Saturday, December 1, 2012

One Hog House Story

I have no memory of my Grandpa Neill. Dying of cancer at the time I was born in 1968, Grandma Neill would only say that when I was born he was too weak to even hold me. I heard the story many times, like it had somehow it had made an impact on Grandma as well. I had heard it so many times, that when I was grown and Grandma had eagerly insisted on holding my own infant daughter I nearly cried.

The only other things I heard about Grandpa was that he was tight and had a temper. Those two traits, and the occasional "Dad would roll over in his grave" were all that I heard.

Grandpa had a younger sister, Nellie, whom I had seen many times while growing up. One time while visiting with her as an adult, I asked her if she remembered anything about Grandpa as a boy or when he was young. Nothing. She was nearly ninety at the time and did not remember much and seemed to think that there really wasn't anything she could tell me that would be interesting.

Except for one thing. The hog houses.

The Neills were poor. Dirt poor, but most families in West Point, Illinois, were. Great-grandpa never had much of a farm and scraping by in the Depression wasn't easy. The incident Aunt Nellie was able to relate to me had to have taken place in the early 1930s as Grandpa was still single and Aunt Nellie had graduated from high school. She had been accepted to teacher college, but there wasn't really any money for her to actually go. In fact, she had worked in a hotel in a nearby town to help pay her board while she attended her last year of high school a slight distance from their home. In his late twenties at the time, was living at home. To make money, he had purchased some lumber and had built some hog houses with the proceeds likely earmarked to purchase something else that he could turn around for some additional profit.

Aunt Nellie told me that when Grandpa found out she needed the money, he sold the hog houses she used the proceeds to pay on her first year's tuition.

Aunt Nellie graduated and eventually taught school for forty years.

Sometimes one hog house story is all you really need.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Smell of Cow Manure

I walk between four and six miles every day. If you call where I live a town, part of that walk takes me out of town where I walk along side approximately forty acres where one of the neighbors pastures thirty or so head of cattle.

I like the smell of cow manure.

Well, not in my house or on my person, but in general I like it. I guess I like it because it reminds me of home. Smells bring memories back like few other things do.

Farm kids never like manure; it's just a fact of farm life. So let's not think I'm crazy because I like the smell of manure. It's probably better to say that I became used to it at an early age.  Livestock create it on a regular basis--constantly. There really is no avoiding it. But for some reason the smell of cow manure never really bothered me. Dad never had hogs, except for a short time when I was in elementary school, so I was not exposed to that. I hated the smell of pig manure as a kid and still do. Chickens are an entirely separate issue. Grandma always had chickens, and frankly, nothing smells worse than a chicken house. Nothing. I helped clean out the chicken house on more than one occasion and while it took less time than cleaning out the cattle barn the smell was always worse. Always.

I won't write too many posts about manure. I promise.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I Think We Are Back...

When I started this blog, I had grand visions of posting something on a regular basis. Obviously that has not happened. This blog was a place where I intend to post those things that I am tempted to post to Facebook, but are too long for Facebook and may potentially irritate some of my Facebook friends.

Not that it really matters, but I don't like Facebook wall posts that turn into Facebook wars. I've also been thinking about things I want to post to this blog that are not genealogy related.

I always am at my most profound and witty when in the car with the radio on. Unfortunately that does not allow me to effectively create blog posts. Somehow the creativity will have to be transferred to my keyboard.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Trying to Find My Voice...

Those who know me from Facebook may find it difficult to believe, but I'm having difficulty deciding what to post here. It's different posting quick little sarcastic blurbs on Facebook than it is filling this larger box on my blogger screen. And it's different when one's not responding to something someone else wrote.

And I'm trying to avoid writing about genealogy here--so I'm looking for a different slant on things. And I'm not really interested in writing about the election.

Some use writing prompts, but that always strikes me as a little bit contrived. If you need a prompt to write, then you must not have much to say.

Maybe somewhere there is a student using a calculator that needs it taken away.

Stay tuned--we'll get in the "flow" before long.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Still Getting Set Up

Like most things I do, this blog was started on a whim with little pre-planning. I've got friends who've been planning things for years and have never gotten them started. I tend to operate on the other side of the spectrum--at least some of the time.

So we're likely to change it up a few times before the layout and look settles in.

This Blog Address Is... I'm not certain one really ever is a "former farm boy," but it was one of the names I typed in that was not already taken. We'll be posting various attitude and other ruminations here which I have previously put on Facebook.

You'll just never know what you'll find here--although I do tend to like third person ;-)

I'm Not Liking Politicians On Facebook..

mainly because I don't necessarily want my Facebook friends to see which politician I "like" or "don't." Those little "ads" in the upper right hand corner will indicate which politician I support.

Of course, I really don't support any of them--which makes liking most of them virtually impossible.


Maybe I'll post things here that really aren't relevant to my genealogy pages. Time will tell how interesting they actually are.