Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Another Monster has been released!!!! down on the farm

My last blog stirred something inside me, this happens every once in awhile and every time I fall back like a drunk off his booze I get drawn in again to telling stories from my life .So here goes a little story about a tiny fishing Village on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, Marie Joseph. A hop, skip and jump on the road to Cape Breton. Where as a child I spent one to three weeks every summer . My Mom's family had a working farm with a connecting general store where they sold their own milk ,butter, meat ,vegetables as well I remember barrels of molasses they would dip into for folk's ,they had fun nick knacks from China ,fishing gear for the neighboring fishermen ,who would trade at times fish/lobster for meat and veg. My mother ,God rest her soul, I think about her everyday ,I bet I'm not the only one. Well Mom would love to tell us the story about when she was a young girl in school and all her friend's would be eating Bologna for lunch while she hung her head with shame because she was stuck with Lobster Sandwiches again, we use to laugh and talk about this while she was cleaning her lobster and mine at the same time, even though she had it so much when she was a child she never lost the love of a good boiled Nova Scotia lobster as well I remember her cleaning all the bones out of my salt herring and still not miss a stroke in getting her share in, nothing better then boiled salt Herring and potatoes...oh ,do you not agree?

Back to the farm, my great Uncle Alex was the man of the farm and his wonderful wife Cora was just that my Aunt Cora, she was a very big woman and I can see her sitting right inside the kitchen door everytime we would arrive for our visit,looking out the side window for costumers , the arms on her rocking chair were sprung because of her weight . They had gas pumps as well ,the store was just a walk into another large side room off the upstairs steps. Her footwear always stuck in my mind ,I believe she was so large she could only be comfortable in moccasins and her shoes as with the chair arms bulged on the sides, interesting what we remember from when we were kid's .She always had an apron on and I remember her hair being salt and pepper in color and rather witchy looking now that I think about it all these years later. But no finer Lady would you want to meet, she had the most wonderful Eastern Shore drawl when she spoke which if you asked me to mimic it today I couldn't but I can hear it in my mind as I sit here. Don't you Love it when that happens? I can also smell the bread which was always cooling on the counter . Now that I hopefully have painted a picture of Aunt Cora ,lets talk about Uncle Alex for that is where you would find me ,up bright and early every morning to go to the barn with him , milk the cows, feed the chickens and take the cows out to pasture for the day to be brought back again at night. I can see in my minds eye the cobwebs on the barn windows.Uncle Alex was a fairly slim normal height of a man ,always with five o'clock shadow on his weathered face, his ball cap or actually it was more of a train conductors looking cap, see in above B/W photo , I remember it looking like it had seen many days of hard work and even when he was dressed in his Sunday best go to meeting cloths for a funeral or wedding,he still had that Heavenly smell of barn and livestock wafting from him. Over the years I have had some wonderful thoughts and moments regarding the smell of a barn, am I strange to love that smell so ? maybe, but I think not. When he and I would get back from taking the cows out to pasture I would then help Aunt Cora separate the milk,she would bake with fresh milk daily. I see the big cream separator in the side room off the porch and right outside the kitchen. I can smell the fresh milk , oh how nice that was. She used dish cloths for filtering the milk and then our next chore was to make butter...yes homemade butter. No wonder Chuck and I choose to try our hand at small scale hobby farming when we married and moved to the country...thank you Uncle Alex and Aunt Cora for that . I played on old hay wagons throughout the day, I was found once in the barn sound asleep laying with one of my many pet calves from over the years ,I always no matter what color they were, called them "Brownie". Making hay was fun ,I never had to work hard and I hope I wasn't in Uncle's Alex's way or under foot , I never did get that impression, actually we were pretty darn close ,we would lay on the old head ache couch at the end of the day in the kitchen with smells of Aunt Cora's delicious meals sending aromas throughout the house landing in our sleepy worn out from a hard days work nostrils and then before bed we would sit in the fancy parlor and watch TV with the old rabbit ears on top , maybe one channel. I remember Aunt Cora had a blanket on the fancy couch because of Alex's work cloths and she had a piece of clear plastic pinned across the back wall of the couch because his greasy hair might have stained her wall paper.

One thing that always amused me and I thought about it years later was the fact they sold toilet paper in their store but choose to have catalogs to use instead of TP in the outhouse. Mom ,Dad and I would sleep upstairs in the front guest room and we at night would use the most beautiful blue willow chamber pot and bowl and pitcher set for morning grooming. We had real toilet paper in our room but not outside. Mom was a bad one for Pepsi and every night on our way upstairs to bed she would pop into the store and get a bottle ,remember the inside door to the store was at the the right of the stairs , that was a kid's dream to have a store right in your house. I would work in the store at times with Aunt Cora, you know I get the feeling Aunt Cora and Uncle Alex must have been stuck baby sitting me a lot because I was always with one or the other of them, while Mom and Dad would visit old friend's and really only remember Mom at bed time . I was kept very busy down on the farm . I would Love to work in the store, not doing much of anything but enjoying feeling very special ,being behind the counter , it seems every Summer I would get one of those special nick knacks I told you about and I would always pick a ceramic horse,I had this horse collection for years.

Sometimes when Mom and Dad were out late I would sleep in the what I want to call the nursery because it was a very tiny room off of Aunt Cora's room,something we today would make into a dressing room. In this tiny room was a sleigh bed with a down filled mattress,comforter and pillow, I would just sink in this bed and sleep like a baby.

One day when I was in the outhouse which was out back down a path past Uncle Alex's woodshed, I got stuck there for awhile, he had a Goose and Gander and I guess the Gander was on her nest and Daddy Goose was in a mood or protecting Momma because everytime I would attempt to leave that outhouse this guy would chase me back in. Finally I heard uncle Alex in the wood shed and cried for help, and was eventually rescued from that little adventure.

Making hay was a fun time for me, my job was easy ,I would ride on top of the hay wagon and stomp it down, my favorite work horse's name was "Billy". One Summer arriving there on the farm just after being at the Bridgewater Big Ex. I had a couple pieces of that cheap jewelry ,remember they would engrave it for you right there at the Ex.? I tied a piece of jewelry to his bridle. This picture above is of me in Uncle Alex's hay wagon with Billy the horse. This image is so small maybe I can figure out how to make it bigger.I think I was about ten in this shot.

My sister ,rather then stay with us on the farm would always continue on to where our Father was from Goldenville where there were two cousin's near her age.Goldenville is just a couple of miles from today (Historic Sherbrook Village) Guysbough County . When I knew it ,it was literally a side road ,you could go straight to our dad's homestead on the way to some old mine shafts or veer to the left which would take you back to the highway. In it's day Goldenville was a bombing place . You can imagine back then during the old Gold mining days . Our Father luckily missed out going to war because as a young teen he worked in the Gold mines driving dynamite trucks which was a very much needed job back then . Most of the able bodied men were over seas and only the young men and women were left for these jobs.

Of course when I was there the older girl's would rather not have me tag along with them ,so I would bake biscuits with Aunt Rene (Irene) her biscuits were some of the best tea biscuits I have ever had in my 57 years . She had a big shallow metal sink with the old time hand pump and I remember washing my hair in it, you had to heat the water on the wood stove and be creative as to how you rinsed trying to get the temperature just right with the mix of heated water from the stove and fresh cold well water from the hand pump. Something else I recall was in every bedroom there was a center ceiling light and there would be a string tied to the light switch and coming down tied to the bed headboard and you would crawl into bed at night after a great day in a super place and reach up and pull the string to turn the light off to then fall into a blissfull sleep.
Mom and Dad lived In Goldenville when they first married ,after a couple years Dad took a job in the Goldmines in Lunenburg County and eventually ended up in Liverpool.

You know Living that type of life is hard ,I have done it ,not only back then when I was visiting these wonderful places as a child but before our son was born, we chose to live like this, we went inshore fishing for a bit and lived in a little place called Feltzen South in Lunenburg County. We had no running water or electricity, no convinces of today's world but I believe everyone should experience this way of life if only for a short time, whenever I flush I'm Thankful.
Our time in Feltzen South is a story in itself, to be told another day.

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