Saturday, November 02, 2013

This is Home, Part 31 - Missouri Hen House

This is part 31 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Missouri Hen House

A Missouri Hen House (the plan's name) was built sometime when we were in grade school. It was two story. I don't remember what the first story was like.

Upstairs over under the roof on two sides of the building was no floor, just chicken wire. There may have been wood under the nests. All I saw was straw on wire which slanted and had a sort of wire depression near the front where I stood. The hen would lay an egg and, when she moved, the egg would roll gently into the wire depression or trough.

Sometimes, the hen doesn't like it when one takes the egg away and tries to peck. This solved that problem.

The hen house was large enough to be a barn. It had a lot of nests.

It was built past the brooder house, near the fence with the woods and swing on the other side.

The hen house had a door that opened out from the upstairs. Nothing was under it. It was like the barn, but the door there is used to put bales of hay in the barn. This one was probably for straw.

Most of the hens were happy with the new hen house. Some of the older ones insisted on staying in the two old hen houses past the wash house.

I remember when Uncle Doc couldn't get one out of the yard -- it had sneaked in -- so he put corn in the back yard on the snow for it. We were looking out the window and saw a rabbit hop up to the corn and start eating it.

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This is Home, Part 30 - Lamps, the Black Forest clock

This is part 30 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.


Mom had a lot of beautiful lamps. One was pale pink, with embossed roses. It was glass, tall and graceful with a tall, slender chimney. She had one with brass, antique-looking feet and painted roses, and another that had gold trim and an old-fashioned picture on the side. That one was red. There was also a similar one that was pale blue. There were three plain glass ones with glass chimneys. One with a red base and a black Scotty. I loved that one. She brought them with her when she came out here.

The interesting one was the Aladdin lamp. It was metal. It gave out a white light. However, the inventor wasn't really thinking what he was doing. The flame had a small wire above it with a top and two sides. Stretched over the wire was gauze. It kept catching on fire and Uncle Doc kept rushing out and throwing it in the snow. We kept using it because it put out a lot more light than the other lamps. We could see to do lessons better. An ordinary lamp put out more light than a candle, but not a lot.

The Black Forest clock

Mom bought a Black Forest clock about the time I started high school. It had a door near the top in front. Instead of a talking bird, the children -- a boy and a girl -- came out if it was going to be a nice day. The old witch came out if we were going to have bad weather.

It really worked. I guess the extra dampness in the air made the witch come out. I remember looking at it before I left for high school. It was hanging on the wall in the kitchen, by the front door.

I remember stopping to look at the clock as I was leaving for school in the springtime when the air felt alive, heavy with moisture, and movable.

It felt wonderful and interesting, not just hot and dry like it does out here in Arizona, It made me feel alive.

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This is Home, Part 29 - Mom's Red Dress, Mom's sore throat, Mom's headaches, Mom's hives

This is part 29 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Mom's Red Dress

Mom told me that when she was young her favorite color was red. She said she wanted a red dress but in those days, a nice girl didn't wear that color. When Jean and I were grown and I lived out here in Arizona, she bought herself a red and black checked suit. So she finally got to wear red.

Mom's sore throat

Mom said when she was little and had a sore throat that needed a doctor, the doctor blew a yellow powder onto her throat through a straw. The name of the powder was something like Golden Seal. I wonder if it was sulfa?

Mom's headaches

Mom said she used to have really bad "sick headaches" and there wasn't really much anyone could do for them except put a wet cloth on her forehead and tell her to rest. She said she was so thankful when they got aspirin.

I checked and found out aspirin was invented a year before she was born. It was evidently not in common usage since doctors didn't recommend it.

I remember her having them sometimes. She took aspirin and went to bed with a wet cloth on her head. Uncle Doc took over the cooking until she felt better.

As she got past middle age they just about went away.

Mom's hives

A funny thing happened one time, although I'm not sure Mom would characterize it that way.

Mom had hives for some reason. Nothing seemed to get rid of them. They just itched and itched.

One afternoon, a car pulled up out front. I told Mom a man in a suit was getting out. Mom gave me a horrified look and said, "I don't want to talk to him. Don't answer the door. Maybe he will go away."

By that time, the man was knocking on the door. We didn't answer. He knocked some more. He was pretty plain he wasn't going anywhere.

Finally, Mom said, "Answer the door, but don't invite him in. If he wants to talk to me, tell him I'm sick."

I answered and he did ask for Mom by name. I told him that she was sick and couldn't see anyone.

He said, "I'm a doctor."

I gave up and opened the screen door. Then I told Mom, who reluctantly crept out trying not to scratch or rub.

He turned out to be Dr. Grover Cleveland Rice, Daddy and Uncle Doc's cousin. He lived in Brunswick. He gave Mom some medicine to take. A doctor used to always take his black bag along. It had instruments and medicine in it along with first aid supplies.

Mom took the medicine, but it didn't work. She was having a miserable summer.

Finally, an old Indian traveling through sold her some medicine. By that time, Mom would have taken anything. It worked.

Dr. Rice often came to visit on Sunday after that and brought his wife and little girl. Everyone always enjoyed seeing them. They came for years until the little girl got old enough to be involved in a lot of activities. She was probably around three or four when they first started coming. She used to rock in one of my little chairs.

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