Many weeks go by,
before I get out of town
and into the country for a ride.
   I hate to think that I'm turning into a "town kid"
...more on that later. 
 we went home
 to help celebrate my parents 85th birthdays,
they were born just 3 days apart.
 The road trip home took us through
 rural Iowa and southern Minnesota,
beautiful rural countryside...
The fields look like big patchwork quilts of
soybean greens and corn silk yellows.
 The hometown 4-H county fair
was just coming to an end,
a county fair that I participated in
 in my youth.
Summertime leading up to the fair
 was consumed with getting projects finished.
  Cookies & breads recipes
to practice baking
 for Foods,
 coats of stain to be put on
the Home Improvement projects,
 and a pig
 out in that barn,
 that needed to be trained to walk beside me...
and bathed a time or two,
as well.
  I also participated in Sewing,
 these garments got judged at an earlier date,
 and then were worn/modeled
 in the Fashion Review at the fair,
 this is when they chose the state fair winners.
This is what "farm kids" did in the summer. 
We worked with our hands...
Pictured above is a fair project that earned my first purple ribbon,
and a trip to the state fair.
 It has spent all these years in my hope chest
I just got it out to snap this photo,
think I'll find a spot and hang it. 
I like it more now,
 then I did
  Nothing too special,
 the judge really loved the frame. 
 With the help of Dad, 
I cut down an old chair back for the frame,
leaving just two of the spindles
to nicely frame the photo.
 This was way before re-purposing was cool...
circa 1970!  
 I was cool,
 didn't even know it!
 The picture of the ringlet-haired girl
was one that Mom had saved from a calendar
 from years past,
would be my best guess. 
We used what we had,
 I guess you could say,
 we made-do! 
Coats and coats of varnish
 and then many hours of sanding
 with sandpaper,
 and then steel wool
went into that picture.
  It had to meet my Mom's
 touch of approval.
  When it was as smooth as a baby's butt,
 it meet her approval. ;)
 My mom always taught us
 to strive for perfection...
I see that now,
 as I am an adult...
didn't much like it
in my youth.   
 before the fair,
came bean walking...
The goal was always to have this done before "fair time".
For those unfamiliar with this task,
you simply
 (no, it wasn't simply...it was hard work)
walk the rows of the bean fields
 and pull out the weeds.
  Dad would hire "town kids" to help us.
  He would go to town early in the morning
to pick up the "town kids",
load them all into the back of his pickup,
and then
 bring them to the farm,
to help us "farm kids".
  The task itself was not fun...
it meant getting up at
the crack of dawn
 to beat the Minnesota heat and humidity,
and walking through wet & dewy beans.   
The only fun in it was
being re-united with our "town friends",
 got to work on your suntan,
eat Mom's homemade caramel pecan cinnamon rolls
for lunch break...
they were the best! 
There were incidents of sick kids,
 lying in the end rows,
due to eating too many
of Mom's caramel rolls!
 The money earned from bean walking
 was then used to buy our school clothes.
  It meant a road trip
to the mall in Sioux Falls SD
 for shopping,
and this was a BIG deal.
What kind of weeds grow in a bean field,
 you are wondering?
There were sunflowers,
 pig weed (not sure if that is its scientific name, it's what dad called them...),
 cockle burr, black night shade, thistles (hated those),
 milkweed (those scared me because there were always these reddish beetles on them)
 button weeds (pulling these made your hands stink for weeks)...
They not only stunk,
button weeds were tricky to find.
 Their leaves,
 in their smaller state,
 were similar to those of the beans.
  If the button weeds had seed pods,
 we picked the pods
 and put them in our pockets. 
 If you got to the end of the row
 and Dad spotted a button weed
 in your row,
 it was back down the row you would run to pull it,
while all the other kids hung out in the end rows
and waited for you.
If you missed a buttonweed,
Dad would be in the row next to you,
in the next round, guaranteed.
It was never cool to have Dad walking the row beside  you,
it just wasn't a good sign...
 it is with these good old youthful memories
 that I sat with paper and pencil,
upon my return to "city life",
 and sketched out
 a future Halloween punch needle release...
I still had button weeds on my mind
from my trip home,
or to the "farm",
as we call home...
(yes, my 85 year old parents still live on the farm
and plant a garden the size of a small field)
"Button Weeds & Bittersweet"
 I promise...
these button weeds don't have pods,
 they don't stink!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Leaving you with the 4-H pledge...

I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
my heart to greater loyalty,
my hands to larger service, and
my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country
 my world.

It was during my time,
 as a 4-Her,
 that they added the last line,
~and to my world~
 to the pledge. 
The original pledge was worded by Otis Hall,
who hailed from Kansas,
 and re-written in 1973 to include the "and my world".  

The 4-H colors are green and white.
Green represents nature's most common color
(yes, even those green button weeds),
life & growth. 
The white symbolizes
purity & high ideals.
Enjoy your weekend,


klk said...

You brought back a lot of memories of walking beans. Yikes! But lots of good memories of 4-H too.

Farm Girl said...

So nice that you said all of this, yep the goal was " Fair Time," I remember too when they added that last line to our 4H pledge. My goal then was to get as many ribbons and badges on my white hat. I was so happy when I went from a green hat to a white one. I still have my hat in my hope chest as well. A very nice walk down memory lane. We had to work in cotton fields. Chopping weeds was just hot work but we did make it fun.

April said...

I loved 4-H! I remembered the pledge too! Thanks for blogging about 4-H. It made me sit and think about my 4-H years of baking and sewing. I was a city girl so no farm was involved. I wish there had been! lol

Danice said...

'Love the Halloween punch needle- so pretty. Here in the South, we actually call button weeds stink weeds, lol :)

Danice said...

Oh, and your first project is very nice. I love the old chair back frame :)

Pam Lam said...

A walk down memory lane. Guess my dad didn't have enough acres of beans because just us two kids walked the beans. Often in mud at the end of the rows from irrigating. The town kids never did understand that hard work! And all those projects for 4-H. What good times those were.

Three Sheep Studio said...

I loved your 'story'.
I have never heard of 'buttonweed', but I love the name of it ! It just sounds happy to say it. ;)
Your pattern looks like so much fun !

Roberta said...

Good memories! DH is from a Cleveland suburb but they always had a large garden and his most hated chore growing up was weeding. ~Roberta

From Sherry's Heart said...

WOW what a wonderful childhood you had!!!
AND how lucky are you to still have your Mom & Dad!!!

Faye said...

I'm right there with you Brenda.... This sure did conjure up fond memories of my days of youth..... We sure do have a lot in common... Where you walked the bean rows, mine was the rows of tobacco plants and soybeans... The strong smells of turned earth and chirping bugs still bring those memories back.... Ad to still have both you parents.... A blessing for sure~~~ Faye

Dede said...

Great post. Our county fair starts Tuesday. Our family never joined 4-H but we certainly enjoyed the yearly trip to the fair and meeting up with school friends--the highlight of summer. I also walked the fields with my dad. During high school we(sister & I) had the "pleasure" of working for Pioneer Seed. It entailed getting up before dawn, riding in the back of a semi truck on planks laid across cement blocks to the fields about 30 miles away. (No safety standards then!) We detasseled seed corn by riding on a machine and pulling the tassels off--which usually had lots of bugs on them. Yucky work. Done by 2 as to hot to be out in the field. We brought our lunch but they provided water to drink. Occasionally we walked a milo field pulling suckers and weeds. Hard, hot work but lots of fun memories with sister and school friends!!!!! I did that three summers for about 4 weeks each time.

Trudy Moye said...

I was never in 4-H but both my girls were. Our whole summers where spent with projects and animals. We raised rabbits and goats. It was hard work but both girls learned how to work and be responsible. Those things have helped them in there adult life.

Lynn said...

Thank you for this post. I shared it with my husband over our early morning coffee. It reminds me to be grateful to have been raised within a similar background that built within me skills and values that have stood sound throughout life. The working with our hands, whether gardening, canning, needlework or tending the farm critters leaves a measure of calm that I draw on everyday.

an ol' brown mutt said...

I would love to see a special piece done for that frame of yours.

Poussy Stitches My Love said...

Very beautiful ...

Linda said...

What great memories about 4-H. It's county fair time so I've been thinking about 4-H days a lot this month. I'm excited about your PN piece! He's a cutie. Can't wait to see the whole pattern.

Jeanie said...

I REALLY enjoyed your story. It sounds like a wonderful childhood was had:) Everything is so easy now. Thanks for the story telling!