Friday, November 12, 2010

The Porch Swing

I just love this picture of my Grandpa on the porch swing. It is very typical of him and shows his strong, proud independence. I seldom remember him sitting down, though; he was a busy man with a 50-acre farm and 10 children and 25 grandchildren. Every time I saw him he was harvesting the garden, putting up hay, feeding livestock, shoeing horses and the like.

I also love the background of the photo: the simple, traditional use of wood in the house; the old screen door, no doubt with a hook latch; the WV vegetation crowding onto the porch from the right; the peg on the wall where Grandpa has hung his coat. The sunshine and the shadow of the photographer (who took it?). A classic.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chicken Dinner

(Click on photo to enlarge.)

When my grandma fed chickens she would sometimes hold food up in the air and make the chicken jump for it like the one is doing in the picture. Chickens were just part of daily life on our WV farm - they were just always around. Some darn rooster was always cockadoodledooing in the morning and waking me up. Their clucking and squawking was the background for anything going on outside.

They could fly and sometimes flew over the fence and into the yard surrounding the farmhouse and I had to chase them out. All animals were kept out of the fenced-in yard but had the rest of the 50 acres to wander. I'd go with grandma to feed them each day and also to collect eggs from their nests. In the spring there were soft fuzzy little chicks that I loved to pet and carry around.

The building in the back with the open door is where they'd roost at night on wooden poles up off the ground; the lower half of that building was where they had their nest boxes. They had comfy little wooden boxes about a foot off the floor and filled with hay where they lay their eggs. Sometimes you'd have to sneak eggs out from under a wary hen and she'd peck you on the wrist.

We had chicken practically every Sunday dinner. I would watch Grandpa chop the head off after which the headless chicken would run and flop around for a while (probably why I have nightmares), then Grandma would pluck out the feathers and light a newspaper on fire and singe any down left on the body. Then I'd watch her in the kitchen cutting it open, removing the insides and frying it up. Living off the land!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cemetery Visit

This is my grandma Rose and me (10 years old) in our church cemetery visiting my grandpa's grave. She has some tissue in her hand because she had been crying. She really loved my grandpa and still cried over his grave many years after he was gone. That kind of long-term marriage is almost unheard-of today and I think we've lost something.

It was always a comfort to walk in the cemetery by Alderson Church and see the headstones of my family (both Creasys and Browns). It made me feel near to relatives that were dead and gone. And often a stroll out  to the family graves after church engendered family stories, which I loved. I've always loved a story.