We went to check the stock tank, looking through the house was an added bonus. Last time we looked around the house the doors were locked and/or stuck shut, someone had forced the back door open in the mean time so we got to go in. The door opened to stairs, up to the kitchen or down into the basement. We went up. As much as I would like to check out some of these basements I’m too chicken.
The part of the house we were in was in amazingly good shape,the wood work was beautiful. The windows had been broken and barn swallows swooped about our heads, their nests decorating every corner. I had hardly topped the stairs when my husband turned to me wanting to know if I heard it. I hadn’t, and still didn’t hear anything.
We stood looking at the kitchen as the noise came again. I heard it this time, clearly. It seemed to be coming from the sink cabinet which was right in front of the door out. Or maybe just out side the window. Could it be the wind whistling through, something? The window? No didn’t seem to be. A snake? If it was in the cabinet it could be echoing making that noise. That was a little scary. Really the whole thing was a little scary.
But my will was strong and my husband brave. We carried on. We looked around the main floor the noise occasionally echoing in the background barn swallows blasting out into our faces. Coming to the stairs we looked up debating. The floor in the back part of the house was great. The floor in the front of the house was rotted and falling into the basement, what would the upstairs be like? Then to add to our quandary the hissing, whistling sounds came again, louder now. They seemed to be reverberating down the stairs.
We, I, nearly turned and ran. Only my curiosity held me in place. Of course we went up. The upstairs room was charming, open and airy. In one corner was an old cast iron bed and I could imagine this as the perfect master bedroom. Built into the peak of the roof the ceiling sloped sharply downwards with walls maybe four foot high and doors for access to storage behind. Looking in one side I saw lots of daylight explaining the rotted floors beneath and some stored stuff, what I don’t know. As I was pondering it my husband looked into the door on the other side then came for me.
He took me by the shoulders steadying me as he pushed me towards the other door. I wouldn’t believe it he told me but it would be worth sticking my head into the dark forbidding hole. My eyes took a moment to adjust but my ears wasted no time in picking up the mysterious sounds we had heard from below. There before me stood the cause of the commotion and not at all anything I could have guessed.
Two little, bigger than a chicken so maybe not that little, white balls of fluff acting all ferocious with their wings held out and backs hunched menacingly. They were growling at us with all their might. Black heads with fierce beaks held low and threatening. I was terrified for a whole new reason. If these two large baby birds were here where was their mother? We oohed and awed briefly over the general cuteness then high tailed it out of there leaving the chicks alone in their rather unorthodox nest.
Outside we briefly pondered the breed of bird we had seen upstairs until the sight of a vulture circling overhead gave us our answer.
When he was young the man had lived in that house that stands on the hill. He and his wife, the house didn’t belong to them. They worked for the family that owned the ground. That family lived in the house too. They lived on the ground floor with the man and his wife living upstairs. It’s not a big house. By today’s standards barely big enough for a single family, but the man and his wife had been happy there.
He would talk of how they used to sit in the dormer looking out the big window to the south across the valley and rolling hills. They moved on to other places and other windows. Years later long after the house was left to sit empty and his wife passed on he would drive to the house and sit. Looking up at the window where they sat together, so happy, such a long time ago.
I love old houses.
Old things in general. My husband calls himself an old man, I love him. But lately I’ve had a chance to explore some of the local abandoned houses. That’s what we called them when I was a kid at least. I don’t know that there is a better term, empty, falling down old relics? I believe that my old bed and my parents bed came out of abandoned houses and some furniture. It never occurred to anyone at the time that the stuff belonged to anybody. Besides way back then it was just old junk, not antique yet.
I am fascinated by the history of these places. I wonder about the families that built them. Often Lilacs are growing in the yards and I think how much the women must have treasured the hardy bush out here in this land with out the comforts and easy growing flowers of back east. The joy of their brilliant purple blooms must have been even greater then surrounded by the bleak endless prairie. With all our modern conveniences we forget the true value of water. When we turn on the faucet to let water run endlessly on our green lawn we don’t remember the hard labor put into pumping water by hand or hauling it for miles to water a few precious flowers and a struggling garden that will have to feed the family.
A Tale Of Two Flowers
They are both incredibly beautiful living on opposite sides of the yard. I know I thought they were quite nice back when they were first coming into their own but with each passing day they become more spectacular. And bigger much bigger. I have to water them at least twice a day. Like all beauties they are very high maintenance.
I knew it was getting bad when I invented personalities for them.
No names, unfortunately, that would be easier than calling them this one or that one. I am tempted to follow that train of thought but will force myself to stick to the point.
This beautiful creature is a very carefully kept woman. She would never be seen out with out full make up and always wearing the latest styles. I’m sure she spends lots of time doing her nails and probably not much working. Some how despite all that she manages to be likeable and sweet not causing me to resent having to water her twice a day at all. Plus the Nasturtium smell heavenly.
This girl is more of a down home farm girl type. I could almost picture her barefoot in overalls, but more likely jeans and boots. I see her hair in braids and not a drop of polish on her nails. Her beauty is natural she doesn’t bother with makeup. The scent of her old fashioned heirloom petunias drifts through the windows at night filling the house with their heady scent. She is my favorite although the amount of water she consumes is quite ridicules.
Obviously I’ve gone insane but I am happy with my insanity.
Faith Like Potatoes
It was a pretty good movie really much better than the somewhat similar and yet completely different Machine Gun Preacher. That just made me cry as I clutched my child to my chest. Faith Like Potatoes was good and sweet with a nice message. But more to the point, I was digging potatoes yesterday. Yes this is all somehow related.
The plants are still growing and the potatoes maturing even though many are a good eating size. So I have been groping about in the dirt trying to unearth enough for a meal with out causing undue harm to the plant. I had dug all the way down a row and come up with two decent sized potatoes. I was happy with that, until I remembered that The Goblin Child had eaten all of mine last time. I had already dug through the whole row I was hot and sweaty and tired and The Goblin Child only has so much patience which was starting to wear thin. I decided to try the next row but figured that it would take awhile and I really needed to get going. Looking heavenward I asked God for help finding a potato but told Him never mind it was a silly little thing to trouble Him with. I walked over to the row stuck my hand in the ground and ran smack dab into the biggest potato yet.
I did it. It was an accident but that doesn’t change the outcome. I took the life of a beautiful living thing.
My flower basket had worms. We discovered them one day. Hundreds of tiny worms devouring one of it’s leaves. I was in a panic, what if they continued to multiply? What if they spread to my other flowers? I picked the leaf off then searched frantically for any other leaves bearing the destructive intruders. Finding a couple of other infected leaves I smashed them under my heel on the sidewalk.
Still worried I wanted something else I could do to prevent further desecration. Vinegar I thought, vinegar cures every thing. So I grabbed my handy dandy spray bottle of vinegar and squirted the flower thoroughly hoping it would kill the bugs. My Mom recommended a systemic bug killer so I picked up a bottle and dispensed it liberally. Shortly there after the plant began to wilt. I poured the water to it thinking it was getting dry like my gigantic flower baskets are prone to do. Nothing helped and I moved the very wilted flower far from the others so it didn’t spread.
I blamed the chemicals I must confess, isn’t that the current mode of society? Chemicals are evil, systemic insecticides are of the devil. Now, much later with the dead browns remains of the formerly glorious flower laying in a heap in the yard my grandmother mentions using vinegar as a weed killer.
“That can’t work” I thought “I just used vinegar to kill bugs on my flower basket”. Oh how the mind hides in denial. Doing some Googling I finally came to grips with the sad truth. I murdered my beautiful plant. This article said it best. Vinegar works by drawing the moisture from the leaves, thus the wilting that no amount of watering would fix. I learned a good lesson the hard way. Next time I will do a little more, any at all, research before I go taking drastic measures.