Monday, January 30, 2017

Winter games

Does anyone play in the snow?
Does anyone make snow forts?
Do you build a snowman
or make snow angels? 

One of our favorite snow games was Fox and Goose.
One fox, as many geese as were players.
We would tramp a big circe in the snow
with a cross of paths through the middle, if big enough
we might get a little crazy and  concentric circles! 

The middle was the safe place, the fox chased until he caught a goose.
Then that person had to be the fox! 
Kept your blood circulating and warm. 

There was a big hill between barns #2 and #3.
One year the Old Farmer and his son decided to ice it
to see if we could sled farther and faster! 
I was a bumpy ride but I do believe we doubled our distance.

Monday, January 23, 2017

To Grandma's House We Go

This was a biweekly excursion on Sundays.
This was not generally a fun excursion for the little ones.
Grandma's house was not to be played in. 
We could not talk loud or out of place.
When we arrived we walked around the yard and flowers
and peach trees and rock garden.
Oh and the crab apple tree. A Bleeding Heart Flower
was on the tour when in bloom!

When in the house entertainment consisted of watching the
mantle clock tick waiting for it to chime. Sitting on the large curved
armed sofa with the deep tuffs, and a real treat was when
The Old Farmer's step mother came in and turned on the
motion lamp for us. We would sit and stare at it for several minutes.
It was a forest fire in action! 

Sunday dinner was lamb with mint sauce.  

But these are not bad memories, but a part of life,
a part of growing and learning to behave as an adult.
She was not a bad grandma, we would get a big old molassas cookie
when we went in the house, it came out of the fridge and was cold and moist and soft.
Eventually that great overstuffed sofa came to live with us.
I never seem to cook lamb, I am sure I could not do it as well as grandma.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Driving in the Snow

Cinders from the coal fired furnace were like coarse pumice
and were a great traction solution for the driveway or on the road if you got stuck.
The Old Farmer was fearless and this was not unusual.

One year he was breaking through the drifts with the old chevrolet.
At the end of the woods was a particularly large drift, maybe 2 plus feet. 
He says hold on and speeds up, kerplowey! Stuck!
Fortunately that was only a couple hundred feet from home.

One year at the far end of the woods there was a humongous drift.
The plow truck was stuck in it and they had to send out bigger
state equipment to get it out!

  Back to The Old Farmer...
then there was the time he went to town
via the back road,
Down the hill over the tracks and up
the other side.
But it was icy and packed snow.
And we didn't go up the other side.
And we couldn't back up out the way
 we came!
And if that wasn't bad enough
there was a curve in that place.
So after gunning it back and forth
and back and forth more times
then I can count we made it out!
I am betting he wished he had
a trunk full of cinders.
 I do think The Old Farmer was 
a little worried that time.
But he always made it a fun adventure
for us kids.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Warm radiators and furnace

Its winter on the farm.

  The Old Farmer stokes up the coal furnace in the basement.
The is a twice a day job. You shovel out the ashes in the bottom,
Then shake a  grate handle on front of furnace. The cinders and smaller coals
fall through and the hot bigger coals remain on top of the grate.
By the next shift any hot coals that fell through are burned out and safe to shovel out again.
Then in goes a couple big shovels full of new coal.

 In the fall the Old Farmer had let any air pockets out of the radiators
with the radiator key. This was called bleeding the system. Sometimes
during the winter this process was repeated if there was an air block
and the hot water wasn't circulating.
Hot water would circulate through the radiators and they were toasty warm.
There was nothing like coming in the house from the cold and sitting
by a radiator and warming up with a cup of cocoa.
They were also a great place to dry our snowsuits and boots!

I remember being home from school sick in the winter.
The Old Farmer's Wife would bundle me up in a blanket
on a chair by the radiator in the kitchen. Then was she could
do her work and keep an eye on me. 
And the Old Farmer's would go outside the big windows and build
a huge snowman using bushel baskets full of snow.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year, a sincere wish for all!

Its the New Year.
We had our champagne at midnight
and toasted each other. 
Now the "what do I do now" week is over
and it is back to the old grind. 

What was your most memorable New Years?
I have two among the many.
I was married to a musician and spent many of the holidays

in big fancy motels. Many were spent quietly at home. 
But the memorable ones were 1. with family and 2. with best friend

The Old Farmer's brother lived in a suburb of Buffalo and we were close,
visiting back and forth biweekly. I remember one year when there were many
bad fogs. The Old Farmer would drive with his head out the window trying 

to see the line on the road it was so bad. Halloween's were great in the suburbs
for this country girl! But I digress....

At the house in the burbs we gathered around the clock a few minutes
 before midnight, everyone with a glass of champagne.
And toasted in the New Year at the stroke of midnight.
I have that picture around someplace...

The other New Years that lives in my memory was spent
 at a friend's house when a teenager.
Her parents were going out and they let her ask a friend over
so she wouldn't be alone
. We chatted and played card games

and had a card table set up in the living room for dinner.
She made spaghetti. And we toasted the new year with a glass of red wine.

 To this day I connect New Years Eve with homemade spaghetti!