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!



Here Comes That Dirty Cop!

It’s funny (funny strange) thinking back now on how funny and well liked my dad was.  Right now he mostly sits in his chair and watches tv. When people come over he doesn’t really talk much to them, and that includes me. It’s hard to reconcile the person he is today with the person he was.

My mom called to tell me that my Uncle Tom was in the hospital. He will be ok from the sounds of it – though it also sounded like the family grapevine had worked pretty well, but it reminded me of the story of each time he would drop by on patrol as a state trooper in Illinois while we lived in a trailer in my Aunt Margaret’s yard.  My dad had taught me (2 or 3 year old me) to run out screaming here comes that dirty cop every time Uncle Tom showed up.

I remember my dad telling a story about getting pulled over and getting something like 40 warning tickets on an old grain truck… Hmmm wonder why. He said the officer was a friend of my uncles and told my dad he would have given him more, but his hand cramped up.

Dad even has stories about talking a police officer in Georgia out of a ticket on their honeymoon. He made friends with the officer and invited him up to Illinois to go fishing.  I think mom even said he gave him directions.

I remember my dad playing outside with us, especially during the winter. He did everything from make go-carts with drills for motors, to use the tractor to let us sit in the scoop and make it an amusement ride going up and down and around in circles. As we got older he would make us our own race tracks for larger go carts, and finally we moved on to him giving us old beat up cars to drive around in the fields.

– I also remember the day he told me to go drive around in the disced part of the field with this old cadillac they have aquired…  Not the ploughed!  After being towed out by a tractor, I’ll never get those two confused again! I think I was only old enough to see over the steering wheel.

Despite dad doing all sorts of pranks – yes he once threw a snake onto my foot and then shot the snake. Gave us flares to light fireworks, and I think I’ve already mentioned the canon contest previously….  My dad was pretty serious when he was worried about us too.

I also remember walking beans and passing out one year (6th grade I think). My dad picked me up, threw me over his shoulder and carried me out of the field. He then drove me to my Aunt Margaret’s where he left me. Then despite my (for some crazy reason, and I think it involved that I was the only girl out there) wanting to walk beans that year, my dad banned me from the field for the year.   I was probably the only farmer’s kid around that wasn’t forced to work in the field that year.

Uncle Tom and I

Uncle Tom and I

Dad pulling me in the snowI’m pretty sure hooking a sled up to a lawn mower and pulling it would be frowned on now —- especially with a 2 year old on it, but back then it was what we did without ipads, and TV and electronics.  You can even see the tracks where my dad had been pulling me around and around the yard. I recognize Aunt Margaret’s yard from the picture. I keep saying that I’m fairly amazed that myself (and most of my friends) survived childhood on the farm. But I also know that our parents were usually with us. I remember lots of times, trying to convince mom and dad to let me stay home while they drove around to ‘watch corn grow’ and even one where dad kicked my door in and broke the lock because I didn’t want to go. But we survived to adulthood.