The story of these parts by Dottie Donalds Prentiss

Dottie Donalds Prentiss lived out on Daley’s road a good walk through the woods from Harry Johnson’s compound. She is the daughter of Plowly Donalds a childhood friend of Harry Johnson and held on to the family farm all these years. It was on her land that we farmed when I lived in the area. I went back to Goon City to talk with Dottie about those days gone by, I wanted to find out about Harry, wanted to go down to where I had lived in the woods and see what was left there after so many years. This is the last in the series concerning anything to do with Harry Johnson aka Snake Oil Johnson and the days of living with the old warlock of the woods.

Dottie told me this story:

The Story of These Parts.

My life as been a good one. I am now 95 years old and plan on living till I am 102. Don’t know why I chose that age but I did, so I am sticking to it like glue on your shoe. I don’t care what Old Man Death has to say about it. I can beat him at cards any day. Yesterday when Ruthie Hillard called me and said that you were coming up here to visit me I was thrilled. Not many folks around here from the days gone by and even less from the old days. Some folks my age sit around and whine and pine for the old days, they think those days were better than now, well you could never get me to say that. Sure I will give the olden days some gold stars, somethings were better back then but most things weren’t for us poor farmers up here in these woods trying to make a living. We worried about the land, the frost, the rain, we worried about insects devouring our crops not the recent bombing here and there not all these wars that make no sense what-so-ever, we worried about where we lived and how we lived. Folks worry about those things now even if there isn’t a thing a person can do about any of it. That hurricane is going to come regardless of all the worry, maybe like my mother use to say if you worry about something you just may attract it to you and then you’ll have a real worry to worry about. Of course we got caught up in World War ll like everyone else and tried to do our part but I wasn’t one to go and join the Wacs or the Waves.

One time I remember so well there was a family of raccoons that got in the corn. Well daddy sat out there and sat out there some more and shot every one. Nobody I know eats racoon except maybe Mr. McBride as Daddy brought the dead coons to him. I cried when I saw that Daddy had shot a couple of baby raccoons, “Don’t give them a chance to grow up or they’ll eat your corn again as big coons,” that was his slogan. Daddy did okay with his farm when he wised up and brought in some cattle to sell for folks to eat. He raised some real tasty beef cattle, told me once that it was in the feed he gave them and he had folks knocking at the door, “Mr. Donalds,” they would say, “when you going to have some more of that delicious beef.” The markets down in the town, Sid’s, Finest, Mandy’s Market and Palms all got their beef from him. Fresh off the cattle and into the freezer. Not so many government regulations back then or checkers checking your every move. Beef was beef and eggs were eggs. I never got close to any of the cattle but loved my goat Suzie Q. I learned how to milk her at an early age and had to be responsible for milking her each day.

Way down the road at the junction of Daley’s Road and Route 66, I don’t remember quite where, my mother had a vegetable stand. Sold all the vegetables that we had planted for selling and brought home some decent money. Folks living and working in Goon City wanted nice fresh vegetables and some days they would clean her out. She also sold flowers, honey, homemade bakery goods and some beautiful knitting she did. You couldn’t charge as much as the stores do now. Why just yesterday I brought two cucumbers and they were almost $2.00. But I like my cucumbers. That’s one thing that I still plant in the little garden outside of the kitchen door. Got so many cucumbers last year that I put up some nice cucumber pickles. Bobby Markham comes over to help me, he’s a real good kid. I still make those little sandwiches that all the ladies use to make back in the day when they called up and said, “Won’ t you come over for a nice cup of tea and some little fancies.” That is what we called the food being served, little fancies. One always cut the crust off of the wonder bread and sprinkled a little parsley or other herb around the plate. Now today if I were making these sandwiches I would add some humus and not cut off the crust. But then again maybe I should as that is what makes them special. There is a pretty good Petridge Farm white bread that is nice to use rather than the foam rubber white bread that we used. But everyone expected a lady to use the Wonder Bread. Nobody back then told us it wasn’t any good or that it had very little nutritional value.  Now that was the only time we used Wonder Bread. Most of our bread was home baked. But once in awhile when we all wanted to think we were special we would get some Wonder Bread and make those little sandwiches and have some folks in for tea. We all loved it. Of course grandma would take the cut off crust put all the curst in a bag and save it for her bread pudding.

They called my father Plowly, I don’t now why, he never told me. Maybe because he had to work the plow on the farm for my granddad. He never wanted this life and wanted to move far away but after granddad died he was the only one to help take care of his grandma. So he stayed. Then he got married and they had me and he never again talked about going on to some other place. He worked hard to make a living, and I know that he would have rather to keep going after the war instead of returning home. He fought in World War 1. He saw more things than I ever did in my life time. I just stayed close to here not wanting to stray too far away. Sure I could have, suitors came to the door and wanted to take me out for a ride or sit on the porch, but I just said no thanks, the carpet needs a good sweeping, and that is more important than riding all over the town and I sit out on the porch after dinner and you aren’t staying here that long.
So I lived up here at the end of Daley’s road all my life. You saw all those new houses down the road. Well that land was my families. I sold pieces off over the years so I could live. Had to do it. Folks like to live out here where it was just a real nice peace and quiet. Didn’t feel any which way in selling off the land as I am not one of those persons who has to keep everything in its place in some form of tribute to those who have passed on. Nope I do that up in the old cemetery, put flowers on the graves of my loved ones departed. My father, my mother, my grandmother and grandfather are all buried up there in our family plot. That’s where I will be going someday. Most likely will be the last one buried up there. I know the Daley’s have a grave site in Lakeview over in Goon City so they won’t be buried up there. Don’t know of anyone else around here. I should have included that in my talk with the Wildlife Society man too. That they should take care of the cemetary and not let it fall into rack and ruin. It’s a part of the history around here. Now I wonder if the grave-digger can find my grave site since the marker board is long gone. I think to the left of my mother’s grave is one that is open, I will tell him when I am dead and gone Alex, dig to the left and hope you don’t hit anything if you do then dig to the right. I know it’s somewhere near my mother’s and father’s grave that I am supposed to go. Suppose I will have to be the last one buried up there as no one knows were the other folks are buried and you can’t have the grave-digger just digging all over the place. When Alex dies then that is it. No more grave digging up there.

I got some cousins down in Goon City and I am sure they are hungry for any bit of money that could come their way. Way back they lived down in Swensonville but moved out when they were young. Went into the town and worked in the thread mills. Just a month ago they were here and their eyes wouldn’t stop roaming around my house looking over all my stuff. I am sure they have designs for all of it. Not any of it did they work for. Just because they got some of the same blood running in their veins as I do doesn’t mean a damn thing to me. Don’t really know them but I will never forget when my mother’s brother tried to convince me to let him take over the farm back when my folks died. Not on you life buster I remember thinking. This farm came down on my father’s side of the family and you got nothing on it at all. That was one of the few times I even saw any of them when they came around here “wanting.” Well they can want all they want on the other side of the tracks. The probate judge sided with me, I was old enough and strong enough to take over the farm, as I told her, its been my life since I was born. I think she had that woman’s spirit in her and saw what a man was trying to do. Take what didn’t belong to him for his own gain. I told him right then and there to not bother coming around here anymore that I would manage just fine without his help, and guess what I did. Now his kids and their kids are trying to cozy up to me, they can cozy all they want but they still aren’t getting anything. I got myself covered with my will and I wrote a strong letter saying that nothing was to be given to them except as my lawyer said, “give them $1.oo.” So that is what I did. I don’t like folks who try to grab from others.

My Mother was from Swensonville and my grand father and father used to go down there and get the corn ground by old Mr. Swenson. That’s how father met my mother. They fell in love at first sight and knew from an early age that they should be together. Was married for 75 years and then my father died and right after that, about 3 months later my mother went on to her great reward leaving me to not only grieve but take care of the cattle, plow the fields, plant the fields, wash the clothes, clean the house and do everything by myself. Talk about a girl with chores, well I had them, day in and day out. Seemed like as soon as I went to bed it was time to get up and start going at it all again. Someone told me that all folks are supposed to rest on a Sunday, well I have to ask them who is going to do the work if I am resting? Someone has to tend to it, if I didn’t work the goats udder would burst, and the animals would go hungry and the vegetables would sit in the field. Now that would be a bigger sin. Any churchgoing I do is out in the open in the fields, in the barn, down near the creek, you get the picture. God is just to big to stay in those houses that any of the religious folks set up. I don’t think that he would fit.

I put off getting married until I was 37 years old. Didn’t have much time up to then. I met my husband Mort in the late 50s at a funeral of all places. He had always lived in town but we never made any eyes at each other growing up. Guess he stayed his distance as he knew that I wasn’t in the business of looking for a husband back then. Things just happened. I told him, “Now Mort if we do get married I want to still live out at the farm,” well he agreed as he liked it out here and loved to do gardening. Moses and Pyne two men I hired work with the cattle stayed on with us. Both had been with me since my mother and father died. Nice men, two honest men who weren’t afraid of a good days work. They stayed out in the bunk house.

After awhile I had it with cattle farming and sold the herd off to Mr. Jacobson down Tartshia way. He had lots of room down there for cattle. Descendants of that stock are on that farm today. Hinney and Moe Jacobson do the cattle now, as their father who set them up in the business just stays in the house and watches everything from his window. Sort of like that type of lifestyle. Outside one has too much to worry about. Always something coming up rearing it head at you. In the house you don’t have to open your door if you don’t want to and if you see anything out-of-the-way you can close the curtains.

My lawyer was here yesterday along with Mr. Kirkland and Ms. Barnes of the Wildlife Society. Ms. Barnes talked of turning the house into an education center for school kids to come to and learn about the animals, trees, plants and what have you around here. That would be nice. I signed over my house and land to them. I decided last week after mulling it over for the last year that I needed to move into an assisted living facility. There is a real nice one the next town over that won’t take all my money. My friend Josephine McKinney lives there and she loves it. They do everything for you, cook, clean, wash clothing and have a full-time nurse on the property. My eyesight is failing but that is about all. I feel as strong as a horse as folks use to say. Harold Bradford and Bill Collins are coming over to take a look at things I have to sell. I’ll keep very little. Grace Whittercore told me the Historical Society will be holding a tag sale to raise money to put in a restroom at their building. I always laughed when I thought about it they have that real old house, it was the stage-coach stop back when Goon City was called Hamilton right near the center of town and still were using an outhouse. Now that was in the 1700s when it was a stage-coach stop. The Society moved the house from down on the main road and it now sits on property donated by old P.P Beavans and have been renovating it over the years. For now most of the historical things are in the little school-house. Grace and some of the members will come over first and see what I have. Maybe they can find some antiques here that they can use. I got some upstairs that’s been in this house since before I was born. They can take whatever they want and the rest I will sell.

Lot’s of stuff from way back and the barn has a large storage room on the side of the building that is where lots of stuff ended up. We never threw anything away, saved it for a rainy day or for the day that pa got around to mending it or as Ma said someday it will come back in style and no one in this family will have to run out and buy it new. My folks were funny that way, but I don’t think that they were the only ones who were like that. Folks were poor and when the depression hit folks got poorer still. We were lucky we had a farm. We grew all our own food. It was the keeping up on the taxes that got a lot of folks. Very few could afford to pay out money when they were just scraping by. That is how many folks in Goon City got all the land they have. Folks down on their luck about to lose their homes along comes someone with a few hundred and they get the land and the original owners move on to where they think the grass is greener. I know the Clarks got most of their land that way. They were nice people and schemed like everyone else trying to climb that ladder up to the top. Always wanted more that they had now. That proper society thing was really something in the 1950s. Everyone wanted to be someone who they weren’t.

Some folks had money stored under the floor boards of their house. My father said that is silly what if the house burns down. We had a place out back and whatever extra money we had it went in the medal box and then it was put down in a safe that was buried in the ground. That’s how we did it. It was a strong box hole if I ever saw one, had concrete walls and a heavy cover over that. Took both my mother and father to lift the cover off. That old safe is still out there in the ground. Got nothing in it now as I use the bank. But Mr. Lee said that when the Society takes over the place they were going to feature it in an exhibition. Folks now-a-days would be interested in it he said. As long as they are told the story how everything was collapsing around us and the banks were all folding up then the story would make sense. If it isn’t told as a full story then folks would think my family was a little off.

Folks in Goon City were eager to buy vegetables and eggs and we made a pretty good living or what one would say was a pretty good living back in the day. Enough to get us by. I got to tell you though my father was good to us he was a very stingy man. Someone could say to him “Mr. Donalds can I pay you next week for the beef, vegetables and eggs today?” “Nope he would say, cash on the barrel, no money, no meat.” So many folks were moving around back then that he was afraid he would never get paid and next week would come and the owing person would be nowhere to be found. That type of stuff creates enemies real fast. I gotta look out for my own family first and that is just the way it is. But then he could go overboard in being nice almost to a fault. There was one family out in the woods who had only the dirt around their shack. My grandmother said they were lazy folks who just liked to make babies. Now making babies is fine if you got something for those babies to do, but these folks had no fields to plow or crops to tend, no cows to milk or cattle to slaughter, they just had their run down shack with 6 kids running all over the place. Well my father brought them vegetables, meat and eggs every week. Not enough to last them all week but something to add to their meager table. My mother sent along some of her homemade jam and jars of this and that she had put by. Can’t blame them if they are poor even if Grandma disagrees. But one of them take sick and she would be right down their lending her hand to make them well. Their name was McBride and Mr. McBride was a hunter and trapper. Now that is the way he made some money when it was trapping season. He had a buyer down in Goon City at the Tanning Mill for any and all furs that he could bring it. It’s a wonder that there are any animals left around here as he was always trapping and tanning something. I look back and say I am glad we know what we do now about pollution. All the tanning, the lime and other waters were sent into the creek that flowed by the tanneries, flowed then down to the river and finally out to the ocean. Folks just didn’t know any better all they were interested in was an honest days work, not that the polluted water was bad for the fish. Now I remember once when I went with my father over to the McBrides. Mr. McBride had a coon up on the wall of his shed. He was doing that coon skin for himself. Need some fur for when the winter winds blow. My father said that out of all the folks he knew Mr. McBride was the only one who wore fur-lined underwear. I never believed that then and I don’t now. You can find a picture of a coon on a wall somewhere. Put it in your blog, as it’s a scary sight. I don’t like it to this day when I think back on it. But folks had to live and that’s the way the McBride’s lived so who am I to say anything.

I know Mrs. McBride was not a very good gardener as she never seemed to get much to grow. My father said, their land is really no good, all clay. If I could get close to there with a wagon of good soil, and some cattle shit I would dump them a load. You’d see Mrs. McBride would grow a green thumb in a very short time. I don’t remember those McBride kids going to school much. I know that Francis the girl who was my age went to stay with an aunt somewhere. Her brother Hubber told us that she had a chance and she took it. I hope so she was a nice girl and it was awful how the other kids picked on her for being poor. My mother made her two nice dresses once out of some material that she had too much of. Francis was so proud of those dresses. She was a very pretty girl. I hope that she really did take that chance and came out on the other side better off than she had here. Nothing left down there where their house was. The youngest son Ezekiel I know lives in a small shack down in the woods from the Mud Hole. He’s been there ever since he grew up and left home. Never saw him since we were kids, never had the need to. The rest of the brood just picked up and left. Someone told me that they moved way up to the state of Maine where their people lived. I hear its pretty nice up there so that’s good if they can make it, they couldn’t really do much around here. Most folks had them pinned as being lazy and no good, Maggie Jensen always used to say if any of those McBrides come around you got to watch them like a hawk as they will carry off anything that they can get their hands on and then some. Just the type of life they have. It must be awful being so poor as they were and branded as no good by folks who should know better. Being poor doesn’t make a person no good. I would think that it would be the other way around, the rich really are no good. They grab everything they can, start wars and make lives miserable for people. Yeah I know some say that they create jobs and give money to local charities and we need them. Well I don’t know if that’s true, yes I do, its bull. If all the money were distributed equally then all the people would give to this and that. No one would be looked at as being bad or no good because they were poor. So many folks have been stepped on so many times by folks climbing to the top trying to be like the rich. How could anyone expect the McBrides to get anywhere if they were all ready slapped down so many times, that’s a burden to carry and I wouldn’t want it hanging over my head. Well no McBride ever gave us any trouble never came around here either unless my father or mother asked them to come and get something. They were always as nice as pie to our family and we were to them.

Cute and Tasty so says the Mc Brides and Wrights.

Now those Mc Brides knew how to make a meal out of anything they could catch. Mrs. McBride gave my mother a recipe once for possum. Can you believe it. She got it from one of the Wrights who lived out in the woods but over the other side of Goon City. They are another family that has been in Goon City since way before more and more settlers came along. Now eating possum wasn’t limited to down south folks out here in woods folks ate them to. To make a possum for dinner first you got to trap the animal. Ev Wright told Mrs. McBride that one had to be very careful as possums love playing dead and if they aren’t really dead they will jump up and run away. So have a baseball bat ready to give them a good knock. Not enough to smash them in the head but one to knock them out so you can do them in. Once you got the animal all ready dead plunge it into very hot water, but not boiling water for 2 minutes. Pull out or scrape off the hair without damaging the skin. Slit the belly from throat to hind legs and remove entrails, feet, eyes and brains. Do not remove the poor things head or tail. Wash it thoroughly. Now its best to freeze it for 3 or 4 days. Don’t think the Mc Brides brood bothered with that part of the instructions as they were a hungry lot and wanted to eat. If you freeze it for the time stated when its ready wipe it with a cold, damp cloth, sprinkle with salt and pepper and put it in a roasting pan. Add to the pan one cup of water and the juice of one lemon. Bake in a hot oven at 400 for 15 minutes turning over once. Cove and reduce heat to 350. Roast the possum for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Now that is how some folks out here in the woods ate. We never had possum as I am sure my mother wouldn’t want anything on the table with a head and tail still on it neither would I. Now my daddy was another story. He would eat possum. Once when he went down to help out the Mc Brides he ate dinner with them and that is what they had.

My grandmother was a herbalist. One one of best around here.There was a small barn out back that she worked out of. I remember her office (that’s what we called it,) had a wood stove in there where she would cook up her remedies. When she died I cried and cried. I didn’t like folks dieing, one gets used to folks and then they die. Never understood that. I suppose I had my mother and father but grandma was cuddly and liked me. Of course I was too young to learn anything about herbs but must have learned something as of today I can still tell you what that plant is, (no it isn’t a weed) and what it is good for. Grandma she taught Harry Johnson all that he knew about herbs. He was a natural at the natural. Folks use to talk funny about him but we never did. He was welcomed here in our home any time and I will tell you why. My Mort got really sick. We thought he was going to die. Well along came Harry one day and said let me take a look at him. So he did. Mort had pneumonia and had it real bad. All he wanted to do when he was awake was lie in bed. Doc Holdstrom said, I really can’t do much more for him Dottie and we should move him to the hospital so the nurses can make him comfortable in his last days. Well he was having none of that, If I am going to die I will do it right here with my wife by my side and looking out the window towards the fields. Harry listened to Morts lungs, ” Dottie I can hardly hear any air moving in his lungs.” Harry told me to get some cotton blankets and we took off all of Morts clothes. Harry told me he was going to use a water treatment on Mort. I didn’ know anything about water treatments but remember thinking to myself, nothing else all the doctors have offered us so far has worked might as well try just plain old water. I heated up water as Harry told me and Harry began to sponge Mort off, and everyone in a while he gave him a sip of cold water. We kept it up and within two hours there was a bit of improvement and Harry could hear air in Morts lungs. Harry kept working on Mort giving him fruit juices and he put him on a liquid diet. In just four days a man who had been left for dead by the doctor, was along way on the mend. Why he even sat up started to get out of bed telling Harry he had plowing to do. So no one better speak bad of Harry Johnson, and any time Mort heard evil talking he would say well I wouldn’t be standing here today if it wasn’t for him. Now you are going to laugh at me when I tell you that one of the herbs that Harry used was skunk cabbage. This farm has a lot of skunk cabbage growing down near the stream. He told me he learned that remedy from my grandma. Now I would never use it by myself don’t know anything about being a doctor. I bet you $5.00 that those doctors who left my Mort for dead would have laughed at Harry and my Grandma and at the way Harry cured Mort. Kick them in the balls I say.

Mort worked at Pratt and Whitney for most of his life. He put a pretty penny in the bank too for before he married me he lived at home. You know I will tell you a little secret one of the reason that I glad I married is that I get a pretty good social security check and a pension from Mort. If I didn’t then I don’t know where I would be. Still selling off land until the houses were right up at my back. Glad I didn’t have to. I hate the idea of doing that. Too many folks and kids and then the snooping starts.  You know this area goes way back as far as settlers are concerned. Some say it was settled by folks who came down here to hide out in the woods from Hartford where they were persecuted for being witches. Other folks followed who didn’t agree with the politics of the time and were afraid that they too would be accused and hung. What a time that was. Those christian fellows sure were something. I read in the papers and hear some of them are the same today as they were back then. Thank goodness they aren’t in power, those religious nuts sure can ruin folks rather quickly. I just don’t know why are they always after someone? Why do they always have to put down someone? I don’t think that Jesus was like that at all. They throw so many stones at others. I don’t like them and I don’t feel bad about saying that as I don’t go for church at all so I am not a sinner and I will always be very good. I just leave them alone unless they come around here bothering me. Don’t even want any of them on my property. I gotta get a sign, KEEP YOUR RELIGION OFF MY PROPERTY, it would say. As a child growing up I was forced to go to church. Well as soon as I could I give it up I did. I’m glad I never had any children as then I would have been forced to send them off to church and the whole things would start-up with me getting a new hat, coat and gloves and be sure to look nice every Sunday so folks wouldn’t talk about me. Nope that type of life isn’t for me. When you publish this story see if you can find some type of dresses from the 1950s and put a photo with the story. I’ve got some old magazines up in the attic from that period and I laugh when I look at the dresses. Wouldn’t be caught dead in one of those outfits. Could you see me out in the garden tending to my vegetables, out in the barn mucking out the place looking like that? Nope I am a farmer. Got it in my blood. I came with it and it came with me. Now don’t get me wrong I have a couple of fancy dresses and one or two practical ones that I can use in a pinch but mostly I try to stay away from those pinches just sending my regrets along with a casserole if its a funeral or a present if its a wedding. Young Nick and his girlfriend help me out. If I need a present they will find out what the bride wants and then go into town and buy it for me. I always give them a little extra. Nick is Josephine’s grandson so he looks out for me. Known him since he was a baby.

I heard what those goody two shoes said and tried to do about Harry. That June Daley down the road was sure one of the nasty people. Went to church all the time but tried to lead a charge against Harry. Called him a devil that was out in the woods. She wanted that land. I think Harry’s folks were given it real cheap by June’s family so she felt that he should either pay up or get out. When that didn’t work he started her tirade against him. Don’t know where she came out of as her folks weren’t like that. I attribute it to her being a bitter, superstitious, fearful old person all wrapped up in the maybe of her religion. Oh she gets me to no end. I don’t even like the looks of her. That long pointed nose, that red hair tied up in a bun, her long dresses like she belongs in a reenactment of the days of the pilgrims. Oh she is a number one bitty. Always coming around here with her pamphlets and books trying to get me to come to her church. I had to tell her once, get off my property and don’t come back. Well she called me all sorts of names and told me I was going to hell. One thing I can’t stand is folks who are so wrapped up in the bible that they forget about God. They worship words on paper, they worship the bible and all of the men’s words that are within. It is almost like some form of idolatry if you ask me. That vicious old women will probably be tending the gates of hell once the good lord jesus gets done with her. A nasty person and still goes around here claiming to be a Christian. Now she gives most of them that I know a bad name.

So about your friend Harry Johnson. Well I don’t know what happened to him. One day he just never came around anymore. After about a couple of months of him not coming around I began to worry and tried to get Moses Daley to go down there to check on him. Now Moses was as scared as a little girl about going down there so I had to go with him. Well what a surprise we had. Harry was nowhere to be found. His home was cleaned out of his personal things. Just a few sticks of furniture were around mostly the built-in things. It was all very strange and spooky, like some of those movies ones sees on the TV. I was afraid to open any doors that a dead Harry might fall out. But now I said to myself, he isn’t around here. I could tell that he just got up one day, packed a few things and left. Don’t even know who was in there carting away his things. But someone knew that he had left and wasn’t coming back. Maybe he told some of the hobos that he was friendly with down on the tracks to come on up take some things and see if they could sell them. Even the skull of the possum was gone. Now that was one of his favorite pieces. I found one china plate that was way back in the cabinet below the sink and I took it. Yeah I am nosey and did want to take home something from there. I always liked Harry and if I was the marrying kind I would have tried to court him. But I knew he liked men the best, and the way of the woods so I never bothered. Before you leave I want to give you that plate, you can keep it as a souvenir of your days in the woods.

Nothing is left now of house you lived in. The property was sold as it reverted back to the Daley’s and some folks from out-of-town built a house. It was to be their get-a-way place in the woods. Tore down the cabin and barn. They cut a roadway from the other side of the barn so the trucks could get in and out. I had forgotten that the Daley’s land came up on the other side of the barn. Jet Daley told me that way back the barn was close to a roadway that was a logging trail. My grandpa’s father built the barn and I take it that was when they went down into the woods for logs. The trail ran all the way down to Swensonville where the mill was. Well the new house in the woods was a short-lived experience as after about 6 months of living there the house burned to the ground and the man, his wife and child all died. Now it all sits empty with just the charred ruins of their home. Maybe Moses Daley is right, that place has more haunts then Carter has Liver Pills. So he decided to just leave the land. Let it be woods forever. Someday the ruins of those poor souls house will go back into the earth and there will be nothing left. Just an overgrown forest and the stories of that place will die with all of us. If I was you I wouldn’t even go down there. Nothing left of your time in the woods, nothing at all. One thing I didn’t understand about those folks, now bless their souls and don’t think I am talking ill of the dead, but they cut down a whole mess of the trees in the front of the house. Cleared it out right down to the pond and over to the hanging cliffs. They even cut down the walnut tree can you imagine that. At least they left the trees down the path to the tracks and around the back of the house. No Benny if you saw it you would say, “Now where am I, this looks nothing like the old compound that I lived in.” It’s growing up now with pine trees and underbrush. Woods grow up fast in 3o years if there is no one around to tend. No better to keep away. I hear that those dead three haunt the place. Jet Daley told me when he was out coon hunting he heard them cry. All three of them cry and cry. Now we got other haunts around this place. Always something to keep a person on their toes. Maybe June Daley is right, they ought to turn the place into a church camp. Let the priest come with his babble and incense and clear out the place of those who spook it. I wouldn’t build a house down there if you paid me to do it. The woods are reclaiming the area now I have a few photographs that I took when I walked down there one day with Jet and his dog Molly. I didn’t get too close to the ruins. The Daley’s put up danger signs around the ruins yes, danger more than meets the eye as Jet said. You can take one of the photos with you for the article.

The ruins of the house.

I decided to take Dottie’s advice. I had enough of spooks and bumps in the night when I lived down there. I had been away for 46 years, away from any thing of that nature and didn’t want to stir up anything and become involved in a battle for my mind ever again. No I will stay away even if I was drawn, almost being pulled, to go past the old barn, down the path, through the woods to the land where I first learned to fly, to the land where dogs could talk, and strange demons lusted after my asshole. Nope I would stay away and go away and not come back. I never took the plate from Dottie, told her that I wanted to let sleeping dogs sleep and was afraid that something would come along with the platter. You know one can never tell. Maybe quiet for years and then the right rub and alive it would jump. Nah, I will go my way and let the platter lay.











Serving Size
The serving size for Classic Wonder Bread is a single slice weighing 25g, or slightly less than 1 oz. This nutrition information is just for the bread and doesn’t include any spreads or condiments.
A serving of Classic Wonder Bread contains 65 calories, which is 3.25 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for calories, assuming a standard diet of 2,000 calories per day. Carbohydrates account for 48 calories, protein contributes 8 calories and fat provides 9 calories.
A serving of Classic Wonder Bread has 12g of carbohydrates, including 9.5g of complex carbohydrates, 0.5g of dietary fiber and 2g of sugar. This provides 4 percent of the DV for total carbohydrates and 2 percent of the DV for fiber. Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram, so a serving of Classic Wonder bread has 48 calories of carbohydrates.
A serving of Classic Wonder Bread contains 1g of unsaturated fat. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories, so a serving of Classic Wonder Bread contains 9 calories of fat. A serving of Classic Wonder Bread provides 2 percent of the DV for total fat.
A serving of Classic Wonder Bread contains 2g of protein. Each gram of protein contains 4 calories, so a serving of Classic Wonder Bread contains 8 calories of protein. This provides 4 percent of the DV for protein.
Vitamins and Minerals
A serving of Classic Wonder Bread is enriched with vitamins and minerals. It contains 10 percent of the DV for calcium, 4 percent of the DV for iron, 6 percent of the DV for thiamin, 4 percent of the DV for riboflavin, 6 percent of the DV for niacin and 4 percent of the DV for folic acid.
World War 1 Poster , 1917 Maine Historical Society.
Instructing people on how to conserve food so a large amount of the provisions could be sent over seas. We found this interesting poster to include.

A cute little story about Possum from James John Audubon.

“On a bright autumnal day, when the abundant rice crop has been yielded to the sickle, and the maize has just been gathered in, when one or two slight white frosts have tinged the fields and woods with a yellowish hue, ripened the persimmon, and caused the acorns, chestnuts and chinquapins to rattle down from the trees and strewed them over the ground, we hear arrangements entered into for the hunt. The Opossums have been living on the delicacies of the season, and are now in fine order, and some are found excessively fat; a double enjoyment is anticipated, the fun of catching and the pleasure of eating this excellent substitute for roast pig.”

One very interesting fact about possums for hunters or those who like to pick them up by their tail is they do not carry rabies. The possums body tempature is too low to support the virus. If you have possums bothering your home one can use natural deterrents, which play upon the possum’s acute sense of smell, are often employed to discourage them. These include cloves of garlic, camphoror, or naphthalene.

I am not dead. I am playing possum.










When threatened or harmed, they will play possum mimicking the appearance and smell of a sick or dead animal. When playing possum, the lips are drawn back, teeth are bared, saliva foams around the mouth, and a foul-smelling fluid is secreted from the anal glands. The physiological response is involuntary, rather than a conscious act. Their stiff, curled form can be prodded, turned over, and even carried away. The animal will regain consciousness after a period of minutes or hours and escape.  In Mexico, Possums are known as “tlacuache” or “tlaquatzin”. Their tails are eaten as a folk remedy to improve fertility. Possum oil (possum grease) is high in essential fatty acids and has been used as a chest rub and a carrier for arthritis remedies given as topical salve.

Skunk Cabbage

early spring















All out skunk cabbage








The pungent smelling roots of the skunk cabbage have been a popular conventional cure for bronchitis, tight coughs and phlegm or catarrh. Several herbal medical practitioners recommend the skunk cabbage to treat nervous disorders as it is said to have moderate sedative or tranquilizing properties. In earlier times, an indigenous tribe of America also breathed in the aroma of the mashed skunk cabbage leaves to get relief from headaches.

The skunk cabbage has several medicinal uses, including anti-spasmodic, expectorant (medicine for coughs), diaphoretic (a sweat inducing agent) and narcotic. However, when medicines prepared with skunk cabbage are taken in large measures, it leads to queasiness or nausea, vomiting, headache, vertigo and even blurriness of sight. Although there is no scientific evidence to prove the claims, many herbal medical practitioners assert that they have successfully used the plant parts and extracts to heal incessant catarrh, asthmachronic rheumatism (stiffness of body parts), chorea (jerky spasmodic movements caused by diseases), hysteria as well as dropsy (build up of excessive fluids in tissues). Moreover, the plant is said to help in curing epilepsy (disorder of the brain) and seizures and have beneficial effects when ingested during pregnancy and child-birth. The skunk cabbage also comprises an important component of many familiar herbal balms and powders. When the plant parts or extracts are applied outwardly as a balm, among other things, it motivates granulations or formation of healing tissues and also provides relief from aches and soreness…from herbs

Tan my hide when I dead Fred:

Tanning is a general term used for the process of converting animal skins to finished leather. Animal hides and skins absorb tannins to keep them from decaying and to keep them pliable. Technically, the term “tanning” refers to the process by which collagen fibers in a hide react with a chemical agent (tannin, alum or other chemicals), but the term leather tanning also commonly refers to the entire leather making process.

First animal skins or hides are “cured” by wet-salting or brine-curing. Then the hides are soaked in water for several hours or days after which the remaining flesh is removed. At that point, the hair is removed by soaking the hide in a mixture of lime and water and then removing the hair from the hide. After the hide is cleaned, the hides are delimed in an acid vat and treated with enzymes to smooth the grain and make the leather soft.

At this point, the hides are “tanned”. Traditionally, leather was tanned using vegetable tannins. This process is still used for some hard leathers. In vegetable tanning, hides are hung on large frames, located inside large vats, and exposed them to tannin, a natural product found chestnut, oak and hemlock trees. Hides are transferred to many different bins during this step, each containing a stronger solution of tannin.

By the early 1900’s, chromium salts were used instead of vegetable tannins for much of the leather production. In this process, hides are pickled in an acid and salt mixture and then soaked into a chromium-sulfate solution. This process is much faster than vegetable tanning, often completed in one day.

After tanning, the hides then go through a dyeing process which adds moisture back into the skin. Hides which have been vegetable tanned are bleached and them soaked with oils, soaps, greases and waxes to make them more pliable. The leather is then rolled through a machine, stretched and dried. The final step in the tanning process is called finishing the skin. the grain surface is covered with a chemical compound and brushed. At the very end, waxes, pigments, dyes, glazes, oils, waxes and other solutions are also added to make the leather depending on what quality.