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    Sunday, March 11, 2007

    Teach Your Children Well

    Gab posted about what things your family had taught you to do. I started to reply and realized that I would take up her entire comments section so I thought I would post it here.

    My paternal grandma gave me my own sewing kit at the age of 5. She included enough scraps cut into squares to make a quilt. I made it and it was awful. My stitches were uneven and it looked a sight. She commended me on a great job done and even put a back on it and put the quilting material in.

    Grandma also taught me to crochet. In the time that it would take me to make a pot holder, she could make an afghan. Her yarn colors always mesmerized me because she used many different colors of yarn, often using scraps of what she had left. She wasted nothing.

    She taught me to cut up old clothing into strips and make rag rugs out of them.

    Grandma taught me how to make soap with lye. That was always an experience. I remember her soap not smelling very pretty but it got the job done. She also taught me to save the small pieces of soap and put them into a nylon stocking to use as a loofah.

    Her cooking skills were incredible. I would stand for hours watching her whip up a meal out of scraps of leftovers. These meals were fit for a king. She taught me to make biscuits from scratch using a glass as a cookie cutter.

    I also got my gardening abilities from her. She had a 2 acre garden that would feed her family for an entire year. I could go on for days about my grandma.

    My mother taught me to do laundry. By the age of 10, I was doing my own. She also taught me how to give a house a thorough cleaning.

    Mom always canned tomatoes from the garden. We were enlisted at a young age to help. To this day, I still can tomatoes out of my own garden every year. Of course my mother taught me too many things to list here.

    My dad taught me about antique gas engines and tractors. At the age of 5, I was able to kick start a Maytag engine. He took us to all of the engine shows where he exhibited. There was always a crowd of men watching the little girl who was interested in engines.

    Dad also taught me how to swing a hammer. I got pretty good at it and now with Mr. Sign, do all of our own building projects.

    My maternal grandfather taught me at the age of 5 to drive a tractor. He hired me for 50 cents an hour. It was hard work being in the beating sun all day but at the end of the week when I got paid, I thought I was rich!

    Grandpa was a dairy farmer. He got up every morning to milk the cows at 4:30 am. I never got up quite early enough to see the morning milking session. I did get to learn the ropes in the afternoon. The milking parlour had a recessed area where you could walk. The cows udders were then at eye level. Grandpa let me spray the udders with disinfecting soap and then I got to hook up the udders to the milking machine. I also got to give the barn cats saucers of milk.

    Grandpa got out of the dairy business when I was young and became a hog farmer. The same pit that was once used for milking became an alley for runoff in the farrowing barn. A farrowing barn is where the baby piglets are born. When I was a teenager, my uncle taught me how to clean the barns and I earned enough money to go to Europe.

    Wow! This is getting lengthy! If you are still reading, please tell me some of the things your family taught you.


    G-Man said...

    Jenny, I love family storys. You learned things that can be passed down to your family as well...What a great day huh? xx Galen

    G-Man said...


    kimmyk said...

    WOW, your family taught you many great things. How cool to show your daughters.

    My mom taught us to can, but I don't do it. I look at people who do and think how amazing that is, but still I don't try. I don't know why that is.

    My mom taught me how to cook, but I'll be damned if I haven't forgotten most of it. And the importance of a clean house. And the love of BINGO!

    I really need to think about what I'm showing/teaching my children. I wonder what they would say if asked this question. Hmm...thanks for the mental reminder SG.

    barman said...

    Most of what I learned I did myself. My Mom did most things for us so I was clueless when it came to sewing and doing the wash. She did give me a crash course when I moved out. I did learn from her to not be afraid of trying something new cooking. I learned how to make a pretty good pizza, to bad I have not found somewhere where I live that has pizza dough to purchase. I have not had much luck with dough from scratch. I have played with sewing but I think I will get some lessons from Mom next time I am down.

    My Dad was working a lot and I did not get a lot from him but I did learn to tinker with a car. Not being afraid to jump into an electrical project is something I definitely learned from him. I also learned to drive a tractor and for the matter driving period from him. He also was not afraid to tackle building something. He built a patio and a garage. I helped on the garage and really enjoyed that. I got my love of photography from him. Not that he took many photos but he had a dark room setup and some interesting camera equipment. It peaked my curiosity.

    In saying most of what I learned I learned myself I think I have my parents to thank for that. They got us a set of World Book encyclopedias. They also purchase science add-ons to the encyclopedia. When I wanted to know something I looked it up. I was always curious and I was always looking up tons of things. When I first moved out I purchased a set of World Book encyclopedias, a couch, love seat and kitchen table as one of my first purchases. Now I am out on the Internet constantly looking something up. I think I got my love of science from my Mom and my curiosity? Maybe my Dad or maybe just me.

    I did not know my Moms side of the family and my Grandpa died at a very young age. My Grandma was not around a long time but she could do anything with her hand and she always was doing for herself. She was not big on sharing things with people but you know, now that I think of it I think I got curiosity and ability to actually succeed at things from her.

    Sorry this got so big. It amazes me how much I just learned typing thing out. So thank you to GAB and you for taking me there. By the way, I love the loofah idea. See now you are teaching me things.

    Suze said...

    My gran also taught me to crochet! I'm still to find a use for it other than for making mats. Lol

    Great idea for a post.

    MilkMaid said...

    My Mema taught me to sew, I still have her sewing kit, just as she left it the day she died. It's cool to go thru it and look at all of her tools of the trade.

    wmy said...

    I think g-man spends all damn day checking sites so he can be first...its not nice to be so fucking greedy g-man...but, you seem like a likeable fellow, soooooooooooo...you may live for now!! hahahahahahaha

    wmy said...

    whew...ok...back to earth now!
    My grandma was definately not one of those buscuit baking grandmas...nope...she would much rather bring us to Mc donalds! hahaaahaaa...She always had a pall mall...NON-FILTER!! and a glass of merlot...but, we loved her, and she was awesome to us! It seems like we always had fun with her...wait, thinking back on it now, as an adult...maybe grandma was just drunk all the time, and thats why we thought she was so funny...Oh well, I have good memories of her, and thats what counts right??

    gab said...

    Sign..See now reading yours I remember so much more. Like the gas engines. and the gardening and canning. But I forgot the most important one. My materinal grandma always talked to everyone whether or not she knew them. She gave me the gift of gab! She also taught me to be friendly to animals. She loved to walk and thats the biggest thing I miss! WALKING. I can but not like I used to with my back being so messed up now. So see I even forgot a few. Thanks for sharing.

    buddha_girl said...

    My Daddy taught me how to make homemade sauce, meatballs, and sausage and peppers that would make you smack your mama.

    Top cat said...

    Terrific post jenn. I enjoyed reading your memories of the past.
    I learned how to cook from watching my mom in the kitchen.

    cadbury_vw said...

    my dad taught me how to work a room full of strangers, how to remember everyone's name and associate it with their face, and to remember at least one fact about each person i met/meet.

    how to speak in public, and how to give an impromptu speech (no notes) in any setting

    all without stumbling or showing how nervous you really are

    grainne said...

    Oh good topic -
    Mom's Dad taught me to be a rock hound, to call birds, to garden
    Mom's Mom taught me how to bake the best pie crust in the world !
    She tried to teach me other domestic things but it was a waste of time.
    Dad taught me how to work on my own car, change my brakes, how to hunt and fish, how to shot pool, throw darts, play poker, take a punch and never to let them see you cry.
    Mom taught me to use the phone book...look up maid services, department stores, taxi services...~L~

    *S* said...

    This is a great post, Jenn. I'll bet your grandma and my mamere would have gotten on like a house on fire! I learned a lot of the same things from her, including the sewing and rag-rug making. Did your grandma tie the rags to a doorknob for you to braid? I used to do that for hours. She was also most definitely of the "waste not, want not" school. They had sheep, but the set-up was the same. However, I wasn't allowed near the tractors. On the other hand, killing and plucking fowl were girls jobs and she made me a duster from a duck wing, which my mother hated.

    My mamere was a lot less understanding about sewing errors though. She would rip my cross-stitch out and make me do it over. I have lousy eye-hand coordination, but I can make very tiny stitches!

    Also, email me please if you are still in the market for a polka-dot swimsuit with a skirt. I saw one in a catalog at my mother's house this weekend and brought it back for you, so that I could give you the information directly, instead of relying on my iffy memory!


    jillie said...

    What a great story. I too love to read family stories. I learned a lot from both sides of my family and I guess the one thing that I learned from my maternal grandmother is that never settle! Do what is right in your heart and be good to yourself as well as other. There are a few other things as well...but thanks for sharing Jenn

    SignGurl said...

    G-Man~ Bingo! It was a great day.

    KimmyK~ I don't often think about what my kids are learning from me. I guess a moms, we just do it without thinking.

    Barman~ I like that your mom gave you a crash course before leaving the nest. Every mother should do that.

    Suze~ Mats have uses. You could always make a penis placemat for Alex ;)

    Milkmaid~ How awesome to have your grandma's kit!

    WMY~ He used to. You had a drunk grandma? Cool!!!!!

    Gab~ A gabby grandma? That sounds nice.

    Buddha Girl~ I want to try 'em!

    TC~ The way to a woman's heart is in the kitchen!

    Cadbury~ Those are great lessons to learn. I wish I had been taught by my family. I had to learn the hard way.

    Grainne~ It's funny how our grandparents taught us so much. They seem to take more time with children. The stuff about your mom is hilarious!

    *S*~ My grams did tie the rags to the doorknob! I loved braiding. My dad taught me how to pluck a chicken. We once had a pluckin' party where several families came and we had an assembly (maybe a disassembly) line. The group purchased over 200 chickens and they all had to be taken care of at once. Good thing we had a big freezer.

    Jillie~ Those were great things to learn from a grandmother! I guess my maternal grams taught me the same thing.

    Anonymous said...

    That is so cool that your grandmother taught you the same thing and that you know how to pluck chickens! My dad has no idea how to pluck chickens, pheasants, geese, ducks, etc. - all of which I have defeathered in my day.