Daffodils Mean Spring!

 I will speak using stories; I will tell secret things from long ago.
Psalm 78:2

Daffodils seem to burst out of nowhere. I love them. (Notice how different these two types are.) I go looking for them every spring – watching for them in flowerbeds and through the countryside, even where no house stands.

The first story I wrote for publication was about finding daffodils around and old root cellar on a piece of land where a log house once stood. There were so many of the flowers on long hollow stems. I picked too many. I couldn’t carry them all and dropped a few on my way back to the car. The flowers were like a gift from some distant pioneer woman. I felt kinship to her as a mother and housewife.

The abandoned home site was like a mystery – a secret from the past.

Later, I learned the real story of the place and I met that woman’s grandson, her great grandson, and her great -great granddaughter. Really!

I learned some amazing facts about the homestead. I learned about the log house which once sat on the spot had been built from logs from the banks of the Deep Fork River. Each log was dragged to the site by slow and powerful oxen. It took two years to get enough wood to finish the house.

The family of nine, who had come by wagon from Haskell County, lived in and around the wagon for that long time. They endured some miserable weather while they built a chicken coop and shed and planted crops. Later, the patriarch of the family invested in the building of a schoolhouse for the community. The Evening Star School was born in 1913.

In 1930, when a larger school building was built of brick, the old schoolhouse was sold and moved by a team of mules to the land I now live on. (Really again!) Another small house and a porch and second story were added. So, here I am living in the Evening Star School and it is a school again for my children. I love the stories of real pioneers and at last I am a part of one.

We hosted a pioneer camp here one fall for the homeschooled children. We cooked our pioneer meals outside on the fire, washed on a washboard, dyed cloth, ground corn, and made cornhusk dolls.We used an old metal shed we found on the back of the acreage as a “one room schoolhouse,” where students figured and practiced spelling on slates. When we told the story of the house to the students, one little boy was thrilled. “Awesome, Mrs. Hollis,” he piped up, “Your house is history!”

Keep your eyes open for daffodils and you’ll find spring and maybe a story too!

Daffodils Mean Spring!

 I will speak using stories; I will tell secret things from long ago.
Psalm 78:2

Daffodils seem to burst out of nowhere. I love them. (Notice how different these two types are.) I go looking for them every spring – watching for them in flowerbeds and through the countryside, even where no house stands.

The first story I wrote for publication was about finding daffodils around and old root cellar on a piece of land where a log house once stood. There were so many of the flowers on long hollow stems. I picked too many. I couldn’t carry them all and dropped a few on my way back to the car. The flowers were like a gift from some distant pioneer woman. I felt kinship to her as a mother and housewife.

The abandoned home site was like a mystery – a secret from the past.

Later, I learned the real story of the place and I met that woman’s grandson, her great grandson, and her great -great granddaughter. Really!

I learned some amazing facts about the homestead. I learned about the log house which once sat on the spot had been built from logs from the banks of the Deep Fork River. Each log was dragged to the site by slow and powerful oxen. It took two years to get enough wood to finish the house.

The family of nine, who had come by wagon from Haskell County, lived in and around the wagon for that long time. They endured some miserable weather while they built a chicken coop and shed and planted crops. Later, the patriarch of the family invested in the building of a schoolhouse for the community. The Evening Star School was born in 1913.

In 1930, when a larger school building was built of brick, the old schoolhouse was sold and moved by a team of mules to the land I now live on. (Really again!) Another small house and a porch and second story were added. So, here I am living in the Evening Star School and it is a school again for my children. I love the stories of real pioneers and at last I am a part of one.

We hosted a pioneer camp here one fall for the homeschooled children. We cooked our pioneer meals outside on the fire, washed on a washboard, dyed cloth, ground corn, and made cornhusk dolls.We used an old metal shed we found on the back of the acreage as a “one room schoolhouse,” where students figured and practiced spelling on slates. When we told the story of the house to the students, one little boy was thrilled. “Awesome, Mrs. Hollis,” he piped up, “Your house is history!”

Keep your eyes open for daffodils and you’ll find spring and maybe a story too!

Photography Classes

Okmulgee Homeschool students spent a week studying photography together. Some of the teachers taught about the history of cameras, careers in photography, digital photography, photo editing by computer, concepts for better photos, light in photos, etc.
Visiting speakers were child portrait photographer, Trinnica Jones, expert witness Ron Hollis who takes airplane photos for Covington Aircraft, and Larry Owens, sports  writer and photographer for Okmulgee Daily Times.
The students went to tour the photography and graphic arts departments at OSU Okmulgee. You might have spotted the students out snapping shots around Okmulgee.
The first two photos show a recently pruned scrub beside the Okmulgee Public Library  at two different times of day. Notice the shadows.
The Orpheum Theator  has been renovated to preserve its former glory. It housed a great old pipe organ.
The Okmulgee library is one of the most beautiful libraries in the state of Oklahoma. An addition was built onto the west side was made in an attempt to match the structures stone, its wonderful windows, and overall design.
St. Anthony’s Catholic Church is a historic Okmulgee building. Students toured the building and took photos of the exterior.
These ceilings are in the multimedia building on the OSU Okmulgee campus.
The students were treated to a class on graphic arts and a second class in general digital photography.
This pole clock graces the OSU Tech campus.
This cool old building with its castle like turrets, the date 1901 and the words Parkinson & CO is above the Star Drugstore and the Dowery Gift Shop on the west side of the town square.

The railroads run through Okmulgee. It is a noise I haven’t missed out here in the country. Railroad tracks are hard to get away from in Oklahoma.
The Okmulgee County Court House.
 The United Methodist Church on eigth street. If you ever get the chance to visit Okmulgee you must see some of the wonderful old buildings!

Photography Classes

Okmulgee Homeschool students spent a week studying photography together. Some of the teachers taught about the history of cameras, careers in photography, digital photography, photo editing by computer, concepts for better photos, light in photos, etc.
Visiting speakers were child portrait photographer, Trinnica Jones, expert witness Ron Hollis who takes airplane photos for Covington Aircraft, and Larry Owens, sports  writer and photographer for Okmulgee Daily Times.
The students went to tour the photography and graphic arts departments at OSU Okmulgee. You might have spotted the students out snapping shots around Okmulgee.
The first two photos show a recently pruned scrub beside the Okmulgee Public Library  at two different times of day. Notice the shadows.
The Orpheum Theator  has been renovated to preserve its former glory. It housed a great old pipe organ.
The Okmulgee library is one of the most beautiful libraries in the state of Oklahoma. An addition was built onto the west side was made in an attempt to match the structures stone, its wonderful windows, and overall design.
St. Anthony’s Catholic Church is a historic Okmulgee building. Students toured the building and took photos of the exterior.
These ceilings are in the multimedia building on the OSU Okmulgee campus.
The students were treated to a class on graphic arts and a second class in general digital photography.
This pole clock graces the OSU Tech campus.
This cool old building with its castle like turrets, the date 1901 and the words Parkinson & CO is above the Star Drugstore and the Dowery Gift Shop on the west side of the town square.

The railroads run through Okmulgee. It is a noise I haven’t missed out here in the country. Railroad tracks are hard to get away from in Oklahoma.
The Okmulgee County Court House.
 The United Methodist Church on eigth street. If you ever get the chance to visit Okmulgee you must see some of the wonderful old buildings!

Renovating an Old House

Here is a quick photo of the old house that we, along with several other homeschool families, have been renovating. One of the families, with two boys, is going to rent the house when it is finished.

The house was owned by an elderly lady who lived in it 40 years with her cats and dogs. It was a wreck. In this picture you can see the only outside improvements so far. New windows were installed in the front bedroom that were smaller than the previous windows.

The porches need attention as do the trim and grounds. But the house is surrounded by plenty of trees, has an old garage, and flowerbeds with rose bushes, iris, daffodils, and lilies wintering.

This project has been educational for all of us. We have been able to see just how a house is fitted together by taking the walls, ceilings, insulation, old wiring, existent plumbing, and some flooring out.

The kids have learned about safety issues with splinters, glass, electricity and handling insulation; also about how hard work pays off. They have learned that work can be fun and that there is reward in helping others. Repairing, replacing, adding electrical outlets and switches, as well as a new juction box, replacing sheetrock and remodeling, adding closets and new windows and doors has provided opportunity for our students to learn many new skills.  (Like DEMOLITION, their favorite!)

They have learned, from working with their dads, each with areas of expertise, about wiring, plumbing, sheetrock installation, trimming, flooring and painting.

The old sheetrock walls and celings had to be torn out and hauled away. Rotten boards had to be replaced.
The following photos show some of our inspiring results. There will be paint and trims and switch covers, of course. A mirror will fit over the sink in the new bathroom and a claw foot tub installed. A hall was added so that the bathroom does not open into the livingroom or a bedroom (much nicer plan.)
This is a shot of the south-east bedroom which was previously used as a laundry and plant room. The new windows are so nice. A closet built by two of the boys hasn’t got a door yet, but all in good time. The boys built closets in all three bedrooms and closed in a pantry and space for washer and dryer along one side of the kitchen. Adding convenience and saving space makes the house feel larger.
Three walls of the renovated kitchen are a light cream color. This new window replaced a much larger one. The old cabinets were dark. These light oak cabinets make everything look cheerful and bright.
This wall in the kitchen painted red really spiced up the room. The lower cabinets and the stove will fit here.
By summer the house will be occupied (instead of us!) Our family will be able to redo floors. paint and decorate things. The flower beds beside the porch will be pretty again filled with lilies, violets, roses and flowering shrubs. The house will need a new roof and repairs to the siding as well as new trim and repair of soffets and facsia.
The house sits on ten acres in the country, which should be a great place for the two boys to grow up. What do you think?

Renovating an Old House

Here is a quick photo of the old house that we, along with several other homeschool families, have been renovating. One of the families, with two boys, is going to rent the house when it is finished.

The house was owned by an elderly lady who lived in it 40 years with her cats and dogs. It was a wreck. In this picture you can see the only outside improvements so far. New windows were installed in the front bedroom that were smaller than the previous windows.

The porches need attention as do the trim and grounds. But the house is surrounded by plenty of trees, has an old garage, and flowerbeds with rose bushes, iris, daffodils, and lilies wintering.

This project has been educational for all of us. We have been able to see just how a house is fitted together by taking the walls, ceilings, insulation, old wiring, existent plumbing, and some flooring out.

The kids have learned about safety issues with splinters, glass, electricity and handling insulation; also about how hard work pays off. They have learned that work can be fun and that there is reward in helping others. Repairing, replacing, adding electrical outlets and switches, as well as a new juction box, replacing sheetrock and remodeling, adding closets and new windows and doors has provided opportunity for our students to learn many new skills.  (Like DEMOLITION, their favorite!)

They have learned, from working with their dads, each with areas of expertise, about wiring, plumbing, sheetrock installation, trimming, flooring and painting.

The old sheetrock walls and celings had to be torn out and hauled away. Rotten boards had to be replaced.
The following photos show some of our inspiring results. There will be paint and trims and switch covers, of course. A mirror will fit over the sink in the new bathroom and a claw foot tub installed. A hall was added so that the bathroom does not open into the livingroom or a bedroom (much nicer plan.)
This is a shot of the south-east bedroom which was previously used as a laundry and plant room. The new windows are so nice. A closet built by two of the boys hasn’t got a door yet, but all in good time. The boys built closets in all three bedrooms and closed in a pantry and space for washer and dryer along one side of the kitchen. Adding convenience and saving space makes the house feel larger.
Three walls of the renovated kitchen are a light cream color. This new window replaced a much larger one. The old cabinets were dark. These light oak cabinets make everything look cheerful and bright.
This wall in the kitchen painted red really spiced up the room. The lower cabinets and the stove will fit here.
By summer the house will be occupied (instead of us!) Our family will be able to redo floors. paint and decorate things. The flower beds beside the porch will be pretty again filled with lilies, violets, roses and flowering shrubs. The house will need a new roof and repairs to the siding as well as new trim and repair of soffets and facsia.
The house sits on ten acres in the country, which should be a great place for the two boys to grow up. What do you think?

A Field Trip to a Farm

This winter we visited a llama ranch in Beggs, Oklahoma. What a sight the shaggy llamas were!They seemed curious but aloof toward us. I suppose they were hoping for handouts and finding we had none to offer decided to snub us. The llamas came in all colors brown, tan, white, black, and speckled or spotted with black and browns. I thought the creatures were most preposterious looking. I couldn’t watch them enough.

The children were thrilled with the several babies in the herd of some 30 to 40 llamas. I love the photo above of four little girls lined up at the fence watching the animals. The two children (with curly hair) are Pickard girls and two (red coat and the black coat) are Jackson sisters. The cute little girl Valerie is holding is Amy Coburn.

The herd came out to glare at us.  I found it a bit intimidating. The Tiger Ranch in Beggs is owned by Ellen and Mike Walker.Their son Zeke is one of the teens in our homeschool group. The Walkers have llamas to sell and maybe even some to give away! You never know when you might need a huge cud-chewing pet in your back yard, say to eat poison ivy or something. Maybe to shear for making your own yarn?
What you lookin’ at Willis?