A Visit Home for the 4th.

For the Fourth this year we decided to hang out at Oakwood.  We are getting excited about moving home and had to head up and spend the holiday checking out all the fun things we could do. Living out in the country is totally different from living in a subdivision… everything from the lack of neighbors, the lack of constant noise, and a to do list a mile long… oh and internet and services being spotty.  Groceries and food being a drive away…  Even the fact that cable is not an option.

Eating at the Old House

We started by picking up pizza on the way out and taking it to house.  We proceeded to eat at the house I grew up in.  My brother has been redoing it and it looks completely different.  If you have read my stories though, my whole childhood was my parents redoing the house, so the changes are not really anything different from the constant state of flux my parents had the house in.  My brother has done a great job so far though.  He’s doing everything himself and it looks pretty amazing.   My brother has a huge dog (St Bernard) that my youngest hasn’t adjusted to, so we are still working on that one…


We have had a swing for a while and hadn’t had a chance to hang it.  This trip my brother finally helped, and it is hung!  It holds 600 pounds and everyone kept taking turns to swing out in the yard.  It’s got a great view also, so we had a great time out on the swing – in the shade too!







I had to mention the toads though!  They were everywhere.  There favorite spot though is at the garage door. At one point we were seeing 7 or 8 toads hopping around right inside the garage….  I’m not sure what the thrill was with the garage but the toads seem to have found it.  There were also squirrels making a racket – to me they sounded like toads, but my mother was convinced it was squirrels.  We were seeing deer everywhere too. Out in the country we don’t hear the constant sound of cars, lawn mowers, and people, but the animals are always there….

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Going to the Pancakes, Parade and Fireworks

Oakwood has a pancake breakfast at the firehouse on the 4th first thing in the morning.  We HAD to head out to that.  The parking is a mess, but we did it.  We were there early enough that we were able to head back to the farm and get our wagon and ice for the parade before heading back out.  Parades in a small town include candy, people you know are on floats and kids are everywhere.  My mother’s goal is to collect as much as she could, but it was fun!  Despite the way to hot weather this year, we had a good time.

I tried to record the fireworks.  I’m still not sure how such a small town can have such a big fireworks display…. but they do.  I managed to catch all but the final set.  It was odd not having our own fireworks, but I’m sure it was much more safer.  We did make up for it, but shooting off my dad’s canon before though.

Clearing the Pond

Shooting the Canon

My father built this canon many years ago.  My brother and I have never tried to load it ourselves, but it was time to get a video of it going off.  To load it, we use a Dixie cup of gun powder (I said mix flour in like my dad did sometimes), a fuse, and some paper.  Shooting something out of it seemed a bad idea.

We loaded the canon, got it lit… and of course the first try didn’t go off. We then had to test the gunpowder, and then try to relight it.  My middle son managed to catch it all on camera.

My father had built the canon with a special order barrel and it’s now been shot many times, including at the  grand reopening of the bar the Little Nugget.  It’s been stolen and returned, and it’s a family legacy to pass on….

Driving the Tractor

Finally we got my little one to sit on the tractor with my mother. It won’t be much longer until we can get him to drive it!



A trip down memory lane – Champaign, Muncie, and Home

A trip down memory lane – Champaign, Muncie, and Home

Driving from Champaign to home past Muncie I decided to click some pictures. The road before Muncie is flat with fields – apparently a new hog farm (huge) is being discussed for the area North of Muncie.  Parks Livestock and another group are planning some hog farms. At the turn of the century Muncie was a mining town.  The mining dirt piles are all covered now, but the area is on the east side of town.    

The second picture shows a couple places I thought the train station may have sat, and then the main road in Muncie. Population 200 by the sign but 155 at the 2000 census…. According to the 2010 census, Muncie has a total area of 0.18 square miles.  Interestingly enough I remember the High School on the east side of Muncie has the address of Fithian Illinois – so is Muncie surrounded by Fithian?

Oakwood High School looks different from when I was a student but a lot more similar to when I was there than when my dad was there. During the years my father was a student the high school burnt and only the gym was left. (According to my aunt the high school exploded?) The high school I went to was built around the gym my father attended.  The drive that came in to the front door and went off in each direction is no longer there.  The drive now goes across the front and includes a parking lot, but the drive from the road is gone.  Seeing the new drive did make me question my memory a little. Even the name has changed a little.  The school was Oakwood Township High School, but has now dropped the Township. 

As I moved toward home and turned onto our road I passed the location my father went to grade school – one room school house at the time, and the house he grew up in. Finally I passed the location of my great grandparents house! Where the orange flowers grow.  Those flowers caused my allergies to act up every year!

The one room school house was turned into a residence many years ago and burnt one night.  It was named Lakeshore school for the area that the school was built in. A new house stands on it’s spot.  My grandfather’s house still stands in the same spot with a new family living in the house.