Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday My Town Shoot Out: Incongruous

I chose this week's topic. It may have been one of those ideas that sounded good, but was difficult to execute.

"Incongruous: meaning out of place, ridiculous, inconsistent, contradictory. Things mis-labeled or not where you would expect to see them, just odd stuff that you might be used to seeing everyday and we would find interesting or amusing."

I got the idea from this boat parked in front of a barn. It has obviously not been moved in a while. We are at least 60 miles from any size body of water.

I live in a small Northwest Kansas town. Last week a water tower was being added to boost the water pressure in a newly expanded area. I didn't get to see how they do it, but evidently they erect these things from the ground up, because it was missing a "Y" on the bottom.

You wouldn't expect to see palm trees in this flat arid country, but the Chamber of Commerce is using a slogan "Oasis on the Plains" and this truck stop complex calls it's self "The Oasis." The trees are constructed out of metal and I believe fiberglass. I know there was concern about those branches breaking loose in one of our 70 mph winds.

- complete with parrots.(click for a better view)

Another thing you don't expect to see everyday is a real semi-truck suspended so high in the sky that it can be see for miles.

Lastly a bonus from my trip this week. It comes from Pratt, Kansas. How's this for a town with a sense of humor? If you zoom in on the "hot" you can see the gingerbread detail around the top.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I really, really hate these things and they really, really love the four-o-clocks by my front door- which I seldom use. I think an extended family moved in out there. I've been picking and smushing (gross), but they are pretty good at blending in. So it's a race to see if the plants are decimated before the worm family. I'm doing my part.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday My Town Shoot Out: Signs

This week's Friday "My Town" Shoot Out topic is " amusing or interesting signs in your area." I think I found that my town just isn't that amusing.

This sign is posted at the end of my friends' driveway.

Can you tell that they have horses?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lunch for sixty?

I couldn't decide on a title for this post. The first one that came to mind was,"Oh, my aching feet!", but given the background it seems more than a little self absorbed.

I coordinate the funeral meals for our church. Today we provided lunch for the family before a memorial service. Customarily, services are held around 10:00 with lunch following. For the last several years we've been serving a casserole with salads and desserts. We ask how many to expect, but it's always just a guess.

I use this old-time favorite recipe for the casserole:

Tator Tot Casserole

Brown together:
2 lbs hamburger seasoned w/salt, pepper & onion

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
2 cans green beans, drained

2 lbs. tator tots

Mix browned, seasoned burger, soups & green beans. Spread in the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Top with the tator tots. Bake at 350 until bubbly & brown

Although this recipe should serve 12-15, I estimate one recipe per 10 people to be served, just to be safe.

I call my list of faithfuls who volunteer to donate food or work in the kitchen and they bring salads and desserts. Just before the meal I pop pans of yeast rolls in the oven to give the kitchen a comforting, homey smell. Who doesn't love the smell of fresh baked bread?

We don't charge anything for this, though families often make a donation, and we don't have a budget, it just always works out.

A time or two, I have been pretty stressed when the attendance greatly exceeded the estimate. Then there was the time that Pastor invited everyone downstairs for lunch when we only planned for 70, but still it worked out okay. This jobs makes you believe in loaves & fishes.

Here's a picture of some of my helpers today. Don't they look lovely? Sorry, I didn't get a picture of everyone. There were three more of us.

Wasn't this a pretty spread?

Friday, August 14, 2009

If These Old Walls Could Talk: Part 3

Old, Old Schoolhouse? I blogged earlier about "The Old School House". While I was on my photo safari, I spotted this old foundation on a narrow road. I had decided it must be the remains of a school or church because of the wide step. Then Aunt Dinah told me that the previous school had been North & West of the "New, Old School. Exactly where this is. There are no buildings around it for miles. Can you imagine having to mix the concrete for this by hand, maybe even hauling the water. Building was really hard work back then. I wonder if there was a well, probably an outhouse. What did they heat with. It didn't look like there was a source of firewood nearby. Do you suppose the kids rode ponies to school at one time?

See how far back it sets from the road, just the footprint of a memory. I wish I could order up a video of that time. Would I see muslin and homespun?

P.S. Yes, I do know that this doesn't actually have walls.

Friday My Town Shoot Out: Relaxation

The object of the Friday My Town Shoot Out posts is to use an assigned theme to post photos of my town. This week's theme is "Relaxation" chosen by Lena at Spirits of Lena.

This time of year, lots of people, mainly children, like to relax here.

I would relax there too, if I could be INVISIBLE.

Relax here and leave with peace.

Some people like to relax here.

The most frequent place for me is this.

I take a little something from here.

Children are welcome.

Travelers can check their email. Students surf.

I can trade in a book from home.

I can even check out a cake pan! What shape & flavor would you like for your cake?

Have a wonderful weekend. Mary

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

If These Old Walls Could Talk: Part 2

This picture is the first one to give me the idea for If These Old Walls Could Talk. It's the farm house where my mother-in-law grew up. After his parents divorced, my late husband spent many happy hours here with his grandfather as a surrogate parent and teacher. His grandparents were still living here when we met and his grandmother permanently moved to town after grandpa's death in 1982. Aunt Dinah and her husband lived here for some time after that until economics forced them to the cities to make a living.

This probably never was a fancy house. I remember it as a house of enameled tin cupboards, linoleum, wallpaper and contact paper. A bedroom was made into a bath when plumbing was brought indoors. A couple of lean-to porches had been added on.

The water was collected in a cistern from the windmill.

The fins of the old blue impala stuck out of the doors of this garage.

This old hump roof barn was just leaning a little, the first time I saw it. Now, it has collapsed to less than half its former height.

I also remember there always being room for company at the table. My husband talked of fried bologna for breakfast and milk stored in the freezer because they were so far from town. He talked of grandma letting him and his cousin roll cigarettes in this old wash house from newspaper and coffee grounds to "get it out of their systems". I think he got the scar on his lip from the same cousin in a tussle over a toy truck.

I remember picking cherries and the auction held there to sell the farm equipment. I remember these old folk out in the road ditch digging sandburrs and stickers when he took me to meet them for the first time and the old upright piano on the porch that we brought home for our daugher to learn on.

I only have a few years of memories from this house before things changed. I know there are many others who have more and every one of them felt like a V.I.P. when they were at the farm.

That's the kind of grandparent that I want to be remembered as.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If These Old Walls Could Talk: Part 1

This old school house sets nearly 20 miles from the nearest town. The roof has long ago fallen in but the walls seem stubbornly straight and strong.

Who decided to build it here? Why did it close? Did it serve any other purpose after the school closed? It looks like a modern building, but it's looked this way for the 30+ years that I've been driving by. It must be at close to 60 years old.

I asked my husband's cousin, Vonita, what she knew about it. She called the school Mirage and thought she went to school there in 1953 or 1954. Previously they had a one room school house like all the old time pictures. She said this building had all the grades in one room,too, but not very many students in any grade. It had indoor plumbing so they didn't have to use an outhouse or drink from water jugs anymore. They brought their lunches to school, but there was no refrigerator so her mother wouldn't send meat sandwiches just peanut butter and jelly. Maybe soup in a thermos. There were no buses, so her parents or grandparents took them to school. I think it would have been 10-15 miles from her house. Town was south of the school and their home was east.

I'm so glad I asked her. She had lots more to say about school days there, but I'll wait for her to blog it and then give you a link. She said her wedding shower was held there in 1967.

On second thought, she did tell a few stories in a post earlier this year. Go on over and read about them at Mago's Meditations, please remember that we are only related by marriage! (just kidding, Vonita)

This just in from Aunt Dinah, who was in the same grade as Cousin Vonita. Actually, they were the only ones in that grade. She said the school was built in 1956, first school year 56-57 and closed 5 years later after the 61-62 school year.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

That Long Lonesome Road

I alluded to my photo safari a few days ago. The area I explored consisted of large ranches and farms. Not very many people live in that area, anymore. Many roads have road markers, but they are little more than tracks between two fields. I took one of those and had to turn around after a mile because it didn't intersect with any other road. Some of the roads cut through a large ranch and I had to cross numerous cattle guards. I also turned around on the road pictured below. Looking in the rear view mirror, it occurred to me that no one else had used this road in the past few days. So,it was unlikely there would be anything to see. I like the bright spot of road at the top of the picture. The sun was shining through a hole in the clouds.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday My Town Shoot Out: Power

This week's Friday My Town Shoot Out topic is Power, suggested by J9, She asked: “Power - where do you get your power? Is it electric, hydroelectric, solar, wind, natural gas? The things that power our towns or it could be things that empower you personally, or places to go to regroup, regenerate your own personal power.”

I cook and heat with natural gas. This is a natural gas compressor station owned by Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline. Although they don't work here, my son and son-in-law both work for the company.

I get my electricty from here.

Through here.

Maybe from here, or someplace just like it.

I think of power here at our county courthouse. They have the power to make us pay our taxes or lose our property. The county commissioners decide what services we will have and how much they will cost us.

There is power here.

This isn't power until you don't have it.

I get refreshed here every week to make me ready for the coming week.

This is powerful.

Powerful good!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Header

I went for a cruise through the countryside today. I'm working on collecting pictures for a theme that you will see later. I can just hear the anticipation building, but be patient. I'm going to Oklahoma this weekend, so it may be a while. I'm home now with 90+ pictures. Many of my hands and fingers because I saw things while I was driving and couldn't stop. I was suprised to see this field of sunflowers in bloom. I think it's kind of early, but now I'll have to pay more attention to see if other fields are blooming. I drove 80 miles in four hours and most of it was dirt roads. It's been a fun day.

These air planes are bonus pictures. I wasn't looking for them, but happened to see two in the same day. The yellow one is a spray plane, but I'm not sure about the other. It flew low over me while I was standing in the back of the pickup taking pictures for Friday My Town Shoot Out. Bear in mind, my brother-in-law told me that it costs $50.00 per acre to spray his corn for bugs. This is costing someone some serious $$$.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

County Fair Parade

What's a parade without the color guard? I would love to see everyone salute the flag as it passes. So many things fall out of custom with disuse.

We didn't have many of what I think of as traditional floats. I missed getting pictures of the horses, shriners, firetrucks and other individuals.

The implement dealers participate by showing off their new equipment. Many are so big they can't go down the street with out removing parts.

The theme this year was: Thrills, Squeals and Ferris Wheels, so this combine shows some spirit.

The kids enjoy it all. There is so much candy thrown that they bring sacks to collect it in. Reminds me of Halloween. My youngest grandson has his mouth full as he reaches out for more.

It's okay to eat stuff I pick up from the street today, isn't it Mama?