Monday, February 15, 2016

Making Maple Syrup

As we were growing up on the farm and February was coming to a close our minds went to an exciting time of the year.  The trees were changing the color from the stark black to a more gray color and there were subtle signs of spring approaching.  Daddy and Grandpa Gerow knew it was time to grab the bit and brace, the spiels, hooks and sap buckets and go the sugar bush.  It was time to tap the trees!  Daddy usually used the horses for this project as there would still be snow on the ground.  Grandpa had a nice little sugar bush (a group of sugar maple trees) on his property that we always tapped and we gathered that sap, put it in milk cans, and brought it to our house to be boiled with our sap.
Our sugar bush was on the Muck Road on land that Daddy owned there and also on the Rice Place that Daddy owned as well, but that was a little harder to get to.  Our sugar shanty was what we called the old cellar next to where I now live.  It was a neat little place and there was the neatest old velvet settee in there that Jerry and I used to take a nap on while we would sit with Daddy while the sap would boil.
Daddy would harness the team and use the stone bolt to carry all of his supplies and head out to the sugar bush.  He would use the bit and brace to drill to drill a hole in the tree, then drive the spile into the tree and hang the hook over the spile and hang the bucket on the hook.  The sap would drip from the spile into the bucket.  The temperature would have to get above freezing during the day for the sap to run and if the wind was out of the south the sap wouldn't run.  Once the trees were all tapped the real work began.  All of the sap had to be gathered and taken to the sugar shanty where it had to be boiled down to maple syrup.  It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.  We used milk cans to haul the sap from the sugar bush to the sugar shanty. It was hard work to lift all of those buckets off the trees, empty them into another bucket, then carry it to the wagon, and dump it into the milk cans.  Once back to the sugar shanty the big heavy milk cans had to be carried down the stairs and dumped into the boiling pan.  Many nights, Mother would stay with the fire while Daddy did the milking, then we would all stay for the evening, until the syrup was ready.  We would fill containers with the syrup and let the fire go out.  Mother would bake fresh biscuits and we enjoyed them with butter and fresh hot maple syrup.  Yummy!
Daddy and Al
After Al and I moved back to Pennsylvania in 1981 my brother and Dad wanted to build a new sugar shanty, so a plan was devised to purchase an old barn from William and Stella Irwin in Catlin Hollow,  They lived beside of the Catlin Hollow Cemetery.  We all worked at tearing the old barn down and hauling it down to Jerry's house on hay wagons.  Once it was all hauled and sorted the building was started.  A very fine sugar shanty was built at Jerry's house, once completed, it was painted barn red to match the rest of Jerry's out buildings.  Then the guys had to cut fire wood to keep the fire going to make the syrup.  A lot of the scrap lumber was also burned up at the same time.  Tim McConnell made a new sap pan and we purchased a hygrometer to make sure we were boiling our sap the correct length of time.  We also purchased specialized containers for our product.  We were ready for February to arrive.
Francis Spencer, Al, and Daddy
When it came time for us to accomplish the task that we had done as kids, it was sure good to have Daddy there to guide us along.  Jerry was still employed, so Daddy helped to get us started.  Jerry had a pair of Belgium work horses that he dearly loved to work with, so sap was hauled with horse and wagon just as it was when we were kids.
As a side note, Jerry and Al had worked to get the barn ready before Jerry got his work horses.  Once the stalls were all ready for the big horses, Jerry brought them in to the stalls with the new cement floors, but the horses ears rubbed the ceiling!  Oh, how we laughed!  I, being a smart aleck, made Jerry a "ear lowering kit" which I think contained some large rubber bands for the ears! My brother got that "funny" look on his face, you know the one that says, “Yea, you got me!”
Francis Spencer, Al, and Daddy
The horses pulled the wagon which had a holding tank in it to carry the sap gathered from the trees back to the sugar shanty.  Joanne and I helped the guys gather sap each morning and enjoyed doing it.  Francis Spencer got into the act also.  He was always eager to help out when there was a project going on, especially if it had to do with horses.
One afternoon, when the sap was really running, Daddy thought he and Al should take the tractor and a barrel and go up on the hill to gather some sap.  As Al told the story, they were going up the hill on the Ford tractor with a barrel full of sap. The tractor was off balance from the extra weight and nearly rolled over.  Al jumped off in one direction and the barrel of sap went in the other direction. It scared the heck out of both, Al and Daddy.  The barrel went all the way down the hill, almost to the creek before it stopped.  I am not sure if they ever told Jerry.

Al, Francis Spencer, and Daddy
Daddy would always want Al to take some of our eggs to the sugar shanty, so they could cook them in the sap as it boiled.  Eggs hard boiled in sap are a tasty treat!
At the end of the season, Joanne would always take the last of the syrup to the house and finish cooking it down there.  She would often make maple cream and maple candy.  We all used maple syrup to cook with throughout the year and had some to sell.  Once the trees began to bud the sap would be too dark and that would be the end of making syrup.  The taps had to be pulled and all of the equipment cleaned and put away for the next year.  By then we had probably seen a robin, or a flock of wild geese, and lots of what I hated the most, mud.  Spring was definitely in the air!  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Christmas - The Early Years

The first Christmas I can remember is one when I was very small.  The reason that I remember it so well is because I have scars on my left hand to remind me of it.  Mother told me that I reached for a bulb and it broke in my hand and cut my third finger deeply and burned it as well.  She kept my hand bandaged until it healed, but it still left a scar.

Daddy would always cut our Christmas tree on our farm.  Often he would find the perfect tree while he was out hunting and remember where it was.  Mother always liked to have ground pine to decorate with and Daddy would bring that home in his hunting jacket to her to use.  He would also bring home mountain laurel, pine boughs, hemlock boughs, and red berries to fill the plant boxes.  We always tried to do the plant boxes before they froze, that way the greens would stay nice all winter long.  We would hang an assortment of evergreen boughs on the doors tied with a red ribbon.  In the kitchen there was a special wreath that was placed at the kitchen window.  It had an electric candle in it, I always thought it was really special, as the wreath was a red velvet material, of course over the years it faded, but it was still a favorite of mine.  Perhaps that is where I got my love of candles in the windows.

In the living room, on the piano, sat a plastic "Frosty the Snowman" with a bubble light in his hand. Mother bought it the year that I started school in 1948. It was another favorite of mine.  I still have it and it is the first decoration that I put out every year.
Our Christmas tree was usually placed in the little living room in the early years, as that is where we spent our time.  We didn't go into the big living room until after we got television.  Our little living room was a cozy room, off of the kitchen with a day bed up against one wall, the console radio, Daddy's gray leather chair, a green upholstered chair with wooden arms (that I now have), a rocking chair, and smoking stand.  The room was carpeted with a deep red flowered carpet.  We later got a piano and it was placed in this room.  Jerry and I used the piano bench to play our board games on. The room was well lit with an overhead light and the end tables had lamps as well.  I also remember a light on the wall.  This room had a huge walk in closet and we kept our games, card table and chairs in it.  This was the only closet there was in the house, so Mother and Daddy kept their good clothes in there also.

Our Christmas tree was usually long needled eastern pine decorated with colored electric light bulbs and glass ornaments that were made by Corning Glass Company in Wellsboro, PA.  I still have several of them.  Krista has several that her Grandpa Bryant gave to her that were made at the Wellsboro Plant, a treasure!  We used icicles to complete the decorations.  It was a sight to behold that first night to come into the living room after supper and sit there and look at that beautiful tree with all of the lights turned off.  Sometimes Jerry and I would make snowflakes to put on the tree or to make red and green paper garland to add to the tree too.

We were allowed to open one package on Christmas Eve which was always handmade flannel pajamas.  We would go take a bath, put on our new pajamas, go to bed and wait for Santa.  We could never go into see what Santa had brought until Daddy came back from taking the milk to the milk plant and had his breakfast. Jerry and I thought he ate the biggest breakfast of his life on Christmas!!

Kathy and Connie Hazelton
After all the packages were opened, it was soon time to go to Grandpa and Grandma Gerow's house.  All of the Gerow family would meet there for Christmas dinner and to exchange presents.  This was one of the very few times that we were allowed to go into the Parlor.  They would have a tree decorated very similar to our tree.  Grandpa would cut his tree in his woods.  The picture that I have included is one that shows Connie Hazelton and me in front of the tree. I think it was taken in 1950.  The adults would exchange names; however, they would buy for all of the kids.  Aunt Eloise was a school teacher and she would often times buy me a book and that always delighted me, as I loved to read as a very young age.  Mother often read to Jerry and me.

It's terrible, but I don't remember any really great Christmas, I usually got a doll, which is what I always wanted, and later a typewriter. More than anything I remember all of the preparation to get ready for the holiday and all of the fun things we did.  Mother always made sea foam candy, fudge, and cookies of all kinds.

  We went Christmas caroling, had parties, but the best was the Sunday school program.  We practiced for the whole month of December and I loved it.  Fred Smith was my Sunday school teacher and he was in charge of the program.  We did plays, learned poems and acted out the Nativity. Everyone in the neighborhood was involved in our church and what a wonderful time it was.  My Mother played the piano accompaniment for all of the songs that were sung, so she was busy learning her part too, but she loved it as much as we did.

Daddy played Santa one year.  Jerry and I didn't even know it!  Every parent brought a present for their own children which Santa passed out along with a box of hard candy with a chocolate drop in the top for everyone.  That was a real treat!  That box of candy served as cough drops for the whole winter, Mother always put her box away as she knew someone would need it later and she would be right.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Goodwin's Hillside Farm Tourist Home - 1947

Goodwin's Hillside Farm Tourist Home - 1947
In the 1940’s tourist’s homes were popular in the rural areas and there were several in our area.  One was The Fuller Rest which was Davy Fuller's aunt and uncle, Otis and Beulah. It was a beautiful home with four little cottages behind the main house.   Visitors loved to walk down the Catlin Hollow Road and enjoy the rural neighborhood.  In fact, one of the couples, Mr. and Mrs. Brink, fell so in love with the area that Mr. Brink coaxed my father into selling him an acre of land.  He built a lovely home just beyond the bridge.  They proved to be a wonderful addition to our neighborhood.
In 1947, Mother and Daddy decided that they would open up their home to summer visitors.  Mother had always kept a very clean home with everything in its place, the yard was always kept up and she and Daddy enjoyed flowers and took great pleasure in their flower beds with many blooming flowers and plant boxes.
I have lovely memories of windows being open with a gentle breeze blowing the white sheer curtains, the aroma of freshly baked bread, the smell of furniture polish, sunshine through the windows on shiny floors.  No wonder people liked to come from the city and stay on the farm.
Daddy and Mother
Buddy, the dog
Mother advertised in the Rural New Yorker Newspaper and the reservations came in.  When I think back on it now, it was an undertaking, as summer was a busy time.  Daddy was busy doing the haying, a huge job in itself.  He was doing it by himself with only the horses and old Fordson tractor.  Jerry and I were three and four years of age and too young to be of any help.  Guests would stay for a week at a time.  Sometimes, Daddy would allow them to go with him to get a load of hay and they always enjoyed experiencing the farm life first hand.  Now days we would think of the legal aspects of that, but then they were just eager to please their guests.
I remember several of our guests that came back year after year.  Mr. and Mrs. Wolf from Hackensack, NJ, the McCarrin Family from Ohio, they had a son named Billy and he got poor Jerry in trouble more times than one.  He was older than Jerry and set up my poor brother time after time.  It took Jerry a while to realize what was happening.  I think finally Daddy said something to Mr. McCarrin and it eased up a bit. We had a dog named Buddy that knew “sic ‘em”; Billy found that out and told Buddy to “sic ‘em” to the cows.  Daddy thought it was Jerry, if I remember correctly I think Jerry got a spanking for it, one of the very few he ever received and it wasn’t even his fault.
Then there was Mr. and Mrs. Bair from New York City.  I remember the story Daddy told about having the pleasure of introducing Mr. and Mrs. Wolf to Mr. and Mrs. Bair and Mr. Wolf stated he didn’t know if he should bark or growl, everyone thought that was pretty funny…a real ice breaker!

Daddy and guests
Mother and Daddy always had a large garden and the guests always enjoyed fresh vegetables.  Often times, it would be time to put up one vegetable or another for the coming winter when the guests were with us. They would enjoy snipping green beans or whatever needed to be done with Mother.  She would fix them a dish to work from and they would sit on the glider on the front porch and snip the green beans, shell peas, or whatever needed to be done. They felt like they were helping her and they were.  Mrs. Wolf liked to can and she would help Mother fill the the jars.  Mother always had a pressure cooker and that took up two burners on her stove, so we always had an oven dinner on the evening she canned.  Sometimes we would have salads, and cold cuts, if it was an extremely hot day.  The food was always good and lots of it.  The guests loved it all.  Sometimes, they wanted to be just with us, as a family and others wanted to be by themselves.  Mother and Daddy just went with the flow.
Jerry, Daddy, and Kathy
This was before automatic washing machines. Mother had a wringer washer; we washed in the bathroom and drained the washer into the bathtub. I remember helping her do the sheets after some of the guests left and turned to get something, when I did, my braid got caught in the wringer! I screamed and she shut the machine off just in time to save me.  It sure did pull!!  I had never had my hair cut and I always wore my hair in long braids at that time.
Mother had percale sheets. I never thought anything about that until I was in high school, when a girl friend told our class that she always liked to come to our house to sleep, because we had percale sheets!  Our sheets were hung on the line, as were the rest of our clothes and they smelled so good.  Daddy had the clothes lines so the north and south wind blew them, everything was always soft…no fabric softener back then.
If I remember correctly, a couple of neighborhood ladies helped Mother with the extra cleaning, Jeannie Gilland and Alice Edwards.  Jeannie, told me in later life that Mother was not easy to work for.  That didn’t come as any surprise to me, Mother expected everything to be clean and spotless!
I don’t know how many years they continued with the Tourist Home, but I do have pictures that go up to 1954.  Perhaps that is when motels started becoming more popular.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Friends in High Places

Gladys Bartlett, Harvey, Rosamond, and Daddy
For as long as I can remember, every Saturday night there was a group of people at our house to play cards.  Canasta was usually the preferred game. They started playing after Daddy finished milking about 7:30 pm and sometimes the game would continue on  until the wee hours of the morning.  Bill and Annamae KaneHarvey and Rosamond MeadowsPaul and Gladys Bartlett, Budd and Emma Spencer, adding new members to their group as people died or moved away.  These friends stayed friends throughout their lives and did everything together. New Year's Eve they always had oyster stew together and played cards and that continued until Daddy died.

Rosamond and Harvey Meadows
We kids played board games and Daddy would play checkers with us.  His favorite game was Haystack with checkers and he was good at it. Some of my best memories are winter evenings as we sat in the little living room after Daddy had finished milking and we would listen to programs on the floor model radio like Amos and Andy.  Jerry and I would play checkers, draw, color and play on the floor and Daddy would tell us that he would play a game of checkers with us.  Man, he could see the jumps and clean up the board in a hurry and we would all laugh.  Mother would be knitting us mittens and she would think it pretty funny, too.  By 9:00 we were all in bed, but we had a radio upstairs and we always had music in the house and in the barn, and to this day, it is difficult for me to go to sleep without music.  We all loved music.

In 1952 my parents discovered a new invention that some of their friends that lived in high places enjoyed...television.  That changed card night and we started going to Uncle Ted and Aunt Catherine Goodwin's house to watch television on Saturday nights.  Mother would make snacks to take with us and Aunt Catherine would have prepared things for us to enjoy also.

Catherine and Ted Goodwin
I believe the favorite show was wrestling; I would get a real charge out of watching my dad and Uncle Ted enjoy the matches.  They about wore out the chairs that they sat in as they would watch Pat O'Connor and I can't remember the other wrestlers names they would watch.  Then there was the tag team matches, and I thought Daddy and Uncle Ted would take out the seats of their chairs, they would get right up on their knees and holler at the television, they certainly did enjoy the evening.

Sometimes on Friday night we would go to Mark and Rena Coveny's house on the Orebed Road and watch television with them.  The men folks enjoyed watching boxing.  I liked to be able to go early enough to watch Groucho Marks, I always thought he was funny.  I didn't like the fights and would usually fall asleep.  I did enjoy going to Rena's house, she wrote poetry and that amazed me and she would always let me read some of the things that she wrote.  She also had beautiful flowers and helped Mother to grow Dahlias.

Emma and Budd Spencer
Daddy finally got the idea that maybe we could get television at home if we ran a line down from the hill.  He talked to some  people in Mansfield about it and a man came over with equipment to test for a signal.  They found a signal for one, maybe two stations, and with the help of a booster or two, it could be done.  It would be expensive, but could be done.  Daddy decided he wanted to try it and wondered if Uncle Clyde and Aunt Charlotte would be interested in it also, so they split the cost.  Rodney and I were in the sixth grade in 1953 and we got a television for Christmas!  What was on television?  Football!  DARN, we didn't know anything about it, but we left it on, because we could.

Many a night Jerry and I would walk that television line with a stick to knock the snow off just so we could watch television that night without interference, or if there was a storm, a limb would come down on the line break the line and off we would go to make the repair.  It was a job we kids learned to do. We would usually do it while Daddy did the milking.  Daddy would go if it was something that we couldn't fix.  We would take the tractor part way and one of us would go up and the other one would go down to make the job quicker.  Later we added another antenna to pick up more stations and extended the line so more neighbors could also have television.  I don't remember Daddy ever charging his neighbors and if there were repairs, I suppose he and Uncle Clyde paid for it.  Quite a bit different from today's cable and satellite TV!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Deer Hunting

I cannot remember a time when my family was not involved in hunting.  Deer season was always a very special time.  My mother always took in hunters, and that meant a lot of work for all of us.  Now that I am an adult, I realize just how much work was involved.  The work started in the spring when the garden was started and right through the year, with preparation of extra food to have for the hunters.  Those guys liked to eat!  They loved home cooked food and my mother was an excellent cook!

Mother would have her menus all planned out weeks ahead of their arrival.  The guys would start arriving on Sunday afternoon.  Sometimes we would have as many as fourteen men staying at our house, but no one seemed to care.  There was lots of excitement and the stories to be told.  With everyone talking, you could hardly hear yourself think!  It was so loud, but we loved it.  My Uncle George would come up from Ephrata for the week and we looked forward to that also.  He would sit at the table in the kitchen with the family and eat with us.  Uncle George's favorite expression was "hell's bells".  It is an expression that I picked up from him and still say it from time to time.  I really loved that guy and cherished time spent at his home with him and Aunt Wilma.

One time when a group of returning hunters came they brought Jerry toy New Holland tractor equipment.  We were pretty happy kids, we played for hours with those toys and you know when warm weather came they went outside.  They were prized toys!

Sunday night was usually homemade soup and sandwiches with pie for dessert.  I would always help mother clear the table and help with the dishes.  After the dishes were done, we would pack lunches for the next day.  Everyone would get a sandwich, cookies, fruit and a Hershey bar.  She would always put our telephone number in their lunch bag in case they came out someplace and not know where they were, so they could call us.

We all went to bed early and everyone was up before dawn.  Mother always made pancakes with our homemade maple syrup and our own sausage the first morning.  Daddy would do the milking and be back to eat breakfast and then be ready to go to the woods when the rest of the guys were ready.  Uncle Ted would often be ready to go hunting with the guys and he would bring his truck for everyone to load into.  Daddy always told the guys there would be no drinking while hunting, so leave their drink at home and they would take their flasks back to the house.  He would warn them about being careful to shoot only bucks.  They always posted their roster on the front porch as instructed by law.  Off they would go.

Back then when they hunted, they would drive the woods and have men posted to watch for the deer to come out.  The men would take turns on who would drive and who would watch.  This was long before tree stands were thought about.   This is one reason they wanted Daddy, Uncle Ted, or Uncle George along to tell them where they should go and how it was best to drive and post a certain area.  It was always good to do a head count so you didn't leave a hunter on a watch and go on to the next spot without him.  I remember hearing a story about leaving a hunter on Cobbler's Knob for a whole morning before someone realized he was missing.

Barbine group
Usually Daddy would come home before the other guys, as he would have to clean the barn.  He would always carry his 30.06 on the tractor when he took the stables out just in case he saw a buck and he would always take a break and come out of the barn and check the hill for deer, and I remember one year that was how he got his deer.  His rifle would shoot accurately at that distance, but the guys from Quakertown couldn't believe it, so he paced it off to prove it! You can see from the picture it is a good distance up to the edge of the woods.

Daddy would get his barn cleaned out and get the cows fed for the evening and throw down the hay and straw and be ready for dinner and the return of the hunters.  They would come back with stories of all kind, some would have gotten their bucks that would need to be strung up in the back yard, back then it was always cold and the meat would be frozen quickly and the hunters would take the deer home on their cars showing off their trophies!!

Mother would have a large dinner ready for the men, usually a roast with mashed potatoes, gravy, several kinds of vegetables, cabbage salad, homemade bread, cinnamon rolls, assorted homemade pickles and for dessert on the second night was usually her homemade chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting.   After dinner, the leader of the group would get the roster and call the roll of who got a deer and who didn't.  Shame for the hunters that didn't get a buck,  he would cut the tail off of their shirt, pin it to the roster and hang it back on the porch!  I remember one year one of the men had a brand new Woolrich shirt on.  It didn't came his shirt tail!

After dinner the guys got cleaned up.  Sometimes the younger ones went into town to the local bars while the older ones would enjoy staying at home retelling the stories of the day and getting into bed early.  When Jerry and I were in school, we would be selling Christmas seals during hunting season.  The kids would always want us on their teams, as we always had good luck selling seals to the hunters.  We would always sell all that we had.

Jerry, Ralph with Pop's deer along with Queenie - Daddy's dog.
One year when the Barbine group of hunters was with us, Pop wanted to cook dinner one evening and Mother agreed.  He made Italian spaghetti and it was delicious.  Mother was used to the way she prepared her spaghetti, which was also homemade; however, Pop put Italian sausage in it, some different spices, lots of garlic, the whole top of the stove was bubbling with sauces.  They also made homemade Italian bread to go with it.  Mother told me afterwards, that she was more tired than if she had done the whole meal herself, but she enjoyed the day working with Pop.

All of this went on for three days, as most of the hunters left on Thursday morning.  Uncle George would stay the rest of the week.

Tarrintino group 1949 Note Jerry and Daddy with the group.
The first bunch of guys came from Quakertown were the Tarrintino boys (Johnny, Frankie, Joey, I  don't remember the rest of the men in that group) in the 1950's.  In 1981 when we moved back from Ohio, Frankie came to my house and visited for a while, it was really nice to catch up on his family and relive those years again.

The second group of hunters was from Media area Joseph Barbine family, that was in the 60's.  Ralph and I were guests in their homes and were treated royally.  We went to the Italian Club and enjoyed an evening of dancing and entertainment.

As far as stories of actually getting a deer, I guess my brother would have to tell those stories.  I do recall, a story of one fellow shooting an illegal deer and my dad being really upset with the man, as he had warned the men about that.  I also remember Junior shooting a deer and dragging it down, and then couldn't find it.  Jerry and I found it the spring with Junior's red handkerchief still tied to the rack, so we knew it was Junior's deer, and it really wasn't far from the road, how he forgot where it was we didn't know.

I used to go hunting with the guys myself when I got older; in fact, the first time I shot a rifle it was my dad's 30.06, which was a Teddy Roosevelt Model with a steel butt plate.  I always shoot left handed.  Daddy put me up next to the barn and showed me how to use the open site.  I pulled the trigger and thought I had  broken my shoulder, but I hit my target. The first rifle was a
222, I never got a deer with it, but lots of woodchucks.  I loved shooting and did a lot of it growing up.  Jerry was good to share his hand guns with me and I would often shoot with him and Davy.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Wintertime in the Country

Francis and Daddy with King and Queen

For as long as I can remember,  Daddy would tell about the difficulty he faced when it came to removing the snow just so he could clean the barn and simply get out of the drive way.  This was before he had a tractor to put a blade on to push the snow with.  He had to use horses and use a stone bolt behind the horses, which actually just packed the snow down.  The picture above shows King and Queen the horses, and Francis Spencer, who was our cousin and our farrier and one of our best neighbors ever and with Daddy and Laddie, our Collie dog.  You can tell that it was really cold, by the breath showing from the horses.  This picture was taken in 1946.
Eugene Drew with Ned and Dutch

Daddy cleaned the barn by hand in those days and used a wooden box placed on a set of bob sleds. In turn, that box was also unloaded by hand.  Hard work!  He continued to do it this way in the winter time until he was able to purchased a manure spreader with steel wheels in the late 1940's.  This picture was taken in February, 1941.  The horses are ones that Mother and Daddy started farming with Ned and Dutch.  The little boy standing by the wagon is my cousin, Eugene Drew.  He stayed with Mother and Daddy while his Mother and Daddy were getting a new baby brother.  (Uncle Pete and Aunt Eloise and cousin Dan)

You can see from the third picture that there was some really deep snows back then, and some hand shoveling was done and from what I remember we didn't have snow shovels, we used scoop shovels and we used those things for everything, I remember riding down hill on them, shoveling coal into the stove, shoveling corn into feed bags to get a grist ready, scooping up oats into a bag, any type of grain that would be in the granary.

When we got the first snow of the season, we always used the scoop shovel to shovel snow up against the house, as that kept the wind from blowing in around the foundation.  Once we had the first snow, it usually stayed all winter long.  It often came on Halloween night and the ground would stay white for the rest of the winter.  Which was fine with me because I hated mud.  With snow on the ground there was always something for us kids to do.  Snow on the ground kept the pipes going to the barn from freezing. I don't think I ever remember of the pipes freezing and the barn was always warm from the body heat of the cows.  Jerry and I always liked to go to the barn with Daddy at night and play with the kitties or  play in the pile of fresh straw that Daddy would have thrown down from the loft, to bed the cows with.  When we got older, that was my favorite job, bedding the cows with fresh straw and feeding the baby calves.  I still have a scar on my finger where a calf bit me, when I was teaching one to drink from a bucket.

In 1941, Daddy started driving school bus for Charleston School District which presented a problem.  He had to be able to get out of the drive way. so he and Francis Spencer devised a way they could plow the driveway with a plank on the stone bolt with extra weight on the stone bolt.  Daddy put chains on the school bus and he was able to pick up all of the kids.  Bob McConnell told me he was amazed at the ease Daddy showed in being able to to negotiate the rural road to get the kids to school. Daisy tells me that she remembers riding on this bus and the majority of the bus was made from wood, she said that she caught her toe on something near the door and fell and hurt her leg one time, she her memories of the "wooden bus" are not the best.

 I remember Daddy telling of one snow storm when it was particularly difficult to get all of the kids picked up. He got to the school a bit late and the principal met him at the door to tell him they were going to dismiss school, so he could take all of the kids home again.  He said he told the man,"All right, sir, we will go home.", and turned and asked the kids if they all wanted to ride downhill instead of going to school.  Everyone was happy!  The older boys had to help him push the bus up the hill that day to get the kids home, but they didn't care, they were going sledding.

Bob McConnell always said that Daddy was the best school bus driver he ever had.  All of us kids loved Bob and grew up having a lot of respect for him.  He always drove the truck that took our calves and cows to market and brought us livestock to us when we needed a new cow, or even a rabbit, or a goat.

 *A little side story about Bob McConnell.  He came to load a couple of hogs for Daddy and he couldn't get them to go up the ramp into the truck.  Daddy suggested putting a pail over the pigs head first, well it worked like a charm and Bob used that trick from then on.  Bob loved sharing that story with us kids and later sharing it with the grandkids.  Every-time he came he had a dime in his  pocket for us kids and later it was a quarter for the grandkids and when he died, my son who had just been here from Florida to visit with him, wanted to make sure he had a quarter in his hand when he was buried.  Bob McConnell, a well remembered friend and neighbor.

Friday, January 15, 2016


The barn was our playground on a rainy day.  We would walk across the beams of the barn and dare the other to walk faster or jump from one mow to the next anything to be braver than the other.  Swing on the ropes in the barn, or just lay in the hay and chat or tell stories.  It was the perfect place to hunt for baby kittens.  We always had a bunch of cats and Daddy always fed them in the barn, they were not allowed in the house.  Once in a while we would carry a kitten to the house to show Mother especially if it were a  yellow kitten, but cats and dogs didn't belong in the house, not with a warm barn for them to live in.

The first dog that I remember was a collie named Laddie. Mother and Daddy had him when I was born.  He was a good cow dog!  When it was time to get the cows in the barn to be milked, Daddy would tell Laddie, "Go get the cows, Laddie." and he would go to where ever the cows were and bring them to the barn.  Whenever Daddy was outside, you would find Laddie.  He was very protective of Jerry and me when we were outside, but as he got older he got to be hard of hearing. One winter night after dark, Jerry was going to go into the barn.  Laddie was laying in front of the barn door and Jerry tried to get by him, but couldn't get past him, so he nudged him a little.  The nudge must have frightened him, so he jumped at Jerry and bit him.  The decision was made that it was time to have Laddie put down.  Daddy called the Dr. Lynch the next day and he came to the farm and took care of the task at hand.  We kids were told to stay inside that day, although we knew what was going to happen.

I don't remember what dog we had after Laddie, we always had a dog, some good and some not so good.  I remember Dock, a beautiful black curly haired dog that was a good coon dog.  Then there was Socks, but all he did was chase deer.  Ted Compton told us that he shot him.  Daddy was very fond of Dalmatians.  One summer Burdette Fuller gave a Dalmatian to Jerry.  He was named Corky. Corky just didn't want to stay at our house and would travel back up the road to the Fuller farm.  One time when Jerry went up to bring him home, Burdette told Jerry, he had already given him 14 dogs, how many more did he want?!

Kathy and King
On the day before school started, Corky got hit by a car in front of our house, yes he was going back to Fuller's.  We were all heart broken, so Mother and Daddy decided they would pick Jerry and me up after school the next day and we would go to Elmira, NY and look for a new dog.  I remember it well, as it was my first day to attend school in Wellsboro.  I was in the ninth grade 1955. We went to all of the kennels and finally to the dog pond and they had a beautiful dalmatian that had been dropped off due to a divorce. King was his name.  We was the dog for us!  He rode all the way home with his chin resting on the front seat beside of my Mother!!  He was the first dog to have an inside home.  He certainly was a well loved dog by the whole family.

After King, Daddy had another Dalmatian, Angel and if I remember right, she was stolen from Daddy's truck, this was after I was maried.  His next Dalmatian was Queenie and he and Jerry had a beagle, Snoopy, that they hunted with.  Daddy always liked having a dog around to follow after him.  In fact he loved any type of animal, but that is another story.

I had a favorite cat when I was young and her name was Malinda.  She was a beautiful mixture of tiger and white.You will note from the picture that her feet look a little different.  She was a seven toed cat, which made her a little different.   I would sneak her into the house from time to time usually when Mother wasn't around.  Daddy on the other hand would sit at the barn while he was waiting on a milker and the cats would sit on his shoulder and he would be petting them.  He would squirt milk into their mouths!!