Quilting, Farming, Variety

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Attempt at Becoming a Movie Star

Do you watch movie stars on the red carpet to catch a glimpse of their dazzling gowns and shiny jewelry? I'm not much interested in that sort of thing; somehow I don't think I'd get very far in a dress with a long tail dragging behind me; neither would I want that kind of life.

When my first grade teacher made her way around the room, asking each child what he or she wanted to be when they grew up, I had no idea how to answer; when she gave me some suggestions, and a movie star was one of them, I said "yes" that's what I wanted to be. There had been very few times in my life when I had even seen a movie; maybe a western film on a Saturday afternoon, while we waited for Daddy to get off work at the cream station. Most likely there weren't glamorous women in those.

There was a picture of a pretty woman in a magazine I had seen and someone said she was probably a movie star. The thing that caught my attention in the picture was a beautiful brooch, or pin, she was wearing; diamonds, someone guessed, and the movie star was wearing it right . on . her . skin! This fascinated me!

Now sometime earlier, Daddy had brought home some things from Aunt Rhody's and there was a pretty pin included. (Uh-oh! You're getting ahead of me!) It looked like a diamond pin to me, but since it had a tight clasp with a prong on the back Mama thought it must have come off of a hat band or coat lapel. My mind raced whenever I made a connection between this pin and the one in the picture; I could wear this pin and be a movie star!

I pinched up a little spot of skin on the left side of my chest, hers was on the left side, and carefully put the pin over it and released the clasp. The sharp prong on the clasp dug into the tender flesh and pain radiated from the prick it made. It had to come off! But how could I opened the clasp without making things worse? Mama heard my squeals of pain and released the clasp. I didn't care to be a movie star anymore!

Maybe this is why I'm not symmetrical!

You know, I still wonder how the pin was attached to the woman!

Hope you've had a good day!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spring Flower

One of the first of my spring flowers to bloom is this little yellow crocus, barely noticeable among dead leaves and iris fronds. About twenty four years ago, my oldest daughter planted some crocus bulbs on her grandmother's (my mother's) grave. When it comes time for the cemetery to be mowed, the flower will have died down, allowing it to appear again the next year. I think Mama would be glad it's there; she loved real flowers.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

To Explain Some Things,

regarding yesterday's post about the chickens: It seems I didn't do a very good job explaining that we don't grow the chickens for ourselves, but rather we are in a contract with Tyson Foods; the poultry industry is the main farm operation in our county, with many growers just like us. With the help of these pictures maybe it will be clearer:

Each farm provides their own houses, electricity, fuel, and water, and is responsible for good litter management and taking care of the chickens. We aren't considered Tyson empolyees; we just grow the chickens for them. We have four houses; this one is 400 feet long by 40 feet wide and can hold up to 21,000 chickens. Tyson Foods places baby chickens in the houses and brings feed for them.

On delivery day, the chickens are brought to the farm, from the hatchery, in trucks like these.
They are taken into the houses (as shown in yesterday's post) in boxes containing 100 chicks each.

In about a week the chickens are already beginning to get feathers,

and by seven weeks they can weigh almost seven pounds average.

At this age, Tyson Foods sends out a crew to catch the chickens,

and off they go to the processing plant and then to market. We get about two-three weeks to get the houses ready for another batch, and the whole thing starts over. Usually we will grow six batches a year, somewhere around 420,000 chickens, just from our farm alone. But it takes a lot to feed the world now. No longer can people just raise a few chickens in their backyard and provide food for this vast population.

I hope this has helped; now when you have delicious, golden fried chickn, think of me.

Smiles, Charlotte

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Baby Chickens

O.k., so we're starting over again; new baby chickens, little yellow balls of fluff and little bright eyes. Even after almost forty years of growing chickens, the babies are still cute to me. This picture shows the way they are taken into the houses; 100 chicks in each of these boxes, and that's only for half of one house, and only the first of four houses, for a total of 68,000 chirping babies. We take each box and dump the chicks out between the feed and water lines.
In just a matter of minutes they begin to eat and drink; by morning they will be scattered.

It's not a glamorous life, but it's my life, and this must be my calling, working to help feed the world.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Farm Wife ~~ Monday

"Come home, come home; it's supper time." It's funny how the cows recognize the sound of our truck and start bawling before it's even in sight, and then come to meet us.

I'm afraid I don't have anything very interesting to write about today. We've worked at the chicken houses getting ready for babies tomorrow. I've been making up feed trays and putting them under the feed lines. The temperature was wonderful for working today, but the wind was too strong!

I did some quilting while we were without chickens; I think I could stay busy if we retired, but I don't see that happening just yet.

I'm having trouble leaving comments because I can't always read the letters in the word verification, so if you don't hear from me, that's the reason; I still read your posts every day.


Monday, February 13, 2012

February ~~ Little Quilt


February's little quilt is the Drunkard's Path, a favorite old patchwork pattern. The block is made from two units - a small square with a fourth circle set in the corner - usually made of two colors, a red or blue circle on a white block. I chose to applique the fourth circles rather than try to sew the curved seams. This little quilt is made from sixty four, one and one-half inch blocks.


Farm Wife ~~ Monday

These are the little twins; I've named them Pete and Repeat since they look so much alike. They've been turned out into the pasture with their mother and try to eat from the big troughs with the other heifers.
It's snowing here this morning; the cows have gathered over close to the fence row that is lined with cedars, waiting for their hay. I think snow is pretty, and I like to see it falling, but I do always feel sorry for the livestock. I just had to get out in it for a while to feed the cats at the barn and look things over. So far it hasn't been cold enough for the ponds to freeze over.

Now I'm going to quilt; maybe in a few days I'll have something to show for my time. Hope you're having a good winter day.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Communicating By Postcard

Other than a postcard reminding you of a dental or doctor's appointment, when was the last time you received one of these little notes of communication in the mail? With the growing popularity of cell phones and email messages, I doubt there are many postcards bought today. A photo can be sent immediately from a vacation spot or a family gathering without going through the delay of the postal service.

Old postcards are interesting to me, especially when there's a message on the back like this one has, sent to a little girl from her grandma, dated 5/10/09:

"Dear, I am coming to see you before long, when Homer comes...We are all well.

This card is very special since it was sent by my mother to her niece:

"Dear Little Robbie Marie, How are you? Did you get a lot of valentines? I haven't got any yet... Did you eat lots of snow? I took one bite from some Junior had..."

These postcards are examples of greeting cards.

This is an example of a photo card. These became available whenever Kodak developed cards that allowed pictures to be made directly from negatives onto a pre-printed back. This card was sent to Mama by her daddy; can you imagine how thrilled she was to get a card of her very own from her daddy?

Even though the message was brief, it was so special to her that it's still with us today. Notice the one cent stamp and the 1928 postmark.

The photo cards also made it possible to send family pictures to folks living far away, who might not have seen the new baby.

And of course there were the scenic cards, probably the ones we're most familiar with, sent from vacation spots or bought as a souvenir, and carrying messages like,

"Well, we made it okay. Everyone is fine and wish you were here with us. Will see you soon." or "We are still driving on our way...It has been a lovely day." And, "Dear Mother and Father,

We've been running around over the park all day.

Tomorrow we're just going to sit and read."

Cards sent from places none of the home folks could ever see any other way, were always welcomed.

Do you have a postcard collection, or do you send postcards? If you're interested in the history of postcards, this is an interesting website to visit:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Farm Wife ~~ Monday

This little piece of sculpture, dated 1985, was made by our middle daughter in a college art class. I guess it's a pretty good depiction of Popa and me, although we're not quite that old looking yet ~~ I don't think ~~ and the hat would more likely be on me. I think it's a splendid work of art! She is very talented, and as a child, when playing with her sisters, she would be making something for the dolls to wear instead of just carrying the dolls around. Her talent must come from her daddy, for they both can do just about anything they set their mind to do.

To see more of her work, go to the second half of the post for Nov. 18, 2010, We need a House.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Wild Farm Birds and Animals

We don't have many birds around the yard during the winter unless there's snow on the ground; then the little juncos just appear out of nowhere. But we do have large birds during the winter, such as Canadian geese, (this picture was taken last summer but they're here all winter

and then there's Edgar Allen Crow, (first picture) at the chicken house most mornings.

Recently, this hawk has been coming to the fence in back of the house almost every morning. On this morning, it was raining, and the hawk looked all puffed out and very wet.

Now and then it flies down and catches something (?)

Just this past week we've had bald eagles in the trees around the pasture.

Of course we've seen crows and hawks all of our lives; any farm wife knew hawks were a threat to her baby chickens or her laying hens. Crows were a nuisance in farmers' corn and
watermelon fields. But until a few years ago, the only time we would see geese was in the fall or spring as they flew overhead in their migration paths; bald eagles were only birds we had heard about or seen pictures of, so it's quite a thrill to be close to them.

There are other animals on the farm too that we didn't see when we were children: armadillos, deer, coyotes, and very rarely, a raccoon. Now these have become pests, making holes in the fields, eating flowers and garden plants, and, in the case of the raccoon, climbing the ladders of the feed bins at the chicken houses and going inside the bins with no way out. Sometimes we see as many as thirty deer grazing in the fields; Popa says when he was younger they had to go to the mountains to hunt deer. Pests or not, it's still somewhat thrilling to see them up close; that is all but armadillos and I'd be happy to never see another one.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Borrowed Toothbrush

For some reason, a visit to the dentist is usually not an experience a person enjoys. I was told once, by my dentist, if my husband had looked in my mouth before we were married, he wouldn't have married me. I didn't take it too personal and continued going to him for treatment until, at the age of 46, I took the big plunge and got braces. Now when I go to the dentist, I only see him once a year; the cleaning, x-rays, etc. are done by a dental hygienist. We talk and have even become friends in some cases.
There is no reason now to have dirty teeth. After each visit, the hygienist gives me a "goody" bag containing a new brush, toothpaste, and dental floss. Over time I've accumulated quite a collection of brushes.
Brushes have not always been available, or maybe affordable, for all children. As a child, I knew how to break off a little stem from a sassafras bush, chew one end until it was frayed, and then use it as a toothbrush. Of course it was pretty stiff and rough on my gums. I had a store-bought toothbrush; the sassafras brush was just something to try and I liked its taste.
I'd think all children have access to a toothbrush now and most probably complain about the chore of cleaning their teeth. This brings to mind a little story about my mother when she was a child:
Mama wanted a toothbrush; a real one with soft bristles and a celluloid handle.
She was tired of the rough, sassafras brushes she made and used on her walk to school each day. Two girls in the school had store-bought brushes and she was sure her teeth never looked as bright and shiny as their teeth. She looked with envy at the real brush someone had given to her baby brother. He didn't use it much; why couldn't she borrow it? So without anyone knowing it, she slipped the brush out of the house and brushed her teeth. How clean they felt! She ran her tongue over and around every tooth, savoring their sleekness. She went inside and looked into the mirror; how pretty and white her teeth were! But now she must put the brush back before someone missed it. First she would wash it good. There was a pan of hot water on the heater; she could use it to scald the brush. So she took the pan to the porch and poured the water over the brush. To her surprise, the bristles began falling out of the celluloid handle and in a jiffy they were all out. The brush was ruined.
Now I don't know what kind of trouble she was in, she didn't tell me that. However, it made such an impression on her that she remembered it for the rest of her life.
How spoiled we are!