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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

OLD BARN COLORS




This stately old wooden Madison County barn is rather different than the usual black barns found here in Kentucky. As you can see its historic color is what I would call "soldier blue."  

In my past travels across the nation I've noticed that some states have vintage barn colors that seem to be more popular than others. As an example, black barns  in Kentucky, red barns in Michigan, natural barn exteriors (no paint at all) in Oregon, and lots of white barns in Nebraska and Iowa. 


What factors swayed barns to be painted certain colors in certain areas is a question I have had for quite some time. 


Does anyone have some ideas as to why this is so?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

DAVIS BRANCH ONE ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE

DAVIS BRANCH ONE ROOM SCHOOL HOUSE
This past weekend my son and I rode the back-roads toward a place called Climax to stock up on some fresh spring water. It was a gorgeous sunny day in the 70s. We filled many gallon containers and then decided to take a ride looking  for some disappearing fragments of the area's culture.  


One thing we wanted to do was to stop and check out an old one room schoolhouse we had noticed previously.  We were in luck as the owner of the schoolhouse was available to fill us in on some of the background of the old building.
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MIKE HEIMS -- NOW OWNER AND FORMER STUDENT OF THE DAVIS BRANCH ONE-ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE  IN THE BACKGROUND
Mike Heims is the owner of the Davis Branch Schoolhouse. He represents its past as he was a student there from the first grade through the eighth grade. He has a store of memories related to the school.. 

Mike has lived in his family home, about fifty yards from the original site of Davis Branch School, for most of his life. Attending school and farming with his dad filled much of his early life. In his adult life he has worked in the building trades and continues still  at age 68. 

SCHOOLHOUSE ENTRANCE
They closed the school 53 years ago. A new larger school was built a few miles away that took in the surrounding students that attended one-room schoolhouses. Thus Davis Branch was closed two years after he left it. 

Eventually the school and property were auctioned off  with the winning bid going to Mike. He paid about four hundred dollars for it. He bought it for its memories and the fact that it sat right next to his family's farm.. .  

POTBELLY  STOVE
Mike shared several stories about the school with us. Here is one of them.


The school was heated by a coal burning potbelly stove which  still resides in its original place. Older boys, during certain school days, gathered tree twigs in the nearby woods for kindling.  The teacher hired Mike to start up the stove before she and the students arrived in the morning. She paid him a nickel a day for his services. A load of coal sat behind the schoolhouse -- close to where the two outhouses were -- one for the girls and one for the boys. 


OLD METAL ROOF MEETS SIDE WEATHER-BOARDING


The metal roof is in fairly good shape. 


SCHOOLHOUSE WITH ROCK PILINGS
Mike admits that the schoolhouse's structure is struggling. He won't sell  --  it has too many memories for him. It is all original -- wood weather- board siding and metal roof. The windows are original -- the bottom sash was opened to let the cooler air drift inside to cool off the students during warm days.. 

RECTANGULAR FORM WITH ROCK PILINGS FOUNDATION.
STAIRS TO FRONT DOOR ARE CUT LIMESTONE SLABS. 
Overall the schoolhouse has a gable sided entrance. There is only one door to the interior, six windows for light -- three on each adjacent side, all within a beautiful country setting.

The school sits like an elderly gentleman gracefully adding its own history to the landscape. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

BUDDHA WITH STONES

BUDDHA WITH STONES
Sometimes we need a break from the world. With all its tragedies and chaos it can overcome us. My mind can become overly involved with wars, and natural disasters disabling my thoughts to those around me.


Today I am outside on this sunny morning taking in the beauty that surrounds me. The hornets, bluebirds, robins, spring flowers, trees, and unidentified insects poking their noses into the fresh air from their hidden places. The weeds in my fields and woodlands are beginning to grow again. Moths are coming to my back light where I find them on my  house bricks in the morning. 


This morning's practice of waking and walking about my yard, letting nature fill my mind, calms me greatly.


My heart  resonates with compassion for all living things around the world. 


Today, I am fortunate to be able to experience nature's bounty -- it lightens my mind.  

Friday, March 18, 2011

TRADITIONAL WAYS -- A VINTAGE GLIDER AND AN ANTIQUE BENCH

What makes vernacular architecture is not an occupant who builds but a cultural congruity among  design, construction, and use
~ ~Henry Glassie

OLD STEEL GLIDER WAITING FOR SPRING
This Sunday is the official day of the beginning of spring which soon brings country folks out on their front porches to sit and enjoy the soft breezes and warm sunshine. Many times they sit on gliders or benches while observing their world. 


Front porch sitting is a favorite pastime of Appalachian country folk. Much of this sitting is done on vernacular porches of old, small one-story houses which are unfortunately slowly disappearing from the landscape. These vintage porches are the roosting spots for old gliders and benches --they speak volumes about the waste not, want not, traditional ways. 


KENTUCKY TYPE OF ANTIQUE SITTING BENCH
This slatted bench is a typical design of central Kentucky. Its sides reflect that it was built when wood-one-board sides were commonplace. Fortunately the owners  have repaired the leg to extend its longevity.

Enfolded in the vernacular craftsmanship ideal -- these pieces have few old porches left where they can be appreciated.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

STOREFRONT ARCHAEOLOGY

OLD STOREFRONT WINDOW WITH VINTAGE BOTTLES
Sometimes we walk past a store and suddenly do a double take of what we just saw. This was the case as I walked past a vacant old storefront recently. The two photos on this page were captured from the storefront's two small front windows where some antiquities of yesterday paraded along an inside shallow shelf. Bottles in one window and a boot and board in the other -- looking as if they had been dug out of a dirt floor basement. 

STOREFRONT WINDOW  WITH VINTAGE BOOT AND OLD TONGUE AND GROVE BOARD
Questions arose within me. Who placed these old used goods in the windows? How long had they been there? They were dirty and scruffy -- reminders of where they had been. To me it looked like an individual had found the items,  treated them like archaeological shards from the past, and for some unknown reason placed them in the windows for all to see. 

Was s/he trying to tell us something? Perhaps to remember some type of lessons from the past? That beauty can be found in age? Your guess is as good as mine. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

SMALL TOWNS -- WHERE EVERYONE KNOWS YOUR NAME

Father and son -- Dan Ledford and Dan Ward Ledford


Meet some native Kentuckians – Dan Ledford and his son Dan Ward Ledford (standing) who live near each other in the Paint Lick community. Dan Ledford is ninty-two and has lived in his home for about fifty years.  


This post is about ninety-two year old Dan. He represents a lifetime of living in rural settings. He and his mother came to Paint Lick on a train from northern Kentucky when he was a boy. His father moved their possessions to the Paint Lick area by horse and wagon.


As a young man he served in WWII overseas. After the war ended he came back to the Paint Lick  area where he soon was employed as a school bus driver.  


He drove the bus for the school district for most of his working years. As a school bus driver he figures that he accumulated about two million miles during his working career of driving school routes and for special school events.


Often Dan can be seen sitting on his large front porch where local folks honk a “hello” as they travel the road in front of his house. He sends back a big wave of his hand to them.


Paint Lick is a small town where everyone knows your name. 


Dan Ledford's Homestead -- Sitting Chair and Barn

Dan bought his house and 15 acres about fifty years ago under interesting circumstances.  While attending an auction, a friend encouraged him to buy the homestead up for bid. Dan told him he didn't think he had enough money but he would try anyway. But he found out he did have enough money as the homestead only went for 9500 dollars. When the auctioneer yelled, “sold”  he realized he was the new owner. This was in 1960 and the homestead has been his home ever since.


Dan's Historic Church Pew 

Dan has two children and is a widower. There has been some changes in the area  yet it's still basically a farming place. He intensely likes where he lives. A small American flag flies from a corner post of his front porch and Dan often wears a cap announcing he is a war veteran.  


He is the oldest member of the 1700s historic Paint Lick Presbyterian Church just down down the road from where he lives. There is one of the old Presbyterian church pews on his porch.  


All things considered, Dan is well entrenched in the cultural context of his area.




Dan Ledford sitting on his front porch

You might say that Dan characterizes many rural citizens in this country. Citizens with community pride who have worked hard along with family members toward a good life. That have lived in an area for many years while their family members often settle in and around that community. 


If you are ever in Paint Lick on Route 52 and see Dan sitting on his front porch – honk a “hello – he’ll send you back a big wave as everyone knows his name in Paint Lick.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

SHADOWS OF A COUNTRY PLAYGROUND



Kentucky childhood dreams

A tall climbing tree,
long wood boards,
an old rubber tire, 
some strong rope.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

WOMEN TAKE OVER THE FARM WORK

MARCH IS WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH
FEMALE FARM WORKER WEARING THE OFFICIAL KHAKI UNIFORM
PROVIDED BY THE WOMAN'S LAND ARMY  MOVEMENT -- 1918
Library of Congress
Many young men in 1914 to 1918 left the farm to fight in WWI. These young males were recruited from farms where an estimated 38 percent of our population worked at that time. 

Folks in the states began to question how our country would fill the labor gap to produce our food. They were worried that it would probably result in food scarcity and rising food prices. 

Well,  the woman associated with the women's suffrage movement had an idea. Leaders from this movement stepped forward with a plan to recruit woman to fill the gaps on the farms. It would show the strength and discipline of women. 

WOMAN'S LAND ARMY RECRUITING POSTER -- 1918
Library of Congress
Farmers and politicians  were scornful of the idea. They characterized women as too weak to do the work. Eventually they came around to the idea. The women who worked the farms were dubbed the "farmerettes." The whole movement was called, The Woman's Land Army.

WOMAN'S LAND ARMY TRAINING ANNOUNCEMENT POSTER -- 1918
Library of congress
Leaders of the Woman's Land Army were from all walks of life --  the suffrage movement, labor movement, garden clubs, universities -- all helping  raise money to recruit volunteers. They bargained with farmers and won an 8 hour day with pay for the volunteer farmerettes. Thousand of women from all walks of economic lifestyles volunteered to work on the farms.


This movement displayed the strength, courage, and creativity of women. It also set the pattern that women could step in and fill the male labor gap. In WWII  woman workers performed male tasks in manufacturing plants. Their nickname was, "Rosie the Riveter."

 Below is a fine video about Women's History Month -- produced by the National Women's History Museum. 



Below are some resources that provide more information on the Woman's Land Army and Women's History Month.




BOOK RESOURCE




RESOURCE ORGANIZATION

National Women's History Museum