A Small Town Gal

Halloween Candy and Teal Pumpkins

Mel BooneThis time of year, I think about Halloween. Sometimes I think about it a little too much. I remember when I was a kid, my mom would make homemade sugar cookies with orange icing to pass out to trick-or-treaters. These days, if you get something homemade, it gets thrown away because it isn't commercially packaged.

I was always excited to get home and go through my bag of goodies. I wanted to see how much of my favorite candy I got — Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers candy bars, Mr. Goodbars, KitKat bars, Hershey's chocolate, homemade popcorn balls, and homemade Rice Krispie treats. Anything that was left I couldn't care less about. Come to think of it, about half of what I got every year ended up as candy for my parents and grandparents. It didn't bother me a bit.

These days, not only do the homemade treats get tossed out, some kids don't get to eat candy at all. These days we know more about food allergies, so they have to be careful of the nuts, wheat, milk, etc. that prevent them from indulging in this holiday. This is why I love what the local library does, along with a few other people.

They leave a teal-blue pumpkin on their doorstep. This teal pumpkin is a very special pumpkin. It lets kids with allergies and their parents know that this spot gives out small toys instead of candy to children that are trick-or-treating. Now, kids with allergies can participate and keep what they get! For those who would like to participate with a teal pumpkin on their porch, take a look on the Oriental Trading Company website. I know they sell bulk candy, but you should be able to find some bulk toys to hand out, too.

It's also this time of year when I think about getting some sort of Halloween tattoo. I know, I know, it's such a silly idea. I probably won't do it, but I really want to. It's my favorite holiday, and I don't mind showing it. Perhaps a bat on my ankle or a black cat on my wrist. Maybe a cute little witch on my shoulder.

Of course, if I got one, I'd have to put it in a spot that can be covered up with clothing. Employers frown upon tattoos that can be seen when you are working. Maybe I'd be better off without the lifelong commitment of a permanent tattoo when a kids' sticker-type one can be easily washed off!

Halloween candy
Photo by Fotolia/Pétur Ásgeirsson

Ghosts, Witches, and Scarecrows

Mel BooneAs I post this blog for you to read, Labor Day weekend is well behind us. The tractor shows that I go to are done for another year. Kids are back in school. With the end of 2016 inching a little bit closer, fall has come to signal that my favorite holiday is near: Halloween.

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, the 4th of July a close second. I've always loved dressing up in costume — ghost, witch, hippie, farmer, or whatever I could come up with. While working at a couple different retail jobs as an adult, being able to dress up for Halloween was a nice break from having to wear the typical, everyday, "store employee" uniform.

For several years, I decorated my front yard for Halloween. It usually consisted of three dummies: a witch, a scarecrow, and a spider on one or two of the antique tractors that my step dad and I have. Some purple and orange lights, garlands of fall leaves, and other decorations were included. I enjoyed doing it every year. As things go, decorations get worn out, lost, or damaged, so I've put that tradition on hold until I can afford new stuff.

One year, I put the spider dummy in the tractor seat of the Farmall F-20. The scarecrow and the witch were sitting on square bales of hay behind the tractor. This was the year that I had a stray cat named Slick living on the property. He was a friendly cat with shiny black fur that made him look so slick and shiny. He took to those hay bales as soon as I came home with them and spent most of his time curled up between the scarecrow and witch, sound asleep. Sometimes he even curled up on their laps. Slick managed to startle several drivers when he moved. They didn't realize that he was real!

The pictures that I took of the various Halloween displays that I've put in the yard have been misplaced. At least I have the memories. Those are memories that can put a smile on my face.

Halloween sign

Buggy for Sale

Mel BooneGoing to various sales and auctions, you never know what you might find. This summer at a local auction, which happened to be of the first day of the flywheel reunion, there were items for sale that I didn't expect to be there. Among the farm tractors and implements there were some Amish buggies for sale. A few of them were the open buggies that the Amish use, and one was the kind that was I call a "closed in buggy." I'm not sure what the Amish really call it.


In the part of Missouri where I live there are a few Amish communities. They are not as big as some of the other Amish communities here in Missouri, but they are here. I've seen them ever since I was a little girl, and I suspect that they made their home here long before I was born.

Even though I don't have any Amish friends, the ones that I've been around have always been nice to me. They have always had a smile on their faces and seem to be happy to say hello. The ones that know my stepdad always find the time to visit for a few minutes. I've bought the homemade noodles, pie, and bread that some of the women sell. The taste is absolutely amazing! There's no doubt in my mind that they could teach us "English" a few things about cooking. Their food tops anything that would come out of high-priced restaurant or culinary school.

Their work ethic is amazing. They all work so hard, and they do it without modern technology. How many of us can go without our smartphone, tablet, wi-fi, etc. for any length of time? I was without a computer and internet for four days and then spent two hours trying to rid my inbox of 500 emails.

Now to circle back to that auction. Looking at those buggies sitting among the tractors and implements to be sold, I wondered why these Amish buggies are being sold. A death in the family? Perhaps all the children are grown up and married, so a few of the buggies are no longer needed? Or did a family leave the Amish community to live their life as the "English" do?

I may never know the answer. As an "English" person, my curiosity still makes me wonder.

Trip to the Fair

Mel BooneEvery year, I can't resist going to the local county fair. I didn't participate in 4H or FFA as a kid. At that time, people had a tendency to look down their noses at a "town kid" being in something that was supposed to be for the "country kids." I guess it was just as well. I was way too shy and bashful. I really had no place to raise a project — like a chicken, turkey, or pig — at home.  So as an adult, I applaud the youth who are in these organizations and participate in the local and state fairs.

2016 Macon Town and Country Fair, Macon, MO

Here at home, the local fair is in July at the county fairgrounds, just a couple of weeks before the antique tractor show. The kids are really in to it. They come out and, with the help of adults, set up the pens and bring out their animals. Once there, the kids are always busy grooming, feeding, and showing off their animals. It's wonderful to see one kid there and, a year or two later, the sibling competing as well. They learn to be responsible. They learn what it is like to be a good sport, too. Not everyone can be Grand Champion or Reserve Grand Champion. When the fair is over, the kids all come together to clean up and take down the pens. You can go out there the very next day and not know that the fair was just there. The kids clean the place up that good!

Someday, I would love to go back to the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia. I've only been there twice: once to a Red Power Roundup, and once to the fair when I was 16. That trip was just to go to the Clint Black concert. I would love to make a day trip to it, just to see the animals.

If you ever get that chance, take it. The kids who participate are our future. With all the hard work that they do just to get there with their animals, they deserve a pat on back.

Prize winning turkey
2016 Macon Town and Country Fair, Macon, MO

John Deere Green

Mel BooneThose who know me will know what my favorite color is. It's green. To be more specific: John Deere green.

With limited space at home, there's very little room for tractors. For now I'm at my limit. In a way, that's probably a good thing. With the tractors that are there the place already looks like a used implement dealership. How ironic that I point this out, because people have actually pulled into the driveway thinking that they had found a salvage yard right in the middle of town! Once they realize that it's nothing more that someone's collection, they leave slightly embarrassed, but in a laughing, good mood.

boy next to tractor
John Deere model L at the Mark Twain Old Threshers Show, Paris, MO. 

At the end of those days, I do dream about having more tractors. Both of my John Deere B's seem so lonely among the sea of IH red. I often think about the different John Deere models that I would like to have. The A, M, and 60 are at the top of the list, simply because that is what my grandpa started farming with. Then there are the unique ones, like the model L and the 730 High Crop that I saw at the Mark Twain Old Threshers Reunion this year in Paris, MO. According to the sign, the 730 was one of 609 built in Argentina. Make me wonder how it found its way to the middle of Missouri.

There's always the one that got away. The G come to mind. My stepdad and I found that one for sale at a salvage yard in Mexico, MO about 20 years ago. It was in great shape and reasonably priced. It had a power block in it. Even though I really wanted to bring it home, my stepdad decided to pass on it. As far as I know the salvage yard is no longer in business, and I've spent 20 years wondering what happened to that John Deere G.

What I would really love to have is a John Deere car. You probably think that I'm pulling your leg, right? Well, I'm not. Willard Velie was the maternal grandson of John Deere. Mr. Velie founded the Velie Motors Corporation in 1908. That same year, he started making cars in Moline, IL. The Velie trucks came along later, in 1911. I'm betting that you could've walked into any John Deere dealership at the time and ordered A Velie car or truck. As bad luck would have it, production ended in January 1929, after Mr. Velie's  death.

As of 2010, the Official Velie Register shows that only 230 Velies are known to exist. I know the chances of my daydreams coming true are slim, but I can't help thinking about finding a Velie hid away in a barn. It would look lovely sitting next to my John Deere B.

1970 730 High Crop, built in Argentina, at the Mark Twain Old Threshers Show, Paris, MO.

Sunrise vs Sunset

Mel BooneI bet that since the beginning of mankind, humans have always found something to debate. It holds true today. This year has been pretty ugly, from Trump versus Hillary, the never ending debate over gun control, and "whose life matters most". It makes me wonder if what the cavemen debated about was less horrific that what we debate about in the 21st century.

So I've decided to have my own debate within this blog. Perhaps in a world that seems to have so much drama in it, this one will give us a break from it all for just a little while. Which do you prefer, watching a sunrise or watching a sunset?

For me, I prefer watching the sun rise every morning. It is the beginning of a new day. A brand-new chance to start over again. With a life that has so many ups and downs for me and so much negativity shoved in my direction from family and people in general, I love to stand in the sun's rays as they wash over me every morning. I just know that one of these mornings will bring me what I am looking for — a time when I am rid of some of the most toxic people in my current life, along with the beginning of a new life that is so much better for me.

Getting up to see the sun come over the horizon is usually not a problem for me. My alarm is set for 4:30 A.M. That's a habit that I've had since high school. I love the sounds of the birds chirping first thing in the morning. Sometimes I even get the chance to see a pair of cardinals in the bird feeder as the sun's rays start to come into view.

There's nothing wrong with the sunset. I just prefer to march to the beat of my own drum, which happens to include to the sunrise.

Photo by Fotolia/khlongwangchao

Swap Meets

Mel Boone



Swap meet flowers
Swap Meet at Mount Pleasant, IA

How many of you go to yard sales? Sometimes I do. Of course, I dislike driving all over town at times. The streets are so crowded with cars that it's hard to find a parking spot, or just to get past.

What I really love is going to the swap meets. Plenty of parking, and all the vendors are there in one place! There's always an assortment of stuff there for me to discover. Some years, you can find anything and everything. Sometimes, you find something you never would have imagined being there. That's what I love. Discovering some sort of hidden jewel that I didn't expect to find.

Swap meet setup
Swap Meet at Mount Pleasant, IA 

I think my stepdad's most interesting find at a swap meet was a three-dollar toaster. Built in 1914, the Westinghouse still works. Imagine that! It was well worth the trip to Mount Pleasant, IA to find that little gem. The most expensive yard sale item that he has brought home happened a few years ago. He found a $600 John Deere lawn mower at a yard sale in Ten Mile, MO. It's not very old, and he rarely uses it.

Swap meet setup
Swap Meet at Mount Pleasant, IA 

Every time I go to a swap meet, I turn into a kid that just woke up on Christmas morning. Or maybe a kid that has just been turned loose inside a candy store. I'm so giddy with excitement, I can barely contain myself.

Swap meet setup
Swap Meet at Mount Pleasant, IA

To date, I've never found any lost Picasso or Jackson Pollock paintings. I probably never will. That's okay. I never know exactly what I will find. I guess that's the best part. The not-knowing and then discovering something just so awesome that I can't live without it. I've finally found a couple pieces of cast iron cookware this year. The cookware will come in handy when I go camping.

Swap meet setup
Swap Meet at Mount Pleasant, IA 

So whose ready for the next swap meet? I am!