Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Although I grew up on the family farm, it was not the same farm that my father grew up on. The house that my Daddy grew up in was several miles to the west of the current family farm, nestled right up against the western foothills that bordered the little mountain valley filled with farms and lumber yards. This house tragically burned to the ground in January 1939 when Daddy was 15 years old. The family moved into a home in town several miles away for several years and moved the cows to a friend's farm nearby until Grandpa was able to sell the property on the west side of the valley and buy the farm where I grew up.
Daddy and his sisters and neighbors spent much of their free time as children exploring and playing in the West Hills. They would go hiking and find pretty rocks and Indian arrowheads and an Indian Spear Head that Daddy still has in his collection. They would swim and fish in the nearby Beaver Creek. They would ride the horse up into the hills to round up the cows and sheep that were pastured up in the hills during the day and bring them back to the farm at night to protect them from the coyotes. I even remember hearing stories about an old abandoned mine that they knew about, but had been warned to not play in.
Of course Daddy wanted to share his childhood memories with us too, so sometimes he would take us over to the West Hills to go hiking among the sagebrush and prickly pear cactus and lichen covered boulders. The valley was always lush with green meadows, but the hills were much dryer and had little grass. I remember the constant sound of crickets, seeing rabbits and lizzards, and keeping an eye out for rattlesnakes. We would hunt for arrowheads too, but I never remember finding any. The town dump was located in the West Hills, and sometimes we would take a load of our trash over to be dumped, and sometimes find treasures that had once belonged to someone else! Sometimes we would go over to the West Hills with our cousins to pick chokecherries for our mothers to use to make chokecherry jelly.
And of course, almost every winter we would need to take a trip over to the West Hills to our favorite sleigh riding spots. It was there that one of our favorite family movies was shot. Mums was sledding down the hill, with Daddy shooting her ride with the camera. The sled she was on hit a big drift or bump and off she flew, landing in the snow and tumbling down the hill a ways, the sled continuing on without her. This particular film was originally shot with a 3 mm camera, then later converted to VHS and then digitized. This is probably our very favorite film of our dear mother, and we would stop the film, and then reverse it, watching her fly back onto the sled, zoom up the hill, and then start the film forward again, watching her repeat her now famous ride back and forth, over and over while we would laugh and enjoy the memories. Of course Mums was always a good sport and would laugh right along with us, remembering her sleigh ride in the West Hills.