Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Farm Fun- The Hill

photo of the field with the hill and the arm of the mountain 
I grew up in NE Oregon on 200 acres that was bisected by a river and had a ridge on one side and an arm of the Wallowa mountains on the other. My family grew grass hay, alfalfa, oats, and wheat. We raised  sheep, hogs, and beef cattle along with milking dairy cows and having horses to ride. Not all at the same time but through the years that I was growing up.

My brothers and I helped with chores, changed irrigation pipes, rolled and hauled bales, herded the sheep, and helped with lambing and marking the lambs(my least favorite thing. I especially didn't care for herding the sheep.The main pasture we kept them in was on "the hill". It is a large hill behind the farm house.

The big pine is in the upper right.
While my brothers and I didn't mind walking up the hill dragging snow sled in the winter or a large piece of cardboard int eh summer to ride down the hill, we all hated having to run up the hill to get around a wayward sheep that couldn't be a follower and run into the corral by the barn like everyone else.

On the hill is one huge pine tree. It has been huge since I was small and it continues to grow even though the last few years have knocked a few limbs off. As kids we'd climb up to the tree and play around the massive base. Digging up decaying pine cones, using a twig to irritate the pincher bugs until they'd latched onto the twig and we flung the bug and twig out in to the grass. it was shade in the summer when you hiked up the hill dragging a large box. Once refreshed,we'd continue on to the top of the hill and then one, two, or all three of us would get int he box and rock it to the edge. Screaming and clinging to one another we'd sail down the slick dry grass toward the bottom. In the winter it was a great sled and as we got older inner-tube hill. The first time I knew my husband was a keeper was when we were sailing through the air after out inner-tube hit a rock and he spun so he landed on his back with me on top of him.

 In the summer we used the river as our swimming pool. We'd haul inner-tubes to use to float from the bridge to the swimming hole and spend hours playing in the deeper water. But there were also days when the whole family swam or piled rocks to make more water run into the ditch that irrigated the orchard.

My best memory of the swimming hole doesn't even have anything to do with swimming.At least not for me! My brothers and I were riding horses. My little brothers Welsh pony was being stubborn and not wanting to cross the river. We always rode across the river to get to the mountain side and ride up the mountain. This particular day, his horse was rearing and having nothing to do with the water. My older brother decided he'd show my younger brother how to make the pony mind. He slid off his horse and hopped on the pony. The pony went in to the river and laid down! My younger brother and I never laughed as hard as we did that day!


Stephanie said...

I love the memories. There's nothing like growing up in the country.

Paty Jager said...

I agree Stephanie.

Anonymous said...

Wow, these pictures show a lot of land. Does your family home still work as a farm and is it worked by members of your family?

My father's best friend grew up on a huge ranch in Idaho. I remember visiting there as a child and from the Highway we could count off more than 100 miles and still be on their land bordering both sides. It's pretty hard for a city girl to fathom.

Paty Jager said...

We had 200 acres when I was a kid. My parents sold off half of it and Dad currently owns that half and doesn't do much of anything with it.