Sunday, April 30, 2023

Wacky Weather

 We have all been commenting on how strange the weather has been this year.  Not all the time is it happy news.

A few days ago it was raining when I got up. Soon after it was sunny and warmer. After some time the wind picked up and the sky was overcast. Then it began to rain. Along came pea-sized hail. The hail lasted for quite a bit longer than usual. It turned to sleet which I found interesting. My son opened the door to let the dog out and it was snowing!

When the snow ended the sun came out again. How nice. It did not last long. The same cycle of wind, rain, hail, sleet, snow, and repeated two more times. It was strange indeed.

I live near the Missouri River. Its levels are high but not flood stage. On the other side of the state is the Mississippi River. It is flooding with a vengeance. Both rivers have their beginnings north of here. Strange.

I hope your weather has been kind to you.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

It Is New

 We have been remodeling our house. I told you about my son rebuilding the bathroom. They did a better job than I thought possible.

We painted the bathroom white. It had been an awful green and a stark flat blue. When we were through the white was a bit stark. Then we put wallpaper on the door that looks like steps leading to the clouds. It provided the necessary color and a bit of whimsy.

Our living room now is papered with stone looking paper. I was not sure I would like it but it has a nice warm feel. We left the large dark wood molding that goes well with the stones. It is completed by adding new carpeting that adds to the warmth of the room. I love it.

Next we painted the hall. Two coats of off-white gave me the feeling of light in the otherwise dark hall. My son changed the wall light from a hurricane style to a modern flat light that actually gives more light to the hall. Then just for fun we papered two false windows on the walls for depth. There are three doors to bedrooms. They are now papered with various outdoor themes. 

My room has a garden archway leading into a magical forested area. The other two doors have wooden hanging bridges leading to two different wooded places. They are fun and for our eyes only.

Now we have begun on the kitchen. We bought new appliances last year. The first thing is to refinish the counter tops. I am shocked at how easy it is. The first counter will be finished in the morning. Then it will have to dry. It looks good already. 

They will be white. Then the cupboards will be a medium gray. The floors will be a slate color.

My son wants a rock look for his room. He likes feeling like he is in a cave. I have not decided yet what to do with my room. I find an idea and then change it the next day. Mom always said I was a flibberty-gibbet.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Let It Blow Let It Blow

My boss finally took a vacation!

He had hired in at the small factory when he was too young to work in many other places. As soon as he was old enough family members got him into one of the car companies.

He did not like the work. It was terribly boring to stand in one spot for hours and do the same small task over and over.

He began to stop at the bar with other workers after work. Some of those workers were family members. Many had drinking problems that affected their home lives. He watched as several of them drank on the job. Some were hurt. There were even whiskey bottles hidden in the new car seats,

He realized he was drinking too much and too regularly. He quit his job and went back to his original job.

Through the years he advanced with the company. He became supervisor of one area.

When I applied to work there I was hired by a different supervisor. He was a very nice man. I enjoyed working there.

When the nice man retired Ken was made supervisor of our area.  

Ken had a family. He had never taken a vacation. I do not think he liked the work as much as he was afraid someone would see that another person could do his job.

One year his family talked him into going to Disney World in Florida for a week. He was not keen on going but at the same time he was looking forward to it.

We expected him at work the following week to tell us about the fun they had. When he did not come in we thought maybe he decided to stay for another week.

He came to work in the middle of the week.

Florida had suffered a hurricane. My boss and his family had been trapped in their motel room. 

He told us that the whole place shook. He thought they were all going to die. He was white as a sheet just telling us about it.

And he declared that he would never take another vacation.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Memories Of The Farm

I told you before about milking the cows. Grandpa sold most of the milk to a large company. Therefore everything surrounding the process had to be completely clean. Often we would be given a scrub brush and cleaning solution and the hose to scrub the buckets. Besides cleaning the buckets we could not leave any trace of milk in the seams. It was hard work.

One day I had been teasing one of my uncles mercilessly. I had several aunts and uncles who were not much older than me. Anyway I was in the kitchen with the buckets of milk. Mu ncle came through the door with steam coming out of his ears. He was looking for me.

I saw how angry he was so I began backing slowly away from him. He kept advancing in a menacing way. As I backed up I suddenly felt a milk bucket with the back of my legs. Too late! I sat right into the bucket that was full of milk.

Grandpa was furious. It is the only time I remember him being mad at me. I was banished from the kitchen for the day. The milk went to the hogs.

Grandpa had in his younger days been a cowboy. Yes. A real life cowboy. They lived on the range taking care of the cattle in Montana. On occasion he would have the opportunity to ride his horse to town. It was a three day round trip. He stopped at the Indian (that's what they were called then.) camp. They would feed him. Then he would get back on his horse and continue on his way.

Late one night he was riding his horse. He saw two glowing eyes ahead. He pulled out his rifle and shot. He killed a bobcat that was waiting to attack. When he could he had that thing stuffed. I was terrified of that thing.

Grandpa played all sorts of stringed instruments... guitar, banjo, and fiddle among them. Grandma played the piano. They used to play for barn dances. When Grandpa's arthritis crippled his fingers they stopped playing.

Grandma had her stories too. Once when Grandpa had gone to town she awoke in the middle of the night to commotion in the barnyard. A coyote was trying to catch its meal. Grandma grabbed the shotgun and rushed out. She had never shot a gun before and a shotgun has a powerful backlash. She held the gun out in front of her and pulled both triggers. It kicked back and hit her in the mouth knocking out her two top teeth.

There was a cow with a gas problem. She always told me the cow could not belch. My youngest sister says the other end was the problem. Grandpa knew like most old farmers where to stick in his pocketknife to release the pocket of air and give the cow some relief. Grandpa had gone to town.

Grandma could not stand hearing the cow bawling in pain anymore. Even if she knew how to stick the cow she did not have the strength. She took a pitchfork handle and shoved it into the end that had the problem. The air was expelled! My mother said the whole farm stunk for days.

It was great fun to have Sunday dinner outside at the picnic table. Grandma would fry chickens and we would have all the 'fixins".  When aunts, uncles, and cousins came it was even more fun.

 One summer my aunt and her family came to visit from West Virginia. Those are the only cousins my age. I was about six months old as was one of my cousins. We were both teething so we were each given a dill pickle to chew on. We loved them and ate a whole quart of them.

On Easter the Easter Bunny left us baskets of candy and hid the eggs we had colored at home. After we collected all of them and had breakfast we loaded the car and went to the farm. Another aunt lived fairly close so her family came to the farm too. They brought their eggs and of course Grandma had a bunch. We would re-hide them and hunt for them all day.

On rainy days we went to the attic. At the top of the stairs sat that atrocious bobcat. If it was Easter and we were hiding eggs someone always put one in the bobcat's mouth.

The attic was a treasure trove. My mother and her sisters used to make paper dolls from models in the catalogue. Then they would find clothes with a similar pose. They made clothes for the dolls with those. clothes. There was a shoebox full of them. It was such fun.

The attic was where the black walnuts from the tree on the way to the pasture were kept. We cracked them open on a thick piece of metal with a hammer that was there just for the walnuts.

For many years electricity was not available on the farm. At night the house was lit with kerosene lamps like you sometimes see on television. Of course we went to bed quite early. Up early in the morning was a farmer's way pf life.

On Saturdays my uncles would hook up the crystal radio. A wire hooked into the wire of the screen door served as the antenna. We would listen to baseball and cheer for the team we wanted to win.

And there was no indoor plumbing. As I have made clear many times I hate having to use an outhouse. On the farm the outhouse had three holes plus a short one at the side for little ones. Grandma did not buy toilet paper. A page from the mail order catalogue was used.  I do not miss that at all.

I have so many happy memories of the farm and my grandparents. I almost hate to end this but it is time.