Horse Farming Days

Johnny Shaw’s two draft horses clip-clopped down the tree-lined driveway, past the white farmhouse, down the county road to the field; the old wagon laden with several years of accumulated chicken manure.  My brother and myself, knew what came next.

The wagon had to be unloaded the way it was loaded.  In other words, Johnny didn’t have a new-fangled spreader, like everyone else.  It was labor intensive, the chicken manure handled twice.

Farming went mechanized, during and after the war.  Johnny Shaw didn’t get the memo–or more likely, was just stubborn, set in his ways.

Our formerly white tee shirts, were now shades of gray.  The smell of ammonia was hard to ignore on that hot, humid, summer day.  Riding to and from the field refreshed with cooling breezes.

I don’t remember how many trips were made back-and-forth.  There was no goofing off this time.  Johnny stood watch nearby, he wanted his money’s worth.  Locusts and crickets chirped their afternoon tunes, when around six in the afternoon, Johnny announced, “that’s the last scoopful, the one we’ve waited for all day.”

It was hard, dirty, smelly work for ninety cents an hour–much less than the prevailing wage.  The big lunch had to be worth something–however.  Cleaning chicken houses, was immediately scratched off our career choice lists.

 

The Qualm Before the Storm

Throughout the ages, things were named

Things did what things were intended to do

Sometimes same things had different names

Some people had couches in their living rooms

Others insisted they were davenports

Diehards argued for davinettes

They’d be davinettes, till the day they died

No matter–they were still the same things

Served the same purposes

Some didn’t like current names for things

They preferred different, new “thing” names

New names–for the same old things

Other than being confusing for those familiar

With the old names, things still did the same things

In spite of changes in their nomenclature

 

 

 

A Day Off

I took today off to regroup–gather my thoughts.  No, there’s nothing wrong.  Life is good in general.

Sometimes I worry about repeating myself.  There’s the quality/quantity issue.  After almost five years of this, there have been a lot of posts.

The Shakespearian adage, “There’s nothing new under the sun,” applies.  That’s why, of late, I’ve done some updates on old posts.

In the local area, the new amusement park is shaping up.  Many of the new rides are visible.  What will this do for local traffic?  …The local economy?  The jury is still out.

“Wahlburgers” was announced today in a press conference, as the first tenant.  The first and only “Wahlburgers” franchise in the state.  More announcements are forthcoming.

Contemplation

From three years ago, a message about self-awareness.

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Self-awareness

Contemplation

Weren’t part

Of an egret’s

Innocent game

Even though

The self

Reflected self

Were one

And, the same

The rippled

Reflected self

Was perceived

As a stranger

http://www.jasontaylorphotography.com/–

 

 

Anything Fun Is Fine…

Sticky notes

Stuck to the script

Unfamiliar rings

Not in the mood, rings

Among shooting stars

Sonny Bono, Sonny Corleone

Stared, blank stares

Shot for the moon

Captions searched for pictures

Mercy me–what just fell from the family tree?

Pratfalls, windfalls–Wasn’t that pitiful?

Felt woozy, losers couldn’t be choosers

Anything fun, was fine with me

 

A Creative Hour

Welcome to, yet another, in a series of morning, creative endeavors.  Here, with Marty, my imaginary, sometimes annoying, alter-ego.

“Summer is creeping up on us.”

“That’s right, You.”

Why Marty never called me by my real name was still a mystery.

“Along with outdoor activities–backyard barbecues, splashes in the pool, will come annoying bugs and gnats.”

“You better know it.”

“They’ll bug you when you’re swimming in your pool, they’ll bug you when you’re gassing up your car, they’ll bug you–make you look like a fool.”

“Marty, any particular reason you’re channeling Dylan this morning?”

“No, it’s just a Dylanesque kind of day.” 

“Any suggestions for keeping annoying summer insect pests away?”

“I put a baggie full of water over my porch’s screen door.  It’s supposed to keep gnats away.  It broke and somebody got drenched.”

“Any suggestions that work?”

“Not sure how well they work–citronella candles, dryer sheets, spray on, outdoor repellent.  Anyway, it makes people feel better–knowing they’ve done something.”

“So Marty, what you’re saying is, they’re really like placebos.”

“You know that’s right.”

“Coming up–weather gossip on the fives.”

Moms and Mom Stand-Ins

Miss Oneia Gahr, was as close to being my substitute mom as anyone.  My great-grandmother was her father’s sister.  She was mother’s best friend, attended the same college–earned a teaching degree.

Their personalities were exact opposites.  My mother was quiet and reserved, Oneia was outgoing and plain-spoken.  Mom taught fourth-grade elementary, Oneia, high school mathematics.  Miss Gahr was a strict disciplinarian at home, and no doubt, the same at school.

Several summers were spent working on Miss Gahr’s dairy farm.  As an adolescent, it seemed like pure drudgery.  Who knew dairy cows didn’t like their mornings interrupted?  “Talk to them gently, in a low voice, or they might kick you.”

That didn’t mean to act goofy and crazy, “Hey girls what’s happening this morning?” But, rather to be gentle, not boisterous.  It worked, and I never got kicked.  It did nothing, however, to stop swats from muddy cow’s tails.  To them, I was just another fly that needed swatting.

Whatever needed to be done–she worked as hard as any man around the farm.  She cut me no slack when it came to cleaning the dairy barn.  And, oh that cattle waste–tons of it, had to be hosed away.

Miss Oneia went at life full tilt.  Driving was no exception.  She liked flashy land yachts.  Had a slew of Pontiac Bonneville convertibles in the sixties.  Before that, she had a fifties-era, Ford hardtop convertible.

Riding with her in the old rattletrap Chevy pickup over farm roads was a neck-snapping thrill ride.  Nothing topped the day the wiring in the Ford two-ton grain truck  caught fire under the dashboard.  Acrid smoke filled the cab as the insulation burned.  Miss Oneia grabbed a hay bale hook, yanked out wires till the smoke subsided.

We always considered her part of the family, not just a distant relative.  All three of us boys raised bottle calves that she donated.  My sister raised a white pig.  She tutored me in Math and Geometry.  Happy Mom’s Day to both my mom, and my substitute mom!