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Discover Your Inner Farm Kid

Published on May 24, 2016 by sherons
Family of 5

Me Growing Up a Country Farm  Kid

Want to discover your inner farm kid?

Visit us at Scurlock Farms in one of our three vacation rentals to discover your inner farm kid, or get back in touch with the farm kid you used to be!

Did you grow up in a rural area, or did you live in a town or city?  Maybe you began in one and ended up the other?

I was the oldest of six children, born over a 24 year span.  This photo is the family with the first set of children.  When I was 10, Cindy was born, then Susan when I was 12.  Staci came along when I was 23.

My family moved to a 5 acre farm when I was 7 years old and had chickens, a milk cow, and my brother raised a pig.  There was also a large garden every year - HUGE to my 8 year old eyes!   Each year all produce grown that was not consumed fresh was either canned and frozen.

 

Did you ever pick wild blackberries or dewberries? 

Did you have to watch out for snakes and other critters?  I'm sure, if you were like me, you had to sample some as you picked them, just to be sure they were good!

In the spring, wild blackberries and dewberries were picked by the 5 of us along roadsides and along fence lines.  These were eaten fresh, made into jelly or cobblers and the remainder were canned for future jelly or cobblers.  We always had a cow so we had fresh milk, cream and butter.  Oh, those berries were good in a bowl of cold cream!!

My family did love their sweets!  Jars of jams and jellies went quickly, and there would never be any dessert left!

Back in the mid to late 50's, no one was concerned with too much sugar or fat.  Most people worked hard, many at physical labor, so did not have to worry about storing excess fat!  Children did not have television or electronic devices, and air conditioning had just come out, so kids played outside.  We certainly could not afford air conditioning.  As a result we were outside all the time.

 

Have you ever picked up pecans in an orchard or pasture? 

How do you crack yours?  Do you like the natives with their hard shells, or the larger, paper-shell pecans?

During the fall, the family would bundle up and head for a farmer's pasture that had given permission for us to pick up native pecans on the halves.  For those of you that aren't familiar with pecans, native pecans are about as large as your little fingernail, are HARD SHELLED, and there is not a lot of meat in them!

It takes about 70 of the natives to make 1# of unshelled pecans, but only 22 to make 1# from the Choctaw trees on Scurlock Farms!

pecan sizes

From Tiny Native Pecans to Large Grafted Improved Varieties

 

What are your favorite memories of playing outside when you were growing up? 

Were they toys or games that made you use your imagination?  How about stilts?  Did you have them and get REALLY good on them?

stilts

Stilts

Daddy made 3 pairs of stilts one Christmas and did we have fun with them.  They originally had rubber (from automobile tires inner tubes) straps that went over the tops of our feet; however, the rubber straps broke very early where they had been attached with nails. No problem.

We quickly learned to pull up on the stilts with just enough force to keep our feet on the stilts footpads.

 

 

 

 

 

How about a pogo stick?  I bet you had one of those, too! 

The three of us got ONE pogo stick to share the next Christmas.  We each tried to set a new record for the number of bounces without falling off.  Each of us could eventually go indefinitely until either fatigue, hunger, or a careless bounce off the concrete sidewalk into soft grass took us out of action.

Jumping on a Pogo stick

Jumping on a Pogo Stick

I got my granddaughters a pogo stick about 3 years ago.  They couldn’t stay on it for very many bounces , so Mamaw was going to show them how it was done - yeah, right!  It had a tight spring, so I was going to jump on it really hard to get me OFF the ground.

I did go very high into the air, then ended up ON the very hard ground, and boy did my tail bone hurt!!  I couldn’t even talk for a minute and Molly and Casey were hovering over me asking if I was okay.  Funny how in our minds we are still as young and able as we were as kids!!

If you were raised in the country, did you roam about the countryside - exploring and imagining all sorts of things?

Tommy, my brother, was 1 year younger than I and Tanya, my sister,  was 2 1/2 years younger.  We would roam the countryside 2 miles from the farm - jumping off bluffs, exploring the woods and going through abandoned buildings.  I can't imagine children having that freedom today, but we had a ball!

 

Did you have a playhouse and where was it? 

Diane lived next door to me and we were the same age.  She played with us a lot during the summers.  The pig pen was under trees between our houses and when there was no pig in residence, it became our playhouse.

Burlap bags were the ceiling and boxes and tires were furniture.  Back in the 50's we burned our trash.  Tanya and I would dig in the trash pile and pull out burned, sooty metal cans that we used for our dishes.  We made tabletops out of old lumber and had to crawl in the "door".  We could play in there for hours!

I talked to Tanya this morning and she said that memories of our playing in that play house are some of her most cherished while she was growing up.  We laughed about how dirty we must have been when we went into the house each night!

 

How old were you when your family got their first TV? 

Were you as fascinated with it as I was?

We did not have a television until I was in the 8th grade.  When Diane got one, I would go over after school and want to watch Walter Cronkite on the news - just to see a TV!  Diane wasn't too much into watching the news.

The three of us rode our bicycles endless miles up and down our private gravel road, day and night.  Highway 79 was at the end of the road and we knew daddy told us to NEVER take our bicycles out onto the highway.  One day daddy got home from work and wanted to know who all had been riding their bikes on the highway.  How he knew remained a mystery until he told us he had seen our dirt tracks making a loop on the highway as they were turned around!  Needless to say we NEVER did it again.

Firefly or Lightening Bus

Come discover your inner farm girl as you chase a few fireflies!

Firefly

 

Did you grow up in the country where the sky was FULL of stars at night?

Or in a city with night lights where the number of visible stars were drastically diminished?

The houses in the rural area where I grew up in Rockdale, Texas were few and far between and there were no night lights.  At night, the sky was FULL of stars, and I would never go inside at night until I had seen a falling star and made a wish on it.

 

Who didn't love to play hide and seek when they were children? 

My brother and sister and I loved playing hide-and-seek in the dark with each other and friends that visited after Sunday night church services.  Even my dog, Lucky, would get involved in the games - giving up our hiding places!

During a daytime game, I was going to hide under the utility room crawl space through the entry door in the garage.  I backed out quickly when I came face-to-face with a large chicken snake or water moccasin - I never knew for sure what kind!

 

Do you remember the old Presto Pressure Cookers? 

Better yet, did you use one when you were growing up?

Then there were the not-so-fun activities!  By the time I was in junior high school our family was seven strong.  Every summer the family would can 200 quarts of green beans, 200 quarts of potatoes, 200 quarts of tomatoes, 200 quarts of peaches in that Presto pressure cooker.  It held 8 quarts, so it was very heavy when loaded!   We also husked and pulled the silk from bushels of corn in order to freeze it, and shelled and canned bushels of black eyed peas.

What do you remember about canning? 

Maybe your family was not as large as mine, so you did not need to can as much?  As a kid, it seemed like that canning took up all of my time, but I still had plenty of time to roam the countryside and explore.

The summer before my senior year I was working on earning my State Future Homemakers Degree and I did ALL of the canning!  That was a long summer for me.  Looking back, I know mama really was glad I was working on that degree!

In this picture, Tommy, Cindy and I are shelling black eyed peas.  Cindy later got into Tommy's lap and put a pea in his ear, then pushed it deep into his ear!  I remember daddy was upset with Tommy for letting her do it, but she was fast!

Shelling black eyed peas edited

Sheron, Tommy and Cindy shelling black-eyed peas in preparation for canning

 

 

Daddy took Tommy to the doctor.  They smelled alcohol on the doctor's breath as he attempted to get the pea out of Tommy's ear.  The doctor dug a little too deeply and punctured Tommy's ear drum!

Do you enjoy shelling peas? 

I used to hate it, but now I love it and find it relaxing to do as I watch TV.  I can shell a large paper grocery bag full of black-eyed peas in about 2 1/2 hours.

One year we had a really large potato crop.  There were plenty left after we were through canning our 200 quarts and mama and daddy were not going to let them go to waste - or so they thought!  They decided we could store them layered in straw in daddy's shop - bad mistake!  What they had not counted on was what the heat would do to them.  During the summer, the aroma of rotting potatoes let us know.  What fun was had by all cleaning that mess out of the shop!

How about yard work - did you enjoy it when you were growing up?

 Growing up, I hated to work in the yard!  I always asked mama what I could do inside - back then I would much rather clean the house or iron than pull weeds and Bermuda grass!  Now, I would much rather trade house work for outside work!!

 

Did you ever churn butter?

What kind of churn did you use?  A jar or the fancy one with the paddle?   I dreaded the chore of churning butter.  There was no fancy butter churn with the paddle that pulled up and down in a large crock at our house.  We used a gallon jar!  It was filled about 1/2 full of cream and ice cubes.  I then had to shake it FOREVER until it turned into butter.  Then, all of the water from the melted ice had to be pressed out of the butter!  Talk about tired arms!  I guess the sweet butter was worth it in the long run.

Do you have siblings and are you close?  What memories do you have of how you interacted when you were growing up with them?

My siblings and I were taught a love of God and family.  Each of us has grown up with a great work ethic and each of us love nature and the outdoors.  When left alone as children, the three older siblings could fight like cats and dogs.  (I was the oldest and therefore the bossiest, so I am sure I was the instigator in at least some of the disagreements!)  Thankfully as adults, we remain very close and still love getting together.

I have a good friend that says she and her sister can't be in the same home together very long or they will be fighting.  Her mother had to break them up with a broom!  She tells me how blessed I am to have a close family, and I am grateful for it!

Every two years our extended families vacation together somewhere in the United States, renting one to three vacation homes.  One year there were 29 of us!

This year we chose the Texas Hill Country and guess where everyone will be staying? 

You got it!  The three vacation rental homes on Scurlock Farms!

Scurlock Farms will be used as our home base.  Plans call for a visit to the Bob Bullock Texas Museum in Austin, as well as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and many of us will Zipline across Lake Travis!

Zip Line Lake TravisPlans  also call for another trip to Llano to climb Enchanted Rock .  About half of us climbed it last year.  The San Antonio River Walk is something the family has done during every Christmas holiday we were together for the past 30 years.

Plans definitely call for spending at least one day at Scurlock Farms to go birding and kayaking in our river, the San Gabriel.  Thomas, a nephew, has a friend that he is borrowing 5 kayaks from - woohoo!!  The river is GREAT right now.

The four sisters all have at least one of mama's unfinished canvases, and the plan is to finish all of them while together in June.  I have the largest, a 4' x 8' mural mama had hanging in a bathroom that had to be taken down during remodeling.  I suspect all 4 of the sisters will work on that one together.

Tom, our brother, says his help would not be wanted!  Mama taught all of the girls  to paint, but not Tom.  It will be interesting to see the finished products.  I know there will be a lot of fun to be had with a lot of laughter, and probably a few tears.

I have had so much fun writing this post - it has triggered so many great memories.  I hope your reading it will also trigger some great memories of your childhood!

If you would like to discover or rediscover your inner farm kid, come visit us at Scurlock Farms!

If you are in the mood for a romantic weekend or get-away, The Palette Pad is perfect for you.  If you have a larger family, or even multi-generations want to visit at the same time, check out Rocky Overlook or Indian Bluff.

You can visit the baby goats and their mamas and help feed them.  Or if you come in the late fall, you can pick up pecans.  Take them back to your vacation rental to crack and shell and bake your own yummy pecan pie while you are here.

Many guests have enjoyed watching the haying equipment - especially the big round hay baler.  You can visit the berry patches and pick your own blackberries.  Our horses, Ginger and Duster, love to be brushed and fed.

For your children and grandchildren, they can always request to "drive" a tractor or other piece of equipment of their choice.  Dan lets them steer as they sit in his lap.  They drive in a somewhat zigzag pattern, but they LOVE IT!

Right now, the fireflies are everywhere and what fun it is to see the boys "talking" to the girls as they try to attract a mate.  When the produce is plentiful, I can share tomatoes, squash and cucumbers with you.  If you have young ones that would like to help gather the eggs, that can be arranged also.    There is nothing like farm fresh, free range chicken eggs!  They taste wonderful and add such a rich color and flavor to any dishes they are used in.

Come on and visit us at Scurlock Farms.  Stay with us in one of our vacation rentals and discover your inner farm kid, or get back in touch with the farm kid you used to be!

I would love to hear your stories of growing up on a farm.  Please share your comments below!

Meet The Author
Dan and I were childhood sweethearts and will celebrate our 53 anniversary in May. We moved to the country in 1971 and have loved raising our two boys on the farm. After my parents died, we acquired the 112 acre farm and bought the adjoining 60 acre farm. We now have 172 beautiful acres with a little over one mile of San Gabriel River frontage. We remodeled the three homes on the farm and have offered them as vacation rental homes since 2010. We have hosted guests from every state and 21 countries and have loved meeting many different people. We raise cattle, goats, hay and pecans on the farm and there is always something going on! I love giving tours of the farm to our guests in a Polaris and show them the river, animals, hiking areas and give a little history of the farm. Well behave pets are welcome and the owners and the pets love being able to be off-leash. Wildlife is abundant and guests love seeing deer, bobcat, fox, coyote, raccoon, possom, rabbits, skunks, and armadillo. The farm is a birder's delights with the varied terrains - prairie top pastures, wooded hillside and bluffs, heavily wooded areas, and the river wetlands. Many bird watchers have seen lifers while visiting (a bird they have never seen in person before). Roadrunners are a favorite! Our youngest son was only 6 weeks old when we moved to the farm and he has built a home along the bluff and raised his family here. Our oldest son owns a business in Dallas and when he retires, he will move back to the farm. Guests have loved fishing and tubing the river, looking for fossils, or simply skipping rocks and wading with their little ones. Others have enjoyed hiking the spring-fed creek bed, looking for arrowheads, and hiking about the 172 acres. Others have enjoyed sitting in the outdoor areas of the homes and soaking up the peace and quiet as they enjoy the beauty from the bluffs and watch the birds and wildlife that comes by.
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