Vol. VII, No. 1, Summer 1993


From Rose Alexander 's Newspaper Columns

An Independent Cottontail

Our brother had found a big fat cottontail in the box trap, and when he tried to take the catch out of the trap, that cottontail kicked himself free, and started running around the brush pile with his ears high in the air. Our brother started crying and calling us to run around the brush pile to make the big rabbit go back into the trap, but that cottontail would not consider even thinking of doing that. (Smile.)

Memories of Our Corn Crib

We were so proud of our very own log, corn crib here at the Old Homestead, maybe it meant a lot to us because it was shared with our Little People who kept many of their belongings stashed away in the crib. They also enjoyed watching the Mother Pee Wee sitting so proudly on her nest high in the corners of the log, corn crib. Grandpa George Alexander built the log crib after sawing the trees in Water Hole Holler and The Mister remembers he helped in building the crib in his Tom Sawyer days. Our beloved log crib burned when the old barn burned. We had several bushels of walnuts and they burned along with other things that we planned to keep.

Guinea Hens and Weeds

We went searching for the guinea hen's nest after we had heard her cackling on her nest. We found the nest near the big walnut tree in the deep weeds, and there was 24 freckled eggs in the hole in the ground. As we walked across the pasture from the chicken lot we found what we called "lambs' legs" in bloom. The weed has an orchid bloom about the middle of the stem, and the stem is covered with a gray fuzz that makes them look like lambs' legs. We once gathered many bunches of the weeds to take to our play house and we pretended we had grown the flowers in our make-believe yard.

Dolly Parton and Friend

We have written about our snow-white dove that was a gift from our grandson, Michael and Barbara McBride two years ago. We called the white dove Charley Pride. We raised a tan, ring-neck dove, Dolly Parton, during the big snow in January. We decided to put Dolly in the big cage with Charley, hoping just maybe we would get a white dove with a black ring around its neck. This past week we found Dolly setting on two white eggs like a Queen on Her Throne, but the most interesting part of the doves' life in the cage is that Charley is so proud of the nest of eggs that he sits on the eggs most of the time.

A Picnic and a Bundle of Ferns

Miller Hill is across the Blue Spring Road from Dowler Mill School. In the spring time before the last day of school the teacher would go with the pupils to the top of Miller Hill on a picnic. We still remember the first year our son, Max, went to the top of the Miller Hill. He brought back a big bundle of wild ferns just for his Mom.

Squirrels in the Corn Crib

One thrill we remember was when we watched the big fox squirrels climb into the old corn crib through the small window in the gables. The squinkies would most always go out the window carrying a walnut between those sharp, little teeth.

Voices in the Night

During those warm nights we had last week our hound dogs were barking up a storm and when we walked out in our yard we could hear an old hound dog doing voice way over on Hobo Hill. We listened to that old Hound Dog that we are sure someone loves as much as we love our Hound Dogs and along with his barkings we heard the peep frogs doing voice at the big pond in the Dowler Mill Field and the great horned Owls were doing a lot of laughing from their tree house in Water Hole Holler. Later the Owls were whooping up a lot of laughing in Wild Cat Holler on the Salvation Army Acres. That hound dog barked on Hobo Hill most of the night. Our dogs did not get much sleep as they were busy talking back to the pooches on Hobo Hill.

Memories of a Dusty Road

Spicer Road is still a country road that is dusty in the summer time, and is traveled by many folk going to spend some time on the Old Meramec River. The skies over the Ozarks are still just as blue as when a family lived in the little house at the side of the road, and many travelers stopped for a friendly chat. The house, with all its memories, burned several years ago and the site where the home was is covered with underbrush. The Spicer Hill does hold a lot of fond memories for us as we traveled along the dusty road over the hill for a lot of summer days, traveling in the old farm wagon with our very own family on our way to the old camp grounds at the Hogtrough Bridge. It did seem all the cooking utensils we had packed in the old farm wagon never did rattle more than they did along that road.


Fried Mushrooms in Spring Time

It is time to search for mushrooms in the Ozark hills when spring time comes once more .... We were so thrilled when Grandpa Alexander found the first big mushroom near the spring.... We remember watching Grandma frying the big, red mushrooms in the old iron skillet on the wood stove. She told us they tasted like fried chicken. We had not tasted a mushroom before and they did taste like fried chicken.... Through the years all of our Little People enjoyed hunting for mushrooms, and we fried them in our old iron skillet on the wood stove just the way Grandma Alexander did.

Groundhog and Other Wild Animals

We enjoyed hearing about the old groundhog that lived among the rocks on the hillside from the new house Berkley and Toshiko built, and the old groundhog felt sure the area did belong to him, and he would make trips down the hill to get a drink from the basin. The old Groundhog did not like to see Alexander dogs by the new house, so he just folded his tent like the Arab of old, and silently walked away to hunt for another hillside where he would not have to see the dogs. The dogs do not seem to bother the deer and turkeys, as four turkeys went walking by the Alexander place Sunday morning. Four deer have walked past the house, and do not mind the dogs like the old groundhog did. What the groundhog likes is to take up squatters rights close to someone's vegetable garden where he can help his self sometime while the owners are all fast asleep.

A Race Between Fox and Coyote

One evening while Berkley was coming up Granny Holler there was a red fox came past him, running as fast as he could, and when Berkley called to him he acted as if he did not hear him. Then he seen a coyote running after the red fox and the coyote was gaining on the red fox who was really picking them up and putting them down. We do hope the red fox found a place of safety from the coyote.

Melancholy Days in the Ozarks

We wonder how many of our old time readers remember heating their elders talk about the Melancholy Days in the Ozarks. When we listened to our Uncle Eli and Aunt Eliza talk about people feeling like crying when October days were here, when the sky was a special shade of blue and the beloved Indian Summer was just around the comer, we felt sure they felt sad because the beautiful summer was over. We were remembering how sad we Alexanders always felt after we returned home from our August camping trip and did not hear the calling of the Whippoorwills in Basin Holler. The many families of purple martins had started on their long air trip back to wanner climates. The martins had 15 houses that were put on tall poles, and before we left for camp we had watched the babies being trained for their journey .... Perhaps we did have that special feeling the old timers called the Melancholy Days.

Thanksgiving at the Brick School

We were attending classes at Bourbon's old brick school, and we were in the program that was held the night before Thanksgiving. Papa had taken us and our brothers, Roy and Bob, to the school house in the old farm wagon with Dan and Prince. The program was "The Greeks and the Romans." It was kind of a drill and we all wore long white robes. Our brothers were in a dialogue about the first Thanksgiving with the Indians. The boys were dressed in full Indian dress. Our Mother had sewed their Indian outfits on the old treadle sewing machine, and their Indian dress was perfect. There was a couple of shocks of fodder in back of the stage .... The Indians were smoking peace pipes with the Pilgrims who were also in full dress.

Orchards in the Spring Time

We loved the apple orchard in the spring time when the trees were full of blooms and the many bees seemed to be humming a tune as they worked among the blossoms, gathering honey for their one-room apartments, and also giving a helping hand in getting the trees ready for the little green apples that came after the pretty blooms were all on the ground. How thrilled we were when we would find a blue bird's nest in an old limb on the apple tree that the mama blue bird was sure would make a nice one-room apartment for her little family.

The Mister's First Gobbler

The Mister recalls the day when he was eleven years old and he killed his first turkey gobbler. There was a huge oak tree along the School House Road and it was under that tree that The Mister made that big kill. The old hunter says today that old gobbler stood as tall as he was.


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