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Archive for February 16th, 2012

From my 45 Collection

Saturday Mornings—Those two words conjure up songs in my mind like “Come Saturday Morning” (youtube link) or better yet, “Saturday Morning Confusion” (youtube link). BTW, my oldest daughter and I were going through my old 45s the other week and discovered the 2nd one was still in there.

When I was small, I enjoyed getting up early on Saturday morning to watch cartoons. Years later when I just wanted to sleep, I was usually summoned about 6 am or before… Some thought I lived a charmed life, but in reality I did plenty of work especially on Saturdays. Half of the year was spent cutting and splitting wood and the other half was working around the farm. Daddy didn’t have a boy, so I was his substitute. I have to admit that I absolutely loved it-maybe not arising so early and all of the work-but spending it with my dad was the best.

My dad built our house that we moved into when I was about 2 or 3. It was a couple of hundred feet from the old farmhouse so both houses continued to be my home. He drew up the house plan with the idea to add on later. The first addition was built when I was in my early teens. It included a large den with a wonderful brick fireplace my dad constructed. In fact, the fireplace was complete just before THE BIG snowstorm-biggest on record for us-16 inches of snow. We do well to get 1-2 inches of snow a year total (this year is 0). But, sixteen? At one time? We burned through much of our wood in just one week-we were so thankful for our new fireplace. Back to before it was finished…

When it came time to put a mantel on the fireplace, my dad wanted to use something natural looking and knew exactly where to get the wood. One Saturday morning, I was beckoned at the usual 6 am. We first ate breakfast and did some things around the farm. Later, we loaded up chains and toolbox and stuff into the International pickup and set off for the swamp. I have to tell you now that I absolutely HATE snakes or any thought that a snake might be near. We had a lot of rattlers around and plenty of copperheads and water moccasins, so my fears were warranted, and that was before you reached the swamp.

We pulled off the river road and took the truck out as far as we could. The area had grown up quite a bit since the last time I was there and lots more since my dad first had this idea to use this particular piece of wood. Don’t get the idea we were out trespassing or anything since we had permission to be there. I didn’t know what we were after really, so I followed along. We walked and walked. My dad searched, prodded, and when he thought all was lost he found what he was looking for. Ok, I am a girl and am not that tall and at the time was quite petite—in other words, I wasn’t a lot of help heaving this gigantic piece of wood out of its burrow, but I did my best. My dad attached a chain to pull the wood, but first we had to get it to the truck. Oh, man! Then my dad hitched it to the truck and we pulled it home. That was easier said than done. Pulling this huge piece of wood down a paved road wasn’t going to work so we had to drive along on the shoulder—very slowly, with stops every so far. We must have looked crazy to those who passed by-I wanted to hide. We finally got it home, but the story does not end here.

It turns out that this piece of wood is what we refer to as a railroad tie that had been laid for a railroad some 100 years before (maybe longer)-sometime in the 1800s. The rails had been sold about 40 years earlier. My dad thought after so many years that the tie would be dry enough to use but it wasn’t, so this tie sat in the yard for a bit before he decided that if he made a mantel out of it, the heat from the fire would cause more creosote to leach out making the room smell awful. He hated that all of that work was for nothing. I think he anguished about it for quite a while, but it was a memory I will always have which has taught me several things—

  1. Don’t give up even when you think things are looking grim.
  2. When you plan something, make sure it is going to work or be sure of the outcome.
  3. Remember to cherish the time you spend together no matter the outcome.

So, what did we use for our new mantel? My dad handcrafted a beautiful piece of art out of  red cedar. I thought it turned out just great. He was so talented. Thanks, Dad! I sure miss you. My apologies but I could not find a photo.

Happy Gardening in everything you attempt and may your efforts yield lovely results!

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Just checking in…

This is not a real posting in the sense that I like to post but it has been a while since I did that. In my personal life, I think things are a little better. I had to make a visit to the doctor for my blood pressure earlier this week–over 200… Then, I had a nice little meal with my husband for Valentine’s Day-just the two of us with some of my homemade chicken noodle soup that we ate by candlelight and last night, the family ate out for my birthday dinner-a usual thing. What was unusual was that it was the first birthday in 23 years that we didn’t wake up together and him not be the first one to wish me Happy Birthday. It actually wasn’t the worst birthday. While I usually say that one was when I reached 40 years old, it was actually in 1991-my second birthday we shared together. My husband was recalled to the Army on my birthday that year. That was such a bad year….

I want to thank all of the people who have prayed for me and us! I also want to thank all of you who have given advice and support-really! There is still hope, so don’t give up on the prayers. We are supposed to be together. We just have to work out some issues so that we can begin a new life. There is a long ways to go–don’t get me wrong. Things are not “fixed” but prayers are being answered. Take care of yourselves. Appreciate what you have no matter how little it is or how grim things seem to be. And, Happy Gardening in the big scheme of life!

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