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my first role model...aunt bea

 
pioneer
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aww...aunt bea

most of her neighbors frowned upon her.  she lived in a very run down house (while others were out making money...she moved in with her aging...some family members would say crazy... mother's home built home and tended to her needs in her aging years---whew!) her outhouse was visible to surrounding properties (the cows could see through the cracks) and well...she seemed such a hermit (she lived in a permaculture state smack dab in the middle of a small southwest arkansas town)...she grew her own vegetative food (medicinal and culinary)...fished an old pond in a neighbors back pasture (with her trusted cane pole)...shot or hoed down anything she saw as invasive (someone elses opinion didn't matter--poisonous snakes with triangle heads DIED)...she had her goats for milk (they pretty much lived on the front porch...no fences at aunt bea's house) and the chickens lived in abundance (Lordie, those poor chickens) ... she had two feathered beds (feathered mattress upon feathered mattress stacked to about 4 feet...no bed frame...nope...just mattresses)...an old wood heater (the bedroom was the same as the living room) and a chamber pot for doing nightly business :)  no running water (a well right out the back door with a long rope and and a wooden bucket)...plants EVERY WHERE!!! no locks on her doors...but a rifle at both ends---and she would have used it in a split second had the need arose....awwwww....aunt bea...how i miss my aunt bea!!!

she was my grandfather's sister, she dipped snuff, she never married...claimed she had never been kissed...because she was too busy taking care of her family...and she was probably telling the truth...and her house was my favorite place to go!!! and my parents just cringed!!! LOL, yet they indulged us both...her never being married meant she had no children, and i bridged that gap for her...and she was my hero!!!

on my visits there...i remember jumping out of my mother's park avenue buick upon delivery and running full blast into aunt bea's precious fragile but strong arms (does that even make sense) and there...it was RIGHT there i think i felt as safe as i can remember feeling...i knew then, somehow, i wanted to be just like my aunt bea!

i loved the fishing trips (watching in amazement as she headed off the bull calf coming at us with that big oak branch laying close by....get behind me, teri lynn, WHACK!!! LOL...and off he went...i loved the cane pole...the perch we caught...i loved cleaning them with her and sticking a stick through them and roasting them on the firepit outside which she built herself...

i loved the garden...picking leaves, digging roots, culling weeds into a big pile at the end of the rows...i loved to see her chop off a snakes head with her hoe...was the funniest thing i had ever seen---probably the vivid memory still is... :)  me digging potatoes and her over there...chopping away at that snake...grabbing the joker up...and pitching it right into that pile of weeds...LOL

i loved the chickens...getting that little metal bucket and pitching the corn to those ever free ranging critters that was led by a big rhode island red rooster that would flog you in an instant---and i loved to play chase with him!!! aunt bea gave me a big stick...i never killed him...he never killed me...but, oh how we played!  :)  come evening when all was quiet...and the chickens had roosted for the night...and aunt bea had it in her head to have a chicken meal...would just go out...grab her one or two of her old hens...and well....we would use a big pot of water on top of her old wood stove (already prepped for the job)...dunk that chicken...pluck that chicken...and gut that chicken...throw some garden greens into an old iron skillet...saute in her homemade butter...(jersey...did i mention cherry...another story :)  eat that chicken...she and i...right there...in the mornings, she would put a pair of underwear on her head...and she would commence to cooking while i still slept...and i would wake...to the smell of homemade bisquits and gravy...and eggs (from aunt bea's chickens that were sparred)

i pulled water from the well...whether she needed it or not...she pretended she did...i used both her bed chamber (at night) and her outhouse (during the day)...and i squatted...like my old granny did...i learned to fluff up a bed...i learned to keep things clean (cleanliness is next to Godliness)  and i learned that although there were no fences...NOTHING existed outside the perimeter of her little place on earth...it was my aunt bea's house...and that was all...

permaculture....homesteading...it isn't new...not at all...back then...some folks around here called it 'extreme poverty'...other folks called it 'livin off the land'...some called it 'crazy'...me...i called it a slice of heaven!  whatever way you name it...it is a something, i think, that is in the blood...you're never rid of it...if you have courage enough to pursue it...you have a life of hardships, tears, sorrows, and beautiful successes...understanding, wisdom and a perseverance that others can only marvel at...

and the weekend or week would be over...and there would be my mom...driving up in her big buick...all fresh from a game of bridge with her societal friends...and i would exchange one hand for the other...i loved them both...admired them both greatly...can't really say whether one was more honorable than the other...just different...like night and day...i spent my childhood like this...i gravitated toward the elderly...the wise...it was a good childhood...

and what of now...aunt bea is long gone...i am in the golden years of my life...my mom moved in with me 10 years ago when she was diagnosed with alzheimer's...and here we live on my homestead...where memories grow like the gardens of spring in abundance...and my boys bring my little granddaughters...who run gleefully into my arms...and we head for the barn so we can saddle our horses (fully furnished with our ole cane poles) and head for the fishin hole :)  
 
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Thank you for this post.  It reminded me how my entire perception of success has changed from what it was in my younger days.  
There are so many things I could have learned as a teenager that I just didn't realize as important; but to be a know-it-all in the teen years is a given.  I'm glad I can draw on the things I DID pick up on in terms of gardening, frugality, compassion, and having a willingness to learn from others.
 
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Teri, you sound like a very lucky person to me.
 
teri morgan
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i was soooo blessed...i really was...aunt bea was quite something...lived to be 97... and was able to stay at home until she fell and broke her hip about 1 yr before she left us...i dunno...was just thinking about her...about the people here at permies...thinking i wish she was here to tell us all what she knew...she would too...lol...she was an amazing woman... :)
 
pollinator
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So not what I was expecting, my first thought was Aunt Bea from Andy Griffith, and her failure at pickles. So nice that others have these histories, my own is city dwellers. Although, I've always been impressed with my grandmothers abilities to do what they wanted in spite of others telling them it wasn't possible. I'm well aware my history isn't typical, but neither one of my grandmothers could cook worth a lick, and both worked outside the home, one as a nursing teacher and the other at an insurance company.
 
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I can't like this enough, thank you for sharing!
I often think of the knowledge that we've lost. My grandmother was a great Gardener and could grow anything she was born and raised on a farm. She was my everything and I hers and I spent the first 18 years of my life basically glued to her side but still I only managed to learn a small fraction of her knowledge.
 
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Sounds like a very special lady and a lot of fun times!

teri morgan wrote:permaculture....homesteading...it isn't new...not at all...back then...some folks around here called it 'extreme poverty'...other folks called it 'livin off the land'...some called it 'crazy'...me...i called it a slice of heaven! whatever way you name it...it is a something, i think, that is in the blood...you're never rid of it...if you have courage enough to pursue it...you have a life of hardships, tears, sorrows, and beautiful successes...understanding, wisdom and a perseverance that others can only marvel at...



I love this!
 
Getting married means "We're in love, so let's tell the police!" - and invite this tiny ad to the wedding:
dry stack retaining wall
https://permies.com/t/85178/dry-stack-retaining-wall
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