Hello folks! This started out to be a tour of the yard and the farm then I became sidetracked. I started looking at old photos and memories started coming back so vividly. I spent a lot of time on the farm when I was a kid, mostly with my grandpa, but a lot of the time I was by myself exploring. Grandpa kept pretty much everything so there was always something to find. So, this post wound up being about the farm and several memories about my grandparents.
I took a screenshot of the above photo from the Maps app on my iMac. It would be nice to know the date, but as I zoomed in as close as I could get, I could tell it is definitely NOT current.
The farm runs at an angle on the south side along the former Rock Island Railroad which is now a public trail. The Farrington Park is on the other side of the trail. Our home is in the lower left corner which is the northeast corner of the farm. County Line Road runs north and south which is one of only two streets that run parallel to the universe in the whole town. The street is called County Line Road because it is a boundary line between Henry and Pettis County. Although our farm is not in the city limits, the church next door (north side), the park, and across the street are in the city limits.
So, I tried Google Earth which is also NOT current. The Farrington Park is next to the farm and it says “Windsor Christmas Display”. While the above photo does show the trees changing color in the fall, if the Christmas displays were up in the park the trees would be bare. The bales of hay are also in the hay fields, so I know this is not a current photo because I move the hay off the fields long before fall. When I zoomed in closer I could tell the hay was being moved off the field because some of the bales are in the lot we keep the hay and there are tractor tire marks in the hay field. You can tell some of the hay has been moved and some are still there. I also put the hay in the lot different than dad did and I didn’t start moving the hay until 2014. We cut some trees down between the hay lot and hayfield in 2013 and the trees are in this photo… Since I moved back here in 2013, there have always been blackberry vines growing in the electric fence around the hay field… There are none in this photo.
Back when I was a kid there weren’t as many trees in the fence rows. Grandpa only had one hayfield, which is the area that kind of looks like a triangle. Dad started using another 12 acres for hay as well which is in the left side of the photo. The boundary line between the farm and the trail is grown up in blackberry vines and Japanese Honeysuckle now. The fence, for the most part, doesn’t even exist. Dad said the people who trim for the power company tore the fence up many years ago and no one ever replaced it.
The garden looks strange, though… The shrubs in the front of the house don’t look like that now, and haven’t for several years, because I let them grow together to kind of make a hedge. There are some other interesting things about this photo. Dad’s car isn’t in the garage and the pickup isn’t in the driveway. It is possible he had the pickup under a shade tree but if it were after 2013, unless I wasn’t home, my Ford Explorer would be in the driveway on the left. The pickup is usually in the center driveway. If I could zoom in clearly on the flower bed behind the foundation I could tell you 100% if it was 2013 or after. Well, either way, it is quite obvious it is before 2013.
My grandparents bought the farm in the 1950’s and bought a “kit home” from Aladdin Homes possibly in 1958. I found a 1958 catalog with the words written: “our home” on the page of the home they selected. I also found the complete set of blueprints that came with the kit. They bought the kit and it came by rail and the railroad left the boxcar on the tracks next to the farm. Grandpa only had a certain amount of time to unload the boxcar because the train would be coming back to pick it up. There was only one set of tracks… I found the above photo online, but the drawing in the catalog showed a white house.
Grandpa was never much of a carpenter and usually didn’t use enough nails, or even enough boards for that matter. It was a good thing the kit came with everything, but even so, there were boxes of parts in the basement he didn’t use. Such as a few glass door knobs and window locks he never put on. There was an old barn where the lagoon is now… Grandpa and Uncle Author (grandmas sister’s husband) went somewhere and tore it down and brought it back and rebuilt it. It was put together with square nails, which they saved, and used to put it back together. It was very old and you had to be very careful walking around in the loft when putting hay in it. I fell through once when I was a kid… Dad tore it down after they moved here in 1996. The barn that is still here, according to dad, was also torn down by grandpa and Uncle Author and rebuilt.
When I was in high school, one of the Vo-Ag teachers found an old 1960 Missouri Poultry Association Yearbook. It was pretty thick and there were chicken house plans from the University of Missouri Extension. One of the floor plans was the chicken house grandpa built. I don’t think grandpa built it because it is very well made. The walls and roofs 2 x 4’s are on 16″ centers like a house which grandpa wouldn’t have done himself. The old rabbit house that was next to the chicken house was the same size as the 20′ x 30′ chicken house. There was no concrete floor and there were only four poles on each side, a couple in the center, and on each end that held it up. By the time I tore it down in the early 1980’s you could actually move it from side to side. There were several other small outbuildings and other chicken and rabbit coops.
I took this photo of the foundation where my grandparents home was on June 24, 2013. I moved to the farm after my grandpa passed away at 83 in April 1981 and lived here until July 1987. Grandma was a diabetic and my mother came to their home every morning and evening to give her a shot. So, when grandpa died she went to live with my parents. My grandparents used to own the home where my parents lived (where I grew up) and grandma’s parents lived next door after they moved from their farm. My aunt Gladys moved there later then moved to a new house across town.
Both of my mother’s parents moved to the Windsor area from Oklahoma before they met. Grandpa moved here by himself, but grandma’s whole family moved here. I’m not sure when either one actually came here, though. My grandmother’s parents moved to a farm south of town in an area known as Fort Lyon (I think that is the correct spelling).
OH, where is this going?
William G. Moore (grandma’s dad) was the son of Daniel and Nancy Moore who moved from Madison County, Kentucky to Guthrie, Oklahoma. I think all their children were born in Oklahoma and possibly moved here when the girls were all teenagers. All the daughters lived in the Windsor area but Uncle Joe didn’t live here. He may have been old enough to have already left home by the time they moved here. Aunt Lucy was the only daughter that left the area and she and her husband lived in California. After Uncle George retired in the 1970’s they moved back to Windsor. Aunt Maggie also may have moved to Kansas City when she married her second husband. I always remembered Aunt Maggie because when we had family reunions she always looked upset. The rest of the family were always smiling. Even in the above photo, with Aunt Maggie on the far left, she isn’t smiling… Well, neither is Grandpa Moore. Aunt Gladys did an unexpected thing and married after many years of being a widow. That is a whole completely different story and I don’t know the detais very well. It happened after I moved away.
My grandpa, Dewey, is the second from the right in the back row. His name was Dewey Seabird Tracy and his father’s name was Squire Simeon Tracy and his mother was Lydia Belle Ellison Tracy. They were originally from Indiana but moved to an area called Pleasant Valley in Oklahoma, somewhere near Guthrie. Grandpa’s brother, Vezy, was named after his grandfather. One of his brothers invented some kind of plow but couldn’t afford to get it patented. Next thing he knew, John Deere patented the same plow… At least, that’s the story I heard.
What is very strange is that Grandma’s family was from Guthrie, Oklahoma, and her grandparents are buried there. Grandpa’s mom and dad were also buried in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Even though they were from around the same area, they didn’t know each other. I don’t know how grandpa and grandpa met, but grandpa was living in the country close to a nearby town called Leeton and grandma was a telephone operator in Windsor. After I moved to the farm, I found a box full of letters in a cedar chest too and from each of them before they were married. Leeton isn’t that far from Windsor and you would think by the time their letters got to each other… It’s like they dated through the mail even though they didn’t live that far away from each other. Well, things were a lot different back then.
One thing I will mention is that grandpa’s family were very short and grandma’s family were tall… There is a photo of them together where grandpa is taller than grandma. The story is that grandma was sitting in a chair and grandpa was standing on a stool. After years went by it was a joke that grandma worked the legs off of grandpa. 🙂
Both my grandparents were avid gardeners and grandpa was very proud of the fruit of his labor. He entered vegetables and fruit at the Missouri State Fair and Calhoun Colt Show every year. If he grew something unusual or very large, he would get his photo in the newspaper which happened at least once a year. The above photo is grandpa and a couple of Guinea Beans. They were a type of gourd and when dried, he would cut the ends out of them and use them for Wren houses. There are more photos of him and his vegetables, but I have yet to find them.
Grandpa always saved his own seed but he also bought seed. He would send for catalogs and if there was something different or interesting he would try it. GEEZ! That sounds so familiar.
I remember the headline… It said something about grandma wasn’t going to let grandpa outdo her. Now, that is some tall corn! Grandma was probably close to 6′ tall but grandpa… 4′ 11″. Besides gardening, canning, making quilts, and cooking, grandma also raised rabbits. Although she raised a lot of rabbits for the market, she had many breeds that were for show and won numerous blue ribbons at the Missouri State Fair. Oh, yeah, she also had Angora rabbits and sold the fur.
Grandpa raised chickens, ducks, guineas, and pigeons when I was a kid. He was a flockowner for Grain Belt Hatchery for many years and one year he decided to quit. Many years earlier he had raised Columbian Plymouth Rocks, so he decided he would stop being a flockowner and ordered Columbian Rocks and Wyandottes from Murray McMurray Hatchery in Iowa. The owner of Grain Belt persuaded him to sell their eggs to him because he didn’t want to lose grandpa as a flockowner plus he didn’t have either of those two breeds. After grandpa passed away, I continued selling their eggs to Grain Belt for the 2013 season. Since I was working at Allen Hatchery at the time, I started raising chickens for Allen’s and then became co-owner in 1985 when I was 24…
I spent a lot of time with grandpa and I considered him to be as saintly of a man as I ever met. Human, yes. When his feathers would get ruffled they laid back down fairly quick. He also knew that even at his age he never stopped learning. I remember being in the chicken yard with him one time and one hen did something to another that he never saw before. He looked rather bewildered and said, “I’ll be jumped up. I never saw anything like that before.” Well, I was much younger and many years have gone by and to this day I have never seen anything like that since. I think it was a once in a lifetime deal.
I never heard him swear. He had his own choice of words but he didn’t use them when he became upset. To be honest, I don’t remember him being upset. If something were hard to do or he was amazed or astonished, surprised or shocked… He would say words like “I’ll be jumped up”, by “jemminy”, or “I’ll be a cat’s hair”.
Now, I mentioned earlier about grandpa being very short. He could barely see over the steering wheel when he was driving (he wasn’t the only one in the town like that) and everyone knew to watch out for him. They knew he didn’t stop at many of the stop signs (he wasn’t the only one who did that either). His last car was a 1974 Ford Galaxie 500 and I remember riding with my grandparents to take rabbits to sell in Clinton when they need to. He would load the trunk down with cages and off we would go. Grandpa would be driving and looking around a little, talking about this and that along the way. Grandma would be looking straight ahead and barely ever saying a word (she could be a very serious woman). Once in a while grandpa would reach over and give her a little pinch then they would start cutting up for a few seconds. Grandma would tell him he better watch the road. Sometimes grandpa would start slowing way down. I could never figure out why unless he was getting tired and falling asleep at the wheel, even though his eyes were open. Then if someone would start to pass, he would speed up so they couldn’t. 🙂
Then there was the old truck. The first pickup I remember was a late 1948-1952 Chevrolet. Then he bought an old Ford with a 1960 cab and a 1970-71 bed. It was pretty weird. Later he bought another pickup, maybe a 1976 Ford. He never used 2nd gear… We would go somewhere in the pickup and he would shift from first to third. Now you know that you need to be going a certain speed to shift from one gear to another. So when grandpa would shift, he was only going fast enough to go to second. The pickup would have its fits but eventually would go fast enough to straighten up. Grandpa would usually say something like, “what’s the matter with you”? After I got my driver’s license grandpa would let me drive and when I shifted into second, grandpa would be quick to tell me I didn’t need to do that.
The scariest time was when we went past Knob Knoster to buy hay one winter and we had to cross the interstate… Traffic was coming so he stopped at the first stop sign. He took off in first and immediately put it into third. The truck was barely moving, jumping and backfiring, with traffic coming. I thought we were going to die right there. Then, since it was a divided highway, there was another stop sign which grandpa completely ignored. Well, somehow we survived but I think I drove back home. I don’t remember, but I do remember crossing the interstate.
This was supposed to be a post about the yard. GEEZ!!! Well, the next post will be a tour of the yard and flower beds even though I have a few photos in the camera for another post.
Until next time, stay well and positive. Don’t forget to go outside and take a deep breath and be thankful. Life is a very amazing thing and not just our own. We are never actually alone even though we may feel like it sometimes. Don’t forget to get dirty as often as you can. 🙂