Thursday, October 18, 2007


I just got off a blog that is listed on Darilyn's blog, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, or something of the sort. It really made me think about growing up in Ocotillo. I feel so lucky to have grown up on a family farm. This photo is actually a part of the old colored school that was used before our family bought the farm. These buildings were torn down a few years ago and I felt the need to personally document them before that happened. They were back behind the Lewis' house. We never did play in these buildings when I was a kid. I kind of think that someone might have been living in them. There was one building back behind the barn though that we loved to play in. We always said it was haunted and dared each other to go in. When they tore that one down, we would still play on the foundation and claim that it was still haunted. Behind the barn was one of my very favorite places to play. I loved to climb up the cattle loading ramp and play in the shute where they would put the horses when they needed shots. We would climb up to the top of the hay pile. It was all the way to the top of the barn. My big brothers would dare eachother to jump off from higher and higher points. Once we even played with some firecrackers back there so that Mom and Dad wouldn't hear us. How stupid were we? Let's go play with firecrackers by the hay in Arizona! Luckily, nothing happened.

We really loved cotton season. For some reason, it was fun to even pick a few pieces of cotton to play with. What we really loved was to play in the cotton trailers. This was a rare treat. It apparently isn't really good for raw cotton to have children burrowing in it. More often, we would play on the piles of cotton seed. The cotton gin was across the street and the canal. The lot behind the gin would have rows of cotton seed stacked, oh gosh, I don't know, maybe 8 or 10 feet high, but I was a kid, so who knows? We loved to dig tunnels in the cotton. This was not as easy in the seed. Still possible, but tunnels were more likely to collapse. I can't even imagine when my kids would have time to do all of this! Sad. It had to have been late fall, because that is when the cotton is ready.

This leads me to playing in the canal and the ditches. We loved when Bobby would get out his blow-up raft and go from one bridge to the next in it. This was really pretty dangerous and Mom and Dad would get mad at us, but it was worth it. The ditches were not as fun, but still pretty good. The only good thing about getting up on a cold winter morning for school was those days when the ditch was frozen over. The conditions had to be perfect. Just about 3 or 4 inches of water in the bottom of the ditch, otherwise the water would run to fast to freeze for our little Arizona cold weather. The top would just freeze over and you could always break it with your shoe, so fun. These were often the foggy days, when the fog would come up off the canal. This was about as "winter" as we would ever get.

I think I'll save some memories for another day.

Tomorrow Sonny goes in for "surgery" and I have to get up early to take him in to Uncle Keith.


Merilee said...

This is a super fun post. It is cool to see the differences in time. I do not recall ever playing in the cotton trailers or Bobby bringing his raft to the canal, although both those things sound like a blast! Also I only remember the foundation behind the barn, not the actual house.

Good plan, documenting the school. I didn't realize you did that. And yes, there were people living in those buildings. I had some friends back there.

I also remember those hard berry thing wars, playing down in the wells(also a No No). sliding down the ditches like water slides, and our merry-go-round( also known as the horse trainer thingy), playing house in the barn, and jumping from tree to tree behind the foundation.

Also, the cotton seed piles are taller than 10 feet. I did that as a teenager too, and they were still massive. I think 20 feet.

Tomallama said...

I was never allowed to play in the cotton seed hills, maybe 'cause I'm allergic to cotton seed and was usually banished to Grandma Pickering's house during the entire ginning season. And the foundation of the building behind the barn IS haunted. I saw her one night right at dusk. She was an almost glowing blue figure. I swear! It was right after Dad and I went bear hunting, or something like that. Then I found $20.

Emily said...

Cotton seed. Hmm.. Tom, you played in the cotton seed, Then, Emily would get into twice as much trouble for playing in the seed and almost killing Tom. But I always helped you relax and blow for the count of ten when we got home.

I remember the fireworks with Tina and Mo in the barn. Hahaha! And Emory Huffines getting yellled at and then thrown on the ground by my big brothers. What to add? Oh, the grass wars in the horse pastures with the Kempton kids.

The well? Oh, yes, I slid down the side of that well and tore up the back of my right leg. I had to ride Tom's red bike home from the well, afterward, with blood streaming down my leg.

I liked the ditch that ran by the torn tree. The water was slow, there, and you could just float on the small round floaty things. I distinctly remember one of those ones that was clear with yellow and orange designs and a yellow backing. I also liked to ride the "rapids" as the ditch widened and quickly went into the underground tunnel beneath the dirt road.

I took pictures of those building, too. I still regret not having chained myself to the building or something. During most of my childhood, someone lived in most of those buildings, but there was one emplty one at some point.

I really liked riding on the horsey-go-round trainer and climbing the haystacks. Hiding from the security in the rows of cotton bales.

I liked digging poools in our hill. Or making cave systems for GI Joe. Riding your pony was fun. I also like just hiding behind the sliding sheet metal door to the barn. I liked sitting on the hitching post or using as a gym bar. It was a littlwe more difficult that the skinnier bar over by the sage bush by the grapefruit trees and the grape vines.

I liked picking warm, fuzzy apricots off the tree in summer and eating around the bird bites. I thought I would be sliced in half by the black metal hawk sillouette that hung grom the orange tree next to the apricot trees.

I climbed the trees and felt like a bird, even though my older brothers told me that owls waited on top of Bashas' Warehouse for me to come outside so they could kill me.

I liked making chocolate shakes to take out onto the roof to drink while sunbathing. And waiting for the fruit leather to dry out to eat it. How about homemade jerky?

Merilee used to pretend that she was Margarita's cousin visiting from Mexico so she didn't have to come home. (It never worked, Mer!)

I found a witches shoe buckle out by that foundation. I vaguely remember the house, but it was a DANGER zone.

Hay rides out into the middle of the fileds. Dad would tell us about the go-o-o-o-o-olden arm, and we would be comepletely freaked. WE would climb into those pecan trees and shake and shake and shake until we were satisfied that we had more pecans than necessary. Go to the dump to shoot at tires or asprines.

Well, this is long enough that I'm also going to copy it into my own blog.

Darilyn said...

What great memories. It reminds me of all the memories on our family's dairy farm in Coos Bay. Is this the same building that you took some stuff from about a year ago Merilee? I remember you telling me about the cattle chute.(i think)

ducklips said...

Yea! More memories. Thanks guys.
I tried to comment once before but my computer was freaking out. Getting ready for tricking on Halloween I suppose.

Mer, the cotton seed piles that we played in when we were teenagers were different from the ones we had on the farm. We had long lines of 9-12 foot hills of cotton seed out behind the cotton gin where the empty lot is now by Compadre Stadium. Remember trying to ride our bikes up the hills?
I do remember the berry thing wars though, and getting caught one time when Aunt Jane came driving by. Oops!

I still think that house was haunted. Remember the ghost boat? It was really an old trailer. Somehow I got cover in red fire ants there and hated the place ever since.

I mostly remember riding the ditches at the Kempton's farm. I do remember hunting for crawdads in the big ditch by Bashas and tadpoles in the smaller ditches closer to us.

Too many memories to put here. Maybe we should write a book for posterity.;)

ducklips said...

BTW, sorry Sonny didn't get to see the doctor yesterday. :(

AND, Thanks for an awsome b-day party today. Addie was so happy again to be included w/ the older girls.

Tabi said...

I love the zoo! I wish we had one up here! Check out my blog!

Tomallama said...

Okay Mo, since you fired the shot, here's the situation. We went to a birthday party at Encanto that started at 10:00 a.m. and we stayed until a little after 12:30. Lauren's party was at your house at 1:00 (which we found out about 2 days in advance, unlike the other party where we had at least a week notice). We also had to get to the Temple by 2:30 to do baptisms for Natalie's mom. They don't take family appointments anymore and only have a short window where they accept walk-in's. We had that planned 2 weeks ago. We took what we had planned and tried to rearrange it to fit Lauren's b-day party in too. It was not going to happen. Since we had already made prior commitments, we figured you would understand. But I'm not getting all defensive or anything.