Tag Archives: Home and Garden

Visiting Grandmother’s House Part 1

10 Jul

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

When I was about eight years old, our family went to Louisiana for a summer visit with my dad’s family.  Grandmother Lites lived in the same house where she and 1my grandfather had raised 13 children in the late 1800s.  The original acre homestead was located in the central part of the state, near the little town of Many, about 80 miles south of Shreveport.

Grandmother’s house was typical of farm houses during that period; single story, square white clapboard, with a breezeway down the middle, living room and kitchen on one side and two bedrooms on the other.  There was a small front porch with room for several slat rocking chairs, and a narrow screened 2back porch that ran the width of the house and was just wide enough for a couple double beds,

Running water in the kitchen for washing and cleaning was gravity fed from an overhead cistern behind the house.  Drinking water had to be hand drawn with a bucket from the well.  The only heat in the house came from the fire place in the living room or the old  wood burning stove in the kitchen.

3At some point electricity had been added to the house which was the source for the single bare 60-watt light bulb and pull chain in the center of each room.  The old wall mounted crank telephone was a novelty for us kids when the operator would come on the line and ask what number we wanted.

Slop jars were used at night and the two-hole outhouse during the 5day.  Baths for us kids were taken in a round galvanized tub in the middle of the kitchen floor.  The girls got to go first, since they usually didn’t dirty the water as bad as us boys did.

One of our main toys was an old tire that we rolled along 6most everywhere we went.  We had races with them, tied them to tree limbs for swings, and stacked them high to climb on to get at things out of reach over our heads.

The one most memorial visit for me was the year when the U.S. Army was holding one of their war maneuvers in the woods around my cousin’s and grandmother’s property.  My cousins and I would sneak off to the camp when nothing was going 7on, and wonder around checking out all the neat equipment and asking the soldiers questions.  The men were really nice to us, even letting us eat with them when the officers weren’t around.

Sometimes they would drive us out of the “restricted area” in one of their jeeps when they 8were getting ready to fire their howitzers (with blanks of course).  Even after they dropped us off, we were still close enough to get goose bumps every time one of those big guns was fired.   Wow! What a thrill that was.  We even got to play on them sometimes when the soldiers weren’t around, pretending we were helping win the war.  We didn’t know it at the time, but many of our country’s top generals attended those Louisiana maneuvers over the years.

I got a big kick out of helping my mother and grandmother make butter in the handcranked butter churn.  It always amazed me how the milk magically turned into butter and left that yummy buttermilk.  I loved buttermilk and drank it every time I got a chance.  Then there was the time the cows got into the bitter weed, and it made the milk so bitter I couldn’t drink it.




—–To Be Continued—–

Springtime in Wisconsin

12 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


During a recent trip to the Oshkosh AirVenture Museum, and to visit other local Wisconsin museums and airshows, I was amazed to see the huge numbers of Canadian Geese in and around most of the areas, I traveled.

I didn’t pay much attention to this until on one occasion as I traveled down a four-lane city street, and had to stop for a family of geese crossing the road.  There was Mama leading the way with three tiny goslings trailing along behind 2her and Papa bringing up the rear.  What a sight!  All this rush-hour traffic brought to a halt by these tiny creatures.

The next day I went to visit a Railroad Museum in another city.  After viewing the information video in the main building, I started down the walkway to the Engine House, and was struck by the amount of what looked like dog poop on the sidewalk.  I thought, “These people need to tell the dog owners to pick up after their dogs, or at least the museum needs to wash down the sidewalks once i3n a while.”   Being careful where I stepped, I moved onto the grass to get a better view for a camera shot, and noticed that the grass was littered with the same “dog poop.”

Then it dawned on me that this was Canadian Geese droppings.  I should have realized what I was 4seeing sooner, because I had seen fields and ponds covered with Canadian Geese no matter where I had gone on this trip.

On one evening during this trip, I had dinner with my niece and her husband and I related my goose story to them.  He told me his company had to rig special anti-geese devices over their retention ponds to try to keep the geese from congregating.  In addition, they have contracted with a private company who brought 5their dogs to chase the geese off their property.  The Canadian Goose population has recently increased in many areas to the point that they are now considered a pest and a threat to airline traffic (Ref. US Airways flight 1549).

On another day, at the Old World Wisconsin historic site, in one of the sheep pins, I was thrilled to see 6four brand new baby lambs.  The guide told us that two of them had be born the day before and two (twins) had been born just that morning.  They were the cutest little things you could imagine.

I didn’t think much more about it until I was traveling back across the countryside toward the motel and saw a large open field with maybe one hundred sheep grazing and about the same number of small 7baby lambs staying close to their mothers.  What a sight!  I guessed it must truly be the lambing season there in central Wisconsin.

Then on another day, while driving to another museum, I spotted a small herd of Buffalo grazing in a field of yellow dandelions.  And, sure enough, there were a few new-born buffalo in the herd.  Now I thought the West was the only place where people were raising buffalo now a days.  I8 was glad to see even these small herds of them there in Wisconsin.    I guess they will prosper most anywhere they are not being hunted.  Ever had a Buffalo Burger?  I had one years ago and it was great!

I guess you would have to say I got a real close-up and personal view of what it’s like to live in Wisconsin in the Spring.  It was a wonderful experience, and the airplane museums were great too!

A Better Mousetrap Round Two

15 Sep

Speak Up Saturday

 Patricia Franklin

Here are some thoughts regarding our pet mouse.I think our precocious mouse is enjoying the new “live” traps we set out for him.

First, he is laughing and turning up his nose at the few little seeds in the middle of the sticky surface. He has completely ignored the seeds that came with the trap, but he has to be eating something!

Second, I think he is using these traps to attract his own preferred food products for his gourmet appetite. I always thought mice were vegetarians. However, he either consumed the beetle bug or dragged him off somewhere in order to clean up his own private space, leaving only one skinny beetle leg behind.

On the other hand, maybe he has a secret entrance to come in and out of the house, while enjoying the fruits of my garden before coming in to cool off in the evening.

At any rate, I can feel his little beady eyes watching me and I even imagine I can hear his little snicker when I check the traps and he isn’t there. (We currently have five traps in the laundry room). I’m certain he enjoys the laugh of the day and then goes on his merry way to wait for the next challenge from our simple little minds.


Proverbs 17:22


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