Monday, August 7, 2017

August Memories

August is always a busy month around the house.  August 5th was Jeff's birthday, and he always insisted he should get a birthday month, since when we married I created what her termed the triple threat to his manhood.  Our anniversary, Valentine's Day, and my birthday all within 31 days!  Also August was the month we  met, a week or two after the end of the fair.  I may not remember the exact day, but I do remember him talking about going to the fair every day because he had taken that week off for vacation, and his birthday. 

I have been told I should do the things we loved to do together, and one of our favorite things was to go to the county fair.  We always went on Thursday because that is ladies day, and Jeff loved that he only had to pay $2 for me, and it was tractor pull night.  I jumped in our old truck and headed to the Monroe County Fair at about 1 pm.  The weather had been kind of iffy all day, thunderstorms and rain off and on all day long.   I ran into a friend from the quilt guild and we walked over to the domestic arts building to see how people placed.  Only 2 ladies from guild entered quilts--and one of them was not me.  Sorry I didn't take any pictures.  Soon we parted company and I decided I would like to enjoy some fair food.  Jeff and I always got Butterfly fries (spiral cut potatoes deep fried with cheese, bacon bits, and sour cream).  Afterward I walked through the barns, I love to see the 4-H kids and their livestock, then wandered through the exhibits.

The antique tractor club has a display, but my favorite are these little hit and miss engines.  Later on in the day they actually fired them up and I love the sound they make. 

While this is not the above engine it is similar, so you can see how it worked and hear the sound they make. 

This year is the Bicentennial for Monroe County Michigan and there was a special exhibit made to celebrate.  There was a list of all the century farms, and pictures of their homes.  Our farm can't be a century farm because it was not 10 acres or more, even though it is over a century.  They did have some cool maps.   I loved the old plat maps. 
See the N Todd?  That is the plot of land that Jeff's great, great grandparents owned in 1901.  I have found deeds for much more land prior to that to the west, it appears they sold it off 20/25 acre plots for quite a few years before this map was created. 

Now my house has a build date of 1860, and it is interesting that there was a map there from 1850 but the land did not belong to the family at that time.  I also have letters from Jeff's great, great grandmother's sister inquiring how the build of the house is going which are dated from the 1880's so I am going to say that the construction of this house was long and arduous.  The great aunt's house next door was the original settler's cabin.  If you crawl under you see the huge posts and beams that it was built on. 

I sat and people watched, and soon it was time for dinner.  Of course I had to have a turkey leg.  That was Jeff's favorite.  The first year we took the boys they were 3 and 4 he asked them, do you want a turkey leg, they told him no we want corn dogs.  So he got them corn dogs.  Which they devoured, then proceeded to massacre Jeff's turkey leg, because that was good too.  Sorry no pictures of my food. 

I was undecided if I wanted to go to the tractor pulls or not.  The past few years they have had more trucks pulling and no big tractors (picture a modified tractor with four 8 cylinder engines to run it).  These are called super stock.  Heck if you are interested check out the NTPA Pull 101.  Anyway so Jeff hadn't really wanted to go, he liked the super stock, and at one time there were old tractors that pulled too, but they no longer did that either.  Imagine my delight when I heard that there were super stock, but they also had some antique tractors that would pull too.  So I decided to pay the $10 to go. 

These are the legacy tractors, some of the original tractors which were built to pull back in the 70's.

 Those white pipes are their exhaust stacks.  Yes that was the rule they had to be that long!
 That box on the front is a counterweight to keep the tractor from flipping over. 

 This one when it was revving up had flames shooting out of that big curved tube in the front.
 Another with the tall pipes, it is interesting that certain manufactures were known for having good rear ends for pulling (the back axle). 
Overall the fair was fun, I was sad Jeff missed the old tractors he would have loved it. The kegs on the front if this one are full of lead for counter weights. 

Saturday would have been Jeff's 51st birthday.  I had it suggested that we have a small birthday party for him.  I got up early on Saturday morning and put flowers near the spot on the corner where he was killed.

Samantha put balloons up, but I haven't been able to get a good pictures.  I hit the traffic light at the wrong time, too much traffic, or too dark. 

I also made his favorite dessert home made coconut cream pie from scratch.  I coat the pie crust with semi sweet chocolate so it is kind of like having a Mounds bar.

It had also been suggested that I write a love letter to Jeff, attach it to a balloon and release it.  Basically a love letter to my loved one in heaven.  I decided I would give the boys a chance to write letters too.  Everyone got into the act.

Green, and gold stars with letters attached ready to go.  I couldn't find yellow starts, and it is hard to find latex balloons anymore that they will fill with helium.

Soon they continued to float up and away until they were only tiny specks up near the clouds.  Finn insists that Jeff is on the clouds watching him.  :D

Saturday night a girlfriend and I went out to dinner at one of Jeff's favorite restaurant.  She had never had middle eastern food, so it was fun to take someone with me to experience something new, much like Jeff had taken me long ago.  Oh and she loved it! 

Finally the original urn I ordered for Jeff just did not work out.  It was art deco looking, stained glass, which was green and yellow, almost the colors of the old John Deere advertising, not the iconic green and yellow we know now, but it was not made well.  By the time I had a chance to talk to the funeral home about returning it, his insurance had paid for the urn.  So he has been sitting in this plastic box on my dresser in my room.  I decided it was time to find him a more permanent home.

I will admit that when I opened it I sobbed for quite a while.  Have I put his ashes in it?  Not yet.  Will it be buried soon, not likely.  I would like to have us buried together in my family cemetery in Northern California, up in the mountains.  Jeff fell in love with the area when we visited two years ago.  He could not get over the mountains, and the color and clarity of the water in the nearby river.  Jeff actually had been talking about selling our house and farm when he retired and buying a place there.  Since that seemed to be where Jeff's heart wanted to take him, and being my ancestral lands my heart has ties to that land, I think it will be a perfect place for our hearts to rest for eternity when I pass on too. 


  1. Beautiful post, full of warm memories...hugs Julierose

  2. Your strength amazes me. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Bittersweet weekend for you. Jeff would have been happy that you all remembered him so nicely.

  4. What a sweet tribute to Jeff and your times and shared experiences together, that box is beautiful.

  5. It sounds like a perfect way to memorialize Jeff. The history of the house sounds fascinating. There are not many of us who could tract their homes back that far.

    I love the new receptacle for Jeff's ashes. That will be perfect. The CA mountains are really quite spectacular - a great final resting place.

  6. great post. great way to remember Jeff on his birthday and doing things he loved to do. that receptacle for the ashes is gorgeous
    you had Jeff in your heart this month and I am sure he was looking on with you as well. hugs my friend

  7. What a wonderful post - thank you for sharing. I think it is a great idea for you both to be together in the mountains - special memories. The history of the houses and land is very interesting.
    Much love
    Karen, Hannah and Baa. xxx

  8. What a fantastic tribute to your loving husband! I can tell from your writing you loved each other very much. I think the new plan for your ashes sounds like a great plan. I like the new storage container too. BIG hugs friend!


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