Living in the Big Woods, Part 1

During all of my growing up years, I lived in both small towns and large cities. We moved a lot. I lived in Iowa, Oklahoma, Illinois, Indiana and South Dakota. I’ve lived in Michigan now for 58 years.

For all but the first five years of my married life, I’ve lived in the woods! For 19 years I’ve lived in the woods where my husband and I live now. Ah, living in the county and in a woods can be and is so exciting!

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Our log home

We have all kinds of wild life, which we love, so I’ll try to write about them here. We have deer, raccoon’s,  opossum’s,  turkeys, coyote’s, foxes, lynx, rabbit’s, owl’s, eagles, hawks, all kinds of birds, squirrels, snakes, bears (?) and more!

I’ll start with the bear! I was sitting upstairs in our loft, in my lazy-boy recliner, with the window wide open. It was late, I was getting very sleepy and was about to go to bed. But suddenly I heard loud growling, groaning and moaning, mumbling and plundering through the woods! The motion light turned on but I couldn’t see what the animal was. The next night, the same sounding animal went through, but the motion light didn’t turn on. Whatever it was it was good-sized, not like a raccoon or other small animal! Then Jerry noticed a tree near the pole barn that had some branches broken and hanging. It looked like an animal had climbed the tree and was too heavy for the light branches. A bear could have caused that! A couple of days later we saw a picture, in the newspaper, of a bear lying in a ditch… dead, only about two miles from where we live! Could that have been our bear? Another consideration was a wild boar. They’ve been known to be around our area.

I’ll write about our turkeys next. My parents came to visit us from Washington state in September of 1998. They wanted to see our new log home. They would be here for a full week and I was a little concerned with how to entertain them! No worry! Every day, between 5:00 and 5:30 PM, 14 wild turkeys came marching through the woods, up our long driveway! There were three hens and 11 young ones. I called the young ones teenagers because they were big enough to fly into the trees at night. They would wander around our yard, especially under the bird feeders, eating whatever they found, that they liked. Then between seven and seven-thirty PM they flew up into some trees, right beside our house, to roost for the night! My parents were entertained every day!

Sometimes they flew onto the roof of our house. One evening I was upstairs and could hear the turkeys on the roof. I looked up through the sky light. Oh my goodness, a turkey was staring down at me!

Early in the mornings we could hear the gobble, gobble, gobble as they woke up, flew down and went on their way!

The next year a few turkeys came to roost in our trees but not as many. Now days we have a few who come to find food but they don’t stay long and they don’t roost in our trees!

I think my favorite wild animals to visit us are the deer. We’ve had many, many deer come wandering into our yard. They are so quiet I often just happened to see them when I glanced out the window and there they’d be! I would stop whatever I was doing just to watch them. Such beautiful creatures standing quietly, eating leaves off the trees. Sometimes just one, or sometimes several deer would be here. What I loved the most was springtime when a doe would come into the yard with a fawn, or two! It was a thrill to watch them nursing from their mother.

One day our grandson, Armon, came running, “Gramdma, Grandma, you’ve got to come quickly! A baby deer is by the pond! It was just born!” We went running to the pond and sure enough, except there were two fawns!

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Twin Fawns

Twin fawns born beside our pond! It’s kind of hard to make out the second one. We were all so excited! A little while later I went back out by myself to take a better picture…they were gone! The mother must have been watching us and when we left, decided to move them to a safer place, one that we didn’t know about! Several times, as they were growing, they came into our yard by our house. It was so fun to watch them running and skipping about! Sometimes we got to watch them stop for a little nourishment from their momma!

I’ve seen several deer sleep in our woods by our house! It’s very exciting to me to see them before they get up for the day!

Well, more stories another day! Good night!

 

 

A Worthwhile Project

A fact, hard for me to admit, is that we’re aging. Jerry is 80! I’m 77! Us, 2015 This is the latest picture of us taken, as you can see, at Christmas time, 2015. We’ll celebrate 57 years of marriage next month! Jerry has always been a very hard worker, but those days are pretty much gone now. These days we are enjoying life in our log home. Our wonderful children come to visit and tackle jobs that they see need to be done. We also hire men to do work now and then.

Spring has arrived, birds are returning. We have bird feeders in our back yard that we watch when we’re sitting in our sun-room. But we’re in our living room a lot of the time and wish for birds to watch there.

So Jerry  got an idea. Project Jerry 1 It was a lot of work. Project Jerry 2  It’s beginning to take shape! IMG_1879  He filled the old cream can with pieces of cement and dirt. Project Jerry 6  Then he put this heart shaped hanger in the center of the can and hung a bird seed bell! Now we can sit in our living room or on our front porch and watch the birds come and eat the seeds. These were all things we already had so we only had to buy the bell bird seeds.

So come on, birds! We’re ready!

Small Isn’t All Bad – Less Is More

I love books. I love reading. I have actually read all night long when I was reading a novel I just

couldn’t put down! This shows a portion of my collection of books. I have favorite authors, of course. Grissom, Blackstock, Rivers, Williamson, just to name a few! Glen Williamson was my dad! I have all his books!

I’ve now reached the age I didn’t really think would ever arrive! Old Age! I need to downsize! Oh no, does that mean, get rid of my precious books?

I’ve done it! I’ve downsized my books! I’ve given many away! Some to family, some to friends here,  some to friends in far away places!

There is an organization that takes Christian books and makes them available to missionary workers and families. Christian Resources International is where boxes and boxes and boxes of my books, for all ages, went! It wasn’t so hard to give them away when I knew they were going to people who would read them and love them and be helped by some of them and who couldn’t, otherwise, get them! And they’ll be going all over the world!

I no longer have my book shelves in my reading room. I no longer have my reading room! We’ve moved the shelves upstairs to the loft. So here is my reading corner!

I even had room for some antique games and toys from Jerry’s childhood days. A Roy Rogers coloring book! Monopoly, a jar of Marbles, Dominos, Tinker Toys, and a game of Conflict. The beautiful doll was a gift from my daughter, Pam, years ago, but not an antique yet! The parasols are from Taiwan.

New Library

So the downsizing has begun! My books, for the most part, are alphabetized by the author.

Book case 1 These are  some antique books I can’t part with. Some are: Dick and Jane readers, I started out learning to read, in Des Moines, Iowa. Jerry and Alice readers, Friendly Village and If I Were Going, I had in Covington, Oklahoma.

Jerry made this bookcase when he was in high school in the early 50’s! On top of the bookcase is the Singer sewing machine my mother received as a gift when she was a teenager. She made all my clothes and my sisters on this machine! A darning bulb is beside the sewing machine. Mother taught me to darn socks with it! Today, of course, we throw  holey socks away and buy new!

Having grandchildren, I have to save some of my kid books. I gave a lot of them away but I kept some favorites. Most of them were my own kids books when they were young.

The Bremen-town Musicians I have read to all of my grandchildren. They got to hold the statue of the Rooster, Cat, Dog, and Donkey while I read the book to them. They loved it and begged to have me read to them over and over!

So, the next stage of downsizing needs to begin. Oh dear…

 

Flowergirl and a Bow

 

My mother made my flower girl gown. It was 1942 or ’43 and I was four years old. We lived in Des Moines, Iowa. Mother was almost finished when she decided to add a bow about two inches above the hemline of the dress. The bow made it special! She finished sewing my dress, pressed it, and oh, it was beautiful! It was a perfect fit!

 

Anita Flower Girl, 4 yrs.

Anita, the flower girl with a bow.

Hmmm…do you wonder why she sewed a bow near the bottom of the dress? Well, I had a baby brother, Billy. I suspect he was crying and needed attention! Whatever the reason…my dress ended up with an ugly scorch mark! I don’t know who came up with idea of a bow covering the spot, but it was a good idea! Mother was an excellent seamstress so she may have thought of it herself. There was enough material left over so she made a beautiful bow!

Not long ago I was looking at pictures of President Polk’s wife. She was known for her beautiful gowns. One had a beautiful bow on the skirt of the dress! Hmmm, I wonder if someone made a mistake and covered it with a bow?!

Bow on a gown Mrs Polk

Mrs. Poke’s with a bow on her gown!

Here’s a picture of the entire wedding party in 1942 or ’43. My dad assisted in the ceremony. He’s the first man on the left, second row from the top.

Anita flower girl wedding

Anita (Williamson) Archer, flower girl; 1st row: ? French; ? Matheny, bride; ??, groom; Norma French; 2nd row: ??; Wyla (Notbohm) Skeen; Annabelle (King) Kerestly ; 3rd row: Rev. Glen Williamson; Rev. J.K. French; Rev. E.W. Walls; 4th row: ??; ??; ??.

Let’s Go For A Ride

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“Let’s go for a ride.” is all Jerry has to say. I drop anything and everything and say, “Okay, let’s go!”

We actually stopped going for rides for a few years because the price of gas was so high. But now with gas under two dollars, we’re going for rides again. It’s one of our favorite pastimes! It’s actually the times when we have communicated the best with each other! No interruptions! Now, of course, we have our cell phones, but we can select our incoming calls! Or just turn them off! We enjoy being together with just scenery and each other!

I remember one ride Jerry and I took to a small lake near Spring Arbor, Michigan. To get to the lake we had to drive down a steep hill. When we wanted to leave, the car had a malfunction of some kind and wouldn’t go up the hill! Oh, what were we going to do? Then Jerry discovered it would go in reverse, so we backed up the hill and out on the main road, where he put the car in ‘drive’ and off we went!

We have some rides that are even kind of monumental! One I’ll never forget was when our children were young and we had some news we wanted and needed to share with them. Jerry and I decided to go for a ride and while we had their full attention, told them we were going to have another baby born into our family! They were very excited! Their ages were about thirteen, eleven, seven, and four.

Lots of times our rides included a stop at an ice cream shop for ice cream cones! When we rode up to Wixom Lake, to ride and ski with our boat, we always stopped for ice cream cones on the way home. It was almost required!Scan_20160323 (2)

In 1990   I went for a drive all by myself to Minneapolis, Minnesota! My mother had flown there from Washington state to visit her brother, my uncle Richard. He was in the Veterans Hospital for cancer surgery. He was my uncle who had been in WWII and lost both of his legs. I always loved him but hadn’t seen him since I was about 13!

Jerry and I discussed the possibility of me driving by myself and studied road maps. We decided I could drive north to the upper peninsula and drive on US 2 across the UP until I came to Norway and US 8. I could remember Norway! I’m half Norwegian! I’ll skip the rest of the trip except to say I had no problems! When I arrived in Minneapolis, I just followed the signs and ended at the Veterans Hospital! Those were the days before internet and cell phones! It was an unbelievable ride for me all by myself! Scan_20160323 (4)Aunt Ruth, myself, and Uncle Richard.

A few years ago, Jerry bought a MG! We called it our ‘ice cream cone car’!  We only went for rides in it and often stopped for an ice cream cone!IMG_2008_07_04_9533 - ASF  He loved to take our grandkids for rides in it and they loved it too!Sydney 032 Jessica, one of our daughters-in-law, took this picture of us driving ahead of her! We didn’t even know she was following us! Archers MG goodbye Just yesterday we went for a ride and saw some Sandhill Cranes! Jerry stopped and I took a picture of them. Sandhill Cranes    Another favorite ride of mine is to horse ride! I don’t get to often but I love it. This is Sandy and me up in Saskatchewan, Canada!Scan_Pic0238 I’ve gone for rides in airplanes, cruise ships, buses, trains, boats, bicycles, dog sled, and more! I even rode a camel up Mt Sinai, Egypt! There is nothing more relaxing, for me, than going for a ride!

Jesus Loves Me

I recently read an interesting post about the person who wrote Jesus Loves Me! It was so interesting! I must admit I’d never wondered who wrote it! I along with every other child loved singing it and did so, often. Norma Nill wrote about Anna Bartlett Warner, the author of Jesus Loves Me. You can find it at normanill.com.  Go ahead, look it up, it’s worth your time!

I am reminded of a post I wrote a few years ago on my blog Anita’s Adventures.

 

I was at a Winning Women Retreat in London, Ontario, Canada. The speaker was excellent, the workshops so relevant, the music was beautiful. What a wonderful weekend away for me and for the other thousands of women who were there. 

     One of the singer’s was an outstanding soloist. The last day as she began to sing her solo, Jesus Loves Me…, a hush fell over the entire arena, This I know, for the Bible tells me so…

     Suddenly, from one of the balconies, sobs were heard. They became louder and louder. I, along with all the other women, turned to see who was causing this disturbance.

     Sitting alone, was a rather robust black woman sobbing uncontrollably. She, alone, identified with the black soloist. The words penetrated the very depths of her soul:  Jesus Loves Me, This I Know…For The Bible Tells Me So. Little Ones To Him Belong, They Are Weak, But He Is Strong…Yes, Jesus Loves Me…

If you’d like to read more of my adventures, you can! Go to                                                  mylife-experieces.blogspot.com.  I know, the ‘n’ is left out of experiences. I made a mistake and wasn’t able to correct it! So just make the mistake along with me…you’ll be glad you did!

 

Growing Up…White

In 1944 to 1946, I began my education in Des Moines, Iowa  at Nash Elementary and Kirkwood Elementary. The schools I attended were racially mixed. Race meant nothing to me. I played with anyone who would play with me.

I was raised in Iowa, except for three years, 1946 to 1949, when we lived in Oklahoma and Illinois. It’s interesting how impressions are made on children. Because I’m writing about the 1940’s and ’50’s I’ll use the word, Negro, rather than Black.

When we moved to Oklahoma, we lived in a town that was all white. I remember seeing a negro man walking along the railroad tracks one day. The thought that came to my mind was, he’d better keep walking because negro people can’t be in this town! If he wants to sleep overnight, he’ll have to sleep in the jail!  What a thought for a little child. What a thought to remain in my mind after all these years! Anita 1947

We moved back to Des Moines and for 8th and 9th grades I attended Washington Irving Jr. High. I have many memories of my two years there. There were many, many negro students. I don’t remember any negro teachers.

I wasn’t very athletic so gym days were tough for me. I couldn’t serve a volleyball and get it over the net… My hands stung every time I tried to hit the ball back over the net. One day a girl, who was getting very aggravated with me, yelled, “Niger”, at me! I couldn’t believe it…she was a negro! Later we became good friends.

A negro boy in my homeroom was named Matthew. I’d never heard of anyone named Matthew. I thought it was interesting his mother named him a Bible name! Today it’s a common name…I have a fine grandson named Matthew!

I had a very long way to walk to and from school. One day as I was walking alone, one of my classmates, who was also walking alone, caught up with me. We started talking as we walked. We enjoyed each other’s company and laughed a lot.

We were walking down a very busy street. All of a sudden, a car veered and nearly lost control. We jumped quickly, staring at the car. The driver caught my eye. He was staring, in disbelief, at me! Oh my goodness, we’d nearly caused an accident! Yes, my friend was a negro boy! So what! We were friends…simply that, friends. And good friends, at that! We continued walking together until we came to where he had to turn the corner but our mood had changed. We said good-bye. We were still friends but we never walked together again. I felt bad then and I still do today.

These are just a couple of memories I have of growing up white in a country of both whites and blacks. I have lots more, but these stand out in my mind.

Years later, I understood why I had such a feeling of comradeship with my black friends. My parents, though never saying so, had the feeling of equality with black people and had always encouraged me in this way. But it was more than that. My dad became Director of Interracial Evangelism, in the 1960’s, in our denomination, Free Methodist Church of North America. I was so proud of him then and still am. What a legacy my parents gave me.