Monday, December 19, 2011

A Christmas tree and a whipping

We didn't have Christmas when I was growing up on the farm. We were beyond poor for that luxury. Although we had food we grew and slaughtered there was no extras so to speak. As I was attending school and around Christmas time, I would hear the most interesting stories of a man named Santa that came and left all kinds of gifts under your Christmas tree if you had been a good boy or girl. I knew we were kept in line so I was thinking it must be we didn't have a tree for him to put gifts under so he didn't stop there. Well I think I was in about second grade that I decided I would be the one to go get that tree out of the back field, which was about a mile walk there and back to the house. I had spied it growing on our fence line while working in the field. I went out to the corn crib and got the hatchet and meandered my way back to the fence row to get that tree. Along the way I was daydreaming of all the possibilities of waking up on Christmas morning seeing presents under it and how excited my brothers and sisters would be to wake up to what I just knew we would have come Christmas morning. When I arrived at the appointed tree, I observed it and wondered how in the world was I going to chop that thing down with just a hatchet. Being the good man my father was he kept all the tools very sharp ready for use. As I pondered the best approach, it came to me that I needed help with the task. So I knelt down right there and prayed for God's help to get that tree for my family. As I stood up it came to me to chop off a few of the lower branches so I would have a better chopping work area. Now understand growing up on a farm back in those days,we young children learned early on how to use tools without getting hurt. I thought of all the things I had learned about not hurting myself and went to work. I chopped my wedge for the proper fall line and started on the other side. I chopped and chopped and chopped some more. That tree must have been about ten feet tall and had a big trunk. I wasn't worried about the tree being too tall because we didn't have a ceiling nailed to the rafters so it could fit anyway even if it went right on to the tin roof. I learned early on to think of things and keep my mind occupied so my tasks didn't seem so hard for me. I had all the ideas of how we were going to be the luckiest kids to finally have that man Santa bring us toys. Oh the daydreaming I did while chopping down that tree. It started to fall in the right direction and I ran the other way like I had been taught. Cotton pickin it that thing laid there still attached to the stump. I decided if I was taking that thing home it would have to be chopped some more. I knew it was laying the right way and I wasn't going to get hurt so I chopped and a little at a time the outer bark and trunk peeled away. It wasn't long then til it gave way and plopped to the ground. Oh my, I was so proud of myself, not realizing I faced another dilema. I was going to have to drag that big thing back home by myself. I recalled how Pa had taught us to hook our arm around a branch of a limb to drag it to the pile for getting little pieces for starting fires. Ha! it worked I thought as I started walking with it dragging behind me.I looked toward the house and it sure did seem a long way away. Another thing we were taught was to sing when a task seemed too hard to do was sing. So little miss myself started singing and sang her way right up to the house. I opened the gate and drug that tree right onto the front porch. I got a foot tub and filled it with rocks around the trunk of the tree but it wouldn't stand up straighe. Use your brain was another thing we were told to do growing up so I thought about what might help it stand up tall and straight. Dirt! That's what it was in when I went and got it. So I started adding dirt one can at a time till I filled that foot tub of rocks and tree full. It worked. I was so excited and wondered how I was going to decorate it now. We didn't have anything to put on a tree. I had just learned at school how to make an Angel out of two kleenex so I went inside and got the box of kleenex and then out to the pack house where we removed the tobacco from the sticks to take to the market and got a bunch of discarded tobacco string. I took two tissues and balled up the first one then laid the second one centered over that one. That made the head. I tied the string just under that and left enough attached for hanging it on the tree. Oh my that was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. I made a bunch of those angels and put them all over that tree. There were no lights or anything else but just a tree of Angels. The contrast of white and green was spectacular to my little mind. I started dragging and pushing that foot tub which was by now so heavy I could hardly move it. So put your shoulder to the wheel came to mind and I got down on the floor and put my right shoulder against the foot tub and started pushing and low and behold it worked. It only moved a few inches at a time but I got it to the door. Hmmmm, I hadn't considered how I would get it over the threshold so another dilema. I pushed and pulled and grunted and tooted my horn and just about everything else known to man to get that thing in the house. All this actyivity finally got the attention of my mother who had been in the kitchen cooking supper. The kitchen door opened and the next thing I knew I was getting a thrashing with some unkind words about getting that.... thing out of her house. I got a whipping for my trouble/reward for trying to get the rest of the kids and myself something for Christmas is how I saw it. But I didn't take into consideration that I had used her box of kleenex and now she had nothing to wipe runny noses with. So I was directed to take my beautiful Angels off the tree and put them back in the box the way they came. With tears streaming down my face I did what I was told and then had to take the tree out to the burn pile and throw it on it. I was so crushed and knew that the Santa Claus would never come to our house now ever. But I was wrong. When my youngest sister got old enough there was a tree with lights and ornaments all over it and on Christmas morning there were presents to only her from Santa. My parents couldn't do for all of us what they did for her as the last child. For some reason that seemed to be what happened in a lot of families around us. We children didn't understand but it seemed to be the thing to do and it became what happened with my youngest brother who was named after my dad and the youngest daughter/last child. The moral of this story is when I grew up and had children of my own, there was always a Christmas tree and presents from Santa in my house. We would read the Christmas story by candle light and then I would tuck them in and get to work making magic happen in the night. Oh the tears of joy each and every Christmas morning while they were growing up to watch them experience what I never got to experiende in my lifetime. Every child deserves to experience the joy of waking up Christmas morning to have a gift under a Christmas tree. I may have stayed up til four in the morning a lot of nights sewing dolls and stuff for my three girls to compensate what I had spent for my son. I had no idea of what I could make for him. I may have been a single mom and didn't have much money but the magic happened for those four children after they went to bed. To this day I love Christmas and having a decorated tree and yard. There may not be any presents under the tree from Santa to give me joy but in my heart I feel the love of Jesus Christ when I wake up on Christmas morning. Perhaps we'll expand on lining up to getting our medicine next time. Until then I leave you with Just This...Alice

Friday, December 9, 2011

Founded on Strength

Since I wrote that my brother passed away, there have been three more deaths (two from old age and one from an auto accident). My brothers' wide, a friend, and one of my first cousins. Last month and the first week of this month have just sapped me of my mental and emotional strength. However I know that no more is put on me than what I can bear. My faith keeps me going.
My youngest daughter comes over often and she and I worked on the Christmas decorations for outside judging this week. The first day right after we finished putting the snow people out in the yard,my daughter had to pick up her little one from Pre K,run a couple of errands and then pick up her son from school. We have early release on the first Wednesday of the month here. I had to lie down for awhile as my legs swell so badly. Anyway when she got back she asked me about the rain we had while she was gone. I, of course had to ask what rain. She had bad news, our snow people we had worked so hard on were crying colored tears that came from the paper we used for their hats. Today made the third day we worked on it thinking the judging will be tonight. This afternoon a note was slipped through the door from the office telling us all that a mistake was made by the publishing company about the day of judging. It won't be til the 19Th. Since my daughter picked up the only artificial snow blankets for me while doing those errands, I am hoping it doesn't rain. Because they are only intended for indoor use. Ha!Ha! on me.
I have also had to be some kind of sneaky around my daughter as my other two daughters and a friend are giving her an expecting TWINS shower and I am helping them by crafting and artwork for the event. I do have a big mess in my dining room and living room right now after all this decorating and crafting stuff. So it is my first priority to clean it all up this weekend and before next Saturday.
I was able to get my gift exchange partners gift I made her in the mail only 2 days late. This is something I look forward to since I started participating.
If I had one wish for Christmas fulfilled it would be to get a book with tutorials about blogging and adding pictures and making it look better. I'm so sorry I suck at blogging. Well like Pa always used to say wish in one hand and spit in the other one and see which one gets filled up first.
If I am able to get back on here before Christmas I'll tell you about my episode with a live in the ground still Christmas tree when I was about 10. Until then I leave you with Just This...Alice

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stumbling along

There are times when we seem to want to block out the world around us and try to get ourselves together again. 2 years ago I lost a sister and this year I lost my oldest brother. They were both a little older than I am yet it seems too soon for them to go to a heavenly home. I miss them tremendously and look back on some of the greatest times of my life with them. I've never been one to wallow in self pity and won't start now. I have mourned the loss and now I am going to step forward into trying to become a better person for having them in my life for the 60+ years I've lived.I was lucky to have children and grandchildren and enjoy the times I spend with them.
I do wish I knew how to make this a better blog and show you all how I've made some of the things I make. Perhaps there will be directions somewhere I can make a copy of to have handy to help me. Until then it will remain story time of my youth on the farm.
One Saturday when Mama and Daddy took the tractor and trailer to town to get supplies, we children were to shuck and shell corn for the animals. We had a big wooden box with a metal thing that an ear of corn went through as we turned the habdle to remove the kernals from the corncob. Everyone was doing the chore as directed to begin with but some soon lost interest in such a mundane task. We took a water break and went up to the house and drank from the spigot o. My older brother thought it would be fun to slide down the metal that made up our roof on the house. There was some conversation about what we were supposed to be doing out at the corn crib but he was already on teh roof and sliding down then landing on the ground. It seemed to be fun so everyone participated for awhile, then some went on to another form of playing. After my first attempt sliding down onto the ground landed me on my bottom and it didn't feel very pleasant at all. Little did we know the danger of our folly. At that point I dicided I would return to the job of selling corn again because I didn't want to get caught doing something other than what we were told to when our parents left. I tried to encourage everyone to return to our chor but no one would go with me. I continued shelling corn and soon heard the tractor from way off. I called for the rest of them to come on out to the corn crib and get to work because I heard the tractor. They all laughed at me and responded with you shell the corn if you want we've got plenty of time to play til they get back. As I continued shelling corn I soon saw the tractor pass on the road heading to the house. Eagle eye Daddy saw the horseplay and when the kids saw the tractor turn into the driveway they all ran to the corn crib pretending they were working as told to prior to our parents leaving on the shopping trip. I knew what was comming next. After our parents took everything into the house and Daddy put the tractor in its spot, we were all called to the house. I commented to my brothers and sisters that they should have listened to me and we wouldn't be going to get a whipping. Sure enough Daddy told us to line up to get our medicine and the whippings began. When it was my turn, I looked at him and said I was trying to shell the corn. He said: "I don't want you I want Joyce" I waited for my turn and it never came. He told me that it looked like I was the only one working when they drove by the corn crib so I wouldn't get a whipping. For once I wouldn't have the stripes on my back and all the way down my legs from a whipping. Those things were brutal and something to fear.
Until next time I leave you with Just This...Alice

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Family Reunion

Today I attended our family reunion and had a good time. Delicious food, good conversation, catching up on family news, thinking about those who didn't make it this year and those we lost since last year.

I got up early and put my ham in the oven to bake. I cooked collards and cornbread to go with it. I had intended to bake rolls but didn't take them out of the freezer in time to thaw. So much for a short cut I took the other day. They'll be there for the next time I need some. I didn't make any dessert but there was plenty without a banana pudding or peach cobbler. Tonight I will have my most favorite comfort food ever. Cornbread and milk. I crumble up some cornbread in a cereal bowl and pour some 1% milk over it then spoon full by spoon full I taste pure sweet memories of going to town on the mule and wagon to have the corn we planted, hoed out the weeds, fertilized, harvested from the stalks and put in piles. Then my Dad would come along with the mule and sled and we would fill it up and keep picking the corn off the stalks and piling it up for his next trip. It was taken to the corn crib and piled on one side of the wall dividing the corn crib into two spaces. After the corn was all harvested and stored for the winter we would shuck and shell what we needed as we needed it. For the chickens we would usually shell it right off the cob and scatter it about the chicken yard. For the hogs we would shell it and then soak it for them to eat for a treat. most of the time they ate it without soaking. The cows took care of the stalks left in the field for their winter grazing. When it came to food for us, we would load up shelled corn on the wagon. Yellow corn was for cornbread and white corn was for grits. Off we would go to town around to Mr. Box's Grist mill. It was so fascinating to watch those two wheels grind that corn into little specks. When it was all ground Pa and Mr. Box would come to an agreement as to Mr. Box's share of meal and grits for grinding the corn for us. Off we would go in the mule and wagon headed back home. But on occasion we would stop off and Mr. Howland's store, which was more like a shack back then, and we were given a nickle to get some candy, an ice cream cone, or a candy bar. Yes that is all that stuff cost way back then. Part of the ride home was mostly silent with each of us intent on what we were eating. We didn't care that automobiles were speeding around us, we'd just throw up our free hand and wave. Not realizing that we were way behind the times in the mid to late 1950's it never crossed our minds that they were making fun of us and that was what all their laughter and shouts was about. We would make it home in time to do the evening chores while Pa put the corn meal and grits in their containers. Fresh ground corn meal was made into cornbread for our supper and what a supper we would have. Southern women know how to cook like no other when it comes to hospitality cooking. At least two meats and sometimes three. Several vegetables like green beans, butter beans, peas, greens, squash or even okra. Always cornbread and sometimes biscuits. My goodness what a feast we would have when company came. And we had company that evening. We liked to have company as the adults would sit around and talk and we children would get to play after supper and the dishes were done and put away.

Pardon me but it is 6:35 and I am off to have my cornbread and milk. So til next time I leave you with Just This...Alice

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I have been grilled">
Won't accept the link says it is broken so we'll try this instead.

I wasn't successful in putting the badge to the side so here it sits.
It's good to be grilled by Grandma's Briefs and I love her blog which is seperate from her grilling but accessable on the page.. You may want to check her out for some fun posts.

Yesterday I set out to pick up some fabric yard to make a rug I found on free cycle. I git to within three miles and my tracker broke down. It was only a few minutes and a couple knowledgable in auto mechanics stopped. Then another vehicle stopped and offered the use of a cell phone for calling a family member. The Lord sure was good to me as the man checked out the tracker he found the problem, my altinator was no longer working. They charged up my battery for about 30 minutes and told us that when that went out to try charging again to get it home to my brother's house. It only lasted for me to go a few feet down the road and them cut off again. Well my brother was looking for something in his truck and a dog came up to him and scared him so that he shooed him away and ended up shutting the door on his thumb. OUCH! I saw that happen and felt so bad. Here he was trying to help me and ended up getting hurt. He called my other brother who just happened to be on vacation this week and he came in his big truck with a chain and hooked right up to my tracker and pulled us to the house about 5 miles away. I don't know if any of you have ever had to be towed this way but if so you knopw how hard it is to steer and use the brakes. I almost kissed the back end of that big truck 3 or 4 times. I was scared stiff throughout the journey to his house. I am so blessed to have 2 brothers that are willing to help someone out in need of assistance. The younger brother took off the old altinator and took it to Auto Zone, used my debit card without any problems at all (my daughter had a world of trouble and it got froze when she took my package to the post office last Monday), and brought back a new one and put it on. Tracker started right up and this morning after my oldest brother took his wife to the hospital for routine tests they stopped by my apartment and got me to go get my tracker. After visiting for a little bit I got in and that little darling started right up for me too and I was on my way. Thank you Lord for putting the people I needed in the places they were so I got the help I needed. If there is anyone out there having vehicle trouble I pray that they receive help just as I did so they are not left in this heat very long. May we all be an angel to someone in need this way. Until next time I leave you with Just This...Alice

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Birthday America! God Bless You and me.

Americans sing Let Freedom Ring while celebrating is what it is all about.
For those who lived, fought, and lost their life for us I thank you. For their families, I am sorry for your loss.
May we all remember the principles this country was built on and who is at the head. May God continue blessing us and remain at the head and in all we do as a country.
Men may fail but God does not so in him I put my trust.
Though I am disabled I can still stand long enough to say the pledge to the flag. I don't understand why others that can don't or won't.
I say that pledge for what it represents and not for any other group like or dislike.
We are Americans born here while some chose to move here legally or not.
As a guest in another country I respect their culture and language and never try to change it.
I hope others would respect our country and way of life and don't try to change it.
Of all the countries in the world I feel this is the best for me to call home.
May we all treat each other with kindness and respect. May we all work toward one common goal. May we all be truthful and stop trying to take advantage of others. May we be loving and giving and strive for the good of all mankind. May we give freely to our own in our own country first.
It really saddens me to see what I was told end up not being true after all. When someone in another country has better household furnishings than I do will not receive a donation from me. Yes I do have compassion and empathy but I also have eyes to see that I was mislead. I have in my life time pumped water from a hand pump, drank from a pond of water or a river. I have worked in the fields like a slave yet I was not labeled one. I went without shoes and walked just fine, perhaps some laughed at me but I still walked. I didn't have all the fine dining food that many had but I still ate when it was meal time. Hard work planting,hoeing the weeds out, harvesting, and preserving the food and animals for winter got us through. My clothes were patched but they were very clean as I was adept at using a scrub board.
We rode in a mule drawn wagon to get about followed by a tractor and trailer when money was made to purchase a used one. We often did our homework by kerosene lights. We had a roof over our heads and it may not have had the beauty of others homes but it kept us dry. We didn't have indoor plumbing so it was a long walk to the out house instead just down the hall. It was a hard life but I made it through the hard times with an appreciation for the good times like no other. People back then used the golden rule and said Yes sir and No mam when asked a question. We need to bring back the respect for others that was lost when society deemed it necessary for mothers to go to work. Children do not learn at most day cares. I worked at one and tried my best but it just wasn't there. But the checks from the government were put to good use by the owners. Children are not the same away from home that parents think they are. I once worked at a bowling where many parents dropped off their children and then went to the next town and partied because we have a dry county. The sad thing about that is that some left their children there and didn't come back to get them when we closed. Workers gave many children rides home after working til two and three in the morning after working a day job. As a single mom with four children after two divorces, I did my best to take care of my children and spend time with them. All four of them graduated high school and two of them did it with honors. One graduated college and is a teacher. I had a motto that one excuse was as good as another when it came to whining about how hard it was to take care of my little family.
I tell you this because in my opinion people quit trying after being downtrodden and robbed of their dignity for so long. I just wish all the executives and CEO's would have to live the life of a few of us and then see if they would be so all fired selfish with their pocket books and wallets here in OUR country. I feel we should take care of our own first. GREED has came calling for its due and it will be a sad situation for many. How many have used what God has provided, with the titles they have to earn big money, to help those in genuine need here in our own country. How many have misused the charities they have established for its true purpose instead of ten cents of a dollar going to the needy it should be ninety per cent going to the needy with ten percent going to those running it. I am sad to know that so many people have been duped into giving so much money thinking they are helping someone in need and they are just giving money away to some glorified panhandler that made it off the street into a fine office. I would ask the American people to research before giving your money away as it might not be going where you think it is. Personally I prefer to find a local family who I can see is in need and help them when I am able. WAKE UP AMERICA and take care of America first. If a country is in need in a disaster help is definitely warranted. We have been in our own disasters yet I haven't seen or heard of other countries helping us. If they have and the media has with held that bit of information from us I would wonder why. Too much power has been given to too many people and it is destroying us all with a greed for more.
This is how our country stands today. A leader who will not pledge allegiance to our country's flag and blatantly so. Too many hands in the till and emptying it out quickly. Lies being spread by the media telling us only a small part of what is really happening around the world. Our men and women are giving their all to help protect this country and when they come home to what when they need our help. That should be the top charity we have for those who served and risked their lives for a country they call home. Those families who loose a member of the military should be compensated for the loss of that life as it was given freely while doing a job for the USA.
I simply can not understand how the drug companies have been given so much leeway that they are killing people with bad drugs given as medication to help heal. that's for another time. I'm tired and ready for a nap and as I don't get much sleep I try to get it when I can.
My oldest daughter was born on this country's bicentennial birthday and I want to wish her a very Happy Birthday also. Happy Birthday Airalisha. 35 years ago I welcomed a sweet little baby girl early then almost lost her because they didn't think she was early because of her birth weight. I just had big babies is all. We just don't know what we think we know sometimes. Until next time I leave you with Just This...Alice

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sleepless Monday

I've spent the night trying to get to sleep but pain and nerve problems are working against me. So I've not had one wink of sleep all night. And I thought it a good time to post another tale of the past to see if that would induce a little sleep for me.
One day my Dad was going to our neighbor three miles away to lend them our mule Kate for the day. I wanted to go with him and Mama finally gave in and told Pa to make sure I stayed off the road and walked on the grass there and back. Well I liked the feel of the smooth asphalt and it didn't seem to mind me walking on it so early in the morning. It felt much better than the grass with sand spurs in it along side the road. Pa never said anything about me walking on it and all seemed well when we arrived at their farm. I got to have a day of play and fun with the two girls around my age and time passed very quickly. Pa came around the corner of the house and said "Come on Alice it's time to head home now." I said my goodbyes and we started walking back home. A couple of times Pa asked me if I wanted to ride Kate but I told him No Sir. He didn't know how afraid I was of that big animal and would never ride her again after the trick my youngest brother and next to the oldest sister played on me when we were moving cows to a different pasture one day. But that story is for another time. Well it wasn't long before I started feeling the warmth of the roadway and was hopping form the road to the grass. When we got home I put my feet in the foot tub full of cold water and it felt so good. I did not realize that the bottom of my feet was solid blisters until Mama came out on the back porch and asked me what I was doing. When I told her I could see her puffing up ready to jump all over Pa when he got back from putting Kate in the Mule pen. Oh my was she mad at him. I tried to tell her it wasn't Pa's fault but she wouldn't listen to me or him for that matter. There were times there was no getting through to Mama about certain matters and this was one of them. It would suffice to say we were both in the dog house for several days over the matter and I lost the privilege of going with him ever again to take the mule to the neighbors.
Now it is 6:30 a.m. and i am no more near going to sleep than I was all night.Sometimes I can get on the computer and it will help settle me down to where i can go on to sleep but not now. Perhaps if I stay awake all day I might go to sleep early tonight. haha it doesn't work that way for me. I guess I should have drank a cup of coffee so it would help put me to sleep. Yes it does that for me. When I tried drinking it to stay awake I learned that little bit of info by falling asleep when I should have been awake. Coffee seems to help my breathing along with the oxygen and medications as well as act as a sleep aid. I guess that is part of having a weird body chemistry or so I was told by a doctor when I was in my early 20's.
Sit awhile, stand awhile, lay down awhile, aarg nothing seems to help until I get so totally exhausted that my body just shuts down for about twelve hours. I don't want to complain so I'm going to focus on my glass being half full and take a walk to see if that will help. Time to get my scooter pooter (rolling walker with a seat)out of the vehicle and walk around the apartment complex. Hope everyone has a great week and until next time I leave you with, Just This...Alice

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mellow Monday

So many times i spend too much time reading other blogs that I don't seem to have what it takes to update my own blog. I must confess that I am not as savvy as all the bloggers I follow in posting and adding photos with the posts. i do apologize for my lack of knowledge in this area. I see how posting photos with story line makes it a much better read than just words. Perhaps i can share some of the blogs I have the utmost fondness for that i can't miss reading them for fear of missing something important. Life happens and sometimes we find enjoyment where we can.
I will write as I can remember and hope I don't leave anyone out that I consider a great blog. There are a few that have given up on blogging due to too many responsibilities and their managing stores that sell great products. One being Calamity Anne. I may have this name wrong but this lady seemed to do it all. awesome recipes, crafting, story lines, and just being funny. I miss her blog.
There are some ladies out there that can weld a hammer and other man tools like no man in the corporate world could ever think of doing. Pretty Handy Girl is a must read for any woman wanting to make something.I was in withdrawals last week while I was at my daughters for the week and had no access to read my favorites. This lady shows you step by step how to do a project and the pictures to go with it that no one would know someone that is not a professional did the job. And she has a sense of humor that cracks me up. Funky Junk Interiors is near and dear to my heart as she has a taste for the junk in life and makes it look stylish in home decor. I grew up in a house that people would not believe possible and she has shown a few of the things I lived with and through and decorated my home with.
It brought to mind the old light bulbs dangling from the ceiling, metal roof nailed to the open rafters, lack of drywall and paint, no plumbing which necessitated running about 3oo-500 feet to the out house, bathing on the open back porch with a metal bowl of water sitting on a water shelf, the old wash pot and scrub board for washing our clothes are just a few of the things that I lived with daily growing up on our farm. Some of the blogs remind me of those days and I appreciate the memories they invoke for me.
Since I can't seem to remember names correctly I must wait for the next time to share more blogs I follow.
While I was at my daughter's house last week I made my two granddaughters some covered flip flops and hair bows. My daughter took me to a couple of stores to get ribbon and other craft supplies that i don't have access to here. Ole greedy gut WalMart just had to shut down the craft area of our local store. If they think they ere going to force me to buy what they limit to selling in their store here they have another thought coming. I just may have to wait til one of my daughters can haul me and my rolling walker out of town to better stores but when I get to the stores the wait has been worth it as they have a better selection as well as cutting fabric off the bolt and I get to choose how much and the prints i want. What WalMart doesn't realize is we got along without them before they came here and I can do it again. Can you tell I don't care for WalMart at the moment. Greedy sitting in their corporate air conditioned offices men who just can't seem to get enough of the color green from our pockets and purses. My daughter found this little Mom and Pop store that has meat from their farm to sell and the taste is unbelievable compared to that at WalMart. We don't realize the chemicals they add to meats to make them appear fresher when we buy them off the shelf. One purchase of chicken had me sold. I am so in favor to buy locally just so I will know what has went into what I'm cooking and eating. i just wish we no longer had food shipped in from other countries because we don't know a thing about how it was grown and what it has went through before we get it. i want my chicken to taste like chicken and not a bunch of chemicals.
Well I just skipped around today didn't I? Not bad for someone who is physically incapable of doing that.So until next time I leave you with Just This...Alice

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cow ponds have leeches and water gets you wet.

A memory of us older children playing in the cow pond in our underware when we were young has come to the forefront. One day in particular I was watching a beautifully colored dragonfly flit around near me. While I was standing still,I had some critters attatch themselves to my ankles and the top of my feet. I looked like I had on black socks when I came out of the pond. It was a fight to the finish to get those leeches off me. Why I was the only one to get them I don't know. It sure scared the pudding out of me that's for sure. I didn't go back in the cow pond either no matter how much my brother goaded me to do so. Of course our eagle eyed mom saw us down there playing and yelled for us to get back to the house. And we thought we were so clever and wouldn't get caught that far from the house. Haha. An eight year old kid has no conception of how dangerous it is to play around water when they don't know how to swim. We were told that we weren't going in the water til we learned to swim. Did I miss something there? How in the world will a person learn to swim if they don't ever get in the water? I guess that is why I was eighteen before I learned to swim.
If we were in he field hoeing the crops and it started raining we would have to keep hoeing with the comment a little water never hurt anyone. It'll wash the sand and dust off you is what we were told. The crops had to be hoed to get rid of the weeds so we would have a good stand of vegetables when picking time came.
When we made lye soap i carried many a bucket of water to the eighty gallon kettle to start the soapmaking process. We used that soap for everything from bathing to washing clothes, and dishes.
Many occasions in my life have necessitated my using and being around water. I never had a fear of it until my son fell in a pool at the deep end following my neighbors kids around. I went from chest high in the water to the deep end and grabbed him by his shirt by the time he went under the water. I had been out of the pool watching the kids while my neighbor swam and played in the water and I had just went in for my turn when this happened. The neighbor wasn't watching them for my turn in the water and didn't even know my son fell in til I came out with him and sat down near her. Needless to say I severed that friendship. I did learn something from that experience though. Never turn your back on a child around a body of water. All four of my children know how to swim and the grandkids are learning as they grow big enough.
Water is a vital part of our lives and necessary for sustaining life. We are wasteful with our resource of water and many ponds are drying up. Irrigation in our county has increased as rainfall has decreased. I remember a time when we never watered a crop after the initial planting of small seedlings in the field. We never watered the crops thet were planted with seeds. They flourished with the rainfall we got regularly. Our fruits and vegetables were so delicious and not like the ones we buy in the grocery stores today. They just don't seem to have a good flavor to me. I planted vegetables and fruit trees when my kids were young and they loved being in the garden with me and eating the things we grew. My youngest daughter and her husband are carrying on the tradition of growing your own food. I think our soil has been leeched of its nutrients and not enough natural fertilizer put back in. I would take my wheel barrow out in the cow pasture and load it up with cow muffins and till it into the sand before starting a new bed. In my opinion organic gardening is the best way to garden. Chemicals have had their toll on us and many are seeing the results in their health. There was an ample amount of natural fertilizer form our chickens, rabbits, cows, pigs and any other animal that provided a safe product. For twenty six years my motto has been grow it yourself and you know what went into it before it goes into you. What the world needs is more animal dung for the ground to restore the balance and able to have our crops flourish once again.
Well I've went from leeches in the water to pools and crops today. Be careful where you put your feet in water you can't see through.
That will be it for now so I leave you with just this... Alice

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tattle Tale Thursday

I had my 60th birthday last week. I was given orders to be ready by 5:30 and wear something nice. I started to ask my daughter which night shirt should I wear (I live in those things)but stopped myself. I was picked up and my rolling walker was put in the back and we were on our way. Driving along the scenery was lovely and the conversation great except when I asked where are we going? My grandaughter almost told me but her mommy stopped her and she told my grandson not to tell either. My son in law made me smile when he told her your mama is smart she will figure it out. I did. I have an issue with anxiety well alright a big problem with the need for medication when nothing else worked. I knew all those years of my pestercating brother was going to have an effect on me. Oh yes back to the birthday surprise. It took us about 45 minutes til we got to the coast in Stienhachie,(sp?) FL. I was given my walker and another daughter showed me where to go.They had a lovely setup with the tables and chairs and it took my breath away. We were out on the water but inside the restaurant and could see right out through very large glass windows. We then dined on seafood platters to the setting sun. My three daughter and their families were all in attendance. My son didn't make it from New York as his work prevented him from getting time off. I was moved to tears when I opened my gifts. They know their mother so well. Anything to do with crafting supplies over perfumes and such. I did get one thing in jewelry, a small silver heart with the word MOM on both sides. My daughter added it to my bracelet and I love everything I got as it was things I needed. While my daughter picked up wraping papers and such the daddys took the 4 grandkids out on the deck to feed the birds and fish. Then one of my daughters took out a birthday cake and I am salivating just remembering how it tasted. I felt like a queen indeed and my daughters did a fantastic job of making it memorable for me. I had to excuse myself and go the the bathroom as we were leaving the restaurant. On the rids home my stomach started cramping and it sounded like it was having its own birthday party down there. I must say for the last 20 miles befor getting home I had great concerns as to if I would make to the bathroom in time. Not to be I was so embarassed for raising a big stink in the vehicle. When we got to my apartment my daughter helped me and took all my things in for me while I hit the shower. Again. I called it my before and after birthday shower. Well I was given the full force of whatever it was in the food that made almost all of us sick. I stayed sick for 5 days. Sunday I noticed a tender spot on my left leg just above the ankle. Didn't think nothing of it for a couple of days. By Tuesday it had me in tears and was swollen,red,hot to the touch and when my daughter called me to check on me that evening I finally told her about it. She looked it up on her computer and it was one of two things according to web md. She told me to be up early as she was taking me to the doctor as soon as she dropped off her son at school.I should have gotten a clue when we noticed the parking lot was empty. Sure enough my daughter read the note on the door that he would be out of town til next week. My daughter was tenacious about finding a doctor that would accept walkins.The 4th place we went did. There was grave concern from the nurse and the doctor sent us to a hospital about 25 miles away for an ultra sound of my left leg. While we were waiting at the hospital for them to call my name, my daughter went to the bathroom and my grandaughter and I walked inside their gift shop. After a few minutes of browsing my grandaughter tapped my hand and said "G-Maw come see this kitty." It was the cutest little smokey grey persian kitty. I could tell she wanted it and I asked her to pick it up for me. The no touch rule held fast with her and I had to tell her it was OK because I was asking her to pick it up for me since I couldn't reach over the walker and get it myself. I could not believe the price was only $3.00 but then I saw the clearance sign. That little darling knows how to shop those sales. Did I tell you she is only 4 years old? As I was checking out my daughter came in and asked what I was getting and I showed her the coffee mug that had I never knew how much love my heart could hold till someone called me "Grandma" and yes it's pink. We sat in the waiting area for a short time and they called me and we started registering and after about 20 minutes we went back and I got set up for the proceedure. Pain wracked me when they pressed down on my leg. She finally said OK we're all done. Fortunately there was no blood clot. Cellulitis had taken residence in my lower leg. The $300.00 perscription is supposed to take care of it within 2 weeks.
That is about all I can do for now so til next time I leave you with Just This... Alice

Saturday, May 21, 2011

No watermelon at the Watermelon Festival in Newberry FL

I don't know who was more excited about having a sleep over the grandchildren or the adults. The delicious beef stew one of my daughters made was enjoyed by all. After baths and showers it was time for popcorn and a movie. Waiting for Rainbow Bright to come this G-Maw fell asleep on the couch. My daughter shook me awake and told me to go to bed and I sweetly complied. This morning I heard all about the fun and laughter they all shared. Nobody wanted to sleep with me and when asked why they all said because you snore too loud G-Maw. Fair enough I am at fault this time. I guess now that they are getting bigger they can tell us they don't get any sleep when they sleep with me because I keep waking them up. However I sincerely hope I don't sound the way they demonstrated for us. Have a pop tart kids and drink your milk kids. Yes I did change the subject and that is that. We all got ready for the Watermelon Festival near one of my daughter's house and got a prime spot without knowing that we were doing so. The candy that was thrown for the 4 kids was enough to fill a small grocery bag. They were allowed to eat one piece and then it was put away to divide equally among them. This being our first time we did not know what to expect except that is was $5.00 for parking. No handicap parking for the disabled in sight. It was a very long walk to get to the festivities and I had to sit down numerous times to rest. We finally made it to where the kiddie fun things were and after that we went on to the next field that had the vendors. We only bought something at one booth. We were looking for the watermelon decor accessories we were sure would be there, with a name like the Watermelon festival with the ad of free watermelon one would think there would be a lot of items to go with the theme. Well we never saw a watermelon and there was one item of accessories with a watermelon painted on it.What a disappointment. I did overhear a deputy telling someone of the difficult time they had with DOT trying to have the festival which was held at a different location this year. There's a story there. The few food booths they had weren't appetizing so we went back to my daughter's house and had Pb&j sandwiches and a most delicious drink of kool aid and 7up mix. Then we all chatted while the kids rested(we knew they weren't going to sleep). It was overall a very nice day together. The daughter I rode with had us back at my apartment by 4:00. When I was telling my sister what I got, I was searching for the bag it was put in and it accidentally went home with my I really didn't care as I was ready to lay down and rest awhile before moving around once I got home. Now I guess I need to get off the computer and cook dinner so until next time I leave you with Just This...Alice.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Finally Made it Back

So much has happened since I last posted. Sickness, birthdays, recitals, etc.
Shame on me for not taking just a few minutes out of a busy day to pop in and say HI to all you sweet people and let you know I was still here. This is sometimes hard for me to do and my typing skills are not what they were long
Now lets see what time in my life can I share tonight....
This may sound Gorey to some but I will tell it in a kind way.
We were a self sufficient farm. That also involved raising our own meat. One time Pa got 100 biddies from the feed store to raise for food. Turned out there was a mistake of a few chicks and we kept them to lay eggs. On a Saturday morning bright and early we would start the fire under the ole wash pot and then set out for the chicken yard. When the first one's neck was wrung it was a shocker to us children. But being that we lived on a farm and knew about having to slaughter animals for our food, soon got us over the first shock of watching the chickens flop all over the place, and at times is seemed like they were coming after us for wringing their necks. Now if you remember mention has been made of being faintable over the sight of blood. Yeah right, the others decided they too couldn't stand the sight of blood and might faint at any moment. Now that left two of us to wring their necks. My oldest brother who was the pesticator and myself. We didn't seem to be doing the job fast enough and Pa told us to get one in each hand and go to town wringing those chickens necks. Well the party got in full swing then I have never seen so many dancing chickens in my life in one spot. My brother and I were doing the twist and the chickens were doing all sorts of dance steps all around us. Of course my brother had to make fun of me and goad me on about the task at hand and I got so mad at him that when I wrung the next two chickens necks they were left in my hands. "Sorry" I felt terrible to begin with for committing the sin of killing that I burst into tears over the happenings of my job. If you can imagine a 12 year old farm girl wringing chickens necks while squalling and tossing them in a pile, it was surely a sight for confusion with my brother laughing so hard he looked more like he was playing than working. The other girls had to douse the chickens in the hot water to loosen the feathers to pluck them easier while we were wringing their necks. Pa had already started butchering the plucked chickens getting them ready to put up in the freezer. Mama was in the kitchen frying up chicken and cooking collards, beans, mashed potatoes,gravy, and banana pudding for our dinner. The two youngest ones didn't have much to do in the line of work. About 50 chickens had been butchered by noon so we broke and ate dinner. No talking while at the table was my parents rule as well as eat everything on your plate and be quick about it, as we had to always get back to work doing one job or the other. While we girls cleaned the kitchen and put the leftovers away Pa went back to butchering chickens. This was also the time when I learned how to butcher a chicken all by myself. The only thing he threw away in the tub was the intestines. Waste not want not was his motto. The feet got skinned and eaten in chicken and rice along with the backs and necks. So I watched Pa for awhile then did it with his supervision and then he let me do it by myself telling me to not cut myself. I had a lesson in what a blood bath was about that day. The lessons learned came in handy later when I first got out on my own and had to cut up my own cwn chicken for the economical purchase price instead of the more expensive precut chickens. Well we didn't end up with 100 chickens in the freezer as they planned but close to it. It would certainly get us through the winter with the other meat we would butcher later in the Fall. It's amazing what we can do when we are in a position of have to do it or suffer the consequences like that day and many others on the farm while I was growing up. That was surely a long time ago, almost 50 years, and I can still remember it like it was just yesterday.
Well that's it for not so until next time I leave you with just this... Alice

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Timely Tuesday

As I recall I mentioned telling you about the cane grinding and polecat.
Each year we grew sugar cane to make syrup to have all year long til the next cane grinding. We planted about 5 acres of cane starts (section of the cane with a bud in the middle for a growing point) after our current harvest. It would work its magic and grow roots during the winter and be ready to burst forth in the Spring with green shoots that quickly turned into canes. One year we planted two varieties. In addition to our usual yellow/green cane we got some purple cane starts to plant. They grew slimmer than the usual cane and Pa didn't seem to care much for that. Neither did we as we hoed and cared for the cane field during the spring and summer. As November arrived we would start getting the cane ready for harvest. Pa would cut a stalk and peel it and pop it into his mouth and chew away on the pulp tasting for the perfect sweetness to make cane syrup. Then we would strip the cane leaves off the cane stalks with a machete like tool. Sometimes we would have a rhythm going of down on one side flip around and down on the other side til all the cane stalks were stripped clean. With perfect timing we would cut off the tops of the canes and leave them for the next days work which we would cut down the stalks and pile them up. Bright and early the next morning we would harness ole Kate (our mule) up the the sled and head to the field. We would load the canes up and head on back to the cane mill. When all was brought in Kate would be harnessed up to the pole that stretched from one side to the other nearly touching the ground. As she would walk around and around the grinders we would put a piece of cane in between the big metal rollers that mashed the stalks and released the juice which was collected in metal drums. When the drums were filled to a level they could still lift Pa and my oldest brother would lift them up and pour them in the big kettle that was protected under a pole barn type structure. The cast iron bowl would hold 80 gallons but we cooked off 50 gallons at a time. This was repeated many times over the course of a few days. During the cooking we would skim off the foam and stir the juice in the kettle. As the cane juice cooked it would eventually turn into syrup and we knew when Pa called for us to come get the Polecat it was about ready put in bottles and we were in for a treat. Along the rim of the kettle was a yellowish thickened substance similar to taffy but thinner. We would all line up and each one had a cane strip to hand to Pa to dip in the kettle to get us some Polecat. He would hand it back and caution us to be careful as it was very hot. As we blew on our strips to cool what we thought was manna from Heaven we would look around to see if anyone had started eating it yet. While it was still warm we would slurp up that sweet tasting treat and ask for more. We sure did love Polecat and it was our treat for doing the work required to store syrup for the year on shelves in the smoke house. Well that's another story for another time for now I leave you with Just This... Alice

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My 6th grade class
My Father is young boy on the right
My Great Grandparents
My Grandparents and their 13th child
My My family in 1958. I am young girl on bottom right.

I have tried to write a story line several time to go with the pictures and each time something happens to delete it. I am struggling with posting and pictures still. But I am trying.
I want to record my life story for my future generations and anyone who is interested in reading it. I also want to be able to do tutorials on things I make to share with others. I am slow with the learning process of blogging but I am continuing to put forth the effort to do it regardless of those struggles. When i learned to type it was before teh electric typewriter and I don't know what all this stuff on the keyboard is for except the alphabet and numbers. Fortunately I have spell check to correct any misspelled words.
I hope this gives you a little glimpse into the past and until next time I leave you with Just This...Alice

Monday, February 21, 2011

autoMobile Monday

Just got back from having to buy two new tires for my vehicle. $145.00 ouch. No gas to go anywhere now but I've got tires.

I think I said I would tell about my experience with the electric fence while on vacation one summer.

I was living in New Orleans at the time and came home to Florida for a vacation. While here my oldest brother and I with our pickup trucks went and got hay for the fall and winter. Pa had a very small heard of cattle at the time. Of course he was all of Eighty years old and still worked his gardens, livestock, etc. He had quit raising and cropping tobacco when he was sixty seven and just had concentrated on his large vegetable garden and had a little time to sit on the front porch in his rocking chair watching the birds eat the seeds he had scattered for them. OK back to the story promised. We decided we could get all the hay Pa needed on both the trucks if we stacked it high and drove slowly home from the neighbors farm about a mile away. Well we did just that and my oldest brother decided he would unload first so he could get to his second job on time that evening. We unloaded his truck in record time and had it stacked neatly in the pack house. As he drove off he shouted "Hey sis watch out for that electric fence wire overhead now so you don't dance your jig hahahaha" all the way back out of the field. I should have known he had in mind for me to touch it because while we were unloading my truck, I grabbed the last bale of hay on the cab and the blanket used to keep the truck from getting scratched up came with it and as I turned around my foot caught on it and I went flying over the second layer of hay bales and ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZAAAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPPPPPPPP my forehead connected with that dang line and I couldn't move for awhile. My new dance steps were just going in the air trying to get that blanket off my foot. After getting my foot loose I was able to get down onto the ground to find relief for every orifice on my body. My sil was laughing so hard she wet herself. I didn't know what I was going to do about the hay because I told her that blame hay could stay there or unload itself before I got up there again. It took some time to get myself together and try to find a solution to the problem of getting the hay off my truck. We ended up getting a longer pole/tree sapling to raise the line to my satisfaction so we could finish the job of unloading that truck. After all I did have to drive back to New Orleans in it. I told my sil don't you be telling your husband about this, you hear, and she just started laughing all over again. Sure as could be she went inside laughing and ended up telling Pa and them about my buck dance on the hay.
That wasn't my first experience with the electric fence oh no.... my oldest brother always tried to get me by doing something when we were out working in the fields. The first time I shook hands with Mr. E Lectric Fence was when the same brother told me to "lift that wire so I can crawl under it then I'll hold it for you so you can get under it." Since he hadn't been too mean to me that day I just grabbed that wire to lift it up and it didn't want to turn loose. I was a hollering and a crying and dancing around and he started shouting let it go, let it go. He must have felt bad for that one because he told me he didn't think I would pick it up that way, he thought I would pick it up the sissified way with my thumb and forefinger. I let him know the only fence I picked up that way was barbed wire.
We can sit around now talking about all of the old days and laugh til our sides hurt. I did tell them that it wasn't right for me to not get my trip down the red carpet for being the family entertainment though.
Life was so simple back then and we didn't have to make all the decisions we do today because they were made for us. It is hard to believe we have come so far from what we were back then. It was difficult making decisions on my own for the first little while and then along came some real life education. I don't think we started growing up til we got out on our own because it was certainly a reality slap in the face when we left home. Oh the simple days of sitting on the porch on a Sunday afternoon after church turning the crank of the ice cream machine knowing we were in for a real treat when it was done. We all have our long ago yesterdays and some are more fondly thought of than others. Time marches on and we are soon forgotten just as our ancestors were. We do have an advantage of being able to capture those memories and store them for our future generations though. My children and grandchildren ask for stories about when I was young and I guess this is my way to preserve those stories.
Perhaps a story of the polecat and cane grinding would be good for next time. Until then I remain Just This...Alice

Friday, February 11, 2011

Finding Friday

It seems like I have lost Friday. I went to bed and didn't get much sleep last night. So I made my usual dose of medicine and drank it down leisurely. A cup of coffee seems to work the exact opposite on me when I'm tired. I laid down to take a nap around noon and didn't wake up til after 4:00pm. I have not had this much sleep at one bedtime in months. This week has been a very rough week for me with the weather and all. I didn't realize how badly the weather affected some parts of our bodies. As a child it was the rain on our tin roof that gave me such good sleep but now it aggravates my broken down body to where I can't sleep. I'm thankful for the rain to water the earth when we need it and lately our area of the country has needed it. Sometimes the weather dictates no working for the day.
However I can remember a time as a child that rain was no excuse to keep from hoeing the fields and getting rid of the weeds in our crops. When we awoke one day to find it raining (granted it was just a drizzle) we thought we wouldn't have to go hoe in the field for that day. Pa quickly told us a little rain never hurt anybody and we best hurry up and eat our breakfast and get to the job at hand. The morning was spent hoeing and grumbling about being wet to the core and why did we have to hoe in such nasty weather. We heard the holler for dinner time at noon and we all took off running to the house. We all took turns washing up and changing clothes then sat down to eat a good hot meal. Fried pork chops, collard greens, rice with gravy, butter beans, and homemade biscuits with home made butter slathered in the middle when it went on our plate. Back then there was no talking at the table by anyone. It was a sit down hurry up and eat then get back to work type of meal for us. Oh how I hated hoeing in the field and the rain made it even worse. Anything worse.... there is nothing that can compare to cropping sand lugs (the first leaves of tobacco next to the dirt) to finish filling the tobacco barn in a drizzling rain. My armpit would be full of sand, the tar from the leaves, and I couldn't wait to wash it all off.
It brings to mind the whole process of planting tobacco. First in March we would make a huge seed bed and plant tobacco seed. Then Pa would have the smallest child (which was me this time) walk lightly over the seed to pack them onto the earth. We would then cover the beds with gauze to keep frost off the seedlings if the weather called for frost. It also kept the birds out. I was 5 years old and my younger brother (age 2) and I were the only ones at home and the other 4 were in school. That is how I had the task of walking on the seed bed that day. As it was always do the job right or don't do it all and get a whipping for your trouble with Pa, I was terrified of doing it wrong. That was my lucky day because Pa told me I could go on up to the house to help mama with my brother. I started running and Pa hollered something to me and turning my head to look back while still running, I veered off course and fell over the logs that were nailed together to make the tobacco beds. Then I hollered and felt pain like I had never felt it before. On the outside of my left leg was a deep gash and I was bleeding profusely. Pa looked away and told me to go to the house to get mama's help. Mama turned away also and told me to go to the porch and rinse it off with water. She couldn't look at it either but told me what to do to help it. I never knew at that time both my parents would faint at the sight of blood running from a wound. My older brother and sister must have got that problem too cause they would faint too. Many years later I was told they had that problem and couldn't help it. I responded with it sure would have helped me to know that when I was 5 and had to deal with a wound to my leg. Life happens and we do what we have to do to make it in this ole world. When the seedlings were sprouted and tall enough to be out of danger we would remove the gauze and the sun and rain did its job in making them grow. When they were ready to be transplanted we would take crates to the tobacco beds and pull the biggest and best seedlings and pack them in the crates. Then we would get the mule and sled rigged up and ready to go plant our bounty. We had this thing called a tobacco planter to make it easier on us to get the job done. It was cone shaped with a divider so we put the plant on one side and when we pulled the handle water would come out at the bottom along with the plant. Then one of us would cover the hole made by this piece equipment. Those little seedlings looked so good all in rows of fresh tilled soil that we thought wouldn't have very many weeds it it. Ha! the joke was on us. That field had just as many weeds and we had to hoe the devil out of them that year. Perhaps it was the manure tea we poured on the ground for fertilizer. With hoeing the weeds out, rain, sunshine and back breaking work,it became time to start harvesting the tobacco leaves. Nothing is easy about that for sure. We started out cropping sand lugs and rushing to get away from the field. Later in the season when it was not as bad when cropping the boys would grab a horn worm off a leaf of tobacco and sling them things at us girls backs and we could hear them splat and feel the wet. Of course they were being boys and we were being girls but it became another matter altogether when they grabbed sand spurs and flung them at our backs. At that time it was no longer funny because it was too painful. We girls would take turns with pulling them off for each other. There was always one highlight of the day for us when we cropped tobacco. Someone went to the little store for RC cola or what ever kind of drink we wanted and a bag of salted peanuts to pour in the drinks after taking a big swallow of refreshing drink. That was our break and it gave us enough energy to finish the day (til dark thirty) time. The tobacco had to be strung by hand on sticks set on tobacco horses not to be mistaken for saw horses. These were taller and narrower and just the right height for a stringer to comfortably string while standing all day. The younger kids handed them the tobacco and another stacked them for putting in the tobacco barn when the croppers came in from the field. Our tobacco barn was much taller than most and some young guys were afraid of heights and would argue about who was going to take the crows nest position (the very top layer of rafters for hanging the sticks of tobacco) and when I was about 10 or 11 I jumped up and climbed up to the top telling them "Alright you chickens bring it on I'm tired and want to get done so don't make me wait on anybody for a stick of tobacco to hang." Pa couldn't believe how fast we filled that barn and of course it was expected next time as well.It was not difficult to decide who would take the crows nest spot after that. Pa would light the kerosene burners to cure the tobacco leaves. Kinda like an oven bakes bread but it made the leaves not so crispy or that would be a bad thing. When it was time we would take the tobacco down from the barn in reverse and pack it in the pack house til time for us to remove it from the sticks and pack it into big burlap sheets ready to take to the tobacco warehouses for sale. This was always a good sign of fun for us as there was always a street dance after tobacco season was done. The whole street by the courthouse was blocked off and we would have entertainment from some of the Grand ole Opry folks like Minnie Pearl, Little Jimmy Dickens, String Bean, The Stanley Brothers, and more I can't remember right now. After the entertainment there would be a drawing for prizes then dancing. Oh what fun that was. We didn't know how to dance but we surely gave it our best effort to do the dances we saw others doing. Square dancing was also popular back then and we did know how to do that dance. We all were so disappointed not to win anything but then they said we have one more prize and it's the grand prize of the night. "The name drawn is (Pa's name) come on up and claim your prize. We were so excited when we finally realized they meant Pa. Jumping up and down, squealing, laughing and the whole crowd got in on it so happy for us. We didn't have TV and someone even donated a used antenna so we could watch it. We thought we had hit the mother load with winning that console color TV. I can still remember watching Red Skeleton along with others on the Ed Sullivan show that first time. If you can imagine all of us sitting around a big box in our cowhide chairs staring at such a funny character as he was and laughing over his antics. Other entertainers came and went over the years and finally The Ed Sullivan Show went off the air. That was a very good tobacco season for us. Maybe next time I'll tell you about my experience with the electric fence when I came home on vacation one time. Until then I leave you with Just This...Alice

Monday, February 7, 2011

Move over Monday I'm not done with Sunday

We've all had those days that we wonder just where did all the hours in the day go. Today I stayed in bed most of the day feeling yucky and all the pain of my disability. I would have gotten a lot done if it wasn't for that. Would've, could've, should've but didn't. I know..., one excuse is as good as another.

I will say i got my daughter and granddaughter's purses done and the coin purse to go with them on Saturday. Pictures????? That's the problem I'm having. I have a non working cell phone but the camera part works and I was coached on how to get the one picture posted. If it isn't written down for me to follow every time I go to do something I can't remember how. Does anyone know of a book or a site that gives instructions that I can print to have to add photos and write in the same post? Those purses were something I lay in bed thinking about one night when my daughter asked for a Gator Team purse. I have made many a rag bag and regular tote but not a purse. Her request was easy access from the top ( top is made like a tote). A big pocket on the outside with some trim on it and different than the square ones (pocket is gathered on the outside with a liner that isn't and the Gator grosgrain ribbon on the edge to keep the opening from stretching). The little coin purse is just one of the fold over ones you see all over the blogs. I didn't know how to make it but just winged it and used Velcro for a closure. My granddaughter's purse is so adorable. This will be her first big girl purse now that she is all of 4 going on .... The bag has a gathered front and straignt sided back and lining. i did put a necklace chain on it with a long loop from strap side to strap side. To this (if you can imagine hanging clothes on the line), I sewed Gator emblems I cut out and prepared from a piece of fabric. Her little coin purse was made the same way but smaller than my daughters. My daughters reaction "Mom (squeal here) I love them. You never cease to amaze me with the stuff you can make. Thank you so very much." That was all it took to make me feel on top of the world that day. It's painful for me to sit up so I have to do it in batches and it takes me a long time it seems to ever finish something. The stuff I can do while reclined back on about 20 pillows on my bed I can get done faster. Quilts and crocheting, and sewing by hand are the things I can do while in bed. Oh and draw sketches of what I'd like to do. That is how I did the drawing of the purse, laying back in bed. I might even get done with the crochet blanket for my son by next Christmas. His favorite color is white and I had made him one about 10 years ago to fit his queen sized bed. It ended up the last year being a sleeping blanket for his dog that ended up passing away from a very fast acting cancer. In three weeks time a quarter sized lump he took her to the vet about was the size of a grapefruit when she died about three weeks after finding it. I am so thankful he had a compassionate vet to help him through all this when she told him there was nothing that could be done for her.

OK enough of that tear jerker where was I???????? Oh yes about moving over Monday cause I'm not done with Sunday. It seems the older I get the more I can expect those kind of days but I don't want to cause I am not old enough to sit back in a rocking chair and give up. I'm only kissing 60 in May. All my life I have worked hard at jobs some men won't do let alone women so I could take care of my children. I guess you could say my growing up and working on a farm gave me a good constitution as Pa would say. It certainly helped me handle a lot through the years. Anywho.... I am up in the middle of the night (1:00a.m.) writing about not being done with Sunday. The light bulb has gone off and Monday arrived right on schedule and until next time I leave you with Just This...Alice

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thoughts on Thursday

What a day to sit and think about my life as I lived it.

Imagine if you would a backwoods country family of seven youngins and the parents living in a one bedroom house built out of the pine trees Pa cut down. The front of the house faced south and there was a long driveway. We had a long narrow kitchen/dining room with a door leading to the back porch which had the only spigot we had for water. No indoor plumbing in the house. There was the old cowhide chairs that sat around the dinner table at the head and one side. The side next to the wall had a long bench Pa made for five of us to sit on when we ate out meals. There were two double beds (full sized as they are called today) and one single bed (twin) in the one bedroom for us girls to sleep on. There were five girls and two boys and everyone used to sleep in the bedroom until we got old enough for separating the boys from the girls and at that time Pa closed in part of the front porch to make the two boys a room of their own. We all had to use the outhouse before dark and then the pee pot was put in the bedroom at night for us girls. Mama and Pa slept in the living room on a double bed. Since it was a large living room their bed was against the wall separating the living room from the kitchen. They had their dresser and a night table. Around the rest of the room sat two cowhide rocking chairs, a settee (sofa) and cowhide straight back chairs for us youngins. In the winter time we would sit around the fire (the only heat we had) and shell pecans for Holiday cooking and dry peanuts for Spring planting. Sometimes the fire would pop so loudly it sounded like a gun going off. One time when my oldest sister was sweeping the floor she swept the dirt into the fire and all of a sudden that noise went off and she grabbed her neck saying ouch. A bullet from the 22 shot gun had managed to get swept into the fire and it grazed her neck by her carotid artery. That frightened everyone. We would bathe in pans of water and put on our flannel nightgowns and stand in front of the fire to get warm before going to bed. When the back side was good and warm we'd turn around to warm the front which had done got cold again. It looked like we were on a rotisserie the way we were turning. I hated getting into that ole cold bed at night during the winter and I didn't like the other girls arguing over who got to sleep with me because I was their heater because I generated heat and they would all pile on one bed and tell me to get in the middle to keep them warm. Being hot natured it always made me feel like I was smothering in a can of sardines.

We grew our own food and would sometimes get up very early and go to the field and plant, hoe, and pick til it was time to wash up and get ready for school. We had rocking chairs lined up on the front porch and when we picked vegetables from the garden ( 3-5 acres of each), we would sit and shell butter beans, speckled butter beans, peas (several varieties) and string beans green and yellow on the front porch. We would each have a big pan for shelling the vegetables in and sit and rock in unison at times. We didn't have a vehicle ourselves, we rode in the mule and wagon til we got a tractor and trailer, then we rode in that. It was a treat to hear a vehicle coming down our dirt road and we would try to guess who it was as very few people rode down our dirt road. Well one day we were all sitting on the front porch shelling peas and we heard what we thought was the neighbors youngin on his motorcycle. Now our closest neighbor lived a half of a mile away from us across the paved road at the end of our dirt road. The son would rip down our road on his motorcycle and rev it up as he passed our house. We heard what we thought was the neighbor kid while we were shelling the peas and it seemed to get closer and closer and we were all guessing when we would be able to see him. The noise got loud to where we were sure we should have seen him coming by the house and no one went by. The motorcycle sound kept going and going and my next to the oldest sister was laughing and we all asked her what was so funny and she told us that motorcycle we heard was her whistling dixie tail talk. We laughed til we had tears streaming down our faces over that. For some reason it just gave us the giggles that day. Pa got upset with us and said "Don't y'all know that is the height of ill manners to do that in the presence of someone else? You save that for the outhouse." Now our outhouse was a two seater opened back outhouse and we thought we were right uptown over that as most country folks only had a one seater outhouse sitting over a deep hole. Every Saturday we would clean because cleanliness is next to Godliness and that meant we raked the yard and hoed up any grass that crept in through the fence. I later learned that was why we had to sweep the house so much due to all that sand being tracked inside. We would get the ole wash pot fire started and use the scrub board and then put them in the wash pot to boil the dirt out of the whites. After the clothes were all hung out on the clothes line, we swept the house then scrubbed the floor and then mopped it to rinse it. Then it was outside for the other Saturday chores. Some would rake the pine straw out of the yard and some got outhouse duty. We had to rake everything out and then Pa would come with the kerosene can and light a fire on it. The used corncobs would sometimes smolder and we couldn't leave it til it was all out. Of course no one wanted to do the outhouse chore. And when we upgraded to the Sears and Roebuck catalog we thought we were rich folks. We tore off a page and wrinkled and scrubbed the page together to soften it up and it felt so much better than using those corncobs. I didn't know what toilet paper was til I went to school. Anyway when the floors and clothes were dry we would take them in and iron everything with a big ole heavy iron. Most of the ironing wasn't too bad but the boys dungarees were so hard to iron and stiff they were stiff. We had a bottle with a metal stopper that had holes in it for sprinkling the clothes before ironing. I often wondered why we didn't take the clothes off the line when they were still damp and iron them. Well that was the way to iron back then and that is what we did. No wonder it took all day to finish the Saturday chores. Then we would wash up cook, and eat supper, then clean the kitchen. We heated water in big pans for washing and rinsing the dishes and then we dried them and put them away on the shelf. Now this is where I would dread being in the kitchen. My oldest brother would put a hat or bonnet on a mop and walk by the window acting like a ghost and scare the daylights out of me and send me running from the kitchen to the living room. Of course I was told to get back in there and finish. Well I would and we only had electric wire hanging down with a light bulb over the two tables. The one where we prepared dinner and washed dishes and the eating table. To conserve electricity we would only use one at a time. So when I was finished with the dishes on my turn I would go to the light over the eating table and putt the chain and then go back to the other table to pull the chain to turn that one off. well when I reached for the light to turn it off my pesticating brother would reach up and pull the other light chain which left me in total darkness and he would run and hide behind the door and shut it which left me a hollering and carrying on to let me out which was entertainment for the rest of the family. I thought to myself one day "I'm gonna fix his little red wagon and get him by making it to the door before he closes it. He almost got it closed but I was fast and pushed on that door with all my might and it slammed open with him hitting the wall and the door hitting him. For his trouble he almost got a broke nose. That was the last time he did that little trick on me. There is so much more to come but for now I leave you with Just This...Alice