Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Chainsaws and Worries

      We used to have a big couch covered with a slippery brown cover, setting inside our living room windows. John, David, and I used to spend a lot of time on it playing church or looking at story books. It also provided an excellent view of the barnyard if we knelt on it to look out the windows.
     One snowy morning a pick-up pulling a cattle trailer pulled into the driveway and a man got out and came to the door. Mom went to see what he wanted and then came into the living room and told us to play nicely while she goes out to the barn to help him get our fattened steer loaded.
     We quickly scrambled onto the couch and watched out the window as Mom walked out to the barn and the man backed his trailer down behind the barn and out of sight of the house. Before long Mom and the man appeared as they walked to the shop, we were trying to discern what they could want in there when they appeared again. This time the man was carrying one of Daddy's chain saws.
     They walked back to the barn and disappeared behind it. And then we heard the chain saw.
John and David were contentedly watching out the window for the next time Mom appears when I announced with all my six year old authority that "I think that man is cutting Mom's legs off." and then promptly started crying.
      John and David looked at me with wide eyed consternation. The thought of Mom having her legs cut off was too overwhelming and they joined me in crying. Howling would describe it better.
We forgot all about watching out the window, as we sat on the floor holding each other and crying at the top of our lungs at the dreadful thing that was happening to Mom when all of a sudden she was standing in front of us demanding to know what is wrong.
       Her legs appeared to be fine and I started to feel sheepish. John had no such problem though and announced that I said the man was cutting her legs off.
      She seemed flabbergasted with me and explained that there had been a tree branch in the way that had to be cut so the trailer could be backed up to the barn door.

      I think of this episode at times when I am tempted to worry about things. It is a perfect reminder how silly it is to waste time thinking of all the dreadful things that might happen.

Monday, November 20, 2017


      My Mom's sister Lydia and her family lived on a farm not too far from us. They also had a small bulkfood store, and whenever we needed flour or sugar Mom would hitch up Jim to the top buggy and we would drive over to them. John and I liked when the weather was warm enough that Mom put the storm front up and we could stand in the front of the buggy holding onto the dashboard. It was fun watching Jim's feet on the road and try to catch his tail when ever he swished it.
      We usually stayed for a few hours as Mom helped Lydia with whatever she had going, and John and I played with our cousins. Since there was only a few months difference in our ages, we had some of the best times whenever we got together.
      One day on our way home John and I were chattering away in our normal fashion, but Mom was not joining in as usual. When we turned around we noticed tears on her cheeks and we of-course wanted to know what was wrong. She said "Lydia has cancer."
      We had no idea what cancer was, but if it made Mom cry it must be bad.
      From then on we went over several times a week, Mom would do whatever work she could and make meals and do the laundry for them as Lydia got very weak and couldn't work at all.
      Cousin Emma was no longer as much fun. She always looked sad, and often when we arrived she had her dress on backwards so that she could button it herself. Mom would first make sure that all their children were clean and properly dressed before doing the days work.
     Then late one night uncle Alvin stopped in. He was carrying a tiny baby boy. He handed him to Mom. He talked a little and then went off into the night again. We fixed up the bassinet for the baby and Mom let me help fix his bottles. He was the cutest little baby.
      Alvin stopped in once a day with their children to see the baby, on their way to Grandpas where they would stay while he went to the hospital to be with Lydia. Since she had her baby the doctor's could finally do something for the cancer.
     By the time baby Reuben was three months old Lydia had won the battle with cancer and we had to give the baby back to his rightful home. That was hard as we were all quite attached to him by then. But we were all very happy that Lydia was going to be fine.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Picture my Week

I was thrilled to find this gorgeous splash of color on an otherwise drab November day. I never even knew a briar bush can become such a thing of beauty.

I have been trying to create the healthy habit of going on a walk every day. The girls and Steven made great walking companions, and I somehow even managed to get them to pose for me willingly.

We went to a different area every day for our walk. This one was one of my favorites of the week.

The girls gave me a tour of their childhood "country". We stopped to admire their general store/trading post/giant tree.

Steven's cat loves going on walks with us.

The most brilliant of sunrises was enjoyed this morning. I stayed in the house to take a picture of it through my dirty windows.

While the eastern sky was brilliant, Kenneth came in and announced that there's an equally brilliant rainbow in the western sky. LV ran out to get a picture of it. The picture doesn't do it justice. Who knew rainbows appear before 7 A.M. in the middle of November.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Fragrant Whiffs of Joy ~ Winner

     Reading all your comments of things that bring you joy, was such fun. I've come to the conclusion that the little things are actually, really not that little.

     Now for the next step, let's head over to the random generator and see who the winner is for the book, Fragrant Whiffs of Joy.

     And drumroll please ....

     The winner is ...

     Comment #39

     butterflywoman57 said ... Sweet memories of my husband

Congratulations! Please email your mailing address to me and I will get the book sent to you. I hope you'll enjoy the book as much as I did.

I wish I could have given everyone a book, but since that's not possible I'm happy to be able to tell you that it is available for $12 per book plus $2 postage.  You can mail a check to Dorcas Smucker, 31148 Substation Drive, Harrisburg, OR 97446.  Or PayPal  dorcassmucker@gmail.com

Thursday, November 16, 2017

John Coffer

     One afternoon in early fall John and I were playing in the sandbox when the phone rang. Mom came hurrying outside to the "phone shanty" to answer it. It was Grandpa saying they had just witnessed a strange sight. A small covered wagon drawn by a team of oxen, an old fashioned "different" buggy hitched to a big slow horse, a cow, and two people that looked as if they had stepped right out of the pages of a "Little House on the Prairie" book had just passed their farm along 14 A and turned up Crawford Road and if we watch we should be able to see them soon.
      We all sat on the swing under our cedar trees and looked down the road to where Crawford Rd crossed our road. It wasn't long before a team of oxen appeared with a tall man and his wife and a black dog walking beside them. We could hardly believe our eyes. A covered wagon with a yellow chicken perched on the back, a cow and a horse and buggy that looked different from any buggy we had ever seen. Walking slowly along the road.
      They soon disappeared out of sight and we went back to the house, wondering who they were and where they were going.
      That evening when Daddy came home we told him all about it. Daddy said he saw smoke that appears as if someone would have a campfire and that they're probably camping along the road. So right after supper he asked Mom to wrap up some fresh homemade bread and we would all walk over to meet them.
      They were camped in a field beside the road cooking supper in a cast iron pot they had dangling above the fire. When they saw us coming they came to welcome us and introduced themselves as John and Sue Coffer. They had spent years travelling across America in this fashion and finally decided to settle down somewhere and had just purchased a piece of land that had a lot of timber and also a few meadows but no buildings or a well. They were hoping to build a cabin and dig a well yet before winter.
      Daddy offered to help, but Mr. Coffer turned it down wanting to do it all by themselves with a crosscut saw and an axe.
      It wasn't long before the sound of an axe filled the days and their little cabin progressed nicely. After they had moved in the next thing to do was get a well dug. Mr. Coffer did accept help for this as someone needed to be on the ground to pull up full buckets of dirt and then let the empty bucket back down to be filled up again. It took quite a long time but once he struck water it was worth it!
      John was intrigued with the whole pioneer thing and Mr. Coffer on one of their many visits to our house whittled a tiny yoke for him to play with his toy cows.
       The Amish settlement in Dundee eventually failed, but Mr. Coffer still lives there, still living the pioneer lifestyle.

John Coffer sitting in front of his cabin.

The side of his cabin also works as a place to hang the harnesses for his horses.

The cabin.
John Coffer with one of his beloved oxen.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. What takes you out of your comfort zone?

I feel very uncomfortable, uneasy, and decidedly out of my comfort zone when I hear women speak badly of their husband.

2. Your least favorite spice?

This was a hard question since I love cooking and using all kinds of spices. Curry in moderation is good, but is the one spice that I don't really get excited about using.

3. What's a small change you'd like to make?

A small change I want to make before long is rearranging the contents of our desk, filing cabinet, and a cupboard. I'm looking forward to having it done, it will be so much better all around, but the thought of having to do it isn't quite as pleasant.

4. Do you enjoy visiting historic homes? If so, of the homes you've visited which one was your favorite? What historic home near you is open to visitors? Have you been? Southern Living rounded up eleven of the best in the southern part of the US and they're as follows-

Monticello (Jefferson's home in Virginia), Nathaniel Russel House (Charleston SC), Swan House (Atlanta), Ernest Hemingway's home (Key West), The Biltmore (Vanderbilt home in Asheville NC), Mount Vernon (Washington's home in Virgina), San Francisco Plantation (Garyville, Louisiana), Windsor Ruins (Port Gibson Mississippi), Longue Vue House and Gardens (New Orleans), Whitehall (Palm Beach FL), and Pebble Hill Plantation (Thomasville GA)

Have you been to any on the list? Of the homes listed which would you most like to visit?

I haven't been to any historical homes, but would really like to see all the ones on the list, especially Biltmore.

5. What's something you think will be obsolete in ten years? Does that make you sad or glad?

Writing checks, maybe? Online bill pay and credit and debit cards seem to already be the preferred way to handle money for many people. I only see it getting more so over the next ten years.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Instead of my usual Picture my Week post on Saturday, I opted to do a giveaway instead. (You still have time to enter it here.) 

A picture from last week is of LV and Kenneth escorting a bull back to his pasture after he came to visit us, right up next to the house. If you look closely you can see some of the holes he poked in our yard.

I'm not a fan of bulls wandering about our yard, but thankfully he wasn't feeling mean, and didn't present a huge challenge to get him back where he belonged. The owner has now taken him to a different field, so hopefully we won't have to deal with him again.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Mailbox

     Mail time was always looked forward to. Most days once the mailman left the mailbox and disappeared down the road John and I would run out to see what he left this time. Most of the time there was a letter or two, but what we really liked was the day the weekly grocery and K-Mart fliers would come.
      We would sit on the floor and study and dream about all the good food, and then we'd look at the toy section of the K-Mart flier. It was my dream to have a doll with a real face and hair, even though I loved my rag doll "Sally" very much.
     Then one week the mailman didn't stop and John and I were perplexed and troubled that we no longer get mail. We asked Mom why he no longer stops and she told us he would if we would put the flag up. We wanted to run out and put the flag up right away, but she told us we can't do that unless we put something in the mailbox first.
      We went on with our day with that new bit of information stored inside our little heads, and when the next day the mailman still didn't stop we took our own steps to rectify the problem. We dug a few carrots from the garden, gathered some pine cones, and selected a few of our favorite rocks from our collection and placed them in the mailbox and put the flag up.
      The next morning we waited anxiously for the mailman to come, we were sure with all the great things we put in the mailbox he would be sure to leave us a lot of mail in return. When he finally went we ran to the mailbox only to discover that not only didn't he leave any mail, he didn't like what we had put in the mailbox for him. He had scraped the whole mess out on the ground.
      We ran in to tell Mom all about it. That was the day we learned how the postal system worked, she explained everything and then helped us write a letter for Grandma. The next morning she helped us put it in the mailbox correctly and let us put up the flag. The mailman took our letter and several weeks later John and I got a letter of our own from Grandma.
      The system really worked just like Mom said it would.