Friday, July 21, 2017

Elephant Rock State Park

We have had the opportunity to visit a few of the Missouri State parks over the last several years and one of our favorites was Elephant Rock State Park. We took the boys there in the summer of 2014. It is one of those places that is hard to describe to other people and even showing pictures doesn't do it justice. It is a 134 acre park in southeast Missouri. It is filled with massive boulders made of granite. There are lots of picnic tables set up near the entrance and it has a paved walking trail and you can climb to the top for a beautiful view.


It's a little hard to tell how big these rocks actually are...

but here we are standing between them. The rock on the right is named Dumbo and is 27 feet tall, and 34 feet long. 



 The kids had fun climbing all over everything. They thought it was quite an adventure!

Koda found a big pile of rocks. He was impressed!

 I think he enjoyed this state park more than any of us. 



I spent most of my time trying to keep track of this little climber. 

This narrow path is called "Fat Man's Squeeze". 


Mark had to try climbing up everything the hard way. 

Kaden was pretty impressed with this one. 


There are two old rock quarries in the park and rock from the park was used in building the City Hall in St. Louis as well as various other buildings and structures around the city. 


View from the top. I hope to visit here again during the fall and see this view with all the trees changing colors. 

-Rachel

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Don't mess with these ladies cause they're packing heat!

I've been going through old pictures of ancestors from days gone by..  Sadly I have found that  no one put any information on the back telling the date or who was in the pictures.  But I am proud to know that these ladies were most likely my relatives and they had no problem "packing heat" as they say today.  I'm guessing to survive in that day and time you had to be tough and you had to know how to shoot a gun.  I'm proud of these ladies and if they were not Hicksie Chicks from days gone by I will adopt them into the Hicksie Chick sisterhood!   They are "bad to the bone!"

Grandma Lizzie was a quilter

I  remember as a little girl going to dinners at my Grandpa and Grandma Hicks house.  By the time I was old enough to remember much about them they had moved off the family farm to a house in El Dorado Springs.  I love old time stories and wish I remember the old home place but sadly I don't and the only picture I have found of the old homestead is one painted by my Aunt Grace.   I remember at those same dinners her salmon patties,  sour kraut with hot dogs,  macaroni and tomatoes and her hot rolls.  I still love all of those today!



As I got a little older I remember going to Grandma Lizzie's house where she took me to a little room off the kitchen and taught me how to sew on her old treadle sewing machine..  I own that old machine today and treasure it.  I don't remember what we sewed.  It was enough to just know I was SEWING!  And those old machines wanted to go backwards if you didn't do it just right!  

As I spent time with my Aunt Alean these last few years she would tell me stories of what she remembered growing up with her mom.  She told me my Grandma Ruth Elizabeth who was always called Lizzie was known in the area she lived for her quilts.  The ladies would get together and make quilts and that was probably their time of socializing. My dad called them "quilting clubs".  

My Aunt Alean had several of my Grandma Lizzie's quilts and my favorite times were when I would spend the nights at her house and would crawl  into bed and pull one of those quilts up over me knowing I was touching something my own Grandma touched and loved also! 


Notice the hand stitching I have enlarged on one of the quilts?  Beautiful and labor intensive!  My Aunt Alean treasured these old quilts also and made sure they were displayed on the beds in the spare bedroom.   There is a part of me that wishes I too was  a quilter and lived in those days until I remember the hardships they lived through.  Homesteaders had to be a tough bunch!   So instead,  I will treasure quilts made by those gone on before me!


Here's a picture of my Aunt Alean who has since passed away with one of my Grandma Lizzie's quilts.  I have snuggled under this quilt many times in this bedroom.  I use to tell Aunt Alean just to put my name on the door cause I was there so often.  Times I now treasure as the memories we had together is all I have left.  I miss her but know she is enjoying heaven and being reunited with her beloved husband and her mom!




My Grandma Lizzie also made the throw pillows on the bed.


I think of all the time it took to hand stitch her quilts.  A labor of love for sure!


This old Chatty Cathy doll always sat first on the bed at my Grandma Lizzie's house and then later my Aunt Aleans.  I believe my Aunt Alean made the hat and dress for this doll.  I do remember it sitting on my Grandma's bed but was she was wearing is pretty vague in my memory bank.  

I hope you enjoyed taking this little trip down memory lane.  Quilts were an important part of life on the homesteads.  Not only for warmth but they added color to a world that could use some cheer.  I love old quilts and have several that I have found at auctions and flea markets.  You will find I adopt their owners too as my ancestors.  

 I have made a couple quilts in my time.  One I made with my daughter in law before she married my son and I have given that quilt to her hopefully to treasure and the other I still have.  But I have also found with today's hectic schedules I don't have the time and patience to put into making quilts.  Now,  smaller wall hangings are a possibility!  


Here's a picture of my Grandparents on the Hicks side.  My Grandma Lizzie is holding my brother and my Grandpa Art is holding me.


And this is a picture of my Grandma Lizzie probably dreaming of the days gone by....


And one last picture of me with some of my Grandma Lizzie's quilts.  Aunt Alean had moved from her home in Carthage following the death of her beloved husband and the Hicksie Chicks moved her into a house she bought in El Dorado Springs.  We loved helping her unpack her treasures including Grandma Lizzie's quilts!  

If you are fortunate enough to have had old quilts handed down from one generation to another consider yourself blessed.   Old quilts are a treasure indeed!









Sunday, July 9, 2017

Grandpa's Boots

I went to grandmas house today to apply a special wireless cardiac monitor that she has to wear for the next month. While I was there she offered me some sweet corn from her garden. She said they had more than what they could do with and she knew I would either eat it or freeze it. So after applying the monitor and getting her set up with the transmitter, we headed for the garden! But not before grandma decided to use grandpas work boots to go outside so she wouldn't have to take her house shoes off. Of course as soon as she slipped on the boots she looked at me and said," isn't this a picture opportunity?" I grab the phone and took a picture just as she was trying to do a high kick with the boots on. 


We stepped out of the house and headed towards the garden but not before grandpa saw us and offered to supervise from "his spot". He does that quite a bit, trying to make himself feel like he is large and in charge at 93 years old when we both know that grandma is the one that keeps him on his toes.


 I will go back to their house next weekend to change out monitor transmitters and see what other antics grandma is up to.


Grandma scaling the electric fence to get to the corn.

-Janet Wallace Taylor


Excerpt from Grandma's journal:

Now I still joke and play tricks on Grandpa. I wear his chore boots with my house shoes on so I don't have to hunt up mine and wear them. I was needing to empty the garbage. He set his boots out to wear as he was putting on his coat. I jumped in the boots (size 13) and grabbed the bucket of garbage and ran out and emptied it. He was putting his cap on and looking for his boots as I was walking in the door. He looked at me and said, "I should have known."

Friday, July 7, 2017

Redneck Wind Chimes

After visiting a friends yard and seeing her wind chimes I decided I could make some cheaper than I could buy them.  So I headed to my local flea markets to find old cooking utensils.  And rummaged through my own cabinet drawers for old utensils.  I used some floral wire to attach them to the rim of an old lid.  And Ray at the shop drilled the holes that I needed.  It really was a quick project to make.  And I love the clanging sound when the wind blows!




Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Princess goes fishing

We call my little grand-daughter a princess and she loves pretty dresses and her baby dolls and a myriad of other things and lest I forget she is into melodramatics when it benefits her cause..  But Nana is teaching her girls can do things that boys like to do too.  Like fishing.  I loved to fish when I was a kid.  In fact,  I asked for and got a tackle box and pole for my 16th birthday.  There was a pond on the property next to where I grew up and after school I would change my clothes and  climb over the fence and tromp through the woods to get to that pond so I could fish before it got dark.  So it made me happy to see my little grand-daughter wanting to go fishing!


Her dad is teaching her the basic skills of fishing.  Like how to cast.  
Don't think she was interested in the first basic skill of how to bait your hook.  We'll save that lesson for another day.  It's enough that she wants to hold the pole at this point. 

Look at that smile!  

And of course you must be barefoot to be a real fisherman.  Er, fisherwoman....

And here's Nana and Maddy sitting on the dock benches getting our picture taken together.  Fishing buddies for sure!  



Tool Belt Jim's latest project- handcrafted cabinets made from cedar


Is that a character out of some science fiction movie?  Who is that masked alien?  Oh, it is just Tool Belt Jim working in the shop.  He's custom building some cedar cabinets.  He's not impressed when he saw what the wood bees were doing to his stacks of cedar.


This is what a wood bee looks like.  Kinda like a bumble bee but don't think they sting..  


But they will bore holes in your wood and then makes about 6 inch tunnels where they lay their eggs.  You can see where they have bored two holes and then started their tunneling process.  Guess they go in one hole and out the other.  I don't know...


He says some of his lumber is ruined because there are so many holes and unseen tunnels in it.  Cedar is put inside closets a lot to repel moths but guess some insects love it.


First Tool Belt Jim cuts the trees down into logs and hauls them about 25 miles to his shop where they are sawed into lumber and then planed. The part of the log with the lumber left on can be sold as scrap to be burned. 


The lumber is then squared up I guess you would call it and stacked so air can circulate between the boards.  And apparently giving the bees room to do their magic too.


This picture shows the cabinet doors waiting to be sprayed with a sealer.


It is important that you wear protective gear to keep from inhaling the fumes of the sealer.


and now the spraying begins







Everything has to be given several coats ...



The finished product looks beautiful!



And now to deliver  and install the top cabinets.  Next project is to make the bottom cabinets.  I'm sure someone is one happy customer!