Jackie tells of the many adventures and emotions of a little girl growing up in a large family in the fifties.
Katie has a new baby in the family and has moved onto a farm with acres and acres of exploring to do.
It's a Boy!
Katie had always wished for a little sister but of course, she could not be disappointed with this new baby. He was so sweet and had ringlets all over his head just like a little girl in no time.
He was more fragile than the last baby. Katie could not crawl in his bed and cuddle him like she did the last one. But she could hold his little hands and talk to him. Sometimes he would smile but sometimes he would make a very sad twisted face and cry if Katie woke him up. Her mom would fuss when that happened so mostly Katie played with the older baby who always smiled and couldn't be hurt. Still, she would stop and look at the little baby as often as she was near him.
She was sad the same closeness could not develop between her and this newborn as did the last one. But her mom really needed Katie watching after the older baby as much as possible. He was walking now and into everything. He needed constant attention when he was down running around.
He was also learning to talk and she taught him new words every day. He was so much fun and kept everyone laughing. Even the two brothers who liked to fight loved him. Knowing to be kind and gentle to this baby they did try to help watch him too. They did not want to see him hurt. Rarely did they get to see the new baby unless their mother got him down for them to look at. They were not allowed near him otherwise. They were too rough and could not be trusted not to accidentally hurt him.
The new farmhouse was not really new, although it did look it. It had varnished pine walls and floors and even the stairway leading upstairs was the same beautiful wood. The smell was wonderful too.
Everyone had bedrooms and the kitchen was large with two outside porches, one on each side. There was a well on one. A huge room stepped up off this kitchen with bins for keeping vegetables. There were no windows, with the same beautiful wood. Katie would have loved this room for herself even without the windows.
Katie and her older sister shared a bedroom as always. But as was the usual her sister was rarely around. There was a fireplace in their room upstairs but their father would not allow them to use it. There was a fireplace used in the family room downstairs where it could be watched over. There was also one in her parent's bedroom. Katie was allowed to lay on her mother's bed when her father was not home for he was usually in bed sleeping if he were.
This was very cozy and would put Katie to sleep almost every time. She could feel the warmth and hear the crackle of the wood. It almost hypnotized her to sleep. Then when her mother woke her to go to bed she would have to go climb into a very cold bed upstairs where very little heat escaped to. Eventually, she would warm up again.
The deer were as curious about Katie as she was them.
Exploring the Great Outdoors.
The outside was more wonderful than the inside if that were possible. There was a small balcony upstairs outside Katie's bedroom that was just over the front door. It looked out over fields and woods beyond in three directions. In the field directly in front deer came often. The stayed near the trees while they grazed for a quick escape. Even when the snow came the deer came here and pawed the snow from the grass. It made even a lovelier picture then.
It was summer now though and the fawn was another special sight that was so new to Katie. Her father said this was unhunted land and why there were so many deer all over the place. Katie never heard or even considered they may be a good source of food for them come winter. Although surely that was the truth of the matter. Her brother would shoot and clean the game he caught and bring it in when no small children were around or paying attention. She did see a skinned squirrel occasionally and her brother collected their skins she knew but she really didn't even connect these headless bodies to anything living and playing.
She knew she loved the gravy her mother made from them and her fantastic homemade biscuits. This had always been a basic staple through the cold months and one Katie looked forward to.
Eating Wild Game
A Room in the Mountainside - Root Cellar
Outback of the kitchen was a room dug into the side of the mountain that ended there. It had a very thick door right in the middle of the grassy hillside. Once opened there was a huge room with an overhead light and selves on the sides and the back wall.
All of Katie's mother's canned food would go there. No matter how cold or hot it got these foods would stay preserved well if canned good. Which of course they always were. Her mother knew all about canning.
When her mother could find time to fill these shelves Katie did not know but she was sure she would. She had seen her canning before with pots boiling and jars lined up in steaming water or being pressured in a huge pot.
The jars must be hot and the food. Lids must be tightened down onto dry rims to seal. It was a hard job to do Katie could tell and she wished with all her might she could do something to help. Her mother said keeping the boys occupied and out of the way was the best help she could give. She indeed did that.
Everyone must stay out of the way while all this was going on to be out of the line of danger. Her mother stopped often to mop her face and neck with a cold wet towel. Once it was all over though the goods stood clean, bright and delicious. So many mouthwatering meals would come from these.
When Katie got a couple of years older she could string beans, peel tomatoes and apples to be an even bigger help. She was always more than happy to help her mother in any way she could.
Katie's adventures were just beginning. There were acres and acres of fields and woods to explore.
A Whole New World to Discover.
They had the whole summer before school began. The two brothers just younger than Katie was allowed to go out with her in sight of the house. After a while, they went out of sight just slightly up on the mountain over the root cellar. It was flat on top and looked out so far in all directions. They could still hear their mother here and it was such fun that the brothers were always good and minded so they could go back.
They could see some of the road they would have to walk down to catch the school bus. The could see another farmhouse they would have to walk by on that road. It was nearly a mile but no one thought a thing of that. It was just how it had to be.
Now it was play every day and getting to see as much of this farm as they possibly could. After Katie took her brothers back to the house she was free to go further out. There was a path that led to springs that bubbled up through the ground. The dampness that flowed all around it would cool Katie's feet and she cupped her hands to get delicious cold drinks.
This spring fed the marsh in sight of the farmhouse. It brought animals and birds of all kinds.
Her adventures were just starting, there was so very much she had yet to discover!
© 2017 Jackie Lynnley