Blue Moon

My gas pumping view this misty morning of the Blue moon over the Willis Farm.



Tomatoes: Part One

I have not had much luck growing tomatoes the past several years.  I have moved them here and there, even on the other side of the house one summer.  I grew nothing, except for just a few to show for all of the work.

A guy was talking about them at work the other night, how his grandpa grew the best tomatoes.  His grandpa used his grandmother’s seeds, saving them every year.  He wished he had some of those seeds for the 5th generation.

Everyone has their own way of growing them.  This year I am bound and determined they will grow for me.

I traded for some good Winslow area horse poop from my friend Amber to put in the dirt.  I turned that dirt.

I went to Pike Central to the Ag Department Greenhouse and bought some gorgeous healthy plants those Pike County kids raised.  Just six plants, Better Boys.  That is enough for me.

I am going to mulch them with the Pike County Dispatch.

I am going to water them with rainwater coming off of my roof.

I am going to have tomatoes!

tomato3 tomato

Ayrshire Schools

This is the story of the condemnation of the Ayrshire Schools taken from the 1910 Annual Report of the State Board of Health. The books are full of schools being condemned.  I think they had to be condemned in order to get the money from the state to rebuild or remodel?  

 Also I have included a few photos shared by Jackie Willis Houchins of early Ayrshire Schools in the 1930s.   These are in the “new” brick building that is still standing in Ayrshire as a home.  I wrote the information down somewhere that Jackie had given me of a few names in the pictures, but I am too organized and cannot find it 🙂  Maybe Jackie, her brother and others will read this and add a comment of who some of the kids are.  

New Note:  I am so organized I actually had the names listed on the jpeg 🙂  So I will add those and any other names as people let me know.

Annual Report of the Indiana State Board of Health 1910  Pg 62

Petition:  Ayrshire, Ind., September 16, 1908

This is to certify that we, the undersigned patrons of schools at Ayrshire, Pike County, Ind., do hereby request that the State Board of Health investigate the sanitary conditions of our schoolhouse.

Signed as follows:  A.J. Hedges, H.S. Hughes, U.G. Wiley, George Pickle, Alfred Adams, George Vanlaningham, James A. Spyers, F.B. Browder, Gus Harier, A. Sermerskeim, Samuel Tisdol, F.O. Woodrey,  Edward E. Woolsey, Geo. Benedict, I.H. Eanes, A. Lanzo Dean, John Barlow, Isaac Coffa (these are the spellings in the book)

Report of inspection of Ayrshire Schools, Pike County, January 5, 1909 by John Owens:

Buildings:  Three one room, frame:  two shingle roof, one iron, the latter the colored school.  Two of the buildings, the white schools, occupy the same lot, one half-acre, high, dry, clay soil.  Building in which upper grades are held, should be condemned outright.  The other white school building could be repainted and enlarged to accommodate the upper grades and the colored school should be repainted.  The whole town is dirty and derelict.  Mining is the industry.

White Schools:

Grades 1,2, and 3:  Seats single and double, all sizes:  badly scarred.  Ceiling and walls wood, unpainted.  Pupils face south; blackboard on south; Nine foot ceiling.  Vestibule 10 x 8 feet.  Forty five pupils in room.  Each pupil has 13 feet of floor space.  Light space one-ninth of floor space.  Open well, typhoid fever in schools a year ago.  Blackboards on north and south sides.

Grades 4,5,6,7, and 8:  Pupils:  30; face north.  Seats double, bad.  Ceiled with wood, not painted.  Floor bad.  Flue smoky.  Buildings one to two feet from ground, no foundations.  Outhouses bad.  All doors 3 x 7 feet.  Each pupil has 20 square feet of floor space.  Light area one-ninth of floor area.  General conditions bad.

Colored Schools, Ayrshire:

Pupils, 15.  Face west.  Board on west.  Tin roof.  No foundation; props; two feet from ground.  No well.  Closets bad.  Ceiling and walls plain boards, unpainted.  Each pupil has 24 square feet floor space.   Light area one-fifth of floor area.  Seats all sizes, single and double, badly scarred.

These buildings are in keeping with the town.

Proclamation of Condemnation

Whereas, it has been shown to satisfaction of the State Board of Health, that the schoolhouse at Ayrshire, Pike County, Indiana, is unsanitary and consequently threatens the health and life of the pupils, and also interferes with their efficiency, therefore, it is ordered that said schoolhouse at Ayrshire, Pike county, Indiana is condemned for school purposes and shall not be used for said school purposes after June 1, 1909 and if any school trustee, or trustees, any teacher or any person uses said schoolhouse for school purposes, or teaches therein, after the date above mentioned, he or she or they shall be prosecuted.  Any person mutilating or tearing down this proclamation shall be prosecuted.


1937 – 38 Ayrshire Grade School.  2nd Row:  third girl, Jackie Willis.  3rd Row:  last boy, Fred Willis.

Ayrshire School 1937-38 Upper Classes

Ayrshire School 1937-38 Upper Classes


Ayrshire Grade School Early 1930s.  The teacher is Lucille Amos Donham.  2nd Row:  5th girl, dark hair, Jackie Willis, boy on end Fred Willis.

boydies boydrowns

Under the Bed on Your Birthday

While researching the peculiar custom of being put under the bed on your birthday, I have found just a few google hits mentioning it. My Pappaw John was big on it.  It was supposed to bring you good luck for the following year. I remember reading in a book somewhere that it was an old English custom.

It wasn’t one of those quirky made up things that only my family partook in.  I mentioned it in an earlier post and on Facebook.  Several folks around here were thrust under the bed with the dust bunnies and whatever else lived under there.  My aunt sent me a dvd with some old family videos on it from the early 60s.  Lo and behold, there is my cousin being put under his crib on his birthday.

Sweet little picture of me, my brother and my Pappaw John.  Probably around 1964.  I seem to be doubting something, probably a story Pappaw was telling :)

Sweet little picture of me, my brother Jimmy, and my Pappaw John. Probably around 1964. I seem to be doubting something, probably a story Pappaw was telling 🙂

I can’t even remember what happened after I went under the bed due to the trauma of laying down there where the monsters lived.  I think they all cheerfully sat on the edge of the bed and counted my years or sang happy birthday.

I did find some rather intriguing things that go on under the bed while on my hunt for the reason why you would terrify a child as part of the birthday bash.

In an ancient Middle Eastern custom used to protect a new mother and infant from evil spirits – in particular Broshah, the female demon who steals newborn children – sweetmeats were placed under the bed to keep the evil spirits occupied eating them. 

Ten million children can’t be wrong,  monsters do  live under there!

French peasants believed that if the ashes from the Christmas Yule Log were kept under the bed, they would protect the house against thunder and lightning.

In China, a bride will present her in-laws and groom with new shoes according to their wedding customs.  In the wedding chamber, the gate-crashers will snatch the grooms new wedding shoes and throw them deep under the bridal bed.  This forces the groom to humble himself when he bends to retrieve his shoes, ensuring a harmonious marriage. 

A knife under the bed will dull the pain of childbirth.

A Victorian Superstition is that a dog howling at night when someone in the house is sick is a bad omen. It can be reversed by reaching under the bed and turning over a shoe.

If someone is ill or hurt and bleeding, place an ax under their bed to stop the bleeding.

If you want to have a baby girl, put a wooden spoon and a pair of scissors under the bed and a pink bow under the pillow. 

There seem to be a lot of things going on under the bed.

Birthday girls should not be one of them.

Was it a custom in your house when you were growing up?

The Coal Miner’s Cry Book

Normally I would not post anything for sale on here, but it is so rare to find one of these books of our coal mining history for sale on Ebay.  Or anywhere for that matter.  I have one and if you are interested in Pike County Coal Mining History and do not have one, now’s your chance.  The students at Pike Central High School put it together and published it in 1999.  I highly recommend it.

The Coal Miner's Cry

The Coal Miner’s Cry

Just Some More Winslow Grocery Store History

I purchased my second calendar plate from one of the many grocery stores that Winslow had nearly a hundred years ago.

There seemed to be a store every block or two.  Usually in someone’s home.

This one is a 1918 Calendar plate from S. Tary Cash Grocery in Winslow.  I think it is really gorgeous.  I do not know where this store was.

S. Tary Grocery, 1919 Calendar Plate, Winslow, Indiana

S. Tary Grocery, 1918 Calendar Plate, Winslow, Indiana

Also check out this blog for a little of the Richardson family history.

This is a photo of Ira Richardson’s store in Winslow.

Ira Richardson's Store in Winslow.

Ira Richardson’s Store in Winslow.

Fall in the State Forest

We took a drive out to the State Forest for this years Fall photos.

One day the Old Iron Bridge at Survant will be gone.  The county will be moving it to Petersburg as a walkover bridge.  I am glad they are preserving it, rather than seeing it end up in the scrap heap somewhere.



A stop at Augusta Lake


Waterfall at Augusta Lake


Augusta Lake Reflections




Old Iron Bridge at Survant


River and the Old Iron Bridge


Old Iron Bridge Fall Colors


Old Iron Bridge


River Rocks and tracks at Survant


Fire Barn


Old Fire Tower


Fire Tower Colors

Forest Path

Forest Path