The Barn Dance

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There are some things that are just so much better when you do them in a barn!

Whether it’s squarein’, folkin’, cloggin’, or stompin’, the dances are da bomb.

It could be fiddlin’ or pickin’ and grinnin’ too, the music hits all the right notes.

If stichin’ and bitchin’ is your thing, a quilting bee could be the answer.

Meeting your sweetie on a Saturday night, or cruising and schmoosing at a Sunday social? Both could land you smack dab in the middle of a damned good roll in the hay.

Not that I had any such experience, but when the gals of the FHA ‘colluded’ with the boys of the FFA…there was usually chaff involved. (Chaff – the technical term for ‘honey, brush your britches off!)

No matter what it is, it’s just better in a barn.

This love affair with barns isn’t geographical. No matter what part of the world you live in…you’ll see evidence of local customs and ethnic traditions in the barns that dot the countryside. And whether there’s a floor (or sumpin’)being laid or a roof (or sumpin’) being raised, chances are you’ll find it’s for/with the community (or sumpin’).

That’s the draw for me, and it has been a life long one. The architectural type and features give us the biggest clues as to the who, the what, the where, and the when.
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But it’s the condition of the barn that gives us the why.

Is it a model for advances in the industry, surrounded by shiny equipment and smelling of fresh mown hay and odor d’cow?
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Or is it a sad landmark of better times? Rusting tractors, broken fences, over grown pastures and paddocks with just a whisper of what once thrived there?
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Why is that barn falling in on itself…

Seen better days

Seen better days

…and the one down the road a bright red beacon of hope?
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Why is the barn so big and the house so small?
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And so on…

Growing up in dairy country, barns were as common a sight to me as high-rises and tenements are to city dwellers. But common or not, I’ve been drawn to them for as long as I can remember.

Maybe it was the stories my father would tell of life on the farm; drinking the milk raw, taking the cream right off the top, smokin’ corn silk in corn cobs, telling of things one did ‘behind’ the barn?
:wink:

Or my own memories of tire swings hung in the space between the giant barn doors, or pushing my oldest brother (I swear he jumped) out of the hay loft doors ’cause there was a bee headed my way? I think perhaps being around folk who didn’t think “What, were you raised in a barn?” is an insult, may have had something to do with it.

One day, when I’m better equipped to do so, I’d like to tour our beautiful country just to photograph farms and barns. Or parts of barns. Or things that go in barns. Or…you get the idea.

When traveling, my driver is always saying “Look Babe, there’s a silo”. He gets me.

Or when I’m running the dirt roads with Supe, he’s always suggesting this path or the other because “There’s a great barn down here”. He gets me too.

This is not a unique idea by a long shot…I’m sure if I Googled it, I’d come up with thousands who’ve done that very thing, and done it extremely well. But that does not daunt me. I know what I like and I know taking snaps in a drive by is not very professional, but it’s what I do.

One lesson I’ve learned in the time it’s taken me and my third eye to become better acquainted is that, we each have our own perspective; we each see the beauty and the ugly in our own way; we each do what we do for our own reasons; and our eyesight is but a tool…

It is our hearts that are our true guide to what we capture and why.

So, if you’re keen on barns and the like, or just want to see the barn dance so far…you can see it on this page

Just remember…where there’s a barn, there’s a barn dancer.

And I’m one of ‘em.
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It’s all in a name

Ah…the good ol’ summertime.

A time for beaches and bicycles and picnics and bbqs and vacations and staycations and more likely than not… family.

Whether you’re a nut from a towering oak, have a touch of sweetness like the magnificent sugar maple, are tart and tangy like the bounty that falls from the fruit trees, or run more to the quiet strength of the whispering pine…we are all branches of our family trees.

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As it will, nature steps in to prune our branches. Our leaves fall through the natural process of age and death, or in times of storm and disease, we sadly lose precious limbs way before their time.

Nature will…have its way.

But because our roots are so deep, we continue on…new saplings sprout from new seeds and new blood.
Often, we are stronger and more resilient for it. Having richer hues and sweeter fruit.

Or, as is common enough in my family to be the rule and not the exception, (leaves fall too close or too far, whichever the case may be) we end up with nuttier nuts and fruitier fruits.

Which leads me to:

“The Family Reunion”

For the good folk up here in the extreme north, the best thing to be said about summer is …NO SHOVELING!
Next to that…there is reunion season, which in my case, consists of the following:

Mother’s Mother’s side
Mother’s Father’s side
Two distinct and unique trunks of my maternal grandparent’s tree.
Let’s say it’s where the Spruce meets the Elm.

Now, the Spruce and the Elm don’t share the same patch of ground. Perhaps because the Spruce is pretty rigid and doesn’t change much, and the Elm, while close when push comes to shove, has a history of infection and being hard to find (much loved all the same).
But…two distinct and separate genus with two distinct and separate reunions.

Which brings me to the other half of my tree:

Father’s Mother’s side
Father’s Father’s side
Or, as is our case…
ONE trunk for my paternal grandparent’s tree
(It’s a damned big tree!)

This is where the mighty Oak meets the Sugar Maple and rather than remaining as such…they became a whole new tree.

The Maple Nut Tree (Don’t Google it…no sucha thang)

Here’s the roots…
The George boys had a thing for the Smith girls…
Brothers marrying sisters…
(No, not their own sisters…we may be hilly people, but we don’t all play the banjo!)

Anyway…because more than one George married more than one Smith, the reunions are Smith/George amalgamations rather than just Smith or just George.
We even have Smiths who married other Smiths and those Smiths married Morrisons who in turn married other Morrisons…

EEE GAD, it’s enough to make you dizzy!

Anyway, the reason I started this, besides having just attended above mentioned gathering of Maple Nuts, is to do with names.
:lol:
It really is about names.
But not just any names.
Old names.

One would think, with sir names like Smith and George, the given names would be rather vanilla, wouldn’t you?
Tom, Dick, and Harry kind of names. But no.
And it just tickles the shit out of me to sit around listening to the older folk talk about their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, bandying around some names not heard 100 years from here.

Kids my age, and those after, hear these names and think
“What the hell were they thinking?”
But I disagree. I think there is something strong, and connective in these old names.
It speaks of family more than the color of our eyes or the shape of our nose.
Names that are passed down in an obvious attempt to keep a loved one alive are beautiful names.

Shall I?
Okay, I shall.
Just a tiny sample.
Promise.

Great Grandfather Smith (ok…the next part is a sing along)

M.U.R.D.O. M.U.R.D.O. M.U.R.D.O. and M U R D O was his nameo!

Now, farmer Murdo Angus Smith married the lovely Rose La Brecque. They had 11 children (that’s Family #1).

Norman George, Mary Ethel, Eva Maude, Christie Rose, Margaret Leona, Clara Esther, Gladys Irene, Pauline Mae, Paul Angus, Walter Robert, and Baby Girl.

These names that don’t quite rrrrrrrrrrrroll off the tongue like names do today, but, it was all about continuity.

The lovely Rose died at the tender age of 36 (she needed a rest I think), whereby farmer Murdo married Marion who had another 5 children (that’s Family #2).

Murdo Harold, Joyce Ann, Fred Donald, Gerald Lloyd, and Virginia Maggie.

Again, these names don’t effortlessly fall off the tongue, but suggest a ‘reason’ behind them.
Nothing trendy here.

Great Grandfather George
Elmer Eugene George
(The only other Elmer I know lives in Cartoonland!)
Now, Elmer married Sophi (pronounced so-feye) Laundry and they had two sons
Raleigh Royal Eugene George and Morton Guy George
(So much packed into two little boys right? Oh, and a side note on Sophi~she had sisters…Mary, Maude, and Mert. LOL. Great huh?)

Both these George boys married Smith sisters:

Raleigh Royal Eugene George married Mary Ethel Smith (my grandparents) and had two children
Roy Eugene and Betty Rose

Morton Guy George married Christie Rose and had four children
Stanley Morton, Philip Dale, Beverly Ruth, and Harvey Elmer

Sadly, after my parents’ generation, the names became more normal(?)
Gone are the Murdos, Elmers, Mortons, and Raleighs.
No more Claras, Maudes, and Gladyses (Gladi?)

I’m as guilty as the next gal. I named my kids rather trendy names, but I think if I’d spent more time sitting under that big ol’ Maple Nut tree, I’d have found the courage to be different in the pride I feel when I’m sitting in that big pile of leaves.

Had that been the case, perhaps I would be the proud mother of Raleigh Murdo Elmer Roy?
Or if I’d had a girl…Mary Clara Maggie Rose?
Perhaps…

And the groaning you hear in the background is my husband who has NO room to talk…he is the son of ELBO.
But THAT is another mango tree altogether!

I hope you’re enjoying the summer, and hoping too, that you’re gathering round the base of your own magnificent family trees. There’s nothing quite like it.

And for those nuts that are part of my Maple Nut Tree…here’s a reminder of the beautiful day spent reminiscing about the old times and creating new ones. (Thanks Debbie and Henry)

-Click on a circle to bring up the full size photos-


The whole gang

In The Meantime…

I’ve been MIA for a while, having traveled to Vermont to spend some time with the folks, and since, have decided to stay another couple weeks…so, I thought I’d share a little quirky quickie so you don’t COMPLETELY forget me  :wink:

A husband went to the police station to file a “missing person” report for his missing wife:

Husband : I lost my wife, she went shopping & hasn’t come back yet.

Inspector : What is her height?

Husband  : I never checked.

Inspector : Slim or healthy?

Husband  : Not slim, can be healthy.

Inspector : Color of eyes?

Husband  : Never noticed.

Inspector : Color of hair?

Husband  : Changes according to the season.

Inspector : What was she wearing?

Husband : Not sure whether it was a dress or a suit.

Inspector : Was she driving?

Husband : Yes.

Inspector : Tell me the number, name & color of the car?

Husband : Black Audi A8 with supercharged 3.0 litre V6 engine generating 333 horse power, teamed with an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission with manual mode.  And it has full LED headlights, which use light emitting diodes for all light functions and has a very thin scratch on the front left door.

(And then the husband started crying…)

Inspector: Don’t worry sirWe will find your car.

Right?

:lol:

Hope you are all doin’ fine!

She Waits

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She waits, as she always does, on the south side of the room
The same chair, straight, hard

The only softness is the faded paisley upon the seat
But that comfort is not for her
The oak warms in the sun

But remains cold and hard against her black skin
As she hangs on its back, waiting
For her special someone
To notice

The beams streaming through the door beside her
Unseen but felt
Tickling her, bathing her, tempting her

With promise

The promise of adventure
Oh how she wishes she had the wings of a bird

Like the one she paints
In the dark

From memory
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She’d fly through that door
Out there

The sun, the clouds
Fire and rain
She misses them

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She almost remembers
Diluted, like watercolor

She draws the lily as she remembers it

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She can see it

A light spot in the dark
Of her memory’s eye

The myrtle that should be blooming by now
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Longing to set her gaze on the ordinary
That she may set her sights to the extraordinary

This Is what she was born to do
Nothing else

But she has no control
Not over when, not over where
Hers is not to ask why
Hers is but to seek the truth when it is asked of her
Truth in beauty and the beauty in truth

This…is what she remembers…
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This…is what she’s missing…
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So she waits
Today?
Tomorrow?
As long as she is here
In the same room, on the same chair

She is blind
So she begs
“Uncover my face. Raise me up so that I may whisper in your ear
Be my wings so I can soar over field and stream
Capture the beauty of now
To keep with me for then
Our adventure is out there”

“Let me teach you to see the beautiful in the ugly” she pleads
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“Let me show you the extraordinary ordinary” she whispers
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She feels
Familiar hands, comforting hands
She’s flying, lifted and carried outside

It begins…today is the day
Eye open wide, taking it in

Capturing life as it happens
Not perfect…
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Not posed…
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Just life…
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Nothing is too small
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Tomorrow, she’ll wait again
But today…she flies
Today she is…
Awake
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The Eye of the Human Storm

Today’s forecast
Pain with a chance of happiness
Life
It hurts
Our first breath
Born in and out of
Pain
Our last breath
Born in and out of the fear of
Death
Beginning to end
The human struggle to keep moving
Beyond the current pain so we may
Endure the next
To begin again
The circle, the cycle
Of life, of pain
To reach our destination
Death
So
What is the point?
When one ends where one begins?
What is the point?
The middle
Is the point
To feel the heart beat
Of a lover
To hear the laughter
Of a child
To know the touch of another
The touch that completes
Our circle
Ones who will rejoice with us
And for us
And those who will mourn us
But more
Remember
That we were here
That we mattered
That we made the difference
That we closed a part of their own circle
And that they too
Closed a part of ours
To gather
At the end of the day
To hear the sounds of silence
The human sounds
We make without knowing
The sounds of love
And life
The middle
Those sounds our ears miss, dismiss
Or cannot decipher
But that our hearts hear
These are the sounds of silence
So loud we are compelled to
Listen
Struggle to keep moving
From one pain to another
For in the end
It is not the pain
We Remember
It is
Love
Our circles have no true beginning
They meld
With our ending
We only have what is in
The middle
Today’s forecast
Pain with a chance of happiness
Take an umbrella if you must
Wear your raincoat
And wear your galoshes if you have to
But
Prepare more for getting swept
Into the middle
‘Cause that’s where life happens
In the middle
Never be afraid to get wet
Because we come into the world wet
And we leave the world wet
So
Put the fear aside
Go beyond the tropical storm of prologue
Fear not the hurricane of the epilogue
Walk into the wind
Get pummeled by the rain
Get to the eye
The middle
Where the calm allows us to hear
The human sounds of silence

The sounds of Love

For My Father

My First Love ~ My Only Hero

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The Cup Runneth Over

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As I anxiously await the next matches of the quarter finals, sending my silent plea to the footie gods for Kompany to kick ass and Messi to go home (he soooo good!), van Persie’s persistence outplaying Acosta, I can’t help wondering if I’m the norm when it comes to World Cup fans or if hanging in and routing teams NOT my own, is a rarity.

Of course I would have liked the USA to have kicked that same Belgian arse (1 minute of overage time? really?)
But we didn’t, so no use crying over spilt beer!

(Though HUGE props to Tim for an astounding performance in the cage!)

I like to think tournaments like the World Cup attract fans that hang in to the end…much like the Olympics…regardless of where their own countries finish. I think the host country’s fans have been a shining example of cheering the game for the game’s sake. Though the fact their team is still in it may have something to do with it, I do think they’ve been excellent hosts.

And as for me, I also feel this has been one of the best World Cups I’ve ever seen, with the caveat that the officiating has been rubbish!.
Even so, The Cup runneth over with surprise advances and superior substitutions

(not to mention ‘minutes and minutes’ of theatrical drama played out for our viewing pleasure ;)

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So…for any of you still hanging in and routing on…enjoy the rest of the tourney.
If things continue as they have…it promises to be as good a final as there ever was.

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GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL

David and Golliath – Thoughts on Independence

As we approach our nation’s day of independence, I had a thought or two that I’d like to share. In honor of all who fought, died, survived, and still fight so we may enjoy…our country’s ultimate day of freedom…Happy July 4th America
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seventeen hundred and seventy six
this day in that year our fate we did fix

we rallied and warred and we bled the fields red
all for the right to our freedom instead

of the yolk from an empire determined we bow
to king and to country, the collective high brow

we started ignorant, starving, and poor
equipped with nothing but freedom’s allure

one hundred times two add to that thirty-eight
the years then to now, the days fate to fate

our beginnings were humble, and not always sainted
to think what we’ve done to the darker and painted

all we can strive for is continu-ed learning
to treat all as equals, we all have that yearning

for the freedoms hard fought and hard won from oppressors
it’s not up to us to now be the aggressors

but when those who still fight for the simplest of freedoms
can’t live and can’t love and can’t grow their own kingdoms

I will not say war is always the answer
but fight we should still against any agenda

that takes away rights to live free and live true
a war worth waging, battles must ensue

to live in a world that allows you to be
everything imagined, the power of we

I hate that our country is still fighting wars
but hate more would I if we sat on the shores

of our own piece of heaven, at the same time deny
the same to others who’d enjoy it but by

the happenstance of geography
but for that they’d be me

but for where I was born
I could easily live in a country that’s torn

should I feel guilty? should I feel blessed?
to one I’ll say no, to the other I’ll say yes

I won’t lay claim to guilt not my doing
but nor condone I, those who hope our ungluing

a believer am I of “get what you pay” for
but not when one has and the other is dirt poor

if you cannot fight for the basic of rights
then why should we feel bad for fighting their fight?

goliaths are bullies, and davids are smaller
but bigger’s just bigger, not better, just taller

the true winner wins when the heart is the weapon
big losers lose when they continually lessen

the right of the people, equality all
pride goeth ‘fore the mightiest fall

in honor of our freedom, in honor of our fight
a prayer I’ll say ‘fore this morning is night

may all who seek peace and all who seek freedom
know you’re not alone as long as we are one

nation of davids, scrappers are we
a nation of davids, who’ll fight ’til you’re free
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Let Freedom Ring