Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Words To Put On Paper

There are so many people writing today. There are millions of blogs out there. I'm sure there are millions of creative writers and authors as well. Why are so many people writing? Some people write because they want to become famous, they want to become rich, they want to be remembered or writing just makes them happy. People can write, create, and share it worldwide with just the click of a button. I don't think reading or writing is going away anytime soon. People are still searching for good reads.

Why Do I Write?

I didn't set out to write a book. I'm not from a family of writers. I set out to write the history of my great-grandfather but I didn't want to just record the facts from our family history. What I did want to do was transport people from the past and introduce them to you so they might be remembered. I wanted the reader to meet and get to know these people. Really get to know them.

When I was a child my grandmother shared her stories with me about her father as well as her own childhood stories. Unfortunately other family members didn't remember the stories she told. People can't live forever but if I write about them maybe they will be remembered. It's not just that I wanted to write but I needed to do it. I felt it was my duty. The thought came to me,"If you don't write this story who will?" God does have a purpose for us even though we don't know what it is at the time.

Not Everyone Was Supportive

There will be people who will  be out to reject you and your writing at anytime.  This will happen when you least expect it and it will come from those that you least expect it from. You might think it's because they don't know how much writing means to you or they're jealous and have a mean streak in them. Whatever the ready for it.

Writing Opened Up a Whole New World

I began to research the family history as well as historical events dating back to 1778 and moving forward to 1865. Over the three years that it took me to write this book the characters became a part of me and the story unfolded taking me to some amazing places and times. The story took me to places I never imagined going to. I was given a story to write about everyday, ordinary people who lived during a pivotal time in American History.

I finished writing the book with lots of encouragement and prayers from friends and family. I had no idea what to do next. I attended a reunion in my small hometown, where I met a man who was talking about having his book published. He was kind enough to give me the publisher's name and address so I could contact her. I scheduled an appointment with the publisher and a short time later everything fell into place. The door opened up to allow me to  meet so many creative people. All the people who played a part in the completion of this book lived  just about thirty minutes away. You could say they were right in my backyard and I never even knew they were there.

Why Do I Write?

I write because there are so many incredibly wonderful words to put on paper. Words are amazing. People are amazing because vibrant, amazing words can just pop right out of their mouth. It usually happens when you don't expect it to. 

I write because people are stories and there are so many stories to tell. I write because a voice in my head said, "If you don't do it,who will?"

No matter how old I get...I can still write. There are so many stories waiting to be told that I just might be writing on the day I die. I might not be remembered for anything that I write. I probably won't get rich or famous, but that's alright. 

I work in health care and I wish I had a quarter for every story I've heard. I have met so many people who think their story isn't important. I'm here to tell you that I've heard stories that could put some of the best Hollywood movies to shame.

Inspire and Encourage 

Inspire and encourage people to write. Write in a journal, write in a diary, write letters, send cards, tape notes around the house for your loved ones...start a blog. Encourage those around you to write. Encourage your family, your friends, your youth, your elderly. The written word has not lost its luster. Every word you think, speak, or write is important. Your story is important. 

Even if it's utter nonsense keep on writing because someone will love it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Raspberry Patch

We scurried off to the raspberry patch with pails in hand and a spring in our step. It was that time of year when those prickly plants with the slightly fuzzy leaves burst forth with the most delicious small, plump, red, juicy, berries. It wasn't just a patch of berries. It was a field of berries. Row after row of neatly planted red berry bushes or vines. Some people call them berry vines because the plants are usually supported by  trellises making them look like vines. My grandma planted those berries. I don't know who helped her plant all those berry bushes or how long it took to produce that delicious fruit. I do know my grandma put a lot of  hard work into maintaining that raspberry crop. I also know that when you're a child picking berries and filling up that small tin pail as well as eating almost as many as you put in the pail, is one of the best childhood experiences ever.

So off we went to pick berries, my big sister,  my brother, and myself with grandma leading the way. She always wore a dress, a homemade bib apron tied in the back  in a big bow, and wide heeled black shoes, scuffed, and worn over on the sides. Her light golden-yellow hair was pulled back in a bun with combs at the sides to hold it tightly in place.  She packed a hoe over her shoulder and extra containers for the berries. With clever looking blue eyes shining through her glasses she gave us plenty of warning to be on the lookout  for snakes which might be lurking in the berry patch. She often made humorous, witty remarks or made up little rhyming verses so I wasn't sure if this snake warning was real or not, nevertheless I kept a close eye out for anything slithering on the ground.

Once we got to the field we went about filling our pails with the ripe, red, berries as well as eating about as many as we picked. The sweat bees could be most pesky on a hot summer day, stinging me on the legs when I tried to swat them away. My brother was alone picking berries clear down at the end of the row when all of a sudden he started yelling. "It's a snake in the weeds! I think it went up my pant leg!" We watched from a far as he wildly shook his legs and danced up and down like a lunatic.

Calmly my grandma went to his rescue with the hoe in her hand. She raked the hoe through the weeds and checked out the situation with no sign of a snake being in sight. My brother often kept us entertained if not with his boyish antics then with his constant questions and teasing. My grandma often said he should become a lawyer because he was always asking questions or committing impromptu, mischievous, and laughable pranks.

And so we filled our containers with red, ripe, berries and went back to the house to get cooled off with drinks of iced tea or Kool aid.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Looking For Sputnik, Watching Westerns , and Family Time

We stood under the star filled night sky looking for Sputnik, the Russian earth-orbiting satellite. My mother said it would be circling the earth and to look for bright red blinking lights. I didn't know that we needed binoculars nor did I know that only amateur radio operators could pick up the radio signals. It was the fall of the year in 1957 and there I stood beside my mother looking up at the stars believing that I could see the bright red blinking lights on a Russian satellite.  In actuality it was the lights on an airplane passing over. So there I was a young child believing I saw the Russian space craft with a dog on board. My mother always was one to gaze into the starry night sky. She was filled with celestial wonderment, so much so that many years later she bought herself a telescope.

I complained that I was too cold to stand outside any longer. My mother grew weary of my whining therefore we hurried back to the house. We walked around to the back of the farm house to enter through the kitchen. We rarely used the front door. The screen door slammed shut upon our entering. The kitchen was empty now that supper was over. The dishes had been washed and put away.

The rest of the family sat in the living room watching the famous Marshal keep law and order in Dodge City in the television series that was on Saturday nights. My grandma was sitting in her bedroom in her platform rocking chair.  The floral pattern bedroom door curtains were drawn to one side so she could view the show. (It was common to use archway drapes or curtains in doorways to separate a room, keep out drafts or to keep heat confined to a room). My grandpa, Pop, was too ill to participate in watching the show. He had already retired for the evening. My sister, brother, uncle, mother, and myself sat in the living room watching the Marshal chase the bad guys out of Dodge. My oldest brother had gone off to college but sometimes came home on the weekends to be with the family.
I had an extended family somewhat like the "Waltons" television series that aired in the 1970's.

Cowboy shows were popular when I was growing up and my grandma never missed her favorite shows which of course became some of my favorite shows as well.  I can still hear those whips crack as the caravan of covered wagons headed out west not to mention being pleasantly entertained by another cowboy show with a handsome, suave, riverboat gambler/conman. There were plenty of cowboy shows.

Evenings were a time to rest and be with family because the next day we would start all over again from sunrise to sunset...that's life on a farm.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Back To "Nickle Plate Farm" or "My Garden of Eden"

Hello and welcome back to Nickle Plate Farm Memories.  Sorry I took so long getting back with you.

Meet me at the pig pen.

The large pig pen was beyond the barnyard, just up the old road a ways.  Because of the wafting smells the pig pen location was pretty far from the house, however, that's not to say that on a hot summer day when a sudden gust of air blew in just the right direction, you could get a strong whiff that reached clear to the house.  My grandma would cut tall coarse weeds which she called pig weeds and filled the wheelbarrow full.  Full --- meaning the tall weeds hung over the sides of the wheelbarrow. She pushed the wheelbarrow to the pig pen and dumped the weeds inside.  Later on in the year when the pig nuts,(a species of hickory nuts), would fall to the ground she would gather the nuts in buckets to feed to the pigs. You could say we did organic farming. 

I followed my grandma everywhere. I followed her to the pig pen where I peeked through the fence to watch the large black and white spotted hogs eat as my grandma poured the wet sloppy mixture from buckets into the long narrow wooden trough.  The hogs had a keen sense of smell and so it wasn't long before a few more hogs came on the run to join in the evening meal.  They snorted, squealed, rooted, and slopped around in the wet mixture as well as bumped and pushed each other out of the way.  Isn't that just like a bunch of pigs?

Now a pig has a large snout which is made for specifically rooting. Pigs love to root in the dirt, in the mud, around old trees, tree roots, as well as under fences, which accounts for an occasional pig on the loose. The wooden boards along the bottom of the woven wire fence made the hog pen look more like a fort but then it takes a fortress to keep large two-hundred pound, mud-caked pigs confined. I never had to chase a pig. I missed out on that opportunity. My brother says he had the pleasure of chasing pigs back into the pen. He claims it wasn't too difficult. I raised my eyebrows at that as we talked on the phone, reminiscing about Nickle Plate Farm and those happy pigs.

I know it's needless to say but I'll say it anyway, we had plenty of bacon on our table. 
Nickle Plate Farm

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Cock - A- Doodle -Do

Cock -A- Doodle-Do

Hello and welcome back to Nickle Plate Farm Memories.

The last time we visited I shared a few memories about my grandma as she did the morning farm chores. Today, I will share more barnyard memories.

I waited at the henhouse door as my grandma chased the hens off their nest. She quickly gathered the eggs and carefully placed them in a basket. The process seemed challenging as I fearfully watched for the Rhode Island Red rooster to come running around the corner at any moment.

I wasn't the only one in fear of the red rooster. The old red rooster put the fear in many family members and visitors  who came to the farm, many of whom barely got their car door open, their feet out of the car and on the ground, when the old red rooster would come on the run. I never knew a rooster could run so fast! How can a tiny bird brain be so scary? Terrorizing is a better word to describe those ruffled red feathers and black beady eyes coming after you!

One Sunday afternoon he raced across the yard, prepared to flog and spur his enemy. It may have been funny had it been a cartoon, however, this was the real thing.  My uncle grabbed a broom and swiftly hit the old red rooster in the head, knocking him to the ground as the rest of the family stood there in shock of the unexpected as well as very timely death of the Rhode Island Red rooster.

I'm sure we had chicken and noodles for supper the next day.  My grandma made the best homemade noodles.

Monday, March 26, 2018


Hi, and welcome to my author blog! I'm thrilled you stopped by my little corner of the world! I grew up in the 1950's and was raised on a farm in southeastern Ohio, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The Hocking Hills area is famous for hiking, horseback riding, camping, arts, crafts, and quaint, relaxing, picturesque country views. It's natural beauty never ceases to amaze the thousands of visitors who come here every year.  It seems to be the perfect place for relaxing, reading, and writing.

My interest in writing goes back to some intriguing stories my grandmother told me about her father, who fought in the Civil War.  Other stories of interest and curiosity were the stories she told of her own childhood, where she grew up in Dupont, Ohio.  I never tired of listening to her stories of which inspired my interest in our family history and historical events. See my book information at the bottom of this page.

A little about my own childhood

I have many fond memories of growing up on the farm where I followed my grandmother around as she did the chores.  I would follow her across the shaky old wooden footbridge that crossed the small creek leading to the barnyard. Together we followed the well worn path to the chicken house. She carried a bucket of chicken scratch feed while I carried an empty basket to carry eggs in. The warm morning sun shined on the old Plymouth Rock hen as she took a dust bath, scratching in the dirt, flapping her wings, and ruffling her feathers. The Rhode Island Reds were the first to come running when the scratch feed was thrown out on the ground. They were a friendly and happy bunch of brown egg-laying, free-range chickens. I can still hear those happy social clucking hens as they scratched and pecked in the dirt to find every last speck of grain. I should give a word of warning about those Rhode Island Red roosters.  They can become very aggressive and sneaky, but that's another story to tell.

Come visit me again and I'll tell you more about growing up on the farm. 

I'll see you soon!