Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Early Morning Chores

Life on the farm, you might say settled into a routine after awhile, early morning chores  being at the top of the list.

Early morning chores was, essential to farming.

As a young boy, dad always woke me up early in the morning to help milk the cows... and feed... the rest of his livestock.

Like most teenagers, I disliked early morning chore's  immensely .

I knew dad's views on the matter,  was way  different than mine.

 His view and recommendation for early morning chores, were get-er done boy with a capital D. 

Seems like when the teenage years come your way , and you're at the peak of growing, you need a little more sleep...at least...  that's the way I felt about it.

One morning while doing my chores, I made a  unusual and most shocking discovery.

Gathering corn from the crib,a black snake managed to get into my basket while filling it up with corn .

I wanted to destroy that thing so badly.  But could hear dad in my head saying .

Don't destroy black snakes son.  Because they are your friend, they catch and keep mice away from the barn.

At the moment I wasn't sure if that was good thinking or not,  I  thought maybe mice were better to deal with, than the snake .

I did spare the snakes life, and let it go against my best wishes.  All the while hoping it would just leave the barn, and never come back.

  From then on, my early morning visits to the corn crib,became more cautious .

Maybe the  black snake sensed I was afraid of it when I let it go.

And never came back anymore, Don't know, I was well pleased  with the out come.

Until this day,  I have never developed a liking for black snakes.     Page 199

Until next time.   God Bless.

My Meditations by,  Coleman

Friday, April 21, 2017

Soap Making

Soap Making

Yup ! we made our own soap back in the olden days before modern soap making took over.

Dad (Veltie )and Mom (Jewel Schell) made their soap in the fall of the year when it got cold enough for butchering the hogs, usually after a frost or two .

Because lard was one of the ingredients needed.

On soap making day mom and dad  started by pouring  lye into a pot of water stirring it with a wooden spoon or paddle, until the lye would sizzled and heat the  water up to about 85 degree.

While that was going on  dad heated the lard in an iron kettle to about 90 degree.

Then he poured the two together, stirring the mixture until it was like a Slurpee.

After about 30 minutes it was poured it into molds and let set for a few days or until it was hard enough to slice into bars.

There you have it... Lard and lye... that was all you needed to make soap, plus some elbow grease of course.

From clothes and stains to dirty dishes and floors — even to poison ivy and bug bites — lye soap was the answer for the family’s daily cleaning needs.

Until next time,  God Bless.

Coleman  Schell

Thursday, April 13, 2017

What a suprise

Late in the evening, the day before my eighth Birthday.

 Mother ask me to go to the store for her, to get some  baking soda and baking powder for bread making .

 She was completely out of the two, and it was something she needed desperately to finish  with her baking.

The little family store wasn't far away and was owned and operated by Willey Sherman, a close family friend.

Willey would let you buy things on credit when cash was low.

Mother said to tell Willey to put the items on our tab she would pay for them latter.

And for me to hurry back, it would soon be dark.

Yes Momma I replied , as I hurriedly  left for the store.

Barefooted and with my trusty little sling shot, my choice of weapon if I needed one along the way.

I ran all the way to the store , hardly breathing hard in doing so.

I couldn't do that today.

 Willey gathered the items I needed, I signed for them and was soon on my way home.

I was running along at a pretty good pace through the wooded area that I had come through earlier.

By now it was much darker, making it hard for me to see.

I heard something break a tree branch, and coming straight toward me, I  froze in my tracks .

Low and behold it was Reni my German shepherd dog who had followed me to the store, with out my knowledge.

 My heart was in my throat for awhile, as he ran up to greet me.

I was so thankful it was Reni, instead of a bear or something else, of which my sling shot wouldn't have been any match for.

When I reached home and told mother about it, she was thankful all ended well, and promised not to send me to the store anymore so late.

This was one of the stories I still remember today, some 67 years after it happened.

Reni my best buddy, I loved that dog.

Even though he scared me half to death that day.

Until next time, God Bless.

My Meditation by,  Coleman

Dog Patch Zoo located in the community of Flat Lick, Kentucky, some  seven miles north of  the city of London.

The Zoo and the  adjoining Trading Post was established,  maybe around 1950 and grew to be a well loved stop for travelers,using U.S. 25 .

With the creation of Interstate 75, the trading post was relocated to exit 41 of Intestate 75, in London, Kentucky...its current home today.
I remember going to the Dog patch Zoo while it was in Flat Lick, to see a large Alligator they were advertising they had.
I wasn't the only one interested in seeing the Alligator it seems,  shortly after I arrived, a School Bus load of Kids  pulled up.
The kids were having  an enormous amount of fun getting off the bus, and thrilled to be attending the Zoo  it was oblivious by the excitement on their faces.
Arthur Chestnut sort of a vagabond to the area; had appointed himself to be acting director to the Zoo that day.
Arthur was directing traffic to the Alligator site,  seems like he was about as excited as the kids and my self, to be seeing a large real live Alligator up close for the first time .
Since moving to London....  The Dog Patch Trading Post...  became known as... "Dog Patch Barn"... and has been home to some of the most unusual gag gifts and hillbilly tourist tack imaginable .
There are those who embrace "Dog Patches" hillbilly heritage and then there are those who would seek to ignore it.
Guess I'm in the former group I've always enjoyed visiting the Barn to see the latest gifts and gags.

Until Next Time.  God Bless.
My Meditations by,   Coleman

Dog Patch Zoo located in the community of Flat Lick, Kentucky, some  seven miles north of  the city of London.
The zoo and adjoining Trading Post was established,  maybe around 1950 and grew to be a well loved stop for travelers,using U.S. 25 . 
With the creation of Interstate 75, the trading post was relocated to exit 41 of Intestate 75, in London, Kentucky...its current home today.
 I remember going to the Zoo during the time it was still in Flat Lick, to see a large Alligator they had there.
I wasn't the only one interested in seeing the Alligator it seems,  shortly after I arrived, a School Bus load of Kids  pulled up.
They were having  an enormous amount of fun , excited to be attending the Zoo  it was oblivious by the excitement on their faces.
Arthur Chestnut sort of a community vagabond had appointed himself as acting director to the Zoo.  Arthur was directing traffic to the Alligator, he was about as excited as the kids to be seeing a large Alligator up close for the first time .
Since moving to London....  The Dog Patch Trading Post...later  became known as... "Dog Patch Barn"... and has been home to some of the most unusual gag gifts and hillbilly tourist tack imaginable .
There are those who embrace "Dog Patches" hillbilly heritage and then there are those who would seek to ignore it.
Guess I'm in the former group I've always enjoyed visiting the Barn to see the latest gifts and gags.  As well as my visit to the zoo when it was in Flat Lick.

                                                          Page 134

Possum Trot church was what you would envision if you were told to imagine a country church — white, wooden, and with a roof coming to a point on the top.
 Inside were wooden floors and wooden pews, the place smelling like old wood and old Bibles.
 Behind the pulpit hung a board where someone had tallied weekly attendance and offerings.
 The congregation , made up mostly of grandmothers,  grandfathers, and a few young people met  there to worship, when they had services.
Possum Trot  Church was located on top of  a  hill in the Laurel River and  Campground  community of Laurel county Kentucky .
In the 1940’s, most church restrooms were still outhouse, including Possum Trot's.

But that was no big deal for people living in that era.

They didn't miss something they'd never had.

I was about grown before we got plumbing and a inside Potty for our home.
Dad and Mother took us to Possum Trot for a week-end revival one time.
We filled up one of the small pews ,on the Friday night we attended.
The preacher proclaimed in his message; "We were all born sinners, and needed to repent ,or we would face gloom and  doom in the days ahead if we didn't."
Needless to say he didn't get to many "Amen's" on the subject but  everyone enjoyed his  preaching.
Possum Troy Church has been established  for a number of years  as, part of the Laurel River and Campground community .
Much could be written I suppose about  Possum Trot's, quaint little Church and those early congregations, like the one  we worshiped with .

Perhaps one day someone will write about the Churches history, its Legion, and how it got its unusual name.

I hope so, and that they will share it; with the rest of the world.

I can attest; to the friendly people there, and the warm reception we received on our visit .
They treated you like family, and that made Possum Trot special to me.
Until Next Time.  God Bless.
My Meditation by, Coleman

Saturday, April 1, 2017

June Meeting

The first Sunday in June was a special occasion for our home Church, Union Baptist.

It was called "June Meeting" by everyone in the community, and hardly any one ever  missed going .

The special thing about this Sunday, was after the sermon had been delivered, there was a foot washing service.

The women sit on one side of the Church, and washed  each other feet,  while the Men sit on the other side washing the Brothers feet . 

For me as a youngster I didn't fully grasp the Biblical association of this and ask Mother what it meant for them to do that. 

She read me this scripture found in the Gospel of John to help me better understand.

Jesus poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the servant’s towel wherewith He was girded.  Jesus said, If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you

Don't know if they still do the foot washing ceremony at "Union Baptist Church " or not.

Don't know if they still have "The June Meeting" day  or not.

Been so long ago since I attended.

But until this very day I can remember attending this little country Church at Union,  and watching the foot washing ceremony.

Until next time,  God Bless.

My Meditations by,   Coleman  


 The Laruel County Homecoming  got started in 1935  at the Levi Jackson Wilderness State Park near London Ky..

 Our family looked forward to the event each year.

 The homecoming  presented family's a opportunity to have a fun filled week-end,  just before school started.

The Homecoming was scheduled in August on the week-end of the full moon.

Russell Dyke was the founder of it .

 By the time I'd  reached my teens  the home coming was growing in leaps and bounds.

And was  being attended by hundreds from the Laruel County area.

One of the main features of the homecoming was, "The Re-enactment of the McNitt Massacre" which had taken place in the park in 1786.

The play was performed on the stage of the amphitheater by local talent.

Family's gathered around the theater to see this breath taking show. 

Using blankets on the ground for seating  and to keep them warm from the cool night air.

 Gospel singings were conducted  on Sundays, and were a special part of the homecoming, to many of its goers.

Walking with your family and friends  in the park  under a big full moon was a teenagers delight.

Looking back on the events we attended,  and the fun times we had, no wonder it left an impression on me.

As well as the many others who attended.

Until Next Time. God Bless.

My Meditations by,  Coleman

My Barlow

 A  Barlow is a must for all young boys growing up on the farm.

I received my first one on my 10th birthday.

 I had been wanting a knife for  a long time, and it came at just the right time.

  For doing a project I was working on; making  myself a sling-shot.

I borrowed Dad's sharping  stone to make sure it was sharp and ready for the task.

I'd watched Him sharpen his knife's before and I was pretty sure I could do it.

Must have taken me a good half hour to get my Barlow to pass the sharp test.

The test dad used to prove a sharp was sharp.

 Was when completely sharpened the knife had to shave the hairs on your arm, and cut  through a sheet of paper with out tearing it .

After my knife was  finally sharp the next thing was to find  me a dog-wood tree with just the perfect fork .

After some careful consideration I found just the right one .

With my Barlow... I was able to whittle it into shape in no time.

Now  my forks were ready for the strips of rubber , I'd cut from an ole inter tube .

Attached to the strips of rubber were a leather pad.

Made from the tongue of a discarded shoe to hold the stone or marble I would be using with my sling-shot.

 I  cut the strips of rubber with Momma's new scissors, with out asking  permission.

 I had no Idea rubber would make them dull.

  Soon found that out,  when Mother  tried to use them for something.

 It was at that time I fessed up to my mistake .

Dad bailed me out, and re-sharpened the scissors for her .

As I finished up my project I was  proud of my work , (except for the dulling of Mothers scissors).

Don't know if any of you have ever owned a Barlow  knife or not... if you have... you can probably identify with the excitement I had using and owning mine. 

Until Next Time.   God Bless.

My Meditations by,  Coleman

Livestock and Feather Pillows

A farm is incomplete with out livestock.

Our farm had a diversity of animals.

The purpose of owning livestock was much different  fifty years ago than it is today.

Livestock  back then was raised mostly for home consumption.

Other than  the horses, mules,and oxen, who were our source for doing farm work.

Pigs, chickens, and  the ducks, were high on the consumption list, nothing ever went to waste on the farm.

Some families sold derived products from them, such as eggs, cream, and  cured meats.

In town to cash in for  things they needed, that they didn't grow on the farm .

Dad tried to minimize buying things at town, by growing everything he could and using what ever we had on the farm.

The feathers from the ducks and chickens made the best pillows and feather beds you  ever slept on.

I slept many a night on one of those.

And still have one of the pillows from childhood today, I wouldn't trade it for the best pillow on the market .

Until next time,  God Bless.

Coleman Schell

McHargue's Mill

McHargues Mill is located near the Levi Jackson Wilderness State Park. in London, Kentucky

When I was growing up, walking  was the normal mode of travel, everywhere we went we walked.

Four or Five miles  or what ever...wasn't that big of a deal.

Walking to School, walking to Church, or  walking to town it didn't matter we were up to the task.

One Saturday mid-April Dad and I decided to walk to the park .

The route we took,  took us through  the Laurel River community and by the Jackson historic farm  near the park.

I had never been to McHargues Mill, I was looking forward to that .

As we entered the park, you could smell the aroma of  Dog Woods Blooming.

Simply a beautiful, gorgeous,  day it was... and seeing the  wooden fences,  the wood  shingled Log cabins.

Settled in among the dog woods trees made  for  an astonishing view.

 McHargue's Mill was on the outset of the park, built on the banks of Little Laurel River.

By the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1939 .

Outside the mill...and on display still today...  is a large collection of millstones.

The working stones were used in the mill and brought over the Wilderness Road by pioneers in 1805.

  We stopped and watched the water powered mill... grinding corn for awhile.

 Before leaving dad bought a bag of  the fresh ground corn meal to take home to Mother.

 I  loved my  visit to The Levi Jackson park and  McHargue's mill.

 I'm sure I couldn't walk that far today,  I'm glad I got to make that trip with Dad on that beautiful day, when I was much younger.

Until next time.  God Bless.

My Meditations by,  Coleman

A year with Marshal Griffin

Marshal Griffin County Agent of Laurel County Kentucky .

Was good friends with Dad, Dad often stop by his office to visit when he went  to town.

During one visit Marshal  and dad were talking about a farm Marshal owned in Pulaski County Kentucky .

Marshal was looking to lease his farm, and they discussed the matter.

Dad  thought his proposal sounded good enough to give it a try.

 We  learned about the proposal when Dad got home, and the decision he had made.

Mother wasn't to happy.

 We were going to be moving again which was something Mother detested. If there was one thing Mother didn't like it was moving.

Ever since they were married Dad would move ever year or so.

This move was going to be the farthest, away from the Rough Creek area where her parents lived.

That we had ever moved.

Mother was used to moving,  but this time it just didn't feel right .

And she knew it would take a while for her to adjust, but agreed to give it a try

All went smooth for the move, and Mother adjusted  pretty well.

 Marshal had a herd of Dairy cattle that  needed  immediate attention.

 Milking and taking care of them, became top priority and we  all had to settled in fast.

After a few months into the lease, Dad  began to think Mother was right about the move.

He was having second thoughts ,  he found out we were putting  way to many hours in, for the amount of money we were making.

Wasn't long until another move was in the making, we would be moving back to Rough Creek .

One good thing did come from the move, dad  learned the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence.

Dad promised, no more moves anyways soon, for the family after that .

 Which drew a hardy "Amen" from the gang.

Until next time, God bless.

 My Meditations by,  Coleman

Piddlings Around

I was always gifted at piddling, around I roamed the country side In Kentucky looking for places to do that.

Old fence rows were a favorite place of mine to start .

Even today I long to check them out, they are still a good source for piddling, you never know what you may find there.

 Such as  an old rusty barbed wire fence that maybe antique  .

Tangled vines... briar patches... and wild flowers seldom seen by anyone.

 Trail crossings  by Raccoons, Foxes, and Groundhogs.

Are often found in a fence row.

 Adventure and  unseen beauty are there for those who want to piddle around for awhile in a fence row.

Honeysuckle, vines bloom there in the spring with blossoms  smelling so good, you can smell them a long ways before you get to them.

Bob Whites hang out in fence rows , doing their courtship call.

 If you are skilled enough  to duplicate their whistle, you can actually call them up to you.

In Summer time wild berries grow abundantly and  undisturbed there . 

Persimmons ripen during  the fall, and are, a tasty treat for those who have a taste for them.

Taster be aware of those not quite ripe yet.

If that ever happens, you might get a drawing puckering taste in your mouth for a long while.

Winter brings  snow to the fence row , and bunny rabbits hanging out there in the broom sage,  to keep warm.

 Fence rows are filled with so many good memories for me.

If I had to pick one memory, that I  like best from the ones I have.

 The beautiful golden sunsets I saw there  sitting on a fallen log would rank high on my list.

Until Next Time.  God Bless.

My Meditations by,  Coleman

Mowing and stacking Hay

Mowing hay is an important job on the farm.

In olden days  we  started mowing in the month of June and it  could last  thru Sept.

Mowing now isn't anything like it  was when I was a kid growing up on the farm  .

Now a day's you can mow as much hay in an hour, as you could do in two day's with a team of mules .

Our mules worked all day, stopping only, occasionally  for a little rest .

You needed dry weather for harvesting hay and once you started mowing, you tried to finish as soon as possible.

Some times it was hard to find a few days with out rain .

As the old saying goes..." you got to make hay while the sun is shinning....that's pretty much true for the farmer.

When your  mowing  was finished.... the hay needed to cure for a day or so .... or until it was brown and dry.

Stacking the dried hay around a wooden pole was the next step, that helped protect it from the elements.

The stacks started big at the bottom, and tapered off to pretty much nothing at the top, making it  shed  rain.

Now a days the hay is rolled up into large roles and it does the same thing.

Mowing and stacking hay was Hard work,  but was  a needful thing, for the live stock to have food.

During a good hay year we might have as many as five or ten stack to get our live stock through the winter.

Farmers today might need 100 roles for their operation  due to a much larger scale of farming.

Until next time,  God Bless.

My Meditations by,    Coleman

Turning 18

When I turned 18  as all males I had to register with the Selective Service .

That office was created in 1917, during World War I to keep troops available for military requirements .

Failing to register or comply with the Military Selective Service Act.

 Was a felony punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 or a prison term of up to five years, or a combination of both.

At least that's what my my grandpa Parman had told me about the matter .

 Whether that was true or not,I didn't want  to take a chance  on not reporting , I made sure I went when I  reached 18.

I drove myself, to the Selective Service office .

Being a bit shy and nervous, I was  kind of dreading the trip

The office I went to, was located in London  Kentucky.

After registering, my classification turned out to be, 1-A .

 1-A meaning "Available immediately for military service."

I pretty well knew what that meant, I might have to go into the service anytime  , if they needed me.

  I received  acknowledgement of my  Registration a few days later in the mail.

  After that I never heard  from the office any more  for awhile.

I was hoping maybe they had forgotten about me.

But knew that was probably wishful thinking.

At 21  I got reclassified again to, 3-A Registrant with a child or children; or Registrant deferred by reason of extreme hardship to dependents.

 After I reached 3-A haven't heard from them since, (yea).

Until Next Time.  God Bless. 

My Meditations by,  Coleman

Learning to drive

Being a farmers son made learning to drive a pretty  easy endeavor for me .

I got my first lesson  for driving on dads old tractor.

I had been watching him drive for awhile, trying to figuring  things out.

Out of the blue he asked me to drive it to the field for him one day.

I was surprised that he asked, wasn't sure I could do it, but  I was totally eager to give it a try.

He took me through the start up procedure I'd watched him do that,  many times before .

We put the tractor in gear a little challenging for me but I managed.

Setting the hand throttle was easy,  now it was  time to let out on the clutch.

That one was a bit  tricky, I did it a little to fast causing a jerky start.

Watching dad do it, was way easier, than doing it myself.

 I   soon found out, everyone has to get the feel of the clutch for themselves.

 A few weeks later I graduated from  tractor driving and worked my way up to driving dads pick-up .

That was  way more fun than the tractor.

At 16 I  was ready to borrow the pick-up to take my road test for licensing .

Dad went a long with me to the Court House.

A State Trooper gave me my road test.

I had never been with a State Trooper before, that made me a bit nervous .

Everything went o.k. and I passed the test.

The Trooper signed my paper work.

I took it to the County Clerks office, and received my License.
 For more than 60 years now,  I have been  driving.

Probably driven more than half a million miles .

 I  still remember my first drive on dads old tractor.

Come to think of it, learning how to drive on the farm  wasn't such a bad way to learn how to drive after all .

Until next time.    God Bless.

My Meditations by,  Coleman

Uncle Larence

Uncle Lawrence lived in the State of Oregon for many years.

Lawrence had run into a little trouble with the law, in Kentucky back in his younger days.

When that didn't go to well, he decided it was time to make a fresh start somewhere else.

Catching a train to Oregon, took him several days  and all the money he had .

 About the only skill's Lawrence had was  raising cattle and herding  sheep .

As fate would have it, at the train station in Oregon.

An older gentlemen started a conversation with him, asking where he was headed ,and if he had any place to stay.

That was an answer to prayer for Larence.

Lawrence told him, he was looking for a place to stay and some kind of  a job.

Just so happened the old timer owned a thousand acre ranch and was in desperate need of help, to care for a large herd of sheep  he owned.

You might say it was a prayer answered for the both of them.

Since the trouble in Kentucky didn't get resolved for awhile

Lawrence wound up herding sheep for the old gentleman for near fifty years before returning back to his native home of Kentucky.

When he came back, the trouble had cleared up and Lawrence was able to resume life, with family and friends.

I never met my uncle Lawrence but one time in life, most of what I learned or knew about him came from  my father.

Dad said he was a good man that got into trouble to young in life, and missed out on many years of being  with his family in Kentucky  because of it.

Until Next time.   God Bless.

My Meditation by, Coleman

Friday, March 31, 2017

A disciplined way of life

Growing up on a farm,  taught you discipline.

It took real commitment and hard work to graduate .

Farming was one occupation you could feel  self worth and independence while getting your training.

Farming did tie you down and you had to dig in, to last at it.

You had to report to work everyday, sick or not .

Which separated a lot of people from trying.

Family's who chose that way of life had closeness and loyalty .
My engagement  with discipline started When I got home from school each day.

After you changed your school cloths, there were chores to do, (yes) believe it or not, children had chores to do on the farm and it started early in your life.

After your chores were done, it was off to working in the fields or what ever else  was on dads agenda of things  to do.

Dad  was  famous  for his one liner on discipline   "Hard work on the farm was good for you and taught you the worth of things, young or old, and  it never hurt anyone."

Might hurt your feeling a little bit, he would always  say ,but you'd get over it .

As long as I worked on the farm, I never proved him wrong on that one.

But I did question the wisdom  behind it a few times.

A disciplined way of life on the farm hasn't changed much over the years .

If discipline-ship in your life is what you need.

Farming is a good way to get it.

Farming taught you, love discipline and respect for your fellowman.

And taught you appreciation for  the many farmers who supply our food chain through out our country everyday.

Something  many farmers find missing today.

Until next time,  God Bless.

My Meditations by, Coleman