May 31, 2007

Country Inspiration - Home For A Day

Whenever I need inspiration I go back to my roots which means back to the countryside where I grew up. There's something about the smells, sights and sounds of the country that soothe my soul. The quiet pastures filled with wildflowers opens me up and I start considering new possibilities. I have the very best ideas walking down country roads.

I met this strange little turtle or is it a terrapin (I can never remember which is correct) during my walk and he was receptive to having his photo taken. I haven't seen a turtle with such bright red markings and I have seen alot of them over the years. When a pickup truck drove past us the little turtle turned and began to scramble up the road ahead of the truck. It was pretty amusing. Farmers always avoid running over box turtles as a rule. I mean who doesn't like box turtles?

The Amish families are a new and welcome addition to the rural community where I grew up. I had the pleasure of hearing hoof beats in the distance and then the thrill of a horse and bugging trotting past me on the road. Later I met two additional buggies filled with a family on their way to go fishing and have a picnic at the Hopewell Bridge that crosses Cedar Creek. The little girls were blue eyed and adoreable with their plaited blonde hair tucked into their blue bonnets. They seemed to be as curious and happy to see me as I was to see them. They smiled and waved hello as they trotted past in the buggies.

The Sky Prairie conservation area that is dedicated to preservation of the true prairie is located not far from the family farm. It is a tucked away treasure that only the locals and Conservation Department are familiar with. The fields were filled with wildflowers as far as the eye can see.

This was a vine I was unfamiliar with which resembled the blooms of a mimosa tree. If anyone knows what type of flowering vine this is send me an email as I am very curious about it.

The Hopewell Bridge that crosses Cedar Creek and was built in 1895 and is still in use. If you haven't driven across an old country bridge it is a little alarming. The bridge makes quite a racket as you bump along to the other side. There is always that moment when you wonder if the bridge is safe and then you are safely across and want to do it again. On the other side of this bridge is a one room church built by my Great Great Great Great Grandfather and his sons also in 1895. He was a Baptist Preacher and dedicated his life to building churches in the various communities in Polk County and Cedar County, Missouri areas. They were all the same design and approximately 12 churches were built that we are aware of.

The Hopewell Baptist church is still used today by the local Baptist Community.

My Great Great Grandfather also built a General Store in the community of Wagonner. As a little girl I helped Mrs. Dickie, the current proprietor clean the glassware in the store. I would climb on top of the counter and reach the high shelves for her. It would take an entire afternoon and I was paid in ice cream. As children we ould walk to the general store and buy ice cream and cold soda pop in bottles out of a glass top chest freezer in the Summer months. We loved to visit Mrs. Dickie, her store was our "Quik Trip" in the country.

My ancestors also built a schoolhouse and church in Wagonner. We used to go to 4H meetings in the one room schoolhouse when I was a little girl. I don't really remember alot about those meetings as I was about 6 years old at the time, but I do remember the thrill of riding the merry go round with the older kids. I remember hanging as if my life depended on it. I always wanted to go faster.

This little Amish girl agreed to a photo of the fist that she and the other children had caught in the family pond. She was carrying it to the house to show her parents.

This little colt belonged to the Amish family. The dappled gray horses are used to pull farm equipment and the dark brown horses are used for transportation by pulling the buggys.>

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