Grandma Mellie's Scrapbook
Copyright © 2001, Michael S. Cole, M.D.

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Preparing For Winter

    October is an "in-between month" when we expect the Flaming Fall Revue. Already some of the trees are a beautiful sight.
    Many years ago, October was the time when farmers prepared for winter, gathering in their harvest of corn, apples, cane and other crops. They also sawed wood for the winter; gas and electricity were seldom available to them then.
    My grandmother had two fireplaces and it took a lot of wood to keep them going and to heat the house.
    I have always loved the great outdoors. I didn't like housework, but would much rather go to the fields with Papa to plant seeds. He had quite an acreage of corn, and planting the corn was quite a feat. The old red bird seemed to say, "Drop one, pick up two." When the corn came up, we sometimes had to take a hoe and replant it. Sometimes crows would pull up the young corn plants, and these, too, would have to be replanted.
    Nevertheless, Papa would always have a good crop of corn. I helped in the gathering and always took the "down row." Young people today, or many of them, wouldn't know what a "down row" is. It is the row that the wagon would straddle and knock down.
    We loved to go hunt nuts in the fall. There were lots of chinquapin trees then and we always gathered the chestnuts from them. I wonder what happened to them, for I never see them any more.
    I enjoyed Ron Miller's article in "Over The Ozarks" telling about the Mountain Boomer. I saw one, a long time ago. My cousin and I were coming down the railroad tracks and we killed one of them, then tied a string to its leg and dragged it home to ask my dad what it could be. He told us it was a mountain boomer. They are scary things, and I was never sorry I didn't meet another one.
    May your days be happy ones as you enjoy the beauty of October.

Mellie Smith

[Editor's note: a "mountain boomer" is a collared lizard.]

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