Thursday, September 30, 2010

Land of Opportunity

Did you see the Harvest Moon last week? It shone in all it's glory at us as we came back from dinner Friday night. As we left town out Highway 12, it seemed to always be in front of us. Huge, it hung low in the sky...it seemed I could almost reach out and touch it. As we turned and followed Old Prairie Creek Road, it follows the lake back and up to Granny Mountain. This was once an old farm before Beaver Lake was built in 1966. White River was dammed up near Eureka Springs and the land that would become the lake was bought by the United States Army Corp of Engineers. Over a period of about 6 years the body of water from which we derive so much pleasure was born.

We have old oak trees that shade the patios on the east side of the house. One of the largest bears the scars of a barbed fence buried into it's bark about chest high. The tree has nearly swallowed it up now, it's forgotten that it once was a fencepost to hold cattle in or mark boundaries. Northwest Arkansas is hilly land, rocky land and anyone who tries to farm has his work cut out for him. When we set out under these trees I wonder what it was like when they were saplings. Eighty+years would make it 1930.

The Great Depression had made the American Dream a nightmare and what was once the Land of Opportunity had become the Land of Desperation. In Mom's family, her Aunts and Uncles gave up trying to farm the land they had inherited and headed for California. Mom's parents decided to stay and weather the storm, and a storm it was. The Dust Bowl of the 1930's touched Arkansas too with drought and barren crops. The Depression took what little income people had and decreased it by half. And then WWII started just as Americans were finally beginning to see things getting better.

While my Mom (and the trees in my yard) were growing up, the World was a pretty uncertain place to live. Money was scarce, droughts plagued the plains states and times were hard.

A gallon of gas was only 10 cents!

You could buy a Plymouth Roadking car for $685!

A new house would only set you back $3,750!

Mom has nothing but pleasant memories of her childhood on the farm. She never went to bed hungry, she never worried about a roof over her head or if they were going to lose their farm. She watched sunrises over the barn as she gathered eggs before school, she saw sunsets as she drove the cows to the barn to be milked. She and her parents somehow lived through one of the most desperate times in history. If given the opportunity, I think she would go back to those years.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I will be good, I will be good, I will be good...

Everyday I start my diet. Everyday it goes pretty good. I have Orowheat's Health Nut toast for breakfast with my coffee. Lunch is a turkey sandwich, boredom helps me to stay on track! Dinner is where things go South...you see all day long I've thought about what dinner was going to be. I looked on my favorite blogs for great recipes, I made my pilgrimage to FoodGawker and then I turned on Food Network. Between those bad influences the diet flew out the window. 

One of the best/worst influences comes from Thibeault's Table. Ann's many delicious recipes and techniques makes my willpower fly out the window like a scared chicken escaping a fox in a henhouse!

From simple to decadent she shares her own recipes, other bloggers and the classics of Julia Child and Jacque Pepin. She has a huge collection of recipes on her blog as well as on TasteSpotting and FoodGawker.

This week Ann made a Rustic Roasted Garlic and Cheddar Bread. Help me, help me Lord! Help me to just say no to going in the kitchen and making this delicious loaf of goodness. When I bake bread, my husband tells me, "Don't make anything else, just the bread. I don't want to feel guilty for eating the whole thing!" Oink, oink!!!

I want to thank Ann for building my character and my waistline all in one fell swoop!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bikes, Blues and BBQ Fun!

Every year I look forward to Bikes, Blues and BBQ! It's hard to explain why a down to Earth, Grandma to 3, conservative Republican would love to go to a rowdy, noisy motorcycle rally....but I do! The event this year will be Sept. 29th-Oct. 2nd, Wednesday through Saturday. In excess of 400,000 bikers come to NWA for a good time and a good cause. Last year almost $50,000 was raised for various charities, down from previous years' $100,000. For the community it's a big shot in the arm. Everyone that comes needs lodging and food, and they enjoy this beautiful part of the country that we call home. It's not the Sturgis crowd that comes, it's bikers just like you and me who enjoy traveling curvy roads to take in the beauty and freedom that biking delivers.





Hey, even Grandma wants to see what it's all about!

We are gawkers, and let me tell you...this is the place to see one of a kind motorcycles and INTERESTING people! Oh how my Dad would have loved going and just finding a great coffeehouse where he could set and "People Watch," I guess I came by that naturally!


This guy brought his Teddy Bear!

Orange Mohawk clashed with the bike...

This must have been a club, there were lots of men in buffalo hats...I didn't ask!

The pictures don't do these bikes justice, they were custom from frames to paint.

Part Corvette, part Harley!

Jessee James usually is here, I won't be asking for a autograph.

Lots of bikes with American themes, veterans take great pride in the freedom to express their patriotism on their ride.




look at the bystanders faces, men drooling ; )

 This one was at least 20 foot long. My husband asked, "What's that?" He hollered back, "A Buick!"

Newlyweds?








It's a sea of bikes, as far as the eye can see. Fayetteville is a college town, tolerant and welcoming to everyone. The rally brings a mix of people but it doesn't bring the things that are sometimes associated with motorcycles. The police say that there are few incidents reported over the 4 day event.

It's just a time to get out and enjoy the nice Fall days...

...do a little people watching, is that you Willie???


The residents of Fayetteville have always been an "eclectic group!"

Monday, September 27, 2010

Family Traits


When my Mom moved from her farm at Lead Hill, I was faced with the daunting task of cleaning out the house that had been home to two generations. Dad and his brother Walton built the house at Lead Hill in 1949 when they came back from California. It was part of the farm that had been in my Mom's family since the early 1800's. After Mom and Dad moved to Springfield, Missouri her parents moved from the "old place," where Mom was born and raised into the new house. The move was simply across a couple of 40 acre fields, but it was a different world than they had ever experienced. It was 1952 and they had never lived in a house with indoor plumbing. Hard to imagine, huh? It wasn't the expense that kept them from modernizing the old house, it was stubborness on my Grandpa's part. HE WAS RELUCTANT TO CHANGE, I put that in caps so that you would see how stubborn he was!!

The first picture above is his Grandpa Abel Keeling (seated front row, 3rd from the left) with his family.  The second picture is my Grandparents, Clay and Selva Keeling. Abel Keeling was born in 1823 and died in 1911. My Great-Grandpa Thomas Weldon Keeling is seated on his father's left and was born in 1860 and passed the year my Mom was born, 1924. Not only do I know their birthdates, I know siblings, cousins, second cousins...even third cousins twice removed! How? Because my Grandma in her ultimate wisdom and precise penmanship, wrote down family history.

(click on document to enlarge)
My Grandmother loved geneaology. She was an only child who lost both her parents before she was 16. Her family was one of Boone County's oldest and she was diligent in journaling facts and memories to share with future generations.

Since I am now the keeper of the history, I have a new found interest in the information that Grandma felt compelled to guard so carefully. It's like a big puzzle when you first start looking at all the pieces...


Homestead Certificates signed by then President William McKinley

Tax receipts going back to 1898, WWII Rationing Coupons...


   Even a letter Grandma's father had written to his parents in 1892! You can click on the document to enlarge, but I'm not sure you can read the text. He was travelling in the Choctaw Nation, before Oklahoma was even a state...headed for the Cherokee Nation. He signs it C.W. Milum Checotah Indian Territory! That blows me away!!

Geneaology may not be your thing, but these are treasures... Mom's dog Fido in the top picture (precious because Mom was an only child and she loved that dog so), Mom's grade card 1936 and a picture at age 12. Grandma was a saver of memories, and I am a writer of memories. She'd be happy I shared these today!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Please, Come Again!

It's been a crazy summer with lots of distractions...

Visits...

Lunch spreads, relaxing afternoons..

Birthdays...

Family fun...

Exciting nights...

Tense games...

Ben tried to sleep when he could..

Fried Twinkies, Mega Lego building!

More Birthday celebrations!

Ben and his Best Buddy...

Green on Granny Mountain!


Lake Fun!




MORE BIRTHDAYS!



GRANDson Jackson loves taking pictures too...









He see's the things I miss...that's a good thing!

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