a girl who creates

Category: on the farm

September 8th, 2013

This blog post has been something I wanted to write for a long time, just so I could look back and see all the little things I do because my grandparents did them and how they transport me back to that time. Since today is Grandparent’s Day, what better time to do it.

What I do because they did:

  • Feed the birds and the squirrels – ALWAYS!
  • Use Coty Loose Face Powder & Avon’s Satin Hands. The two scents instantly bring me back to Sunday mornings at my grandparents’ house, getting ready for church.
  • Have a garden – Every year I try and I hardly ever succeed at any kind of harvest (a few tomatoes and cucumbers here and there) but I keep at it every year.
  • Cucumbers with onions in vinegar or with sour cream and dill.
  • Say “scat” when my kids sneeze.
  • Sing the “yawning man” & “somebody’s getting sleepy” to my kids – which I can’t get through without yawning myself.
  • Give my kids a measuring cup to try and fill up with tears when they are crying and fussing from trying to get their way. I tied and tried to fill mine up as a kid, but I instantly couldn’t cry when she handed it to me. Smart woman!
  • Stop and watch Lawrence Welk when it’s on PBS – instantly places me to my grandparent’s living room
  • Always stay quite when the weather report is on – my granddaddy was a farmer and you HAD to be quite when the weather was on.
  • Fix deviled eggs for big family get-togethers.
  • Always have iced tea in the fridge and make it with a big pyrex measuring cup.
  • Use oscillating fans in the summer – love the sound of them.
  • Enjoy just sitting outside, preferable on a porch swing or rocking chair.

I see myself adding more things they did without even noticing and they then become a part of my daily life. I guess it’s just my way of keeping them close to me and I love that.

What do you do that your grandparents always did?

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Completely Broken
January 25th, 2010

Today my grief ends. I’ve had a cloud of grief hanging over me for more than a month and just when I though I had gotten my groove back and felt so much better last week, I got another devastating blow. I make it a point to not post too much about my personal life, but maybe this is the only way I can flush it out of my system and start to feel normal again.

^this was a woogie wednesday project we did back in 2008 – a portrait of 4 generations of women

My grandmother passed away a few weeks before Christmas. Her death was something I knew would hurt me worst than anything and I remember a few years ago when my dad suddenly passed away I told my husband that when my grandmother passed away that is when I would be totally beside myself. And I think I was. I knew it was coming and had a week to, for lack of a better word, “prepare” for what was going to happen. That might have made it easier for me but it was still just as hard as I thought it would be. I not only lost a grandmother (my last living grandparent), but my daughter lost a great-grandmother and I think that was even harder to bear. It’s so hard seeing a child grieve but also a blessing to have the comfort of that child when you’re grieving. Her sweet words and tender heart have amazed me.

As I said I got my groove back last week and then got another devastating blow. Thursday night my grandparent’s house, the house that my grandfather grew up in (he would have turned 101 this year), the house he raised his family in, the house where all my childhood memories seem to come from, the house where my daughter was creating her own memories at last summer, and I extending mine, was struck by lightening and destroyed. Burned to the ground. My mother came over early Friday morning and I knew something was up. She said she had news but it wasn’t about anyone and everyone was fine, but it is devastating and I should sit down. At that moment I knew what it was. Weird that I knew, but I knew. That second I felt I had lost everything from my grandparents. I had lost them all over again, I had lost the feeling of being at the house, the sound of the screen door slamming, the porch swing that had rocked so many generations, but most importantly their legacy. I was completely broken.

After a total freak out, I somehow got it together and went out to the house to see. The scene was heartbreaking. Still on fire that next morning and I left it that afternoon – still on fire. It was so surreal and still is. I sent Walker off to school that day without telling her why I was crying but let her know everything was ok and I would tell her about it after school. It was her 100 day celebration so I wanted her to enjoy her party. When I picked her up from school she immediately asked me why I was crying. We got in the car and I told her. She teared up a little but I don’t think she knew what that really meant. We headed back to the house and when we pulled up, she knew exactly what it meant. Her little face scrunched up and filled with tears and started sobbing. Seeing her so hurt, hurt me worse. My husband took her around the house and I could hear that they had started making a game out of it and seeing if she recognized anything (which there was hardly anything) and that seemed to help her cope. She was very glad to see her tree swing was still there and that we would be bringing it home for the backyard. That night when I tucked her in she asked for a picture of the house to put in her room. I am thankful for the memories she has of it.

I had my husband email a few of my clients that were expecting work due to them on Friday and I thought his simple words, summed up the importance of the house to my family:

“Her grandparents’ farm house (almost 100 years old) was struck by lightning and burned down last night. Thankfully nobody was living there at the time. She has a very tight-knit extended family and that home was the epicenter of their family. As you can imagine, the emotional connection to that home is huge.”

And now for the pictures. I debated showing them but I am. I guess this post is pretty much about me healing so seeing a comparison would be good. The neighbor across the street took pictures as it was burning. We are so grateful she took them, but they are awful and I don’t have those to show.

^fall 2009

^view from the front yard

^view from the garage – my granddaddy had a love/hate relationship with lawn movers – you can see 2 of them here

Thankfully a lot of things had been taken out of the house for safe keeping. There was still a lot of china, silver flatware, glassware that was lost among the other things that had no monetary value but did have sentimental value to us all, but the majority of it was not there. We are most thankful for not having to tell my grandparents that their house was no longer there. My grandmother would of taken it in stride and would have put her energy in comforting all of us, but my granddaddy would of never recovered from it.

So from this day forward my grieving will end. My body and mind can’t take it anymore and I am done telling people about it all. My aunt summed it up the other day that she felt she had been living in a dream for the last two months and I think that’s how we all feel. But I am ready to wake up. Through hard times come blessings and I can see and appreciate them and for that I am beyond grateful.

Thanks for sticking with me on this one guys. I just needed to put it all out there.

21 comments » | on the farm

farm shots
August 31st, 2009

We headed to the farm Saturday and spent the day. Amy turned me on the polaroid app for the iphone so I went around and took some pictures.

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Farm Entry #3
June 24th, 2009

Above is my journal “entry” from the weekend on the farm. We took it easy because of the intense heat and didn’t really do too much. The above pretty much sums up our time there. You can see the Woog’s entry here (as you can see, we worked on the lighting bug page at the same time!).

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Weekend Farm Life #2
June 17th, 2009

Another weekend at the farm yielded carpet removal from the dining area, living room and den (reveling beautiful red oak wood floors) so I didn’t get a chance to write in my journal over the weekend but the Woog did. We also hung up a swing in the front yard for it. She wants to paint it pink but I think she’s going to have to settle for red or brown.

We re-arranged some furniture and brought my great-aunt’s cedar chest into the living room to use as a coffee table. There were just a few of her things in there. She had no children so I think my grandparents ended up with a lot of her things. Below is a picture of her I found in the chest (I’ve always thought she had the coolest middle name):

Ethel Lotus Walker

She was born in 1900 and died in 1995. The only thing I really remember about her was that my granddaddy would pick her up and take her to church every Sunday. I used to always wonder if my brother would take me to church when I was older. I didn’t think so then and I still don’t think he would :)

In keeping with the historic theme of the summer I signed up for ancestry.com to document some things. I haven’t really found out anything I didn’t know, but it will be a good place to have everything documented.

This weekend I plan on taking it easy, exploring some of the old barns, more photography and catching fireflies with the Woog. I saw some old Ball canning jars in the garage so we’ll catch them with those. One good thing about your grandparent’s living through the depression is things you played with and used when you were a kid, can now be used and played with by your kids because they saved EVERYTHING!

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Our Summer Adventure
June 9th, 2009

This summer we have decided to spend the weekends without cable tv, internet access or air conditioning. We’ll be spending time at my grandparent’s farm about 30 miles from our house. The farm has been in my family since around 1918 and is where my grandparents lived up until 4 years ago when they had to move to assisted living. My grandfather passed away a couple of years ago and now my grandmother (who will be 93 this week!) lives with my mom just down the street from us.

In the last couple of months my husband and I had a realization on how we spend our family time and on the long drive to Surtex a few weeks ago it became clear to me on what we needed to do. My grandparents’ house has been vacant for a while but has been pretty well maintained for such an old house. We’re stepping in and cleaning some things up, making repairs and restoring some woodwork so it will become a place where family can come and enjoy it again.

The above picture is of the porch swing that has been in place all these years. I remember being around four or five and swinging on it. The Woog and I got some pretty good time on it this past weekend. Still had the same old feel and same old creeks.

The Woog and I have brought along our new Moleskin journals to document our summer while still being creative on the weekends. I packed up a little journaling kit for us to use with paint and color pencils.

I did a few pages (which will later include some photographs I’ve taken) and here are a couple:

The Woog also did a few pages and they can be seen here.

I’ll try and blog once a week on our weekend “adventures.” Stay tuned!

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