my uncle went down there and fixed it himself!

The hand shaved rungs on the ladders were a treasure when I look back on it.
There was a grainery in the corner and straw bales to the ceiling on the other side.
We had real hay rides back in those days with the young men stacking the bales on the wagons and us littler ones riding along dodging the bales being tossed about.
We built straw forts. And straw tunnels. Sometimes a barn cat would
get back into a crack through the straw and have her kittens.


There was a great slide that was the board cover over the stairs,
We would climb up and slide down over and over again. 
Slivers were a hazard of this practice, use your imagination!
We would climb the beams and access the loft door into 
the second floor of  barn number 2. 
Children would make their own fun and used their imaginations!




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Monday, October 17, 2016

Barn Number Two Battle of the Yellow Jackets

Barn number 2
This appears to have been the first barn here. 
(Refer to picture in The Three Barns)
It has a standard roof, not gambrel, and the loft door opening
on the right side that was built inside the barn next to it at a much later date.

This barn was a wonderland of old junk.


The main floor was the big storage area. Under the "junk wall"
was a work bench. Well the work bench was under more stuff.
You could weave your way through the floor to some barrels full
of old beer bottles, all different brands and sizes with
the original paper labels. On around a bit more was the old stairwell
with no stairs in it, there hung horse collars, hames, leather net. 
A little farther on was the old rocker 
and beautiful door leaning up against a post.

   
Newspapers were piled just inside the door to be recycled
when enough were accumulated.
 
One year yellow jackets decided there was a perfect nesting
place down inside the papers. They became somthing of a nuisance
when trying to go in and out of the doorway.
The Old Farmer and his brother devised a plan of attack.
After dark (we know bees to not fly after dark)
they crept down to the barn, The Old Farmer with a can of spray
and his brother with a flashlight to pinpoint the target area.
They soon found out that yellow jackets will fly up a beam of light
from the flashlight! Plan foiled!






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Monday, October 10, 2016

Barn Number Three

Barn number 3

The main floor had the expected drive in for equipment in the center front.
 It was not much used when I was young. To the left had been hay/straw storage. 
To the right was an open area with some scattered bits and pieces 
of equipment scattered about. 
The back right corner was a chicken room. It had a window, 
a long pole roost on one side and some metal nest  boxes on the right.


 I remember a cat sitting outside the door which had a mouse hole 
waiting waiting waiting
 for a chicken or chick to get close enough to grab. 
Don't think it ever happened tho, Chickens are no dummies!

The downstairs was the real action here. The Old Farmer raised hogs for many years.
This was a cash crop as well as food for the freezer. 

The only fencing required for the outside pens was a single wire strung 
about 1 1/2 foot off the ground. This had a low electric
current running through it. We had a bit of fun with that by holding a piece
of grass and touching the wire! 

We loved introducing our city cousins to this uhm...jolt.
The grass and weeds had to be kept down under this wire to keep
the current from running into the ground. The Old Famer and his son
would use a sicle for this purpose.


One day the Old Farmer wanted to drive the pigs from one pen to another. 
 He put us children at the corners to make sure they went around the right way.
I was a bit hesitant as I was still quite little and the pigs were quite big.
Told to not worry, hold out my arms and they would go the right way.
Well, they did go the right way, but my foot got stomped in the process.
I guess I was too close to my work! Yeouch! 



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