This morning, we received a comment on the blog, from a close family friend that I thought was worth sharing as a 'guest post'. Bobby, or JHY as I call him, is really part of our adopted North American family...because most of our 'real' family was still in the UK, my parents adopted a few families that throughout my childhood, we celebrated holidays with and became 'family' through so many shared experiences and I would include Bobby in that group. Originally a co-worker of my Dad's, Bob is from the US, New Jersey to be exact. When I was a wee little girl, I must have watched a lot of episodes of the Jeffersons, because one day when Bobby was visiting I walked up to him and said "Hello there, you Jive Honky Yankee" and since that day he has been known as JHY. Anyways... he introduced us to beautiful New Jersey tomatoes and cantaloupe, the Jersey shore, was a great friend to my Dad and never forgets my birthday... so here is what he had to say...
"First time that I have ever taken a look at a "blog". You must have too much time on your hands! Interesting observations from an ex-city person. But, I gotta tell ya. Yep, Ray was one hell of a guy, not only from his hands on mechanical abilities, but I believe more importantly his ability to provoke conversation about the vast amount of subjects in which he was interested -- that's one reason I had to get him to China! If "you" recall the days of the Kennedy Clan and how each Sunday they gathered round the dinner table and each week one was chosen to discuss a subject -- well Ray gathered his extended family around whatever table that was present and discussed all sorts of things. And, his family was provoked to think -- about all sorts of varied subjects - past, present and future. Not many families do that today, or ever did!
He is also the person with whom I learned to water ski -- on Lake Simcoe, while at that time California was one of my sites to visit.
He still provides lots of fun, stories, and wonderful memories for many of us that were lucky enough to know him.
These interesting observations of the family in Horse-what come to me via a computer, and take me back almost a century in my life.
Grandpa lived on the farm down the road from our farm, which my Dad bought from him; and my other Grandfather -- the UK/Hull and Orono, Canada guy, also bought from him. There he had horses, cows, pigs, a BIG garden, and Grandma cooked on a wood stove. She is the one who killed the chickens -- Ma is the one who taught my boys how to kill chickens with an axe.......... Hay was brought in on a horsedrawn wagon -- yep I got to ride in it. Dad would cultivate corn with the horses, and sometimes go to the house and leave me on the cultivator -- the horses knew to go the 1,000 ft or so across the field, turn and come back, that little pre-scool kid had nothing to do with what they did!
All of the local farmers used to get together to help each other gather wheat sheeves and thresh (at each different farm) -- which resulted in BIG pile of straw on which to play. I got to start driving the 1943 Ford tractor at age 10, brother Garrie at age 8, he was taller and could reach the pedals.
We would go about a mile and half down the road to Wilson's dairy farm and get our milk in a can -- it wasn't until I went into Princeton to school that I got to taste that - ugh - pasturized milk.
I walked a mile to and from the bus stop, and rode 7 miles into Princeton to school. (It wasn't until high school that the bus picked me up at the bottom of the farm lane. (Ma had taought there before getting pregnant with me.) Ma had her own Nursery/Kindergarten -- The Farm School with 30 - 50 children and a Summer Day Camp (RoGaPeKi -- the boys/brothers names, coined by me) with about 150 children and 30 on the staff.
I also got the "opportunity" to mow our cemetary with a reel mower and then !! Grandpa bought a reel type mower with a motor on it -- wow! .50 cents an hour and he would bring over a glass gallon jug of water to "refresh" me.
Today I still have a 1/3 Acre garden over there, and I still "jar"/can my own tomato sauce and Red Tomato Chili (from a recipe written in one of our maid's handwriting -- yes we had maid/s. Ann, was the only black person at my wedding.) By the way, I was in the first class of the "Princeton Plan" in about 1948 when the schools were intergrated and we white kids were sent down to the black school.
Over the years, although the main crop was apples (I, of all the pickers, was the only one who could pick 100 bushels a day off the tree - at .10 cents per or 200 per day up from the ground at .05 cents a pop - $10 bucks for 10 hours.), we also had at times, chickens, pigs, sheep, ponies, horses, cows, sheep, goats, turkeys, rabbits, pigeons, and Lord knows what else. We, as did Grandpa and the neighbors, killed most all for food and or sale. (Just recently got my first deer with a crossbow in Ohio.) Lots of deer around here, in fact NJ is so overpoplulated that the kill limit is -- unlimited. (Destructive to farm crops and vehicles.)
Last year, while deer hunting over at the farm, I heard the scream of Fisher Cat for the first time -- they are evidently being crowded out of the Northern areas and into our area. (Blood curdling)
What was the question?
JHY/Uncle Bob/Bobby "
A diary of the projects, hurdles, rewards and family life at we recorded at Wise Acres, our former homestead in Horsefly, BC. (Careers and teenagers have forced us back into the city, at least for a little while.)