Friday, June 2, 2017

Another Person's Trash Adds Color to the Tenant Houses



If you travel some of these back roads and see a white GMC pulled to the side and two people in the fields chasing discarded tires, just honk the horn and drive on by. . .We haven't lost our minds. . .We're not having truck problems. . .We're simply helping the local ecology and carrying on a Delta tradition. . .Old Tires. . .Spray Paint. . .Instant flower beds. . .What fun. . .


Originally, I wanted to make a border with the tires but we didn't find enough discards on our several trips out. . .Then one day I found a name brand spray paint for 1.50 a can and came straight home with it, painted those tires. and stacked them up. . .Still have to fill them with some dirt and flowers. . .That's later. . .I have another project that will bring even more color to the houses. . .Won't be long before I reveal it. . .


I painted more than the tires, though. . .Once I got started, I couldn't quit. . .benches. . .bins. . .rusted buckets. . .The only thing that stopped me was. . .I ran out of paint !!!!!


Certainly not Chic Decor. . .is it? . .but, it's exactly right for the old shotgun houses in the Historic District. . .Brings back some good memories for me. . .of the Turners. . .Cowboy. . .Cora. . .others I knew along the road. . .

So. . .in the future, if you see us on the roadside picking up tires, give us a honk and a wave. . .We'll be 'at it' again. . .




Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Daunting Task: Inventory, Repair, and a New Look for the Smith Grocery Museum


One of my very favorite places to hang out and reminisce on a regular basis is our almost 100 year old grocery museum. . .It's hard to believe that the building is that old. . .Built in 1919 by my grandfather Earl Magers, the store was located on Second Street in Dell. Over the years, it was rented by several store owners. Granddaddy owned it until ca. 1956, when he deeded it over to my Mom, my brother, and myself. I have such fond memories of the C A Smith Grocery Store from my growing up years that when we moved the building to Duncan Farmstead, no other name for it was right. I was able to use an old photograph to get the sign as much like the original as possible. 


While the exterior of the building resembles C. A.'s store, the interior does not. We were so blessed to have had so many donations from local people that we wanted to incorporate them into a typical company store. Thanks to Marguerite Brownlee and Marcia Partin, we have wonderful store fixtures and glass displays from the Brownlee Store and one of the early Dell Post Offices down to the postal directory. I cannot thank them enough for allowing us to save this part of Dell history. One of the displays dates back to 1903 and was first used in an early Dell establishment.


To fill those displays, in the beginning, I relied on family items and my collections. . .Now, almost ten years later, we have had numerous donations from friends in the Dell area, as well as others who live further away but knew of our project. We are grateful for each and every donation and have assured the donors that these items will continue on here at the historic district in the future. 


Which brings me to the daunting task at hand. It's time to put things in order and inventory each and every item. While listing our inventory, we are also changing the items within the store to better display all the generous donations and less of the family possessions. . .and to reflect the early 20th century time period. 


When we begin to 'restock' the shelves, our plans are to restore the donated items to their original appearance, as much as possible.. Repair, paint, and polish is in the work ahead of us. But first comes the weeding out of personal collections and family items for an estate sale and the inventory of all that will stay with the Historic District. . .Yes, a daunting task. . .but a definite step forward in protecting our local heritage.


We have a LOT of work ahead of us. . .
and we have several changes to make. . .
but I'm excited about the project, 
 knowing it will all come together. . .one day. . .





Thursday, April 6, 2017

History Through Post Cards: Picking Cotton in The Old South



Although I love this prologue from the movie Gone With the Wind, we can only claim a few brief years between the 1920s-40s of any resemblance to the beautiful Old Southern Plantations, and then there were few. It never fails to surprise people when we tour them through the Historic District that cotton farms and plantations here in our part of Northeast Arkansas did not exist before the Civil War--or right after. We were late-comers to the Cotton industry. There were a few family run farms as early as the 1880s but they only farmed a few acres each. Until the early 20th century, it was swampland. No one wanted to move to land that flooded at least two to three times a year.

So, our history slightly differs from that of other Southern states. Yet, we love to speak of the Old Plantations as if they were our own. And anytime a person talks of the Cotton Belt in the South, I'd be willing to bet that there are visions of bent over people in the fields, hand-picking that 'White Gold.'

Large Baskets Were Used in the Fields before the 20th Century


Weaving the Cotton Basket--Before 1910


Cotton Baskets Before 1910




Pick Sacks Were Used During the Early 20th Century


1938




ca. 1910






 All day long it was back-breaking, bent over,  pulling a heavy sack laden 
with Cotton work. . .A quick nap was a luxury. . .


It Took 500 LB of Cotton to Make a Bale


This same scene could be found throughout the South--Weighing Cotton


1920s-30s


1960s


1960s






And. . .after a long, hard day's work. . .it was back to the house. . .
until the Sun came up the next morning and a day of picking Cotton began again.




Coming Soon: History Through Post Cards: Steamboats



Monday, February 13, 2017

Sneak Peek: The HISTORY IN POSTCARDS SERIES Coming Soon!


PICKING COTTON--EARLY 20TH CENTURY


It's February and I have no idea where the last two months have gone. . .
but I do know it's 'high time' I get back to BLOGGING!!!!

But. . .it IS Winter. . .which means indoor projects. 
This is one I've been working on for some time. . .with the dozens of POST CARDS that are connected to COTTON. . .I'll be sharing them with you soon. . .and the COTTON STORIES that go with them. . .


AN EARLY COTTON PRESS--VERY PRIMITIVE


It will be coming your way SOON. . .so BOOKMARK this site. . .
I'll be back with much to tell. . .
 

 



Sunday, December 11, 2016

Our Sharecroppers Are Decorating for Christmas


 


Are your Christmas gifts wrapped and ready?
Have you put up your tree?
Our SHARECROPPERS are beginning to decorate their SHOTGUN HOUSES. . .
and MS. HER CROW is headed their way with a load of cypress, cedar and pine trees. . .
cut from the banks of the PEMISCOT BAYOU (Dell Ditch). . .




They don't have a lot of money to spend on STORE-BOUGHT decorations. . .
so they make-do with what they have. . .or what can be found. . .

I think Cowboy has done the most decorating, so far. . .






We won't ask whose pants those are. . .
They look large enough for Santa, don't they? But, they're the right Christmas colors. . .




Cowboy's neighbors. . . the Turners. . . 
are waiting for the Christmas trees to arrive before finishing with their decorations. . .
but  they have started with. . .

a WREATH at the door. . .




and one for their prize laying hen, Harriet. . .




 Won't be long until our Sharecroppers will be ready for SANTA. . .
He'll be visiting CHRISTMAS EVE. . .at MIDNIGHT




He stops at the DUNCAN FARMSTEAD every Christmas Eve. . .
to visit with the animals. . .and to rest a little. . .
John and I spied him one Christmas. . .

Read about it at:




Young or Old. . .Rich or Poor. . .Make-do or Store-bought. . .
We all look forward to another Christmas together with family and friends. . .
on our little DELTA FARM.


**************



We are also featured in the HOLIDAY ISSUE OF DELTA CROSSROADS. . .
with my Granddaddy's Christmas Letter from 1938. . .
and other stories about Christmases Past with our family.

and turn to pages 31-36.



 HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY !!!!
FROM ALL OF US HERE AT THE FARM