Monday, October 6, 2008

Beginning Bio

Well, decided to let you all know a bit about me. Although those following so far pretty much know already.
I was born in Austin, MN in 1960. We moved from Austin to Osage, MN in 1965 in the middle of the school year. We lived a 1/4 mile in the woods on Straight Lake out in the country near Ponsford which was an indian reservation. How the lake got that name is beyond me, as it wasn't straight by any means. :) We had a beautiful home that my dad added on to. He was a carpenter. My mom was a housewife. The only down fall was the huge property that I was lucky enough to have to mow eventually. We lived next to a resort, which is what started my dream of owning a resort. I still have that desire. I loved meeting new people, listening to their life stories and of course their fishing stories. I loved the smell of the bait house and the lake. Swimming of course was a favorite. We had a path through the woods that connected them with our property. It was great!

The resort was one way I became so attache with animals. We had dogs, but soon added to the fam. We got started with raccoons. The resort had found a nest of babies in one of the chimneys of a cabin. The mamma had been killed. So, we took them in, put them in the oven to keep them warm. We bottle fed them and nursed them to full grown coons. Once they were big enough to be outside, dad built them a big fenced in area, home, and put a big dead tree inside for them to crawl on. One was named whiskers. He was my buddy. He went everywhere with me. He loved to ride on my shoulders. The other two, Rings and the other I can't remember weren't as friendly. Eventually their natural instincts kicked in and we turned them loose. I was heartbroken, unable to understand why my baby had to go too.

Next came, are you ready for this.....skunks. Yes, that's right, we raised baby skunks. Mamma was killed and the resort let us know they had baby skunks. Of course they new we would take them in. They were the cutest little buggers. Can't remember their names either. I played with them all the time. Because they were still real young and hand never sprayed, I figured I was safe. Well one day they went under our steps and I needed to get them out. We had a baby sitter at the time. I reached under and grabbed one by the tail like I had many other times. Yuck!!!!! The little stinker (LOL) got me right in the face and mouth. I thought my sitter was going to lose it. I stunk and she had no idea what to do. Her boyfriend happened to show up at the time and he suggested a tomato bath. Well she wasn't having me go int he house smelling like that & I wasn't about to strip outside especially in front of him. It's sad, but I thought it was rather amusing even though the stench wasn't that pleasant. Lesson learned. Eventually they too had mother nature set in their natural desires and we had to turn them loose as well. I didn't have much of a problem with that as the male happened to get ahold of my foot and would not let go. Of course I guess if I had someone carrying me upside down by the tail, I'd do the same thing. It was the only way I could carry them both at the same time to put them back in their pen.

Mom loved animals as well and we were forever upsetting dad as we were always taking in strays. One time the female was with puppies. They were the cutest darned things. This happened after my sisters were born and my parents had their store. We kept mom and pups in a bin at the store until we found them homes. Us girls did not want to part with any of them. Dad was adamant that we were not keeping any more dogs. Hmmm, imagine that.

Any way, in 1967 my sister Lynn was born. I was thrilled to have a sibbling. But things really changed after that. Mom & I used to spend a lot of time cooking, baking, playing double solitaire, and her teaching me to dance around our dining room table. I missed those days. Now came the growing up fast time. In 1969 came my little sister Sarah. I loved them and thought it was neat to have babies around and loved to help with them. By the time Sarah was 1/2 a year old, I decided I didn't want a baby sitter any more and took over caring for my two sisters and our house. Then things really changed. My sisters loved ganging up on me. I suppose they figured with the age difference they didn't have to listen to me. They were stinkers.

I think it was about 1970 we moved between Osage and Park Rapids on a farm. Mom & dad had started their own hardware/garage/gas station. Mom took the girls to the store and kept them in a play pen and I helped with them and learned to work the store. We had bought an old farm that needed a lot of work, but we enjoyed the work, or should I say I did. I loved the outdoors. I should have been a boy. My girlfriends thought I was nuts for liking a lot of the things I did. We eventually bought some horses. Well, mom's mom bought the first two as birthday gifts for us. I loved horses. It was a dream come true. The owners of the horses were about a mile from us. We went to pick up mine one day. Mom rode my bike and I rode Zeba. What a wake up call. Mom still laughs over it. It is funny now, but at the time, I was scared to death, and mad at mom. There was a huge hill that was just past their place. Steep going down and back up. Well mom thought she would be funny and take off down the hill on the bike and yelled, "Come on Zeba." Zeba was up for the challenge. I wasn't. I had never ridden a horse bareback before. So here she is trotting down this hill and I guess gravity took over. I bounced up her neck and ended upside down, screaming for her to stop. Finally I guess Zeba knew and stopped dead in her tracks. Bounce down to the ground I went.

Mom was laughing hysterically. I didn't see what was so funny. I was mad and told her I was never going to ride that dumb horse again. Well, that lasted for all but a couple of minutes as the horse was going back if I wasn't going to ride her. So I found the courage and crawled back up on her and away we went. It wasn't long after that though that I was riding all the time with all the confidence in the world.

Oh yeah, back up to the lake. Mom & dad bought snowmobiles. Wow! Talk about fun. Dad made a sled to pull behind so we could all go. Grandma rode on the sled once with us and that was the last time I believe. We ended up coated in snow. You could barely see us. :) Dad fixed that problem thank heavens. We road everywhere. It was a blast. We also went ice fishing, and I would clear a big skating rink on the lake. Fishing started out at the age of 5. How I loved to fish. Horsehoes, kroket (sp), shuffle board (the kind with the long poles played on concrete), table tennis, volley ball, that game where you hit the ball around a pole, badmitton, and barbecues down by the lake. Oh how I miss those days.

Snowmobiling continued throughout the 18 years at home. I learnt to cross country ski at the farm. We had a long pond there as well. We raised several ducks, & goats. We also had cats. We had a billy goat that was the coolest. He loved to follow and play. He would love to run at us and butt us. We would make a fist and let him come down and butt our fists. Sometimes it would hurt a little. Nanny had two babies. The one was all black but for a few white spots. He was cute! My one aunt did not like Billy. He loved to chase her. We figured he must have known she was afraid of him. You could see it in his eyes that he got a kick out of chasing her. We usually had to catch him and tie him up when she was out there.

I believe it was 1974 when we moved to a place a mile away from that farm and moved to another with more land. This is where I learned my love for bailing hay, cutting down trees and brushing. The place before I learned to use a scythe (sp?). We had a big piece of field that I would have to cut down that way. Actually two areas come to think of it. Don't know why, but I loved doing it. Anyway, we accquired another horse while there. He was a beauty. His name was ebony. A beautiful tall black quater horse. Of course I love all the horses, but he was my pride and joy. He was so gentle. We got him at a good time as the people who had him were not taking proper care of him. He was almost lame as they never trimmed his hooves and had him shod. The poor baby. The guy we had bought our first horses from helped us learn how to care for them all, so we called him and he came over and took the shoes off and trimmed his hoofs. That was when I had my lesson on how to trim hooves.

While there dad put in a small make shift pond and we had more ducks. We also raised rabbits. Oh yeah, we had rabbits while on the lake too. We loved our animals. One of my best friends parents had a farm with pigs, sheep and cattle. I loved going over there and helping with them too. We ended up have to muck a barn that had a foot of poop to clean out. It took us hours to do it, but we got 'er done. Phew! But somehow I enjoyed it all believe it or not. They lived on a pond there. We would go swimming in it. How we had the nerve was beyond me, but we both loved swimming and weren't able to go into town to the lake very often so we made due. Needless to say, we had our experience with blood suckers. The first time I had one on me, I freaked. Thankfully her brother was there and got some salt and they fell right off. Dummy us thought it would be cool to try skinny dipping down there. Ewww, now it seems like such a ridiculous thought. We were young, and had to try it. Thankfully we didn't have to deal with blood suckers that day.

One thing I look back on in those days was us kids learned a lot about moral values, caring about the land, the animals, learning an appreciation for mother nature, how important family was, etc. We learnt what it took to survive, to be strong, to work. We were never afraid to work. Dad had always wanted a son, and the poor guy ended up with three girls. Us girls tried our darndest to make up for that. We didn't have any problems with chopping wood, haying, mucking the barns, hauling water for the horses in the winter time, and so on. I guess that is why I was a girl that was not squeemish in biology. I loved disecting. I wanted to be a verternarian. Girls thought I was weird. Oh well. After watching cats, dogs, goats, and horses give birth, nothing really bothered me. Plus dad was a trapper when we lived on the lake and I would watch him skin and clean the animals. Deer hunting meant watching them skin the dear and cut it up. Rabbit and squirrel hunting as well. Hunting is one thing I couldn't get into though. I could not stand to shoot an animal. Except once while duck hunting with mom and dad. Dad wanted me to learn to shoot a 22. So we were out, he had me shoot and I shot my first duck without even knowing it was there. I was proud of that. I had to clean it too of course, but I didn't mind.

But during hunting season, this old gal stayed home while everyone else went out and I would cook for the crew. We always had some people from back in Austin come out to go hunting too. I loved cooking for everyone though. I also wanted to become a chef. So lets see, my dreams, to become a professional ice skater (I had taught myself how to jump, spin, backwards, speed skate etc. I was determined, but there was no place to get lessons. :( A resort owner, a veteranarian, and a chef, a professional horseback rider in show and barrel racing, and oh yeah, a biologist. I loved science. Except chemistry. I was too boy crazy at that time to concentrate and really done bad in that class. I still love science. The science classes in college were great! Any way, this was pretty much life while growing up to become an adult. Oh yeah, the store; I learned to cashier, pump gas, stock, take inventory, & order. Eventually dad gave up the hardware and garage part and mom and his mom turned it into a ceramic shop. I then learned how to pour molds and do the firing of the kilns. Grandma had been a ceramic instructor since I can remember. She used to hold classes in her basement in Austin. They moved to Osage too.

In fact, grandma was the one that started me in church, helped me with my first communion, first confession, and something else, but can not remember what it was called. Pretty sad. I had almost finished that. God rest her soul, she was a dedicated Christian woman. She said the roseary daily on schedule no matter where she was and what she was doing. I always admired her for that. She was an amazing talented woman.

Camping was another favorite while growing up and still is. We used to go camping on what we called the boundary waters. Can not remember the name of the place, but we had to canoe out to where we were going as no motor boats were allowed on the lake. Gosh it was pretty. It was a long way out to where we would camp but it was worth it. Oh yeah, we also rowed a regular boat out too to carry all our equipment, plus for fishing. The canoe was for fun. I caught my record small mouth bass out there. That was fun. It seemed like it took forever to pull it in. That baby put up quite a fight. I thought dad was going to tip our boat over. He was so worried that I was going to get it tangled up in the anchor and lose it. He managed to get the anchor up, thank heavens, or we probably would have ended up in the drink with no boat to get back. :) But all ended well. Dad's cousin and his family would go with us every year. They happened to show up when I was trying to pull my fish in and got a laugh out of watching dad. He was like a little kid.

Archery, that's right. Had gotten into that for a couple of years. That was a blast. Painful at first while trying to toughen up the arms and fingers. Would love to try that again too. Don't know that the arthritis would allow it now, but would give it a good shot. I think I've covered life through the age of 18, oh no that wasn't all. I had gone to work at a Truck Stop in Osage. Gosh I loved working there. My boss and his wife were the nicest people, and the people I worked with were great. Most our regulars were the greatest. That was one experience I'll never forget. I worked as a waitress which consisted of cleaning and dishes as well. I would occasionally help the cooks too. My first car that I bought was a 1974 Chevy Nova. I thought I was bad when I got it. Ha ha. My poor sisters. I used to go into Park Rapids and drag main street with my friends. On occasion I would have to take my sisters with me. I would make them poor babies get down on the floor in the back. I didn't want anyone seeing me hauling my little sisters with. How sad was that. They thought it was cool. I had an 8-track in my car and was into Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. I have to laugh now when I look back. Deep purple was another favorite. I also done some babysitting. I wasn't very good at that, as I would fall asleep. I just could not handle staying up until 1, 2, or 3 in the morning. I was always on the go, so by the time night time rolled around, I was exhausted. I watched my sisters a lot though.

Okay, that is it for now. I will go on with my life in the military up until I met my hubby, then will do a couple of segments on married life and it's ups an downs, but how it's been well worth it. Believe, throwing a country girl and a city boy together makes for a very interesting combo. He's from San Diego, CA. ;) I'll leave it to your imagination for now. Good night, until next time.

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