Mar 14, 2017

Minnesota Stories

Pin ItWhile in Minnesota, we were on the lookout for bears all the time. In fact, Bob thought he had seen where one had been, but as he went down the road it turned out to be big dog tracks. We finally saw a bear between the house and barn as he ran across the frozen sag pond.

At the house there, the back porch was screened in and the refrigerator sat out there. We left the grocery boxes stacked there, as well. Several nights, we heard noises on the back porch and finally opened the door to discover a skunk knocking the empty grocery boxes around. We were not too happy to have a skunk. 

In later years, when traveling from Texas to Oklahoma we encountered another skunk. We had pulled up to a stop sign and weren't sure which way to go. Bob was using old maps and I was navigating and said to go left even though I had no idea which way we should go due to the roads being changed. After going some ways, we saw signs indicating we were going the wrong way and Bob made a U-turn, hitting the skunk as he did. It was almost like we drove to Oklahoma just to hit that skunk.

Another case of a varmint in the house was a ground squirrel that got into our bedroom during the night. I stepped on him and he slid down the bannister--and we just let him go! He wasn't there the next morning, and we never knew how he got in to start with.

We picked choke cherries and rhubarb, and made pies with the rhubarb and jelly with the choke cherries. The choke cherries were about as big as the end of your little finger, and they were like making jelly out of apple cores and peelings. They didn't grow anywhere we had lived before. The rhubarb made good pies. It was in a bed in the backyard where someone had planted it years before.

Moccasin flowers grew in the ponds, and so did cattails. Paul asked me why the cattails didn't have any cats to them. One day when Paul was less than 2 years old he wanted to know who he saw in the mirror when he was all gritty and dirty.

The second summer we were in Minnesota, Bob spread some herbicide to kill the broadleaf plants and thought he was killing the thistles. He ended up killing a bunch of garden plants at the same time, including the okra and tomatoes.

Naming the Pets and other Animal Stories

Pin ItThe kids were little bitty when we got a collie puppy. We picked her up her in San Antonio while visiting after the holidays and took her to Minnesota where we had bought a ranch in the east central part of the state. We went up there every summer for several years. We had bought the land for investment and the former owner leased it back to keep his cows on. A retired ranch hand parked his trailer there for the summer each year and moved it somewhere else for the winter. We returned to Texas for the winters and rented a place to stay in various places.

In Minnesota, we had an electric fence that kept the cows out of the garden. Buckets hung from the wire in several places. They had concrete and nails in them. I was going to teach the kids to stay away from the electric fence when it was on, and told them not to touch the buckets because they would "bite" them. They all reached out and touched a bucket. One of them told me later that they didn't know what I meant when I said it would bite them.

Bob and I would have named the puppy anything but "Lassie," but with four little kids, guess what the dog's name was? Later, the kids were always surprised that everyone seemed to know her name. Either Paul or Sharon asked how people knew what Lassie's name was because they would say, "Here, Lassie!" 

After we had moved to Leggett, one of our neighbors had a dog named Riley, who was part Dachshund. He had big ears and a long tail and he was slung low to the ground. One day Riley came down to see us and it started to rain. We wrapped Riley up in plastic bread sacks with rubber bands to hold his "rain boots" on so he could go home. The neighbors laughed about that for a long time after.

I think it was the same neighbors who gave us two Siamese kittens. One we named Tinkerbell, though he turned out to be a boy, and the other was ultimately called Charlie. He had a different name originally, but we can't even remember anything before "Charlie." When Sharon was about four years old, we saw a movie on The Wonderful World of Disney about a pet cougar named Charlie. Sharon went into the kitchen and started following the cat around and calling him Charlie.

Charlie followed the kids down the road one afternoon to where they were putting in an oil well. He disappeared along the way. Laura said that he would find his way home or come home for supper, but we never did find him. Sometime after that someone else gave us a Siamese cat, and we named him Charlie, too.