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RobertRogers

Mine Started Just Growing up in the Rural Mountains

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When you start life as I did, with hunting rifles hanging on the walls and deer strung up just outside the window, playing outside in -30F, cutting firewood, ice fishing, mountain climbing, trapping, milking cows, making bread, harvesting potatoes and apples, reading books by woodstove as the fire cracked and snapped...well, survival skills are simply a natural part of life.

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That's the kind of life I wish all children had to grow up in.  Nothing like a warm piece of homemade bread and jam while sitting beside a fire.  Oh that sounds so very wonderful Robert.  Tell us more.

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That is probably th e one thing I could have most. A year of that, if nothing  else. I've not had that childhood. I plan on having that adult life. If I get a good job, I might just take a week off some time. Find a patch of forest. You get the point......

 

I envy you...

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Im 63 and was a farm boy. The things you did were every day life 60 years ago. In fact there wasnt any deer in Illinois back than or wild turkys. You could walk down the hill behind our house and get into the timber and never come to the end of it along ol Cedar Creek. We heated the house with wood or coal furnace. The coal was chunk coal not stoker coal. We milked 40 head of holstine cows, raised pigs and chickens. Milking cows is a seven day a week job theres no days off.

 

Hunting and fishing was a way of putting food on the table.I have owned guns since I was 12. You had a 50 yard walk to the out house winter or summer. Farm dogs were running free and part of the family." Coon dogs" were highly prized and envied. A trip to town on Saturday night was a big event as the stores were open till nine at night and the streets were full of shoppers. Some just came to town to gossip in groups as they met on the sidewalks.

 

We went to a country school where grades through six all in the same one room school building. PTA (parent teacher association) was a big thing as everone brought dishes and a big pot luck it was called broke out.

 

Culture shock hit hard when we had to go to town for school and mix with the town kids. I dont think I ever made the adjustment to this day.

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Sounds alot like the life I lead now. I write this as the hound lies on the floor in front of the wood stove and the rifles are stowed away in various corners of the house. Life in RFD involves several things some people never consider. Tending to livestock in sometimes brutal weather conditions, maintaining your own water, sewage and backup electrical systems. Probably involves many survival skills that you take for granted because they are normal everyday things.

I would'nt trade it for the world!

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Gents, Thanks for posting this. I was reading an article on another forum, entitled "The Education of an Outdoorsman". I talks about how the author was raised rural, hunting, fishing, trapping, woods craft, by his family and their friends. I grew up in a relatively small town, though not small by your standards, my woods experience provided by the BSA. Good enough that I fell in love with wildness, and envy is a dangerous thing, but I wonder where I'd be ...what if... Something I wish I could have given to my kids. Regards, Jim

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I wish i would have had all those experiences growing up but we moved alot and some times we lived in the city and sometimes in the country, i loved it when we lived in the country, we would go rabbit hunting in the cane feilds and just go spend the day in the woods, i have always loved being outdoors, but it's just been recently that i have started honing and learning new survival skills. i'm hoping to pass alot of this onto my kids and hope they enjoy the outdoors as much as i do. It's never too late to fall in love with the outdoors  :thumbsup:

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I wish i would have had all those experiences growing up but we moved alot and some times we lived in the city and sometimes in the country, i loved it when we lived in the country, we would go rabbit hunting in the cane feilds and just go spend the day in the woods, i have always loved being outdoors, but it's just been recently that i have started honing and learning new survival skills. i'm hoping to pass alot of this onto my kids and hope they enjoy the outdoors as much as i do. It's never too late to fall in love with the outdoors  :thumbsup:

 

You're an awesome dad to pass on the love of the outdoors to your children, tsegura.  :yes:

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Some of my best memories are the times I spent on my dad's older sister's farm in Crossville, Tennessee.  Whenever I visited, Aunt Thelma and Uncle Jack let me run all over the farm, exploring and learning.  I loved the chickens, so every morning, I'd get up and get the cracked corn from the big burlap sack in the shed and go scatter it out for them.  Then I'd collect the eggs.  Aunt Thelma would make a huge breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, milk gravy and biscuits for everyone. 

 

After breakfast, I'd head down to the barn to grab a harness and a cup of sweetfeed, (molasses covered oats and corn, and yes, I always ate some too! :hugegrin:) and I'd sneak up on Rusty, my cousin Jackie's stubborn pony.  If I could put the harness over Rusty's head, he would come quietly.  But if Rusty saw the harness in my hand, he'd take off running across the field and I'd spend another hour chasing him down.  :rofl:

 

Once I caught Rusty, I'd lead him back to the barn and saddle him up.  He had a terrible habit of blowing himself up like a big toad, so I would knee him in the gut and make him blow out all that air so I could tighten up the cinch.  He was a wily little pony.  After riding him all day, through the woods, across the fields, around the pond, and up the road to my friend Gail Seger's house, Rusty would have had enough and he'd find a low-hanging limb somewhere and brush me off as casually as if I had been an annoying little fly on his back! :rofl:

 

I was always followed by Missy and her offspring Major, two beautiful German Shepherds.  I guess it amused them to see this funny little redheaded city kid laying in the dirt, looking up at the sky while a fat little red pony scampered off to the barn.  :woot:  They'd always lick my face.  In sympathy, I guess!  LOL! 

 

Sometimes my older cousin Jackie would let me take out his BB gun and I'd pretend I was Daniel Boone and I terrorized all the crows and squirrels and rabbits in the cornfield! LOL!  And Jackie let me hatch four baby chicks in a little incubator that plugged into a wall socket.  That was lots of fun!  And he let me use up all his Gobbledy Goop to make Creepy Crawlers.  I think I made about a thousand little lizards and ants and spiders in one summer. :hugegrin:  Jackie taught me how to play "mumblety-peg" with a pocketknife.  And how to shoot marbles.  It's funny to realize that Jackie is now in his 50s and the pastor of a little rural church in Strawberry Plains, TN, especially when I can picture him so clearly at the age of 16, saying his favorite expression "Sh*t fire!" about a hundred times a day! :rofl:   

 

After dinner, I'd take all the scraps from the table, all the potato peelings and carrot peelings, and I'd go feed the pigs.  I also fed them out of a huge barrel of flour with huge scraps of sweet flour dumplings (yes, I'd eat some of those too! :rofl:) along with some regular pig feed from another huge barrel.  I loved the pigs too!

 

At night, we'd all take our baths or showers and put on our pajamas and sit in the living room playing the piano or listening to records and reading or playing cards until bedtime.

 

I am SO grateful I got to spend that time with my dad's people, out in the country, in the mountains, on a farm.  What a perfect place for my cousins to have grown up in. :yes:

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Your memories are great Holly when you have the good fortune of spending it that way.  Nice to hear the good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

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Luckies. All I look foreward to is hikes and camps. A couple acres in rural OH sounds good right now. My dads actually considering buying 6 or 7 acres of the land my ancestors owned here....

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We lived on about 52 acres, and for a long time it had been leased to graze cattle.  We didin't own the cattle, we just allowed others to graze cattle on the property for a fee.  So most of my time outdoors was involved in keeping cattle inside  a fence.  The cattle also kept the fields clear--you could see from one end of the property to the other.  We did have plenty of woods on the ridges around the house, so we spent alot of time out in the woods, too.  Everything has grown up in the last 25 years or so without cattle on the property.  The bottoms are now thicketed with small trees, and now we have a heckuva lot of wildlife that didn't like the open areas we used to have.  Deer, turkey, and rabbits are everywhere.  Bob White quail used to be common, but the winters of '77&'78 wiped them out around the area. 

 

I still know where to find holly, cedar and mistletoe, where the best walnuts are, blackberries and good spots to camp.  Most of the pines on the property I planted myself about 25 years ago. The dominant trees are tulip poplars (including one old giant on the hillside up above the house), white oak, red oak, and a few walnuts, buckeyes, and hickories here and there.  There is alot of birch in the bottoms along the creeks.

 

There were two ponds on the place, one of which had plenty of bluegill and a few catfish.  I'll never forget Mom's try at fishing.  Dad had told her to "Remember to set the hook, really yank hard."  So, when she had a nibble she REALLY yanked!  That little bluegill flew  outta that pond and actually hit Mom!  :woot:  I'ts dorsal fin actually left scrapes on her arm.  One thing you could say about Mom, she listened!

 

My sister and her husband have the old homeplace now, and he's clearing off part of it for cattle.  I can't help but wonder if it will ever get the old appearance back. 

 

When we first moved onto the property, there was no running water and just an old woodstove for heat.  We got our water from a spring at first, just walked up a path and dipped our buckets into the pool that we cleared out.  I have never since had water as good as that!  Of course, in the winter, I had to take a hatchet to get to that water.  Dad got some pipe and ran it downhill to the house, and that was the first running water to ever be in that house.  Wood and coal were part of my brother's and my chores, and I wish I knew just how many tons of coal and wood I moved over the years a couple of buckets at a time.

 

We had an outhouse, naturally.  Here is a bit of advice on outhouses in the winter:  Wait until you see someone else coming back from  the outhouse, and then the seat will be warm for you!  :thumbup:

 

Man, I do miss those days sometimes.  Except the outhouse in winter..... :sad:

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Sounds like a fun time growing up K-bob!

 

It was!  I miss the times Dad and I spent up in the hills.  We had to put an antenna up on the hill to get any tv reception, and we constantly had to patch the line.  We would stage people up and down the hill down to the house.  Dad would start at the top of the hill:  "HOW ABOUT NOWWWW????"  and that would get repeated all the way down to Mom in front of the tv....."Not quite yet..."  and that goes back up the hill.....and so forth and so on!

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Bob my first trip into Kaintuck was in 1961 in a 57 plymouth furry. We went down to visit my buddies family up in the hills. It was like going back in time. The driveway up to the old house on the hill with little to no paint on it crossed a dry creek bed with a log bridge over it. The logs were not more than firewood size and we stopped to look at it in wonder. We decided they used it every day so up we went.

 

The old folks welcomed us in for breakfast (a five course meal) with eggs ham grits fried string beans and American fried potatos. Coffee that you could stand a spoon up in and milk right out of the old cow.

 

The other realitives were all growing a small patch of tobacco. Ill never forget his grandmother saying  "Now Jeerey (Jerry) you be sure an stop an see your uncle." His uncle was stiiing in the shade in an old easy chair outdoors and didnt bother to get up as we got out of the plymouth.

 

He says> "Whale lookie here is Jeerey"" Hows the folks"  " Whatca doin down he are?"  :D

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ALot of those old places didn't even use a bridge for the car, you just drove through the creek.  Some times they just had a foot-bridge.  There are still a few places like that here and there, and usually breakfast can still be a five-course meal!

 

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Kentucky Bob, your growing up years were wonderful! :hug:  You really do have your roots deep in Kentucky soil. :yes: 

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