Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rock Fence Post

There is probably nothing more Osage than the limestone fence post. These fence posts served several purposes. First it obviously anchored a fence so that you could tighten the wires that ran for miles to keep the cattle in. Second, it was a place to pile the rocks strewn over the prairie. I am one person who loved those corner post and what they represent. It just feels good when driving into the Osage and seeing those rock piles along the roads.

 I know as you look at these old rock post pictures you and myself included cannot help but see that old house. What is your emotion? Mine is to look forward toward the future because the past was so good. My mom, Opal, was and is a great guiding post about the past. She always said, "I am glad the good ole days are gone". She really did walk to school every day in all kinds of weather up hill both ways (the up hills both ways might be a stretch).

Anyway, She grew up in Grainola during the depression. She lived in the house on the hill where Bob Jackson (Osage County Commissioner) lives today. That house (not the one in the picture) was about 1.5 miles from the Grainola School. There were two boys and six girls plus Grandma Annie and Poppie Jess Lane. They were farmers and Poppie Jess was a good coon hunter. Grandma Annie had the largest garden you ever saw and it included flowers (go look at my garden web site and you will see we like gardens as well, top left corner of web page). She could put up more vegetables and meat for winter than any person you ever met. Of course she had to in order to feed a large family. Everyone in the house learned to garden, milk cows by hand, feed hogs and calves and then butcher the animals for meat. Life was spent going to school and getting ready for winter by putting up food. Putting up food meant canning (refer to the first story) and storing them in the cellar. They did not go to Walmart every time they needed something (just in case you have no idea there were no Walmarts and by the way Sam Walton grew up in Oklahoma close to Kingfisher). I read once that back in those days they typically had enough food stored for about a year and that today we keep about 2 to 3 days of groceries in the house.

Think about it. How many times a week do you go to the grocery store or Braum's (dairy store) to get something to eat? How many times a week do you eat out? They NEVER ate out unless it was just outside in the yard. Get it?

Anyway (I love that word so get over it), Mom was a real motivator in that she always asked me questions which forced me to think about the consequences of not thinking ahead. I remember one time when I was utilizing a pick ax (a heavy tool you swung over your head to break up rock and hard dirt) and shovel to dig a ditch. The ditch was from the water well to the barn which was about 120 feet(there was no city water). It took about a week and it was July so the weather was over 90 degrees every day. Mom would bring me iced tea and she would always ask, "are you going to dig ditches or go to college". Her timing was great and the answer was easy.

I should tell you about the well which was hand dug by my dad and some other men to about 40 feet deep. Then they brick and mortared the walls to the top of the ground. At the bottom of the well they drilled a hole about another 40 feet so there would be plenty of water. We had the best water and even in dry years we never ran out. In fact I remember Jim Olsen (Jon Tanny, Jamie, and Jay's dad) coming to get water when their well would get low in dry years.
I think I will wrap this up. What did I learn from those rock fences, canning, digging ditches in hot weather, Mom's questions and that water well?

1. Rock fences - life is full of boulders that get in your way but if YOU choose correctly it will become a corner post that gives strength to the fences in your life.

2. Canning - Prepare for the future today not tomorrow. God is the only one who knows the future. Read the story of Joseph in the Bible and you will see that even before Christ it was a smart thing to do.

3. Digging Ditches - Hard work gives you a feeling of accomplishment and prepares you for hard times if and when they come.

4. Mom knew the answers but she wanted me to discover them.  Of course she gave me advice directly but she knew that sometimes the best lessons are learned by seeing and doing.

5.  The water of life comes from deep within the earth but the water of everlasting life comes from Christ.

Thanks for your time,

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Peggy said...

The first rock post that is pictured was probably made by Clay Donelson. It was his signature to put the standing rock on top. I think he was probably the last of the rock post builders that was accomplished at it. It is definetly a skill and talent.

Shouna Olson said...

I am always amazed to read the lessons learned in the Osage! I'm proud of you, Gary. You're a good man and a great husband who inspires others to see the good in life whether it be good or difficult.

Love you,

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2018 06 Dominican Republic and the Osage

2018 06 25 Dominican Republic and the Osage Here I sit on the top of a mountain in a beautiful house enjoying the fruits of a life give...