A Visit To Grandmother’s House

Grandma’s house is the stuff of fairy tales; but in my case, my grandmother’s small bungalow truly was a magical place for a little girl to visit.

4038459a68695773958b82322cb48a41 girl feeding chickens

Although my grandparents lived in a small town elbow to elbow with neighbors, their quirky little house was set on a long, narrow double lot.  You can take the family from the farm but not the farm from the family… a chicken house filled with Road Island Reds sprouted smack dab in the center of their urban oasis.  The adult in me is curious how they managed to raise chickens in the center of town, but all I remember as a child is the bliss of playing in a mini farm.  My grandmother babied those chickens.  They rewarded her by living long lives, laying eggs well-past the normal production age of chickens.  We called them grandma’s girls.

ba1b9eabb149285be9476687793f60c4 fenced garden

 Bolting from the car as soon as it stopped in the cinder driveway, my brothers and I would run to the backyard garden to see the chickens and check for new kittens in the shed.  My grandmother didn’t have the heart to turn away stray cats.  We were on our best behavior in the fenced in vegetable garden, careful not to tread on June strawberries or tender seedlings.

2944ffbaec342cb3f2a564da9821267c barn cats and chickens Something was always ripe in grandmother’s garden.  Everbearing strawberries grew along the garden fence for a treat all summer and thickets of raspberries tangled in the back corner.

852f05b72b25f04170b10449842ad740 strawberries

6048eb25e4f02c44d194a083a35d2c60 chickens grazing

In the summer, we played hide and seek in all the nooks around the house.  Her small side yard was shaded by trees and shrubs and scented with sweetpeas.   The apple trees in the front yard were perfect for climbing.  The small garden shed was a charming backdrop for grandpa’s tall red cannas and grandma’s purple cleomes.  Behind the hen-house, a tall plum tree dropped crimson fruit in summer to the delight of the hens. bf37ee987dafd22cc429027d02565662 farmhouse table

Grandma’s garden supplied bounty that she canned and preserved.  Ruby red jars of strawberry preserves and plum jelly lined the kitchen windows, cooling.  Freshly baked bread and pies filled her white kitchen with wonderful sights and scents.

f890158a49eba5e5be1a9e1299acc884 country milk and eggs

My grandparents were not well-to-do, but their table kept hungry grandchildren happy.  Eggs, hot bread, preserves, fresh seasonal vegetables, berry pie and rich whole milk delivered to the door were common on grandma’s table.  In the morning, we had buttered toast and thick oatmeal with whipping cream, the way it was eaten on the farm.

At times, I treat myself to slow-cooked oatmeal with heavy cream and brown sugar.  The years seem to slip away and I am that barefoot little girl in feedsack calico again.


About Sharon L. Clemens

Sharon and husband Merle and their children owned and operated a specialty shop and restaurant in a restored dairy barn for thirteen years in a village in Illinois. After closing their restaurant, they converted the barn into the family home and moved their shop to the garden level. They operated a collectable shop as a home-based business for another thirteen years before retiring to the country life. Sharon has been a special feature guest on the local NBC telelvision affiliate and has spoken professionally on topics relating to herb gardening and cottage lifestyle. In addition to conducting workshops and programs, Sharon writes a weekly cottage lifestyle e-newsletter called “Cottage Chat” and a Word Press blog: Seasons of Farm Grove. She has written five novels, The Younger Girl, Door County Cottage, Timeless-A Door County Love Story, Door County Cabin and Door County Escape, love stories with traditional values set in Door County, Wisconsin.
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2 Responses to A Visit To Grandmother’s House

  1. Remember how Great Grandma always had fresh sugar cookies for us and we would sit at her kitchen table and chat over cold milk? I am so glad I was able to know her and keep some memories for my own.

    • Sharon L. Clemens says:

      I do indeed. I think that is why I try to have cookies in the freezer, especially as it is the first thing Dirk looks for when he drops by! So happy you remember too!

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