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Posts Tagged ‘farmhouse’

On the wall at the bottom of the stairs hangs a large portrait of a man who is my great-grandfather—my paternal grandmother’s father (my dad’s mom’s papa). He is a rather handsome guy with his well-groomed mustache and those curly locks that are a family trait. His mustache was always well groomed in every photo I have of him by the way. My children were a bit scared of him (understatement)—his portrait—just as I was when I was growing up. I used to hide and could never look at him in the eyes 😀 . I never knew him and neither did my dad. He was called Clayton and my father who was born a few years after his death was named for him.

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I still have some of the family property that was settled over 200 years ago. The farm was where I grew up, where I have such fond memories. It is said that my G-GF’s grandfather was born in Ireland and had married a Scottish lass. I cannot confirm this definitely and there is not a paper trail that is conclusive on what generation was born in Ireland or where exactly they came from but by 1785 at least one had settled in the area and by 1793 there were enough of the family to name a settlement after them. A couple of years ago, I was shocked to find a plat (1793) with the settlement listed. I had no idea. The area lost its name for a while but then was renamed for the families back in the late 1800s. Now, that is all but a memory. My G-GF was the postmaster for this little hamlet and the post office sat out in front of the old farmhouse. In my grandmother’s photo album, there is a photo of my G-GF on his horse and I have found newspaper writings of people talking about him delivering the mail. Today, very, very few of the surnames are left in the area and the road that was named for them that we lived on has been changed.

 

There is much that is unknown to me about our family history but there is quite a bit that I do know and that is how they treated others—always helpful—always courteous—always respectful. There have been times where I will forget and will get angry when I am provoked but this is not the way I was taught. I do not know the reasons for this family line settling in America but most likely it was to have a new chance at life. The story goes that there were two men—two brothers who came to America. One went north and one south. Why? I have no clue and I cannot confirm this. As I dug into the family history, I discovered that I have more questions than answers. Even the pronunciation of the name has changed—Americanized? Maybe. I may never know the story and yet I do know. The family that I knew were pious, modest, and simple. They never wanted glory, prestige, wealth, or power because they had more–more than they ever needed. 🙂

 

I love life. At times, I find that there are enormous barriers that get in my way—more than small obstacles–more like stone walls. I have to remember where I came from—my roots—my family and sometimes I have to be reminded. 😉

 

Happy Gardening! May all of your memories of family be wonderful! Take care and be blessed! 😀

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I have so many great memories of Christmas on the farm. We were simple and celebrated very simply. Christmas was a cedar tree cut and dragged home from somewhere on the farm, old electric lights added, precious hand-blown ornaments that had been passed down through generations, even icicles that were reused each year… Christmas was also the best food I think existed, even Black Fruitcake—YUM! 😀 , and family that would gather around the big farm table.

 

MadonnaChristmas has always been very special to me and I have tried to pass that on. My paternal grandmother who died when I was 3 was the real lover of Christmas. It was her passion that was passed on to me through my dad, my mom, and great aunt. One year when I was a young teenager, I received the precious Madonna that belonged to my grandmother. Each year, I received something of hers for Christmas but this gift has been the most special. For years, I unwrapped her along with the carolers and cherubs to display on the Welsh Dresser my dad made years ago. When Christmas was over she went back into the box…that was until I decided that she should not be hidden 330 days of the year and is now enjoyed every day.

 

Christmas is lots of things to lots of people but to me it is the memories of Christmas past coupled with the memories of Christmas present that makes it so special. My passion for Christmas is not much different than that of my paternal grandmother. And, I hope that I have passed on much of her love of Christmas and what is truly important.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

😀

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Namesakes

It is interesting to know our namesake(s) and the history behind our names. Sometimes we are named for an ancestor; sometimes it is a family friend or other family member. Do you know if you were named after someone? Not knowing much about my family history before my mother passed away, my knowledge of my namesakes was limited until I began to do a little digging. Mom said she named me (my first name) after my great aunt—Dad’s mother’s sister—or rather a shortened version of her name. And, my middle name came from my mom’s side of the family—no mystery with that one.

 

Sisters in front of the old farmhouse
Amanda Pauline, Lillian Ann (my GM), Emma Irene

My great aunt did not marry and she had no children. Her first name was Amanda but went by her middle name because her grandmother, Amanda Amelia, lived with the family. Pauline was like my best friend when I was young and a great substitute for my grandmother after she passed away. I don’t think there was anything she could not do.

 

The name Amanda has been passed down through my father’s family since at least the 1700s—back to my 5th great grandmother, and I doubt this is the origin. This name has been used in every generation except for my father (I know he was glad 🙂 ) who was an only child and I have not confirmed that my 5th GG daughter’s middle name was Amanda or if there was possibly another daughter who died who might have been named Amanda. The name continued down through several lines and generations—not just mine. I didn’t use Amanda or a shortened form in my girls’ names. I think they are ok with that but I probably would have at the time had I known the family history.

 

Names should be badges of honor, something we build on as we grow so that when we are gone, there is a sense of respect in the remembrance of our name. Do you know if you have a namesake or perhaps you are a namesake? Is it a name that has been passed down through many generations and has meant something special to the family? Did you name your children after a certain namesake in the family? It is something special when we can connect to our family that has gone on before.

 

Happy Gardening and may we make our namesakes proud! 🙂

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Do we really know what it means? I had a 4th  great-grandmother on my mom’s side (my great-grandmother’s great-grandmother to clarify :)) who married a man she loved very much. She was a little young and he was older, but they were married in Kentucky back when our country was in its infancy. How do I know of her love? Well, several clues are there but the end of her life said so much about the love she had for him.

from wikipedia

The women in my family have been very strong-willed. Some will say it is a character flaw while others will say it is a gift. It’s probably a little of both. There is no doubt that Elizabeth was a strong woman. After marriage, Elizabeth and her husband moved south as lands were opening to new settlement in order to build a home and raise a family. My mother’s family line remained in this area until just shy of the year 2000.

I have the good fortune of possessing written information passed down through the family as well as stories that were shared along the way. As I was searching for more information about my family and relations, I found journal records belonging to a neighbor farmer of the time that detailed some of the events that led up to those stories and no, the family didn’t get the information from the journal. Little pieces have been put together to tell a bigger story (one I am not telling here :)).

Elizabeth was not a woman of money, fame, or power—well, maybe a little money. She, like so many women of that day, made do of what she was given per situation. She loved her husband so much that one day after he had been sick in bed for quite a while—they were up in age and watched all of their children grow into adults-even buried a few—her husband passed away. The story goes that she was so brokenhearted that she laid there with him in the bed and willed herself to die. She did die that same day–passing away almost 100 years before I was born. This story has touched my heart ever since I heard it almost 40 years ago and brings a tear to my face each time.

After my great-grandmother died (Elizabeth’s great-granddaughter) I went with several relatives to visit the old homeplace. No one had lived there for years. I was young and wasn’t into family history but I remember people pointing to a corner in the room talking about how “he” died first and then “she” willed herself to die. I thought how creepy this was. Later, when I was putting some family history pieces together, I found out who this “he” and “she” really were and that they were interred in the same grave for all eternity. Imagine the love and devotion she had for her husband. This is not a Romeo and Juliet type of story. This is as close as it comes to the happily ever after story you can get though it is still a bit morbid. It is true to life and tells us so much about our ancestors.

And, to add, this house was still standing as of several years ago when I was back for a visit but the land is no longer held by any of the family.

May your life be blessed and filled with love and devotion and may your gardens produce beautiful bounties no matter where they are! Happy Gardening!

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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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The Sideboard

I want to welcome some new followers and thank those who have been around for a bit. I do not blog about any one thing so it is hard to imagine anyone following my blog. I feel very blessed to have readers or those who stop by for a peek of some photos. Welcome to all and thank you for stopping by.

Continuing with my postings of things from the farm—this will be it for a while… This is the Sideboard that sat in the dining room at the old farmhouse. It is closer to being an antique than the Welsh Dresser and is showing its age. This is where I remember all of the delicious pies, melt-in-your mouth cakes, the to-die-for divinity—yum—and other scrumptious desserts and baked goods sat rather than in the pie case. Perhaps the furniture maker had thoughts of this purpose when it was designed because the top sits about 4 feet off the floor, almost 15 inches higher than the base of the Welsh Dresser. It is not as long as the Welsh Dresser but weighs a lot more. There are locks on the doors that have not worked in ages, and I would not know where the key is if my life depended on it. Each of the three drawers are deep with ample room. I realize that this is not a great photo because you cannot see the amplified false legs that are shaped in a scroll design. That same design is repeated on either end at the top. I am not sure what type of wood was used to make the Sideboard, but it is beautiful under the darkened varnish.

This piece of furniture may not be worth any money but it has sentimental meaning—like most things in my house. The engraved silverware was kept here along with other service ware pieces. A flower arrangement usually decorated the top with little else around except maybe a tatted or other sewn doily or small runner. One of the compartments or cupboard sections was used for my great uncle’s “doctoring” instruments and supplies including some antiseptic that must have spilled because I can still smell it.

This was another photo-different year. That cute gingerbread family was made so many years ago.

Since we have had the Sideboard, it has usually been decorated according to the seasons. It has never really been used in our house for its purpose of a sideboard, but I store much of the old stuff from the farm, candles, and other knick-knacks that have no other home. It is not a very pretty piece of furniture from afar, but it is one of the few pieces I have from the family farm. To me, it is a reminder of simpler times.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed (or rather have not been bored with) my trip down memory lane through some photos. There are so many furniture pieces that I cannot show you–prized pieces that were removed stolen like my grandmother’s armoire that I was using for my hope chest years ago and the huge bed of mine from my other grandmother, the fold-down desk, the marble top table, and so many other things including my the family photo albums. Life goes on…

Happy Gardening and may your life become less complicated with the New Year!

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Mixed in with some of the old photos I was going through a few months ago was this photo of the Welsh Dresser my dad built when he built the house in the country (next door to the old farmhouse) over 50 years ago. I have been decorating the base of the dresser each Christmas for over 30 years. In this photo is the cherished Madonna that belonged to my dad’s mom. She had a set of carolers and angels that were brought out each Christmas—some of the carolers can also be seen here. When I was little there were also miniature reindeer, the little Christmas tree seen here, and a set of caroler candles with lamppost (check out Lillian’s caroler candles here) that I used to add to all of the decorations. In more recent years, those decorations gave way to my Christmas village. At the time of this photo little items that the girls made at school also began to decorate the Welsh Dresser and Sideboard (next post). Oh, and the “ham” you see here is my youngest.

I we have moved the Welsh Dresser more times than I want to count and it is now located where chairs sit in front of it in the living room—not a very lovely sight. I do not use it like I once did because of this setup. We have way too much furniture than house and most pieces are things handed down to me, some from the old farm and many from my mother’s family.

I love this piece of furniture. Critics will point out that it is not Welsh (it was not made in Wales), not an antique (way younger than 100), and is not your usual hutch and cupboard, but it was built for similar purposes the old Welsh Dressers were intended. A bit longer than usual Welsh Dressers, this one is comprised of two pieces that measure about 9 feet long and about 7 feet high together. It was made from heart pine, just like the paneling in the house that was built by my father. It gave the appearance that it was a built-in piece but wasn’t. The base has two deep cupboards on either side of 5 drawers. I store placemats, tablecloths, and such in the drawers and all types of plates and things in the cupboards. My dad added a plate groove on each shelf of the hutch which is really helpful. This is where we keep the German plates and steins and some of the depression era plates. When the Welsh Dresser was built, it was the centerpiece of the house. Today, it is still a vital part of our family.

Happy Gardening and may you cherish all parts of your heritage!

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