After We Moved to Grandpa's Place there Were So Many Things to Explore
We had moved into Great Grandpa Easley's house on January 31, 1940. He had died on Christmas Eve of the previous December. Mother and Daddy had bought the farm from Grandpa's heirs. Aunt Pearl and Uncle Everett Davis had been managing the farm and caring for Grandpa. But they were wanting to leave the farm and take other employment. So those changes by the adults in my life made a world of difference in my life of adventures!
Donnie was my sister just younger than me and by the laws of nature was required to lay in a basket, be strapped into a highchair or crawl on the floor. So out the door I went. Probably the very first place of inquiry was the old 40 year old barn. There under the cow's stanchion I discovered a goose nest. There were lots of feathers and the deeper I dug I found an egg or two, then digging a bit deeper there were more eggs, and more eggs, maybe 6 or 8 in the nest. Long after the fact, I realized how dangerous it might have been, if that old goose would have come while I played with her feathers and eggs.
Just to the east of that barn was the cattle water tank. The well had been dug years before. As they dug a hole about three feet across they came to a rock about fifteen feet below ground level. They could hear water running beneath, so they cemented stones around the outside of the well to two or three feet above ground level. When all was finished they broke through the stone below and had a very long lasting well of water. Above the well a windmill had been set up. Just to the west of the well they built a cement water tank. The side walls were about three feet high. The tank probably measured eight feet by twelve feet. It was a fun place to lean over and splash the water and watch the water bugs skate across the surface. A young female duck, before she understood all she ought to know, laid two or three eggs in the tank. After a while they rotted enough that they floated to the top. We had the joy of fishing them out and breaking them on some rocks. Once I noticed a water snake in the tank. I told Daddy about it. He got a one by twelve board about three feet long. He laid it on the surface of the water. Then with a large sledge hammer he slammed it down on the board as hard as he could. A few days later the snake, killed by the percussion, was floating on the top.
Another point of interest was Uncle Zeb's old roadster. It had died its last death to the south of the windmill beside the cattle lane leading from the cow lot to the pasture. When we moved there the old rubber tires were flat and rotting. The glass was broken all around. All the metal was rusted but it was old and thick so would be a long time before it completely rusted away. The seats were just springs, the coverings were long gone. Not long after December 7, 1941 Daddy loaded it up and sold it for junk metal to help fight the war with Japan.
In the meadow below the barn I discovered a path through the grass. I lay down and watched the red ants marching forth and back along their trail. It was at least an inch wide and completely empty of any grass or weeds. The ants searched out in the field of grass for seeds they could carry to their den. All along the path I'd notice ants come into the trail from the sides, out of the meadow and start along with their load of winter food. Others would be meeting them as they headed out to hunt more seeds. That little meadow entertained my curious mind for many hours through that summer and beyond.
One day I was walking home from the pasture behind the cows. As I came down the lain into the area where the cow lot began I noticed an unusual sight. There in a big mesquite tree hung a swarm of bees. I hadn't observed that experience before. So to further develop my increasing knowledge, I threw a small rock into the swarm. The old queen and most of her swarm kept their cool. But a few angry young bees let go. They came after me with a fury. I only got two or three stings, but I came away with a full grown education when it comes to the sharp end of bees! And boy did I have a story to tell Mother and Daddy.