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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)

TITLE: The Old Farm Home
By Donna Carrico


Mansion on a hilltop it was not! An old 36 acre farm home it was! Rickety wood steps, steel blue-grey peeling paint and blackened wooden screen doors greeted you. It was complete with creaking floors, fireplaces, and a dumb waiter. Your nostrils filled with the smell of the coal dust basement furnace, burnt wood, country food cooking, fresh laundry, and just old stuff.

Built in the old slave days, there were two stair cases; one for the men servants and one for the female servants. Each one led to rooms divided by a wall so that the servants could not mingle. I couldn't believe my eyes when my fiancÚ showed me the straw mattresses that were still in the servant quarters. I could just image all the critters that lurked in them.

Other bedrooms had chenille bedspreads, doilies on top of the chest of drawers, and plenty of patchwork quilts. Feather pillows were plenteous as raising chickens was a must.

The summer porch doubled as a bedroom, cold as ice in the winter and hot as blue blazes in the summer. The water pump and ringer washer room was over the top of the root cellar just outside the back door as you stepped out of the kitchen. We always had plenty of vegetables, and fresh well water.

The kitchen had an old wood claw-foot table and a pie safe, yellowed with age, but the white enamel top was white as new with its red trim standing out along the edge. Chicken dinners, home made bread, fresh floured fried side pork, and vinegar pie were staples. We always had a garden and put it "up" as the expression went. I never did understand where "up" was because the jars lined the shelves in the walk-in room just off the kitchen. God forbid if there was an earthquake and you were in that room.

Carpet was a luxury and only existed in the form of a large floor rugs placed in strategic spots. Wood floors were worn in places where favorite chairs had been and in front of the fireplaces. Windows dressed in sheers exposed the peeling paisley wall paper.

If you had a cold or lung congestion, you were supposed to apply horse liniment to your chest and back; then bake it in while you lay in front of the fire place. The fumes alone would open your nose! Somehow, it did make you feel better. Maybe it was the warmth from the fireplace.

The porch, made complete with a wicker rocker and porch swing, went all around three sides of the house. You could pick which side the sun was on. Summer breezes brought the smell of roses to you no matter what side you chose. Spring meant you could escape the rain if you changed sides of the porch. Winter meant a whole lot of snow shoveling just to get in and out. Fall meant you were constantly sweeping off the leaves. You didn?t want them to be on the porch after a rain or you would be slipping and sliding for sure.

The barn was listing to one side. I was afraid to enter in, but my fiancÚ assured me that it was safe. We had to feed the chickens, hogs, and check on Babe, the mare. She was a beautiful horse, but it was frustrating when she would get in the weeds and be full of cockle burrs in her mane taking hours to comb them all out. She was so tall I had to climb on the back of the truck to get on her. My fiancÚ often rode her in the Frontier Days parade proudly a top his silver saddle in his western gear.

I loved roaming the woods. There was not much of a trail, but several barbed wire fences to cross. I did pretty good till I came upon the paw-paw tree. I didn't realize till later how allergic I was when the rash broke out on my neck and behind my ears. Of course, my future mother in law had a remedy for that like everything else. You were supposed to take the leaves from the hen and chickens plant, bend them I half and apply the juice to your rash. It did stop the itching for a while, but I did have to use something else and learn my lesson about paw-paws.

The best thing about the old farm home is that you always felt loved, well fed, and welcome.

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This article has been read 634 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 06/05/08
Wonderful descriptions--you put us right in the scene.

A few things: "Dumbwaiter" is one word when you're talking about the little elevator, and you should probably change the "you" in the last sentence to "I".

I enjoyed the nostalgic feel to this entry.
Norma-Anne Hough06/09/08
Good descriptions. I enjoyed it.
Sara Harricharan 06/09/08
This has a sort of westerny feel to it, the touch of old history and yet of ahome with memories, etc. Nicely done! ^_^
Beth LaBuff 06/09/08
I wish I could visit this old home... your descriptions are very good.