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Remnants of the Past

Front Porch Swing

Laura EverlyAhhh sipping iced tea or lemonade, rocking back and forth on a porch swing, who doesn’t love it?  The front porch on my grandparent’s farm seemed to be everybody’s favorite spot, especially in the summer.  On the warm summer evenings my grandparents would sit in the swing after a hard day of work on the farm.  My grandpa would watch for those pesky groundhogs that seemed to masterfully place their homes always in the wrong places in the hay fields.  My grandma would watch the cars go past their farm house. 

I enjoyed sitting on the steps listening and watching them swing.  I learned a lot on those evenings.  Sometimes when the green beans and peas had been picked, my grandma and I would sit in the swing and string the green beans and shell peas.

rustic porch swing
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

After my grandpa passed away, my grandma still enjoyed sitting on the front porch swing watching the cars go past the farm house.  Her devoted companion now was a small dog named Spice.  Spice adored my grandma and my grandma dearly loved this little dog.  Spice would sit in the porch swing with my grandma.  He didn’t mind the motion of the swing at all.  I’m pretty sure he enjoyed spending time with my grandma as much as we did.

Although both my grandparents have now passed away, members of the family still enjoy sitting on the front porch swing when we gather at the farm Labor Day weekend.  At different times in the day, I’m pretty sure all of our family sits in the porch swing and on the porch steps catching up on what we’ve been doing and reminiscing about our special times on the farm.

An Adopted Lamb: Sparky

Laura EverlyMost country folk think of baby farms animals, especially calves and lambs, as the first sign of Spring, right? Well, this country girl does.  I love watching the newborn calves and lambs bouncing around the fields.

What farmer hasn’t told at least one story about bringing a newborn calf or lamb into their kitchen to keep warm during the first couple of weeks or to give the little darlings a bottle of milk? The sobering fact of farming when this happens is usually because the cow or ewe didn’t accept her baby.

Here is an unusual, but true story about a little lamb we adopted from farmers.   This little lamb was a triplet.  He was the smallest of the three lambs.  During his fight to survive he broke his leg. Of course, it broke my mom’s heart when she heard about the little lamb.  What mom who had grown up on a farm wouldn’t be touched?

I didn’t know we had adopted a lamb until I called home while I was on vacation.  To my surprise while I was talking to my mom, I heard a loud baa…baa in the background.  When I asked why was I was hearing a sheep in the house, Mom happily informed me that there was a lamb in our bath tub.  Completely normal?  I had to think about this one. Once my mom told me Sparky’s story, really did make sense.

sparky the lamb

When I got home after my vacation, Sparky tried to run up to me.  I knew instantly why his name was Sparky.  He was so cute.

Sparky was now living in a large box in our kitchen.  He had a soft teddy bear in his box to keep him company. loved this bear. 

Sparky was an unusual lamb because he loved to ride in my vehicle.  My boss and co-workers agreed to me bringing Sparky to work.  I would place him in a card board box in the back where he was safe on the floor behind the driver’s seat.  Sparky was so relaxed and comfortable in my vehicle; he was usually sound asleep by the time I got to work.  He loved going to work with me, mainly because he loved the attention he received.    

Of course, as Sparky got bigger, he was moved outside.  He wasn’t happy about that.  Lambs are supposed to live inside and ride in the backseat of vehicles, right?  He finally accepted the fact that he was going to be living outside or so we thought.  When our dog Max was outside, Sparky followed him everywhere. When Max thought he had been outside too long, he would gently, bump the door.  Sparky also learned how to “knock” on the door.  His pawing at the door was not quite as gently as Max’s.

Our Sparky grew up to be a very rambunctious ram.  We sadly had to sell him when he was three.  Memories of Sparky still make me smile.

Beloved Memories of Childhood

Laura EverlyI have many great memories of my childhood.  My brother and I were blessed with the opportunities of enjoying our young lives with a great, great, great aunt and uncle, great grandparents, grandparents and aunts and uncles.  One night in particular still makes our dad, my brother and I laugh.  Here’s my memory of an experience with the delicious ice cream topping chocolate dope.

It was one of the night’s our dad was spending time with us while our mom was at a meeting.  We had finished our homework and Dad decided we should have ice cream covered with chocolate dope.  My brother and I were excited because we were getting such a special treat.  We still laugh at this night because of what happened when it came time for Dad to make the tasty treat.

First Dad called our great-grandma to get the recipe. We watched eagerly as he made the first batch.  We were a little disappointed when this attempt came out too runny so we couldn’t use it.  The second batch he burnt.  We could tell he was frustrated, but he didn’t give up because he called our great-grandma again.  Something went wrong with the third batch since it also stuck to the pan.  By this time, I had to hide my smile and hold back a laugh, at this point, I felt bad for my dad.  However, I did notice he was smiling in disbelief.  I knew he was really trying to make this topping for us.  I’m sure our great-grandma was shaking her head when Dad called her the third time to ask her what he was doing wrong.  Guess what: his fourth try was a success and it was delicious.  It gives the three of us a memory that we can still joke about today.

If you have never tried chocolate dope, here is the recipe.

1/2 cup chocolate powder (unsweetened)
2 tablespoons of light corn syrup
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine the designated amount of sugar, water, light corn syrup and unsweetened chocolate into a medium sized pan.  Before turning on stove, stir this mixture until chocolate powder is completely covered.  Then turn on stove to a medium high temperature and bring the chocolate mixture to a boil, do not stop stirring.  Once it is boiling, turn the heat down to low to simmer.  Repeat boiling and simmering three to four times.  Do not stop stirring.  The next to last step is to remove pan from heat and mix in the vanilla extract.  Let the chocolate dope cool long enough that it can still be poured over the vanilla ice cream.

chocolate syrup

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