Life On Our Farm
We lived on a 40 acre Oklahoma farm between Tulsa and Broken Arrow.
When I was in 7th grade a fire started a couple farms over and was moving up our back acreage. As the fire threatened our neighbors, they let their livestock out of the pens, filling the road with cows and horses. The firefighters were soon spread thin since the fire covered such a large area. We were feverishly spraying down our house with hose water when the fire started moving towards our 2 oil wells.
At that moment, the principal of our school came to our rescue with the high school football team. They took over fighting the fire. It is only thanks to that principal and the football team that the fire never reached our oil wells. Eventually the firefighters got the fire put out over the whole area, and our neighbors were able to recapture their livestock that were running loose.
My sister Debbie and I were in charge of the morning chores before we went to school. It was a lot of fun working with the animals but it was very hard work, like having to lug the feed bags in the barn. And in the winter there were many days it got so cold the animals could only drink after we had broken the ice from the water troughs. We would be frozen by the time we came back into the house. One morning Debbie was so excited to show me a discovery she had made — when her hands were frozen from being outside, she could turn on the cold water faucet and it would feel like hot water!
I remember the cute baby chicks, cows, horses and our peacocks. One time a Peahen hatched a nest of eggs. One of the peachicks came out yellow colored. My grandfather said we must have accidentally mixed up a chicken egg with the peacock eggs. To his surprise and ours, the chick grew into an albino peacock!
The other side of the street from our farm was a golf course. The lady that owned the farm before us did not appreciate the golfers coming onto the farm to retrieve their balls hit there by mistake. She had a shotgun loaded with rock salt and she would shoot at any golfers that came onto her land. So the golfers had learned not to climb her fence and just left their golf balls if they landed in her field. So when a time came that Deb and I wanted to raise sheep, but had no money, thanks to that lady and her shotgun we had a ready solution. We just gathered all those golf balls in our field and sold them, which gave us enough to buy a ram we named Jimmy. Mom and Dad bought 2 ewes for us, and we had sheep! Each year we had a guy come out and shear them and we sold the wool.
We had large vegetable gardens and did a lot of freezing and canning. We also planted wheat in our field. We made the most delicious peach cobbler from our peach tree.
Deb and I weren’t the only ones having farm adventures. Here are three of my favorite stories about my younger brother John.
Debbie’s ewe died while giving birth to triplets. Two of the triplets also died, leaving one alive, so we had to raise the lamb by hand. It was fun feeding that lamb a bottles of milk. One day my brother John, who must have been about 4 or 5 years old, asked Mom when we were going to sacrifice the lamb on an altar.
Another time we had a jar of Sea-Monkeys we had ordered from the back of a comic book. They were actually brine shrimp that were swimming around in the water. One day we walked in to find the jar empty and John sitting innocently beside it. “What happened to the Sea Monkeys?” We asked him. “Today is Friday so I drank them, I’m supposed to eat fish on Fridays”, he answered. (It’s a Catholic thing.)
One morning Mom got up to find him holding a dripping wet cat. Mom asked John what happened to the cat. John replied that he had given it a bath. Mom asked him how he did that. John said, “I licked it”. He knew that’s the way cats gave themselves baths!
LESSON LEARNED: Sometimes the most fun things to do take a lot of work.
LESSON LEARNED: When life somehow hands us a lot of golf balls, sell them and buy sheep!
LESSON LEARNED: Homegrown food turned into homemade meals taste the best!
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