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The Baer-Williams House was the scene of a very lovely afternoon garden wedding a couple of weeks ago. Bride and groom wanted to keep things low-key and stress-free. We were expecting about 30 guests for a 4:00 ceremony on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. (more…)

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So, the holidays are officially over and 2017 is underway. I’d like to say thank you to all my readers for continuing to follow me into the new year. I hope I continue to bring a smile to your Mondays.

Let’s reflect back a couple of weeks and see how this Christmas stacked up. Because there are so many aspects to consider, I’m going to narrow my focus to one thing – Santa Claus. (more…)

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Most of you know about outhouses. Some of you have probably even used one at one point in your life. I’m not talking about the port-a-potty johns at the county fair either, I’m talking about the real life wooden structures with a bench seat inside.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I’m sure you’re familiar with how these contraptions work; you dig a hole and place your little house over the hole. When said hole is full, you dig another one someplace else, move the house and throw dirt over the almost full former sewage hole. That is why outhouses were portable.

Well folks, the lady who designed my house (Leona Baer), had a different idea for her privvies. You see, she did not want her elite socialite friends and distinguished guests to have to trapise out into the elements to use the outhouse. Oh no, that would be a disgrace. She insisted that her privvies be attached to the house and under a covered walkway (aka porch). And, of course, there had to be a mens and a ladies facility. No co-ed for Ms. Leona Baer. No sirree.

Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Women's side of outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Women’s side of outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Men's side of outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Men’s side of outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Notice that the ladies side is much bigger than the mens? That’s because ladies wore hoop skirts and needed more room to negotiate around and get everything settled into place. Imagine trying to use the facilities shown above wearing this:

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Now, having your outhouse attached to your house is certainly convenient, but it created a huge problem: what to do when the holes got full. Well, obviously, you clean them out. Say what? Shovel s$%@? I know. Right? Who is God’s name wants that job? But, shovel s$%@ someone did. You see, Leona had workers dig a pit, a cistern if you will, and covered it with a permanent structure that sat very close to the house (not completely attached) but connected by an extension of the porch. She really created a very primative septic system, minus the leach lines.

Here’s a picture of the downstairs portion of this structure. This shot is taken from the farthest end of the porch where the men’s privy was (the door on the left) looking back toward the back door of the house on the first floor.

Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

But, wait, there’s more.

If you will remember, the title of this blog mentioned a 2-story, 4-hole outhouse. Two stories? Yes, my friends – two stories. One hole on the ground level and one hole above it on the second story. Here’s how my second story porch looks. The privvies are through that little doorway at the end of the porch.

Upstairs porch and walkway to privy. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Upstairs porch and walkway to privy. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Notice the white lattice work at the end of the porch? Well, that would be the enclosure. You can see the 2 doorways at the very end of the hallway.

2nd story outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

2nd story outhouse at Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Here’s what it looks like from afar. The privvies are enclosed by that white lattice on both floors.

Baer House Inn 2-story outhouse. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Baer House Inn 2-story outhouse. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

How do these things work you ask? Well, on level one of the house, a person walks in about 2 feet and encounters the hole. On the second level, a person walks in about 4 feet before encountering the hole. Now, mind you, there is a wall directly behind the hole on the ground level so nothing falls down upon you from above, but you can hear everything directly behind your head that falls from above. I know . . . how pleasant.

Why two stories? Well, thank you for asking. You see, Ms. Baer felt that her family should not mix and mingle with her esteemed guests, so much so that the children and servants were relegated to the second floor. But not just during parties or social events. Oh no. No, no, no. Children had to remain upstairs ALL THE TIME. They were never allowed downstairs. They even have their own set of outside stairs in the event they needed to leave the house. They were not allowed to enter or exit the home through the first floor. There had to have been a lot of this going on:

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Not being allowed downstairs created a problem when little Sarah, or little Samuel had to use the facilities. So, Leona fixed the problem by creating their very own privvies on the second floor. The added bonus? If Leona needed to use the bathroom during the middle of the night, she did not have to go all the way downstairs and outside, she simply walked along the upstairs porch to her own private penthouse privy.

Now this structure, that is original to the home, is still standing and part of our house. Of course we don’t use it, but it’s here for everyone to see and admire. The downstairs portion has been repurposed into a very nice, very modern bathroom as part of room number 8, but the original outside doors are still in place. The privy doors are on the left in this picture and the door into room number 8 is on the right.

Room 8, Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Room 8, Baer House Inn. Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

 

Room 8 bathroom (former 1st floor outhouse). Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

Room 8 bathroom (former 1st floor outhouse). Photo by P. Rickrode. November 2015.

So tell me dear readers, have you ever seen a 2-story outhouse? Would you have wanted to have the job of cleaning out the poop cistern? Somebody had to do it. Yuck.

Word of the Day: Odurate

Fun fact about me: My uncle had a cabin in upstate Minnesota with no indoor plumbing and we had to use the outhouse whenever we visited. Good times.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, November 2015. Original photos by P. Rickrode. Stock photos courtesy Google Images.

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Image courtesy Google Images

Image courtesy Google Images

We all know our parents are a little nutty but we love them despite their weirdness. I’ve often wondered how I could have turned out so perfectly normal when I have such goofball parents. Fortunately, I have no children to dispute my normalness, so you’re just going to have to take my word for it.

Anyhoo, so my dad has always mixed up words and smushed words together into one stupid new word; more so when he’s trying to sound really smart. Most days I just smile inwardly and say “uh huh,” and just let the conversation continue as though what he said was exactly right.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Other times I grit my teeth to keep from screaming at him, especialy if I’ve already corrected him on the exact same word.

Some of my dad’s favorite wrong phrases include hi fi and interstate. A conversation he had on the phone the other day went something like this: “I can’t get on the interstate because I don’t have hi fi for my computer.” I rolled my eyes and continued to listen to my dad try to explain to the person on the receiving end of the call, what they heck he was trying to say.

Another favorite of his is “flusterated.” I guess he doesn’t know the difference between flustered and frustrated so he simply squishes them together and hopes people know what he’s trying to say. This look I’m sure has appeared on my face many times.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Yeah, he’s got a special language, all his own. And, on a side note, one not involving an incorrect word, but very similar, the other day he told me he needed help setting up his cassette recorder so he could watch his movies. I asked if he meant his VCR for his video tapes and he said, “No for my little records.” Little records?

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Turns out “little records” are cd’s and what he was needing help with was his DVD player.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Yup, my dad needs a cassette recorder for his little records.

What crazy dad words get your all fired up? Do your parents have words or expressions that make you cringe? Do your parents have hi fi on their interstates?

Word of the Day: Gourmand

Fun fact about me: I’ve experienced both hi fi and wi fi in my lifetime.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, October 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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I’m a word snob; I admit it. But, I have to be. I’m a writer, it comes with the territory. If’n I didn’t talk good nobody’d buy my books. But here in the south, folks, even well educated folks, look at you funny if you speak proper English.

Image courtesy Google Images

Image courtesy Google Images

Here, people like to run words together. I find it amusing to listen to the locals talk. I know what they’re saying, but it’s ain’t said right. Here, they use words like “witchore,” and “atchu.” I’ve started a mental dictionary because I hear repeated piggybacked words all run together a lot. Here’s a partial list:

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Witchore – “What kind of dressing you want witchore salad?”

Tars – “Yesterday I had two flat tars on my car.”

Atchu – “I’m looking atchu.”

Deygohn – “Are the Rickrodes still in California?” “No. Deygohn.”

Andem – “Who’s coming for dinner?” “Patricia andem.”

Ohl – “You put a little ohl on that and it’ll slide easier.”

Gwan – “Gwan down the Frontage road to Wal-Mart.”

Sumpin – “You want sumpin to drink?”

I’m trying my darndest not to laugh at these colloquialisms but sometimes a smile still creeps onto my face. So far I haven’t had to explain myself, but I’m sure one of these days, someone will ask me what I find amusing.

What about you dear readers, what expressions make you smile? What wrong words drive you crazy? The one I find the most annoying is using “axe” for “ask.” Drives. Me. Nuts. Don’t axe me why.

Word of the Day: Bonbonniere

Fun Fact About Me: I secretly enjoy silently making fun of the way people talk. Hey, I’m a self-admitted word snob.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images

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Let’s face it, when it comes to country music, women are still expected to fit a certain image. Basically, we are exploited. Well not me exactly because I don’t look like the girls in those videos, but you know what I mean. Country music tells a story and it’s often one of redneck adventures by not so charming cavemen. Songs like, I’m Gonna Miss Her, by Brad Paisley about a guy who chooses fishing all day over losing his wife; What Was I Thinking by Dierks Bentley, about a guy whose sole motivation for doing stupid stuff is a well-endowed woman wearing a skimpy tank top. I’m not proud of it, but the songs and the videos speak for themselves. Don’t believe me? Look it up. Watch the videos.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Well, the time has come to switch things up a little bit. Here’s a look at how two gorgeous young gals turned the tables on the country bumpkins who disrespect beautiful country women. Check it out. (Warning: You won’t be able to unsee this.)

So what do you think dear readers? Did you like the video? Do you like country music? Should we have more Maddie & Tae’s in this world? Inquiring minds want to know.

Word of the Day:  Blitzkrieg

Fun Face About Me: I love me some country music (despite the backward redneck nature of the beast).

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2014. Video courtesy YouTube.

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We all have at least one quirky relative. Some of us have more than one.  In my case, it’s my dad.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Let me begin by saying that I love my dad very much, warts and all. He’s far from perfect, but he’s the person God entrusted my care with so I owe him my deepest gratitude for not killing me as a child. And everyone knows that it’s okay for us to poke fun or our own family, but no one else is allowed to – right? That’s just an unspoken rule.

So now that that’s all established, I want to share with you my Dad’s four favorite words: “I’m throwing that away.”

I know – weird. But my dad has a fascination with junk. He’s a crap hoarder. His house is not cluttered to the rafters, but his sheds, or as he calls them collectively, his “shop,” is a different story. There is not one square inch of uncluttered space in his “shop.”

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

If anyone knows my dad, you can get an immediate visual of this “shop,” but for those of you who haven’t had that . . . ah . . . privilege, let me just say that the “shop” is a series of crudely-constructed sheds, attached together by staples, bailing wire and duct tape, in a row, much like box cars on a train track. When one fills up, he constructs and attaches another, sometimes cutting a hole in the adjoining walls – for walk-through purposes – sometimes not. Collectively this row of mind-blowing dilapidation is known as “the shop.”

My dad will drag home anything. He often does yard work or minor brush clearing for older folks or single ladies and he brings home whatever he uncovers. If someone is moving and cleaning out a garage, my dad is the first one to volunteer to help. He’ll haul home anything left behind, including stuff intended for the dump. Recently my husband and I started cleaning out the ravine below our house. We unearthed a dented hula hoop, a deflated basketball, a plastic oar with a broken handle, and a three-wheeled wagon with a broken axle. My dad’s eyes lit up with pure joy when he saw these treasures in the refuse pile.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

“What’re you doing with that stuff?” inquires my dad.

“We’re throwing it away,” I reply.

“Oh, don’t do that,” says my dad with barely contained excitement. “I’ll take it home.”

What in God’s name my father is going to do with a dented hula hoop and a deflated basketball is anyone’s guess, but I let him load that crap up and cart it home. I didn’t even want to ask his intentions.  I’ve just learned that shit like that is to my dad like manna was to the Israelites in the Desert of Sin. It delights and nourishes him in indescribable ways. (Is it sacrilege to use a swear word in a biblical metaphor?)

That’s my dad – gotta love him. Or as they say in the south, “Bless his heart.”

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

What weird-o family traits are kept in your closet? Come on, spill it. I’d love to hear about your quirky relatives.

Word of the Day: Quandong (it sounds dirty, but it’s not)

Fun fact about me: I like to scrapbook.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, June 2014. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

According to my go-to, on-line dictionary, the word “rude” is defined as follows:

1. discourteous or impolite, especially in a deliberate way.
2. without culture, learning, or refinement.
3. rough in manners or behavior; unmannerly; uncouth.
4. rough, harsh, or ungentle.
5. roughly wrought, built, or formed; of a crude construction or kind.

I think it’s pretty safe to assume that most of know someone who is rude. But, would any of us consider ourselves rude? Hmmm? Let’s be honest, are you ever rude?

I am guilty of rude behavior on occasion. But, I consider my questionable behavior to be acceptable rude. More along the lines of redneck behavior.  Below is a list of things that, in my opinion, with the exception of two, are rude or acceptable rude. This is the topic of this month’s Take It or Leave It.

As a reminder, here’s how Take It or Leave It works: Post your guesses (would I take it, or leave it) in the comments section below. I will post my responses Thursday. The person with the most correct guesses is my winner, but you must post another comment in the comments section, acknowledging that you are a winner, in order to claim your prize. It’s that simple. Unclaimed prizes will be forfeited after one week from posting the answers.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

So, here we go. Would I – Take It or Leave It:

1)  Spike the punch at a party.

2) Pick up a hitchhiker.

3)  Leave my outside light on all night just to annoy my annoying neighbor.

4)  Eat all of the cereal but put the empty box back in the pantry.

5) Return my husband’s car with no gas in it.

6)  Fart and blame it on the dog.

7)  Buy something expensive, knowing that I’m only going to wear it once for some special occasion, and then return it to the store.

8)  Overtip a waiter because another customer was rude.

9) Leave my shopping cart in an unoccupied spot in the parking lot instead of returning it to the cart corral.

10) Leave something on the curb with a “free” sign on it to avoid having to take it to the dump.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

So, what do you think? Are there certain rude behaviors that might be considered acceptable? What acceptable rude behavior are you guilty of?

Word of the day: Mingy

Fun fact about me: I absolutely detest the Wedding March song. (Here comes the bride, da, da, da, blaaahhh.) HATE IT!!

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, May 2014. Photos courtesy Google Images.

 

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I know what you’re thinking, but this post is not going there.

No sirree. Not. Going. There.

When I say “redneck,” I’m not talking about the banjo-strumming hillbillies sitting in hand-hewn hickory rockers on a dilapidated front porch in the backwoods. Nor am I referring to the toothless woman living in the single-wide trailer perched on cinder blocks wearing a housecoat and curlers and toting a sawed off shotgun to protect her still hidden back in the holler. Nope, I’m talking about the redneck that lives inside each and every one of us.

That’s right. There’s a little bit of redneck in us all. For some, if might be way down deep, but it’s in there.

Take me for example. I’m hardly anyone’s vision of a redneck. Yet I have discovered that in times of need, that little redneck trait comes in handy.

You all know I just bought a house. Well, with a new house comes the need to fix-up and/or change some things to make it just exactly the way you want it. That usually involves new paint, new carpet, perhaps new cabinets in the kitchen. My new house is no different. But, having just bought the house, there is not a whole lot of money left in the coffers for these “fix-ups.” So . . . we improvise.

My new house has no window coverings. When we moved out of my dad’s house we left the window coverings. So, we have no window coverings. Until we save enough money for the new wood blinds ($2,400) we’re improvising. Here is my bedroom window, complete with redneck curtain:

An old sheet fits the bill nicely at night and when tied neatly in the middle with a bandana, offers a remarkable amount of sunlight to warm the bedroom with coziness during the day.

And here is my fancy, smanchy door covering for the French door in the bedroom:

A lot of folks would just throw out that old worn out beach towel, but not me. Nope I save such things for these occasions because I know there’s that little bit of redneck in me that just might require an old beach towel at some point. Like now. It’s perfect for providing privacy and darkness at night and easily removed during the day for delightful views of our lovely yard.

And for that tree in the yard that’s been sadly neglected, here’s a redneck quick fix to keep it from completely snapping off:

Yup, those are lead ropes no longer used as horse tack. When hooked together they make a very nice redneck tree keeper-upper.

So you’re all thinking, “Yup, she’s definitely a little bit redneck.” But that’s okay because I know there’s a little bit of hillbilly in each of you too. Stop gasping and hear me out. Who here has not used duct tape to fix something? Come on, hands in the air. Who doesn’t love duct tape? Especially nowadays when it comes in such lovely fashionable colors instead of basic silver.

Like it or not folks, whenever you use the duct tape, you’re showing your redneck tendencies. Duct tape was made by hillbillies for hillbillies. Don’t get me wrong – duct tape is amazing! It can fix dang near anything. It’s affordable. And you can find it just about anywhere. Here are some examples of the “only-a-little-bit-redneck” way to use duct tape:

And here are some examples of how using duct tape:

is

just

Wrong.

So use the duct tape my friends, but use it wisely lest you find yourself right smack dab in the middle of Redneckville!

So that’s my blog for this month. I’d love to hear from you all about your sojourns into redneckville or your experiences with duct tape. Don’t be shy. Embrace your inner redneck! I have.

Word of the day:  Interrobang

Fun fact about me: My husband and I were each married to a different person on exactly the same day 26 years ago.

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