Friday, December 31, 2010

Grinding Day!

Today, Trish's kitchen turned into Bill's venison processing center.  Earlier this year Mother Nature allowed me to take two of her critters for food.   After the intial processing, we ended up with six to eight package of meat meant for grinding, which was set off into the freezer waiting for further processing.  Well, today was the day to start the project of turn meat to burger with a newly gifted grinder attack for a Kitchen Aide blender machine.  The grinder attachment connects to front of the Kitchen Aide mixer, worked very well, until I started loading too much meat at once.  After learning the proper size of meat and how fast I could load the hopper, the grinding went very quickly.  After cleanup, which took longer that the grinding, Trish got her kitchen back, only to learn that tomorrow I will set upon the kitchen for more grinding.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A storm is promised!

My knee, this morning which doesn't bother me much, is paining today as a winter storm bears down on us in the Northern Plains!  Freezing rain, many inches of snow and the wind is to drive the moisture into every nook and cranny.  There are very few tree on the prairie to knock down the wind, so the snow is pushed into great drifts, which can be many times larger than the actual amount of snow that fell from the sky.  Prairie Home is located in on the eastern side of a small wooded lot of less than one hundred acres.  But, it is enough to protect us from the full strength of the wind.  Once the storm is to pass, below zero temps are to settle in and test our winter steel.   We survive the cold, dark winter with projects that are put aside in the warmer weather and picked back up again when Mother Nature sends Old Man Winter back in for another long visit!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Digging Irish roots!

This weekend I was scanning some old documents that my grandfather wrote many many years before.  After scanning quite of few files and uploading them to a new blog, I got a bit bored with this project and set it aside for the moment.  Instead, for whatever the reason, I opened the Family Search website to start searching data.  I know, I know, scanning and upload files isn't much different than searching data.  But, it was a change of pace and thought processes that I was looking for.  Upon opening the Family Search website, I notice that they had made some major changes to the appearance to the site.  I was hoping that they changed the search engine too... I entered the search data and was surprised with amount of data that came back.  I then tweaked the search data a bit and BANG, I found a record I hadn't found or seen before.  Upon opening the record, I verified the information I had just discover.  It was another piece to the puzzle of where George F Herrick's birth place was actually located.  George for some reason had told his family that he was born in Washington state.  In which, it could have been Port Angeles or Bellingham Washington.  I have records stating such locations, but when I tried to get a birth certificate, none are available.  Which is not uncommon, since record keeping has not been of great importance in the past.  So, I have always been, since 2001, suspect of his actual birth location.

Here is my evidence, thus far, for a totally different state for his birth.

1869  his mother is born in Freeport Illinois.
1873 his father arrives from Ireland and settles in Freeport Illinois.
1887 his parents marry in Freeport Illinois.
1892 his birth according to US census of 1900
1900 US census for Freeport Illinois, has him and his older bother being born in Illinois.  His is eight years old at this point, so I am pretty sure his parent knows his birth place.
1910 US census April, he was enumerated in Hawaii while at boot camp.  This is the first record of stating he was born in Washington state.
1910 US census June, he was enumerated again at his parents house in Chicago Illinois. This census records his birth place of Illinois.
1917 he marrys Grace R Whitfield of Chicago Illinios in Chicago Illinois.
1918 birth of his first born, Grace F Herrick in Illinois
1920 US census state his birth is Washington state. But, both Graces are born in Illinois
1930 US census state his birth is Washington state.  This is, thus far, the first evidence I have with George actually being in Washington state.

I have presented my evidence and conclude that George was born in Freeport Illinois in the year 1892.  I will continue to dig for his birth record.  I am hoping other family members who read this can shed some light to this puzzle from the past. 

What say you?

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Desert Rat

The Desert Rat
by George F. Herrick
circa 1930s

A stake of grub and a heavy pack
A desert trail and a long eared jack
No human friend, but for all of that
I'm contented to be a desert rat.

A shelter of rock and a grease wood fire
A mountain peak for my temple spire
My alter of worship a sage brush knoll
Where the Great Voice speaks to my faltering soul.

The evening stars in the firmament
Speak to me when day is spent
In a language that I learned from them
Not spoken by the tongues of men.

The book of life is mine to read
It speaks not of a sect or creed
Therein is writ in prose and verse
The secrets of the universe.

I follow the trail long ages old
Toward the rainbow's end and the pot of gold
Though failure is mine for my labor spent
I am recompensed; I am content.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winter Chickens

Well, its mid winter, but only a few days into the official winter season.  The temps have been steady in the tens above with a few venture below zero and few spikes beyond 20 above.  The chickens, guineas and geese are no worse for wear.  Through, Rudy the rooster has lost a bit on his comb and most of his waddle, he is getting along just fine.  The geese spend most of the days outside.  They have a path going between the coop and the watering hole they created this past fall.  The water is from the sump pump in the basement, we have had so much water up this year, the sump is still running.  So, the geese wonder over to it to bath and hang out.  The ten hens are still laying about 5 to 8 eggs a day, which is enough to pay for their feed.  The geese received a gift of two alfalfa bails, which is keeping them busy and the chicken are enjoying the dry green stuff too.  The guineas are doing their best stay warm.. they however are aloud bunch, inside and out.  We all are looking forward to spring... which I keep hearing is just around the corner!

Wild bird feeder!

This morning, as many morning  of late, the Chickadee are taking advantage of a free breakfast of sunflower seeds.  Their numbers very from one or two on the feeder to as many as ten, with many more waiting their turn to steal away with a seed or two.  It is a regular circus sometimes with the coming the growing, the chasing and fighting. And if another species is mixed, well all the better, except for the Jay.  Who is the master at the moment of this feeder.

The birds were coming and going... they definately need an air traffic contoller today.

Cold Morning!

A cold clear morning after a frosty night!  This westward view, out the bay window, over looking the waiting garden is one of the many special treats that awaits those that care to look .  As all things that stand still during the night was coating with a layer of frost from the cold night air.  And with the rising of the sun, we are in proper position for a bright  display only Mother Nature can provide.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Writings from the past!

This evening, December 25  2010, I created a new blog to host a collection of writing that my mother had in her possession when she passed away in 2001.  These writing were created by my grandfather George F. Herrick.  The blog will be by request only and only open to family members.  On the right side of this blog you will find a collection of pages, of which one is labled "Writings from the Past" There is direction on this page on how to enter the George F. Herrick blog.  All Herrick and Reynolds family members are welcome!

I will be posting a story a week at least until all are posted.  Some of George's writings are in pencil and are fading, so I will be retyping them on the blog for easier viewing.  Others are typed and are easily scanned and posted.

Our roof is old and leaky
The floor is splintered too,
Out S.E stock is soaking wet,
Now what are we to do.

The lightening struck our motor,
The compressor's on the bum,
We get our air here and there,
For each service run.

The old Ford cars are balky,
And are alway in the shop,
When the No. 5 gets started,
It doesn't want to stop.

The rest is posted on the new blog.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blue Jay Study

I have always had a love hate relationship with the Jay, which stems back as far as I care to remember. The call of the Jay brings a flood of memories in which I would be fishing, hunting, camping or just working around the forest in the fall.  Memories like sitting in a deer stand being scolded, in which ever deer in the near county knew exactly where I was hiding. Or memories where I would be hiking into a hidden creek to fish for fall brook trout, with the smell of  decaying leafs under foot, the warmth of the falls sun on my face, the color of all the trees shining into my eyes. Now, the memories of capturing these images will become part of the recall someday in my waning years.  For now, the call of the Jay means its dinner time as they are heading for the feeder posted just outside my bay window.  The call of the Jay speaks to me like that of the crackling of the campfire.  Both are old callings of another time, which are in us all!

Image path:  Flickr

Saturday, December 11, 2010


It's a mear three degrees below zero outside this morn!  The wind, she has come up from the north, driving the temps further down.  The watering pale was froze solid and to the ground a fixed, it was.  The geese droppings, a pile of  froze shiit, blocked the inside door to the chickens. Plenty of stuff to do for the birds, I say.  The cold, she has changed the routine of wildbirds too!  They have yet come into for breakfast.  Aye, the adventures of the frozen north!  I dream of spring! I hear its just around the corner, it is!  Which corner I say? Which corner?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bitsy Babe

1952 Bitsy Babe
My dad was in the military during WWII and the Korean War. Today, I recently found images of him posing with the aircraft that he helps maintain, a F-84 Fighter/Bomber named Bitsy Babe. This fighter/bomb was flown with the identifcation numbers of; FS-115 A.  I did try to find the flight records for the aircraft, but was only able to find a basic fact sheet about the F-84.  The picture of Bitsy Babe and my dad as taken in 1952 somewhere on Japanese soil I am sure. The F-84 Fighter played a major role in keeping the enemy's fighters at bay.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

War Camp!

Yesterday, as I was wading through old family documents and pictures, I came across some photos of my time in an old prison of war camp.  Well, actually I was going through USAF Base Defensive training at Camp Bullis in 1976. Camp Bullis is just north of San Antonio Texas and part of Fort Sam Houston.  The camp has been used as a military training site from WWI through current times.  It also was  a prisoner of war camp in WWII.  We lived in semi permanent Mash style tents, where each morning we needed to shake our clothes before putting them on, inspect the inside of our boots before sticking our feet within and quickly look around the floor before stepping out of bed with bare feet.  There were many a morning, where someone would scream out because they had an unwanted visitor in their bed with them.  The reason for all this morning active was the many bitey, stinging and poisonous critters that call Texas home; scorpions, spiders, and snakes.  Each day we would patrol around the 17,000 acres or set up a defensive position and then waiting for enemy forces to attack.  The latrine was an open bay with twenty toilets in a row and across the aisle another twenty.  No privacy here!   There was an old pool that was reportedly built by WWII Germany soldier while they were encamped here.  They dammed up a creek and hand plastered a pit to hold the water.  We stayed in camp for six week, and some  stayed longer for more specialized training.  The guys in the picture are all Military Police buddies with long forgotten names.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Blue Jay

Blue Jay
I have been trying to photograph these Jays for weeks and was getting nowhere.  This past fall I setup a new feeding station for the wildbirds in the area.  I set the post about eight feet in front of the bay window, which face west, ideal for morning photo sessions. For the longest time not a bird visited the feeder, which made good sense, since theres not been a feeder here before. It takes time for the birds in your area to recognize  the feeder as a food source. But once they do...  the Chickadee were first showed up, then Nuthatches, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, some Dark-eyed Junco and a stray Goldfinch..With all that activity, it wasn't long before the pigs of the woods would show up;  Jays.  The Jays have been the most shy of the group, each time I approached the camera, which is setup at the bay window, they would fly off.  No matter how slow I moved, they didn't like my presense and would depart with a crop full of seed before one click of the shutter button.  Well, this morning I tried setting up a simple blind made up of two bath towels clothes pinned to the curtain rod.  Only the lens of the camera parted the two towels, which allowed me to move more freely..  The posted image of the Blue Jay is the results of my make shift blind.  Gotta love it!  See more birding image at my Flickr account.  

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