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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hunkered Down and Reminiscing

Well, if you haven't noticed I am a few days behind in my today is being declared as "catch up" day. The weather has been unseasonably cold since Sunday and seems to be getting worse as the days go by. The good thing is that it will warm up someday -- hopefully by the weekend. I will give you a synopsis of the last few days.

Tuesday - a short journey to Wal Mart to buy Don a jigsaw puzzle otherwise we sat by the fire

Wednesday - Didn't venture out in the cold -- Don worked his jigsaw puzzle -- Jenny surfed the net looking for a warmer place to be---we did, however, go to Bible Study on Wednesday night. We couldn't get home quick enough---it was down in the low 20's Brrrrr!!!

Thursday was the same---An inside day -

Friday came and a little road trip - nothing spectacular but it got us out of the house. We were invited over to Pa and Ms Judy's for dessert and coffee and to meet The Guiler's, Randy and Terry. What a great evening....and how good it was to meet another couple of good friends. A wonderful dessert and coffee served by Pa and Ms Judy combined with lots of stories and loads of laughter----and no I am not repeating any conversations for fear of incrimination.

Pa and Ms Judy are planning to venture through Mountain City in the early spring. I certainly hope they don't find any signs such as this.

When we left Tennessee the weather prediction was for more snow and it seems we left just in time. In the last week the area has recieved anywhere from eight inch to two feet of snow with drifts as high as four or five feet. From all accounts we left just in time to bring the colder weather with us.

All this snow and cold brought back many memories of growing up in Johnson County and the hardships we had to endure in the winter months. We had quite the discussion of life style then compared to now. Shady Valley lies about 10 miles west of Doe Valley where I grew up.
Elevation of Doe Valley around 3515 feet and Shady Valley as you cross the mountain 3632 feet.

When we were growing up we had no electricity, running water or indoor plumbing. On cold days there were always the animals to be fed and watered, cows to be milked, and coal and wood to be gathered for heat. Since the days were a lot shorter chores were started earlier in the evening in order to be done by dark. In the evenings we would gather around the old Buckeye stove to keep warm. If we put too much wood or coal in it the stovepipe would turn red and you closed the damper to shut the draft. Schoolwork was done by kerosene lamp. Sometimes as a treat we would pop corn on the heating stove and have grape koolaid and popcorn.

Since we had no central heating system our bedrooms were ice cold so about an hour or so before bedtime we would gather up an old flat iron or two and set it on the top of the stove to get hot. Once the iron was hot and it was bedtime we would don our flannel nightgowns, wrap the iron in a towel and put it at the bottom of the bed to keep our feet warm. If the towel happened to slip off the iron and you got your foot too close you could end up with a burned foot. Didn't take you long to get your foot away from it.

Because we didn't have but three beds and six kids most times we would sleep three in a bed. The body heat kept you warm as did the five or six quilts you had piled on top of you. By the time you got down under all those covers and got "your" spot warm you coudn't move so the bed was warm until you stepped out onto the ice cold floor.

If it was snowing and the wind was blowing the snow would sometimes seep in around the single pane windows leaving a dusting on the windowsill and the bedcovers. The windows would always have a layer of ice on the inside from condensation.

Morning would always find us waking to the smell of bacon or ham frying, eggs, fresh biscuits and gravy, oatmeal, and a warm fire. After a hearty breakfast we were ready to go take care of the animals, do our chores and get ready for school. We didn't have any snow days or any way of knowing whether there would be school or not. If the bus came you went to school. If it didn't you stayed home.

The coldest temperature ever recorded in Mountain City was on December 30, 1917 when the temperature dropped to -32 below zero. I remember in 1962 there was about four foot of snow with drifts so high there was no mail delivery service for a week or so.

It was fun reminiscing and comparing temperatures in today's time to those of yesteryear and we are looking forward to warming up here real soon.

From The Plantation -- That it for today.

No note from Don - he is busy with his puzzle.


pidge said...

You need to write a book. I was so engrossed in your story of childhood. Bless your heart, you really know what "doing without" means. You have come a long way, and I for one, am proud of what you have accomplished. Stay safe.

Leno said...

Love those story's of yours.
Hope it warms up soon for you....

Clyde said...

Your writings of growing up reminds me of my days on the farm in the Dry Hill area of Johnson County. I agree with Pidge, you should write a book. Enjoy your travels.