Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A to Z "D"

Continuing with country life...

D is for dams... 

Fifty years ago, a sunny, summer afternoon might find my four sisters, three brothers and me engrossed in a HUGE project. We liked to dam the crick (creek).  That was possibly the only time we all voluntarily pitched in to work on something together.  Wait, I take that back. Making homemade icecream was a group chore we never avoided either.   I digress.

Back to the creek. We'd take the shovels out of the barrel in dad's shed, and then set to work, cutting sod from the creek bank to widen the pond, and stacking it up in the narrow part of the crick, and then backing it with rocks we'd carried one at a time out of the pastures. 

Our cooperation level eventually broke down, and sometimes it spiraled into mud flinging, or a perfectly timed "placing" of a lump of sod into the water next to the dam-breast to get the biggest muddy splash out of it that we could. Oh there was the crayfish terror, too. Catching a crayfish--and holding it inches from someones face who just didn't care to be that close to the thing.

Of note* When we built a dam, out lofty goal was to have the water depth at least up to our thighs--and that included the half foot of mud at the bottom that we mucked through.  Most times, I admit, we fell short of our goals, and made it knee deep.

We had a few favorite spots in the stream.; some places were better than others--places where the little creek narrowed after a naturally wide spot. We thought we had it figured out--considered ourselves nearly dam engineers.  Farm kids trying to cool off is what we were; dam engineers we were not. Even with all of the planning, and proclaiming before each new dam was built that "This one will last!" None of them did; every time we had a gully-washer come through, the dam was gone.

We did manage to have a dam last through a winter, long enough to get to skate on it.  But for the most part, the joy of building a dam wasn't ever really in having a pond; it was in the actual building of the dam.

Country D memories:  Daisy bouquets accented with deptford pinks, yarrow and evening primrose.  Prettier than anything you'll ever buy at a florist shop.  And June evenings walking along the farm lane, the scent of dog roses hanging heavy on the air. And, caught off guard before sundown, walking though a dew drenched hayfield soaked to our waists--drinking in the scents of clover and alfalfa from the damp air, the timothy tall enough to tickle our chins.

Country life...a good life.  Is it a thing of the past?


  1. These are some lovely childhood memories, where children actually had fun outdoors, using their minds, working together and laughing out loud! It is a shame that the tv and a games console for many has taken the place of outdoor adventures. Looking forward to reading more of your posts. Amanda
    Amanda - Realityarts-Creativity
    Art Blog

    1. Hi Amanda, thank you for visiting. Yes, things sure have changed for children, and I'm not sure that all of it is for the good.

      I loved visiting your blog. Your art is wonderful!


  2. I like what Amanda said. When I was a kid, I loved playing outside. My sister and I made up so many wonderful games—it was such great fun to use our imaginations. The reason we could do play outside, though, is because we lived out of town: we had the room and the freedom. Here in the city, my backyard is small and the neighbors are close... I would love for my kids to have what I had.

    1. Time passes, things change. It makes me wonder what my great granchildren's world will be like.

      Yes, we relied on imagination! :-) Maybe that fostered creativity in us? Maybe we are the last generation of such creative people? I hope not, but today's games leave so little to the imagination. I can't recall the last time I saw a group of children playing tag.

      Thanks for visiting!

  3. I used to play marbles with my uncles (who were only two and three years older than me) outside all the time.
    Oh, the flowers brought back such wonderful memories of my father clipping Dahlias and Daisies in summer time. Thanks for such a refreshing post.

    1. Ahhh, marbles. MY husband claims he was the marble champ in elementary school. :-) I liked to look at them, thought they were beautiful, the tiger eyes, and the goonies. :-) Thanks for visiting. :-)

  4. My daughter and I have never had that country experience, but I so wish we could have that chance. I hope country life is just a thing of region and not all in the past. You write beautifully, thanks for sharing.

    Chontali Kirk

  5. We had the “woods” to play in. I can’t imagine me ever allowing my kids to be out of my sight from morn till noon and not worry about where they were, much less play in the woods.
    Your descriptions were so vivid that I feel as though I was there with you helping with the dam.
    Thanks for this post.

    1. Oh my, that is the truth, Lynda. I won't leave my granddaughter out of my sight. We used to run from sun up till sundown. Anywhere on the farm was fair game for us. Thanks for visiting.

  6. Oh, I so hope it is not a thing of the past.
    I enjoyed many of the things you did.
    I got to play in the woods and jump in piles of leaves and build forts and....

    Ah, I really hope not.

    1. Hi Naila, yep, me too. I wish that all kids got a chance to do those things. Thanks for visiting. :-)

  7. Sounds like a wonderful life - I've always loved country stuff, farms and the smell of hay. I didn't grow up that way but I do have some family that did.

    Visiting you from the A-Z challenge. Good post. I enjoyed it.