The Ole Swimming Hole and Life on the farm

Life on the farm was hard work, we didn’t know we were poor, we just knew we ate well and had fun. We were kids, after all!  

We had our own beef, chicken, eggs, vegetables, milk, and home churned butter.  We sold some of the hay from our 15 acre field to neighbors, and some was a trade-off, for cutting and baling, and we kept some for our livestock. 

We had a favorite place to go swimming, and launch our row boat for fishing, from a neighbor’s field.  It had a very small shore line and not a real sandy beach, but the water was shallow for quite a distance from the shore.  The thing that always terrified me about the lakes in Maine was the Blood Suckers (leaches) that would occasionally attach to a person’s body.  I still shudder at the thought of having one attached to me.   They usually were about 6 or 8 inches in length and black on the back with a red/orange under belly. 

My Dad always spread a large bag of Rock Salt in the water around the swimming hole in early spring and he assured us that it would keep them away.  Whether this really did keep them away was taken of faith, and I don’t remember getting one on me. 

After a hot day of working on the farm, it was a wonderful cooling, relaxing thing to do.  My dad always had a big bar of soap and washed up, while we splashed and laughed, until we were forced to come out of the water by stern warnings, and the mosquitos were out in force.

My older brother was back from the Army and was trying to impress a girl in a cute bikini.  He decided to dive off the back end on the boat.  He planned a shallow dive, which would have been great, if he had checked how deep or shallow the water really was.  The dive was beautiful!  When he came up with a bloody chest, not so impressive.  Just small cuts, but, lots of blood.

My other brother did his thing, too!  He was told not to stand up in the boat while trying to free his line from a log or something in the shallow part of the lake, but true to form he did just what he wanted to do.   He yanked hard on the line and proceeded to yank himself out of the boat and ended up to his neck in water with this feet firmly planted deep in mud so deep it pulled his sneakers off.  Mom laughed so hard she nearly pee’d herself, but finally helped him back into the boat sans his sneakers and pole. 

Now just to let you know that I am no angel, I was challenged by my two brothers to swim the width of the lake, and so I took up the challenge.  The only thing I didn’t think through was that I was swimming alone across the lake, uh, not a good idea!  When my mother saw me out in the middle of the lake swimming alone, she told the boys to go get me.  She also told them to stay close to me in the boat and make me swim back across the lake, with them following.  She was a tough woman.  The lesson learned!! 

We kept a row boat tied to a tree at the shore, and anyone could use it that also knew about the Ole swimming hole.   When we fished for Bass or Pickerel (Pike) we liked to row so we could put the lure right up close to the shore by the lily pads and weeds.  

Some of my fondest memories are Mom and I fishing on the lake. 

In the winter, we were almost always snowed in for a week at a time.  We were prepared for it and it gave us a wonderland to ski, fish, and sled.  We always were happy when we got a week vacation from school.  We could slide down one hill then go up the opposite hill and slide down again. 

In the spring when the weather started warming up and the Milk trucks would make deep ruts in the road driving out in the car to get groceries was a challenge.  Also when the snow started to melt, and the ice in the lake also started to melt, the lake would rise a little, so that the lowest part of the road would be under water, just the place we needed to walk across to the bus stop. 

We occasionally put a small row boat tied at one end, and we would row across to the other end and walk up the hill to meet the bus, and row it back to the other side at night.

If Mom knew this she would have skun us alive, but one time we carried a plank down to the edge of the lake.  The ice was melted along the shore line, so we put the plank from the shore to the ice, walked the plank to the ice, and then carried it to the shore on the other side, put it again from the ice to the shore and walked the plank again.   Really stupid! But I said we were kids.

The funniest thing that happened was the time that my sister-in-law were playing around in my brothers Red Convertible, driving it around the hay fields while the men took the hay bales to the barn.  We decided that we wanted to find out what time it was, so we tried to drive close to the truck to see the time.  Well, to make a long story short, we scraped the whole side of the Red Convertible on the truck.  This was only funny to us, not my brother!!

We found a Surry with a Fringe on top, (honest)  in the Barn and we used to pull that thing down to the lake in back of the house with all our supplies to go fishing, which consisted our Prince Albert tobacco cans full of worms, poles, lunch which often consisted of jars of Tomatoes, or other vegetables. We knew better than to forget to bring the jars and the covers home.  We also found many Women’s Home Companion magazines in the attic.  I also found a Poor Richard’s Almanac, and a leather bound book of the survey across the United States.  These are all gone now, as the house burned to the ground.

My Mother found several old wood washing machines in the Barn, which she painted and filled them will Geraniums and set them on the lawn.  You could almost see the tears in the eyes of the Antique dealers when they drove by. 


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. richardankerswrites
    Aug 09, 2014 @ 00:19:58

    I love that last line

  2. carolyn Bickmore
    Aug 09, 2014 @ 03:18:22

    very well written Brenda,could have left out about the Cadillac.LOL So many memories,thank God for that and nice ones.Thank you,enjoyed reading this

  3. Time Traveler
    Aug 09, 2014 @ 06:52:11

    Should have been there to see their faces, it was priceless.

  4. richardankerswrites
    Aug 09, 2014 @ 07:00:26

    I bet 🙂

  5. Time Traveler
    Aug 09, 2014 @ 07:50:14

    Sorry, the devil made me do it. I also remember the time we changed the tire. Should have included that! Take care, and enjoy Maine.

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