Saturday, December 31, 2005

Good-bye 2005

Another year is drawing to a close. It's a time for looking back, a time for moving forward.
2005 has been a year our world has seen natural disasters and wars in the mid-east. It's been a time for saying good-bye to old friends, a time of watching our children grow up and a time for watching us grow older.
While we're all a little older and I hope a little wiser, we're also a little wearier. No longer do Keith and I spring form our beds and start our days at a fast pace. It takes us longer to do even the simplest of things and we're getting more selective of what those things are.
So as 2005 draws to a close so does another chapter of our lives. No one knows what 2006 holds for any of us. We can only pray it will bring world peace and that our troops will soon be back on American soil with their loved ones. God Bless us all.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Going Home

All our lives we have heard, "You can never go home again". Earlier this week we were to find out if this was true.
My parents, Keith the children and I had been invited to my Aunt and Uncles for lunch. On the way to Lebo, Kansas we found the main highway was closed for repairs and we would have to take a detour through the country to reach our destination.
After a wonderful lunch (My Aunt is a terrific cook!) we spent the afternoon visiting about old times. When it came time to go home we decided to take a different detour and go by the farm where I was raised.
It's been forty-three years since I have seen the old farmstead. In 1963 the John Redmond Reservoir was built in Coffey County. This reservoir covered a lot of farm land, including the farm my parents farmed. So it was with a heavy heart we had to say good-bye to the home we love and move over thirty miles away to another farm.~~This time one we owned!
The trip this week was like a trip down memory lane. Gone was the old farm house. All that was left was an old cedar tree (Which Daddy was quick to remind us Mom had backed into years ago!) and brush and water kept us from getting to close to that.
It's funny how the mind of a child is different than that of an adult. The road that lead from one farm to another suddenly seemed to much shorter than I remember it! One thing I knew I wasn't wrong about was the road was straight and now it was curved. Dad explained the "curve" had been added when the water had washed the other road out.
We took a leisure drive through the town of Ottumwa. Some people would now call it a ghost town but a better word would be a place in the road.~~There's no sign of a town anywhere! I did recognize two homes and the old boxcar an older friend of ours used to live in was still there all though all but rotted away. As we drove along Mom and Dad pointed out pieces of land where old neighbors had once lived and farmed. It was a bittersweet time to remember one neighbor who had just passed away three weeks ago a the age of ninety, as he had been OUR neighbor too on Old Crow Farm. It was also sad to think there are only two farmers (Counting my dad) who are still living from our area.
Of course Daddy and I had to argue about where the old "Western Christian University" had stood. I remember it being across from the old general store and he says it was located in what is now a pasture. I've been checking the Internet but still haven't found the answer. Thankfully another Ottumwa resident will be able to settle this one!
Yes, it's true you can "never go home again", especially when that "home" is now under water. You can however go back to where you once lived with those you love and share the stories of your youth.
So, while good farm land and the old family farm are covered with water, the memories of a Farmer's Daughter will live on.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Once Again....

It's that time of year again.~~~Time to put up the Christmas tree and dig out the ornaments. Now the key word here is "dig". If I was an organized person (Anyone who knows me knows I'm far from it!) we wouldn't be in this mess every year.
Ok, it's all my fault and I'm the first to admit it. The minute Christmas is over I'm so anxious to get that tree down I lose all common sense. I start yelling at Keith to get it out of the house and back to the storage shed. That's how I lose track of where everything is!
One reason I hate putting up a tree each year is because we live in a little tiny house. This mean in order to put up a tree we have to take some of the furniture out of the living room. Not a fun thing to do when the temperatures are dropping daily!
This year I decided I'd had enough. I was going to solve the large Christmas tree problem once and for all. A trip to town brought home a skinny little tree that even had it's own lights. (One less thing for me to find each year!!) For over a week it proudly stood with it's little lights twinkling and not so much as one ornament on it!
Lucky for us my dear friend Sher in New York (Check out her wonderful Blog: ) must have known the situation. Last week we received this BIG box from her and dear husband and in it was several items for our tree. (Bless you dear friend!!) When Keith saw those ornaments scattered around the tree trying to fill it up he decided to take matters into his own hands.~~He braved the cold and dug through the storage shed until he found the ornament box!
So, once again Old Crow Farm has a decorated Christmas tree. In my heart though, I know by December of 2006 you'll hear me once again saying, "Now where did we put those ornaments last year?"

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


It was the day the two little ones and I had been waiting for.~~Last night the weatherman predicted that by morning we would have the first major snowfall of the year. Now not just and inch or two but anywhere from five to eight inches! Unheard of in our area!!!
So, this morning we all ran for the picture window in the living room. Flipping on the yard light the squeals started!..Snow was coming down! While not the big fluffy flakes we love, snow is still snow!!!
It's been coming down all morning. So far about three inches are gracing "Old Crow Farm" and they say it's to keep up through tonight! Wahoo!!!
Jeni and Drew still had school so that meant Keith and I had the day to ourselves. The first order of the day was to get the fireplace going. Once it was blazing we could do some fun things. Earlier this morning I saw where one of the farmgals from MaryJane's Farm site ( had posted a recipe for Soft Molasses Cookies. They sounded so good I just had to try them out! I'm glad I did because not only are they wonderful but the smell of spices is now filling the house!
Since it's bitter cold here, Keith and I have decided to use the oven to fix most of our supper. We've decided to have Stuffed green peppers, small red potatoes with Olive Oil and herbs, cauliflower in cheese sauce and fresh buttermilk biscuits. Gee, why can't everyday be a snow day????

True Friends

It was just a simple Christmas card. A Christmas tree with fireplace on the front and a verse wishing us Happiness throughout the coming year. What was so special was the note inside. A note I look forward to each year. The chance to catch up on the news of a very dear friend, her family and other friends that we don't get to see on a monthly basis. This year the card was different.
Several weeks ago I read a joke about friendship. While not word for word, it went something like this: "A friend is someone who will bail you out of jail. A 'true friend' is someone who is sitting there beside you saying, "But didn't we have fun?". For over thirty-four years I have had two such 'true friends', Mary and Carolyn.
No, we haven't been in jail together but that's about the only thing we haven't shared! Our friendship has truly stood the test of time and there have been more joys and sorrows than I care to think about. We've shared recipes, raised our children with each others help, held one another as two of us buried our sons, prayed as Mary fought cancer twenty-six years ago and gave words of comfort as all three of us lost our husbands. Like the Three Musketeers it was always, "All for One, One For All".
In October of 2004 more tragedy was to hit us . Our precious Mary was once again diagnosed with cancer. In January of 2005 she went Home to be with the Lord. In those three and half months Carolyn and I shared many phone calls, visits and tears. Once again we were pressed to the breaking point and once again we were there to hold on to one another.
When Carolyn's card arrived this week it was a bittersweet time. While thrilled to read her family is well and she's going to be a grandmother again it was also a sad time. Once again it brought back memories of our Mary and how much we both miss her. In Carolyn's note she talked of finding a poem Mary had sent her years ago. In my note back I'll be telling her how Mary's old letters keep coming up in the oddest places...An old magazine or book. Almost like she's saying, "Don't forget what I had to say...It's important!" Like we could ever forget her! Both of us are so Blessed to have had her in our lives for thirty-four short years and she'll always be with us.
As you write your Christmas notes this year, I pray everyone of them his going to 'true friends'. Those that would be sitting right there in jail beside you.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Old Dough Bowl

For months now I have been hunting on e-bay for an old dough bowl. There is just something about those old bowls that stir my imagination. Maybe it's because I'm someone who loves to cook. Just looking at them brings to mind how all the women before me made their daily bread. Alas their cost has been out of my budget so I've just drooled over them and passed on bidding.
Imagine my surprise when Keith and I went to an auction earlier this week and there among the junk was, "the bowl"! Measuring twenty-seven and half inches it was a dream come true. Heck, not only was it primitive but it even came with it's own worm holes! Never mind that it had a crack down the middle. Or that someone had used two rusty tin can lids on each end to try and repair it, in my eyes it was perfect.
I looked at Keith and told him to take note.~~~When we left that sale that old bowl was going to be clutched in my grubby little hands.
For over an hour I stood by that bowl waiting for it's turn at the auction block to come up. As the auctioneer moved closer I kept glancing around to see if anyone else was showing any interest in it. Suddenly the auctioneer was before me. For the next three minutes the bidding was fast and furious and when it was over~~~ Well, let's just say there was one unhappy person and it wasn't me!!!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Birthday

For the past month there has been a count down in our home! Each morning our precious seven year old daughter, Jeni, has been telling us how many more days there are before she turns eight! From the excitement in her voice you would think she was turning sixteen and being handed the keys to her very own brand new car!
At last the count down is over. Today is the day we have, by this time, all been waiting for! Now this is no small affair! We had to have both homemade cookies and "goodie bags" for every child in her second grade class.
Then of course there was the family birthday party after school. All she asked for was the "Princess Alexa" doll and as you can tell by the above picture our little princess got her wish!
So tonight we have a happy little girl in our house. Old Mom and Dad are feeling a little older and a little sadder. For after all, it won't be much longer until our little girl will no longer be excited about the count down to turning one year older. Before she knows it, she'll be dreading those birthdays just like every other women does. So enjoy it princess while you can....And now there are only 364 days until you turn nine!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

We May Have to Move

Yes, it's true.~~~We may have to move off Old Crow Farm. Not because we can't make the payments and not because we have become too feeble to keep up with all the farm work. Rather we may be forced to move because of our six year old son's action Halloween night! Here's why..................
In the last few weeks Drew has started carrying around this little tiny stuffed camel. (Note his hands in the picture.) Last night as we were getting ready to take the children "Trick or Treating" I noticed Drew making a costume out of Kleenex for "Camel". This is where I made my first mistake. Why didn't I ask him "WHY" he was doing that??? My second mistake was not watching what he had in his hand when I was loading everyone in the van.
It wasn't until we stopped at the first house did I find out what our darling son was up to! After giving my yearly lecture of "Take one piece of candy and say thank you" we all get out of the car and go tromping up to the door. Jeni, being the perfect little witch, took her one piece of candy and said a polite, "thank you." Then it was Drew's turn. Oh, he took his piece of candy and said "thank you" all right. Then, in the blink of an eye he stuck "Camel" out and said, "Can Camel have a piece too?" I thought I was going to have a heart attack!!! The minute we got back in that car I grabbed "Camel" and gave that child a lecture.
At the next house "Camel" stayed in the car with Daddy but Drew already had another plan. Once again we went through each child taking a piece of candy and saying thank you. Suddenly Drew said, "Camel is in the car, can I have a piece for him too?" I could have crawled under the porch!
From then on, at every house we went to he pulled this stunt.~~~This from a child who doesn't even eat candy!!! We live in a small town where everyone knows everyone else and the only way I can think of facing people from now on is to MOVE!!!!
As we were coming home last night Keith remarked, "Wouldn't our lives be sad if we hadn't adopted these two?" When I raised my eye brows he said, "Ok, maybe I should have said quiet instead of sad." Quiet yes and oh so boring!!!!

Monday, October 31, 2005


This morning I looked out our front door and realized that Fall has finally arrived in Kansas! Suddenly there are more leaves on the ground than there are on the trees. The days are becoming shorter and they are certainly much cooler.
I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that Fall is here, after all today is the day the little ones have been waiting for...Halloween! Drew and Jeni have had their costumes ready for a week now. Our little red head is dressing in black and orange and going as a witch. Poor Drew, we begged him into wearing his lion costume "one more time". Yes, it's getting way to short but he just looks so darn cute in it!
This afternoon Keith and I loaded up and went in to town where we watched them walk in their schools annual Halloween Parade. As I watched them walk with all their friends I realized in just a few short years like our older children, they too are going to be to old for this. So, we snapped a few pictures, stored these precious memories in the back of our mind and tell ourselves, "At least they'll still be dressing up next year!"
It's getting dark now so it's time to load them up and head back to town. One more "Trick or Treating" memory. Scary night all.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Old Wood

Every now and then we all run across something for sale that makes us feel we have found the buy of the century. That's how Keith and I felt a couple of weeks ago. We were in one of our favorite antiquing shops and found "the wood"! Now if you're not in love with old things you're probably not going to appreciate this. ~~~There on the floor, between an old saddle and old cupboard was a pile of old wood that was in perfect shape. (Ok, as good as shape as any old barn wood can be in!) The lady that runs the shop called the owner of the wood, Charles, and he came in and told us the story behind it.
In 1986 Charles father tore down a barn that had been built in the 1800's. Thinking to use the wood himself, he stored it his barn. For nineteen years the wood had been sitting out of the elements just waiting for someone to come along and put it to use. Charles knowing he would never do it, decided to sell it in his booth at the flea market. Luck us!!!!
Looking at this wonderful pile of wood our mind raced. What to make first? Our old shop just calls for a "fireplace" so we decided that would be our first project. After about ten minutes of discussing how it should be built, Keith was off to his work shop.
Twenty-four hours later our old farm has another "fireplace". While not the wood burning one in our home, it's primitive charm is just perfect in our little shop. And the best part is~~No ashes to clean up!!!! Now the only problem is, what to do with the rest of that pile of wonderful old barn wood!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Our Old Farm

Located just one hour South of Topeka, "Old Crow Farm" sits on the Kansas prairies. Named for all the large black crows on our farm, this little piece of land is definitely our piece of heaven here on this old earth.
I honestly think I was born in the wrong era. While other women love to shop and run around, I'm perfectly happy sitting out here on our old farm. From the time I was a little girl at my grandmother's knee, I have loved anything old with a story behind it. My grandmother made everything she touched and every story she told magical.
I'm all grown up now but things haven't changed a whole lot. Now I'm the mother/grandmother who has little ones sitting at her knee and I'm still in love with old things with all their chips and dings. Like my grandmother before me, I'm still hanging out my clothes, baking my own bread, trying my hand at soap making and living on a shoe string budget. Heck, is there any other way to live???
The newest adventure on our farm is that we have started what will soon become our very own vintage junk shop. Taking an old cattle shed, lumber from my parents farm and things we have picked up at auctions, "Old Crow Farm" is starting to come to life! When done, it's going to be filled to the brim with old treasures, each with it's own story to tell. While nothing will be "pristine", each primitive "treasure" will still have a lot of life and love left in them to make someone happy.
If you enjoy old things and life on the farm we hope you will check back often. There will be lots of pictures and adventures to share, I promise! If you live on a farm too and share our love of old things and making do on a shoe-string budget, please drop us a note

About Me

These stories are dedicated to the loving memories of my childhood on the family farm and to my life on our farm. May my children always know how Blessed I've been.