Thursday, July 17, 2008

Be it ever so humble!





When Jason started to school we still lived up Johnson Holler at Earls and his Kindergarten year he rode across the mountain to catch the bus in Monkeytown, where it would take him to Circleville School. So Mom and Dad came up with the idea to move closer to the school since I would be starting the next year and so Dad would be closer to work.

Sometime between Jason’s kindergarten year and mine we moved to John Mallows farm in the Harman Hills. I don’t recall anything about the move but I do recall that we had to really clean the house before we could move in. It seems that someone let some sheep into the house and they used it for a barn for some time prior to us moving in. I recall Dad, Granddad, and my uncle using scoop shovels to scrape sheepshit out of the house, while Mom and my Aunts operated a bucket brigade full of water and spic-and-span. I remember that the crap on the floors was at least 8 inches deep, a normal person would have give it up for a lost cause and moved on, but just show a Burns an impossible thing and tell him he can't do it...and see how fast it gets done!!

After a few days of hard work and even more cleaning, we got to move in to a huge old farmhouse situated on 570 or so acres of farmland. I think everyone who stayed at John’s (as we called the place) just loved it. We got to live there rent free as long as Dad helped out with some farmwork, a non-issue really since Dad was always out doing something on the farm anyway. There was only one major drawback to John’s…it was ¾ of a mile off of a backroad. In the wintertime, you had to walk in and out. It was a real ordeal to get us kids to walk out to catch the bus in the dead of winter. Dad went to work at the same time so he would walk with us, and sit in the car with us until the bus came.
The old farmhouse has seen better days, this is a current photo of the old place.

I remember one Christmas we all decided to go have Christmas at Dad’s older sister Barb’s house in Virginia. It was blue-assed cold when we walked out to the car carrying presents. On the way the wind whipped some of them out of our hands and blowed them into a nearby holler. Later the next summer Jason and I were still finding some of our Christmas presents in that holler. Most of the time we would spend Christmas in Monkeytown at the homeplace up on the hill where my Granddad lived.

Seasons came and went while we grew up on the farm, looking back we only lived there but a couple of years, but it seems much longer to me now, we loved living on the farm. We had a huge garden on the farm, of course we needed a big garden to grow enough food for all the kids mom and dad were raising. I remember helping in the garden, I’m sure I was more in the way than anything but helping nonetheless.
While working in the garden, mom would inevitably find a toad or at least she’d pretend to find a toad and chase us kids with it. We’d all run and hide wherever we could find a place to hide and get away from her. You'd have thought it was man eating toad the way we carried on about it. I remember a bunch of us locked ourselves in the attic one time to get away from her. There was a big ball-hornets nest up there and hornets were flying all around our heads, but it was still a much-preferred location over the garden with mom and her toad. I’m sure she thought it was big fun but even to this day I am scared to death of frogs and toads.
Below is a photo of the farmhouse today, complete with the ball hornets nest!
Stay tuned for more of the continued exploits of Matthew growing up.

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